Thursday 25th of April 2024

he owned a refrigerator...

spurring the spirit

... He simply noticed that people were replacing instead of repairing, and buying two when one would do, all on money they didn’t have thanks to the exploding consumer credit market. Much of the criticism directed his way seems to have been a case of projection; was it not the consumerists who were the revolutionaries, remaking American life and the American economy overnight?

It was Packard who wondered whether we shouldn’t talk about this first. He was a conservative in the temperamental sense, in the sense that he believed the status quo deserved the benefit of the doubt.

Though it was his denunciations of advertising and consumerism that made him famous, Packard waded into many other topics throughout his writing career, in which his conservative streak also shines.

In The Sexual Wilderness (1968), Packard turned his attention to the Sexual Revolution and its effects on romance and relationships. One of his more data-heavy books, it traces the loosening of sexual mores in ways that now seem quaint. Forty percent of college women, for example, were sexually active—an alarming increase over the previous decade. Packard’s final conclusion—that sex between committed and stable but unmarried partners should be tolerated, but that general promiscuity should not—may seem squishy to rock-ribbed social conservatives. But it is far more conservative than almost anyone on the left, or frankly the right, will allow for today, especially in a mainstream and secular book.

In A Nation of Strangers, published in 1972, Packard presciently warned against the “attrition of communal structure” brought on by Americans’ increasing tendency to move, splitting up extended families and rooted communities. This was often, he noted, a result of corporate ladder-climbing, which required transferring often and all over the country. He recounts an anecdote involving a CEO who forced his entire company to relocate halfway across the country rather than relocate himself.

Packard also decried the suburban trend towards wiping out true public spaces. Two decades before the great mall-building spree of the 1990s, he worried that shopping malls were becoming the only “public” spaces where young people could meet up and hang out. That they were designed to promote consumerism was a feature, not a bug. Packard, it seems, was something of a New Urbanist.

Packard’s prose is rarely moving and sometimes clunky, but he was able to intuit and even predict the anxieties of postwar America better than almost anyone else. Much of what we talk about now, and many of our current anxieties, hearken back to Packard’s popular books. When environmentalist and social critic James Howard Kunstler describes America as “physically arranged on-the-ground to produce maximum loneliness, arranged economically to produce maximum anxiety, and disposed socially to produce maximum alienation”; when activist Annie Leonard denounces the cult of consumption; when sociologist Robert Putnam surveys an America in which we are increasingly “bowling alone”; all are echoing Packard, who saw the downsides and discontents of our new way of living at a time when most people were still discovering its benefits.   

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the greater divide...


The social-media-as-villain narrative is gripping because it plays vividly to our fears. But that is not the only reason it holds such sway. It also lets us collectively off the hook. Why are half of Americans thinking and acting in ways the other half cannot comprehend? Why did one of those halves choose Donald Trump to be their president? Easy, the social media narrative would say: They were brainwashed. They were duped by the bad guys — fake news or Russian robots or big-data-driven algorithmically targeted psi-ops propaganda.

At some fundamental level, they don’t really mean what they are saying, and if only they weren’t so gullible or so vulnerable they would see things our way. To find solutions we don’t need to look at our own behavior, or values, or consumption patterns — we just need to beat the bad guys at the gate.

As tempting as that story is, it is at best incomplete. Like many inflection points in history, this one was probably not caused by any single change, but by the fact that many important changes happened to converge at the same time. The factors that likely matter the most are those that have caused the real experiences of Americans to diverge.

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It's fair that some people in the media be looking at their own navels... Their conclusion on the malaise is a a bit suspect. They forget their own sickness. One of the major "fact" that the general MMMM (mediocre mass media de mierda) was that by supporting Hillary, they left the American populace more divided than ever. The Bias has been thick and sticky. Many people could not trust the media any more, not even for a dog/bus accident. 

The media had not done its job when the war on Saddam was being plotted by the US government. The media loved biffo, sill loves biffo and carries on with biffo in regard to the Russian/Trump so-called connection, some of which existed but was legal, but none actually interfered with the elections. Despite making noises to a rapprochement with the Russians DURING THE election process, the Russians had nothing to gain by interfering, because they knew (it was not a secret) The Donald was as mad as the other one, in the same proportion the American public knew about it. It was one of the most wicked choice. Bernie Sanders was the only choice for America's and the world's future. The Murdoch media would not let this happen... The Democrats' machine would not let this happen. The "liberal" media would not let this happen. They had their first "female" President they glorified beyond belief and she was going to be a shoe in. The Murdoch media was playing a different tune. The social media was divided equally, though rabidly, but then the "liberal" media and the Murdoch media were both infuriating...

Advertising both candidate was promoting obsolescence of politics in the USA... Tragic.


social media and big media...

Big media has become concentrated in fewer hands for two main reason: first to make money and second to control the narrative. Social media has exploded this model. In a study for Science Magazine, Matthew Gentzkow tells us:

A robust and informative media has long been viewed as critical to the functioning of democracy (13). Much popular discussion suggests that media are becoming less able to fulfill this role. Traditional news organizations seem weakened and battered, shedding staff and influence even as social media introduces a tide of new threats. Polarization seems to have cut countries in two, with each side hearing news and information only from its own partisan sources. Many look back with nostalgia at a time when the nightly TV news set a common agenda for the vast majority of citizens. The landmark study by King et al. (4) on page 776 of this issue offers an important counterpoint. Drawing on the first experimental study in which the content of media outlets has been randomized on a large scale, it suggests that mainstream U.S. journalism remains more relevant, more influential, and more connected to a broad cross-section of people than many might have thought possible.

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Matthew Gentzkow's conclusion is comforting for this little site (YD):

Although social media gives a platform to many objectionable voices, it also makes it possible for journalist at innumerable small outlets to participate in the conversation as well. The results of King et all. suggest that when they speak, many are listening. 

let's hope more of you hear us... Read from top. see also:

reminiscent of 1968...



