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Guest Post: Generational Wealth And Upward Mobility

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Advanced democracies have lost upward mobility. 

Both capitalism and democracy promise the opportunity for upward mobility. Capitalism offers upward mobility to anyone with a profitable idea or productive skillset and work ethic. Democracy implicitly promises a "level playing field" of meritocracy, where talent, drive and hard work open opportunities for advancement.

Crony capitalism offers wealth to the class that already possesses it. Feudalism bestows "rights" to wealth to a favored few. In a way, upward mobility is a real-world test of a nation's economic and social order: if upward mobility exits in name only, then that nation is neither capitalist nor democratic. Stripped of propaganda and misleading labels, it is a feudal society or a crony-capitalist economy masquerading as a capitalist democracy.
Japan is an interesting case study. Some readers of last week's series on Japan noted that Japan was still very wealthy and life was good there. Indeed, some commentators have made the case that Japan has purposefully indebted itself to mask the wealth generated by its export machine: The Myth That Japan is Broke. (via Mike H.)
Here is last week's series:
My focus was the consequences of economic stagnation, not measuring Japan's national wealth, and this raises the issue of upward mobility: Yes, Japan remains very wealthy, but the wealth is concentrated in a specific neofeudal class; Japan's economy has lost the upward mobility of its long 1950-1990 growth phase.
We are blessed to have many young (20s and 30s) Japanese friends, single and married. Though it is not a random selection, it is geographically and socially diverse. In reviewing each friend/couple's education, financial stability, homeownership and the wealth of their parents, I realized every young person (under 40) who owns a house or flat has parents who made the purchase of their education and home financially possible.
Everyone without wealthy parents--and "wealth" means enough income/savings to pay for an entire university education in cash, and then pay 50% or more of their child's home purchase in cash--does not own a home, even those with a college education.
In other words, wealth is being transferred within the class that already earned and accumulated the wealth. It is not being earned by young people. The untidy truth is that they aren't paid enough to buy a home and accumulate wealth for their children.
What nobody in Japan dares discuss is the fact that tens of millions of young "freeters" will never make enough to get married, much less own a home or save enough to educate their children, unless they receive a lump sum of wealth from their parents while they are young enough for it to matter. If their parents don't have enough wealth to matter, then the freeters are doomed to membership in Japan's expanding underclass.
So a nation can claim $3 trillion in offshore assets or whatever wealth metric you choose, but if that nation has lost upward mobility, then the wealth is increasingly concentrated in a neofeudal structure. How "wealthy" do we say a nation is that has lost upward mobility?
Once upward mobility is lost, "social recession" sets in and the social contract frays.
How different is the U.S.? Most people who don't have physicians in their nuclear family or close circle of friends think that an M.D. is the ticket to upward mobility. In many cases, this is an exaggeration. I just received an email from an M.D. who stated that adjusted for inflation, his highest earnings were 30 years ago, in 1981. Others write to tell me that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans that those without wealthy parents must borrow to attend medical school take many years to pay off, even with salaries that most people consider generous.
This is an example drawn from what most assume is the top-level "surefire ladder to wealth." We could look at non-Elite graduates of Ivy League universities (i.e. the non-Elites accepted in the name of diversity) and see how they're doing in terms of wealth accumulation that can be passed down to their kids. Sure, they're "doing well" in most cases, making a comfortable living, but are they making enough to pay off their student loans, own a home that isn't 90% owned by the bank and accumulate enough savings to not only pay their children's education in cash but also help them buy their own home with at least 25% down in cash? If not, then they're not really accumulating wealth that can be transferred, they're simply consuming it.
Correspondent Chris Sullins added transferrable generational wealth to my short list of "what makes someone middle class": Priced Out of the Middle Class (June 28, 2012). How many American households can pay for their children's university education in cash and then fund their purchase of a home?
Here are the eight "threshold" characteristics of membership in the middle class:
1. Meaningful healthcare insurance
2. Significant equity (25%-50%) in a home or other real estate
3. Income/expenses that enable the household to save at least 6% of its income
4. Significant retirement funds: 401Ks, IRAs, income property, etc.
5. The ability to service all debt and expenses over the medium-term if one of the primary household wage-earners lose their job
6. Reliable vehicles for each wage-earner
7. Hard assets and cash that can be transferred to the next generation, i.e. generational wealth.
8. Ability to invest in offspring (education, extracurricular enrichment activity, etc.).
How many households meet these criteria? Not many. This is now a list for the upper-middle class, the top 10% who earn in excess of $150,000 a year. But even households with significant incomes and inheritances from their parents are losing items on this list.
What I am seeing, once again anecdotally, is the consumption of family wealth as America "eats its seed corn." Families with savings are "investing" them in $120,000 per child college educations that may not qualify the young person for a job that pays enough to duplicate their parents' purchasing power--or a job at all.
Having lost their corporate job, they're burning $12,000 to $15,000 annually buying their own health insurance.
Having drunk the debt-is-cheap Kool-Aid, they're heavily indebted, and much of their income goes to debt service and taxes.
Families that had significant cash wealth in 2000 are burning through that cash at an alarming rate. By the time the children are all educated and back living at home or in their own apartments, then Mom and Dad have to buy them vehicles, pay their dental bills, etc. because Junior doesn't earn enough to actually support himself.
The wealth that could have been transferred to the next generation has been consumed suporting a "middle class" lifestyle and providing the next generation with what was once the basis for advancement: a university education, healthcare insurance, a reliable vehicle, etc. Now that jobs are hard to find and compensation is low, the next generation still needs the accumulated wealth of the household to get by.
That is not upward mobility, it is downward mobility, on a vast and largely unnoticed scale.

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Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:00 | 2915739 tbone654
tbone654's picture

so much crap... talk about curve fitting...

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:07 | 2915749 economics9698
economics9698's picture

How are these bail outs paid for?

Citigroup: $2.5 Trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 Trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 Trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 Trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)


Why is the middle class losing?



Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:10 | 2915762 CH1
CH1's picture

<Fingers in ears>

"It's gonna be fine, it's gonna be fine, it's gonna be fine..."

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:54 | 2915883 Midas
Midas's picture

Brought to you by Carl's Junior,  brought to you by Carl's Junior....

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:41 | 2915991 Lohn Jocke
Lohn Jocke's picture

Carl's Jr..."Fuck you! I'm eating,"

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:52 | 2916775 cornedmutton
cornedmutton's picture

Now with more....molecules.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:24 | 2915956 glenlloyd
glenlloyd's picture

Once you start eating into the principal without adjusting the consumption side you're finished...

Failure to recognize the above means the problem will accelerate until there's nothing left. Often this is the situation with inheritance, it's burned through because it was never earned or the value of it was never truly recognized.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:23 | 2915801 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture

it's all so glaringly simple: take the $120k per annum for education and buy gold, silver, housing (on the cheap). the education comes from reading and living. you do not need to go to university to learn from those that generally do not do. 

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:37 | 2915848 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

And that 120K is off the banks radar and books.  They cant steal it if they cant find it. 


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:15 | 2915927 dugorama
dugorama's picture

just tell me how you intend to learn:

finance /accounting /OR(queueing theory, etc)

chemistry / any lab science

calculus/statistics / higher order math / modeling

on your own?  I think a university education is generally consider beyond the scope of home schooling, either self directed or with mom at the kitchen table.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:26 | 2915960 vast-dom
vast-dom's picture


finance /accounting /OR(queueing theory, etc) > ZeroHedge + reading + internships (mailroom) or better yet work for the mob since they are running the real show.




chemistry / any lab science / calculus/statistics / higher order math / modeling

> so how many of these lib arts students study that and become chemists? yes for this and dr and becoming a physicist sure you must go > pray tell what %age of these undergrads study this?


i was referencing the majority / average, and not that flunkie in the patent office coming up with theorums to alter the world.


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:03 | 2915744 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

My dad made mistakes with a CD he had for my college savings (he's a cop...who was in debt #shocker).  And the IRS took every single dime, costing me a college education (I dropped out after a year b/c I knew I wouldn't be able to pay it back).

On the bright side, at least my college money is paying for some Air Force Engineers to play a live game of Starcraft via drones in Pakistan.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:08 | 2915755 Timmay
Timmay's picture

Think a little deeper, the IRS did you a favor.....

