Walter Rhett

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An Open Letter from Past CEA Chairs to Senator Sanders and Professor Gerald Friedman

In Perlo on February 17, 2016 at 10:33 pm

Source: An Open Letter from Past CEA Chairs to Senator Sanders and Professor Gerald Friedman

Rubio Darkens The Light Of Truth

In Perlo on February 4, 2016 at 9:00 pm

A brilliant insight into Marco Rubio, from a NYT Times comment. /wr

Black History 360*

Diogenes Stature of Diogenes, Sinope, Turkey

Republicans–their media pundits, columnists, and scribes–have a Diogenes problem: they are in search of an honest man or woman (really, a man). But what if that honesty reveals no depth?

That’s the Rubio problem: handsome, great voice, but his center is void of essence, even as his politics are brimming over with political conventions. He’s assembled, programmable, and comes in too many shapes and sizes. His strategy has always been to hold hands with his benefactors and make deals. Voters don’t see him as having the strength or sense to be president.

Watch the programmable Rubio sometimes: a word outside of his stump speech shows he is out of his league. He running on the fact that he has opposition, which he claims makes him qualified; he never ties it to the support of any of his policy positions (education? health care? corporate tax breaks?…

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Greed’s Doing Fine

In Perlo on December 7, 2015 at 3:13 pm
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Father and Son. Dorothea Lange Photo.

 

Around the world, pockets and circles mark poverty–it’s structural many say, others blame corporations and workers (greed and laziness); or national leaders in dictatorships and new democracies (crony thief). But big wheels keep turning out the oil and currency that creates winners and losers–and growth and no growth. What makes this recession different (its political economy!) is that the winners have aligned with non-growth! They prefer to concentrate wealth rather than increase it. They consume more of the global pie rather than make more pies; they prefer to drain rather than feed.

Paul Krugman has demonstrated this behavior in economic numbers and charts, as basic principles, as a conservative and European pattern, and its effects on growth and wages (slow or non-existent!). Yet profits and wealth are increasing at the same time as economies and wages are stagnant. New wealth is being extracted from working wages and family net worth!

Beginning when businesses cut expenses to improve profits, increase by decrease became widely applied during and after the recession through government austerity, corporate trimming and wage tightening and unemployment. The strategy is in oil, as dropping prices run off competition and allow major players a larger share.

Political economy looks at the behavior that drives the numbers, looking for the widest cause, going beyond policy. The answer? The art of politics is lost; money is the main candidate. It is a bidder’s war. The price of the 2016 elections will be insane. So the answer is: It’s still greed. Otherwise, we would be doing fine.

Pictures From An Exhibition (Spring Valley High School, SC)

In Perlo on October 28, 2015 at 2:06 pm

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The Dignity and joy of Family Combined With Opportunity: A Precious American Freedom

In Perlo on September 26, 2015 at 8:35 pm

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The Money Pit

In Perlo on August 26, 2015 at 10:16 pm

The balance sheets guys quickly turn to blame to cover their tracks as they extract cash from overheated markets. It’s not the shift to 401Ks, it is the shift to untethered greed as a central value, backed by vaults of servers and trunks of fiber optics supporting electronic trading and front running (to gain a nanosecond’s advantage), programmed to execute faster than a speeding bullet.

The small investor takes the bullet. Jeff Sprecher, the CEO of the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange (once a gentlemen’s club; once doing business in trading pits by open outcry, once (not long ago!) using handwritten tickets for settlements and stabilized by specialists) has said: small investors “don’t have access to the information that professional (or computerized) traders do, the ones trading reams of stocks at speeds that no human can match.”

Technology is the platform that put steady growth out of reach, but the second element that places stocks beyond the pale is the separation of capital production from material output. Labor’s added value and manufacturing and service underlying outputs matter little in the global battle royal for wealth through capital. Simply, technology is overlaid with greed. Corporations back greed; thrive for it. (Ask Argentina, another story!)

Capital accumulation requires bouts of high volatility. Traders are indifferent to the scorched earth left behind. Greed and technology are indifferent. Ironically, as markets tumble, capital, extracted, increases.