This, Bargh suggests, might explain how sexual harassers can genuinely tell themselves: “‘I’m behaving like anybody does when they’re attracted to somebody else. I’m flirting. I’m asking her out. I want to date her. I’m doing everything that you do if you’re attracted to somebody.’ What they don’t realise is the reason they’re attracted to her is because of their power over her. That’s what they don’t get.”

Perhaps the single most confronting revelation of Bargh’s work is its implications for consumer capitalism. It’s not that our economic model makes us sad – although it does – so much that making us sad is good for consumer capitalism.

He describes a study by a Harvard social psychologist. “It found that sad people not only buy more, but they pay more. They’re willing to pay more because, basically, when we’re sad, we want to change state.” Someone feeling sad would rather spend £100 than £10, “because it changes the state more. And stores know this.”

Ever wondered why shops like to pipe out mournful music, or why Walmart plays Céline Dion on a loop? Well, Bargh grins – there’s your answer.

“They don’t want us to be happy; they want us to be sad. Politicians want us to be fearful. All these things are not in our own interests at all. They’re manipulating us for their own interest, and against our own, and I think that’s horrible.”

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See also: 


of romance...




the downfall of a "profession"...


consuming religious hubris...

Some people (including myself) are annoyed that I am obsessed with (against) religion (again!). That is not the question nor the proposition. My personal position is that there is far too much rubbish constantly expressed by religious organisations (and secular ones as well, such as the ABC — the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and individual pushers with professor or doctor in front of their names. As a atheistic ethicist (if I can call myself this, instead of an old neurotic red ned drinker), I feel it is always necessary to expose the cons, the contradictions and the erroneous hubris used by this rubbish to apportion value to religious beliefs, especially in our modern times, in which an aspirin can arrest 99 per cent of pain — and a good dentist can stop your mouth looking like the butt of an old chicken. 

Often, the religious believers use condescending superiority to denigrate or patronise our seeking of better comforts through earthly goods, services and thoughts, rather than by spiritual means. Yes I know, we can’t take it with us when we die... The Pharaohs tried that caper and their tombs got robbed by non-spiritual thieves. On the whole though, rich people are not so encumbered with such dilemma. They plunder according to rules which are more less their own, designed to make sure they don’t kill too many geese with the golden eggs, us, the consumers. So, what is spirituality? Spirituality is the erroneous belief that our mind exists outside out body. Belief in spirituality is usually aligned with our poor understanding of our origins (evolution) and of reality (quantified and qualified observations with scientific interpretation). Thus what is a mind? The mind is our ability to bio-manage our memory in action — actively or reactively, using all the tools provided by the body from sensors (senses), habits to hormonal secretion, to make things happen. It works. 

Luigino Bruni, a Professor of Economics at LUMSA Universita (Christian ethics) in Rome, tells us with sarcasm that: “Blessed are the Consumers, for They Shall Inherit the Kingdom of Capitalism”... This is bullshit. 

First, consumers are not spiritual, thus they cannot be “blessed” and second consumers never inherit the kingdom of capitalism. All the consumers do is to be subjects (serfs) in variously graded order, mostly knaves, in a  well-orchestrated kingdom ruled by “capitalists” — the board of directors being politicians, industrialists and multi-nationals who run the Ponzi scheme, in which more (of whatever profitable goods or ideas) is the necessary ingredient for the survival of the scheme. Anything that becomes sustainable (stagnant level of consumption) is anathema to this scheme. The scheme is totally contrary to nature, but has been nurtured for a long time by various religious tricks, including “the poor shall inherit the earth” and “go and conquer the world, subdue nature” blah blah blah...

Here, Luigino Bruni tells us:

The new marketing of the post-scarcity era no longer presents products with their technical specifications and commercial qualities. It does not bewitch us by describing the properties of the goods; instead, it enchants us by telling stories. Like our grandparents did, like the Bible did and still does. The new advertising is more and more like the invention of stories using the typical language of myths, where the aim is to activate the emotion of the consumer, their symbolic code, desires and dreams - not only and no longer his needs.

And so to sell us their wares, new businesses make us dream by resorting to the evocative power of myths: just like faiths, like the stories that have shaped our religious and social heritage. With one major difference, though: the stories of faiths and the fairy tales of our grandmothers were greater than us and they were all and only gratuitousness. Their aim was to convey a gift, a promise, a liberation to us, bringing them back to life just for us every time. They did not want to sell us anything, only to transmit an inheritance to us.

By contrast, the emotional storytelling of the capitalism of today and tomorrow wants only and exclusively to sell us something. They have nothing for free and are smaller than us because they lack the gratuitousness that made the other stories great: new businesses tell us stories to increase profits for those who invest a lot of money into the invention and telling of those stories - which, in the end, are nothing but plagiarism and imitations of the great religious narratives they, too, have received for free and then recycled for profit.

The stories of yesterday, the eternal ones, have been able to charm us because they did not want to enchain us. The stories told for profit are, however, all just variants of the fairy tale of the Pied Piper: if he is not paid for his work, this “merchant” goes back to town, and while we are engaged in our new cults in the new churches, he drives away our children with his charmer flute, forever.

Thus far, the history of civilization has taught us that gratuitousness employed without gratuitousness does not last, and soon the bluff is discovered. But perhaps the greatest innovation of the capitalism of tomorrow will be to transform gratuitousness itself into a commodity, and it will be done so well that we will not be able to distinguish fake generosity from the genuine kind.

But we can still save ourselves from this tremendous manipulation, which would be the greatest of all, if we keep the great stories of gratuitousness safeguarded by the faiths. Or if we conserve the seed of gratuitousness in that last space of our souls that we managed to preserve and not to put on sale.

