Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 2,132
Current location: northern California
Member since: Fri Jan 26, 2007, 07:20 PM
Number of posts: 2,132
it's small enough to drown it in a bathtub.
There, I bet that got some people's attention. Apologies for the Grover reference. Even worse, in this context, I actually believe it.
Honestly, U.S. taxpayers, for some reason, are footing the enormous bill (in both blood and treasure) of securing an international resource extraction economy, making sure these resources are sold on the global market rather than used for and controlled by the local residents. We have our meddling little (not so little) fingers in every corner of the planet, influencing other governments' behavior, or even outright installing other countries' governments and training proxy militaries that take over when our troops move on to the next "situation".
Since all of this is done in our names, ultimately as U.S. citizens it puts a price on all of our heads. What goes around comes around.
I see very little defense in our Dept. of Defense. It's pretty much all offense. The bad guys we supposedly need to kill are for the most part just sick of our troops and diplomats treating their countries as our own, which we do to an insane degree.
Respect for the military? Well, for the most part, I don't respect the jobs the military is tasked with. There are exceptions, but they are exceptions, not the main function of our military.
It's very difficult to speak honestly about feelings towards the military. In my case, it's sure to offend many, though it's not my intention. Glorifying military service by extension serves to glorify military activity, and is very actively used for that purpose by a massive corporate media empire that is itself at the heart of the military industrial complex.
Seems to me we need the freedom and the courage to talk about this, as our society has become overtaken by the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about.
We need a real jobs program at home, we need the money we spend on the military to retool our economy to avoid catastrophic climate change (also the U.S. military is apparently the single greatest polluter on this planet) and to lift so many of our citizens out of poverty, we need to respect other cultures and other forms of governing and managing resources.
None of this is relevant to the story cited in the OP, which seemed distasteful to me just on a human level. But the OP went on in this direction, asking broader questions about our military mindset, and I think it's a brave and necessary question. K & R.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Tue Dec 4, 2012, 07:36 AM (1 replies)
Yeah lots of reasons people put up with it, no doubt that's one of them. Also, unfortunately, the real push for change won't come until a large portion of our population is in dire straits. Of course by then it will be too late for some things and for some people. No time to lose...
Posted by dreamnightwind | Sun Sep 9, 2012, 02:22 AM (0 replies)
Apple is used as an example (and they are a perfect example), not as the whole problem, so being hung up on Apple, good or bad, is missing the point.
This long article does a great job of laying out the whole situation. Some of the comments on the Times' site are good too. If anything, I thought the article was too easy on the whole system. Its strength was in painting the picture, its weakness was in interpreting the picture, and there was no attempt to do the analysis of how do we create a better picture in the future. But that's the New York Times for you.
It paints an amazingly dismal reality for the American worker. We're all living it, so no surprise, but it shows that we need radical change, not better management of our current system.
Productivity has never been higher. And, given a company's ability to offshore much of product development and manufacturing, taking advantage of controlled and desperate labor forces overseas, productivity has never been cheaper. Profit margins have probably never been higher. So, the privileged few get richer, the Asians get to live in forced work encampments, and we, if we can get any job that gives us enough money, can buy the products they make. No way is this a workable scenario for the future of this country.
I believe the corporate charter mandates maximizing shareholders' value. There's a real problem with this. What if a company wants to provide good wages, benefits, and good LIVES for their employees, at the expense of huge profits, and makes that their company's priority? They can be sued by their shareholders, that's what. That HAS to be changed.
Apple used the Chinese factory's ability to wake several thousand people in their dorms during the night to immediately begin work on the iPhone glass screens when Steve Jobs decided to wiggle his finger and demand the change in weeks. That's totally sick in so many ways.
Soon they'll just keep large pools of trained workers in suspended animation in tiny hibernation pods, only to be awakened when their services are needed for a job, then back to sleep they go, into a chemically induced comatose state. Worker drones. Count on it, that's where this road leads, and it's evil at its core.
I like the idea of tariffs. I've always liked the idea of a labor exchange rate, too, similar to a currency exchange rate. Or how about using monetary policy to enable us to make $17/day and live well on that amount of money in this country?
Ultimately I think we need to reject this whole business model, and make it either illegal or super expensive to buy products from companies that use it. It's why the trade agreements (supported by most all of our Dems as well as the Republicans) suck, they do nothing to address concerns of the workers, only concerns of the capitalists.
We want lives, not jobs. The two are not mutually exclusive. The story told in the Times' article is the story that results when the capitalists are running the show.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Mon Jan 23, 2012, 06:40 PM (1 replies)
It looks like you just found a few quotes that you could use to support the viewpoint you already held. This is an amazing article, and it says nothing similar to what you are saying. You're so far off I hardly know where to start, or if it's worth my time.
