Archive for the ‘Fraud’ Category

AYN RAND, The Tea Party, Goebbels, Goldman Sachs, Greed and Government

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

“Goldman Sachs is a great firm—as good as you get on Wall Street and that’s the problem.”
Matthew Bishop, Business Editor, the Economist

The always amusing Matt Taibbi is again entertaining in this commentary on Ayn Rand and Goldman Sachs etc. He writes:

In the [Ayn] Randian ethos, called objectivism, the only real morality is self-interest, and society is divided into groups who are efficiently self-interested (ie, the rich) and the “parasites” and “moochers” who wish to take their earnings through taxes, which are an unjust use of force in Randian politics. Rand believed government had virtually no natural role in society. She conceded that police were necessary, but was such a fervent believer in laissez-faire capitalism she refused to accept any need for economic regulation—which is a fancy way of saying we only need law enforcement for unsophisticated criminals.

Rand’s fingerprints are all over the recent Goldman story.

Great second to last line—and how damn obvious. It’s funny what some laws leave legal. The thing for me to remember is that Goldman Sachs and the ideology are, like a plant rising up in soil, a result of the soil, the seed, the sun, the geography, the geology, the advantages bestowed, disadvantages and the whole damn matrix. Human institutions are aspects of human nature, manifested from the mind and the opposable thumb—and some would include God or the Devil, or random selection, depending on their stock portfolio. What I’m trying to say, I’m not sure. But as sure as humans write poetry, they also write institutions.

The entire article in the Guardian is here. For the record, I too have never been able to get through a page of Ayn Rand, or a page of Das Kapital, for that matter. Terminally boring and over-wrought for my little brain. Hmm.

Lots of love to you,


PS Here’s that crude yet somewhat useful description of an aspect of what passes for legal—and, hey, for all I know, may be, in the words of the Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, “God’s work.” Hasn’t God got enough troubles with Hitchens and Dawkins breathing down his aged neck?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

And here’s a tongue-in-cheek bluesy, rock ‘n roll thing I wrote back in the 90s (remember them?) about conspiracy and/or truth, you be the judge: What’s Going Down. Some young video-savvy huckster/whippersnapper on line put this together and made a video out of it. The solo is actually Robbie Steininger playing the always raucous twelve string mandolin.

CARBON TAX: Another Speculative Bubble Opportunity for the Banks?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

At the end of Matt Taibbi’s punishingly concise article in the Rolling Stone, called Inside The Great American Bubble Machine, he wrote:

Fast-forward to today. It’s early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs—its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign—sits in the White House.

Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs.

Gone are Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari; in their place are Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson and CFTC chief Gary Gensler, both former Goldmanites. (Gensler was the firm’s co-head of finance.)

By most any intelligent person’s judgment, this is undeniably a tag-team; mutual special interest operations digging into a guaranteed-by-law trough of unending cash from the tax-payer. What else could trillions of virtually inconceivable bailout dollars be? But here’s the bit that I don’t understand. Actually, I barely grasp any of it, so far from my instinctual interests.

Nonetheless, Taibbi goes on to say:

And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion-dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that [Goldman Sachs] gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an “environmental plan,” called cap-and-trade. The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that’s been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won’t even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

Can anybody explain that, and how it would speculatively work (pun intended), or post a good link? My pre-economic mind can’t understand it. Suffice to say, it’s no surprise that anything moving toward sustainable living, not directly tied to fossil fuels and growth—in fact quite the opposite—would be co-opted by certain interests.

Keep loving, keep learning,

Pete xoxo

BANKSTERS (as in bankers/gangsters): MUST, MUST, MUST READ

Monday, July 20th, 2009

“Some will rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.”
—Woody Guthrie

And this:

After the oil bubble collapsed last fall, there was no new bubble to keep things humming — this time, the money seems to be really gone, like worldwide-depression gone. So the financial safari has moved elsewhere, and the big game in the hunt has become the only remaining pool of dumb, unguarded capital left to feed upon: taxpayer money. Here, in the biggest bailout in history, is where Goldman Sachs really started to flex its muscle.
—Matt Taibbi

If you re-read that paragraph a few times, you can really get a sense of the disease that is taking place—the all-pervasive cancer. At the most obvious—ignoring all the ills that got to this point—the symptom of the disease is this ongoing public (tax-payer) bailout of crap fiat money for the economies’ collapsed financial sector.

Maybe it’s not even paper money. Maybe it’s just magic, punched into a computer. Who knows? Whatever it is, it is of no inherent value, and yet devalues whatever ‘money’ means now. That actually also describes cancer cells multiplying.

This symptom (bail-out) is simultaneously the sickest form of so-called socialism (financially) and the sickest form of capitalism (outright theft—stealing rapaciously from public funds and still calling it a free-market). And from inside cancer itself comes a now even poorer, blinded citizenry, and a richer elite, which at some point defines a feudal system, or a dictatorship (even with so-called democracy, as Honduras is showing).

But enough of my clap-trap. A must read from Matt Taibbi’s Inside the Great American Bubble Machine.

And listen to the video, too, please. Of course this is a one-sided piece, but how many people list Hitler’s strong points?

To me, this may be simplified, but how else can the average person, like myself, understand any of what goes on with economic heists? For example, people got hopeless sub-prime mortgages they couldn’t pay back.

Their fault? Sure.

But the problem is caused or instituted or continued because of…

“…banks like Goldman Sachs who found ways to chop up crappy mortgages [if some Wal-Mart worker in Boise should have known they were crap, surely Goldman Sachs…] into little bits and then sell them off as securities to unwitting pensioners.

And there’s nothing ordinary people can do about that stuff. People who are in this business have trouble with a lot of this stuff. It’s enormously complicated, even for insiders….

And if you don’t understand it, if you don’t get it, there’s no way to vote on it sensibly. There’s no way to demand your congressman take action, and that insulates these people from any kind of action…”

Let’s be honest: like lawyer talk, heretofore, wherein and screw you in perpetuity, the whole thing is mystified and complicated, at least partially, with the plan to blind with bull***.

Just appalling. Democrats, Republicans (in fact Democrats big time, in case anyone was feeling smug). My old man has been describing this, through other utterly marginalized economic experts (and still marginalized), for twenty years. Meanwhile, the same perpetrators keep cycling through the system, no matter how bad or even heinous their policies.

These major bankers knew everything. But like a person caught up in, say, drugs or an affair—the rush so great, and these money grabs are an addiction—they don’t notice or literally can’t stop. They literally can’t be ethical: “It was bigger than both of us…” etc.

And President Obama, by posting these people to continued high positions, and the list would be comical if not so tragic (as Taibbi painfully points out), is simply further institutionalizing the sickness.

Seeing as Goldman Sachs ‘donated’, ha ha, more money than anyone else to his campaign, period, he likely believes them. It’s like disowning dear old dad if he paid for where you are. Difficult.

Fast-forward to today. It’s early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs — its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign — sits in the White House. Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs.

If Obama does have good intentions, I sure feel sorry for him.

But those insider banksters and then bankers in government and at the Fed knew and know what they are doing—that’s why and how they made the moves, deregulations, regulations, policy changes etc., they made and continue to make. It’s called uber-maximization of profit, regardless of the cost, the externalities, and it’s where the system ultimately collapses into an abyss of human aberration, greed and emptiness (but tell that to those getting this year’s bonuses).

Really, it’s just a free-for-all and a real picture of human nature, human greed, in the extreme. Why? As Clinton said about his White House indiscretions (and you can include Robert Rubin with Monica Lewinski), paraphrasing, ‘I did it for the worst possible reason: because I could.’

In the end, Monica was brushed off without a mention of her name, or the mental distress caused to her, while Clinton described Robert Rubin as the “greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton.”

Many do actually question Hamilton’s competency. Thomas Jefferson supposedly considered Hamilton aristocratic and unprincipled. How Rubinesque! Thank you, Bill Clinton.

And do you think most bankers really care if the credibility of their profession is at this point more or less nil? At $700,000 bonuses for Goldman Sachs employees after record quarterly profits in the multi-billions—mere months after the public bailout—and a 1% tax rate last year (seriously), I am sure they care not a wit. After all, it’s simply a good investment on their Obama stocks (formerly Bush, formerly Clinton stocks).

I am sure the theories are not exactly correct. How could they be? But please, have a read, educate yourself and others a little more via something not utterly complicated. And from there, stand for your rights, your intelligence, your grandchildren, and yourself with every new day, as best you can. It’s not easy. We’re all human, after all,

Lots of love,



Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I haven’t had a chance to comment on this—I just read it—but it is certainly worth reading, and comprehending in a wider, all-system sense. It reveals, in stunning detail, the pernicious way in which not just health care, but so many institutions/policies/corporations are run: profit over human rights, supported through, for example, sold out Congresspeople (so many!) via their lobbyist friends. Speaking of lobbyists and shameless PR folk, see my previous blog on Honduras.

And this leads us to a Bill Moyers interview with former CIGNA health insurance PR man Wendell Potter—a real insider. He is like a Mr. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life, had Mr. Potter changed his position. This present-day Potter has had what is sometimes called a metanoia—a change of heart.

It’s just a shame, and shameful, what is often done relentlessly, recklessly, and without any concern for life-stealing externalities, on behalf of profit. The interview is here.

