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Guest Post: Concentrated Wealth and the Purchase of Political Power: Democracy's Death Spiral

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Concentrated Wealth and the Purchase of Political Power: Democracy's Death Spiral

Democracy's Death Spiral is a positive feedback loop between ever-greater concentrations of wealth and the ever-higher costs of retaining political power.

Positive feedback loops lead to "death spirals" in which destructive forces reinforce each other until the dynamic implodes. One example is an "arms race" in which ever more costly and complex weapons systems must be matched lest one nation in the race fall behind.

Since the number of weapons and their cost are essentially unlimited, then the race continues until one contestant is bankrupted.

Though many would claim it is a simplification, this dynamic was at the root of the Soviet Union's collapse: as the U.S. embarked on a massive expansion of its military and technological power, the Soviet Union exhausted its much smaller resources attempting to keep up.

Though statistics from the Soviet era are not entirely reliable, various scholars have estimated that fully 40% of the Soviet GDP was being expended on its military and military-industrial complex.

The U.S. was spending between 4% and 6% of its GDP on direct military expenditures, even during the height of the Reagan buildup. If you include the Security State (CIA, NSA, et al.), the Veterans Administration and other military-related programs (DARPA, etc.) then the cost was still far less than 10% of GDP.

The greater freedom to exchange information between government-funded research labs, private firms and government-funded universities enabled the U.S. to outdistance the Soviets technologically. Once again a positive feedback loop can be discerned in the way that increased spending on military-related R&D in the U.S. led to increasingly networked nodes of technological advancement which led to greater advances and more spending to develop those technologies.

The U.S. emerged victorious as the sole superpower, but a more closely matched rivalry might have ended with the collapse of both competitors: a Death Spiral of the sort Jared Diamond describes on Easter Island in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.

In the U.S., the ever-greater concentrations of wealth gathered by an ascendant Financial Power Elite has entered a positive feedback loop with the costs of gaining or retaining political power. The costs of winning an election have skyrocketed to the point that fundraising is the key function of any politico who is not independently extremely wealthy.

This quantum leap up in the costs of gaining or retaining power has forced politicos to curry the favors of those few Elite groups which can give them millions of dollars.

Just as in an arms race, the amounts of money which can be spent on campaigns is essentially unlimited. The explosion of media now requires multi-million dollar campaigns on multiple fronts: broadcast TV, cable TV, mailed flyers, radio spots, promotion campaigns to influence the mainstream media coverage, adverts on the Web and social media campaigns--the list grows longer every year.

Here is the positive feedback loop. Candidate A gains the backing of a Power Elite group (a political action committee or other front) and collects $5 million. As a result of a media blitz, he/she wins.

Between elections, he/she amasses a "war chest" of $5 million from the same donors, guaranteeing that the final cost of the next election will be $10 million.

Potential rivals understand that victory against this well-funded incumbent, no matter how incompetent, will require $15 million. The only sources of that amount of cash are other Financial Power Elites and State-funded fiefdoms like teachers unions, and so each candidate sells their soul to the few "special interests" with deep enough pockets to harvest and contribute millions of dollars.

Now repeat that election cycle a few times and see how quickly the cost rises. The truly pernicious aspect of this positive feedback is this: if wealth wasn't becoming ever more concentrated in the razor-thin slice at the top of the U.S. economy, then politicos couldn't gather huge sums of money from such small groups. They would have to seek a broader base to raise money, and that would dampen the influence of the top donors.

Instead, the cycle grows stronger with each election cycle: to raise the gargantuan sums needed to keep political power, politicos become ever more reliant on a tiny pool of super-wealthy Elites and State-funded fiefdoms.

(In Survival+, I describe the desperate plowing of millions of dollars by public unions and other State-dependent fiefdoms into election campaigns as full spectrum defense of the status quo. When two such fiefdoms are competing for dwindling State resources, I term that Internecine Conflict Between Protected Fiefdoms.)

In other words, the more elections cost, the greater the dependence of politicos on a wealthy Elite. And thus the influence of those Elites over the politicos grows as well. This is how the political machinery of deomocracy gets "captured" by a tiny Financial Power Elite.

But there is another aspect to this feedback loop: the key way to gather more of the national income and restrict competitors is to get the Central State (Federal government) to lower your taxes, raise barriers to competition, award you sweetheart State contracts, and so on: in other words, partner with the politicos who now depend on you for their power to expand your cartel's reach, revenues and profits.

This is the Death Spiral of Democracy. The way to increase the concentration of wealth is to partner with the State so the Central State functionaries and agencies funnel ever-larger shares of the national income to your cartel or quasi-monopoly while the State suppresses or marginalizes potential competitors.

The more wealth you concentrate, then the more political power you can purchase. Indeed, the involvement of the super-wealthy causes the costs of campaigns to rise to levels where politicos have no choice but to become dependent on Power Elites to fund their campaigns.

You see how the feedback works: greater concentrations of wealth creates greater concentrations of political power, and just as importantly, increases the dependence of the political class on the Financial Power Elites and fiefdoms for their very survival.

Alienating a Power Elite or State-funded fiefdom/monopoly is a death sentence, for all those millions will quickly flow to a political rival.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens and giving unlimited sums of money to politicos is protected as "free speech," then the Death Spiral of Democracy has no negative feedbacks to restrain its dynamic.

This is how a handful of banks and Wall Street firms over-rode the will of the citizens who expressed their desire to let the banks go bankrupt 600-to-1.

The winner and loser of this Death Spiral are clearly visible: democracy has imploded and concentrated wealth has won.

Lest you consider the bank bailout a now-stale example, consider these recent headlines:

A Paralyzed Fed Defers Decision On Monetary Policy To Primary Dealers In An Act That Can Only Be Classified As Treason

Triple Down: Fannie, Freddie, and the Triumph of the Corporate State

Want to get away with murder? Become a bank.

SIGTARP Report: Treasury Hid AIG Losses

Treasury Shields Citigroup as Deletions Undercut Disclosure

Top U.S. Incomes Grew Five-Fold in 2009, to a $519 Million Average

Apologists who claim democracy is basically unchanged abound. The entire goal of a corporate media and State propaganda machine is to obfuscate what is really going on. Apologists ignore $500 million elections, an army of 40,000 lobbyists, and all the other evidence that concentrations of wealth are concentrating political power which they then use to further concentrate and protect their growing share of the national income.

A guest on a recent "Charlie Rose" show (I believe it was the October 25th show) summed up the reality of our "democracy" with an anecdote about President Obama's visit to Wall Street while the bogus "financial reform" bill was in play. The President essentially pleaded with the Wall Street Elite to "please stop lobbying us" about the (already gutted) "reform" bill.

There you have the end-state of Democracy's Death Spiral: "the most powerful elected official in the world" begging Wall Street to stop lobbying its Central State lackeys so visibly, lest the public catch on.

Democracy is already dead in America, but the wizened death-mask offers a useful facade for propaganda purposes. As I noted in The Stealth Coup D'Etat: U.S.A. 2008-2010 , The Power Elites are apolitical. They don't care about the color of your uniform; whether you wear a blue shirt or a red shirt is inconsequential.

So please enjoy the bread and circuses of the election which the Central State is holding for your entertainment in the Coliseum. No expense has been spared.


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Sat, 10/30/2010 - 13:40 | 688032 zevulon
zevulon's picture

yes, this is why fascism is coming. maybe not that soon. or maybe it is here and we don't even know it. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:07 | 688057 B9K9
B9K9's picture

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

When the strong man comes, the People will be literally begging for salvation, regardless of cost, from our cruel tyrants. Just try and make sure you're not part of the group(s) that will be considered an expense.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:19 | 688077 Bay of Pigs
Bay of Pigs's picture

Coming? Patriot Act? Homeland Security? TSA goons? All we're missing now is guys with machine guns on every corner like they had in Bulgaria.

Thank goodness for our new political rallies and movements like Glenn Beck and Jon Stewart.

What a bunch of bullshit. End the Fed. Zero chance of reform until this happens.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:36 | 688258 Ragnar D
Ragnar D's picture

Beck may be a clown, but he's a functional one.  I don't see how you can compare him to Stewart/Colbert, whose only function is rallying bratty college kids to keep the control freaks in place.

At the end of the day, at least Beck is screaming to push back against thug government, rather than expand it faster than ever.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:43 | 688454 midtowng
midtowng's picture

At the end of the day Beck represent large corporate interests.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 00:36 | 688669 jesus
jesus's picture

Yes, the Glenn Beck who works for Fox News and used to be a "shock jock" on the radio (now he is just the same wrapped in the flag/cross on TV instead).


Sun, 10/31/2010 - 10:13 | 688835 Aghast in Midlothian
Aghast in Midlothian's picture

Agreed, Ragnar...and in my experience, the folks who don't like Beck are generally toadies or apologists for the current administration. They don't dispute his facts, nor even his conclusions...they, rather, engage in name calling (and junking).

I don't agree with all of Beck's conclusions, and generally am a fan of testing beliefs with contrary facts and analyses...but these are generally not forthcoming from Beck's detractors. Instead, their intelligence, wisdom and courage is usually brought into question through their resorting to name-calling and other deflections. 


Sun, 10/31/2010 - 11:21 | 688883 DeeDeeTwo
DeeDeeTwo's picture

Most centrists who trash Beck... do not understand what he is doing, baby. He's a Master Propagandist who's beating Obama at his own game... by pitting the Founding Fathers against the Marxists. Beck is pushing back HARD. And he's winning... see Nov 2nd, it's a start.

And for the Professional Complainers here, including and especially Tyler. Any idiot can delineate 1,000 "insurmountable" problems. That's what makes you a smug LOSER with $10K of gold in your mattress.

