“Clinton, Inc., Trump, Inc., Bush, Inc., Kennedy, Inc., O’Bama, Inc. (October 24, 2016)” Four Years Later (October 26, 2020)

Posted in Uncategorized on October 25, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “Add Biden, Inc. to the mix.  The Bideni gang rides again.”

J          “Over six years ago it was clear that the sons of the Ruling Class like Kerry-Heinz and Biden were positioned and poised to make a killing.  No matter how things stay the same, they stay the same.”

. . .

K          “Professor G. William Domhoff’s classic examination of power in America, Who Rules America?, revisited and explored observations developed earlier by Professor C. Wright Mills in his seminal The Power Elite.  I read Mills in high school and Domhoff in college.  Now there is Professor Peter Phillips who has written Giants, Who Really Rules The World? and refines and updates the analysis.”

J          “Phillips in the graduate school of life.  His division of the new “Global Power Elite” into four sections includes four archetypes: 1) Managers (i.e., the financial elite), 2) Facilitators (i.e., bureaucrats and policy planners), 3) Protectors (i.e., military-intelligence apparatus of power), and 4) Ideologists (i.e., public-relations operatives and propagandists) is frighteningly insightful.  An inquiry into the absolute domination of the powerful over the powerless.  To continue the tradition, he may need to add an initial to his name . . . say Professor P. Peter Phillips.”

. . .

K          “That uneasy feeling in late October 2016 manifested itself in the political surprise of our lifetime.”

J          “I’m still uneasy.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “Clinton, Inc., Trump, Inc., Bush, Inc., Kennedy, Inc., O’Bama, Inc. (October 24, 2016)”, “Impeachment Imbroglio.  Oh, And Happy Saint Nicholas Day! (December 2, 2019)” and “World’s Reserve Currency War I = Cold War 2.0 = WW III (?) (September 8, 2014).]

Bumper sticker of the week:

And the beating goes on

Fifth Annual Noble Prize In Jurisprudence (October 19, 2020)

Posted in Jurisprudence Award, Law, Noble Prize in Jurisprudence on October 19, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “A prize dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating the work of someone who or some organization that really knows something about jurisprudence and the impact of courts, judges, lawyers and police on the lives and livelihood of ordinary citizens.  Someone who lives the conviction that men and women should establish and respect some norms and standards that are promulgated clearly to all and enforced equally in favor of and against all.”

J          “Someone who advances the Rule of Law and stuff like that.  I like it.”

K          “The recipient of the fifth annual Noble Prize In Jurisprudence . . . is Francis Boyle, a leading advocate of the rule of law and of international law, for his continuing efforts against overwhelming odds to advance and defend civil rights and civil liberties.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “Fourth Annual Noble Prize In Jurisprudence (October 21, 2019)”, “Third Annual Noble Prize In Jurisprudence (October 15, 2018)”, Second Annual Noble Prize In Jurisprudence (October 16, 2017)”, “First Annual Noble Prize In Jurisprudence (October 17, 2016)“, “Award Deadlines (Livelines?) (July 25, 2016)” and “Hiroshima And Nagasaki At 75 (August 10, 2020)”.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Give civil rights and civil liberties a chance

Fifth Annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics (October 12, 2020)

Posted in Economics, Economics Nobel, Noble Prize in Eco-nomics on October 12, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “An award acknowledging and celebrating the work of someone on the planet who really knows something about eco-nomics.  Eco-nomics is about making and sharing; e-con-omics is about taking and stealing.”

J          “The Noble Prize in Eco-nomics is a delightful and playful replacement for the discredited and misnamed ‘Nobel’ Prize in Voodoo E-con-omics.  And I get it.  You get what you reward.  You need to reward what you want to get.  Who gets it this year?”

K          “The recipients of the fifth annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics are . . . Pam Martens and Russ Martens who have researched and crafted ‘Wall Street On Parade’ for decades.  The couple has contributed immensely and with little credit chronicling in clear prose the circus and criminality on Wall Street and the consequences for the ordinary person.”

J          “They should get credit for challenging the credit markets.  They have made a far great contribution to the public discourse than everyone writing at ‘The Wall Street Journal’ for the last two decades.  The age of vicious irony is viciously ironic.”

. . .