An excerpt:

I picked up the local newspaper and I saw that a health care expedition was being held a few miles up the road, in Wise, Virginia. And I was intrigued…I borrowed my dad’s car and drove up 50 miles up the road to Wise, Virginia. It was being held at a Wise County Fairground. I took my camera. I took some pictures. It was a very cloudy, misty day, it was raining that day, and I walked through the fairground gates. And I didn’t know what to expect. I just assumed that it would be, you know, like a health—booths set up and people just getting their blood pressure checked and things like that.

But what I saw were doctors who were set up to provide care in animal stalls. Or they’d erected tents, to care for people. I mean, there was no privacy. In some cases—and I’ve got some pictures of people being treated on gurneys, on rain-soaked pavement.

And I saw people lined up, standing in line or sitting in these long, long lines, waiting to get care. People drove from South Carolina and Georgia and Kentucky, Tennessee—all over the region, because they knew that this was being done. A lot of them heard about it from word of mouth.

There could have been people and probably were people that I had grown up with. They could have been people who grew up at the house down the road, in the house down the road from me. And that made it real to me.

BILL MOYERS: What did you think?

WENDELL POTTER: It was absolutely stunning. It was like being hit by lightning. It was almost—what country am I in? I just it just didn’t seem to be a possibility that I was in the United States. It was like a lightning bolt had hit me.

I hate to say it, but it sounds like a dust-bowl Woody Guthrie song, or some post-colonial disaster in the Third World. This cannot bode well for the future. Painful.

Lots of love and hopefully some fairness,


BANKS, BAILOUTS and BULLSHIT: If You’re Logical Enough, You Can Get Away With Anything

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

“By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.”

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)

I read today:

President Barack Obama’s $75 billion plan to [refinance mortgages etc to] keep millions of Americans from losing their homes to foreclosure may be doomed to fail because banks simply don’t want to refinance mortgages.

That is the conclusion of a study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, which found only 3% of seriously delinquent borrowers (those more than 60 days behind in their payments) had their loans restructured by lenders.

Restructured doesn’t even mean saved (or bailed out). It just means helped. Now granted, as Jenifer McKim wrote in the Boston Globe:

The lenders [banks] may have compelling reasons not to find new borrowers to help, according to the study. For example, up to 45 percent of borrowers who did receive some kind of help on their loans ended up in arrears again, the study found. Conversely, about 30 percent of delinquent borrowers are able to fix their problems without help from their lenders.

But what does this say about the clearly known idiocy of this particular bail-out ideology—tax-payer money—in the first place? Is that not fraud?

And if it’s tax-payer money, it’s by definition money from a group of people who, according to countless statistics, are already, per capita, up to their elbows in debt. What kind of sense is that?

Suddenly a bunch of tax-paying citizens, massively in debt, and against their own desires and instincts (if we have any left), are, by the continuing stroke of a fast-writing pen, turned into little public lending institutions (actually aid institutions) to help out, well, uh, big, private lending institutions.

According to the prescient Federal Reserve, in 2007, consumer debt—not including mortgage debt—was around $8,500 for every person in the US. Every person. Extrapolating, if you and your partner (or ex-partner) have, say, three kids, on average you’re $42,500 dollars in debt. Again, before the mortgage. Or put another way, before the foreclosure.

However, if one considers cumulative debt, which would be calculated as follows: all government debt + all corporate debt + all personal debt all divided by the American population of just over 300 million, then the total debt per person in the United States is about $700,000 US, or, at 2.28 people per household, $2.17 million per household.

Geezuz Murphy. Think about it—without killing yourself or stockpiling ammunitions. What the hell does that mean? Something? Nothing? Everything? World Government Takeover? IMF restructuring? A big default because the US owns all the military hardware? I need a chai.


Isn’t it fascinating how little can be understood with regards to what the heck is going on with the economy, with the bailouts, with banks, health insurance companies and everything else? Truly astounding. I can’t even comprehend my taxes. Seriously.

One thing is for sure, whatever is happening, it is so often utterly counter intuitive to the point—and this may be the point—that we abandon any serious involvement. It’s like living within the rules of quantum mechanics and thinking therefore we don’t really hurt when we fall off a building.

Despite all the economic collapse that the Federal Reserve fellas didn’t see coming (and, yes, countless others saw it coming for years), these same Federal Reserve non-seers get put back in a position to ‘repair’ or work on what they couldn’t see coming in the first place. And they get to use tax-payer money to do it. That’s got to fit the definition of a scam.

In fact I’m going to look up scam.

Scam, noun:

1. a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, esp. for making a quick profit; swindle.

Further, there are all these ‘spooky’ things (to quote Einstein) that go on with banks, like lending nine times over the money the average-person deposits in a bank, or the blight of compound interest on loans, or offering sub-prime mortgages to countless would-be homeowners who they knew couldn’t pay back.

And I know we ‘consumers’—primed from birth—are also often moronic, believing debt has virtually no meaning. Meanwhile, consumer debt has increased in the past couple of decades beyond all other debt types (corporate and government), percentage-wise—so clearly we all have the disease. Of course, it doesn’t help that real wages have, for so many, been stagnant for a long time (there is great argument about how stagnant, and for how long, and what this means).

Anyway, back to banks and loans et al: The in-general-bubble gets so massive that it bursts, and certain banks go down (or so it seemed). So with great logic the federal government bails out these banks with tax-payer money that doesn’t exist, and with that money that doesn’t exist, puts the banks in charge of helping out the folks with bad mortgages who they already duped (or at least co-duped).

As usual, the possibly compassionate yet ultimately ineffective congressman Barney Frank put it this way:

“The problem is worse than we thought. The failure to do these modifications means the whole situation stays bad longer.”

Great. Thank you. Call a committee!

Admittedly, I don’t really know what’s going on. That silly summary is just the best I can do, loosely, trying to understand what’s going on. Either way, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston put out this study saying that the $75 billion bailout to banks to help with these foreclosure diasasters, is barely being used at all for that purpose.

And somebody is supposed to be surprised?

“Loan modification is not profitable for lenders,” Boston Fed senior economist Paul S. Willen told The Boston Globe. “If it were profitable, they would go out and hire staff.”

Willens goes on to suggest:

Instead of giving the $75 billion to banks, Willen and others believe the administration should distribute the money directly to homeowners.

Did the banks and their rational, logical, cool-minded economists mention that before they got the $75 billion bail-out for, well, loan modification?

If they did, it had no power.

The game was all but over when the bailout happened. “Here fox, look after these chickens!” “Hey, pedophile, look after these kids!” “Hey banker…!” Or should we say bankster, as in gangster, as I believe FDR did?

Now there will be (or already is) some committee and some commission to check out what might have been illegally or ignorantly done and in the meantime the money will be gone, reused, rechanneled, or spent on bonuses, holidays or prostitutes on weekends away.

Bright people in positions of power have to have known this would happen (that’s their job!). Ah, well, back to my screenplay. Why didn’t I get an education?

The full article with links to the Boston Federal Reserve study is here.

May you have a house to live in (and may it also be a home),

Pete xo

CONSPIRACY! Now All We Need Is A Sustainable Counter Conspiracy

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Cool rational, educated people often mock so-called conspiracy theories. But conspiracies really do exist. For example:

In 1949, [nearly defunct] General Motors, [brutal colonialists] Firestone Rubber, and [stronger than ever] Standard Oil of California were convicted by a federal jury of criminally conspiring to replace electric mass transit with GM-manufactured diesel buses; in a noteworthy illustration of justice for corporations, the court fined GM $5000 and forced H.C. Crossman, the GM executive responsible for carrying out GM’s policy, to pay $1.00.

Before you mock the GM executive only having to pay one dollar in 1949, remember what that dollar was worth in 1949. In fact, here’s the answer. $1.00 from 1949 was worth the following in 2008:

$9.03 using the Consumer Price Index
$7.48 using the GDP deflator
$15.13 using the unskilled wage
$26.14 using the nominal GDP per capita
$53.37 using the relative share of GDP

Isn’t that fascinating? Here’s the page that calculates such things, from 1774 to the present.

Back to the original conspiracy.

Cities where GM managed to eliminate electric/rail systems, and replace them with buses and private cars, included New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles.

This also happened in Vancouver, where just after the turn of the (19th) century Vancouver had an electric car system that actually far exceeded the needs or at least the size of the city. There was a route, that still exists today I believe, from Vancouver to Port Moody. Port Moody was a toss-up loser at the time to be the hub of the burgeoning metropolis.

There perhaps is no reason to believe these companies forsaw the environmental problems. Indeed, the term externalities was barely, if at all—not unlike now—included in the corporate profit plan.

That’s too bad, because these externalities (the bad ones) have played an unmitigated, unpaid for role in damaging the environment, some say irreparably, at least for us humans—and for countless other miraculous species, now long gone.

Externalities also play a massive role in the financial sector, for example, negative like gross inflation, inconceivable debt and economic collapse via speculation, irredeemable credit (and money) and endless public subsidy (subsidy pledged although the subsidy—money—doesn’t actually exist).

But back to the car. Lord knows most of us in the West have felt the seeming and real physical freedom and benefit from having a personal traveling package (a car) to scoot around in. The farther away work got, the more essential it became. Or was that what the electric transport system would have fulfilled?

