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Old 2017-07-12, 02:14   #12
kladner
 
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Default  Wait, You Want Health Insurance Companies to Cover Sick People? But how’s that profitable?

And while we're on the subject how's the old wazoo?

Last fiddled with by kladner on 2017-07-12 at 02:38 Reason: title
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Old 2017-07-15, 15:29   #13
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https://www.vox.com/policy-and-polit...-taxes-schools
Who'da thunk it? Pot taxes help rebuild schools (and other benefits) in Colorado. This article mentions the money coming in. It does not mention how much, if any, money the state is saving on reduced enforcement in the area of pot laws.
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Old 2017-07-20, 22:53   #14
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A despot in disguise: one man’s mission to rip up democracy | George Monbiot, The Guardian: [1986 Economics Nobelist] James McGill Buchanan’s vision of totalitarian capitalism has infected public policy in the US. Now it’s being exported
Quote:
Through the network of thinktanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored, through their transformation of the Republican party, and the hundreds of millions they have poured into state congressional and judicial races, through the mass colonisation of Trump’s administration by members of this network and lethally effective campaigns against everything from public health to action on climate change, it would be fair to say that Buchanan’s vision is maturing in the US.

But not just there. Reading this book felt like a demisting of the window through which I see British politics. The bonfire of regulations highlighted by the Grenfell Tower disaster, the destruction of state architecture through austerity, the budgeting rules, the dismantling of public services, tuition fees and the control of schools: all these measures follow Buchanan’s programme to the letter. I wonder how many people are aware that David Cameron’s free schools project stands in a tradition designed to hamper racial desegregation in the American south.

In one respect, Buchanan was right: there is an inherent conflict between what he called “economic freedom” and political liberty. Complete freedom for billionaires means poverty, insecurity, pollution and collapsing public services for everyone else. Because we will not vote for this, it can be delivered only through deception and authoritarian control. The choice we face is between unfettered capitalism and democracy. You cannot have both.

Buchanan’s programme is a prescription for totalitarian capitalism. And his disciples have only begun to implement it. But at least, thanks to MacLean’s discoveries, we can now apprehend the agenda. One of the first rules of politics is, know your enemy. We’re getting there.
And h/t NC reader Jesus for this illuminating article on the neoliberal looting program in Spain.
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Old 2017-08-03, 21:30   #15
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Original Shareholder Value Article – Milton Friedman to GM: Build Clunky Cars | Naked Capitalism
Quote:
On September 13, 1970, Milton Friedman published one of the most arguably economically destructive articles in history, “The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits,” in the New York Times. The article is available, in PDF form, for subscribers from the New York Times website.

Friedman advanced the idea that managers are agents of shareholders and that the only purpose of for-profit businesses is to increase stock price.

Managers have been debating Friedman’s “Shareholder Value Theory” for ages but nobody seems to have found the most obvious flaw from the seminal article. Milton’s sermon was directed at GM management who listened, decimating their brand, market share, and share price.

Specifically, Friedman raved against the notion that corporations have “social responsibilities” that, in this specific case, meant they should build safer, more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly cars. One can surmise this notion eventually extended, during a time when planned obsolesce [sic] was part of a business model, to quality.
Article could use some editing ... here is what my mac dictionary app says about Friedman: "As a policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1989, he advocated free market forces to produce balanced economic growth. Notable works: Capitalism and Freedom (1962) and Free to Choose (1980, coauthored with his wife). Nobel Prize for Economics (1976)." (Note: that's not a real Nobel - more accurate would be to call it the Swedish Central Bank Prize for Advocacy of Economic Looting.) As reader ToivoS further notes, "Friedman became the guru for economic reform for the Pinochet regime in Chile after the 1968 [actually 1973] coup. They listened to him for about 18 months until his advice froze the Chilean economy and they had to jettison all of his policies."

The author does seem more than a little credulous with regard to the "social responsibility" bona fides of the leaders of huge multinationals such as GE, Apple and Google. "Great business executives pretend to care about social issues" - fixed it for you, Mr. Olenick.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2017-08-03 at 21:32
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Old 2017-08-17, 22:37   #16
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Public Enemy | Harper's Magazine