Successful people are optimistic and VERY busy solving problems... not many of them left here, baby. They all looooooong gone.




Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:50 | 688330 morkov
morkov's picture

hey pig,

greeting from complacent Bulgaria.

no machine`guns around here. it's low, but not that low.

btw, no chance even after "ending the Fed". enjoy the show.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:30 | 688086 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Complete the circle begin another cycle. And the beat goes on. Milestones

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:07 | 688129 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

Most people are predisposed to follow 'lidership' regardless how incompetent or how damaging to their own interests, look at North Korea or China, power concentrates naturaly as people want a Leader to follow (especialy in tough periods), the whole monoteistic religion fad(going on for 2000 years) shows how people crave a 'Messiah' if the right person can impersonificate this figure people will follow 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:38 | 688309 Blano
Blano's picture

You really think the North Korean people have any say at all??  Surely you jest.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:39 | 688162 Triggernometry
Triggernometry's picture

"Fascism is nothing more than state sponsored corporatism."

-Benito Mussolini

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:40 | 688260 squid_pro_quo
squid_pro_quo's picture

This was never a democracy - the article is

Oligarchy's Death Spiral


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 22:07 | 688538 Cognitive Dissonance
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You are correct. This was never a democracy. It was, and believe it or not still is, a representative republic. While I'm sure this will sound like nit picking to some, when a person uses the words and vocabulary of the enslaver, that person is truly enslaved.

I will not disagree that our representatives are been co-opted and corrupted. Of this there is no doubt. But we are told we live in a Democracy for very specific reasons, primarily because it helps feed the illusion that we all have a say in our lives, which additionally feeds into the false belief that we are "free".

While it has always been the case in America, in particular over the last 60 or so years or from the end of WW2, what we have experienced is not "freedom" but rather freedom to choose from a relatively narrow list of choices. And most of the choices offered are themselves manipulated, distorted and hijacked.

But once the slave has accepted his captivity, he either decides to die or he gets down to the business of denying his captivity as best as he can, often in small and seemingly inconsequential ways, in order to muck out an existence. This is the true utility of denial. In our case, the ruling elite graciously offer us illusions and false choices to help the bitter medicine go down. Or he fights back.

I don't say this to rub our noses in it, but rather to declare that maybe it's time to reexamine everything we think we know with the intention of getting down to the business of changing it all, beginning within. 

We can argue all we want about who gets short sheeted because the master won't give us enough sheets to go around or we can get busy taking matters into our own hands. It's up to us. The master only has the power because we hand it to him on a daily basis. Don't you think maybe it's time for a change?

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 00:16 | 688650 RockyRacoon
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I guess a real Democracy is not one limited by a Hobson's choice, but that is what we are dealing with. I dare say future historians will refer to what we have by some new nomenclature.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 03:00 | 688736 squid_pro_quo
squid_pro_quo's picture

might that nomenclature be "The Postmodern Dark Age"?

We're all guilty of watching the Republicrat dog and pony show and thinking it could result in something meaningful.

The funny part is that the oligarchs have it so good. They're the ones really taking a chance remolding the behavior of the masses yet again. "You can't squeeze blood from a stone."

Thu, 11/04/2010 - 16:43 | 700939 Geoff-UK
Geoff-UK's picture

Just because you can't squeeze blood from a stone doesn't mean you can't beat the living shit out of the stone trying...


I think the middle class are the stones.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 21:52 | 688524 Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture


Sun, 10/31/2010 - 07:19 | 688780 Slartibartfast
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Welcome to Feudal Capitalism. Too Big To Fail, or Too Big For Rules?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:14 | 688192 TBT or not TBT
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Hmm:     "The only sources of that amount of cash are other Financial Power Elites and State-funded fiefdoms like teachers unions, and so each candidate sells their soul to the few "special interests" with deep enough pockets to harvest and contribute millions of dollars."

I excerpt this statement because it is instructive to look at how political capture has happened in other countries, and in the different U.S. states.   In France, the gigantic omnipresent central government gives a better deal to its employees in nearly all respects than private sector employees can hope for.   This destiny (fear in loathing in the private sector VS cushy perma job in civil service) is determined by tests conducted regularly on graduating students.   Those that make it in, are "in" for life, and vote in a block, and donate mostly to politicians that keep the public sector gravy train rolling and growing.   A lot of those who don't make it "in", and who aren't all that employable in the private sector, or who want to live on the dole, vote for various flavors of lefties as well.   The overworked overtaxed private sector workers who aren't in something unionized to death don't have much voice, and their votes are split between warring versions of left of right of center, and center parties, plus one or two overtly xenophobic, nationalistic, and/or racist parties.   So the polity lurches forward with a heavy state, slowing to a halt and going backwards in wealth and health under the burden of antiproductivity leachism.

California has copied that system to a lesser degree over the past decade or two, with similar results:  capture of the state and local governments by large unionized voting blocks and expansion of the taxing regulating state.   The politicians they send to national office are of a similar bent.

As to the fate of the United States, note carefully that THERE ARE GRASSROOTS DONOR GROUPS that have been very effective of late, such as (quoting Obummer himself) Americans for Prosperity and Moms for Motherhood(sic).    These are effective, and they are based on the sum result of lots of private sector and limited government loving(i.e. Constitution enamored) donations.   We know these are effective because they've driven the TOTUS to direct the POTUS to say, on at least 18 different occasions, that this one grassroots driven organisation represents "secret" money and so on, which is a lie(by the TOTUS...the POTUS is just reading the TOTUS).    Meanwhile, ASFME (gigantic amalgamation representing public sector unions) has been the number one donor to democratic campaigns this election cycle.   See above paragraph about France's and California's fates.

All and all I'm going to say that as long as public sector unions are legal, and assuming they remain legal, as long they are able to give to political causes, all other donor types who are US organisations or persons should be able to give and publish and advertise to their hearts' contents.   

Why?   So we don't end like France and California, among so many others(most of the PIIGS for example)

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:45 | 688457 midtowng
midtowng's picture

So unions are the problem? LOL

Unionized workers composed to working class people and represent just 14% of the workforce.

Perhaps you don't understand the concept "wealth concentration".

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 13:47 | 689078 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

PUBLIC SECTOR unions are the problem   Reread.    Public sector union money given to Democrats (the government party) outstripped donations by Americans for Prosperity or the US Chamber of Commerce in this election cycle.  Nevertheless TOTUS hammered on these two impressively transparent and forthright organisations as being representative of suspect and secret money, in speech after speech.    This is the guy who collected shitloads of money in 2008 by allowing donations from ANY valid credit card number, turning off ALL checks versus the name, address, phone number, and so and so forth.    This permitted anyone on the planet to give to his campaign.   And they did!     Lots of credit card numbers associated with names like Loving You, among so many other obvious frauds.   Hamas and Quaddafi claimed to have given to Obama's campaigns, OK?  That's illegal, but nevermind.   Eric Holder and the Dem Congress can't be bothered.  And now they are on the stump whining about the influence of money in politics.   

Why is it that it is OK for public sector unions and private sector unions to give without limits but it is not OK for corporations to do so?    Citizens United was a scary decision only in that it was decided 5-4.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:41 | 688452 midtowng
midtowng's picture

And yet people still argue that we need to cut taxes for the rich. Amazing.

It really has come down to this: if you believe in democracy then you must oppose letting the wealthy becoming wealthier.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 13:54 | 689088 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

This presumes that all the wealthy have the same beliefs and political agenda and use their influence to the same ends. I am not sure that is true. I think a lot of it depends on how someone achieved their wealth along with their own character development. Rupert Murdock is wealthy.

What I see is the problem of the concentrated interests versus the diffused interests. That's why a 14% union interest can be equal to many times that number in the general public. The other 84% of the public has diverse views and interests...or is even completely uninterested. Fortunately, union members do not always vote as a block but their money does go to the official party of the state, generally democrats in the U.S. and socialists everywhere else.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 13:45 | 688035 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

Well said Charles.  Combine with a clueless and corrupt Supreme Court (see Citizens United) which allows anonymous corporate wealth to add to the problem, and you have a citizenry that opts out of the process.  Why vote for "change" when it's just more of the same?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:09 | 688061 Cistercian
Cistercian's picture

 Consider how insanely difficult it is for non-agents of the matrix to even get on the ballot.The current election would send actual new people to DC....if they were on the ballot.Serious reform of the election process is needed so normal people can get on the ballot, as opposed to the current rigged pile-o-shit.

  Revolution will probably be needed to effect this much needed reform.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:22 | 688197 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Oh dear lord.   Vivement Citizens United!    See my above screed about the fates of California and before that France, and how to avoid going there.   Citizens United just helped level the playing field between limited government interest and statists' interests.   McCain-Feigold tilted toward the statist's interests, this in a country conceived on the principles of limited government, ever divided into three coequal branches.     Unless we stop the advance of the state, the defacto fourth branch of government, the unelected permanent out of control regulatory bureaucracy that writes law, judges, and punishes willy-nilly, will take over "democratically".

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 01:29 | 688699 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

No sir, I am not going to read your 'screed' about the fates of California as it appears that you are a corporate funded astroturfer.  Please move to Somalia where you can enjoy the benefits of your nutty theories and let us normal people alone.

Mon, 11/01/2010 - 01:12 | 689976 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Being for limited government and against public sector unions does not make one a corporate funded astroturfer.   Also not understanding how embracing the constitution turns us into into Somalia.   Rule of law is lacking there, last time I checked.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 09:16 | 688814 ATM
ATM's picture

I don't think that the SCOTUS is clueless at all. In fact that decision to allow corporate money was correct. The real problem is the scope of the federal government. If it was truly a limitied and restricted government all that money wouldn't mean and shouldn't mean squat. The problem results form the government that has assumed powers that no one is willing to end, including the SCOTUS and that's the problem.  