[See “The American Nightmare” in “The Automatic Earth” by Byron Bishop dated October 12, 2020; “The Tyranny of Economists  How can they be so wrong, so often, and yet still exert so much influence on government policy?” in “The New Republic” by Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein dated September 30, 2019, the book titled “The Nobel Factor: The Prize in Economics, Social Democracy, and the Market Turn” by Avner Offer and Gabriel Söderberg and “Heretics welcome!  Economics needs a new Reformation” in “The Guardian” by Larry Elliott dated December 17, 2017.]

[See the e-commentary at “Fourth Annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics (October 14, 2019)”, “Third Annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics (October 8, 2018)”, “Second Annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics (October 9, 2017)”, “First Annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics (October 10, 2016)”, “Announcing The First Annual Noble Prize In Eco-nomics (May 2, 2016)”, “Award Deadlines (Livelines?) (July 25, 2016)”, “From e-con-omics to eco-nomics? (August 1, 2011)”, and “Skip the Nobel in Economics (October 6, 2009)”.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

“Show me the incentives and I will show you the outcome.”  Charlie Munger

Boycott banks; support credit unions

Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day

First Monday And “Patient One” (October 5, 2020)

Posted in Covid / Coronavirus, First Monday In October, Immanentizing The Eschaton, Presidency, Supreme Court on October 5, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “Are there gradations of illegitimacy?”

J          “Is the Supreme Court just quasi-illegitimate and semi-unrepresentative?”

. . .

K          “I gather that he becomes ‘Patient One’ and gets transported by ‘Marine Corps One’ to ‘Bed One’ for scrutiny by dozens and dozens of doctors.”

J          “Certainly more than one.  If you or I had presented with his symptoms, we would have been sent packing back home thus killing precious time to make a more careful diagnosis and treatment.”

. . .

K          “In the age of vicious irony, her introduction in the Oval Office to the powers that should not be may have turned into a superspreader event.”

J          “Moving from outside in the Rose Garden to inside in the Oval Office may have done it. No is speaking candidly who really knows his condition and the medical cocktail he is consuming.  The age of vicious irony is also the age of calculated ignorance.”

. . .

K          “The Court that may soon have 6.75 Catholics, with 5.75 solidly united in not allowing others to ‘immanentize the eschaton’ and one committed to allowing others to ‘immanentize the eschaton’ in this life.”

J          “And two other souls who also want others to be able to ‘immanentize the eschaton’ in this life.  The Court theoretically could be more unrepresentative but not much more unrepresentative.”

. . .

K          “What so many good folks fail to realize is that Trumpi is effectively packing the Court for the corporations.  A Court that went from the ‘Kennedy Court’ for years to the Roberts Court’ for months is now becoming the ‘Trumpi Court’ for decades with his three picks in three years.”

J          “A Court named not after a justice but someone outside the Court who was always outside the law.  Trumpi aspired successfully to achieve injustice by breaking the law in a legal system that allows the rich to break the law.”

. . .

J          “The controlling Corporatists on the Court hold opinions and values that do not represent the rest of the public pack in America.”

K          “If the opportunity presents, we the unrepresented pack should seriously consider packing the court and sending them packing.  Try to bring that topic up with others and you quickly discover that most folk’s Overton Window is the size of a side door peep hole.”

J          “Roberts sealed the front doors of the Court for the little people years ago and Trump is nailing them shut for two generations.”

K          “RBG opened doors for women and girls.  ACB will close doors for women and girls.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary under the Categories “First Monday In October” and the “Supreme Court”.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

RBG opened doors for women and girls.  ACB will close doors for women and girls.

Google: “Be Evil” (September 28, 2020)

Posted in Amazon, Elections, Facebook, Google, Magazine Reference, Monopoly, Privacy, Society, Technology on September 28, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “’Don’t Be Evil’.   An age of overwhelming edgy sarcastic anxiety and detached cynical irony really is not a healthy and productive age.”

J          “Our society has not aged well.  Bad wine.  White wine that has gone sour and not red wine that improved with age.  And Google and Facebook and Amazon provide the most perverse ironies of our age.”

. . .

[See “The Big Tech Extortion Racket” in “Harpers” dated September 2020 by Barry C. Lynn.