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:55 | 2916025 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Yes, I got mugged on the way home, and Thank God for that! I might have bought myself a deleterious beer with that money otherwise.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:06 | 2915746 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

It is very simple.  400 individuals have more wealth than 1/2 of all Americans.  So long as we tolerate this as a society because we fear "redistribution of wealth" (except for the upward kind of redistribution), we're doomed to the neo-feudal system.    It must be in our genetic makeup as humans that most people think it's okay for Kings and Queens to roam the earth and possess most of the wealth of society because they "earned it."

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:16 | 2915765 CH1
CH1's picture

Overhead at the ZH Five Family Sitdown: After all, we are not communists.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:13 | 2915923 LouisDega
LouisDega's picture

It was Barzini bitchezz all along

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:14 | 2915768 malikai
malikai's picture

The problem is, any attempts to 'redistribute the wealth' will be made by someone. That someone will be 'one of them'. Therefore, you can expect nothing, regardless of what anybody wants.

Look at Buffett.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:18 | 2915776 CH1
CH1's picture

The problem is, any attempts to 'redistribute the wealth' will be made by someone.

Absolutely. Someone gets to collect all those sacrifices. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:19 | 2915783 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"They" already have made those decisions, because we the people have allowed "them" to take control of the government.  If you take elected government away, you are left with "them" controlling us directly.  At least that's what the Founders believed.  

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:25 | 2915809 malikai
malikai's picture

Are you arguing this based on pretense of the current government making these changes or are you talking about a post-revolution government doing that?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:30 | 2915821 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Simple changes to current election laws (see Montana as a good starting point) would largely fix our current system.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:52 | 2915881 malikai
malikai's picture

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm telling you that short of outright revolution, it will never happen on a federal level.

Too compromised.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:15 | 2915929 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

I agree, the federal system is indeed far too poisoned to fix.  A complete reset is required.  Get you tribe in order as all eCONomies are indeed local, always have been, especially once everyone figures out all the paper promises are in fact just lies that will never be met.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:07 | 2916218 odatruf
odatruf's picture

Bypass them. Get elected to or involved in your state legislature and force Congress to hold a Constitutional Convention. You need 2/3rd (34) of the states to demand the convention and then there is nothing Congress or the President could do to stop it. The states, not the feds, appoint the delegates and no one serving in Congress could also serve as a delegate at the Constitutional Convention.

Let's do it and have the chips fall where they may. Abortion legal or illegal is fine, just decide. Same with corporate campaign donations, capital punishment, term limits, balanced budgets, flag burning, national health care and on and on.  I have my views on each of these, of course, but frankly I would prefer that we had clear rules that we didn't debate and manipulate as much even if I disagreed. It's the fight it out to raise money racket that bothers me more.

Heck, while we are at it. Add an amendment that calls for an automatic Constitutional Convention every 20 years so we can keep the tree of liberty refreshed. If nothing needs changing, then at least it's a good party every generation.


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:56 | 2916189 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

there's no "fixing the current system" available, except imaginary scenarios typed on a blog.

however, there IS the possibility that individuals will "fix" their own re-actions to the current system, and survive it.

it's a possibility, but it requires abandoning the hope of changing anything on a level beyond the individual, and focusing entirely on what is real, not imagined.

free your mind(s).

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:42 | 2915859 JPM Hater001
JPM Hater001's picture

The problem with redistribution is someone has to decided who gets what spoils.

I dont trust anyone in the world to make that decision.

Wait.  They will lose it eventually by war or capital destruction.  When almost everyone is poor then is your chance to build personal wealth without first (or forcefully) taking it.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:20 | 2915943 dugorama
dugorama's picture

yes, eventually we will be a dark chunck of charcoal hurtling through interstellar space, long after our sun burns out.  jBut I'm not quite patient enough to "wait" that long or even for my society to completely collapse.   I would like to be more pro-active than waiting for the food riots to break out before we edit the current system of spoils distribution.  Remind me again how Romney earned and deserved his $400mm but your local university professor of <fill in the blank> can't afford to send their own kid to college without taking on generationally crippling debt?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:24 | 2916101 BigJim
BigJim's picture

 "They" already have made those decisions, because we the people have allowed "them" to take control of the government.  If you take elected government away, you are left with "them" controlling us directly.  At least that's what the Founders believed. 

The problem is, that it seems to happen with elected governments, too. The oligarchs just get their elected puppets to bribe a wide enough swath of the poorest with freebies and they can guarantee to stay in power. Of course, an unelected government doesn't even bother to do that, and just plunders even more indiscriminately. And you can't chuck them out without violence. So at least elected governments have that going for them.

But the issue isn't elected vs unelected governments. The issue is how do we stop elected governments getting hijacked by an oligarchy? By limiting what that government can do. That was the original Founders' belief, wasn't it? Keep government small and limited in scope.

Of course, the big question now is what to do about our hijacked, not-small, not-limited polity... particularly now that a slim majority of citizens are essentially clients of the state, and, furthermore, believe governments not only can create wealth, but should create wealth, rather than just create the conditions in which wealth can be created (rule of law, punishment of fraud & force, etc).

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:10 | 2916626 JOYFUL
JOYFUL's picture

...Therefore, you can expect nothing, regardless of what anybody wants...

that would seem to nail it. Adjusting perspective to suit limited outcomes -sounds awkward, but is in fact what most people have done, most of the time, throughout history...and gotten on with it with a limited amount of whineing and moaning. Today is different mostly because expectations have gotten wildly out of control on the part of those force-fed on media created myths of abundance and mobility.

"Capitalism and democracy" promise the moon, and deliver nothing. With this piece CHS comes out into the open as a shrill proponent of false conciousness of the neo-enlightenment variety. Expect everything, and demand the world change to accomodate your entitlement fantasies.

One of the most interesting outcomes of the experience of America in the Pacific war theatre was the return of servicemen from Japan who had picked up something of the real culture and decided to run with it...rather than integrate into the upward mobility rat race, they started to build upon the real (pre-Hollowwood)superstructure of American mythology a stripped down, true to life expectationless existence that expressed the essence of what life really has to offer[hint-not as much as we are led to believe...and at the same time, infinitely more!]

Concurrently, a different, but somehow related strand of authentic American values was forcing itself through the mediocracy of merikan cinema... while Europe was indulging itself in moronic existential 'haut cinema' the western epics of Malpaso Productions were creating a legendary outsized figuration of what a man could really expect to encounter in his life, and how he could deal with it...

It's no accident that "Fistful of Dollars" was based upon Kurasowas' 'Yojimbo' nor that the flick was Clint's breakout movie...looked down upon and sneered at by the sniveling sionist shills who would load up Merikan cinema with their pretentious claptrap leaving no room for reality, the man from Malpaso gave expression to the road not travelled yet so full of expectationless promise that dudes like Gary Synder cultivated with bonzai-like attention in their west coast fire towers - east meeting west and the best of both distilled in an elixir of lifegiving meaning.

Unfortunately, the Ginsbergs, Zimmermans, Speilbergs and the rest of the khazarian crew won out in the cultural wars of C20th Merika...this piece by CHS is a direct result and reflection of that defeat... whiney drivel about infantile expectations.


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:20 | 2915791 karp4cy
karp4cy's picture

Failing to make distinctions between real earned wealth and wealth obtained by employing the power of the state through a collusive alliance, leads to the creation of an environment that often forms the basis for works of post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:38 | 2915845 duo
duo's picture

Better yet, when Michael Jordan pimped for Nike, he made more than all of the employees of Nike, combined, except for the CEO.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:17 | 2916244 odatruf
odatruf's picture

Didn't Jordan pimping for Nike also uniquely cause more sales than all of the other employees combined?

I say uniquely because while I fully understand that there would be nothing to sell if there was no one pressing leather and rubber in a factory, the unique aspect means you could swap that worker(s) out with any of the planet's 7 billion people while no one else could promote it like MJ.  And I hated the Bulls...

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:59 | 2915895 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

"It must be in our genetic makeup as humans..." Don't know "must", but it seems that in all societies that permit unrestricted, unlimited accumulation of wealth (and often also in those who don't) go after the same principle that Pareto found out in the 19th Century: one fifth owning four fifths.