Yes, we, some of us, have discovered the religious bluff a long time ago, including the fake gratuitousness of the religious fables... And what is a soul? A soul is the valued spirituality ascribed to individuals. A soul is worth peanuts since spirituality does not exist (except in our bio-mechanical imagination). Meanwhile the consumer is manipulated by the oncoming idea of Christmas underpinning that commerce can provide for profit, as the consumers’ kids get a lesson in obsolescent indulgence:

Picture a crowded toy store. You know the type.

The aisles are packed. Lights flashing up, music blaring. Mums and dads and grandparents jostling to get past each other. Kids pushing every button they can reach. The soft hum of gift requests constantly in the background.

It’s the peak time of year for the billion-dollar global toy industry. Amid the cut-throat competition, advertisers have one main goal, according to marketing experts.

It is getting on a child’s Christmas list to Santa.

It is prompting a kid to say “Muuuuum, can we get this?” in the aisle of that toy shop.

It is becoming the talk of the playground, and persuading a child that they simply must have this toy this Christmas, and they need to tell mum or dad.


Consumerism has no gratuitous in it. Nor has religion.

“Nothing has more value than an act of gratuitousness” says Bruni on his website. He does not use the word “altruism”. Why not? Is altruism too much associated with atheism? Is gratuitousness associated with “free haircuts tomorrow”?

As most (all) of the religious mobsters,  the young (born 1966) Professor Luigino Bruni tells us of the gratuitousness of religious beliefs (I call “religionis gratuitatis”) value. Bullshit. Where Bruni is right is in his exploration of the individualisation of wants, versus the collective wants (and diminishing needs, with progress). 

The stories of yesterday, the eternal ones, have been able to charm us because they did not want to enchain us”. Bullshit again. Whom is the good young professor kidding? Religions have NEVER ever been gratuitous, nor altruistic. Did not want to enchain us?   Holly shit! Religions promise an illusionary lolly in exchange of accepting present suffering and should we not submit to this contract we end up in Hell...  Which book of Job has Luigino been reading? 

This morning, in the New York Times, there is an article on how a “memory” can be “injected” into the brain (of animals):

When you drive toward an intersection, the sight of the light turning red will (or should) make you step on the brake. This action happens thanks to a chain of events inside your head.

Your eyes relay signals to the visual centers in the back of your brain. After those signals get processed, they travel along a pathway to another region, the premotor cortex, where the brain plans movements.

Now, imagine that you had a device implanted in your brain that could shortcut the pathway and “inject” information straight into your premotor cortex.

That may sound like an outtake from “The Matrix.” But now two neuroscientists at the University of Rochester say they have managed to introduce information directly into the premotor cortex of monkeys. The researchers published the results of the experiment on Thursday in the journal Neuron.


The general philosophical human malaise — that we patch up badly with religious hubris — comes from that we refuse to accept that we are evolving monkeys. We can be manipulated by whatever means including said-gratuitous stories THAT ARE NOT GRATUITOUS but designed to capture our behaviour according to a groupthink in which cash (or supply of goods) becomes necessary to maintain the groupthink. Religion does not survive without cash. Think about it. 

Consumerism gives individuals the choice of their poison, while faiths limit the choices to two values (eternal salvation or eternal damnation) — resultants of personal behaviour in a groupthink situation. Freedom?  Freedom to sin or not, but that is not the purpose of living, in which happiness should play a big part...

The point then becomes the understanding of the narrative in which our consumption of goods is imbued with better choices, rather than “if you eat another cream-cake, you’ll go to hell”.

Overall sciences have improved the gamut of choices and our ability to discern the best options versus the shoddy, and study the real versus the snake oil. Not perfect yet but better and far more accurate than ridiculous religionis gratuitatis.

The selling of religious beliefs want us to accept that religions are “altruistic” (gratuitous). They are not. They want us to be part of the groupthink, not be an individual thinker. Altruism does not include the heavenly value added reward. 

The religious selling techniques are simplistic. These have been based on the fear of god for many years, then when this hypothetical flogging lost traction when more people became “comfortable”, the “love” of god entered the market with clever deceit.

So, what to make of Luigino’s hubris? No much. It glosses over all the religious traumas — from wars of religion,  martyrdom, and religious constructs which rely on brainwashing mantras and relics. There are 23,145 verses in the old testament, 7,957 in the new testament and most of these are completely irrelevant, false or useless. At most times, the hubristical religious fly-paper style of catching adherents rely on a handful (19.7?) of truisms which are common to most social network, in which some applied values are necessary for survival of the group and of the individuals. 

I have done five years in the army, got wounded three times and you don’t know what you’re talking about (I WILL vote for Trump)” interrupted a tall old guy in a super rich retirement village in Florida to Miriam Margolyes’ aggressive remarks about dumb politics to a couple of super-rich (probably by marriage) face-lifted octogenarian females...

This man knows that the Democrats are communists and he has got full faith in the system which generates religious Republicans on the treadmill of retirement villages — where no-one is allowed to mention politics nor religion (unless it’s the “happy going to heaven” after death). With this came the “I don’t trust that woman” from another face-lifted 902 year old (I mean 92) cakeface about Hillary — a cakeface who believed all the compliment she would get about her “altered” looks, which to say the least, made her happy. What is wrong with this? Nothing. Doctors and plastic surgeons used their “magic” which have nothing to do with voodoo nor spirituality, but pills, botox and nipNtuck... The illusion works for some but despite the surface, we guess the stretchmarks, the saggy skin and the wrinkles that were “disappeared”. Religion does the same trick of hiding reality, which passed a certain age, is sagging a bit as we comprehend less and less. We should try harder and accept reality. 

Here Margolyes and her mob also had problem understanding why these retirement villages were “gated”. Easy, the old folks simmering in there are in training for the “gated” compound of heaven, while limiting as much as possible their ability to find happiness and understanding of the greater world outside the perimeter. Religion does this too. Meanwhile many of the retired folks were armed to the teeth, notably to defend their religious freedom which could become under attack from a poor sod with a towel on his head, someone which we don’t like and have been trying to destroy the family thereof, in a land far far away, the Middle East, especially Jerusalem, the birthplace of all the world’s troubles. Amen.