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 10:02 | 688830 anarchitect
anarchitect's picture

Precisely. The problem isn't the abuse of power, but the power to abuse. This naturally attracts a ton of lobbying and money.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 14:02 | 689100 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Exactly right! The problem is the enormous power our Imperial Congress now has. They can regulate, tax and generally coerce with abandon given a compliant Supreme Court.

Large companies or interest groups don't tend to spend billions on lobbying Peoria city council because Peoria cannot do anything significant to them. It has no power (OK, other than locally.) and therefor cannot draw the lobbying money. The root problem in the unlimited powers of Congress. You must lobby or a regulatory brick comes through your window in the congressional protetion racket. And if the brick is coming no matter what (financial reform, healthcare reform, cap and trade) you lobby to get it down to a pebble.

Corporations like individuals have to represent their concerns in elections. Part of freedom. Take away Congress' power if you want the lobbying to abate.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 13:50 | 688037 economicmorphine
economicmorphine's picture

Yawn. Not again, Durden.  This is getting boring.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:01 | 688046 traderjoe
traderjoe's picture

Please elucidate us with your fascinating opinion. Or not. Actually the latter.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:02 | 688047 B9K9
B9K9's picture

Yawn. Not again, EM.  This is getting boring.

Website 'troll' jailed

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:28 | 688085 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

So you want to defend an article about the loss of democracy (and by association, the power of the individual) from any negative critique by inferring that anyone that posts anything that's not to your liking should go to jail?

I think you may have lost that one....

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:26 | 688151 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 What you claim was a "negative critique"  was nothing but an ad hominem insult, that Tyler was "boring".

 Responding to such a comment with sarcasm was more than polite, and not too subtle for most to understand.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:34 | 688158 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Wasn't he saying that he's read it before - and more than once?

I missed the sarcasm.

You need to look up the meaning (and not just the translation) of ad hominem.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:18 | 688076 Dapper Dan
Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:11 | 688135 Azannoth
Azannoth's picture

No 'self made' person would spend this much for a dumb wine bottle

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 21:22 | 688494 asianist
asianist's picture

That's because there aren't that many 'self made' rich people in Asia.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:24 | 688081 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Ah, the westwrn slope dilettante once again. Whereabouts buckaroo; Aspen, Vail, Telluride, maybe Durango?

Getting bored? Why not just take a hike and relieve it and us?





Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:34 | 688090 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Do you know what Marla's job description means?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 22:15 | 688555 defender
defender's picture

Yes, I do.

However, I am curious how that is relevant to the conversation.

I am also curious why you chose a Wankle piston as your avatar.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 07:47 | 688788 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

1. I was addressing the question to Milestones.

2. An alternative opinion can help to highlight various truths. TD seems to like a foil (otherwise why advertise having one?). That's a pretty relevant observation to make when someone with an alternative opinion turns up and gets dismissed just for having one.

3. Wankles don't have pistons.

4. It's self depricating.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 18:35 | 689428 RECISION
RECISION's picture

You have spent WAY too much time in academia...

p.s.  It's also spelt "WANKEL".

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 19:12 | 689488 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Half right!

I also misspelt deprecating.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 20:42 | 689601 RECISION
RECISION's picture

Yes, I noticed.

But decided that was most probably deliberate...

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:49 | 688111 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Just watch Fight Club and it will all become clear.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:31 | 688303 Maniac Researcher
Maniac Researcher's picture

I cite this thread as support for economic morphine's comment about the boredom-inducing content of zerohedge.

"Tyler" - I don't know if creating a monocultural echo chamber where people hopelessly consumed with bitterness spend time consoling each other for their incremental losses of privilege is what you had in mind, but congratulations - you've done it.

The reason economic morphine's comment has resonance (and inspired an immediate defensive response) is because zerohedge DOES lack content. It has become a repetition of the same "sky is falling" argument ad nauseum. Spending time predicting when the world will end is not constructive. Even mild attempts at creating a reasonable discussion are frequently met with derision.

To elucidate on economicmorphine's point: Zerohedge is now, due to the magic of the internet to concentrate people similar views - regardless of whether many in the group have anything new or useful to offer - is a message board for embittered armchair wannabes - sprinkled liberally with bigoted views - to whine about their imagined demises. Technical data is massaged to support the opinions of the readership- many of which only pretend to understand what is being presented (hence the low level of comments on the technicals and high amounts for the political musings).

This IS boring. Zerohedge was once interesting - when there appeared to be a more level playing field for discussion on macroeconomic/political issues. But to quote Jon Stewart, "We live in hard times, not end times." Ideology has completely taken over any semblance of reasonable discussion or debate here (not to mention the utter failure of moderation which gives a pass to brutish, bile-filled bigoted commentary that has no place anywhere in civil discussion). Your (collective) latest predictions on the next catastrophe are doomed to fail - because beyond this blog, the real world isn't subject to your monocausal worldview(s).

Calling everyone who disagrees with the majority here a troll is a transparent tactic designed, either consciously or unconsciously, to derail any and all cogent criticsms of a decidedly problematic viewpoint. Any of the participants here are free to deride this comment at will - I won't be commenting anymore. I've been mostly ignoring zerohedge - except to use it as a contemporary example of reactionary ignorance in my classes. It has lost its last vestiges of credibility in my eyes. Cheers.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 19:57 | 688400 ViewfromUnderth...
ViewfromUndertheBridge's picture

I really do not think " are boring" quite meets the level of a "mild attempt at creating a reasonable discussion" let alone "cogent criticism".

and what is the "problematic viewpoint"? That control fraud is a bad thing? That over-concentration of wealth will end badly again?

So, what is your point? You are put off by the seemingly endless focus on issues which are damaging our democratic/economic life. Well, these events will unfold for decades yet, so that seems to be an unreasonably limited threshhold you display for intellectual engagement with the enemy.

Or perhaps that's it. You do not see these powers as the enemy.

I pity your students if you think ZH is an outstanding example of "reactionary ignorance".

Off with you to your ivory tower, and good riddance I say.


Sun, 10/31/2010 - 14:30 | 689154 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Civil discussion is defined only as agreement by statist liberals these days. What I do enjoy about Zero Hedge is that very often the other side of the argument is posed and critiqued. I have seen opinions change in serial articles at times.

Here are the facts: We are in an historical economic downturn created in large part by United States government and Fed policy. I was a member of an economics group that saw it coming for years in terms of properties, currency values and debt. Austrian economists, I believe would have called it the fruits of currency manipulation and (gov't) misallocation of resources. The negativists were correct, but derided for years before their predictions came true.

Second, Ben Bernanke and the Obama administration are trying things that have never been tried before in quantities that stagger the mind. Between national debt, money supplies and increased social obligations there is no telling what the final result will be. Here you find analyses that do not parrot the state preferred scenarios. Write a solid well sourced disagreement if you will. Most of us read the replies. In fact, it's half the fun.

Last, I think there is a distinct reason that (modern) liberal radio talk shows, liberal TV news/opinion and even websites draw much smaller but more caustic audiences. They lack the essential elements of truth. I believe it was Locke (correct me if I am wrong) who said that people do not know all truth but can recognize it when presented with it.

The modern statist-liberal (as opposed to a classical liberal) has promised a social utopia for the last two hundred years if the State is just given enough power to make things fair-equal-just. It always ends in things like the Soviet Union, Cuba, Maoist China, etc. More importantly it ends in gulags and reeducation camps. There ends civil discussion and alternate ideas. Why did the Khmer Rouge kill all the educated?

Call me a reactionary if you will. I kinda like it, actually. But on the libertarian right I never find anyone who is unwilling to hear and debate the statist left, ever. What seems to be difficult is to get a leftist to actually discuss anything instead of just calling you names. Now that gets tedious, even boring. In my book that's an unerring sign of the intellectual weakness of their positions.

So post the sunnyside up critique of these articles and how we are all going to be happy, healthy and prosperous in our Obama-Bernanke economic future. Do it! I will read it.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 20:44 | 689469 RECISION
RECISION's picture

Technical data is massaged to support the opinions of the readership- many of which only pretend to understand what is being presented (hence the low level of comments on the technicals and high amounts for the political musings).

While I entirely appreciate your point, I would also add that "technicals" are far too often used to obfuscate and defraud.

The "blind them with bullshit' approach.

In fact the Bankster are past-masters of it as a deliberate policy. Academics also use it, abeit a little more unconsciously, to create and preserve their protected enclaves.

As some wit once said, "money is simple - if you can't understand what is happening, then that is because some-one is trying to con you".

So as soon as the X-sperts start rolling out the "technicals", I start reaching for my gun...


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 13:53 | 688040 lynnybee
lynnybee's picture

my biggest fear is for the older people, the elderly, who played the game that they thought would ensure them a small, yet comfortable old age.   the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK & the U.S. GOVERNMENT policy has made a mockery of these "oldsters".   I'm sure a lot of them are scared of running out of money, or worse yet, starving to death.     For the sake of our younger generation & for our elderly, we who still have strengh & resources left must revolt & get rid of the FEDERAL RESERVE BANK .    (charity to those who are hungry is a must do if you are able .)

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:12 | 688136 SteveNYC
SteveNYC's picture

The amount of damage Bernanke has done to our seniors is simply amazing. Imagine if, unlike MOST, you had saved $500k (after tax) by the END of your working life.A "CD" at 5% would have given a senior $25,000 per annum to supplement their social security. Combined, and with some of the other benefits received, they could at least live a basic life before they meet the reaper with some basic comforts and fewer worries.