As soon as a society reaches a certain size, this two classes split again and again and again, still according to the 80/20 rule. no BS, wealth managers use this power-law curve for marketing research.

The Greeks and the Romans tried several times to solve this problem by a completely different approach: "you wealthy enough to afford a horse for war? then you have to buy your own and we'll call you a knight and we will honor your additional and extended military service." and "you wealthy enough to buy an entire fleet? one of the top 100, 200, whatever? then we'll call you a senator and expect you to be a public (and scrutinized) person eligible to lead the republic and to pay for any exceptional expenses like wars, disasters, famines, etc. The idea behind it was that if the top 400 are not in the senate than their puppets will.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:03 | 2916050 BigJim
BigJim's picture

This led to the warlord-ism of the triumverate (remember Crassus?) and the eventual tyranny of the Caesars.

But perhaps you have some stouter Rubicon in mind?


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:15 | 2916231 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Remember how many of the communist regimes fell? All human endeavours are limited, after all. But polities have to understand their mistakes before they can try to correct them.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:31 | 2916125 Tango in the Blight
Tango in the Blight's picture

If people don't fight to preserve their freedom they lose it. And our children en grandchildren will damn us for our inactivity and will have to fight to regain their freedom. It's how it's always has gone down in thousands of years of history. Our folly is that we think that we have outgrown history, that we now live in the land of middle class luxury and happiness forever. But history will eventually catch up with us.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:34 | 2916135 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Re-distribution of wealth is theft. How do you justify that? 

If you have problems with access by the wealthy and the favors provided through crony capitalism- fine, you list your solutions. However, theft penalizes the producer as well as the parasite. It makes no distinctions and is entirely subjective according to which power group does it. 

This kind of thinking is morally reprehensible and economically destructive for ALL classes. Like all simple thoughts, it sounds great until you consider the ramifications. 

There has always been a debtor class and always will. Someone is always willing to trade future earnings for present goods and another will provide those goods for a fee. If you want to level the playing field, you eliminate State government and the opportunity to acquire power and influence through the domination of a few representatives.

Power must be decentralized to the extent it reduces any leadership to the role of advisors. Otherwise, those with the willingness and drive to gain control will. Some still will gain power and influence, but there circle will be diminished by opportunity and the resolution of your neighbors. 

There are no simple answers, but there are simple strategies that work to frustrate the acquisition of power. Decentralization, sound money, free markets and liberty.  This is not a panacea, just something preferable to the fascism of today.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:04 | 2915748 cornedmutton
cornedmutton's picture

Democracy implicitly promises a "level playing field" of meritocracy, where talent, drive and hard work open opportunities for advancement.


Explain, please. I don't understand how mob rule implies what you say it does.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:08 | 2915758 HangSorosHigh
HangSorosHigh's picture

People go to great lengths to pretend there's some difference between "democracy" and "mob rule".

Democracy, mobocracy, mob rule, ochlocracy, kakistocracy, ineptocracy. It's all the same, just different names.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:16 | 2915773 malikai
malikai's picture

Mobocracy has a nice ring to it..

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:09 | 2915903 Manthong
Manthong's picture

“Democracy implicitly promises a "level playing field" of meritocracy, where talent, drive and hard work open opportunities for advancement”

Good piece CHS, but you are way off on that point.

That lowest common denominator perspective gets you EBT cards and Obamaphones.  

The representative republic with arms-length relationships between national and self-interested democratically elected state legislatures, all based in a limited, principled (God-acknowledging) federal government as envisioned by our founders will allow people to be protected from the state and  fairly rewarded for merit.  

The 17th Amendment, the personal Income Tax and the Federal Reserve Act (all in 1913) killed the promise of the United States of America as established in the original Constitution.

This is not debatable.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:45 | 2915867 spooz
spooz's picture

So you prefer an aristocracy?  Whoever has the biggest pile gets to make the rules?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:18 | 2916249 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

is called plutocracy

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:39 | 2916324 odatruf
odatruf's picture

In theory, so long as the democracy is limited by inalienable rights that can not be changed or waived, there is a distinction. Without them, there isn't.


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:56 | 2916785 cornedmutton
cornedmutton's picture

Yes, and we generally call the charter the enshrines these truths the Constitution, and the formation of The People for which it is errected, The Republic.


But that's all over now.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:06 | 2915752 HangSorosHigh
HangSorosHigh's picture

Both capitalism and democracy promise the opportunity for upward mobility.

Democracy just promises more moochers voting themselves my money.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:44 | 2915864 spooz
spooz's picture

Capitalism promises free markets where wealth accumulation buys cronies in government who will change the rules if you need a bailout. Unless you think there is the possibility of an economy without laws, in which case you are dreaming.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:03 | 2915910 Overfed
Overfed's picture

Actually you're describing fascism and corruption.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:08 | 2915754 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

more tripe, in order to do business in any system, there needs to be a reliable set of laws and contracts, even more important is real consequences for bad behavior AT ALL LEVELS of society.

The courts can insure this occurs, or the mob will, your choice sheeple.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:13 | 2915767 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Who selects the judges?  Judges have been known from time to time to be biased and even openly corrupt.   I don't want an oligarch selecting the judges who decide what justice means for the little guy, do you?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:20 | 2915787 CH1
CH1's picture

I don't want an oligarch selecting the judges who decide what justice means for the little guy, do you?

Ummm... hello? That is precisely what you have now!

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:23 | 2915800 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

How so?  We elect our judges in Florida.  Even Supreme Court justices are nominated by elected officials.   Take away elections and what are you left with?  Oligarchs.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:37 | 2915843 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Here come da Judge, Here come da Judge.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:44 | 2915863 CH1
CH1's picture

Take away elections and what are you left with?

Can I give it a try?

Hint: Thomas Hobbes was full of shit. Government is not our savior. In your words: Government is "THEM".

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:10 | 2915921 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Government is "them" because we've allowed it to happen.  It does not need to be.   As for giving a try to no elected government, pick up a history book.  You'll find thousands of years worth of examples of what happens.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:22 | 2915945 CH1
CH1's picture

Government is "them" because we've allowed it to happen.  It does not need to be.

Government is a group of men with the 'right' to use force on everyone else, and to prevent anyone else from using force. That is inherently immoral, insane and dangerous.

In point of fact, it is slavery, albeit a slavery that its victims reflexively worship.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:07 | 2916057 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

A more recent example includes Belgium, and nothing went wrong there.  They managed just FINE with nothing but the "caretaker" government in place.

As a species, our capabilities change over time--a "free" municipal organizational unit can be established and maintained today even in the absence of "high-ranking" governmental officials.  It's worth spending some time reading about the assorted MODERN anarchic structures which have been successful.

The only time you really *need* massive governments controlling nation-states is when you've got to have a war, and we'd all be better off with that shit.

When was the last time we've had to fight a war?  All the recent ones were completely optional.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:36 | 2916143 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Belgium is not a democracy; it is two halves of a democracy. Belgium has undergone reforms that have transferred powers to regions and communities. This has caused serious constitutional restrictions. For example a Fleming cannot vote for a Walloon unless he lives in the area.  A politician can win federally, but then he has to come to agreement at the federal level with people who are not at all in agreement which causes paralysis.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:21 | 2916266 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

Two halves, a double democracy, whatever: better or worse? More centralized or decentralized? Going to secede or not?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:48 | 2916357 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

More decentralized but more paralyzed.  I don't know whether they will secede or not, you know that house divided thingy.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:47 | 2915870 Overfed
Overfed's picture

O'bomb-a is an oligarch. He will fill any Supreme Court vacancy with an ultra-commie, anti-liberty, wealth re-distribushionist. Unfortunately, so would Ro-money. The problem is that Americans in general are so fucking stupid that they will vote for candidates at all levels who are obvious liars and panderers who tell them what they want to hear and offer them more free shit. What needs to change is who gets to vote.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:37 | 2915828 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