Gus Leonisky

Your local trouble maker

nefarious evangelicals...

Moore has often used his platform to speak out against American civil religion as a nefarious force to be resisted, one fundamentally at odds with evangelical Christianity.

"American evangelicalism is old and sick and weak, and doesn't even know it," Moore wrote in a post on his website Monday upon seeing a photo of a bumper sticker indicative of the American politics-infused cultural Christianity which read: "If Jesus Had a Gun, He'd Still Be Alive Today."

"We are bored by what the Bible reveals as mysterious and glorious, and red-in-the-face about what hardly matters in the broad sweep of eternity. We clamor for the kind of power the world can recognize while ignoring the very power of God that comes through Christ and him crucified. We've traded in the Sermon on the Mount for slogans on our cars. We've exchanged Christ the King for Christ the meme."

He concluded: "And through it all, we demonstrate what we care about — the same power and self-leverage this age already values."

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American civil religion is a sociological theory that a nonsectarian quasi-religious faith exists within the United States with sacred symbols drawn from national history. Scholars have portrayed it as a cohesive force, a common set of values that foster social and cultural integration. The very heavy emphasis on nondenominational religious themes is quite distinctively American and the theory is designed to explain this. The concept goes back to the 19th century, but in current form, the theory was developed by sociologist Robert Bellah in 1967 in his article, "Civil Religion in America". The topic soon became the major focus at religious sociology conferences and numerous articles and books were written on the subject. The debate reached its peak with the American Bicentennial celebration in 1976.[1][2][3][4][5] There is a viewpoint that some Americans have come to see the document of the United States Constitution, along with the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights as cornerstones of a type of civic or civil religion or political religion.


Examples of civil religious beliefs are reflected in statements used in the research such as the following:

  • "America is God's chosen nation today. (The New Jerusalem was an important theme in the Puritan colonization of New England in the 17th century. The Puritans were inspired by the passages in Revelation about the New Jerusalem, which they interpreted as being a symbol for the New World. The Puritans saw themselves as the builders of the New Jerusalem on earth. This idea was foundational to American nationalism.)"
  • "A president's from God."
  • "Social justice cannot only be based on laws; it must also come from religion."
  • "God can be known through the experiences of the American people."
  • "Holidays like the Fourth of July are religious as well as patriotic."[5]
  • "God Bless America"

Later research sought to determine who is civil religious. In a 1978 study by James Christenson and Ronald Wimberley, the researchers found that a wide cross section of American citizens have civil religious beliefs. In general though, college graduates and political or religious liberals appear to be somewhat less civil religious. Protestants and Catholics have the same level of civil religiosity. Religions that were created in the United States, the Latter Day Saints movementAdventists, and Pentecostals, have the highest civil religiosity. Jews, Unitarians and those with no religious preference have the lowest civil religion. Even though there is variation in the scores, the "great majority" of Americans are found to share the types of civil religious beliefs which Bellah wrote about.[5]




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One should see something frightening here. The "civil religion of America" (American Civil Religion) is far from being civil. It is an obnoxious state of belief in which "fighting for god" (see "The Age of Deceit") is at the rotten core, a fluid belief in the greater US populace that is far more insidious than the localised loony vanishing "Evangelicals"... see also: friends of zionism... 

If you are a scientist, you might find yourself ostracised like non-believers were in the Middle Ages. The only way to find employment is to be a "professed" devotee of god... Horridly contradictory...

What is also extremely frightening is that the glib reactivity, the idiotic minds, the limited understanding and the infantile patriotic attitudes are determining the future of this planet... 

and god favoured the democratic republic...

Over the last several years, amidst the swirls of overt corruption, immigrant “hordes,” rising “national security” concerns, police militarization, bloated empire, and the so-called deepening of the “deep state,” conservatives and libertarians of all stripes have pondered the meaning of the modern state. Most recently, Paul Moreno has brilliantly considered the rise of The Bureaucratic Kings, Alex Salter has wisely questioned the relationship of anarchy (the Bohemian, Nockian variety) to conservatism, and, though I have yet to read what the always thoughtful Jason Kuznicki of Cato recommends, there is also James C. Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States. Believe me, I am intrigued.  Each of these authors and recommenders, of course, owes an immense debt to the pioneering work of Robert Higgs’s magnum opus, Crisis and Leviathan (1987), and Higgs, in turn, had followed in the footsteps of such 20th century greats as Christopher Dawson, Robert Nisbet, Friedrich Hayek, and Joseph Schumpeter.  

Some conservatives will immediately balk at such analyses. Students of Leo Strauss want to remind us that politics, properly understood in the Aristotelian sense, is high, not sordid. Students of Russell Kirk want to remind us that order is the first concern of any society and that to look too deeply at the origins of a state is a form of pornographic leering and peeping. And, Christians of every variety, consider the 13th chapter of St. Paul’s letters to the Church in Roman as having closed the matter before it ever needs discussion. God, according to a literal reading of St. Paul’s letter, commanded us each to “submit to the supreme authorities. There is no authority but by act of God, and the existing authorities are instituted by him; consequently anyone who rebels against authority is resisting a divine institution.”