 Roman ruins at Samaria-Sebaste, a West Bank archaeological site divided between Israeli and Palestinian control. A forum and a temple to Augustus remain from the pre-Christian Roman city.

Roman ruins at Samaria-Sebaste, a West Bank archaeological site divided between Israeli and Palestinian control. A forum and a temple to Augustus remain from the pre-Christian Roman city.

Shipwrecked!

In Perlo on August 26, 2015 at 10:09 pm

(A Times Pick)

Caliban told Prospero in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” “you have taught me the language, my profit is I now know how to curse.” This cultural exchange is a universally found in global decisions that seek power and wealth! Trump is wrong: his curses are impotent; his fetish powers are dead. He can not tell China what to do; it will never follow his orders. Too many markets throughout Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe eagerly purchase from China high tech, high capital manufacturing (trains, hospitals, smart phones). Trump is cursed and shipwrecked by a thousand Calibans.

The market is caught in the vicissitudes of the curses of capitalism focused on capital and not on production. China has one million millionaires and produces over 1,000 new millionaires daily. Did it not realize that private wealth would create its own demand for capital no longer tied to industrial output and labor’s added value? That the state itself seeks capital wealth? Capital wealth depends upon–demands–volatility. The winning and losing of giant bets, not steady growth.

Capital wealth thrives on scorched earth, consuming all resources as a fuel for hoards of cash. But let’s not make China a scapegoat. Greed has many forms. We still drink overpriced lattes, eat hormone-free beef on a bun; America’s corporate sauce is still poured over its profits; Walmart and Verizon are unaffected.

In the streets, we say, “game recognizes game.” In the halls of power and wealth, greed recognizes greed. See it now.

No Fix For Republicans On Immigration

In Perlo on August 8, 2015 at 3:27 pm

Beyond inspiring the next Republican-built infra-structure project, as school roofs leak and drivers face daily backups, America’s Great Wall harps on three Republican conclusions which are shameful, degrading, and embarrassing when spoken by persons seeking election as an enlightened national unity.

The fixed, repeated, non-politically correct ideas with which Republicans describe immigrants from the Southern border are 1) criminals, 2) culprits, and 3) colored. (Culprits are the cause of a wasteful or harmful act or condition which may or may not be illegal/criminal; commonly cited is higher demand on public services.)

This extreme xenophobic view is still being expressed and denied by members of the Republican Party seeking the nation–and world’s–highest office. Its denials shadow its truth.

The inner dynamic of all these positions is not a political romance with workers willing to work earnestly and honestly, rising happy families with higher goals, and the will to find a way to embrace the values, materially and spiritually, brought in in the river crossing–no: it’s a fight over votes (too often they might be Democrats!), privilege over prosperity (protecting mine!), and complaining while only having a record of maintaining the status quo. Not one governor called a summit; only one Senator sponsored a bill–but they all give big lip service to suppression as “security.”

In the South, we say, “you can’t fix stupid.” When I look at this crowd, there’s “no fix” there.

African-American Civil War Soldiers Burying the Battlefield Dead, Library of Congress.

African-American Civil War Soldiers Burying the Battlefield Dead, Library of Congress.

The Complete Tape of Rev. Clementa Pinckney Celebration Service, Charleston, SC, June 26, 2015.

In Perlo on July 3, 2015 at 9:36 pm

WSVN, Miami 7, The best of local productions; sensitively done, with empathy for African-American traditions and expert sound. /wr

Children Want To Be A Hero

In Perlo on April 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Parent Rap

We learned the hard way, our heart-shaped pond held children’s attentions – and real danger.

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | March 5, 2014

Joey, Daniel and I played games, explored the old house and were tempted by the heart-shaped goldfish pond.

My father built a rock-lined, heart-shaped goldfish pond for my mother in the back yard. The pond measured five feet at its widest point and was all of four feet deep. That pond and I are the same age and it was home for goldfish until I was about twenty. Over the years new people moved there and were afraid their children might drown so they filled it in and made a beautiful flower bed where fish once lived. The concern over drowning was valid.

In the winter of 1962 I was eight years old and hardly bigger than a minute. I loved when company came because it meant…

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