I don’t know, but the original article begins:

The automobile did not come to dominate American transportation by chance or by public choice. It happened as part of a plan by auto makers to buy up and destroy mass transit companies.

General Motors led the way.

As recently as the 1920s, many American cities and towns were connected by a network of electric railroads and interurban trolleys. Within cities, electric street railways, trolleys, and elevated trains, moved large numbers of people easily and cheaply, with minimal congestion and pollution. But steel-wheeled electric/rail mass transit systems did not serve the needs of the automobile manufacturers and their allies in the steel, rubber, glass, concrete, and oil industries.

Beginning in the 1920s, General Motors began investing in mass transit systems. According to historian Marty Jezer (and Congressional hearings held in 1974), between 1920 and 1955, General Motors bought up more than 100 electric mass transit systems in 45 cities, allowed them to deteriorate, and then replaced them with rubber-tired, diesel-powered buses. Buses are more expensive, less efficient, and much dirtier than electric/rail systems. (And of course automobiles are even less efficient than buses, by far.

The full short article from 1995 is here.

Anyway, what the conspiracy of (the nearly defunct) GM, (criminally colonial) Firestone and (stronger than ever) Standard Oil tells me, is that with the right leadership, the right intention, the right understanding, and endless, relentless citizen demand, an opposite conspiracy can develop. And evidently, the sooner the better, to say the least.

We’ll see what happens. Either way, start a positive conspiracy with love and language. Just do it. You deserve a break today.


The Cult of Current Economic Policy and the dream of Post-Autistic Economics

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

“It is within the power of writers and artists to do much more: to defeat the lie!”
—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Yet another great article from Deborah Campbell. An older article (2004), but given the recent brutal outcomes of long term disastrous economic policy, something very worth hearing about: Post-Autistic Economics.

This is the moniker (is that the right word?) designated by some of the brightest university economic students in the world to describe an economics beyond the neo-classical religion currently preached. What is interesting is this protest movement—a movement demanding not the end of neo-classical economics, but simply the inclusion of other (sinful) economic ideas in course materials as well—did not begin in 2009, after the recent economic collapse. It didn’t begin after 9/11, in 2001, either.

Nay, it began somewhere around 2000.

Here’s an excerpt from the essay that has very little to do with the defining of Post-Autistic Economics. But it sums up the mentality of the current rapacious policy based on, in my opinion, the lie of so-called free market principles and infinite growth (in a finite world). And given the excerpt, it’s quite sad how I mindlessly always applaud people who are accepted to Harvard (and it’s not their fault)…

Harvard President Lawrence Summers illustrates the kind of thinking that emerges from neoclassical economics. Summers is the same former chief economist of the World Bank who sparked international outrage after his infamous memo advocating pollution trading was leaked in the early 1990s.

“Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCS [Less Developed Countries]?” the memo inquired. “I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that . . . I’ve always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted . . . ”

And we think the Scramble for [the polluting, stealing and crushing of] Africa is over! This is the head of Harvard, for the love of the Union—and former chief economist of the World Bank.

Brazil’s then-Secretary of the Environment, Jose Lutzenburger, replied: “Your reasoning is perfectly logical but totally insane . . . Your thoughts [provide] a concrete example of the unbelievable alienation, reductionist thinking, social ruthlessness and the arrogant ignorance of many conventional ‘economists’ concerning the nature of the world we live in.”

I can’t even see the “perfectly logical” part. The whole thing seems if not insane, hopelessly racist and cruel (I guess that is insane); a sort of sickness from which we are covered in varying degrees. May I be so pretentious as to quote Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man as if his words were on the tip of my tongue? They were not. I barely know his writing, yet he is quoted in a book I’m reading:

“…the preservation of misery in the face of unprecedented wealth constitute the most impartial indictment [of, say, neo-liberal economic policy]—even if they are not the raison d’etre of this society, but only its by-product: Its sweeping rationality [for example the math of neo-liberal economics], which propels efficiency and growth, is itself irrational.”

And this was written in 1964. Boy, he hadn’t seen nothin’ yet. And back to the Harvard president:

Summers later claimed the memo was intended ironically, while reports suggested it was written by an aide. In any case, Summers devoted his 2003/2004 prayer address at Harvard to a “moral” defense of sweatshop labor, calling it the “best alternative” for workers in low-wage countries.

I gave my arguments against these types of ideas here, a few years ago.

Anyway, Deborah’s full article is here. Food (if you can afford it) for thought. And if you ask me, hope. People care—all over the place, people care; people seek creativity; people seek freedom. People even practice or express altruistic behaviour, regardless of what people who don’t practice altruistic behaviour say.

Lots of love, solidarity, hope, and alternative thinking,



Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Way back I was engaged in a debate based on the idea that tax-payer subsidies in research and development have helped create a lot of wealth for private individuals.

Noam Chomsky in What Uncle Sam Really Wants (1991, pg 13) put it this way:

“The government has the public pay for research and development and provides a state-guaranteed market for waste production. If something is marketable, the private sector takes it over. That system of public subsidy and private profit is what is called free enterprise.”

In my original pieceDOES NOT COMPUTE: SUBSIDIZED HIGH TECH and the GATES to the FUTURE—I was referring to how public subsidy played a significant role in the development of the computer, I think, which went on into more private hands to make trillions, and be a marvelous machine for personal use in the process. Just today in fact I was at a wedding where a business associate of mine married his Blackberry.

Oh, ‘Gates to the Future’ was a play on Bill Gates’ name.

Anyway, I got flack for an idea that I really believe is statistically undeniable, and thus countered those comments here.

But was I right to hint that Bill Gates’ vast fortune isn’t simply the result of personal ingenuity and free market capitalism, but indebted to tax-payer R&D along the way? I don’t know—and believe you me I’m often wrong—but either way the point was echoed explicitly in the film The One Percent by none other than Bill Gates, Sr., of all people:

“People who have been enabled to accumulate very, very large wealth, have an indebtedness to society for having made that possible. They live in a place which generates individual wealth…[inaudible] for the micro-processor, the human genome, research—the Internet. None of those things would exist but for the 90 billion dollars that the federal government [the tax-payer] spends every year on basic research.

People don’t really see the role that, the use of tax-dollars, plays in making our economy so vibrant.”

And I don’t quote this in support of bigger taxes, at all. And god knows I am against a bigger State. I write it simply to reiterate what appears to me utterly obvious, regardless of dogma: free market is a euphemism for something that is often deeply—in many ways—subsidized and protected.

By the way, The One Percent is directed by Jamie Johnson, one of the heirs to the Johnson & Johnson mega-empire.

Bill Sr. can be seen below, starting around 4:10, being honest regardless of his son. Actually, clearly his son knows this too—and god love him for the hundreds of millions he and his wife have relentlessly poured into desperate causes:

FREE (of truth) TRADE

From, say, the criminal sugar subsidies out of Florida, punishing, (to the rest of the world) Agribusiness subsidies (massive, and deathly for the small farmer), the opening and/or protecting of markets through war (the oil market, for example—and remember opium? Ah, British free trade) and on and an and on—oh yeah, those free market bail-outs!—and the mix of, say, weapons and free trade that China is vilely exporting into Africa, I get truly sad endlessly hearing this talk of the so-called free market. Heck, I can’t even work in the States. Some free market.

And I think this manipulative mythology has contributed to the blindness that has prevented us from seeing the inconceivable debt madness and economic heist of the present day. In this climate of so-called free market we actually saw this lethal combination: grand subsidies and massive deregulation. In short, those who knew how to really play the game and find the loop-holes and send the lobbyists and fix the books (even legally), they got a virtual free-for-all—and I do not exclude from that group the piggy-ness of we middle-class consumers, whose debts ballooned pathologically over the last fifteen years.

Or to quote Mahatma Gandhi, loosely, because I see a lot of different versions of this quote:

“The Lord gave enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

But I do believe, slowly, maybe, we’re learning by thinking, as best we can, of the life of our great, great grandchildren.

Lots of love to you,

Pete xox

PS Getting Bill Jr.’s dad to back my thoughts about Bill Jr. and his computer fortune is a bit like this Marshall McLuhan moment in Annie Hall. And all that said, it doesn’t make it true—and it sure as heck won’t change public opinion. Nonetheless:

Woody: “If life were only like this…”

NADER 2000, 2004: Unwanted At Any Truth

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The reasonable man adopts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adopt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
—George Bernard Shaw

I know, I’m a little late in my coverage.

Nonetheless, people often bemoan Ralph Nader for losing the election for the Democrats in the American elections of 2000 and 2004. If that’s all it took, as Nader himself said, with the awfulness of Bush’s record, they didn’t deserve to win.

The consumer advocacy bills passed by Nader in the late 60s and 70s are truly astounding—think about what he did!—and the dismantling of them in the 1980s, and the pathetic response from Democrats in Washington are equally startling. Okay, they’re kind of expected, so less astounding.

Anyway, some suggest (see here the wonderful and unsanitized An Unreasonable Man) it was this Democratic spineless surrender to its dismantling more than anything else that pushed Nader’s hand to run. The victory of Bush, in this way, was sewn, to a degree, via the pathetic efforts of Democrats during the Reagan years.

Further, if one looks at how relatively close the electoral vote was for Obama in 2008 (in terms of percentage, 52.92% to 45.66%), perhaps only the deep and often immoral disaster of Bush—and I think that’s a fair assessment—could have opened the way for a Democrat, let alone, black President.