While modern Christians might claim this answers every question about the legitimacy of state action, they are not necessarily mainstream in the history of Christianity.  The Prophet Samuel, feeling outcast by the ill favor of his people, of course, had a fierce argument with them, after consulting with God about the necessity of centralizing the government under a monarch.  God assured him that this would be foolish:

He will take your sons and make them serve in his chariots and with his cavalry, and will make them run before his chariot.  Some he will appoint officers over units of a thousand and units of fifty.  Others will plough his fields and reap his harvest; others again will make weapons of war and equipment for mounted troops.  He will make your daughters for perfumers, cooks, and confectionaries, and will seize the best of your cornfields, vineyards, and olive-yards, and them to his lackeys.  He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage to give to his eunuchs and lackeys.  Your slaves, both men and women, and the best of your cattle and your asses he will seize and put to his own use.  He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

God seems to have been the first hard-core decentralist anti-statist, but Samuel’s people refused to listen, and God granted them, against His better judgement, a monarchy.


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see also "The Age of Deceit"

finding a nicer way to rob each others...


The intellectual monopoly is something of an irony given how central the idea of competition is to orthodox thinking, but it is a sad fact – as the preamble to the 33 theses notes – “that the neoclassical perspective overwhelmingly dominates teaching, research, advice to policy, and public debate”.

“Many other perspectives that could provide valuable insights are marginalised and excluded. This is not about one theory being better than another, but the notion that scientific advance only moves ahead with a debate. Within economics, this debate has died.” 

That debate needs to be rekindled. A more pluralist approach would take account of the complexity of markets, the constraints imposed by nature and rising inequality. So what needs to be done?

Firstly, listen to consumers, because it is pretty obvious that they are unimpressed with what they are getting. The failure of the economics establishment to predict the crisis and its insistence that austerity is the right response to the events of a decade ago has meant the profession has rarely been less trusted.

Of course, there were economists who got it right and some of them – Paul Krugman, for example – wielded real influence. But it should have come as little surprise that when it came to the Brexit referendum, voters took the warnings from the UK Treasury, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England with a very large pinch of salt. After all, not one of these august bodies – armed as they were with their general equilibrium models – saw the deepest recession since the second world war coming, even when it was already under way.

It is welcome news that discontent is bubbling up from below on university campuses. True, the prestigious academic journals remain in the hands of the old order and in economics faculties there is strong resistance to change but increasingly students are showing their frustration at being told to learn and regurgitate economics that is not just narrow and of little relevance, but also plain wrong. Of the 33 theses pinned to the LSE, five involved the teaching of economics, with demands to be taught history and economic thought, and for the monopoly of the status quo to be broken.

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the benny hill of faith...

"The more you know the Bible the more you become biblically based and more balanced in your opinions and your thoughts because we are influenced. When I was younger I was influenced by the preachers who taught whatever they taught. But as I've lived longer I'm thinking wait a minute, you know this doesn't fit totally with the Bible and it doesn't fit with the reality. So what is prosperity? No lack. I've said this before," [Benny] Hinn said.

He then elaborated on how he believes "no lack" should be interpreted.

"Did Elijah the prophet have a car? No. Did not even have a bicycle. He had no lack ... Did Jesus drive a car or live in a mansion? No. He had no lack. How about the apostles? None lacked among them," Hinn said. "Today, the idea is abundance and palatial homes and cars and bank accounts. The focus is wrong ... It's so wrong."

He said even though he has been accused of living lavishly and flying private jets in the past ,that is not how he currently lives.

"I mean forgive me. People have accused me of things that aren't even real. One guy wrote a comment 'Oh he's worth 40 million.' Oh how I wish. I would give it all to the Kingdom before God Almighty," he said.


Read more: at keepsendingyourmoneys. com... No I mean:


Bugger poverty though... He still has a microphone... Please read: 

the dark ages...


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the melting sensible centre in a basket of deplorables...

Instead of ordinary people, the Democrats were now catering to "Ordinary People"Instead of “centering” on waitresses and factory women, the focus was now on—in Roseanne’s own words—a bunch of “enterprising, overmedicated, painted-up capitalist whores claiming to be housewives.”

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deplorable education...

In the summer of 1987, a relatively unknown University of Chicago political science professor and philosopher named Allan Bloom published an academic book entitled The Closing of the American Mind. It was a surprise hit that unexpectedly thrust him into the national spotlight and earned him, among other distinctions, a nationally broadcast interview on William F. Buckley Jr.’s Firing Line.

Bloom’s book, whose principal focus was the deeply worrying state of higher education in America—and which he and his colleagues only forecast would be a modest success—remained atop The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list for four continuous months. This professorial account from the inside, a “Notes from the Underground” on how the American university had been intellectually corrupted over the past 25 years, had clearly struck a chord. It was a work that held, and continues to hold, lessons for every thinking American citizen.

In 380 unrelenting pages, citing examples from philosophy, history, religion, and politics, Bloom argued that the American university had rejected the tradition of academic integrity dating back to Plato and Aristotle, capitulated to the demands of the ideologically aggressive student organizers of the 1960s, and replaced its basic pursuit of intellectual truth with a self-serving and quasi-fascist belief in moral relativism. This, he argued, was having grave ramifications for society at large.

Bearing the evocative subtitle “How higher education has failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today’s students,” the book was angrily condemned by several voices on the left (perhaps most notoriously by William Greider in his October 1987 Rolling Stone article), and sparked a high-profile public debate on the vitality of American culture, the philosophical atmosphere at the American university, the moral character of post-1960s American youth, and just where, exactly, the United States as a society was headed.


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helping peace along, since 1849...