Now, put that $500k (and again I emphasize, FEW retirees could really deposit this much) at 1%, and they get a measly $5,000 per annum, NOT enough to supplement SS, NOT enough to afford ANY type of life.

Bernanke is a treasoner of the highest order. I don't know the man personally, I don't know what his "true" feelings are toward what he is doing, but he is a PROVEN liar and a PROVEN treasoner via these actions. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:42 | 688265 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Gee, I guess they'll need to spend some of their half-million.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 00:41 | 688674 jesus
jesus's picture

I have READ that if you RANDOMLY capitalize WORDS then you must know WHAT you are talking ABOUT.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:02 | 688048 Reese Bobby
Reese Bobby's picture

Thomas Jefferson said, "If the America people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currencies, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their prosperity until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:22 | 688079 Paul Bogdanich
Paul Bogdanich's picture

I just widh their children would indeed wake up.  These psople are such idiots it's truly astonishing.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 19:41 | 688384 ViewfromUnderth...
ViewfromUndertheBridge's picture

No he didn't...snopes it before you quote it.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:03 | 688050 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

US is broke. Politicians will tell you that we need to borrow from the IMF. Reform, taxes and old Congressional laws will become active.

Have a listen to the dumb fucks who are in arrears on their interest payments to central banks. Another IMF PR piece.

Listening to Powerful Voices

Send the IMF packing!" -Jon Perkins to Iceland 1/2

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:04 | 688052 bronzie
bronzie's picture

"Republican Meg Whitman has spent more than $140 million so far on her campaign for California governor, nearly $40 million of it during the last three months, she reported Tuesday."

Q: why would a billionaire spend over $100 mil of their own money to buy an election?

A: because they will make more than $100 mil in the political position they have purchased

the system is truly broken

voting in this system indicates that you still believe the system is viable and that your vote matters - and if you believe that, you are probably getting excited about Santa Claus' arrival here in a few months ...

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:06 | 688411 Ludwig Van
Ludwig Van's picture


Hey, bronzie -- I can't say I much disagree with what you're talking, but don't start dissing Santa. That's a rankler.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:14 | 688060 99er
99er's picture

As Simon Johnson of MIT has been saying for some years now, the economic crisis is at heart a political one--a crisis of Democracy. It's with sadness that I now read "Democracy is already dead in America."

My expectation is that democratic reform remains possible in the form of State's Rights--that some more liberal ones (Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire come to mind) as well as conservative ones (Utah, Montana) will set their course towards succession from the Union. Ultimately, we may experience a second "no taxation without representation" climax; whether it resolves peacefully or not is yet to be known but that day is coming. And it won't be just pitchforks--or muskets-- this time around.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:05 | 688109 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Democracy is just one more terrible form of government. As soon as the masses realize they can give themselves money through the vote- it begins to degrade. They masses are subject to having their vote manipulated. There is a reason Socrates placed it below Monarchy in a list of best systems.

All governments are organizations developed by a small minority to benefit themselves at the cost of the majority. All governments are systems for slavery. Ours is slavery through consent- democracy. 

It is the state of no government, individual sovereignty and local collaboration for increased social benefit that will prove to be a superior form of non-government.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:18 | 688137 King_of_simpletons
King_of_simpletons's picture

Democracy needs an informed electorate to succeed. Propaganda, untruths, mistruths, spin and confusing the electorate with issues other than what really matters for the country is akin to cutting the head off of a chicken and watching it run around. Political spinning is a huge industry employing millions of people here. So if the individual can easily be seduced by the art of spin (as is the case in this country and many other democracies) there is no hope. The "masses" will only realize that they are being conned if their underwear is at stake.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:09 | 688062 tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

"Democracy is already dead in America"

truer words have not been spoken.....amerika is a fascist state with plenty of entertainment to make the loss palatable if not down right delightful....

however, as i noted before, this transformation occurred long ago with signal events being the imposition of the income tax, federal reserve system, confiscation of gold, legal tender of fiat currency, termination of gold convertibility, mass murder of elected officials by the cia/fbi to include john kennedy, robert kennedy, martin luther king, gerald ford, ronald reagan, john lennon, and thousands of witnesses, the cia attack on the wtc, the patriot act, and millions of other totalitarian acts happily accepted by amerikans.

the cia - owned by the plutocrats - owns the federal and state governments lock stock and barrel. the usa is a 1 party state.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:01 | 688122 JohnG
JohnG's picture

"amerika is a fascist state"

Facist police state with a generous dose of socialism.

There, fixed it for ya.

The worst possible of all political systems.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:14 | 688141 SteveNYC
SteveNYC's picture

Look, there's Snookie and "the Situation"!!!

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:32 | 688250 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Hmm.  Democracy doesn't appear much in the founding documents, for reasons well understood and discussed at length about between the founders.   In fact I'd argue that a lot of what tony bonn complains about here is correlated with increases in the practice of democracy, such as the early 20th century change from selection of senators by the states, to direct election of the senators by the people.   That transformed the Senate into a smaller, longer serving version of the House, cutting out plutocratic interests within each state, and replacing those with the hoi polloi's interests.    Much of the bad we are living with now comes from this increase in democracy.   Another notable increase in democratic practice was of course the vote for women, also in the 21st century, and later the vote for 18 year olds (on the notion that if could be made to fight in a war you ought to be able to vote).     Today we are pushing the democraticness of America even further, with meausures that permit illegal aliens and legal aliens to vote.  That has to be added to mostly Democrat Party efforts to explicitly enfranchise felons, alongside the usual quantities of dead or non-existing people in places like Chicago(and this year Houston), which make our country more democratic than ever.   

In short, you should review your copy:  

The US is too democratic.

(*) And arguably too Democratic also, on the notion that they are currently "the government party" in the U.S., and fascism/communism/statism are all versions of "more government".

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 01:15 | 688694 calltoaccount
calltoaccount's picture

"review your copy"-- indeed.

  there's nothing wrong w democracy so long as it protects and defends the rule of law. when it lets greedy sociopath mthrfkrs take over as they have, and make their own law, it's no longer a democracy but a corrupted pos system and needs to be scrubbed, disinefected and rebooted before it implodes all.  

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 01:34 | 688701 weinerdog43
weinerdog43's picture

TBT = Too Dumb To Post

Mon, 11/01/2010 - 01:14 | 689977 TBT or not TBT
TBT or not TBT's picture

Brilliant.  We can all learn so much from you, weinerdog!

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 23:09 | 688600 Dogfather
Dogfather's picture

Dude, back away from the pipe, shut down your internet access and sober up.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:12 | 688063 Tsukato
Tsukato's picture

Hi, I'm new to posting here though I've been a long time reader. I'm an American living in Chongqing, China, and I've been out of US for almost 12 yrs. I'd like to ask you guys some advice, as frankly, I know no Westerners for the last 12 yrs., and the Chinese are oblivious. Just not sure where to post something like this.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:19 | 688078 Paul Bogdanich
Paul Bogdanich's picture

What would you like to know?  If you want to take it off-line send it to 16313sales at 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:43 | 688101 Tsukato
Tsukato's picture

Thanks, I'll send it to you now.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:13 | 688065 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

Precisely, exactly, well done.

When the highest court in the land, the court that is the final wall of defense of the Constitutions and Bill of Rights, when the SUPREME COURT rules as follows DEMOCRACY IS DEAD:

1.  Your home and property may be confiscated by a corporation in collusion with government for the sole purpose of increasing tax revenues (KELO V. New London) 

2.  Corporations take precedence over individual citizens in the outcome of elections; corporations can finance campaigns of candidates, debasing the will and voice of the people.  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205 or

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:45 | 688104 Money Squid
Money Squid's picture

I thought the SCOTUS already ruled the private land can be taken for private use, instead of only taken for public uses. Here is a 60 Minutes episode on the attempts to confiscate land from citizens for new higher-priced residences "This is a nationwide epidemic...We have documented more than 10,000 instances of government taking property from one person to give it to another in just the last five years."

What's sad is that the members of a small town city government are willing to steam roll their own neighbors for a few bucks. I wonder how well these new development projecs are doing during this recession and if the local officials who decided to through out their neighbors still believe they made the right decision given the collapse in the real estate markets. You no longer need to worry about big government, you need to worry about the small city governments selling you out as well.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:15 | 688239 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

I guess the only bright spot would be that our local city crooks will be easier to hang than the ones in New York.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:13 | 688066 Gloomy
Gloomy's picture

From The Big Picture;


Swiss money manager Felix Zulauf shared his market views at a Barron’s conference, and according to Robin Blumenthal, much of it was grim:

“Most of the banks are not sound,” Zulauf told the audience of 250. “The crisis has only begun; there will be a long-term process of one mini-crisis after another.”

Zulauf, a Barron’s Roundtable member who raised the possibility of further Fed easing last January, when most pundits were anticipating tightening, said the next few years “could be the setup for much higher inflation later.” In response to a question about how the current mess differs from the 1930s, he quipped that “central banks can keep the economy afloat forever. At QE33, the Fed will own the whole system,” a reference to the possibility that Fed stimulus could go on indefinitely. The resulting inflation would lead to “the destruction of the currency,” he said.

The prescient macro-focused money manager likened investing in the industrialized world to “moving deck chairs around on the Titanic.” Among the possible icebergs: a Greek default, a 30% drop in Spanish real-estate values and a German popular revolt against the government’s support of fiscally irresponsible European Union members. Zulauf said investors should be focused on where to store their money, because “you might not be able to get it out when you want it.”

