Some thoughts on Race, Privilege, Class…and the Banks

Pyramid of The Capitalist System – flickr

And yes they are all tied together. Fist off and interview with Peggy McIntosh of race and privilege. More specifically White Privilege. From the web site Beyond Whiteness.

White Privilege:

1. a. A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; an exemption in many particular cases from certain burdens or liabilities. b. A special advantage or benefit of white persons; with reference to divine dispensations, natural advantages, gifts of fortune, genetic endowments, social relations, etc.
Peggy goes into how white people when they think about or talk about race they are either consciously or subconsciously referring to those who are not white. That there are white people – normal – and non whites – not normal. She makes a point of saying that this is a system that is as old as the hills. Hundreds perhaps thousands of years old but not to take blame but to own it and from there do what ever has to be done to change it. She also gives some very goo examples of this privilege that we as whites take for granted but do not think about. Like how being white can give you a pass in situations that being non white would get you in trouble. Continue reading “Some thoughts on Race, Privilege, Class…and the Banks”

Pushed to the edge and really pissed off …

Hunger March – flickr/wikimedia commons

My old education institution in Florida – The Univ. Of Central Florida that was originally called Florida Technological Univ. – has had it’s own brush with a plot for mass violence. The person who was plotting this however committed suicide before carrying it out. Thought he did have the required implements of destruction.

UCF police said they received a fire alarm call around 12:20 a.m. As they responded to that call, police then received a 911 call reporting a man with a gun.

When police arrived, they found a student with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They also found a bag of improvised explosive devices, along with a handgun and an assault weapon. – Central Florida News 13

We may never really know the motivations behind this individual or his actions and proposed actions but it’s safe bet is was some personal problem or agenda that drove him to it.

There a those who like to see such situations as some idealistic political and/or religious or some other kind of plot. In most cases those who are involved are just people who feel they have been pushed too far and are generally just really pissed off and desperate. Desperation can drive people to do things and behave in a manner they would not under other circumstances.

If one looks at the history to most political and/or economic upheavals, they were generally started by people who had “Had enough” and were desperate. Even the Russian revolution caught Lenin by surprise when it began even though he and others had plotted the over throw of the Tzar, it was a spontaneous event by desperate people that initiated it. The same for the French revolution and nearly all other such situations.

And now with the current situation in Europe and the EU ministers decision on the Cyprus bank bail outs, they are sowing and fertilizing the seeds of another upheaval.

There’s been a great deal of discussion of how the deal came about, with a particularly detailed account at the Wall Street Journal. The new stance at the creditor nations and the ECB is that there will be “private sector participation” which is bureaucrat-speak for haircuts to the people who funded the banks. And in the fracas over renegotiating the pact so as to make it less unpalatable to the locals, the Eurozone officials have made clear they don’t care how Anastasiades skins this particular cat as long as he comes up with €5.8 billion from local deposits. Banks were due to be closed Monday on Cyprus for a holiday; officials are now considering imposing a bank holiday on Tuesday. Funds have been frozen in the meantime, producing what is likely to be the emblematic photo of this crisis, of a man trying to break into his bank branch:

. . . . .

Now the EU officials could easily calm nervous depositors by announcing an ECB-backstopped deposit guarantee, instead of the current national system which depends on not-exactly-credible central banks. Germany and its fellow surplus countries have hesitated about proceeding with the necessary steps to further economic integration (notice how the plan to implement eurozone wide bank supervision, which Germany insisted was a precondition to Eurozone-level deposit guarantees, has languished?). Germany is trying to maintain policies that are contradictory: it wants to continue to have large trade surpluses, yet not fund its trade partners; its wants debtors to meet their obligations, yet refuses to allow either enough in the way of fiscal deficits or monetary easing to keep debtor countries from falling into deflationary spirals, which assure default. Germany’s failure to relent on any of these conditions means that what breaks will be the financial system. – Naked Capitalism

It took FDR meeting with the heads of the unions and communists and socialist parties to convince him that this country was very close to another revolution in the 1930s. It was this sort of situation that brought Hitler to power and also brought down a number of leaders in other countries. People are not stupid and when they see that they are being sacrificed for the good of those in the upper crust..when they feel they have no say or recourse…when they feel desperate, they will eventually take matters into their own hands.

The PTB need to realize and be aware that it’s groups of highly desperate and pissed of people that will force a change in the current situation for good or bad. Not some high minded organized plot by some subversive element. Though these elements will often take credit for it, they generally are not the instigators.