“In 2018, an Irish technologist named Dylan Curran downloaded the information Google had collected about him.  All in all, Curran found, the corporation had gathered 5.5 GB of data on his life, or the equivalent of more than three million Word documents.

In an article for article for “The Guardian”, Curran wrote that within this trove he found

“every Google Ad I’ve ever viewed or clicked on, every app I’ve ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I’ve ever visited and what time I did it.  They also have every image I’ve ever searched for and saved, every location I’ve ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I’ve ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I’ve made since 2009.  And . . . every YouTube video I’ve ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.”

In addition, Curran discovered that Google keeps a detailed record of what events he attends and when he arrives, what photos he takes and when he takes them, what exercises he does and when he does them.  And it has kept every email he has ever sent or received, including those he has deleted.”]

[See the e-commentary at “Goggle” and “Facebook” and “Amazon” and other topics such as “Privacy” and related issues.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Bye Don 2020 (also sported on lawn signs)

Re-Elect The Mother Fracker (also sported on ball caps and t-shirts)

The Persecution Of Assange And The Feckless MSM (September 21, 2020)

Posted in Cameo In Courage Award, First Amendment, Journalism, Newspapers, Press/Media on September 21, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “Most media outlets are not concerned about press freedom because they are completely free to say precisely what they are directed to say.”

J          “The only journalists commenting on the most critical freedom of the press case of our time are commentators such as award-winning Caitlin Johnstone and historian and human rights advocate Craig Murray, those at Consortium News, and a few other heroes, stragglers and renegades.”

. . .

K          “What would RBG say?”

J          “I respectfully dissent.”

. . .

[See “Empire’s mask slips at Julian Assange trial” in “The Asia Times” dated September 18, 2020 by Pepe Escobar.]

[See some of the e-commentary by typing “Assange” in the search box.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Have a peaceful International Day of Peace

“First they came for the journalists.  We don’t know what happened after that.”

Have a peaceful Equinox

Ruth Bader Ginsberg

From “Occupy” to “Occupation”:  Nine Year Later (September 14, 2020)

Posted in Book Reference, Civil War, Class, Collapse, Occupy Movement, Voting on September 14, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “Occupy showed so much promise.”

J          “That’s why they killed it.”

. . .

K          “What was percolating may start boiling.”

J          “What was festering may start exploding.”

. . .

K          “Occupy challenged one to occupy his or her mind and community and now the Occupation/Siege calls for one to occupy the bowels of the beast.”

J          “September 17 may become as big a holiday as July 14.  Stay tuned, as they say.”

. . .

[See the commentary on the Occupation/Siege at Adbusters.]

[See the e-commentary at “Occupy America (October 10, 2011)”, “Occupy America: The “Bonus March/Chicago Police Riot/Kent State” Of 2011? (October 17, 2011)”, “An “Occupy Primer” (November 14, 2011) and “Civil War II.  Coming To A Country Near You (November 26, 2018)”.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking:  What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family?  Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?  …  The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!  If … if … We didn’t love freedom enough.  And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation … We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”  Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918 – 1956

Covid-19 PanICdemic/Plague: What Is A [Labor Day] Weekend? (September 7, 2020)

Posted in Covid / Coronavirus, Society, Work on September 7, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

J          “The appeal of that show is still beguiling, yet the series appealed to the whole family wholeheartedly and to me.  ‘What is a weekend?’, the Dowager at Downton Abbey inquired at dinner.  What was a declining way of life for the wealthy is now an emerging way of life for the villagers.”

K          “And when you are self-unemployed under the old way of life, you only knew it was the weekend because your friends could come out to play.”

J          “But you are employee of the month every month.”

. . .

K          “The circus had its own calendar and dedicated days.  In the fall and winter, Friday night was demarcated by high school football, Saturday afternoons by college football and almost all of Sunday by professional football.”

J          “And the professional game metastasized into Monday night and then into the Thursday night edition of Monday night football that became Thursday night football.  Tuesday and Wednesday are the weekend for football.  The circus markers are gone or limited.”

. . .

J          “A friend notes that she only knows the day of the week if the newspaper does not arrive which means it is Saturday.”

K          “And then there is always Sunday night.  A friend described the Sunday night malaise that set in every week around 5 o’clock began sooner each year and then set in earlier in the day and then set in upon getting up and then set in around 5 o’clock on Saturday night and then set in earlier in the day and then set in upon getting up and then set in around 5 o’clock on Friday night.”