Bush was historically low in terms of popularity.

So, if you’re happy or grateful for the Obama victory, maybe consider thanking Ralph.

Anyway, here’s a quote from Nader’s speech at Madison Square Garden in 2000. Nader, on ten days notice, filled Madison Square Garden, something the other Presidents could likely never have done with all their money. And if you want to know where the establishment media stood on it, the ‘liberal’ New York Times commented on the event at the bottom of page A16, and largely (or small-ly) not even as a legitimate voice, but as the problem for Gore.

Sad but unsurprising. And now the paper, like so many others, is virtually bankrupt. It used to be a joke the idea of getting one’s news from the internet. Alas…

From Ralph Nader, imperfect, of course, but citizen extraordinaire:

The students are not learning. They’re not learning citizen skills. They’re not learning how to practice democracy. They’re not learning the creative force of their personality and idealism and imagination…

Maybe if we started talking about citizen globalization, civic globalization, instead of corporate globalization the world would move forward…

Imagine seeing people everywhere as sisters and brothers? Teaching kids deeply about civic involvement and the meaning of citizenship, where things like, say, disgusting, health destroying food wasn’t the status quo? Where the scam of bottled water under Pepsi, Coke and Nestles etc didn’t exist virtually unnoticed by the mainstream? A world where the majority of our food wasn’t owned by napalm producing companies like Monsanto and and cigarette companies like Phillip Morris (now called Altria)?

Is that not a definition of insanity, or something profoundly Orwellian?

Imagine a place where people understood what exactly money is? I still don’t, but this endless printing of paper is confusing. A world where the word Government would stop being used as a euphemism for what is really being said: tax-payer?

That’s a good thought, and a great meditation. Keep talking using words that actually have integrity and meaning, and eating food that serves the body and mind, and spending money in ways that serve the environment, as if there is some inherent truth to these actions.

Lots of love to you,



Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

I actually wrote a long paper called Noam Chomsky On Drugs, about the Insite safe injection site on the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver, and the madness and hypocrisy of the War On Drugs. It was fascinating research. But I never heard this four-minute talk from Chomsky, largely about the perverse history of prohibition of marijuana.

Now remember, for what it’s worth, I do not use drugs. I do not even drink alcohol (maybe a sip of wine on rare occasions). But all the realities of the disaster of drug use aside (and alcohol and cigarettes are the worst), the delusion behind what we call the War On Drugs, and how we moralize against some drug use, is simply startling, fascinating and compelling in its hypocrisy.

This is from Chomsky, and he can’t even help but laugh as he describes studies in the 1930s showing the effects of marijuana on dogs—it makes them insane, evidently. One might even say barking mad. After getting stoned, all they want to do is watch TV, lick their balls and laugh at bad cat jokes (I made the last sentence up)

Here’s the kicker. According to youtube, this video is, or may be, offensive to minors! The world is insane. Have you seen the ‘kill anybody in sight’ video games minors can play with?

By the way, I hate the term minor. It’s like minor, as in not yet fully significant.

The audio is here.

Lots of love to you, and freedom,

Pete xox

BUSTED UP OVER ENDLESS BUSTS: Cigarettes, Alcohol, Marijuana and the devastating Hypocrisy of the War On Drugs.

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I don’t smoke cigarettes, I don’t drink alcohol, and I don’t smoke marijuana—in fact I never have smoked a joint. So other than admitting I am the world’s most boring person, I also say this as a disclaimer of non-agenda. In fact, I have zero affection for these three drugs.

However, I despise far more—and believe it to be just as dangerous (because hypocrisy is endlessly pervasive)—the political and moral hypocrisy of the fact that (from an article by Paul Armentano called 20 Million Arrests, and Counting):

“…one American [is] arrested for pot every 38 seconds.

Yet despite this massive increase in arrests—by contrast, federal statistics indicate that adult marijuana use has remained fairly stable over the past decade—the mass media and Congress continue to ignore the story.

By doing so, they ignore the plight of millions of Americans who suffer significant sanctions and hardships because of pot-related run-ins with law enforcement. These penalties include probation and mandatory drug testing; loss of employment; loss of child custody; removal from subsidized housing; asset forfeiture; loss of student aid; loss of voting privileges; loss of adoption rights; and loss of certain federal welfare benefits, such as food stamps.

Talk about disenfranchising and criminalizing a society—a mostly young society, to boot. You know, booze was once legal, too. So was hiding a fugitive slave.

And alcohol? Hardly anyone can gather at a party without bringing this hopeless intoxicant (excluding of course quality dark beer from micro-breweries). Joking. Whatever.

Look, doesn’t the obligatory bringing of alcohol ever make you take pause? Conversations with people whose company one truly delights in isn’t enough without intoxicants? Granted, real idiots can be at parties, too—but don’t they just become bigger idiots after a case of Coors? And don’t get me wrong, I am anti-prohibition. Not unlike the old saying that you only truly believe in free speech if you defend the right of people to say things you despise.

Either way, according to the book Getting to Maybe (pg 190):

“[Drunk driving] remains the single largest criminal cause of death in Canada, where approximately 1,500 people are killed each year as a result of impaired driving, a number about three times higher than the murder rate. The situation is worse in the United States.”

Killed. That excludes injured, maimed, paralyzed, brain damaged etc, which is logically much higher.

And hundreds of thousands die of smoking related diseases in North America every year—and don’t kid yourself, those deaths are often extremely violent. I watched a friend die of lung cancer. It wasn’t pretty. A beautiful, dignified person—and by the end he didn’t have the energy, strength or lung capacity to wipe himself (which wasn’t a regular problem because of the brutally constipating side-effect of taking morphine for the agony he was in.

Ah, yes. Cigarettes.

By the way, he was still, of course, incredibly dignified.

The original article continues.

Some Americans serve time for pot. Nearly 13 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates are incarcerated for marijuna-related drug violations, according to a 2006 Bureau of Justice Statistics report. (The report did not include the estimated percentage of inmates incarcerated in county jails for pot-related offenses.)

In human terms, this means that some 34,000 state inmates and an estimated 11,000 federal inmates are serving time behind bars for violating marijuana laws.

In fiscal terms, this means U.S. taxpayers are spending more than $1 billion annually to imprison pot offenders.

Well done, small government.

The front-end criminal justice costs—such as the number of hours a police officer must put in to arrest and process the average pot offender—is far greater. Some researchers, such as Harvard University economist Jeffery Miron, estimate it at upward of $7 billion a year.

Heck, that’s 1/100th of the bailout. Think of the war machines you could build for 7 billion dollars.

But the financial and social costs tell only part of the story.

Up to 70 percent of all individuals in drug treatment for pot are placed there by the criminal justice system, according to statistics published by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

It’s just an insane amount of hypocrisy—so much so that I end up defending drug use. That is really perverse. Statistics further show that 1 in 3 of those people put into rehab had not smoked marijuana thirty days prior to admission.

Geezuz. Just a little pot for thought. Stay vigilant in your critical thinking, to be sure. And love more, man. That’s the thing. And if you are spiritual-minded, so-called, you don’t have to keep looking to the sky to be closer to God: we increase our divinity by increasing our humanity. Be yourself. Cause no harm. See more and more people as sisters and brothers, until there is nobody unrelated.

Lots of love,



Monday, November 3rd, 2008

I just read an article in the New York Times by one Edward Rothstein about the collapse of not only the economy, but trust. With undeniable pessimism, the writer finishes thusly:

What is strange is that we now depend on the state to re-establish trust by rescuing and even nationalizing financial institutions, relying on the same authority that gives paper money its value. But after the events of the last century, can anyone fully believe that the state should be the ultimate standard for trust and fiscal faith?…We are in for perilous times.

Look, I don’t understand these things too well—highly complex institutions built on years of conniving, manipulation, ideology and power etc. Heck, I’m as baffled by bullshit as the next person. Nonetheless, the last paragraph, for me, is symbolic of a grand epidemic of misunderstood and incorrectly juxtaposed terminologies.

I am no authority on language, but it’s still really depressing, and I’ll try to explain why. Feel free to correct me or add to the explanation or whatever.


Firstly, there is a sort of implied link in the paragraph (perhaps unintentional) between “the state” and said state being “….the same authority that gives paper money its value…”

This is absurd, of course. The institution that prints the money (excessively) in the United States is the largely privately run (not state run!) so-called central bank known as the Federal Reserve; it prints money and sets policy as it sees fit, and has ushered in disasters like fractional reserve banking, where a bank can have next to zero currency in its reserves, and thus lend thin air.

Although far from perfect, I’ll let the almost-Presidential candidate Ron Paul explain, and again here.


This central bank, also know as the Fed, founded in 1913 and run by unelected personnel, has nothing to do with being state run unless one describes the state as elite business interests in bed with big government interests, giving birth to policy as the two parents deem fit and in their own interests—using a host of neo-Orwellian terms like the market, National Interest, free market, democracy and so on. That is to say, perhaps they once had clear meaning./p>

This, we forget and have forgotten in this election, is also how it is with the Democratic and Republican parties. They are two sides of the same coin, with relatively inconsequential differences, overall (hence the bipartisan ‘yes’ for the tax-paid war (and killing field), tax-payer bailout etc etc).