Transcripts from the voir dire (jury selection) in the recent Martin Shkreli investor-fraud trial. Unsurprisingly, this being the exceptional klepto-capitalist-worshipping nation, Shkreli has never been on trial for his predatory-pricing outrages which have immiserated and prematurely killed so many thousands ... nope, but as soon as he ripped off a handful of rich people, the full weight of The Law was brought to bear. Still, don't let that interfere with your enjoyment of the hilarious stuff herein.
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Old 2017-08-18, 04:13   #17
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Quote:
the court: All right. I’m going to excuse you. Juror Number 59, come on up.
juror no. 59: Your Honor, totally he is guilty and in no way can I let him slide out of anything because —
the court: Okay. Is that your attitude toward anyone charged with a crime who has not been proven guilty?
juror no. 59: It’s my attitude toward his entire demeanor, what he has done to people.
the court: All right. We are going to excuse you, sir.
juror no. 59: And he disrespected the Wu-Tang Clan.
LOL!
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Old 2017-08-27, 22:22   #18
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o My prediction: the coming collapse of China’s Ponzi scheme economy | South China Morning Post
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You don’t see it right away. Any Ponzi scheme looks just fine as long as more people can be found to put their money in. But the end is inevitable and the longer it is delayed the more resounding the collapse.

It has so long been delayed in the mainland that, when the end finally comes, I believe more than half of the loans and advances of the financial system will prove irrecoverable, which would be very resounding indeed.

When will it happen?

I cannot tell you. No one has ever conducted so big a Ponzi scheme from so high a level of authority before. The closest comparison is the Soviet Union and its collapse was not only extraordinarily rapid but took the whole world by surprise.
Since precisely when is impossible to predict, the more pertinent question is, what signs should one look for that the collapse is nigh? E.g. with the GFC, weird goings-on in Treasury markets and the collapse of two highly leveraged subprime-mortgage hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns were prominent warning sign, ignored by virtually all the experts, e.g. then-Fed-chair Ben Bernanke and his now-famous "subprime is contained" attempt to soothe.

o A Sinister War on Our Right to Hold Cash | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Quote:
An operation that began as a seemingly obscure academic discussion three years ago is now becoming a full-blown propaganda campaign by some of the most powerful institutions in the industrialized world. This is what rightly should be termed the War on Cash. Like the War on Terror, the War on Cancer or the War on Drugs, its true agenda is sinister and opaque. If we are foolish enough to swallow the propaganda for complete elimination of cash in favor of pure digital bank money, we can pretty much kiss our remaining autonomy and privacy goodbye. George Orwell’s 1984 will be here on steroids.
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Old 2017-09-04, 19:41   #19
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Default The Houston Stadium Grift Comes Home to Roost -The Nation

https://www.thenation.com/article/th...home-to-roost/
Quote:
Joel Osteen, the money changer who runs his own Houston temple, was the subject of withering criticism earlier this week after refusing to open his 16,800-seat Lakewood Megachurch to those seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey. Now the doors are open, but it took several days of people wondering why this proponent of the “prosperity gospel” (aka “God loves you if you are rich”) was pulling up the drawbridge on his place of worship.

Less discussed—and Osteen must be relieved that this is the case—is how this televangelist got his hands on his megachurch arena in the first place. It’s a story that speaks to how our cities are unprepared for disasters like Harvey in part because of the way spending has been diverted into publicly funded stadiums—stadiums that become rotting carcasses or “white elephants” as soon as a billionaire wants a new one.
Houston, and many other cities are littered with discarded sports palaces for which taxpayers paid. Here in Chicago we've paid for "upgrades" to Soldier Field, so Da Bears don't move to Orlando, or someplace. I wish they had left.

In my memory, it really got going in Houston with the Harris County Domed Stadium. I that name doesn't ring a bell, try Astrodome.
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Old 2017-09-04, 20:33   #20
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Global Banks Sabotage Uruguay’s Efforts to Legalize Marijuana | naked capitalism
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The first country to fully legalize the recreational use of marijuana, Uruguay, has suddenly found itself facing an unexpected obstacle: the international banking industry.

It all began a few weeks ago when one of the 15 pharmacies that had agreed to sell the two varieties of cannabis distributed by the Uruguayan State announced that it was withdrawing from the scheme after its bank, Santander, had threatened to close its account unless it stopped providing services for the state-controlled sales. Shortly afterwards it was revealed that other banks, including Brazil’s Itaú, had canceled the accounts of the private companies that had been granted a license to produce marijuana as well as some cannabis clubs.

To fill the funding void, the state-owned lender Banco República (BROU) stepped up to provide financing to the 15 pharmacies involved in the scheme as well as producers and clubs. But within days it, too, was given a stark ultimatum, this time from two of Wall Street’s biggest hitters, Bank of America and Citi: Either it stops providing financing for Uruguay’s licensed marijuana producers and vendors or it’s dollar operations could be at risk — a very serious threat in a country where US dollars are used so widely that they can even be withdrawn from ATMs.