He suggests a portfolio that is 20% in gold (he accurately predicted in 2009 that gold would hit $1,300 this year); 30% to 40% in mostly emerging-market equities; and the rest in three-year government bonds, denominated in such currencies as the Singapore dollar and the Swiss franc.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:13 | 688067 Dick Buttkiss
Dick Buttkiss's picture


Democracy: The God That Failed

Be glad of it, and get ready to move on:


The state can kiss my ass.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:14 | 688069 The Mighty Monarch
The Mighty Monarch's picture

So, to sum up:

The richer you get, the more afraid you are of losing it.

So you pay politicians to usurp local power, ignore the checks and balances of constitutional law, and run protection on you through preferential legislation.

In return they get to keep their ever-increasing concentration of political power.

So the people at the top become rich socialists who could never maintain their wealth in a competetive free-market environment, and the politicians who are paid to protect this situation.

The people at the bottom lose freedoms and keep less and less of their own earnings, effectively turning them into serfs.

No middle class to buffer between poor and privileged leads to violent revolution, usually replaced by something just as bad, or worse.

God help us.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:16 | 688072 Paul Bogdanich
Paul Bogdanich's picture

An age old formula but you forgot the new twist.  this time they added control of the media which was heretofore unavailable.  A very formidable combination.  It's funny in its symptoms like Tea-party advocates actually beleiving that their representatives have the capacity to change anything.  The reliance of Faux News and the complete ignorance of the immediacy of the structural situation.  Hard to say how it ends but history suggests badly. 

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:56 | 688108 RECISION
RECISION's picture

It's funny in its symptoms like Tea-party advocates actually beleiving that their representatives have the capacity to change anything.

Funny too, that an original Tea Partier like Karl Denninger is now getting angry and disillusioned by the direction the movement is taking. Says it has been hijacked by the Republicans and the established political machine. Says it has been castrated and neutered.

Gosh, what a surprise. Even if the politicians weren't capable of manipulating an electorate, the CIA is a vast repository of experience of manipulating revolutionary movements around the world. Look at all the "Colour" revolutions and who was moving behind the scenes on them.

You think the operators there, would shrink from using their skills within the US?

You have been gamed by smartest and most ruthless operators around.

A grass-roots political movement was never more than cannon fodder and a light snack for the Playerz. The Tea Party was so easy to manipulate, it was laughable.

The only surprise is that anyone is surprised...



Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:00 | 688119 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

The establishment Repubs are trying to water down the Tea Party. They are resisting.

Karl is a quitter.

Take your ball and go home, Karl? Nice.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 00:50 | 688678 jesus
jesus's picture

Water down? The Tea party = The Republican party. It has for a long time, probably since the beginning. Believing otherwise is so naive it is laughable. I suggest you stop voting and start reading books until you are better prepared for the responsibility.



Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:16 | 688073 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Don't forget that the wealthy controllers feed money to both sides in an election for three reasons: 1) ensure that the race looks close, 2) make both politicians desperate to get ahead and more likely to sell out, and 3) hedge against a possible upset.

The only way out of the trap is to vote for the small guys.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:23 | 688080 Tsukato
Tsukato's picture

The only way out of the trap is to vote for the small guys.


The only way out is to leave. There is no touching that system. Even if that system collapses, the averageman will still remain the slave he has always been. Nothings gonna change that. Think penguine-sapien is gonna back up anyone when TSHTF? Not a fucking chance!

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:32 | 688089 Dapper Dan
Dapper Dan's picture

10 years ago this would be shocking.  How sad we have become.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:19 | 688241 OutLookingIn
OutLookingIn's picture


 Why shocking? The only difference between then and now is the degree of dishonesty! Did you think elections then were honest? Wake up! Elections have been and are, far from "honest."

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 20:31 | 688441 Ludwig Van
Ludwig Van's picture


What may shock you IS IF the story emanated from the *other* camp you think it came out of.



Sun, 10/31/2010 - 00:32 | 688666 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

"It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” Bono Mack told the Times. “It’s desperate, and I think the voters see right through it.”

Funniest line in the whole article.   The voters couldn't see through shit.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:34 | 688160 calltoaccount
calltoaccount's picture


David DeGraw offers big truths-- saying things people desperately NEED to hear so they can contextualize the seriousness of what's taking place -- and how it will harm us for generations to come. see short video:  


Read DeGraw's proposal: The Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America 
It's time for 99% of Americans to mobilize
and aggressively move on common sense political reforms.

We will obviously have many differences on how our country should be run, but we can all come together to dismantle the Economic Elite by making several pivotal political reforms. As long as the game is rigged in favor of the Economic Elite, we will all lose. So let's find common ground and focus on several obvious battles that we need to win, and can win:

Election Reform 

* Electronic Voting: First and foremost, no private corporation should be able to tell us who has won an election without providing an auditable paper trail. Many Democrats felt that Bush stole the 2000 and 2004 elections, and many Republicans felt Obama stole the 2008 election. Of course people are going to feel that elections are stolen when you have a private corporation secretly counting the votes; it is the inevitable result when you can't verify the election results. In the past few years companies that count the votes have been consolidating, and one company, ES&S, now secretly controls the majority of all our votes. As voting watchdog Brad Friedman stated, “With the ES&S takeover of Diebold/Premier, their nearest competitor, the privately-run election Goliath now has an un-overseeable lock on virtually every election in the United States of America.” It is common sense to say that this is way too much power to be put into one private corporation

* Campaign Finance: The stunning ruling by the Supreme Court to allow unlimited political spending by the Economic Elite has made a bad situation even worse. We must level the playing field by enacting laws to prevent the overwhelming influence of big money interests in controlling politicians who are forced to pander to them for the ever-increasing need to raise more and more money to have any shot at winning public office. Statistics show how much the Economic Elite already dominate this process: over 90% of the time the candidate who simply spends more money on their campaign wins the election

* The Two-Party Oligarchy: We must end the two-party system by funding and voting for alternative parties.  It is absurd and completely outdated to only have two dominant political parties in a technologically advanced nation of 309 million people. The two-party paradigm is obsolete and creates a system easily manipulated, as the past decade proves with the co-option of the Democratic and Republican parties. We can give our money and support to whomever we like - Libertarians, Tea Party, Progressives, Greens, Independents and the many soon-to-be-created political groups. However, it is pivotal that we immediately cease support for both the Republican and Democratic parties. We understand the there are representatives from both parties who are fighting for our interests, but they are very few and easily marginalized by paid-off party leaders. 

* Getting on the Ballot: Republicans and Democrats have created rules to make it increasingly difficult for opposing political parties to even get on the voting ballot. We must make this process easier and invite new parties onto the ticket. 

* Debate Commission: The Democratic and Republican control over who is allowed to participate in the nationally televised debates gives the two parties an insurmountable advantage over any other parties. If you are not even allowed to participate in them, you have no shot at winning. Along with this, all candidates should be given a fair share of television coverage. 

* Voter Registration: If you are a citizen, you should be automatically registered to vote. 

Governmental Policy Formation 

* Secrecy, Transparency and AccountabilityGovernment secrecy is at the root of most of our current societal and economic problems. When decisions are made in secrecy, corruption will most often be the result. By throwing light and investigation on the government policy process, we can easily expose the Economic Elite's agenda and limit their influence. As part of this, all legislation and conference reports must be posted online prior to Congressional debate and vote. 

* Lobbying: Along with campaign finance, political lobbying is another way the Economic Elite can easily manipulate our political process financially, in what amounts to legalized bribery. In 2009, a record amount of money was spent lobbying Congress, and now with the new Supreme Court ruling, lobbyists will have even more power to manipulate the political process with what amounts to buying the laws of our nation. Lobbying activities behind closed doors must cease entirely and equal time must be given, transparently, to all the parties directly affected by the law being written. 

* Shutting the Revolving DoorNo politician should be allowed to profit from government laws or policies which they have written or supported. The practice of leaving a major company to become a politician who then creates and/or supports laws that directly benefit the corporation he or she used to work for, or, conversely, politicians who leave public office to take a high-paying job for a company they have benefited, is a grotesque abuse and manipulation of the democratic process. The revolving door between politics and big business is worse than it has ever been and has corrupted the government like never before. 

Information Platforms 

* Media Concentration: Having a few large multinational corporations dominating the overwhelming majority of our news and information system will never lead to an informed citizenry. Only ten multinational corporations dominate our mainstream media system. These companies are run by 118 individuals who actively work to propagate Economic Elite rule. The people who run these media companies also sit on other corporate boards that often represent a major conflict of interest. Having only 118 people in ten companies dominating a system that creates public opinion for 309 million people is absurd. We must break up this information cartel and support a more diverse and vibrant independent press that fosters real investigative journalism. 

* Net Neutrality: The free and open architecture of the Internet is vital to our success. Without an open Internet our most powerful medium for research and communication, and key organizing tool, will be lost. The Internet must be protected from growing forces that seek to control it by limiting our access to information and our ability to communicate on a mass scale. 


* Medical Costs: We have disagreements on how to best provide healthcare, but we all agree that whatever the method, the result needs to be lower costs. We have the most expensive healthcare system in the world and we now pay twice as much as other nations. Other than creating huge salaries for health industry-related executives, there isn't any reason why we should be forced to pay such outrageous sums of money for second-rate care. No American should die due to lack of money, or have to face bankruptcy in order to get life-sustaining treatments. 

* Food and Water Supply: Our food and water supply systems have become a major health hazard. The amount of harmful chemicals found in both our food and water have reached record levels and is causing alarming levels of sickness in a growing number of people. 