Also, the writer asks “…can anyone fully believe that the state should be the ultimate standard for trust and fiscal faith?” The answer is a big no. This is so obvious as to evoke tears. But why on Gods’ green earth (green as in greenbacks) does he say “the state”?

The two people putting the bailout terms together are the team of Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasure Secretary (former Goldman Sachs CEO) Henry Paulson. Hardly Bolsheviks. In a June 12, 2006 Business Week article, it stated:

“Think of Paulson as Mr. Risk. He’s one of the key architects of a more daring Wall Street where securities firms are taking greater and greater chances in their pursuit of profits.”

The article also says, as if Business Week and Paulson are best buds—for everyone loves an indiscriminate capitalist:

Hank Paulson’s profound understanding of risk and reward makes him the perfect pick for the Treasury.”

That’s “Big” Hank Paulson to you. Okay, capitalist Bolsheviks, maybe.

Evidently, the bailout is one of the greatest transfers of public money—an economic coup—from the tax-payers’ pockets to private banking interests in history. Okay, Stalinists who allow free speech. And this system of public subsidy for private profit is endemic.

Anyway, this handout has very curious ‘regulations’ on how it will be distributed—hence the continued massive year end bonuses within the banks being bailed out—and how it will be ‘paid back’, ha ha, to the taxpayer.


Finally, one of the huge problems of the writer using the term “the state” in this article is that he almost certainly didn’t write at the time of the collapse that either 1) this bailout should not happen or 2) if it does, that it should be a standard shareholder investment in the bank, by the tax-payer who have to pick up the tab. Not the rip-off it is.

In other words, with the bailout the state shouldn’t or won’t own the banks (and they don’t anyway), but rather the tax-paying people who bailed the banks out, because they bought it, broken, at a cheap price, like those foreclosure sales, should own a good chunk. A fair chunk. A market value chunk.


A little too Marxist, perhaps—although I have but a rudimentary knowledge of what that word means. However, the words “worker owned” come to mind, heaven forbid.

Because why should the people who paid for the banks, pay into the banks, and bailed-out (saved) the banks, share in the ownership of the banks?


Not much can be done about the manipulation of words, except the ongoing intellectual self-defense of having great mentors, reading good history, seeking alternative media, thinking more expansively, less-tribally, and with more compassion. Hopefully. And of course I know I’m wrong all over the place too, and lack in knowledge and clarity.

So let me state an aspect of my ideology here: my friends, I’ll take a kind conservative over a cruel liberal—or a kind liberal over a cruel conservative—every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

He we let the rest of these details divide us (even though the devil is occasionally in the details) is one of the grand idiocies of our time.

Love to my sisters and brothers, and may we all get along a little better,


Further On The Great Bank Robbery of 2008 (by the Banks)

Thursday, October 30th, 2008


I would tend to agree that Barack Obama would be slightly preferable over the working-class-disdaining, fiscally pathological, war-mongering, cronyistic, sustainable food-despising alternative.

I would love change, so-called, to usher in a kinder, more sustainable, more creative, safer world where words like terrorism, free-trade, democracy, conservative, liberal, Left and Right have real meaning—other than to obscure.

What is off-putting about Barack Obama to me is that, via the desperate people, he is beginning to take on that dreaded cult-of-personality thing. This is always delusional and even repugnant to anyone with a kind-libertarian/caring-anarchist/discerning-social democratic/small-c conservative/mystic-yet-scientific streak.

In other words, “hope” is found more in compassionate community and enhanced personhood than in some well-spoken politician.

Like Che “No Friend Of Mine” Guevera’s face on T-Shirts, I really don’t like it.

Then again, every four years masses of intelligent people in many different parts of the world bow down to some (generally) father figure they never really had—or so desperately crave.


Even all these so-called conservative pundits spread across the media, who claim to hate Big Government, are only able to spew their divisive talk because there is Big Government (which means Big Corporation, too).

As for Mr Obama, he may be a wonderful fella; he is intelligent, from an IQ point of view, to be sure. He is also clearly a well-groomed political animal—just watch him, listen to him, the endless use of cliches—hope, community, integrity etc—that have little practical use.

SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL (for most things)

In a more perfect world, it seems to me, government would be small; the head would not be The Leader, but The Representative, the best administrator of exercising the will of an ever-greater-educated population/majority (by no means perfect, either).

As for democracy, let’s consider the bailout. Please recall that the American population was solidly against bailing out the banks. Was Obama, when summoned to the capital, against it? No, he voted for the bailout—against the majority will of the population.

One down, perhaps, with many to come. Are not the people the President’s constituents? Of course not.

How funded is Obama by the banks?

According to Open Secrets, commercial banks have funded Obama to the tune of $2,938,556—more than either McCain or Hilary Clinton. Further, of the $9,573,159 contributed by commercial banks, the Democrats received 57.1% of that, the Republicans 42.9%.

They’re the same party! Or at least they’re going to the same party, and folks, you’re not invited to it (although you’re paying for it).

But back to Cult-of-personality. Children singing Obama’s praises in saccharin unison, while being able to neither define his terms nor repeat his ideology—is way too North Korea for me. Movements toward more realized individuality and community are always about people joined in solidarity (hopefully non-violent solidarity, although the Dalai Lama has had a helluva time getting anywhere), not some ideological divide that actually has very little bearing on reality, and still works mostly in the interests of the rich and powerful.


If I was American, I would find out where the loudest chorus of protesting is coming from against the bailout, read what they stand for, and send my support. A quote from William Greider, but first what I mentioned from Naomi Klein two blogs ago:

…the spin is that [Henry] Paulson was really tough with the banks and forced them to sign against their will; I mean the terms of the deal are incredibly favorable to the banks; they didn’t have to negotiate, because they couldn’t have negotiated a better deal for themselves. They get the money but the government is taking no power, there’s no voting right, so they’ve just been handed free money in the midst of an economic crisis; a lot of these banks, if they are not bailed out, they’re going down. So this spin that Henry Paulson is so tough with the banks is absurd; he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them, and he’s one of them.

From William Greider, who wrote a huge book on the Federal Reserve and its shenanigans ten or fifteen years ago. He writes:

The swindle of American taxpayers is proceeding more or less in broad daylight, as the unwitting voters are preoccupied with the national election. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson agreed to invest $125 billion in the nine largest banks, including $10 billion for Goldman Sachs, his old firm. But, if you look more closely at Paulson’s transaction, the taxpayers were taken for a ride–a very expensive ride. They paid $125 billion for bank stock that a private investor could purchase for $62.5 billion. That means half of the public’s money was a straight-out gift to Wall Street, for which taxpayers got nothing in return…

If the same rule of thumb is applied to Paulson’s grand $700 billion bailout fund, Gerard said this will constitute a gift of $350 billion from the American taxpayers “to reward the institutions that have driven our nation and it now appears the whole world into its most serious economic crisis in 75 years.”

Is anyone angry? Will anyone look into these very serious accusations? Congress is off campaigning. The financiers at Treasury probably assume any public outrage will be lost in the election returns. I hope they are mistaken.

The full article in the Nation is here.

I am definitely pro-union by emotion—for I don’t know a country without unions that ever achieved decent human rights/worker rights. That said, I am also, by emotion, not pro-Big Union monoliths, top down, hierarchical and, in a paradoxical way, not unlike their corporate opponents. Maybe necessary, but I like smaller units in general, where voices are heard, and no one ends up in a dumpster.

Check out this United Mine Workers President, WA Boyle, who in the late ’60s took Union funds to pay drifters/hitmen to kill union opponent Jock Yablonski.

Either way, never forget that one of the first thing the Bolsheviks did after their rise (coup) to power in 1917 and the beginning of the tyrannical Soviet Union, was crush the trade unions.

Anyway, from Market Watch:

An analysis prepared by the Union, which was attached to the letter, uses traditional Wall Street valuation techniques to demonstrate that the Treasury’s investment in Goldman and the other firms was worth approximately half of the price paid and that the other half was a gift to the firms’ shareholders. The analysis was done by comparing Treasury’s investment to one made just twenty days earlier by Warren Buffett.

“This behavior is simply outrageous,” said Gerard. “Half the money is invested and the other half of the public’s money is gifted to institutions after they paid out hundreds of billions in undeserved bonuses and shareholder dividends and engaged in reckless speculation.”

“This is no different than if you paid me $10,000 for a car for which no one else would pay more than $5,000,” writes Gerard. “You bought it for $5,000 and gifted me the other $5,000.”
“In my world such gifts are rarely offered to working people.”

The full letter, which I have not looked at, is here.

Here’s to more solidarity, love, local food, increased education, less TV, less torture of animals, access to health care, more freedom, less monopolies, greater creativity, rights of those not in agreement with the majority, less work, efficient work, more community, more profound and compassionate individuality, wonder, awe, gratitude, discernment, smiling and protection of the vulnerable, both at home and abroad—Iraq, Sudan, Congo, everywhere. These are our sisters and brothers, children, grandparents, moms, dads, wives, poets, dreamers and on and on…

Pete xo


Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

As luck would have it, I read this the day after writing about state capitalism being the norm (yes, state capitalism as an American and Western ‘so-called free market’ ideology) long before the bailout. Noam Chomsky gives first hand anecdotal evidence from his very own MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

I wrote on yesterday’s blog:

…four (of countless) modern examples of what is rarely described as the State capitalism it is:

1) the pentagon’s tax-subsidized trillionaire child known as the computer industry.
2) the torturous stench of tax-payer subsidized factory-farm agribusiness.
3) tax-payer financed invasions and ruinations of countless countries, enriching and protecting private oil companies.
4) the bailout of the usurious banking institution.