Under the US Patriot Act, handling money from marijuana is illegal and violates measures to control money laundering and terrorist acts. However, US regulators have made it clear that banks will not be prosecuted for providing services to businesses that are lawfully selling cannabis in states where pot has been legalized for recreational use. Some cannabis businesses have been able to set up accounts at credit unions, but major banks have shied away from the expanding industry, deciding that the burdens and risks of doing business with marijuana sellers are not worth the bother.

But that may not be their only motive. There are also the huge profits that can be reaped from laundering the proceeds of the global narcotics trade. According to Antonio María Costa, the former Under-Secretary of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, over $350 billion of funds from organized crime were processed by European and US banks in the wake of the global financial crisis.

“Inter-bank loans were funded by money that originated from the drugs trade and other illegal activities… There were signs that some banks were rescued that way,” Costa said. To date, no European government or bank has publicly denied Costa’s charges. Meanwhile, numerous big banks on both sides of the Atlantic have been caught and fined, some repeatedly, for laundering billions of dollars of illicit drugs money — in direct contravention of the US anti-drugs legislation.

Whatever the banks’ real motives in denying funds to the Uruguayan pharmacies, the perverse irony, as the NY Times points out, is that applying US regulations intended to crack down on banks laundering the proceeds from the illegal sale of drugs to the current context in Uruguay is likely to encourage, not prevent, illicit drug sales:

Fighting drug trafficking was one of the main reasons the Uruguayan government gave for legalizing recreational marijuana. Officials spent years developing a complex regulatory framework that permits people to grow a limited supply of cannabis themselves or buy it at pharmacies for less than the black market rate. Lawmakers hoped that these legal structures would undercut illicit marijuana cultivation and sales.

“There probably isn’t a trade in Uruguay today that is more controlled than cannabis sale,” said Pablo Durán (a legal expert at the Center of Pharmacies in Uruguay, a trade group).

Despite that fact, the pressure continues to be brought to bear on Uruguay’s legal cannabis businesses. Banco República has already announced that it will close the accounts of the pharmacies that sell cannabis in order to safeguard its much more valuable dollar operations.

In other words, a state-owned bank of a sovereign nation just decided to put draconian US legislation before a law adopted by the Uruguayan parliament authorizing the sale and production of marijuana. The law’s prime sponsor, Uruguay’s former president, José Mujica, is furious. During a session of the country’s Senate, he accused the banks of directly attacking democracy. His successor, President Tabaré Vázquez, is far less enthused about the plans to legalize pot.

The potential implications of this issue extend far beyond Uruguay’s borders. For years opposition to the US-backed war on drugs has been building across Latin America. At the 2013 UN General Assembly Latin American leaders of all political stripes rose to the podium to take a stand against the war. They included Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Costa Rica’s Laura Chinchilla, Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina, Mexico’s then foreign minister (and now finance minister) José Antonio Meade.

Even Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia, the United States’ staunchest ally in South America and third largest recipient of US military aid after Israel and Egypt, bemoaned that that his country, which received more than $3.5 billion in counter-narcotics aid between 2002 and 2011 and was frequently cited as a model by the Obama administration, “has suffered more deaths, more bloodshed, and more sacrifices in this war” than almost any other, with the obvious exception of Mexico.

By now it is painfully obvious, to all but those who financially benefit from it, that the US government’s heavily militarized War on Drugs has been a dismal failure. Despite the slaughter of over 150,000 people in Mexico in a war that no one is winning and just about everyone is losing, the drugs keep crossing the border, and in many cases in greater numbers than ever before.

Uruguay’s efforts to legalize marijuana could represent a sea change in drugs policy in a region that is being ripped asunder by the global narcotics trade. If successful, it could go viral as other countries, including Canada, set out to legalize marijuana. But if big global banks like Santander, Citi and Bank of America get their way, the scheme will be snuffed out before it even has a chance to make a difference.
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Old 2017-09-04, 20:42   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
This shouldn't be terribly surprising.

Why was hemp made illegal?

Because it made very good rope.
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Old 2017-09-04, 21:13   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
Why was hemp made illegal?

Because it made very good rope.
By today's standards it's not so good, there are better materials available.

In some countries, hemp was never made illegal, yet the demand for it is rather modest, and cultivation is labor intensive.

http://modernfarmer.com/2013/10/lega...p-wont-matter/
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