By greydogg, 99GetSmart
* DEBT, DELUSION AND THE DOGMA OF THIEVES
By John Caelan, OpEdNews
[…] Actually, we historically succeed because we steal a lot of stuff from other people, both internal and external to our borders. That we do it together, I suppose, holds some nationalistic merit. Go team! This has been a fine and generally accepted modus operandi for many generations, until the thieves became too few and the victims too many. Now, we as a populace look to the politicians to restore our lifestyles, seemingly oblivious to the notion that our lifestyles could not have occurred in the first place without the unapologetic exploitation of faraway peoples and the gargantuan debt generation that we now protest so loudly. We complain that we have been dealt out of a game that was played with a stacked deck and call it a righteousness beef.
This began a long time ago. The persistence of chattel slavery, prior to and after our quest for independence, the method by which gross economic advantage could be maintained by the few and trickled down to the chosen rest, ensured us of the proverbial feet of clay that would condemn our nation to a future of unbalanced economic and societal evolution. In the years between the election of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, 50 of those 72 years had a slaveholding president in the office and in that period, no non-slaveholder was ever elected to a second term. We expanded and built our nation on the margins of an oppressed labor pool, where the worth of one man’s hour was declared greater than another’s, with little more justification than raw racism required of the perpetrators to sleep well at night.
The cessation of slavery did not correct this initial disparity–share cropping, low wage immigrant and “freed” slave labor, and, ultimately, the issuance of a great deal of debt was the hallmark of Reconstruction. As invention and fossil fuels increased the ratio of production to energy, we may well have had a chance to correct the pervasive inequalities in our economic landscape, but greed, that always dependable concubine of success, demanded more. […]
* CAPITALISM’S ‘SACRIFICE ZONES’
Source: Bill Moyers & Company
There are forgotten corners of this country where Americans are trapped in endless cycles of poverty, powerlessness, and despair as a direct result of capitalistic greed. Journalist Chris Hedges calls these places “sacrifice zones,” and joins Bill this week on Moyers & Company to explore how areas like Camden, New Jersey; Immokalee, Florida; and parts of West Virginia suffer while the corporations that plundered them thrive.
“These are areas that have been destroyed for quarterly profit. We’re talking about environmentally destroyed, communities destroyed, human beings destroyed, families destroyed,” Hedges tells Bill. “It’s the willingness on the part of people who seek personal enrichment to destroy other human beings… And because the mechanisms of governance can no longer control them, there is nothing now within the formal mechanisms of power to stop them from creating essentially a corporate oligarchic state.”
The broadcast includes images from Hedges’ collaboration with comics artist and journalist Joe Sacco, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which is an illustrated account of their travels through America’s sacrifice zones. Kirkus Reviews calls it an “unabashedly polemic, angry manifesto that is certain to open eyes, intensify outrage and incite argument about corporate greed.”
A columnist for Truthdig, Hedges also describes the difference between truth and news. “The really great reporters — and I’ve seen them in all sorts of news organizations — are management headaches because they care about truth at the expense of their own career,” Hedges says.
VIDEO @ http://vimeo.com/46079167
* FROM AN UNLIKELY SOURCE, A SERIOUS CHALLENGE TO WALL STREET
By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
Something very interesting is happening.
There’s been so much corruption on Wall Street in recent years, and the federal government has appeared to be so deeply complicit in many of the problems, that many people have experienced something very like despair over the question of what to do about it all.
But there’s something brewing that looks like it might be a blueprint to effectively take on the financial services industry: a plan to allow local governments to take on the problem of neighborhoods blighted by toxic home loans and foreclosures through the use of eminent domain. I can’t speak for how well the program will work, but it’s certaily been effective in scaring the hell out of Wall Street.
Under the proposal, towns would essentially be seizing and condemning the man-made mess resulting from the housing bubble. Cooked up by a small group of businessmen and ex-venture capitalists, the audacious idea falls under the category of “That’s so crazy, it just might work!” One of the plan’s originators described it to me as a “four-bank pool shot.”
Here’s how the New York Times described it in an article from earlier this week entitled, “California County Weighs Drastic Plan to Aid Homeowners“:
Desperate for a way out of a housing collapse that has crippled the region, officials in San Bernardino County … are exploring a drastic option — using eminent domain to buy up mortgages for homes that are underwater.
Then, the idea goes, the county could cut the mortgages to the current value of the homes and resell the mortgages to a private investment firm, which would allow homeowners to lower their monthly payments and hang onto their property. […]