The biggest problem we have with Judges is Judicial activism, especially from the left.  Many rulings have been based on personal or political considerations, rather than on the law.  I'm not sure what the solution is, but judges need to be judged by some sort of review process.  If they don't follow the law, they need to be removed from their positions.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:41 | 2915857 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Judges of all political persuasions see the law according to their view.  Anyone who has even a passing interest in the law knows that there are almost always two ways to look at any issue.   It is a complete (republican talking point) myth that "liberal" judges are activists and that "conservative" judges are not.  They both are.   But I do agree with you that it is critical that judges have oversight from the population.   In the U.S., we have these three branches of government and elections that -- in proper form -- keep the corruption and activism to a minimum.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:48 | 2915869 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Justice Roberts was a prime case of judicial activism on the right.  Interesting how the rulings ALWAYS go left.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:25 | 2915926 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Really?  What about Bush "winning" the contested 2000 election on pure partisan lines (5 republican appointed justices carrying the 5-4 majority)?  Or Citizens United, in which the five "conservative" members all decided that major corporations can give unlimited money to political campaigns, while all four "liberal" members said no.    Or do you only define activism to mean decisions with which you disagree?  If so, you could work for Fox News, Drudge Report, Limbaugh, etc.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:03 | 2916014 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Both were strictly Political cases, the Repubs voted for their side and the Dems voted for their side.  What did you expect?    The chads in FL were recounted to death.  I voted for harry Browne, but I'm glad we didn't get Gore.  You don't like the citizens united decision, but it levels the playing field and allows both Corps and Unions to donate.  I think donations should only be made by US citizens and limited to something like $100 per person.  Let them debate and win or lose on issues.  For things to be "fair", the MSM would also have to be neutral,  instead we've seen (blatantly with Obama) that they are propaganda wing of the Democrat party.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:08 | 2915915 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

Former CIA agent John Kiriakou pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to crimes related to blowing the whistle on the US government’s torture of suspected terrorists and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Kiriakou, 48, agreed to admit to one count of disclosing information identifying a covert agent early Tuesday, just hours after his attorney entered a change of plea in an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom outside of Washington, DC.

liberal, conservative,'s all sooooooo confusing. could we just settle on criminal?


Kiriakou was originally charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 after he went public with the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of waterboarding on captured insurgents in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. On Monday morning, though, legal counsel for the accused former CIA agent informed the court that Kiriakou was willing to plead guilty to a lesser crime.

Initially, Kiriakou pleaded not guilty to the charge that he had outted two intelligence agents directly tied to the drowning-simulation method by going to the press with their identities.

As RT reported last week, defense attorneys had hoped that the government would be tasked with having to prove that Kiriakou had intent to harm America when he went to the media. Instead, however, prosecutors were told they’d only need to prove that the former government employee was aware that his consequences had the potential to put the country in danger.

Had Kiriakou been convicted under the initial charges filed in court, he could have been sentenced to upwards of five decades behind bars.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:09 | 2915918 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

So what is your point?  In the end all eCONomies are local.  In that regard, let it all crash, I know the real value of my labor and that of my employees.  What you want is fucking irrelevant.  Don't like it, do something about it, either way will require that you get your tribe in order.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:38 | 2916148 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

    In the end all eCONomies are local.

That's nonsense.  My current employer is headquartered about 3000 miles away.  My bank is about a 2 hour drive from me. 

Granted most of my income is spent locally, but that's only because I'm pretty poor.  If I were making the kind of money I did a few years back, my single biggest use of money would be to have some nameless faceless schmoe (who could literally be anywhere in the developed world) hold on to it for me and shuffle it around from one "investment" to another.

There's nothing "local" about that stuff.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:17 | 2915777 toady
toady's picture

Rule of law has broken down.

When the uber-rich and corporations can pay to have any law they want then there is no rule of law.

People complain about the ones who 'vote themselves benefits' but I believe the ones who write their own benefits are the real danger

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:11 | 2915922 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

No shit.  Did you have a point or a solution?  All eCONomies are local, period.  I say crash this joke of a "market".  I know the real value of my employees and our business.  Fucking bring it.  Get you tribe in order now.  No one survives what is coming on their own.  Look at history, same as it ever was.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:30 | 2915973 toady
toady's picture

My point was to provide an answer to your questions regarding enforcement of contracts and why there aren't consequences for bad behavior.

I agree there is no fix for this... hopefully there will be some sort of peaceful debt jubilee, but I doubt it.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:08 | 2915756 toady
toady's picture

That's what I'm doing with my kids. They all have houses I bought for them. They all got scholarships, but I'm filling in the holes that the scholarships don't cover (beer & pizza money)

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:40 | 2915858 duo
duo's picture

California was clearly neo-feudal back in the '80s.  I was a relatively well paid young engineer and housing was going up faster then I could save for a down paymen (you needed one back then), and rents were high.  The only people my age that owned houses were given huge down paymennts from their parents.  Prop 13 had created a class of feudal land owners, and everybody else had to rent from them.

Liar loans and 0 down payments eventually freed up the ponzi to the latecomers, and we know how that turned out.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:21 | 2916260 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

back in the day, the sure-fire way to succeed was to get married - parents gifted the down payments, paid for lavish honeymoons, score on the presents from invited "guests" and just sit it out for a couple years, get divorced, count the spoils. . .

I remember all my high school friends pairing off and working this scam, albeit with the belief that "love" was involved - but every single one was divorced within 7 years, and working on the next leg up. . .

(and most of 'em were dudes who married girls with family money, before you start with the typical moans)

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:40 | 2916329 toady
toady's picture

It works in the long-con too. All four of my brothers and sisters did as you say, except no divorce, and now they all live in houses they inherented from in-laws.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:13 | 2916633 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

folks would do well to acknowledge these facts.

I know many people who believe their hard work and smarts are responsible for their position on the ladder, and never acknowledge their parent's assistance when the car went tits up, or a random medical bill tore through the meager savings, etc.

but ooh lofty advisors when discussing others in their circle, heh.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:08 | 2915757 Gamma735
Gamma735's picture

Welcome to the NEW Normal, citizen.  Would you like to know more?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:22 | 2915794 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

I'm doing *my* part!

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:27 | 2915816 Orly
Orly's picture

Thanks for the Starship Troopers reference.  Loves it!

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:19 | 2915780 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

    Capitalism offers upward mobility to anyone with a profitable idea or productive skillset and work ethic.

Nah.  It offers *potential* for upward mobility. 

But most people aren't particularly TALENTED at navigating the world of business, and just end up receiving some token reward from more effective businesspeople who achieve the upward mobility by exploiting the ideas and skillsets of others.

Most folks in a capitalist system are best thought of as livestock.  There are plowhorses, sheep, and hogs.  The "famer" could be any of the three, but he just had the good fortune to be born into "ownership" or gifted enough to ascend from his initial position through competition.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:19 | 2915786 sangell
sangell's picture

The solution is DINKism where you do not have children. Then you can accumulate wealth. You don't have to buy a home in a good school district or pay for private schooling. No heavy out of pocket monthly health insurance premiums to include the kids on you company health plan. Both income earners are free to concentrate on their careers.

The underclass can breed and produce their social misfits and the DINK will have enough money to retreat to their gated community and put enough distance and police between themselves and the street mayhem the new barbarians are engaged in.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:49 | 2915875 toady
toady's picture


I know more than a few people doing that. Some stopped at one kid so they could have the best of both worlds.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:19 | 2916091 General Decline
General Decline's picture

There was a documentary film released on that a while ago. It's called Idiocracy

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:19 | 2915788 A Middle Child ...
A Middle Child of History's picture

The Fourth Turning is unfolding before our eyes. A generation of Boomers is about to find our that those whose futures they stole to pay for their middle class largesse, are not going to give a shit about "promised" govt entitlements; and those whom they expected to leave holding the bag are young enough to put them in their place. We, whose futures were stolen before we were even born, will sacrifice and do horrible things so that one day our own children will have a future.

Boomers, you have been warned.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:29 | 2915818 Orly
Orly's picture

Mucho dittoes!

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:41 | 2915860 cluelessminion
cluelessminion's picture

I've been saying for a long time that the idea that "future generations" have been saddled with diminished lifestyles because of the currernt generations behavior is not taking into account a few facts.