You might find this interesting. Chomsky said in an interview in September, before the ‘crash’, with respect to the computer industry:

I came here [to MIT] in the mid-50s…The electronics lab, along with the closely connected Lincoln Labs, was just developing the basis of the modern high tech economy. In those days, the computer was the size of this set of offices and vacuum tubes were blowing all over the place [with] computer printouts, paper running everywhere.

By the time they finally got computers down to the size of a marketable mainframe, some of the directors of the project pulled out and formed DEC [Digital Equipment Corporation], the first main frame producer.

IBM was in there at government expense learning how to move from punch cards to electronic computers. By the early l960s IBM was capable of producing its own computers, but no one could buy them. They were too expensive. So they were bought by the National Security Agency…

Finally, of course, all of this gets to the point where you can market them privately. It was not until the l980s after 30 years of development essentially in the state sector that these things became marketable commodities and Bill Gates could get rich.

The Internet was the same thing. I was here when they were starting to work on the Internet. It was not until l995 that it was privatized, after 30 years. If you look at the funding at MIT, in the l950s and l960s, it was almost entirely Pentagon [re: tax-payer]. For a very simple reason, the cutting edge of the economy was electronics based.

A good cover for developing an electronics-based economy was the Pentagon. You sort of frighten people into thinking the Russians are coming, so they pay their taxes and their children and grandchildren have computers.

Anyway, a parable of sorts, of how state capitalism—public subsidy for private profit—took place in the computer industry. Pretty interesting when this was first pointed out to me. And then to be able to see slightly more clearly all the rhetoric and propaganda we get about free markets (non-protectionism) and laissez-faire capitalism.

The list of publicly subsidized manufacturing sectors—the automobile industry, textiles, computers, food etc—is endless. The full interview with Chomsky is here.

Here’s to greater discernment, and trying to hear what is really being said, and to see what is really being done.

Lots of love to you,



Thursday, October 9th, 2008

My point is, even the language describing the processes unfolding is an intentional warping of truth. Remember, the Department of Defense was once the Department of War. And to call a system capitalist, or free-market, with the tax-payer so involved in subtle and not so subtle subsidies and bail outs? Curious, my friend.

Although not an expert in the field of economics, Noam Chomsky offers his two-cents (dollars) about the bail out, and points out so clearly the lie of so-called liberalization and free markets. Far closer to the truth is America being described as a system of State Capitalism, as it has been forever: in short, tax-payer subsidy with private profits—greatly diminishing the risk to the investor, and increasing the risk to the rabble.

An excerpt:

Also predictably, the narrow sectors that reaped enormous profits from liberalisation are calling for massive state intervention to rescue collapsing financial institutions.

Such interventionism is a regular feature of state capitalism, though the scale today is unusual. A study by international economists Winfried Ruigrok and Rob van Tulder 15 years ago found that at least 20 companies in the Fortune 100 would not have survived if they had not been saved by their respective governments, and that many of the rest gained substantially by demanding that governments “socialise their losses,” as in today’s taxpayer-financed bailout. Such government intervention “has been the rule rather than the exception over the past two centuries”, they conclude.

In a functioning democratic society, a political campaign would address such fundamental issues, looking into root causes and cures, and proposing the means by which people suffering the consequences can take effective control.

The financial market “underprices risk” and is “systematically inefficient”, as economists John Eatwell and Lance Taylor wrote a decade ago, warning of the extreme dangers of financial liberalisation and reviewing the substantial costs already incurred – and proposing solutions, which have been ignored. One factor is failure to calculate the costs to those who do not participate in transactions. These “externalities” can be huge. Ignoring systemic risk leads to more risk-taking than would take place in an efficient economy, even by the narrowest measures.

The full article is in the Irish Times, here:

Another example, from a different interview.

Take South Korea: It has had spectacular growth. It is heralded as a success of neoliberal principles. That is not even a bad joke. In South Korea, the controls over capital were so strict that a capital export could bring the death penalty. What does that have to do with neoliberalism? It was a state-directed economy, more or less on the Japanese model. Incidentally, just to make the irony even more extreme, one of the leading state-based economies in the world is the United States. Surely, everyone at MIT knows that. What pays their salaries?

MIT is part of the funnel by which the taxpayer pays the costs and takes the risks of high-tech development, and the profits are ultimately privatized. That’s where you get computers and Internet and the biotech. The entire high-tech economy almost derives from the dynamic state sector.

It’s pretty good food for thought, which will cost you a little more these days with the rise in food costs.

Love to you,



Monday, April 21st, 2008

While the Democratic Primary takes up huge chunks of thinking power (even for us Canadians), powerful multinational leaders who know what’s really going on are gathering in New Orleans, of all places, to “harmonise” business dealings between the US, Canada and Mexico.

Overall, I think this might just mean getting together to make exploitation of all sorts easier for multinational companies—who have no interest in any given nation whatsoever, anyway—and much harder on people and the environment in general, by definition.

“The world” (meaning anything but the world, of course), it seems, appears to have decided that seeking ways to maximize the lifting of those who are, for myriad reasons, less fortunate, or have less access and opportunity to live with self-sustaining dignity, is just too much in ‘competition’ with the legislations and deregulations that maximize profit.

At least that’s how kamikaze journalist Greg Palast reads it, and he’s always worth the read when the TV advertisements doubling as news no longer offer anything at all towards understanding anything all.

New Orleans is a gathering of the little known North American Competitiveness Council.

You’ll notice it’s not the North American Compassion Council. Or even the North American Competitiveness and Compassion Council. I don’t know why they don’t add it in. Look how easily the Department of War became the Department of Defense. That euphemism was added in 1949 in the US, and all over the world, after the War, in the 40s and 50s.

Anyway, this council involves the gathering of CEOs and bigshots from lauded multinationals who haven’t yet got enough out of the system: Wal-Mart, Chevron, weapons giant Lockheed-Martin amongst 27 big boys in all.

Palast writes:

While you Democrats are pounding each other to a pulp in Pennsylvania, the President has snuck back down to New Orleans for a meeting of the NAFTA Three: the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of Mexico.

You’re not supposed to know that—for two reasons…

One of the reasons is because you’re not supposed to know about it. The other is to showcase what can be done with a disaster like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Please read or look up Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine to further understand what or how economic vultures often swarm in after a disaster, calling themselves proud capitalists, but profiting through tax-paying handouts and inside jobs that would make subsidy-addicted politburo Communists blush (and I can’t even remember what politburo means).

Palast again:

The populist radio hosts railing against the coming North American Union don’t realize that these CEOs won’t take away our flags or Fourth of July or Star-Spangled Banner.

The rags and flags will always be kept around to con the schmucks along the Yahoo Belt into donating their children to the Iraq Occupation or other misadventures.

Likewise for Mexico’s rulers: A billionaire like Carlos Slim, the richest man on the planet (sorry, Mr. Gates), didn’t buy the Mexican government to “protect” his nation from Gringos but to protect his media monopoly.

The corporation that purchases Canada’s leaders, Barrick Gold of Toronto, has looted treasuries from Tanzania to Nevada to Chile—and shared the spoils on both sides of the border with their well-greased advisors Brian [did he ever pay back that 2 million dollars?] Mulroney, former Prime Minister of Canada, and George Bush Sr., former head of the US CIA.

And here’s the kicker, worth remembering, without becoming overwhelmed with cynicism, but more aware through knowledge:

So there is no United States of America nor Canada nor Mexico—at least as we like to imagine ourselves in our national fairy tales: self-governing democracies run by we the people or nosotros el pueblo. There’s just the diktats of the North American Prosperity Council. Get used to it.

To underscore the fact that you aren’t invited, nor our elected representatives, [the great Canadian Maude] Barlow related to me that the US Ambassador to Canada told her the legal changes wrought in New Orleans will not be put before the three national Congresses for a vote. “We don’t want to open up another NAFTA,” he told her.

So, they’ll skip the voting stuff. Democracy is so, like, 20th Century.

Palast’s full piece, José Can You See? Bush’s Trojan Taco, is here.

Whenever something is going on that captures the imaginations, passions and even hopes of the masses, you can bet that what really makes a difference, to the richest of the rich, is going on simultaneously, and relentlessly.

This tension has most likely always existed.

And these covert adventures are not a quiet attempt to increase equality, let alone love—of that you can be sure.

Love to you,



Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Admittedly, I was a little satirically fiery in the last post regarding the relentlessly passionate Paul Watson.

The blog unfolded from this emotion: observation and evidence show, whether I like it or not—and I don’t like it!—that there really are people who appear to want to take all they can, exploit all they can, even abuse, kill and rape all they want—as well as people who use others to spread terror to make it happen.

Not only that, it’s often sanctioned, legal and celebrated—in short, the norm.


The resulting shock to populations—as Naomi Klein and countless others have pointed out—allows even more pernicious exploitation, legislation and manipulation to take place.

This appears to be a significant aspect of what it means to be human, around the world, and in varying degrees, within us all—and within all of this, there is so much beauty, as well. How humbling. How possibly refining—for all the questions it then begs.

