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Saturday, January 27, 2018

On the campaign trail, Trump said the issue of marijuana legalization should be "up to the states," continuing the policy under President Obama. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama's policy and gave federal prosecutors the authority to pursue marijuana cases, even where its legal under state law. The action has made banks afraid to take marijuana cash, which can be prosecuted as money laundering, which incurs stiff criminal penalties. Yet, the U.S. government is the largest launderer of marijuana cash in the nation. They make a profit by snatching up to 70% of marijuana shop revenues, instead of the usual 30% tax. It does this by branding marijuana businesses criminal enterprises who cannot deduct their expenses when filing their taxes. The IRS takes the money as taxes, turning it into "clean" money. It is not an unwitting accomplice to the crime. Estimates are that marijuana business owners in the U.S. will pay $2.8 billion in taxes to the feds in 2018. read more


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Since at least May 2016, the National Security Agency (NSA) had featured honesty as the first of four "core values" listed on NSA.gov, alongside "respect for the law," "integrity," and "transparency." The agency vowed on the site to "be truthful with each other." On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page (can still be viewed through the Internet Archive) and replaced it with a new version. Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency's new top value is "commitment to service," which it says means "excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission." read more


Monday, January 22, 2018

The current system of having money created by private banks as interest-bearing debt is unnecessary and dangerous. The industrialists and economists of the classical period of capitalism, the producers of things for profit thought that the proper role of banking and credit was to be a service for the productive sector of the economy. Every society should understand the danger when that relationship is reversed, as it is today. Understanding how money works, in Modern Monetary Terms (MMT), makes visible why it's entirely unnecessary to figure out how to "collect" money for social programs, and why it's absolutely necessary to surtax the wealthy. It also implies that any minimum income program requires what should be a maximum income policy as well. Taxes do not fund government spending. MMT is not well understood at all, and most people, including capitalist economists, fall back to the taxes-for-spending paradigm that is completely wrong. read more


SCOTUS has done this before. Millions of Ohio voters have tried to vote on Election Day over the past four presidential elections, only to find they were no longer registered to vote. GOP secretaries of state have become experts at the game of selective purging. In 2004, then-Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, stripped some 309,000 voters from the rolls and nearly all came from heavily Democratic cities, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo. In Cleveland 25% of all voters were removed from the voting rolls. Nine "Justices" have just heard oral arguments in the Ohio voter registration case. If their decision goes with Secretary of State Jon Husted, it will mean Republicans throughout the country can scrub from the voter rolls millions of citizens merely because they might vote Democrat. This is a country where Attorney-General Sessions fought for state's rights to prevent racial integration but is now overriding the decision by some thirty states to legalize marijuana. read more


Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Sixth Extinction began at the end of WWII. The planet is warming, glaciers are melting, the ocean is rising, species are dwindling, the threat of nuclear annihilation is real because we know that there have been hundreds of instances of false alarms of an imminent attack in the USA and probably more never reported in Russia. While the military failings are catastrophic events, background radiation from this nuclear industry and exposure to thousands of unnatural products from the chemical industry may do humanity in. Noam Chomsky talks about our hopes and fears, congratulates "Democracy Now" for their remarkable success and reminds people of the social progress which has been achieved during the last century, particularly for women and reminds them alone there is little you can do to make the world a better place, but together the common good can prevail. read more


Comments

madbomber,

I am an engineer and have never taken an economics course. However, I have read extensively since 2008, including Keynes, Keen, Picketty, Hudson, and Roberts. This puts me out on the fringe of mainstream economics. But history tells us that the mainstream was out to lunch in 2007 under the guidance of the likes of Greenspan. In fact most of what is wrong with our system can be corrected by closing the Fed and restoring the legal structure that FDR put in place after the first great recession. The other way to improve our economy is to incorporate more profit sharing into company plans for employees, based on longevity and contribution.

Most mainstream economists acknowledge that Marx's exploration of the relationship between labor, economic development, capital accumulation, and the boom and bust cycle has enduring value.

My own independent understanding of economic history is that Marx's proletariat revolution never happened in Russia, China or Vietnam, countries which used Marx for propaganda reasons while operating dictatorships. However, it did occur in the EU and USA when labor organized in the face of extremely harsh working conditions and police violence to achieve living wages. A PBS series claimed that Ford's wife cut him off, until he raised wages. Western economies have realized Marx's optimistic predictions better than other parts of the globe. But those ideas are hated and suppressed by the 1% that control our Government and mass media. Again this puts me out of the mainstream, but that in itself is no proof of error. Ignorance dominates human history.

madbomber,

We live in a neoclassical era. An important criteria which distinguishes neoclassical economics from classical economics is that the classical economists sought to tax "passive (unearned) income" at a higher rate than "earned income" in order to prevent grotesque inequality. Passive income includes rent, interest charges, capital gains. I rank production above finance because the first is earned and the later is unearned, by which I mean it is earned while sleeping. If tax policy fails to distinguish these two methods sooner or later landlords and owners have everything, as easily observed in Monopoly. This is the mathematics of compound interest, which is driving this country and the world into unsustainable debt. Student debt $1.5 trillion, credit card debt $1 trillion, housing debt $13 trillion, automobile debt $1.2 trillion will never be paid. The only question is when is the next crash.

You speak in generalities, without any concrete examples. Your ideology shines through.

Why don't you present a retort? For example, the State run Bank of North Dakota is a better example of how to operate banks than the Federal Reserve and Wall Street can ever be, because, unlike Wall Street and the Federal Reserve they have a track record of honesty, profitability and solvency, without any bailouts. They are a socialist institution, invented to protect the public against the invasion of the railroad tycoons. Or argue against Lincoln's assertion instead of changing the subject and declaring a fake victory?

hatter is correct.

madbomber drinks the majority kool-aide which is bunk when he says: "they desperately need the rich in order to achieve their ideological goals"

According to our Constitution, our Treasury Department can and should issue all currency and back all loans. This is exactly how the State Bank of North Dakota operates, in cooperation with private Banks. That Bank returns about 17% profits to the State Treasury every year. There is no need for private operators to control the money supply, a situation that was constructed in secret by JP Morgan and a few friends which gave us the Federal Reserve System we now have. This is a Royal Scam. A few players are pocketing the equivalent of that 17% profit (from the money supply) in exchange for doing nothing except keeping a ledger of their profits.

There is no reason whatsoever, for any private person to control a nations money supply. The Federal Reserve is portrayed as a quasi Government Agency, but it is constructed in such a manner that only looks out for its private stockholders. The problem is it would now take an act of Congress to correct this outlandish situation. The EU is in the same pickle, engineered by the same private interests, but not Iceland, China or Russia.

The real purpose of taxation is to prevent grotesque inequality. There is no need for the CBO to estimate tax revenue and base spending decision on that number. Most on the left and right do not understand this, including Sanders and especially Ryan. Every sovereign Government with a Central Bank has the means and the right to generate as much money as they need to do whatever they want. We demonstrate that during the wars and the 2008 bailout. The limit to this fundamental principle is really just that the money supply needs to be kept in line with real productivity. When you commit to a policy like this you create a positive feedback loop of enough capital, wages and confidence to achieve perpetual prosperity. So why doesn't it happen? The rich fight it because they do not want to pay taxes. All we need is the political will.

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