Frédéric Bastiat, Speech on “Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement” (1849)

Frédéric Bastiat, Speech on “Disarmament, Taxes, and the Influence of Political Economy on the Peace Movement”, in Report of the proceedings of the second general Peace Congress, held in Paris on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of august 1849, London, 1849, p. 49-52

M. Frederic Bastiat, member of the French National Assembly, spoke as follows:—

Gentlemen, our excellent and learned colleague, M. Coquerel, spoke to us a little while since, of a cruel malady with which French society is afflicted, namely, skepticism. This malady is the fruit of our long dissensions, of our revolutions which have failed to bring about the desired end, of our attempts without results, and of that torrent of visionary projects which has recently overflowed our policy. This strange evil will, I hope, be only temporary: at all events, I know of no more efficacious remedy for it, than the extraordinary spectacle which I have now before my eyes, for if I consider the number and the importance of the men who now do me the honor of listening to me, if I consider that many of them do not act in their individual capacity, but in the name of large constituencies, who have delegated them to this Congress, I have no hesitation in saying that the cause of peace unites to-day in this assembly, more religious, intellectual, and moral force, more positive power, than could be brought together for any other imaginable cause, in any other part of the world. Yes, this is a grand and magnificent spectacle, and I do not think that the sun has often shone on one equal to it in interest and importance. Here are men who have traversed the wide Atlantic: others have left vast undertakings in England, and others have come from the disturbed land of Germany, or from the peaceful soil of Belgium or of Holland. Paris is the place of their rendezvous. And what have they come to do? Are they drawn hither by cupidity, by vanity, or by curiosity, those three motives to which are customarily attributed all the actions of the sons of Adam? No ; they come, led on by the generous hope of being able to do some good to humanity, without having lost sight of the difficulties of their task, and knowing well that they are working less for themselves, than for the benefit of future generations. Thrice welcome then, ye men of faith, to the land of France. Faith is as contagious as skepticism. France will not fail you. She also will yield her tribute to your generous enterprise. At the present stage of the discussion, I shall only trespass on your time to make a few observations on the subject of disarmament. They have been suggested to me by a passage in the speech of our eloquent President, who said yesterday, that the cause of external peace was also that of internal order. He very reasonably based this assertion on the fact that a powerful military state is forced to exact heavy taxes, which engender misery, which in its turn engenders the spirit of turbulence and of revolution. I also wish to speak on the subject of taxes, and I shall consider them with regard to their distribution. That the maintenance of large military and naval forces requires heavy taxes, is a self-evident fact. But I make this additional remark: these heavy taxes, notwithstanding the best intentions on the part of the legislator, are necessarily most unfairly distributed ; whence it follows that great armaments present two causes of revolution—misery in the first place, and secondly, the deep feeling that this misery is the result of injustice. The first species of military taxation that I meet with is, that which is called, according to circumstances, conscription or recruitment. The young man who belongs to a wealthy family, escapes by the payment of two or three thousand francs ; the son of an artisan or a laborer, is forced to throw away the seven best years of his life. Can we imagine a more dreadful inequality? Do we not know that it caused the people to revolt even under the empire, and do we imagine that it can long survive the revolution of February?

With regard to taxes, there is one principle universally admitted in France, namely, that they ought to be proportional to the resources and capabilities of the citizens. This principle was not only proclaimed by our last constitution, but will be found in the charter of 1830, as well as in that of 1814. Now, after having given my almost undivided attention to these matters, I affirm that in order that a tax may be proportional, it must be very moderate, and if the state is under the necessity of taking a very large part of the revenues of its citizens, it can only be done by means of an indirect contribution, which is utterly at variance with proportionality, that is to say, with justice. And this is a grave matter, gentlemen. The correctness of my statement may be doubted, but if it be correct, we cannot shut our eyes to the consequences which it entails, without being guilty of the greatest folly. I only know of one country in the world where all the public expenses, with very slight exceptions, are covered by a direct and proportional taxation. I refer to the State of Massachusetts. But there also, precisely, because the taxation is direct, and everybody knows what he has to pay, the public expenditure is as limited as possible. The citizens prefer acting by themselves in a multitude of cases, in which elsewhere the intervention of the state would be required. If the government of France would be contented with asking of us five, six, or even ten per cent of our income, we should consider the tax a direct and proportional one. In such a case, the tax might be levied according to the declaration of the tax-payers, care being taken that these declarations were correct, although, even if some of them were false, no very serious consequences would ensue. But suppose that the treasury had need of 1,500 or 1,800 millions of money. Does it come directly to us and ask us for a quarter, a third, or a half of our incomes? No: that would be impracticable; and consequently, to arrive at the desired end, it has recourse to a trick, and gets our money from us without our perceiving it, by subjecting us to an indirect tax laid on food. And this is why the Minister of Finance, when he proposed to renew the tax on drinks, said that this tax had one great recommendation, that it was so entirely mixed up with the price of the article, that the tax-payer, as it were, paid without knowing it. This certainly is a recommendation of taxes on articles of consumption: but they have this bad characteristic, they are unequal and unjust, and are levied just in inverse proportion to the capabilities of the tax-payer. For, whoever has studied these matters, even very superficially, knows well that these taxes are productive and valuable only when laid upon articles of universal consumption, such as salt, wine, tobacco, sugar and such like; and when we speak of universal consumption, we necessarily speak of those things on which the labouring classes spend the whole of their small incomes. From this it follows, that these classes do not make a single purchase which is not increased to a great extent by taxation, while such is not the case with the rich.