You said "To prosecute this, you have to start here, with the loan / mortgage broker."
There is no support for that in the article, in fact quite the opposite. Black goes to great length to explain just how futile that approach is. And the brokers were not the problem, they were the little guys implementing the fraud desired by their employers.
Black: "Remember I told you there were over a million cases of mortgage fraud a year and that overwhelmingly itís lenders who foot the fraud, the lie in the liars loan. But the FBI couldnít and didnít investigate any of the major lenders. So it is looking at these relatively small folks, and that is what it reports back. The FBI decides you know, as I said, this cannot work. This is like going to a beach in San Diego and throwing handfuls of sand in the Pacific Ocean and wondering when you are going to be able to walk to Hawaii. Every year, with a million plus cases of fraud a year, if you prosecute a thousand of them or two thousand of them or three thousand of them, you are a million cases further behind every year, right. It is just insane. So the FBI says we got to start going after the big guys at which point Bushís Attorney General Mukasey says no, he refuses to even create a National Task Force against mortgage fraud"
Jim Puplava: "What about the Obama Administration?
William Black: They never did it. They didnít even back off. They never, you can tell from the numbers that they have, in how many FBI personnel it takes to do a really sophisticated, large institutional investigation. They have never done what would have been considered a real investigation in the Savings and Loan era of any, any of the major fraudulent lenders and investment banks that created the worthless financial derivatesónot worthless, but not worth very muchófinancial derivatives.
Jim Puplava: What about the Obama Administration? Had they came in, they continued with the same policy basically, they ignored it. Where they could have had let us say, an opportunity. Is it because Professor, that the process is you know, some have said that Congress is bought and paid for by the financial industry. I mean, is that part of the reason?
William Black: Well, itís not just Congress of course. The President has said that he wants to raise a billion dollars in the reelection effort and despite all the press you may have heard about how the White House is despised by financeóin fact, last I read, a bigger percentage and a bigger absolute dollar amount of contributions in this effort, than in the original effort had come from finance. And so both parties are tremendously beholden to finance. That is part of it but again, the Obama Administration was better than the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration was willing to create a task force and itís the numbers of FBI Agents have been increased, but they are still looking at relatively small cases. And they are nowhere near the numbers required and so unless something dramatic or radical changes, this is going to be the greatest case of elite fraud with impunity in the history of the world. And it is only going to change if we express our outrage as the people and demand that it is changed. Let me tell you how bad it is. The Federal Housing Finance Administration, has just last week, or about ten days ago now, filed fifteen hundred plus pages of complaints against seventeen financial entities. And about ten of them are among the biggest financial entities in the world saying, every investigation has found repeated enormous fraud at these entities. So, and there is a track record, a paper trail of that fraud. But these entities got reports saying these assets were trash and that they lied and then sold the assets to Fannie and Freddie by making acts of deceit, which is of course, the key element of fraud.
So, now that this has happened, there are really only two possibilities. Either the Federal Housing Finance Administration has gotten all those documents wrong, and there is no such record, or there is such a record in which case, where is the Justice Department, why is it not bringing criminal prosecution against most of the largest banks in the world.
Jim Puplava: not one single prosecution was brought in this entire situation, what is probably the largest fraud committed in history. And yet it still goes on Professor, we still have the financial industry contributing large amounts of money to politicians in both parties, both at the national level, the local level, and so basically, what you have is influence buying here. ... I thought my goodness, there was enough evidence to go after but not one thing was done. And even when a lot of these firms went under, as the shareholders lost everything, the taxpayers losing everything, the guys at the top walked away with some of the biggest bonus packages Iíve seen in my investment career.
William Black: ... The firm failed because you followed the fraud recipe that I gave you, which causes catastrophic losses but their CEOís and other Senior Officers can walk away incredibly rich. ... So again, if people, I do not understand who have never done this, how absolutely critical the criminal referrals are.
The Administration is not necessarily fighting strong for any, the Dodd Frank Bill was not created and designed to deal with the actual causes of the crisis. And so it most likely will not stop the next crisis. But the focus on legislation is a bit misleading. Under the existing laws and regulation, this was an easy crisis to prevent.
Bernanke was reappointed by President Obama. You know, I tried as little, what one little person could, to stop that. We need to have a complete new crew. Geithner needs to go, Attorney General Holder needs to go, and Bernanke needs to go and we need to put people in who will make a high priority ending the ability to loot institutions with impunity.
Posted by dreamnightwind | Mon Jan 2, 2012, 03:29 PM (0 replies)
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