Real Economic Competition 

* Most Americans Believe in Competition: If a person works hard, is productive and good at what they do, most everyone believes that they should make more than a person who sits around looking for handouts. However, just as in sports, to maintain a competitive environment you have to have rules in place that prevent people from having an unfair advantage. For those who believe in competition, in capitalism and free markets, you have to acknowledge that what we have now is not a free market based on fair competition. It is a rigged market, where larger institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have an unfair advantage. We cannot allow them to be beyond the law, manipulate the market and then receive taxpayer funds to increase profits and risk-taking while smaller companies, outside of Economic Elite circles, have to play by a much stricter set of rules. 

You can't have free market capitalism when you have government policies favoring companies that have more political clout than others. What we have is socialism for the rich and trickle down economics for the rest of us. We have a market systemically designed to funnel money into the pockets of the richest. If the past few years have proved anything, they have proved that our economy is much more like a pyramid scheme than a free market, where the more money you have, the more money you make. So whatever your economic beliefs and theories might be, let's all come together to admit that our "free market" is an illusion. We need to make the economic playing field fair so that we can have real competition. 

* Redistribution of WealthDue to the rigging of our economic and political system, vast sums of wealth have been hoarded by the Economic Elite over the past 40 years. This money must be redistributed to the 99% of Americans who have been robbed and exploited. There will be much heated debate over how this money should be distributed, but we all need to agree that we must first hold the Economic Elite accountable and our wealth must be seized from them. 

* Investigations and ProsecutionsThe Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has the power to reveal the inner workings of the financial coup. We must apply intense public pressure and scrutiny to force the Commission into conducting a real investigation. Another urgent priority needs to be a much wider-ranging look at war profiteering. There has been some investigation, but not nearly enough and hardly any prosecution. These are just two of the many investigations that need to be launched. As long as we keep letting the Economic Elite get away with outright theft in broad daylight, we will never be able to restore a nation of law. 

There are obviously other vital issues that need to be addressed, but these are the core common-ground issues that we must urgently rally around and support. Unless we organize and take decisive action on all these issues, we will all suffer the consequences of our collective inaction. Any politician who does not urgently move on these issues must be voted out of office and replaced by people who will aggressively fight on these fronts. 

These are the core issues that keep the Economic Elite in power. As famed military strategist Carl von Clauswitz wrote in his study "On War," it is pivotal to strike at this core structure, at "the hub of all power and movement, on which everything depends."


Sun, 10/31/2010 - 02:45 | 688731 DollarMenu
DollarMenu's picture


You have left out the most important step.

Term Limits.

Either one term and out, or two terms and out.

And, once you have served your allowed term(s), you may not run again

for the same office.

Add in public financing of all campaigns with no exceptions for outside money of any sort, and I think we'd have it 90% nailed.

The other 10% would be resolved from the list you posted.




Sun, 10/31/2010 - 08:39 | 688801 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture


  Financial racketeering and global militarism lie at the heart of our problems, including the loss of political freedoms.

  The reforms listed propose  to reform the political process, and attempt to remedy the unfair manipulations and corporate prerogatives by which wealth and power is misdistributed and misused.

But without confronting the role of militarism in our society, the economy cannot be fixed, the environment preserved, nor freedoms protected.

  1. Military-related spending dominates and distorts our economy and finances.
  2. The Fed and fiat money make possible excessive military spending.
  3. Global militarism enables the petrodollar racket and international corporate racketeers to maximize profits.
  4. The global military enterprise has been captured by global corporate power as much or more even than our domestic government.
  5. The organizational goal of global militarism is aligned with global corporations. The one wants to dominate global resources to secure profit, the other to dominate resources to secure a dominate global military.
  6. Government secrecy and authoritarian controls are best publicly promoted by appeals to support the military and so-called military security, not global profits.
  7. The global military enterprise, including the production to support it, constitutes the world's single greatest source of pollution and environmental destruction.
  8. Military leaders have a vested interest in protecting the status of their organization, just as others have misused the military to further the aims of organizations they head. No one should disregard the possibility that global organizations will try to employ the now globalized military inside the US as they have repeatedly done abroad.
Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:25 | 688083 Scout Itout
Scout Itout's picture

If this current experiment with democracy is coming to the end of its usefull life, will a newer and more advanced system of economic mechanization replace it?

If so, what can we do now to front-run it and help as many people as we can make it to the other side?

When talking about campaign contibutions, maybe create a system that penalizes large contibutors by making them provide matching funds to the opposition.

Or, is that just stupid?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:37 | 688096 Tsukato
Tsukato's picture

Forget democracy. It's never existed. The only thing that works is Facism. Works well here in China, and a new, more repressive form of it will be arriving soon in the states. No one will be able to stop it. You think the military will stop it? Ever talk to returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan? Those pices of shit will gun you monkeys down in a fucking heartbeat. Think the idiots online with their hunting rifles are gonna stop it? BWAHAHA!!! If you don't get out of there soon,its gonna be too late. There's never gonna be any "Rage Against the Machine". If people dont start gettin real extreme, real soon, the war will be lost before it ever started.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:20 | 688242 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture

The only thing that works is Facism. Works well here in China


NetEase: The places you shot at where you think the pollution was very serious, how did the villagers see the pollution in their lives? Did they feel the pollution was very serious and threatening their lives or (that the polluting industries) driving the local economic development was more important?

Lu Guang: In fact, there is no economic development for them, it only brought them destructions. Back then they had fertile fields. There were many water conservancy facilities built in the 70’s, all were every good, used to irrigate the fields. But now, pollution came and the water could not be used to irrigate the fields anymore. After a long time, now all the water conservancy facilities are wastes. The polluted water has led to contamination of the underground water. All their drinking water is underground water, water in the wells or from the water tower. Water from water tower flows straight to their homes, unlike us, the tap water we drink is already processed. Drinking this kind of water for long time, many people got very ill. I interviewed a village 3-5 kilo-meters away from Hong River village and asked them if there were people with cancer there. They said yes, but only 1-2 in couple years, and very few. However (in Hong River Village), they have a dozen in each year. The difference is obvious from the same district.

NetEase: How did Hong River (region) village head see the water pollution in his own village?

Lu Guang: This is not their problem because it is upstream, a county, a city where people dump sewage and flow to them. What I am talking about is (Hong River region) Zhang Yu Zhuang village. The head of the village was very helpless, they repeatedly reported the issue to the town and county government, but it was never resolved. Even the county could not resolve it because the water is not dumped by them, it was another county, another city that was dumping sewage, they couldn’t do anything.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:34 | 688256 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture

Tai Lake is the embodiment of China's losing fight against pollution. This summer, the government said that, despite stricter rules, pollution is rising again across the country in key categories such as emissions of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain. Just months before, the government had revealed that water pollution was more than twice as severe as previous official figures had shown.

For almost two decades, Wu - a peasant living along the lake, a three-hour drive west of Shanghai - waged a one-man campaign to clean it up. He kept track of the thousands of factories springing up along its shores and took pictures of the untreated waste they discharged into the lake. He mailed water samples to inspectors, called TV stations and spoke out in the face of threats from factory bosses and local leaders.

His actions cost him his job, threatened his marriage and landed him in prison for three years. He returned home this spring to find the lake virtually unchanged. Now, with no job prospects and few friends willing to risk a visit, he spends much of his time alone at home, mulling over what he has sacrificed - whether it was worth it, and whether he should continue.

'He was the only one left'

To hear Wu's story firsthand is to witness the paranoia he now lives in.

A short, baby-faced man, Wu, 42, assumes his cellphone is tapped and prefers meeting strangers in obscure spots outside town. After agreeing to take a reporter to his home, Wu pulls up his shorts to reveal a two-inch scar on his inner thigh. He said he got it a few weeks ago by the lake when two thugs attacked him with a knife. He points to rounder scars along his arm and his hands - cigarette burns, he said, from police interrogations.

While he was in prison, authorities put his wife and daughter under 24-hour surveillance. Shortly before Wu's release, the guards in front of his house were replaced by three traffic cameras erected on the single-lane road leading to his farmhouse.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:43 | 688259 Spalding_Smailes
Spalding_Smailes's picture
The video is unreal.




6-Million Tons of Chemical Waste Stockpiled Across China ~ Video ~


6-million tons of toxic chromium waste are piled around 20 cities across China, and they have been there for 2 decades.

State-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday, a booming chemical industry during the 1950s has left a lasting problem. After some of the chemical plants closed in the early 90’s because of pollution concerns, stockpiles of chromium slag were left behind, and continued to pollute the environment.

In central Henan Province, there are 6 such waste piles stored inside concrete structures, the local Dahe Daily reports. In Gongyi City, 50,000 tons of the chemical waste has been left standing less than 2 miles from a river for almost 20 years.

[Villager, Henan Province]:
“There was the No.2 Chemical Plant. It processed mines and left the chromium slag behind without treatment. It’s toxic and causing pollution.”

Chromium slag contains toxic hexavalent chromium, which is a known carcinogen. Just small amounts of it can be lethal. Their poor storage has caused the substance to seep into soil and waterways over the years, endangering residents.

In 2005, the Chinese regime’s State Council ordered local authorities to clean up the disposal in 5 years. But the Dahe Daily reports, in Henan Province where 500,000 tons of the chromium slag remains, disputes over who will pay for the clean-up have delayed the process.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:31 | 688087 The Mighty Monarch
The Mighty Monarch's picture

Q: why would a billionaire spend over $100 mil of their own money to buy an election?

A: because they will make more than $100 mil in the political position they have purchased.


A better question to ask is, why do people find a need to spend $100 million to buy a state election?

Answer is, because too much power resides in one place, even at the state level. Just one of the many arguments for splitting California up into four or more states.

Local control, apart from being closer to the people it affects, has the added benefit of putting the people in power in close proximity to the local torch-and-pitchfork crowd, in the event that the legal system fails to keep them in check.