Gentlemen, I venture to call your close attention to these facts. Large armaments necessarily entail heavy taxes: heavy taxes force governments to have recourse to indirect taxation. Indirect taxation cannot possibly be proportionate, and the want of proportion in taxation is a crying injustice inflicted upon the poor to the advantage of the rich. This question, then, alone remains to be considered: Are not injustice and misery, combined together, an always imminent cause of revolutions? Gentlemen, it is no use to be willfully blind. At this moment, in France, the need which is most imperious and most universally felt, is doubtless that of order, and of security. Rich and poor, laborers and proprietors, all are disposed to make great sacrifices to secure such precious benefits, even to abandon their political affections and convictions, and, as we have seen, their liberty. But, in fine, can we reasonably hope, by the aid of this sentiment, to perpetuate, to systematize, injustice in this country? Is it not certain that injustice will, sooner or later, engender disaffection? disaffection all the more dangerous because it is legitimate, because its complaints are well-founded, because it has reason on its side, because it is supported by all men of upright minds and generous hearts, and, at the same time, is cleverly managed by persons whose intentions are less pure, and who seek to make it an instrument for the execution of their ambitious designs. We talk about reconciling the peoples. Ah! let us pursue this object with all the more ardor, because at the same time we seek to reconcile the classes of society. In France because, in consequence of our ancient electoral laws, the wealthy class had the management of public business, the people think that the inequality of the taxes is the fruit of a systematic cupidity. On the contrary, it is the necessary consequence of their exaggeration. I am convinced that if the wealthy class could, by a single blow, assess the taxes in a more equitable manner, they would do so instantly. And in doing so, they would be actuated more by motives of justice than by motives of prudence. They do not do it, because they cannot, and if those who complain were the governors of the country, they would not be able to do it any more than those now in power; for I repeat, the very nature of things has placed a radical incompatibility between the exaggeration and the equal distribution of taxes. There is, then, only one means of diverting from this country the calamities which menace it, and that is, to equalize taxation; to equalize it, we must reduce it; to reduce it, we must diminish our military force. For this reason, amongst others, I support with all my heart the resolution in favor of a simultaneous disarmament.

I have just uttered the word “disarmament.” This subject occupies the thoughts and the wishes of all ; and nevertheless, by one of those inexplicable contradictions of the human heart, there are some persons, both in France and England, who, I am sure, would be sorry to see it carried into effect. What will become, they will say, of our preponderance? Shall we allow the influence which, as a great and powerful nation, we possess, to depart from us? Oh, fatal illusion! Oh, strange misconception of the meaning of a word! What! can great nations exert an influence only by means of cannon and bayonets? Does the influence of England consist not in her industry, her commerce, her wealth, and the exercise of her free and ancient institutions? Does it not consist, above all, in those gigantic efforts, which we have seen made there, with so much perseverance and sagacity, for obtaining the triumph of some great principle, such as the liberty of the press, the extension of the electoral franchise, Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery, and free-trade. And as I have alluded to this last and glorious triumph of public opinion in England, as we have amongst us many valiant champions of commercial liberty, who, adopting the motto of Cesar,—

“Nil actum reputans, dum quid superesset agendum,”

have no sooner gained one great victory than they hasten to another still greater, let me be permitted to say for how immense a moral influence England is indebted to them, less on account of the object, all glorious as it was, which they attained, than on account of the means which they employed for obtaining it, and which they thus made known to all nations. Yes! from this school the peoples may learn to ally moral force with reason ; there we ought to study the strategy of those pacific agitations which possess the double advantage of rendering every dangerous innovation impossible, and every useful reform irresistible.

By such examples as these, I venture to say, Great Britain will exercise that species of influence which brings no disasters, no hatreds, no reprisals in its train, but, on the contrary, awakens no feelings but those of admiration and of gratitude. And with regard to my own country, I am proud to say, it possesses other and purer sources of influence than that of arms. But even this last might be contested, if the question were pressed, and influence measured by results. But that which cannot be taken away from us, nor be contested for a moment, is the universality of our language, the incomparable brilliancy of our literature, the genius of our poets, of our philosophers, of our historians, of our novelists, and even of our feuilletonistes, and, last though not least, the devotedness of our patriots. France owes her true influence to that almost unbroken chain of great men which, beginning with Montaigne, Descartes, and Pascal, and passing on by Bossuet, Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau, has not, thanks to heaven, come to an end in the tomb of Chateaubriand. Ah! let my country fear nothing for her influence, so long as her soil is not unable to produce that noble fruit which is called Genius, and which is ever to be seen on the side of liberty and democracy. And, at this moment, my brethren, you who were born in other lands, and who speak another language, do you not behold all the illustrious men of my country uniting with you to secure the triumph of universal peace? Are we not presided over by that great and noble poet, whose glory and privilege it has been to introduce a whole generation into the path of a renovated literature? Do we not deplore the absence of that other poet-orator, of powerful intellect and noble heart, who, I am sure, will as much regret his inability to raise his voice amongst us, as you will regret not to have heard it? Have we not borrowed from the songs of our national bard the touching device,—

“Peuples, formez une sainte alliance, Et donnez vous la main!” Do we not number in our ranks that indefatigable and courageous journalist, who did not wait for your arrival to place at the service of absolute non-intervention the immense publicity, and the immense influence which he has at his command? And have we not amongst us, as fellow-laborers, ministers of nearly all Christian religions? Amidst this illustrious galaxy, permit me to claim a humble place for my brethren, the political economists; for, gentlemen, I sincerely believe that no science will bring a more valorous contingent to serve under the standard of peace than political economy. Religion and morality do not endeavor to discover whether the interests of men are antagonistic or harmonious. They say to them: Live in peace, no matter whether it be profitable or hurtful to you, for it is your duty to do so. Political economy steps in and adds: Live in peace, for the interests of men are harmonious, and the apparent antagonism which leads them to take up arms is only a gross error. Doubtless, it would be a noble sight to behold men realize peace at the expense of their material interests; but for those who know the weakness of human nature, it is consoling to think that duty and interest are not here two hostile forces, and the heart rests with confidence upon this maxim: “Seek first after righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you.”




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the geo-imperial forces at work...

Renegade Economists Show 544

As broadcast on the 3CR airwaves 5.30 – 6pm Wednesdays.

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Show Notes

Prof Michael Hudson joins to review his critique of US financial imperialism in light of recent events. From the WB, IMF through to deep state strategy, Hudson is the best in the business at tying the economic pressures in our lives to the geo-political forces at work. This must be about our 15th such interview. Do you have any questions for Michael for our next interview (in about 3 months time)? Please give generously to our crowdfunder, its radiothon time!


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consuming politics...

Americans enjoy the excesses of consumerism to the point of overabundance and redundancy. Yet come election time, the only choice to be found on the threadbare shelves year after year is Republican and Democrat.

