Posted by: quiscus | November 1, 2010

November 1, 2010

1.  What a moron.  He’s wrong as a matter of economics, and wrong as a moral human being:

“WashPost: War with Iran would rescue economy

“Especially in light of what has just occurred in Iraq, what kind of moral degenerate seriously suggests we get ready to do it again in neighboring Iran, just as a way to spur job growth?” he asks. “The kind who writes a regular column in the Washington Post, apparently.”

2.  “Bank of England Chief Mervyn King Proposes Eliminating Fractional Reserve Banking

4. Stunningly, Mervyn King imagines the “abolition of fractional reserve banking”:

“Eliminating fractional reserve banking explicitly recognises that the pretence that risk-free deposits can be supported by risky assets is alchemy. If there is a need for genuinely safe deposits the only way they can be provided, while ensuring costs and benefits are fully aligned, is to insist such deposits do not co-exist with risky assets.”

Beyond the technicalities, the fact that a central banker in a G7 country is prepared to imagine such outcomes is itself significant.

Ironically, while King is proposing the potential elimination of fractional reserve banking (i.e. a return to 100% reserves), Ben Bernanke has proposed the elimination of all reserve requirements (i.e. requiring no reserves):

The Federal Reserve believes it is possible that, ultimately, its operating framework will allow the elimination of minimum reserve requirements, which impose costs and distortions on the banking system.”

3.  “Interpreting Jon Stewart’s Politics

Sadly, Stewart went overboard to prove he wasn’t overly progressive, when he specifically denounced Marxists as “attempting to subvert our constitution [?] ” — an example of McCarthy Red-baiting at its worse.

Stewart’s rally strongly implied that instead of political conflict, everyone should join him in the reasonable political center. One of his concluding remarks was: “It’s a shame we can’t work together to get things done.”

If only politics were that simple.

In reality, society is torn apart by economic and social inequality, dominated by giant corporations that benefit from low wages and foreign wars. These same corporations — owned by super-rich individuals — also benefit from the lies, anger, and insanity broadcast by the mainstream media. The phenomenon of scare tactics directly benefits giant corporations who want a subdued populace so they can pursue their business-friendly agenda.

Stewart does his audience a great disservice by not recognizing the profit-motive behind the right-wing fear-mongers, who are paid large salaries by corporations to divide and confuse working people.

We are instead led to believe that simple “insanity” is why our mainstream media allows figures such as Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin to preach hate and nonsense to millions of people.

In fact, these right-wingers are given such large venues because their politics are in line with the foreign and domestic policy interests of a number of very rich people who own TV channels and other corporations.  ”

4.  “The majority of people are easily manipulated due to their wholly understandable but nonetheless dangerous ignorance of matters beyond their local sphere. How do you know that this or that out-group is dangerous? How do you know that Syria is a threat to Lebanese sovereignty or that Hezbollah is a “terrorist organization”? The vast majority of us know it because our government officials and media spokespersons tell us so. We assume that these people actually know what they are talking about, that they have no hidden agendas, that they do not lie or mislead us. How many of us consider the possibility that they, the officials and spokespersons, have themselves been misled or corrupted by special interest groups and lobbies? Some of us do, but not enough to matter. Most of us assume the honesty of the “experts” or just never really think about this problem at all. And, it is this naive act of faith, that the rest of us have bought into.

None of this represents a new problem. Indeed, it is age old, but that is no excuse. To the extent that the above propositions are true, we must face facts and seek ways to moderate their impact. There are many tools to this end. One of them is education of which we could make much better use in teaching our children to value tolerance and diversity, just as we now teach them to value nationalism and patriotism. But first there has to be a general recognition of the need to do so. Will that ever come about? I have no prophetic answer to this question, but there was a 19th century Russian poet who once said that “providence has given human wisdom the choice between two fates: either hope and agitation, or hopelessness and quiescence.” I vote for the former.”

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