The center of political power should never be further than a moderately long walk from your home.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:12 | 688139 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:22 | 688088 bankonzhongguo
bankonzhongguo's picture

A Corporation is NOT a human being.

Ever notice how a Corporation can cause physical and financial harm to other people, businesses, whole communities and national governments, yet a Corporation never goes to jail, never forced to really leave its place in the market/society - they continue to not just live, but thrive regardless of their actions, benign and malevolent.  That is the sincere advantage of a Corporation verse human beings - virtual immortality and hence power.  Look at Haliburton's early culpability in the Gulf Spill.  Will that Corporation be punished and banished?  Likely they will get more money from the Citizen taxpayer.

This.  All of this MESS comes down to the power, influence and longevity of a Corporation AT THE EXPENSE of a human being.  Humans have been relativized.  Under this regime we live under, our roles are becoming more akin to slaves, serfs or bacteria upon a far larger and richer landscape, which a Citizen cannot individually participate.

Until this imbalance is corrected, this Republic and others will continue its inevitable decline and collapse.  Rome fell and so shall the US under the corrupt complexity of virtual people running the nation and its Citizens into the ground.


Citizens verses Corporations.

That is the fight.

Pick a side.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:09 | 688236 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

The needs of the group outweigh the rights of the individual.


Collectivism, much?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:47 | 688095 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

You need two sides to play a game. Mega Union vs Corp. is all we have.

Yeah, under crony capitalism, it all sucks.

However: I'm gonna vote one more time. I think it "could" get fixed, so I want to be able to tell myself I did all I could to avoid worse options.

And I think some of you are just paid operatives wanting to suppress the vote. Just ask who would benefit from that?

And even if you think the Fed will fall, you need to control local elections you morons.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:05 | 688148 RECISION
RECISION's picture

However: I'm gonna vote one more time. I think it "could" get fixed, so I want to be able to tell myself I did all I could to avoid worse options.

Best of luck with that.

Truely, I wish you well.

I just can't believe anymore.

The System is irrideemable.

Either learn to live with it - or remove it.

Which is the path of least pain???


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 22:34 | 688578 AmericaRacket
AmericaRacket's picture

Or remove yourself.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:40 | 688098 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

If the system collaspes, an old system will replace it. This old system will decouple the Central Banking system. Have no fear.

Its all on paper for the United States of America public.

Our cancer within forgets what he reads on a TelePrompter.

Have fun & learn the ropes.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:47 | 688106 Cheeky Bastard
Cheeky Bastard's picture

You can have either democracy, or you can have capitalism. Not both.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:02 | 688123 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Not true, I'm afraid.

I see what you're saying, but that only applies in countries where corruption (subtle or otherwise) is socially acceptable.

As one example of somewhere that provides proper democratic tools for the public and has capitalism, try Switzerland. Not that I'd like to live there, mind. The place is barking mad.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:30 | 688252 OutLookingIn
OutLookingIn's picture


 So, in effect you are saying that corruption in the US is socially unacceptable?

News flash! Corruption has always and will always be a part of the American social fabric. Wake up and pull your head out of the nether regions! This is socially accepted fact! Grease the palm with a wink, wink.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 07:33 | 688784 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

I think you may have to read my comment again when you're sober.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:15 | 688142 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Welcome back CB.

Your still a human being that thinks a two party system is the fix to all problems. What are you going to do once you are told the World Bank, BIS, UN and IMF are in control? I loath the FED.

As a bystander, can see the fight for world domination power. Guess what?? Both of these fuckers will go down.

The two conflicting powers will play a new improved version of Game Theory. One will twatter to other that the diamond is at a certain Google earth location. The other villain will read his twatter information and reply thru facebook to were the money is hidden. Each hope to commit the perfect crime.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:22 | 688147 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

You'll have to tell me what you put in your atomizer.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:30 | 688154 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Facts & truth. The whitewashed MSM information always comes later.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 19:19 | 688368 blindman
blindman's picture

all the best.

to you

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:47 | 688107 Milestones
Milestones's picture

In 1886 The Supreme Court issued a court order decision known as Santa Clara County
V Southern Pacific Railroad, 118 U.S. 394. (1886)
The 14 page decision is at best tedious reading about fencing and tax rate as I recall. Nowhere in the body of the decision was the obviously large Constitutional issue ever mentioned that I could find. In the however this issue is proximately mentioned in the Syllabus; to wit “The Court does not wish to hear on the question whether the provisions in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which forbids a state to deny any person within its jurisdiction, The equal protection of law applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.” ( Syllabus is defined as “an outline or a brief statement of the main points of t text, lecture or a course of study.”) As stated earlier, I was unable to find any reference to any thing concerning the sweeping powers contained in that amendment.
What makes this sweeping statement in the Syllabus seem so out of place is that for many years prior to 1886 the decision that corporations were not “persons” and could not be-they were creatures brought into existence by state legislatures and only had power as granted to them by said entities.
After some further rummaging around in the various decisions I stumbled onto the following 2 page decision by the Supreme Court: “Western Turf Association v Hyman
Greenberg, 204 U.S. 359 1907
, which happens to be 21 years after Santa Clara. Quoting from that decision: “Of still less merit is the suggestion that the statute abridges the rights and privileges of citizens; for a corporation cannot be deemed a citizen within the meaning of the clause of the Constitution of the United States which protects the privileges and immunities against being abridged or impaired by the laws of a state. (regarding a Calif. State law) Further: “The same observation may be made as to the contention that the statute deprives the defendant of its liberty without due process of law; for the liberty guaranteed by the 14th amendment against deprivation without due process of law is the liberty of natural not artificial persons.”
To cap the whole matter off, Selover,Bates & Co. v Walsh 226 U.S. 112 (1912) summed up its 3 page decision by the last line, as it cited Turf Assn. as its case law.

Please note NATURAL NOT ARTIFICIAL PERSONS. So how in the hell is the Supremes holding to a non decision issued in 1886 when a 1907 decision SPECIFICALLY repudiates Santa Clara v S.P. railroad and is cited 5 years later in a supremes decision in 1912 as CASE LAW. ?? Any answers?   Milestones

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:00 | 688120 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Do you remember the Dred Scott decision. Do you remember it changed? Do you remember the SCOTUS decisions on the New Deal Legislation? How about Roosevelt threatening to expand the court to eleven members to get the decision he wanted? How about their subsequent change of opinion?

The US government is a criminal enterprise. You accept it at your own risk.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:03 | 688125 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

They decided not to hand the country to the public sector unions.

It is about that simple.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:20 | 688145 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

They operate the public and private sector unions. They co-opted them early in the twentieth century. They continue to run them today. Just another example of divide and conquer. 

SCOTUS- asking a government agency to police other government agencies and then braying about independent decision making ability. Also, the definition for fox in the henhouse or How stupid do you think we are? Pretty stupid.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 14:49 | 688110 tahoe69
tahoe69's picture

We can thank Alan Greenspan's hands off approach to capitalism. Destroy the "collective",unregulate the financial industry,destroy wages/pensions and create an extreme dependency on debt. The not so free......."free market".

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:13 | 688134 The Mighty Monarch
The Mighty Monarch's picture

If Darth Greenspan had really wanted a "hands-off" approach he would have worked to dissolve the Federal Reserve. They are the antithesis of the "free market". Can't have a free market when there's a monopoly on printing currency. A free market wouldn't tolerate this much debt in the system and would have forced a default or pay down.

Besides, I still suspect that Greenspan made a bet with Ayn Rand to see how much damage he could cause in a financial system that had long since decided to debase its currency and go full-on debt bubble. I'll bet you one worthless FRN.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:05 | 688231 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Why would Darth Greenspan work to dissolve the source of his POWER?

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:10 | 688132 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

There's an old prover which I think goes something like,


"Money follows power, not the other way around."


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:13 | 688133 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

There's an old proverb which I think goes something like,

"Money comes from power, not the other way around."

But, that's not to say that power can't be a good investment.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:17 | 688143 Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs's picture

I had to laugh a little when the author singled out union spending first. Though no fan of unions these days (wish I could be, it is laughable when union millions represent million or more people... and Koch millions (contributed to all the worst elements) represent two people. Or bankster millions represent very few. 


The difference is huge... even though I absolutely agree the power of money in our party/election/lobby/sausage making process has got to end.

I don't see any way to stop it other than to create and strictly enforce a public finance/level playing field for all concerned. While reinstating a fairness doctrine.


Clearly we were screwed before Citizens United, which absolutely made things worse... as did the income disparity over the last 35 years. So just reversing Citizens United is more of that centrist crap which doesn't remedy a damn thing by itself. And I don't think term limits would help a damn thing (besides good experience should be rewarded/able to stay in office)... rich will always be able to buy rotating villains... they have for decades, if not longer, as it is now.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:26 | 688152 Ethics Gradient
Ethics Gradient's picture

Ok. I've learn't my lesson now. Saturday on Zerohedge = trader narcofest.

See you Monday.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:47 | 688170 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

You might be right. However, your fat fingers meant to type narcofest to NASCO


All is OK. We realise you don't follow geopolitics to trade and make money. Cramer is your man, booyah peasant of CNBC.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:41 | 688164 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

I posted this from CHS the other day, but things were moving so fast barely anyone saw it. It's his predictions for our immediate future.

The more I read, Charles Hugh Smith's blog, the more I'm convinced that he is one of the most adult and clear-headed thinkers around. He is a national treasure.

