Will we continue to worship great wealth & allow the morbidly rich to manipulate our nation’s political processes to their own ends? Or will we wake up to the danger of this way of thinking?
Manchin is the dems George Santos, Sinema is an aggressive chamelon who has used the capitalized system to gain great wealth. Can we count on Arizona to get rid of her now she has shown us who she is?
The wealthy new Ghad is the same as their old Ghad: the desperate love of money, wealth, and power. I could not agree more with Hartmann's post.
Noblesse, oblige...if only! Calvin was a jerk; believed we were all born sinners. That money dopamine/serotonin hit? Only lasts for a few seconds then your brain chemistry craters. You end up craving more, the next hit, over and over again. Just like Crack - as Hunter:). Seriously, it is the same brain chemistry hit that alcohol, weed, crack, opioids, meth, porn, money, torture (yes, torture)... you name it... produce. The brain is hijacked by the dopamine/serotonin hit and then, natural brain chemistry shuts down and no longer produces the natural 'feel good' chemicals that we need. We end up addicted ... to all of it! As for Sinema? Where's PETA when you need them?? That disgusting sheepskin she was wearing? Yuck. And, I bet it cost thousands. Kirsten to her campaign manager: "But I really NEED this sheepskin abomination to wear at Davos!" "Ok, here's the campaign credit card.... " Dopamine hit!
Perhaps it is overdue time to consider how the Super Rich, corporate CEOs and other selfannointed leaders are meeting in the center of the Old World to create a parallel system of global governance that effectively by-passes every governing body across the world.
Likewise, looking back at 201-22 and the Covid Experiment with travel and medical controls it is also pertinent to note where the WHO Head Quarters are located (Near Davos) https://www.who.int/about/structure
Along with the recent failure of President Biden's attempt to set a global minimum tax floor https://www.forbes.com/sites/taxnotes/2021/01/14/which-large-us-corporations-would-pay-bidens-15-minimum-tax/?sh=9e10c46265f5 and the recent revelations by Senator Sanders that most of the largest corporation in the US has not paid any federal taxes for years - it's easy to see a compelling, massive amount of dark money meeting in Davos and at WHO in the Center of the EU to create global governance forces that are beyond the control of all voting bodies. https://vermontbiz.com/news/2023/january/13/sanders-gao-study-finds-34-large-profitable-corporations-pay-zero-federal
Indeed, why are they meeting in Davos and trying to decide our individual health choices in Geneva?
As the passes issued to journalist are indicating: You may not listen in unless you agree with us.
This is shameful that we have allowed all ethics, morals and public input to be hidden in such places as Davos and Geneva. Isn't it timely, surely, to unleash a wave of NOT VOTING FOR ANY INCUMBENTS ANYWHERE FOR THE NEXT 80 YEARS until we regain some measure of service and return the funding of the public sphere to the public.
Mr. Hartman citations:
One of the stories out of the Davos Morbidly Rich Support Group meeting in Switzerland yesterday was Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema high-fiving each other, celebrating their success at killing voting rights legislation while preserving massive tax loopholes for banking and fossil fuel industry billionaires.
It’s quite relevant that you mentioned Gordon Gekko (gecko is Afrikaans for lizard) in the movie, Wall Street. That’s the movie that could have exposed the harm of equity hedge fund managers, but it glossed over the harm with a Hollywood ending.
In the movie, Mr. Greed is Good Gecko took apart a small airline. It could’ve been saved, but there was more profit for his hedge fund members if he broke it up, so that’s what he did without regard to the loss of jobs for all the employees. That was modelled on what Carl Icanh did to TWA. In one of his good moments, Larry Summers said this was a direct transfer of wealth from the existing flight attendants to Carl Icahn’s bank account.
And this is standard operating procedure for equity hedge funds if they see the company is more valuable broken up, even though it could be saved for the sake of the employees’ jobs. The Hollywood ending is that the movie gives a false impression that these equity hedge fund managers go to jail for this kind of activity. They don’t— and are worshipped as the Lords of Wall Street precisely for their hyena capitalism, which is your theme in this article.
Bernie Sanders introduced some legislation a few years back to try to curtail some of the more predatory conduct of these equity hedge funds, but it got nowhere because most voters do not understand how these unrestrained equity/ hedge funds contribute to the upward transfer of wealth from the salaried classes to inflate the every expanding billionaire class.
Thank you for telling us about the neurological mechanism that causes the morbidly rich to believe they need more money regardless of the negative externalities they cause. Just like 8 decades ago, they have “…created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction,” and the only way to nullify their powers to control our elected and appointed decision-makers is by making political bribery illegal like it used to be. The best and only “proven” way to make that happen is with the strategic application of persistent nonviolent resistance of 3.5% of us. One thing I think would be instructive is if we could find out which elected officials and candidates acknowledge that the reason our democracy is backsliding into autocracy is because of the powers of corporate personhood (i.e., money is speech, corporations are people and political speech is more equal). Regardless we need to elect a super-plurality of officials who are competent and choose to satisfy their Constitutional pledges to promote our general welfare and protect us from the bad guys who do things adverse to our citizens’ rights and communities’ interests. Otherwise, the morbidly rich sociopaths who run the GOP grifters will pay “new mercenaries…to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. …”
Unfortunately, The Big Short missed the opportunity to disclose that the hedge funds were at the root of the 2009 credit crisis. The banks needed the bailout to pay the hedge funds.
Lewis chose a few of the more colourful hedge fund managers for his protagonists. As you know, they were only a few of the many. John Paulson, to take another, is celebrated for winning his bet against the banks in the title of a book praising him called The Greatest Trade Ever.
The banks made a pure bet with the hedge funds that the housing market would go up. It went down. Billions of taxpayers’ money flowed to the banks then to the hedge funds. This is probably the greatest upward transfer of wealth in a short time in history.