Ane those facts are that the young people now days HAVE NO INTENTION of paying off any of these debts.  Hell, they can't even pay their own debts much less any one elses.  And one can just sense the seething resentment just beneath the surface.  Resentment at why they should they have to live with less while prior generations had so much more.  And like Middle Child says, they will cut the entitlements, and pull the rug from under the presently clueless baby boomers.  Remember these young people where given pretty much everything growing up.  They don't understand doing without and sacrifice.  It will not be a pretty picture, seeing these selfish brats literally throw grandma under the bus.  But that's whats going to happen.  Really no way around it.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:25 | 2916110 General Decline
General Decline's picture

" these selfish brats literally throw grandma under the bus"

Literally? I'd like to see some video of that.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:12 | 2916066 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

In the 4th turning, both boomers and millenials get the shaft, we go to war led by Gen X and fought by the millenials.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:27 | 2916117 A Middle Child ...
A Middle Child of History's picture

Exactly my point. But who will we go to war with? Iran? China? A draft? Really? The Millennials and Gen-Xers might not seem too sophisticated but have some hypocrite Boomers try a draft when their own generation refused to go, to fight some war against the entire Middle East, and you will not just have college demonstrations but outright revolution.

We always had the shitty deal in life. What will we be fighting for? Our future is already gone and we have nothing to lose. No, our war will be fought here, the haves against the have-nots, and those in power know it. Why else the police state being built around us, the hundreds of millions of bullets, and the thousands of drones? Generational theft has helped stoke the resentment, and it is too late to correct now.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:48 | 2916169 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

It's never too late to correct.  Boomers and Millenials both have a certain amount of entitlement mentality.  One thru being born in good times and the other being younger children raised by boomers after realizing they left Gen x alone to fend for themselves.  They over compensated, helicoptered over them and created a generation that can't function without direction.  That's where Gen x takes the lead in the war, that war will be global and it will be against the failed nanny states of the past.  That's the way I read the 4th turning.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:15 | 2916225 SoNH80
SoNH80's picture

Gen X is the toughest of the generations in the current stable, with the exception of the WWII Generation folks, who are now on the far slopes of old age.  Raised by teevee, with booze and Dexatrim addled parents obsessed with the latest in Japanese electronics and European luxury trinkets, we were out in a world made dangerous by druggies, child molesters, and apathetic authority figures (teachers, etc.).

The NICEST generation, and the most sensible, is the Silent Generation of the 50's-early 60's.  They are great to talk to, and full of useful guidance and information.  They participated in the development of the first wave computer and space technologies (they were the guys in flat tops and Ban-Lon shirts chain smoking at Mission Control), and they have a sense of fair play that is lacking among those of other age groups.

The dumbest generation are the Millenials.  They were indeed the younger sisters and brothers of Gen X, coddled in the 90's boom with material affluence and idiotic entertainments (Barney the Dinosaur, cheesy commercial rap music), and seem adrift and generally ignorant of history, high politics, economics, anything other than teevee trivia and computers.  There are a few exceptions, but they are rare.

I don't have kids, don't plan on having kids.  Among my friends, nearly all that do are independently wealthy, by inheritance or marriage.  Lower-middle-class married friends tend to do the DINK thing, a wise choice.  Poor friends just don't care, and procreate early and often.  If you think the shithouse is going up in flames now, try 2032 on for size.  It is almost a crime to force a new being into this maelstrom. 

P.S.  7,000,000,000 and counting.  Automation, massive overpopulation in the worst places (Africa, Mooslim Belt), least capable of providing agricultural and industrial goods, and with a tendency to send the unfortunates to the Western World as refugees and/or malcontents.  Declining social cohesion in the West-- the Elite views contempt for the lower orders, Flag, and Country to be the thing to do.  The future in the U.S. is Manhattan/Beverly Hills/Palm Beach vs. Youngstown/Camden/Baltimore, with Silicon Valley buzzing in the stratosphere to give false hope and teevee soma. 

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:57 | 2916186 Tango in the Blight
Tango in the Blight's picture

It will be like the end V for Vendetta, they may have all the guns and the bullets but will they have the will to shoot at their own pissed off countrymen when they show up in large enough numbers?

This is also how it went down in Russia in August 1991 when hardliners took over the reigns of power, the people became mad and took to the streets and the Red Army couldn't do anything to stop it (they killed a few men but that only made the crowd angrier and more determined). It ended the coup pretty quickly and was the death knell for the old order.


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:32 | 2916311 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

there's no need for a "draft" - that's old skool.  there's a volunteer military that takes all comers, and even entices foreigners to "serve" with a green card promise. . .

add the fact that the military has all kinds of new ways to kill and terrorise humanity, including drones, biowarfare, weather manipulation to create disasters & deplete food supplies, etc. - and you'll quickly realise, it's all ticking along just fine.

"boomers" aren't the majority in the labs creating these new strains of airborne "flu" or tick diseases, or GMO-seeds, that's for the new kids on the block to experiment with.  

these labels are distractions, as always.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:20 | 2915790 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Democracy works fine, so long as you decouple it from 'universal suffrage'. Once you give people who have no skin in the game the right to skin others, you're on a long slippery slope down.

I'm not in favour of money or property as the determinant; I'd prefer to see some evidence of discipline. Two years of national service - military, Peace Corps, etc - in a disciplined setting - getting up each morning before 7:30, having to do some real work each day, keep your bunk/room tidy, etc. - would get you a vote. If you prefer to hang out on the corner smoking choom, or getting knocked up at 17 so you can move out and have your own apartment - well, that's your choice, but no vote for you.

No bypass for college or university - you make the committment to your country, or you don't get a say. I'll go so far as to say you can do it in, say, 3 or 6 month stints, starting when you're 18. You pick the 3-month option, you don't get to vote until you're 26.

Letting children vote at 18 is ludicrous. Most states won't even trust them enough to let them buy alcohol at the age, but they should have a say in running the country?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:35 | 2915839 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

If the previous generation didn't prepare 18 year olds for adulthood, it's kinda silly to blame the young.  They're the victims.

As for your fantasies about democracy: forget it.  You can't run a government democratically once the population reaches a certain size.  The vast majority of the concerned parties are never going to put in the time or effort to understand the issues they're needed to vote on.

Democracy is about the people deciding for themselves how they want to structure their communities.  The USA has never tried such an approach--we've ALWAYS been a republic with representatives whose primary priority is to protect the assets of the wealthy.  The guys who designed this system knew what they were doing. 

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:59 | 2915896 Overfed
Overfed's picture

De-centralization is the answer, not a bigger, more intrusive, socialist government.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:57 | 2916034 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Agreed, but it can only come from the bottom up, which is why anarchy is the best approach.

As long as you continue to elect politicians, government will continue to grow.  If Romney wins, he's not going to shrink FEDGOV.  Not only doesn't the President have that authority, it's not even in his own best interests to diminish the size of the world's single biggest consumer.

There's too much money at stake.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:06 | 2916054 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

The President doesn't have authority to grow the Fed Govt?  That what the entire debate with Obamacare is about, complete Federal control of the Healthcare system.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:13 | 2916069 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

You should read more carefully.  It's relatively easy for POTUS to GROW FEDGOV.  What I wrote was that he doesn't have the authority to SHRINK the Federal Government.

You'll find out soon enough if your boy is lucky enough to win.

Government has NEVER shrunk under the "small government" mouthpieces.  They're just lying to you.  (It's amazing that this *still* isn't understood by some people.  Uy.  Fire is hot, yanno?)

[EDIT: I just realized this is a waste of time.  If you really believe "Obamacare" is about complete government control of health-care, you're beyond any hope of understanding my perspective.  That's just fantasy-land.]

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:17 | 2916086 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Complete government control of health-care for everyone but the very wealthy.  He said he would throw out Obamacare, that's premptively cutting future growth.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:46 | 2916347 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

"He said"

once you realise the futility in even listening to "he" let alone hoping/believing in what "he says" - then perhaps you'll be able to dis-engage from their imposed reality.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:22 | 2916094 Overfed
Overfed's picture

I'm not opposed to some anarchy. It might just do us some good.

As to electing politicians, see my earlier post in this thread.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:35 | 2915841 Orly
Orly's picture

"Two years of national service - military, Peace Corps, etc - in a disciplined setting - getting up each morning before 7:30, having to do some real work each day, keep your bunk/room tidy, etc. - would get you a vote."

Yet another Starship Troopers reference!  Awesome!