J          “On Sunday night, you are only seven days away from Sunday night and a fortnight away from Sunday night.”

. . .

K          “And the winter solstice this year falls on a Monday.”

J          “And the day the sun starts returning springs on a Tuesday.”

. . .

K          “Until recently, of course, one typically spent five days in an office and two days in or operating out of a home.  Now seven days are spent in a home office that creates a sense of uninterrupted house arrest.  I even use the word ‘prisoner’ in some conversations to describe my confined circumstances.”

J          “Although I am likely to cancel the furlough, I booked an airline ticket in December that I hold in my hand to hold out hope of getting a work release from the prison I am booked in today.  The ticket is a psychological get out of jail card for fee.”

K          “Book ’im, Danno.”

. . .

J          “What is a weekbegin?”

K          “T.G.I.?.”

. . .

[Follow the criminal proceedings – by the English and American court systems – against Julian Assange at Consortium News.]

[See the e-commentary at Labor Day and Labor Day weekend at “Laboring Day (September 2, 2019)”, “Labor Day.  Oh, And Happy Labor Day! (September 3, 2018)”, “On Writin’ And Livin’ And Laborin’ (September 4, 2017)” and “Doctorin’ And Lawyerin’ And Laborin’ (September 5, 2011)”.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Labor on!

What is a weekend?

Unions – The folks who brought you the weekend

Everybody’s playing for the week

“Eight hours of work, eight hours of sleep and eight hours of what you will”

T.G.I.?.

“A job?”

The “War And Wall Street Party” Concludes Its Confabulations (August 31, 2020)

Posted in Book Reference, Political Parties, Wall Street, War, War and Wall Street Party on August 31, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “The ‘D’ Division of the ‘War and Wall Street Party’ nominated its candidates and concluded its confabulation last week.  The ‘R’ Division of the ‘War and Wall Street Party’ nominated its candidates and concluded its confabulation this week.”

J          “Both Divisions remain pro-war and anti-peace.”

K          “Both Divisions remain pro-Wall Street and anti-Main Street.”

. . .

J          “The sets looked like glitzy game shows with the gamesters playing games, selling snake oil and titillating the bases.”

K          “And the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did not even have the decency and integrity to invite Tulsi Gabbard to speak.  They may have lost the progressive vote.  It may be over.”

J          “Mark my words, the ‘War and Wall Street Party’ will win in November.  We need a viable second party.  The ‘Peace and Main Street Party’ is catchy, but will it catch on.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “The Choice:  Pro War And Pro-Wall Street Candidate v. Pro War And Pro-Wall Street Candidate (April 13, 2015)”, “The ‘War and Wall [Street] Party’ On The War Path (February 1, 2016)”, “The First Look At The ‘Second Political Party’ (January 3, 2011)” and “DNC:  ‘We’re Losers.  Vote for Us.’ (February 27, 2017)”.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

And the Democratic National Committee did not even have the decency to invite Tulsi Gabbard to speak

Great Meteor 2020  Just End It Already

MOFA  Make Orwell Fiction Again

Housing:  Another Bubble Blown By Criminally Low Interest Rates (August 24, 2020)

Posted in Covid / Coronavirus, Housing, Interest Rates on August 24, 2020 by e-commentary.org

. . .

K          “We are back in the 2005 – 2007 housing bubble.”

J          “We are careening toward the 2008 bubble burst.”

. . .

K          “The current nearly zero interest rates are a sign of a severely broken economy.  The time value of money should not be zero.”

J          “An irreparably broken economy.  They may drive them negative.  That should be inconceivable and anathema in a market economy.  Free money is not free.”

. . .

K          “Last year it was $49.99 and further reduced with the $10 off coupon for my birthday.  This year it was $59.99 and only reduced with the new $5 off coupon for my birthday.  $39.99 to $54.99 in one year.”

. . .

J          “$7.98 last month to $9.98 this week.  And because of limited supply, I had to drive across city to two stores to find what I needed.”

K          “The cost of the sticks to build a house has gone through the roof.  The cost of roofing materials has gone through the roof.”

. . .   

K          “So many folks are skipping their mortgage payments and using the money and the enhanced and very temporary government financial assistance to buy vehicles and other personal property on credit they may not be able to afford in the coming year.”