This type of betting that can produce no value to the society, by synthetic derivatives, is still going on with little effective control.
Excellent post today, pointing to the importance of the work of max weber about the Protestant work ethic and its historical impact on our society. For a somewhat fun and pleasant but detailed analysis of weber's work, as well as that of hannah arendt, see the videos posted online by professor Dan Krier at u of iowa. Prof krier is someone i have long wanted to mention to thom. The prof digs into the text, avoids generalizing too much, and uses (his own) drawings to illustrate the points he makes. In addition to the topics thom touches on today, prof krier focuses on arendts view that it was european imperialism that created the ground for the attitudes and politics of what would become fascism / totalitarianism - with many overtones today.
Since you mention Jesus and refer to his teachings, I'll add this comment. Bringing in people like Calvin only muddies the water; in Jesus' day it was the role of the scribes and Pharisees (the religious leaders) to complicate theology (what to believe about God). When these religious experts asked Jesus if Jews should pay tax to the Roman authorities, he asked for a coin. When he saw the image of Caesar on the coin, he said "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what belongs to God". Important distinction; since money's source is out of the earth, it should go back to the earth, but our soul/spirit's source was God, and should be returned to God. So the choice is ours - we can devote ourselves to something that's earthy, or we can use the things of the earth as a platform from which to express our devotion to what will advance our soul/spirit. Where it gets tricky is when you have someone like George Santos, who lies and tries to deceive us. We can be thankful that the media and justice are working diligently to make clear to us what a serpent he is. So interesting that his colleagues in the GOP (most at least) find his behavior acceptable; a sign of where we're headed -- moving away from morality and truth.
So, having lots of money is addictive, just like alcohol, nicotine, opium. Who knew???!!! May Kirsten Sinema and Joe Manchin die in the cold and dark, alone, plagued by some intensely painful, socially unacceptable illness. Credit to the writer TC in LA knew when dealing with production executives.
What's a decent, logical atheist or agnostic supposed to do? It's impossible to talk this through with a true believer. That's especially hard when all that you can think about is these prosperity folks are absolutely nuts!
Please read about Senator Sinema's childhood and studies. I said before, they should make a movie. If she had not gone to the dark side, I would have thought she could run this country. I'm glad she left my party. I saw something that stated she wasn't with the official Davos delegation, she chose to tag-along. UGH!
Davos is a study in paving the road to hell with good intentions. Please read "The Ministry for the Future" by Kim Stanley Robinson. You'll find out what he "does" to the folks attending a future Davos. It's a sci-fi treat, if you can get past the first heart-breaking chapter. The book spans world cultures concerning the climate crisis. The audio book is wonderful, and the readers do some great accents. It takes place circa 2050---Robinson came up with some very interesting possibilities and solutions.
Everything we do is moral or immoral. The root of all evil is a lack of caring. Males are raised to be uncaring, it makes them more of a man. In order to be intelligent one must be right. If you don't have a conscience, you cannot be intelligent. Men are raised to be unintelligent, by the family unit and by the church.
For great social change, all the babies must be raised properly with all their needs being met. No stress or drama. They must be raised all together as Americans first regardless of race and religion would not be permitted until they're 21 years old. Our so-called leaders the last 60 years, have sold us out to the corporatist fascist s.
That is a great article, all Americans should read and think about! Most, could not even comprehend it. Philosopher Kings need to rule the world, not psychopaths, idiots and lunatics.
Thanks for writing that raises awareness of the climate emergency. Did you see James Hansen’s letter from last week predicting 1.5C next year?! Ecological breakdown seems to be happening sooner than anticipated, from global temperatures to ice melt and AMOC feedbacks. The only thing left to do that is proven to bring about social change rapidly is nonviolent direct action on the streets in support of the Declare Emergency campaign this spring in Washington DC. Our simple demand is for Biden to tell the truth and officially declare a state of climate emergency which will unlock government powers to accelerate a transition away from fossil fuels.
Oh, and dispite what FDR alluded to about the constitution’s original purpose, uhm, it was actually about the founding royal class founders managing their risk against civil unrest and making the new country safe for investors. Democracy part was a charade to give everyone hope that they had a voice. This is according to a well researched account of US democracy by John Biewen’s Scene On Radio podcast, Season 4: The Land That Never Has Been Yet. I think you’ll agree, it’s really excellent reporting, after listening to Episode 2: The Excess of Democracy. 👍🏼
You reference the Bible alot. Is it to remind Christians of what it's like to be Christ-like, to show the hypocrisy of the Evangelical right ( and left ) and/or both? Until a problem is acknowledged there is no problem...
Re: building and sharing a new worldview or story to save humanity ... This imperative requires very SIMPLE, concise messages, repeated CONSTANTLY, in many formats, to be effective. Bonus points for having those messages loudly endorsed and repeated by respected influencers within the community, neighborhood, etc.
Robust social marketing is a must. Create the memes & messages, and blast them all over. Thom, you and Lakoff and idk, Reich maybe, Katie Porter and Maddow would be a dream team to kick this off. Please.
Weird. Yesterday I commented somewhere here about "The Chalice and the Blade" popping into my head; which would be "pre-agricultural," speculative (?) archaeological interpretation that these cultures were matriarchal, and by the way, non-warlike. One point of cultural conflict with the Native Americans and white emigrants was that perfectly peaceful Natives understood peaceful interactions as including "sharing" of gifts, which was "stealing" to the whites. After that, the Native American tribes seem very complicated about matriarchy/patriarchy. But a wife in mourning for a relative NOT her husband had a right to give every possession of the household away, as experienced to his dismay by John Young Nelson: "Fifty Years on the Trail." (Univ. of Oklahoma Press) (a treasure!)