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:41 | 2915856 RKDS
RKDS's picture

If you can't vote, you shouldn't get taxed.  I know that's not going to sit well with the irresponsible boomers salivating at every new scheme to unilaterally saddle the following generations with even more of their bar tabs but they can get bent.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:47 | 2915873 CH1
CH1's picture

If you can't vote, you shouldn't get taxed.

Please, please, please can I get that deal?

Looking desperately for an exit from this madness....

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:59 | 2915898 Overfed
Overfed's picture

Or, conversely, if you don't pay taxes, you can't vote. I like that one.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:49 | 2915877 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

The other step to create a stable society is you need a pressure valve like a the frontier where a lot of malcontents can go off and live unencumbered by government.  

Right now that is missing in the US.   We need a colony in Antarctica or we need to get into space to regain that pressure valve. 



Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:15 | 2916365 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

amrka was founded on that "we need a colony" bullshit, and having exterminated the prior inhabitants, are now whining about needing a new nest to shit.

what is needed is an evolution of being, but that won't happen because no one wants to grow up, they just want a new space to defile.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:21 | 2915944 aerojet
aerojet's picture

There is no way you can cut it such that it would ever come to a good result--you might as well just let everyone vote and call it good.  Military service?  Please!  Get over yourself, already!  Some military people have discipline, but none of the ones I have ever met are what I would call truly smart--they lead, they follow, but they don't impress me as being creative and all have statist tendencies, and most have fascist tendencies.

And what business of it is yours or anyone else's what time someone gets up each morning?  I wrote a whole dissertation between the hours of 10pm and 2am, should I not have the freedom to choose when I do my best work?  Should I have to fit into some tight little box of your making just to suit some arbitrary measure of what 'good' means?  Fuck off.

Committment to country--what a fucking joke that is!  This "country" has killed off millions of its citizens for quite dubious purposes.  A free man is not a man who is available to be sacrificed by some Politburo whenever it is deemed necessary to do so.

Lastly, drinking laws are a vestige from Prohibition (a completely evil period in US history where government was badly misused to force the will of a tiny moralizing minority upon the majority) in conjunction with the insurance industry.   Voting age is set appropriately, despite what you think (and despite that voting matters so little in real terms in the US these days).





Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:03 | 2916049 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

The fact that you can't reply without profanity, and without dismissing your country in general, and voting in particular, makes me wonder:

1) Why would you want to vote?

2) Do I want someone who hates the country choosing its leaders? If you hate it so much, you'll probably end up choosing bad leaders just to see it go down the drain.

I don't care that your dissertation on wymmyn's studies was written in the wee small hours. But I do care if you expect me to pay for your housing, health care and weed while you loll about. The correlation between people who get up early every morning (not including those on shift work) and being employed (i.e. useful) is extremely high. You might be an exception, though I rather doubt it.  

I have also met many members of the military, and I'm not so quick to generalize as you are. If you think the military is generally fascist, go spend some time on Daily KOS or HuffPost, and drop a troll supporting Romney. Then sit back, and see how the kind-hearted and gentle "liberals" put your military fascists to shame in both viciousness and hypocrisy.

And I didn't say you have to get up every day of your life at 7:30 - I said you have to prove it for two years. A vote should be a privilege, not a right. Giving it to every whining school kid who thinks the 'rich' owe him/her a living is a recipe for disaster. As we have seen almost everywhere across Europe, and here in North America, letting people vote themselves other people's money ends up in debt and disorder. Maybe that's what you want for your country; it's not what I want for mine.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:04 | 2916411 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

your country.

Rape within the US military has become so widespread that it is estimated that a female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. So great is the issue that a group of veterans are suing the Pentagon to force reform. The lawsuit, which includes three men and 25 women (the suit initially involved 17 plaintiffs but grew to 28) who claim to have been subjected to sexual assaults while serving in the armed forces, blames former defence secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates for a culture of punishment against the women and men who report sex crimes and a failure to prosecute the offenders.

Twenty-six active-duty soldiers are believed to have committed suicide in July, more than double the number reported for June and the most suicides ever recorded in a month since the U.S. Army began tracking detailed statistics on such deaths.


During the first seven months of this year, there were 116 suspected suicides among active-duty soldiers, compared to 165 suicides for all of last year, the Army said. The military branch reported 12 likely suicides during June.

A law firm that represented a former Boy Scout who had been the victim of child sexual abuse on Thursday released a large online volume containing more than 1,200 fileson Scoutmasters and other volunteers accused of pedophilia or sexual abuse. The files span some 20 years, from 1965 to 1985, and are part of a record compiled by the Boy Scouts of America with the intention of keeping abusers out of scouting and away from vulnerable youth. The full record is believed to date back as far as the mid-1920s and may involve as many as 100,000 children.

The recent, scathing report by former FBI director Louis Freeh detailing the cover-up of child-sexual abuse at the highest levels of Penn State‘s leadership has been parsed a million ways, but the question still remains: How could these intelligent and dedicated men have failed so dramatically to defend young children, while going overboard to protect their public image, their football, their Jerry, their JoePa?

your cunt-tree is fucked up dude, and I don't need a "dissertation on wymmyn's studies" to understand this. 

the feminazi's ruined yer cunt-tree.


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:33 | 2916131 General Decline
General Decline's picture

Perhaps. If only voting actually mattered.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 19:07 | 2917044 psychobilly
psychobilly's picture

"Two years of national service - military, Peace Corps, etc - in a disciplined setting - getting up each morning before 7:30, having to do some real work each day, keep your bunk/room tidy, etc. - would get you a vote."

Parasite, go find an honest way to make a living.  One that doesn't involve sponging off others, and where people actually engage your services on a voluntary basis instead of under duress. 

Paying taxes in and of itself is having skin in the game, not to mention owning property, a business, etc.  Being a parasite living off of other people's taxes (in the military, Peace Corps, etc.) who are captive tax cows because they have a gun pointed at their head, is not.  And neither is it "real [honest] work."

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:23 | 2915798 Rearranging Dec...
Rearranging Deckchairs's picture

This is going to be very unpopular suggestion re redistribution of wealth:


The only kind I would support is a 50% estate tax for estates above $50,000,000, for the purposes of preventing neo-feudalism. As long as you and a spouse are alive and made your wealth you can keep it. After you're both dead I think your heirs can live comfortably but should not have the kind of wealth that basically is a feudal estate wherein they can buy and sell the government.


This is a pragmatic solution because we'll never get to a tax free anarcho capitalist state without a serious SHTF collapse.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:42 | 2915862 SilverRhino
SilverRhino's picture

The ultra wealthy can choose between the estate tax and elimination of trust funds OR they can choose the communist / redistributionist revolution that their actions will make inevitable.   

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:31 | 2915817 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Way the hell off topic, but how come Tyler is not on this one:

The test last week was a complete sucess:

This is a cruise missile, which is difficult to bring down, to say the least; and is a potential game changer. Run one of these in ahead of an invasion/air strike, and your enemy is blind. Like to see a topic worked up on it.

EMP BitChez...


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:19 | 2915938 indio007
indio007's picture

Faraday cage = EMP fail


Should I mention a metamaterial that sends back the microwave as well?

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:14 | 2916236 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

That's why emp's are over-rated in effectiveness.  Park your car and emergency electronics in a 40 ft metal container and you'll be fine.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:30 | 2915820 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

Watching a worthless fucking prick from the oligarchy this morning, Jeff Immelt, saying that he imagines GE's "effective" tax rate will go up next year. This fucker said it with a straight face, although we all know it can't go down because they paid zero last year. This is the kind of shit that passes as rule of law. This fucker should have been immediately beaten to a pulp by the people watching. Just club this fucker with an axe. He represents the worst of crony's. A fucking freeloading pig.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:38 | 2915849 LouisDega
LouisDega's picture

I saw him and Buffett together. 

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:36 | 2915837 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

I think it's a terrible loss that so many - according to the various comments - have lost the sense and have unlearned or never learned the concept and definition of democracy and republic.

Just as a reminder, a democracy is best defined IMHO as the opposite of all the others systems, i.e. Theocracies (rule of a priestly caste), Aristocracies (rule by a caste of "betters"), Communist Regimes (rule by a party, usually around 1% of the population), Plutocracies (rule by a monied class), and so on.