Enter any grocery store in the United States and you will likely suffer culture shock at the mind-numbing variety of consumer choice. A shopper could spend hours hunting and gathering down long aisles of cold breakfast cereals, snack foods, fizzy drinks and hundreds of other assorted waist-busters that American consumers can't imagine doing without. But is this superfluity in the supermarkets just compensation for something that is conspicuously missing from the political scene?

If the US political system were imagined as a supermarket, the cornucopia of variety would come to a screeching halt. Instead, shoppers would be greeted with row after row of Republican and Democratic labels all screaming out for your attention – high-sodium stuff for long shelf life, like Mitt Romney canned corn and Hillary Clinton spaghetti sauce. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, all of the commercials on television would be spotlighting the Republican and Democratic brand as if nothing else existed in the world.

The fact is other 'political products' are available in the United States, but they are buried deep and dusty on the store shelves, and non-existent on television. There is the Libertarian Party and Green Party, for example, and even a Communist Party. But like anything, if alternative choices are not advertised and discussed on the evening news they might as well as not exist. 'Out of sight, out of mind,' as the pithy saying goes.

Some people might argue that US consumers simply prefer the Republican and Democratic brand – just as they show fierce loyalty to either Pepsi or Coca Cola – and that is why these two parties have conquered America's heart and soul. That would be greatly simplifying matters. In a 2016 poll, it was shown that 47 percent of Americans say they would consider voting for a third party candidate. That number is up from 38 percent in 2008 and 40 percent in 2012.

Meanwhile, many Americans are not aware of the dirty little secret regarding the US political system, which is that the Republicans and Democrats essentially own it. And that is not just figuratively speaking.

In 1987, a strange thing happened on the way to the White House. The Republicans and Democrats pulled off a mini coup d'etat of sorts when they had the audacity to make demands on the commission that was responsible for managing the presidential debates. Since 1976, that function had been faithfully performed by the League of Women Voters.

What really annoyed the Republicans and Democrats was that the League had permitted third-party candidates to participate in the presidential debates.


In a news release from October 3, 1988 League President Nancy M. Neuman said the League was "withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate…because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter."

The Republicans and Democrats then pulled out their devilish plans for a private nonprofit corporation called the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which receives its funding from various corporations. Since then they've enjoyed monopolistic control over the political process as they've de facto excluded third party contenders from participation.

In 2000, the CPD – which has also, incidentally, lent its technical expertise to Ukraine, among other struggling 'democracies' –  laid down a rule that for a candidate to be included in the debates he or she must attract at least 15% of support across five national polls. However, since these polls are organized by the corporate-owned mainstream media – no impartial observers of the US political process, to be sure – only the independent candidate Ross Perot, a billionaire businessman, was able to break through the threshold in the 1992 campaign against George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Follow the money

Just like a corporation that covets monopolistic control of the market, so do the Republicans and Democrats want full control of the political market. The reason is not just a matter of power, but money. Boatloads of it. In November, for example, the midterm elections smashed the record for the amount of campaign donations collected, surpassing $5 billion dollars. This is a pie that the two dominant parties have no intention of sharing with any third party.

At the same time, powerful corporations and individuals expect to get something in return for their contributions, otherwise why would they crack open their wallets?

"Corporations don't give their money away for nothing," wrote Warwick Smith, a researcher at Per Capita, in the Guardian. "There is an understanding (rarely made explicit) that large campaign donations buy political access and favorable consideration in policy development and legislation."

That may just be the nicest definition of outright bribery I have ever read. In any case, where does this special relationship between the special interest groups and politicians leave the average voter, who is no position to match such massive funding?

"Politicians will only act on behalf of voters if no wealthy or powerful group objects…," Smith continued. Or in the event of "strong community action."

Clearly, this was not the way democratic process was supposed to work.

But the story gets more disturbing. Not only are the Republicans and Democrats cashing in on a monopolistic system of government where they receive massive amount of corporate contributions for which they are expected to return in the form of political favors once in office. These politicians are also becoming high-paid lobbyists themselves after they leave public service, a widespread practice that is known as 'revolving-door politics.'

As just one example, consider former Vice President Dick Cheney. In 1992, he hired Brown & Root Services (BRS) to produce a classified report detailing how private companies could help provide logistics for US troops in military hot spots around the world. That same year, according to Mother Jones, BRS secured a five-year logistics contract from the US Army Corps of Engineers to "work alongside American GIs in places like Zaire, Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, the Balkans, and Saudi Arabia."

Fast forward to 1995 and Cheney was the CEO of Halliburton Company, the oil services giant, which just happens to own BRS.

"Since then, Cheney has collected more than $10 million in salary and stock payments from the company," MJ continued. "In addition, he is currently the company's largest individual shareholder, holding stock and options worth another $40 million."

READ MORE: Illusion of democracy: If US elections could change anything they wouldn't be held

This incestuous mess in the US political system, where it's almost impossible to differentiate between the lobbyists and the money-grabbing politicians, brings to mind a remark that former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura repeated to me while visiting Moscow.

"I think that all American politicians today should be required to wear those NASCAR jumpsuits that display corporate sponsors," Ventura told me. "So we can know where their true interests lie."

That seems to sum up America's dilemma with where to draw the line on corporate money in the political system. It has prevented any third-party political alternative from arising, while denying the voters true representation. Such a defunct system of democracy that forever marginalizes the voter in favor of corporate power cannot be expected to last forever.



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One thing to say is that although there are many products and brands on supermarket shelves, most are owned by a very few multinationals who "battle it out" on the shelves of shops and supermarkets by "diversification" of brands and "new" products. This has been the tactics of political parties in Australia — especially the Liberal (CONservative) Party that diversifed at election time with some "independents", some infiltrators of small political parties (especially Christians) and others break away "factions" that distract voters from their original vote intent. In the end, these "independents" are no more that Liberal (Conservative) stooges to collect "preferences".