And assuming there are people like this everywhere, exploiting all that they can, at whatever cost, often within so-called “legal” boundaries, I just wanted the last blog to really call a spade a spade by satirizing what we think is crazy while pointing out the deeper madness of what is accepted as the norm.


This norm—the unsustainable, profit driven exploitation of resources, the systemic, legal torture of billions of animals and the denial of even basic human rights (if necessary) and so on—is expressed unequivocally as a significant and exalted aspect of the corporate model, arguably the dominant motif of this incredible age.

I’ll let legendary business guru Peter Drucker sum it up—speaking without irony or moral confusion. From the film The Corporation:

If you have a business executive who really wants to take on social responsibilities, get rid of him fast. He doesn’t have the right sense of priorities and will do a poor job running the business.

This idea is a worldwide corporate motif, considered practical, common-sensical, and the norm.


On the flipside, disabling a whaling ship that adamantly refuses to obey international law—and for profit (and, granted, livelihoods) relentlessly massacres, say, endangered sea-life, which puts our life on earth at risk—by ramming it, is considered, if not a terrorist act, crazy.

Indeed, it is a little crazy—while noting the act is neither a random nor unannounced happening, and its sole focus is disabling inanimate property (granted, there are people on it) to stop ongoing mass slaughter.

But in the rapacious, collective phenomena of countless Transnational Corporations in conjunction with leaders of various ilk and their storm troopers, could some of their actions—by definition oblivious to effective “social responsibility”—not be considered a pervasive form of ongoing terrorism?

After all, terror is an aspect of what takes place everyday against individuals and populations all over the world—Iraq and Darfur, in part, being simply the obvious examples—when citizens simply by circumstance are attacked, killed or displaced as a result of policy—by both physical attack and/or environmental disruption.


Take a look through this staggering article, Casualties from the Iraq War (the Invasion of Iraq and its fallout). No current situation in the world, it says, has created more displaced people.

Then consider the corporate profits of oil corporations—the largest in history, of any corporations—security and surveillance companies, weapons corporations, and the stock portfolio of the inner circle of the Bush regime.

With the numbers in hand, consider then how big media corporations label the Khartoum government and its Janjaweed henchmen as heinous and genocidal (rightly) and the Bush government as misguided (instructive—hey, I feel the difference that facts don’t bare out, too).

As for my mood, having read about Paul Watson, his vegan stance in opposition to factory farm cruelty and the resulting environmental decimation—and seeing even as a director of the Sierra Club he couldn’t make fellow-directors see the irony of not speaking out, let alone contributing to the problem—I felt a twinge of “shock and awe,” and my response found itself on the page. It was fun.

For reasons perhaps superior intellects can figure out, big media and politics exist at a bandwidth of consciousness that lives off the tension created by ongoing bold-faced deception. The intensity of the lie, its destracting electrical charge, is its core power—all the rest are lesser details.

Iraq is never immoral no matter how immense the slaughter of children and women. Politicians have affairs and apologise—still hungry for the same. And why not? Emotional evolution is very difficult, I would guess, trapped at this plane. Infinite news spins round and round, information samsara (the cycle of repeating births and deaths, with no liberation), sucking our consciousness down by its centripetal force.

So be careful, and seek more edifying, beautiful, joyous, discerning association.


So I’ll leave you with this comment, which unintentionally seemed to sum up part of life’s experience for many of us—both a longing for the well being of all and desperation in its non-attainment. Let me know if you can relate. Then take a deep breath and carry on! With beauty!

It comes from Urgen Tenzin, executive director of the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, as the brutal Chinese government clamp down on Tibetans in the not so Autonomous Region:

Mr. Tenzin’s cellphone trilled and he grabbed his notebook. The call was a secondhand report of a protest breaking out Monday at a medical college in a province outside the Tibet Autonomous Region.

“We are quite helpless,” Mr. Tenzin said. “What we can do except disseminate information?”

Ain’t there a little truth in that sentence?—as the Chinese and countless other governments know.

As for me, I apologize for the limitations and generalizations of some of my comments here, as always. My hope is they are mostly edifying and inspiring, and hopeful, even for superior intellects. Armed with yoga—armed with consciousness, armed with love, armed with gratitude—stand and fight, and/or, stand and write.

And seek joy, solidarity, gratitude and laughter as much as possible.

Big fat hopeful love to the greatness of you,

Pete xo


Thursday, February 28th, 2008

I care not how affluent some may be, provided none be miserable in consequence of it.
—Thomas Paine

China’s ravenous and socially-devastating involvement with oil in the Sudan (and selling weapons to Khartoum) was discussed in the little film Darfur in 10 Minutes: An Overview of the Conflict in Sudan.

But then, wouldn’t you know it, today I was at the Bibliophile bookstore on Commercial Drive in Vancouver (a lovely bookstore), with my mom, when I stumbled upon journalist Nicholas Shaxson’s 2007 book Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil.

It expanded upon the not deeply-discussed effects of the discovery of Africa being an oil-rich continent.

Shaxson understandably made clear that the problems of corruption within so many African countries are pervasive and devastating to civilians already under duress. I agree with this, of course. It’s a disaster.

Ironically, though, I have no doubt—instinctually, anyway—that, monetarily, the amount of corruption in Africa is nowhere near the dollar amount perpetrated in the Free West.

Consider this, for example:

But back to Africa. After discussing African corruption and what might be needed to diminish it, Shaxson writes on page 224 (I wrote this down on a piece of paper to write it down here):

To understand the next bit of radical surgery, consider this. It is not unlawful for a United States bank to receive funds derived from alien smuggling, fraud, racketeering, handling stolen property, contraband, environmental crimes, trafficking in women, transport for illegal sexual activity, slave trading—and many other evils.

Can this really be true?

I could not believe it at first, and I checked. But it is true. The only catch is this: the crimes must be committed abroad…

And Europe, it seems, are hardly better behaved.

In short, the real power centres are outside Africa, and until they change, nothing can change on any large degree anywhere, for the problem is systemic—and there is some hope of change, within democracies, and I use that term loosely.

Regarding the above, I literally stumbled upon this (only listen up to 5:20 with regard to this blog):


There was in the colonial era direct rule and then indirect rule—indirect rule being ruling by local leaders on behalf of the colonial power, as opposed to the direct rule of the colonial power.

This legal freedom for banks and businesses to profit with impunity via humanity’s most foul profit-making enterprises—slave trafficking, drug trafficking, mass fraud etc—seems to me to be the global continuation of Indirect rule unabated.

In other words, it is no longer Britain’s rule over Sudan or France’s rule over the Central African Republic. It is Multinational Institutions (via their legal framework: Trade Agreements) ruling over the Third World—with locals, often willingly, doing much of their dirtiest work.

And Shaxson is no anti-corporate activist. He has written for the Economist and the Financial Times. But in a six-question interview with Harper’s, he reveals what he learned after over a decade of research, against his beliefs:

Western schemes to “guide” Africans to behave better often fail, because African rulers—especially oil-rich ones—tend to be quite good at mastering their own destinies nowadays.

We can best help by making changes at home. One way is to curb our fuel consumption.

Another matter cropped up repeatedly during my 14 years of research: the draining of Africa’s wealth into rich-world tax havens. Current transparency initiatives don’t touch this issue; but instead we pretend that it’s only the Africans who are corrupt. Don’t forget that New York and London, swimming in foreign dictators’ loot, are two of the world’s biggest tax havens.

He continues, with reference to Angola and Nigeria—both resource-rich:

Angola’s oil-laden budget this year is about the same size as all foreign aid to all of sub-Saharan Africa—but according to the United Nations, Angola’s infant mortality is the second worst in the world, worse even than Afghanistan’s.

At the start of the last oil boom in 1970, one-third of Nigerians lived in poverty; now, four hundred billion dollars in oil and gas earnings later, two-thirds are poor.

People often put the problem like this: oil money would be a blessing but politicians steal it, so people don’t see the benefits.

But it’s much worse: the oil wealth not only doesn’t reach ordinary people, but it actively makes them poorer. It took me years to really accept this counter-intuitive idea. But after all I’ve seen, I have no doubts.

With the Western addiction to certain resources—oil in particular at this juncture of history—the “Scramble for Africa” continues with virtual impunity. The corrupt leaders of countries in Africa reap the rewards (as do banks and corporations in the West), and the majority of citizens already on survival’s edge (not to mention the environment) pay the excruciating price.

Anyway, it’s bitter food for thought, but important to know a little more about human nature and the systemic problems that ensure certain problems—but also show where hope is possible for a better world: working on laws, greed, accountability, increasing human rights, energy sources, environmental sustainability, politicians and solidarity and so on.

Lots of love to you, and sisters and brothers everywhere,



Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I got an informative email from Mike Dillon, a fella from the States who’s been fighting to prevent the foreclosure of his house—and then the damage done by that failed (and illegal) forclosure attempt. He passed on this link to an ABC news report that I think is worth reading over—and mentions his plight, which is in the present time, the struggle of a lot of people and families.

In an excerpt, lawyer Max Gardner says:

“The fees are unreasonable fees, they’re unnecessary fees, they’re improper fees, and I’m saying they’re illegal fees because they’re not approved by the bankruptcy courts,” said Gardner. “The problem with these fees is that, you know, they’re secret fees, they’re secret charges.”