Demos = the people. Rule by the people. Actually there was only one major pure democracy attempt in history: ancient Athens. Interestingly, all councils, parliaments, juries, etc. were drawn by lot - the idea is that any citizen is as good to rule jointly as the other.

Other reminder: a republic is also best defined IMHO as the opposite of all the others systems, i.e. Monarchies, Autocracies, and so on. The key points about republicanism is that nobody is above the citizen, and that the general conduct of the res publica (the public affairs) is guided by republican principles like a constitution that is above the "normal" laws, separation of powers or a similar system of checks and balances (example: the Romans elected collegues that could veto each others) and so on, including the principle of "government by laws, not men".

Somehow this has been lost, perhaps by the fact that the two major parties in the US are called after two principles and so seem to embody the two. 

Now please, don't think that I want you to stop mocking democracy. The only thing I'd like to remind you is that people died fighting for it, in the hope that their descendents would live free. Because up to now, only countries with republican and democratic principles have generated freedom from tyranny. (I'm not saying that other systems or "non-systems" can't work, just noting the lack of historic examples) And people are still fighting for it in several countries of this world. Though one word of warning: it's not a given. Every generation has to contribute. It's not a free lunch. Tyranny lurks in every shadow.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:55 | 2915884 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

    generated freedom from tyranny.

The USA has never been "free" of tyranny.  We've shuffled around various groups of slaves since the day the Declaration was written.

Let's not kid ourselves. 

This is the most free Americans have ever been, as long as you specify that when you say "Americans" you mean those top 10,000 folks (or whatever) who own the planet.  They can do hecka lot more TODAY than ever before.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:27 | 2916505 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

upvoted, with a wry grin.

This is the most free Americans have ever been, as long as you specify that when you say "Americans" you mean those top 10,000 folks (or whatever) who own the planet.

a ring of AnAnonymous to it, *nods*

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:23 | 2915955 aerojet
aerojet's picture

By those terms, the US bears absolutely no resemblance to a democracy.  I would say it is a mix of Plutocracy and aristocracy, with just a tiny smattering of democracy thrown in to fool most people.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:17 | 2916075 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

Not quite so. The Athenians only let males who'd completed military training vote (Aerojet from above, please take note. I'm not the only person who thinks this). From Wikipedia: (yeah, not the best source, but this mirrors what I studied elsewhere)

Only adult male Athenian citizens who had completed their military training as ephebes had the right to vote in Athens. The percentage of the population (of males) that actually participated in the government was about 20%. This excluded a majority of the population, namely slaves, freed slaves, children,and women. The women had limited rights and privileges and were not really considered citizens. They had restricted movement in public and were very segregated from the men.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:26 | 2916499 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

hehehe, this is something quite heretic, nowadays, but I agree - IMO a male citizen should have the right to vote and be conscripted in both peace training and war. this was quite the standard here in continental europe until not long ago

a female citizen? the Spartans solved that dilemma by giving political rights to the mothers of warriors. debatable, eh? ;-)

one of my friends used to say to that: "we should compart every government (function) in a male-only and a female-only part. the first decides how much has to be spent while the second decides how it has to be spent"

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:36 | 2916545 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

as long as you only allow dicks to make the rules, then you'll be ruled by dicks.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 17:00 | 2916801 FrankDrakman
FrankDrakman's picture

so long as you allow cunts to make the rules, you'll be ruled by cunts.

e.g. Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Bawney Fwank

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 06:20 | 2917976 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture


Having read a few of your posts on this thread... (never before and never again....)

i have to say, 'without fear of retribution'... as my old sarge used to say...

- that you like to dress up in womens dresses and lingerie.

dont deny it, i know.


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:53 | 2915851 Mercury
Mercury's picture

Democracy implicitly promises a "level playing field" of meritocracy, where talent, drive and hard work open opportunities for advancement.

No it doesn't, the (US) constitution implicitly promises a "level playing field" to everyone whom it applies to (formerly limited to land owning and/or white males or whatever).

What democracy implies is that 51% of the people, unless otherwise restricted, can vote themselves stuff. Surely some of your middle class criteria aren't being met by as many families as they should be because of crony capitalist forces but they also aren't being met because we have previously voted ourselves "security" at the expense of liberty and control. 

The middle class can't eat their government provided cake and their hard asset/generational wealth/upward mobility cake too. 

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:12 | 2915920 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

advice for new college grads.. apply for every credit card and max them out in gold, silver, scotch, guns and canned food..  then claim bankruptcy before you earn anything.  You don't need credit in your life anyway


Then after 7 years or so you will be in a great position to buy a house with plenty of downpayment if you so choose



Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:31 | 2915974 aerojet
aerojet's picture

That's pretty shitty advice.  Gold and Silver are pretty tiny markets, they could realistically tank.  Guns are a shitty investment, so is Scotch--is there any market at all for collectible Scotch?  WTF?  That's got to be an even tinier market than collecting Lego sets!  Canned food?  Yeah, there's something that only appreciates in value...

You are assuming price inflation, and that assumption may come back to bit you in very unexpected ways. 

Declaring personal bankruptcy is never a good idea, never, under any circumstances should it be considered as a viable strategy outside of sheer desperation. 

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:25 | 2916113 Overfed
Overfed's picture

Yeah, buying treasuries and stocks is the smart money! /s


Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:14 | 2916456 RKDS
RKDS's picture

You're right.  I'd suggest people get an LLC, load _it_ up with debt, and file for bankruptcy.  Corporations are people, my friends...but only when it's convenient.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:26 | 2915967 dadichris
dadichris's picture

For students of Japanese political economy there is plenty of evidence that Japan has been a democracy and a free market economy in name only since WW2.  They deliberately maintain this illusion to further trade relations and stay under the defense umbrella of the US.  Based on research, I believe Japan functions as a communal society and a command economy.  This explains why most Western attempts to "explain" things that happen there are usually wrong. That's my 2 bits.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:34 | 2915976 FiDuke
FiDuke's picture

Please let the Ellen Brown links die ( The Myth that Japan is Broke). Read her stuff, especially the stuff she posts to seekingalpha and you'll quickly see why I say this.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:43 | 2915999 Freewheelin Franklin
Freewheelin Franklin's picture

Downward mobility, yes. That's part of the plan. Marx never envisioned such a large middle class. They must be beat down and forced onto gov assistance then that way they will be part of the proletariat.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:53 | 2916022 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

There's no such thing as "middle class."  There's poor, working class, and rich. 

"Middle class" is a myth created solely to placate the working class.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 15:38 | 2916551 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture


"stuck in the middle with you. . ."

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 12:51 | 2916017 Larry Dallas
Larry Dallas's picture

Very prolific and well written.

At what point (as we all ponder on ZH) does democratic capitalism become threatened? That's the real question.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:14 | 2916019 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

it is downward mobility,

FOR SURE, but by whom

largely unnoticed ???

Deliberately ignored is more like it!

I would criticize those who set up "democracy" as a straw man, and then attack it. Clearly, organized criminals were able to subvert "democracy" a long time ago, and transform the real system into a plutocracy. After there is privatized fiat money as debt, which was the system the British Empire was on for a few Centuries, and the American Empire has been on for a Century, all the talk about a "democratically" limited monarchy, or a "democratic" republic was always BULLSHIT.

Likewise, under a system with privatized central banks, able to make money out of nothing, as debts, then talking about free markets or capitalism was always BULLSHIT.

In fact, there is triumphant BULLSHIT, promoted by the biggest bullies, as the dominant social stories that are repeated in public, to explain what our political systems are supposed to be.

What EXISTS is the history of militarism, creating a money system, with level within level of organized crime, controlling governments, and all the rest of society.

There IS real human ecology, and politics IS applied human ecology. However, central to any ecology is always the death controls, the factors which regulate the overall murder system. Those who did that best were also the best at lying about doing it. Therefore, we have all these absurd impossible ideals, promoted by immaculate hypocrites about what we are doing, which were always BULLSHIT.

What we are noticing is what was always there! It was always a runaway triumph of lies, backed by violence, which was always the reality of our political economy. There were times before, when it was not so bad, and not so obvious, and so, the BULLSHIT social stories about it were not so glaringly false.