Here is his list, which deserves serious attention and discussion:

"This is from his blog on 10/25/10

If I had $5 billion, and the political power that goes with spending a tiny sliver of that on political donations and lobbying, then here's what I would do, as an entirely "obvious" Grand Strategy:

1. I would slowly liquidate my common-stock equity and long-bond positions, and maintain my precious-metals positions (preferably ownership of the mines than the bullion) and my preferred stock in global corporations.

Insiders selling 1,169 to 1 (zero hedge)

2. I would engineer a global recession that implodes all the asset bubbles around the world--Chinese real estate, commodities, emerging market equities, etc., as demand collapsed and supply was suddenly revealed as overly abundant. (Please see my oil "head-fake" entries for how this works: Oil: One Last Head-Fake? (May 9, 2008)

This would create a mad dash for dollars and other cash to pay down debt taken on in the "easy money"/ZIRP era (i.e. 2008-2010), and lead to wholesale dumping of all assets which still have value. The higher the value (i.e. gold) the quicker they will be unloaded for cash: for instance, oil and energy-based equities.

3. I would sit on my hoard of cash while the selling created a positive feedback loop and prices plummeted in a downward panic spiral.

4. As net worth vanished in the tens of trillions of dollars/yen/yuan/euros, interest rates would rise dramatically as those desperate for funds compete for dwindling free cash. Revenues of oil exporters and other exporters crash, drying up a once-reliable source of cash.

5. When premium real estate properties and equities are selling for 10%-20% of their pre-crash valuations, I will begin buying. I won't buy long-term bonds until the yields skyrocket; then I will jump in with all four feet.

6. As the long-term shortage of commodities eventually re-asserts itself, then I (and my other Financial Power Elites cohort) will own most of what the world needs to function, including the Central State tax revenues which will increasingly be directed to making interest payments.

7. I will be a strong supporter of food stamps and other low-cost rebellion-reduction programs, and "soft" and "hard" power to enforce my ownership of assets which I purchased.

8. As interest rates rise, the U.S. dollar will strengthen, further increasing my purchasing power.

9. I will oppose inflationary policies as needless reductions in my purchasing power. I don't owe debt, I own debt as an asset.

Bottom line: expect a crash in commodity prices and other asset bubbles, a much stronger dollar and rapidly rising interest rates. I am playing it as it lays, and this is precisely what I expect to unfold between 2010 and 2014. "


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:44 | 688210 honestann
honestann's picture

All beside the point.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:41 | 688165 tahoe69
tahoe69's picture

I'm waiting for the privatize social security rhetoric to really get serious.... then lookout.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:50 | 688173 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture

Sold under austerity plan is the jig. Don't worry.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:24 | 688199 King_of_simpletons
King_of_simpletons's picture

If privatizing social security means the money is actually invested in your name then that is better than the money going to the government coffers and getting spent on pork barrel projects.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:43 | 688167 anonnn
anonnn's picture

The author never defines his use of the term...democracy.

So the entire text sadly becomes not-understandable.

Each reader inserts one of several, conflicting dictionary definitions, or even his made-up definition ,for democracy.

Democracy generally includes voters and citizens, but can include, or exclude, female voters; likewise can exclude non-whites by virtue of their being non-persons; or  propertyless persons; or illiterate persons,etc.

What kind of democracy might escape the concentrated wealth death-spiral?

It's rather like speaking of freedom without denoting freedom from what.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:29 | 688300 snowball777
snowball777's picture

Sssssh....they live in a dream world where we can all pay no taxes, and yet still have military spending equal to or exceeding the rest of the developed world combined to protect the dependencies that allow us to continue our way of life without paying for the privilege.

They better hope they exclude seniors too...I hear they vote to defend their entitlements from time to time.


Sat, 10/30/2010 - 19:09 | 688356 Rodent Freikorps
Rodent Freikorps's picture

It is the social engineering via the tax code that sucks.

I'll pay fair long as everyone else does too.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 18:51 | 688332 minus dog
minus dog's picture

"Freedom from what?"

Screw that, I'm more interested in freedom to than freedom from.  I don't need much help in protecting myself from things.  

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 15:48 | 688172 linrom
linrom's picture

The author advances a view that is diametrically opposed to Mike Krieger's conclusion that the elites are losing. Personally I think that both are wrong because this is the end of 80-year super-inflationary cycle that can only resolve with deflationary collapse( hyperinflation is the result of hyperdelation). The most likely outcome is that US will become ungovernable as states are unable to resolve what to do about rising deficits.

Wealth concentration by necessity implies that wealth is tied to debt. Since debts can't and won't be repaid, elites will not be able to hold on to their wealth even if taxpayers are forced to backstop private debt---the math won't work! Ironically the end of Democracy will also mean the end of wealth concentration as all the global trade and resource oligarchs, tycoons and US CEOs  bet on US consumers.

Good luck greedy bastards, you just created positive feedback loop!

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:10 | 688187 ussa
ussa's picture

Recommend Vrabel's latest.  Sovereign money as an asset is the only way to begin to defeat these guys.  Corporations don't deserve more protections than citizens.  


People should call out elected representatives and educate the local ones.  Many people are clueless.   


Debunking Money #4 and #5: The Way the World Really Works Posted on  by dvrabel

In an attempt to layout what really drives the world rather than believing the false notion that 40-something fresh Ivy League grads serving as politicians have the power, these lessons further the Debunking Money narrative that debt-based hierarchical money = financial leverage = true power. Lesson 4 revisits the 20th century past to reconsider where we’ve been, and lesson 5 peers into the 21st century future for a clearer perspective on where we’re going. Huxley would like what he sees.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:13 | 688190 Pumpkin
Pumpkin's picture

Democracy's death spiral?  GOOD!  We are supposed to be a Republic, not a democracy.  Article 4 Section 4 plainly states that we are to be a Republic.  You see a Republic would protect your individual rights, and direct taxation would be unconstitutional.  So if the democracy is in a death spiral, it is much reason to celebrate.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:41 | 688205 honestann
honestann's picture

You got that right.

The problem is, the minds of hundreds of millions (if not billions) of individuals literlly cannot be changed as long as the predators-that-be dominate government, mainstream media, large corporations.

Thus, the minority who want, prefer or insist upon an honest, ethical, productive life are trapped between the large majority of utterly brainwashed pro-predator fools (the deluded "leaches"), and the tiny minority of predators-that-be who wield power.

Both leaches and predators work together to lie, cheat, steal, defraud and enslave to get the goods they need and want from the ever-dwindling minority of honest, ethical producers in the middle.  Sadly, many if not most producers are rather clueless or confused about the nature of the scam they victims of, and cannot evade of fight effectively.

I see no way out, absent a new frontier for brave producers to move to, or an amazing new technology in the hands of determined liberty-advocates.  If even one country on earth was based on liberty today, we could move there and build a better life.  Unfortunately, the predators-that-be know this, and have diligently made sure there is nowhere to escape their tyranny.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:08 | 688235 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

but is it part of a natural cycle?

are we just in a downward cycle... a long lasting downward cycle?

we have grown / built from nothing... and caged ourselves.

the ignorant masses hold all of our futures in thier hands, thier rampant stupidity... that we allowed... now shall be what confines us all. FACT.

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 07:29 | 688782 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Yes, but there's no effective way for us honest people in the middle to get rid of you leaches!

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:41 | 688206 honestann
honestann's picture

You got that right.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 16:32 | 688204 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

“As entrepreneurs innovate, they reap economic rewards. Production then expands and new forms of economic organization emerge, such as the modern firm, which grows to capture economic opportunities. As the size of the firm increases, so too does its bureaucracy. The functions of ownership and control gradually separate. Eventually, the owners find that their connection to, and knowledge of, the economic process has been severed. They lose the ability to see the necessity of social institutions, such as private ownership and voluntary contract - institutions without which there would be no economic progress. Isolated from economic reality, their sympathy for the capitalist system begins to wane, and, with it, the social support for the institutions that form the foundation of capitalism. These render the capitalist system open to attack from hostile parties.” - Joseph Schumpeter

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:04 | 688228 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture
Angus Maddison

Emeritus Professor

Faculty of Economics

University of Groningen

This is the last version of the Angus Maddison homepage, last updated on March 2010. Further information can be found on the Maddison-Project Website

Articles and papers

New Estimates of Chinese Growth Performance and Potential 1952-2030
World Development and Outlook 1820-2030: Evidence submitted to The House of Lords

Sun, 10/31/2010 - 20:10 | 689539 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

Which one of you fucking cowards flagged "Angus" Junk? and then didnt even reply? fess up, lets see you... did you scurry out from your rock when the sun was obstructed by a cloud? well, enjoy the dark.

Sat, 10/30/2010 - 17:10 | 688234 juliawong
juliawong's picture

The Chinese was screwed and have never overcome this same problem and  have since fallen behind the west because of widespread corruption, we even have a nice, neat little idiom for it:

broken down to components:

first character: Government Officials

second: Big businesses (often with loads of money)

third: linking

4th: jointed, colluding

When I was young, I thought "the West" has become the "leaders" of the world civilisation because they have somehow got rid of "????" by the "rule of law", and that's why the WEST will stay rich and ahead of corrupted East Asia forever.

On the other hand, East Asia responded by changing their political types: the modern chinese mandarins are "different" from historical chinese government officials in that they deliberately pick the "engineers" type into office as they are the Realists, the practical, the no-non sense, pragmatic types.

Trust me, we had had an extremely long long history of government officials who were mostly good at verbal games, gave good speeches, were great essayists, poets, philosophers, etc. Just like the WEST's government is now filled with all these lawyers, English majors, humanities majors, so on and so forth. But without solving the government-corporation-corruption-problem, it will end in tears as it has always been, for the old Chinese empire, it was the case. The Poor got f**ked and they were the biggest chunk of the society under this ???? system, always.


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