In Cleveland Public Transportation is for Black People

Cleveland Trolly 1947 – flickr

Cleveland’s public transportation began like nearly all of the urban areas in this country. First with horse drawn cars and then a few cable cars and then electrified with electric trolly cars. Cleveland had electric trolleys up until the 1940s when they began to replace them with electric buses – so called trackless trolleys. Cleveland had trackless trolleys up until the last line was converted to diesel buses in 1962. The Lorain Av. Line on the west side of town. Contrary to popular belief, the city’s decision to got the diesel bus route was because of the the new heavy rail system that was to be expanded to the airport. The first in the country to do so. It was feared that the city could not provide enough electric power for both the electric buses and the heavy rail. Continue reading “In Cleveland Public Transportation is for Black People”

Detoxing from the Market based Economy and why it’s Advisable

Money syringe – flickr

OK here we are. The FED is once again trying to get people to indulge themselves in more needless spending so as to keep the severely damaged heart of the economy from going into cardiac arrest. This time the stimulant is call QE3. And as Ives Smith says, forgetabtoutit.

But the elephant in the room is what, if anything, these measures will achieve in terms of real economy impact. “Let them eat stocks and housing” has not been terribly successful. Even with super low rates, it has also taken massive sequestering of inventories for the housing market to have the appearance of stabilizing. We have low household formation due to young adults facing high unemployment, low paying jobs with generally short job tenures, and heavy student debt burdens. On top of that, we have generational headwinds as boomers hit retirement age and want or need to downsize. Keeping money on sale is not going to induce banks to lend more if they can’t find enough qualified borrowers. And the consumer deleveraging story is not as positive as the statistics would lead you to believe. A lot of it is involuntary, meaning driven by foreclosures. In addition, retirees also curtail their spending thanks to the fall in interest income they’ve suffered under ZIRP.

. . . . .

And where does the Fed go if a financial crisis or other shock occurs?

The Fed failed to see the crisis coming, failed to push for restructuring of consumer, particularly mortgage, debt, and is now in full bore “if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” mode. And in the crisis, the Fed was slow to act and then overdid when it finally roused itself (remember “75 is the new 25″?) it looks as if the Bernanke Fed is incapable of looking at its own history. Continue reading “Detoxing from the Market based Economy and why it’s Advisable”

A Little Orlov in the Morning – Green Life Eco Fest

Green Life Eco Fest – March 22, 2011 from Dmitry Orlov on Vimeo.

It’s funny ya know. How even those on the far left politically are convinced that we can save our economy/government etc. if only we could find the right policies/representatives/etc.  Rather like someone with a know fatal disease is convinced they can get cured and live forever if only they could find the right treatment.    Denial and  delusion are very powerful mindsets.

Because of this I find Dmitri Orlov to be curiously refreshing.

The American Fantasy Land

Crossroads Fantasyland – dualdflipflop Flickr

One of the comments to a post by David Seaton was this quote by Bertrand Russell.

“In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors, since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors, for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal applies only upwards, not downwards”.

We do not see ourselves in a realistic light but in the way we wish we were or hope to become. This is true of racial relations, finances, politics…you name it. The so called American Exceptionalism. This is evident int the tax proposal of the president to except the first $250,000.00 of income from the tax hike. To same the Middle Class. But as Ted Rall points out in this column, this is hardly middle class. More like the top 2% of earners. Especially since the median income is $49,000.00. Bit of a difference, wouldn’t you say. Continue reading “The American Fantasy Land”

Why the Military Is an Anachronism

WWII reenactment, Rockford, Illinois – Lyle Flickr Creative Commons

The other day I though I would surf over to Dpreview and check out the latest Digital SLR cameras from Nikon. I will admit it, I’m a Nikon bigot. The site reviews digital cameras and sometimes lenses. It’s pretty good with good comparisons, sample images and quality tests.

Yes I am lusting after the the Nikon D800, their latest offering in the pro-sumer or semi professional line. Excellent imaging even at ISO6400 and above. I have a D200 which is not that old but compared to the latest, it’s a 1957 Chevy.

And the newest Hasselblad medium format digital is even better. But then it’s 13 grand. We have the ability to find planets circulating other stars. Nearly every cell phone has a built in camera and the ability to upload images to the internet. We can eavesdrop on radio waves from other galaxies.

And here is the point of this diary – you can bet your sweet bippy the government, ours and others, have capabilities a few orders of magnitude better than what us lowly peons get to play with.

It’s a pretty good bet that no one country is going to invade another without someone knowing about it. Probably ahead of time. Continue reading “Why the Military Is an Anachronism”