Welcome to the Fringe Cubed view of the Bizarro Mirror World. The only way to reverse the runaway downward mobility of the vast majority is for political miracles which enable them to understand the murder system enough to radically transform the paradigm that operates that.

I recommend we stop blaming straw man arguments about "democracy" or "capitalism" which never were more than BULLSHIT behind which the plutocracy actually operated, through the triumph of organized crimes, controlling what really happened.

The only way to fix the real problems is to have a more realistic understanding of those realities. ... Of course, from a sublime point of view, it is amusing how paradoxical and practically impossible that is! The necessary intellectual revolution to reverse the trends of runaway downward mobility goes off the scale of anything previously done in human history. However, that is exactly what the progress in science, that made its oxymoronic scientific dictatorship able to usurp politics, with scientifically perfected BULLSHIT, was all about!

From a sublime point of view, it is amusing how progress in science made it possible for social pyramid systems, based on lies, backed by violence, become way, way better, and thereby drive the dual processes of astronomically elevating a few, while driving the downward mobility of so many others.

My preferred image is that we perceive what is already there, namely human society is shaped like a toroidal vortex, which is misunderstood to only be a pyramid.

We already have the top and bottom the pyramid connected, we just do not perceive and understand that to make it work better. Therefore, we now pump the wealth up from the bottom, better than ever before.

The runaway triumph of the social pyramid system has ended up looking like a cartoon, similar to an oil well gusher. The wealth is being very successfully pumped up, indeed, that is practically a geyser! The flip side of that is the downward mobility, or impoverishment, of many, many more, while the pyramidion people are seen to become fantastically more wealthy.

I recommend we understand that more thoroughly, so that we connect the top and bottom of the pyramid better. That is, we should more consciously construct a spherical, toroidal vortex society, with the old social pyramid system used inside of that to construct it. That system already exists, however, the abysmal level of ignorance of the vast majority, brainwashed to believe in BULLSHIT, prevents us from making a greater use of information, and therefore, be enabled to do that better, through a higher consciousness of what is happening.

I do not think I am proposing the impossible. Rather, I am merely recommending a paradigm shift in the way that we perceive what is already happening, so that we could do that somewhat better.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 16:07 | 2916612 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

ahhh, once again. . . I could highlight so many parts of this great rant, but this,

the abysmal level of ignorance of the vast majority, brainwashed to believe in BULLSHIT, prevents us from making a greater use of information, and therefore, be enabled to do that better, through a higher consciousness of what is happening.

most thoroughly explains why opting out of all systemic bullshit spewed by paid shills who support the systemic bullshit, ad nauseum, is the only way "forward" - and that means solo, one at a time, no more groupthink, just be what you know to be true, and see if there's anyOne else similar around you. . . but first, you need to act what you believe, extricate self from all systemic violence, including monetary.

it is indeed a paradigm shift, and it can only happen one at a time.

when are you going to write above the line?      *waiting*

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 10:52 | 2917946 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Thanks again, Cathartes Aura!

You likely are already familiar with the book

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Everything in that book applies more than ever before to changing political science. 


There is runaway downward mobility for most of the world's population, driven by the runaway upward mobility of a tiny elite. That elite has every advantage to keep that going, while the vast majority suffer under every disadavantage when attempting to resist that.

In my opinion, one of the worst problems is that most of the so-called "leaders" of the resistance are merely more controlled opposition, spouting old-fashioned bullshit. Therefore, yet again, we must do it one at a time, since every organization that I am aware of, that gets enough money to become significant, ends up being just more bullshit, driving things backwards, and deadening the efforts to change.

People want change, but they routinely get tricked to vote for and support FAKED change, with Obama being the most recent example of how easily and well that can be done.  We are kind of forced to maintain a leaderless resistance, since every organization that I am aware of, which has more money, ends up with the wrong kinds of "leaders" ... effectively "leading" that into a dead end, or backwards ... e.g. Tea Party, and Occupy movements, etc..

In the end, I think that our own intellectual integrity forces us to not support the vast majority of organizations, and especially those with more money, since those appear to always get compromised to the point which they become perverted practically backwards.

For instance, one can not trust most "environmental" groups anymore, and especially not trust the ones with the most money, since they almost always have been bought off, or have been transformed by their fund raising, to become the opposite to what they started off as, and should still be.

I am not aware of anything comparable in the history of science, as in political science. It is as if, during the debate of whether the Earth was round or flat, that there arose a group with lots of money, that went around saying that the world was a big cube.

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 06:10 | 2917966 BigDuke6
BigDuke6's picture

Keep ranting both of you wonderful people.

I love the phrase 'paradigm shift'

it appeals to my shallow pseudo intellectuallism and that fact alone lets me down as an pseudo intellectual, as any intellectual will tell you.

(i wish we had emoji's on ZH)

but a change of the paradigm is perhaps the only alternative to war as the way to get out of this mess.

when you relaise that both sides of the political bollocks represents debt slavery to the plutocracy surely there is a rage that can be harnessed.

ON the left - debt with keynes and big government and welfare

On the right - debt slavery with austerity and cuts to pay the bondholders.

While i would immediately wrestle an icelander for their whale hunting i'd respect her for their way out of this mess.


Thu, 10/25/2012 - 10:55 | 2918485 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Regarding the Iceland situation:

How to start a revolution: Learn from Iceland!


I liked how that video was put together. BUT, that ONLY worked in Iceland because the CIA can not infiltrate so easily, and so, the banksters have a hard time justifying their bombing Iceland! There was nobody in Iceland to give money to ... in order to start a civil war, which then gave excuses to step in, to "help" that group take control of Iceland. It is ONLY because Iceland is a relatively small and homogeneous society that banksters' usual methods of organized crime tricks failed to work.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 13:13 | 2916070 Towgunner
Towgunner's picture

John Taylor Gatto speaks too much of this, he enlightened me to an old saying "from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves", which was common in some old and forgotten version of America. Basically, social-economic mobility was very common, up and down, the saying referenced what used to be a rather frequent occurrence between generations where one would produce the other would maintain and somewhere along the way it was squandered and thus a return to "shirtsleeves" or work. I'm amazed by the ability to obtain wealth to such a degree that people were truly, not in today's context of liberation, I don't mean liberated to marry someone of the same sex or a horse or to display any number of perverse acts in some parade. Nor do I mean "liberated" from men or the mythical patriarchy. I mean liberated in the truest sense - never having to work. Speaking of women, they are the primary benefactors of this new feudal order. Funny how "they" freely throw around terms such as "level playing field"...or the more revealing phrase kicked around during this election cycle "keep(ing) the field level for [just] women", which in actuality suggests that the opposite, a slanted field, exists. Capitalism is the best thing we can hope for in this reality for a level playing field…born a women and think you’re disadvantaged, well you can say the same thing for an ass-ugly dwarf with bucked teeth, but we don’t see special programs for them do we? Certainly, these antics are deliberate, namely to prevent competition from overzealous upstarts and to keep the entrenched parasites in place. True capitalism doesn’t arbitrarily redistribute wealth at the whim of a tiny bureaucratic minority - a system that, like clockwork, proves to be grossly inefficient resulting in wealth destruction for everyone. Rather it ensures optimal resource distribution. Apparently, this mechanism, which requires little oversight, save for anti-monopoly etc, doesn’t produce fair outcomes such as a proportional % of women or gay owned businesses. I wish Care-Bear stares worked too. Its frustrating today, people have no idea how wealthy this country would be if we didn’t run huge deficits and implement redistribution schemes in the name of social justice. Social justice is Thomas Sowell ascending by his own will and merits. Frankly, by now African Americans would have long since obtained the standard of living in parity with every other ethnic group, Irish, Italian or Chinese etc, had it not been for some “compassionate” people getting them hooked on handouts. Imagine that, no Black Ghettos and rampant gang violence…it would have happened.

Wed, 10/24/2012 - 14:32 | 2916305 Marley
Marley's picture

"Here are the eight "threshold" characteristics of membership in the middle class:"

News Flash!  I'm not in the upper or middle class.  I'm shocked I tell you, shocked.  And adjusted for inflation, I earn less that thirty (Reagan) years ago.  Trickle down didn't work?

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