J          “Skip one month, look around and discover no immediate consequences.  Skip a second month, look around and discover no immediate consequences.  Skip a third month, look around and discover no immediate consequences.  Then it becomes habit.  Each month they get further and further and further in the hole.  And they forget that when you are in a hole, quit digging.”

. . .

K          “The state foreclosure moratoriums have largely expired yet the federal foreclosure moratoriums are still in place.  The surprise in the market is that the title companies are so busy refinancing loans they cannot get around to handling foreclosures.”

J          “Many present refinancings are future foreclosures in wait.  When you are in a hole, I say, quit digging.”

. . .

K          “Debt may not be repaid but it is always paid.”

J          “Anything that cannot go on forever will not go on forever.”

. . .

K          “Remember when the Queen of England asked some e-con-omists at the LSE why no one had predicted the credit crisis.  She asked the right question to the wrong gang.  What was coming was clear as gin in 2005 and then unfolded predictably over the next few years.”

J          “Do you have her number?”

. . .              

[See the e-commentary at “Housing Again (October 8, 2007)” that discusses the anatomy of a house, “America the Bankrupt: Economics 210 in the Land of the Freeway and the Home of the Wave (January 17, 2005)” discussing the looming “Hyperdive“ decline in the economy, “When the Bubbles Burst (December 4, 2006)” discussing the macroeconomic and microeconomic consequences of the housing market collapse, and “The Dow Jones (the Murdoch ?) Hits 14 K In A Hollow Economy (July 23, 2007)“ discussing the coming decline in the stock market that can only be delayed not avoided.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.”  Mark Twain?

Housing Again (October 8, 2007)

A house is a bundle of 1) sticks, 2) dirt, and 3) money/interest obligation.  The Truth In Lending Act requires the lender to provide basic information about the terms of a loan.  A $100,000 house subject to a 30 year mortgage at 10 percent requires the borrower to pay a total of over $316,000 during the life of the loan.  Thus, more than 2/3rds of the money ($216,000) pays for the money; less than 1/3rd ($100,000) pays for the sticks and the dirt.

When interest rate drops to 5 percent, the borrower pays a total of over $192,000 during the life of the 30 year loan.  Thus, less than 1/2 of the money ($92,000) pays for the money; more than 1/2 ($100,000) pays for the sticks and the dirt.

Reducing the interest rate reduces the total purchase price of the sticks, dirt and money/interest obligation needed to acquire the house.  When Greenspan reduced the Federal Funds Rates in 2001 and mortgage interest rates dropped, the price of the money/interest obligation dropped correspondingly.  Those who had the sticks and the dirt at the time were in the money.  Others were able to acquire a house (sticks, dirt, and money/interest obligation), for at least a few years.  Those who obtained a house in the early days of the run-up with a fixed rate mortgage of 5 to 6 percent have a “bird’s nest on the ground” if they keep a cool head.

The interest rate in a typical adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) adjusts upward in the next months and years even if other interest rates do not rise.  When the interest rate rises to 15 percent, the borrower pays a total of over $455,198 during the life of the 30 year loan.  Thus, almost 4/5ths of the money ($355,198) pays for the money; little more than 1/5th ($100,000) pays for the sticks and the dirt.

Many of the ARMs are more difficult to refinance because they include “pre-payment penalties” if the notes are paid early.  A borrower could pay off all but the last month’s obligation and then pay off the last month according to the terms of the note.  Some judges might allow it; some would not.  The pre-payment penalty provisions should be stricken because they are 1) against public policy, 2) unconscionable, 3) fraudulently obtained, 4) buried in adhesion contracts, and/or 5) _________.  There will still be an economic impact because so many investors were fooled and/or fooled themselves into believing that they would receive the substantial returns from the ARMs and other bogus instruments.

The “wealth effect” now has been supplanted by the “poverty effect.”  The “multiplier effect” is being supplanted by the “divider effect.”  And there is not a whole lot that the Fed can do to improve our lot.

However, Al Greenspan recently announced unambiguously that the credit crunch is behind us.  In the near future, no one will even remember this latest pronouncement and hold him to it.

Bumper sticker of the week:

“Time is money, money is time, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”    John Maynard Keats