He believes this is just the tip of the iceberg, and that some homeowners might be getting taken advantage of, paying the fees when they don’t have to.

“These guys are smart and they are playing the odds,” said Gardner. “And the odds are that 95 percent of the people will have no idea exactly what’s going on. That 95 percent will just go ahead and pay it.”

Considering my minimal economic acumen, my aversion to excess fine print, the incomprehensible jargon in contracts, and subtle manipulative shenanigans, my mind boggles imagining the fees that pass by me, or the average Joe, Joanne or family; credit card fees, banking fees, mortgage fees etc.

Who has the time and the skill and the tenacity to keep up?

I so rarely even look for excessive or unfair costs. I almost can’t grasp that there could be —and I don’t even know what to look for anyway. I tried to make sense of my telephone/internet fees the other days, looking for the rebate I was supposed to get (but couldn’t find), and just gave up, unable to add together the various repetitive lists of costs (and, yes, I can add), so as to get back to things both soul-feeding, and mouth-feeding.

Still, I’m learning.

It’s a bit like one’s standard stock investments, even through a pension plan. You might be shocked, upon a deeper look, the number of companies whose ethics you dislike yet unconsciously are supporting, and earning profits from.

For those under economic duress, and mortgage tribulations, I wish you luck and clarity. If it was easy keep tabs on such things (and evidently its not even easy for accountants), lawyers or accounts for these jobs wouldn’t be needed. Curious thought.

Another excerpt:

“I don’t know of a case that he’s looked at that he didn’t find fees that shouldn’t have been charged,” Gardner said of the accountant, adding that the fees can range from “about $500 after a case is first filed, up until $28,000 or $29,0000 in cases I have had.”

And he’s not alone. When Katherine Porter, a professor at the University of Iowa studied 1,700 bankruptcy cases, she found that questionable fees had been added to almost half the loans looked at, and that they were missing important pieces of documentation, making it difficult to know what the homeowner is being charged for.

The full article is here.

So many people think these legal matters are cut-and-dry, and arguments are so oftened labeled as “frivolous” by those in the legal profession, and indeed, some are. At the same time so many people have huge belief in institutions whose bottom line is undeniably profit over people, not profit for the good of more people.

I’ll never forget reading how dozens of local (I think Federal) Reserve Banks popped up all over Florida when, undeniably, the market was absolutely flooded-out with laundered drug money in the 1970s. Bank managers, they say, were literally in the back rooms with paper money counting machines.

People’s belief at what is actually wrong or illegal may be inaccurate, but their instincts are not necessarily so. For example, in the States there may be no truth to taxation being unconstitutional, but there is for some very intelligent and decent people a natural gross discomfort about simply paying out an unclear amount of dollars into businesses and institutions that one is fundamentally opposed to.

It takes very little intelligence to understand that, for certain beings, this State enforced position distorts their nervous system, let alone their consciousness.

Good luck and lots of love to you. Here’s to honesty, clarity, fair play and sister and brotherhood—in a world addicted, when possible, to easy money,

Pete xox

House about that? Judge Boyko in Ohio and Foreclosing on a “condescending mindset and quasi-monopolistic system”

Monday, January 7th, 2008

“I cannot accept the notion that lawyers are one of the punishments a person receives merely for being accused of a crime.” Jones v. Barnes, 463 U.S. 745 (1983) (dissenting).
—Judge William J Brennan, Jr.

For those two million American households interested, and the three people who read the blog I wrote about the dismissed housing foreclosures in Ohio—and the helpful comments that followed—here’s Judge Christopher Boyko’s Opinion and Order on the case.

Although the exact meaning of the legal details of the Judge’s order escape my non-legal mind (if a mind can be non-legal), it was instructive to see that between “legal experts”, judicial procedure is far from clear or obvious.

I have a feeling there are more than a few legal minds (mostly foreclosing attornies) who might have called the defendants’ claims “frivolous”—Judge Boyko saw it differently.

He begins:

On October 10, 2007, this Court issued an Order requiring Plaintiff-Lenders in a number of pending foreclosure cases to file a copy of the executed Assignment demonstrating Plaintiff was the holder and owner of the Note and Mortgage as of the date the Complaint was filed, or the Court would enter a dismissal.

After considering the submissions, along with all the documents filed of record, the Court dismisses the captioned cases without prejudice.

One of Judge Boyko’s comments, actually a footnote in his Opinion and Order (on page 5 of 6), is fantastically quotable. He writes:

Plaintiff’s, “Judge, you just don’t understand how things work,” argument reveals a condescending mindset and quasi-monopolistic system where financial institutions have traditionally controlled, and still control, the foreclosure process.

Typically, the homeowner who finds himself/herself in financial straits, fails to make the required mortgage payments and faces a foreclosure suit, is not interested in testing state or federal jurisdictional requirements, either pro se or through counsel.

Their focus is either, “how do I save my home,” or “if I have to give it up, I’ll simply leave and find somewhere else to live.”

In the meantime, the financial institutions or successors/assignees rush to foreclose, obtain a default judgment and then sit on the deed, avoiding responsibility for maintaining the property while reaping the financial benefits of interest running on a judgment.

The financial institutions know the law charges the one with title (still the homeowner) with maintaining the property.

There is no doubt every decision made by a financial institution in the foreclosure process is driven by money. And the legal work which flows from winning the financial institution’s favor is highly lucrative.

There is nothing improper or wrong with financial institutions or law firms making a profit—to the contrary , they should be rewarded for sound business and legal practices. However, unchallenged by underfinanced opponents, the institutions worry less about jurisdictional requirements and more about maximizing returns.

Unlike the focus of financial institutions, the federal courts must act as gatekeepers, assuring that only those who meet diversity and standing requirements are allowed to pass through.

Counsel for the institutions are not without legal argument to support their position, but their arguments fall woefully short of justifying their premature filings, and utterly fail to satisfy their standing and jurisdictional burdens.

The institutions seem to adopt the attitude that since they have been doing this for so long, unchallenged, this practice equates with legal compliance. Finally put to the test, their weak legal arguments compel the Court to stop them at the gate.

Check out the poetic sarcasm—and dare I say mocking of VISA and Mastercard advertisements and monopolistic and predatory financial institutions in general—with this ending.

The Court will illustrate in simple terms its decision: “Fluidity of the market” — “X” dollars, “contractual arrangements between institutions and counsel” — “X” dollars, “purchasing mortgages in bulk and securitizing” — “X” dollars, “rush to file, slow to record after judgment” — “X” dollars, “the jurisdictional integrity of United States District Court” — “Priceless.”

Judge Boyko’s full Opinion and Order, in pdf form, is here.

For more on the mortgage crisis, see Catherine Austin Fitts’ interview with Jim Puplava: America’s Black Budget and the Manipulation of Mortgageand Financial Markets, beginning on page 8 (the first seven pages are an introduction from me).

For what it’s worth (and a lot to some people), here’s further legal opinion on the decision from an article written by Moe Bedard and Aaron Krowne quoting Legal Aid Attorney April Charney:

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Attorney, April Charney, broke this news to us via email and made these comments in regards to the Ohio Federal Court ruling:

This court order is what I have been saying in my cases. This is rampant fraud on every court in America or nonjudicial foreclosure fraud where the securitized trusts are filing foreclosures when they never own/hold the mortgage loan at the commencement of the foreclosure.

That means that the loans are clearly in default at the time of any eventual transfer of the ownership of the mortgage loans to the trusts. This means that the loans are being held by the originating lenders after the alleged “sale” to the trust despite what it says per the pooling and servicing agreements and despite what the securities laws require.

This also means that many securitized trusts don’t really, legally own these bad loans.

In my cases, many of the trusts try to argue equitable assignment that predates the filing of the foreclosure, but a securitized trust cannot take an equitable assignment of a mortgage loan. It also means that the securitized trusts own nothing…

This opinion, once circulated and adopted by state and Federal courts across the country, will stop the progress of foreclosures, at first in judicial foreclosure states, across America, dead in their tracks.

Regardless of what people say, none of it is supremely simple or obvious. Here from Wikipedia is the defintion of jurisprudence:

Jurisprudence is the theory and philosophy of law. Scholars of jurisprudence, or legal philosophers, hope to obtain a deeper understanding of the nature of law, of legal reasoning, legal systems and of legal institutions. As jurisprudence has developed, there are three main aspects with which scholarly writing engages:

Natural law is the idea that there are unchangeable laws of nature which govern us, and that our institutions should try to match this natural law.

Analytic jurisprudence asks questions like, “What is law?” “What are the criteria for legal validity?” or “What is the relationship between law and morality?” and other such questions that legal philosophers may engage.

Normative jurisprudence asks what law ought to be. It overlaps with moral and political philosophy, and includes questions of whether one ought to obey the law, on what grounds law-breakers might properly be punished, the proper uses and limits of regulation, how judges ought to decide cases.

Modern jurisprudence and philosophy of law is dominated today primarily by Western academics. The ideas of the Western legal tradition have become so pervasive throughout the world that it is tempting to see them as universal. Historically, however, many philosophers from other traditions have discussed the same questions, from Islamic scholars to the ancient Greeks.

Any clarifying or illuminating comments are always appreciated, desired and, frankly, needed,

Lots of love to you in your home, sweet home,

Pete xox