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eBooks on Barnes & Noble

Here are the links to the eBooks on Barnes & Noble. 10% off your order – use code Fall10

Enjoy the feast! Celebrate your independence!

“Alternative Economics: Reversing Stagnation” translated by Marc Batko, $3.99

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/alternative+economics%3A+reversing+stagnation?_requestid=5573331

“Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy” by Franz Segbers, $2.99

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/poverty+returns+with+misguided+policy?_requestid=5580885

Posted in Alternative Economics, Liberation theology, Political Theory | Leave a comment

Trumponomics and Wall Street Rejoices

Trumponomics and Wall Street Rejoices
by Rudolf Hickel and Lukas Hermsmeier

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/11/05/18818782.php

Economics should be a part of life, not a steamroller crushing creativity and self-determination. The state should serve the public interest and reduce poverty. Instead, private or special interests are in the driver’s seat. Reduced working hours could be a socio-economic investment bringing better long-term health and more time sovereignty. Economist John Maynard Keynes in 1930 thought the 15-hour work week would be enough thanks to higher productivity and technological innovations.

Trumponomics is a disaster that is really a sleight of hand. $8 trillion was given to the super-rich. There were no hearings, compromises, concessions or countermeasures in the GOP tax bills. Corporations spent between $6-7 trillion buying back their own stock (cf. Ralph Nader). The poor, seniors, children and students are under a vicious attack.

Marc on Nov 7

The GOP attack on the welfare state drove Democrats to vote in record numbers. Democratic voting was up 9.2%, the highest increase since 2010. The GOP attack on the welfare state fueled the Great Refusal, the product of the Great Unraveling! Truth comes to the GOP tonight and the Party of Trump is dumped in the dustbin. Up and down the East coast and in the Mid West, districts that Trump won by 20% went to Democrats this year.

Shouting “America First!” is no replacement for foreign and domestic policy, for balancing interests and redefining priorities. Profits explode while investments (particularly public investments) stagnate. The nature of neoliberalism is misanthropic. We clean the outside of the cup and leave the inside filthy. We see the speck in the Central American’s eye and not the militarism and selfishness in our own eye. We are awash in the bitter fruits of the myth that only owners of capital have enforceable rights.

Trump, the chronic liar (8.3 a day for 600 days according to the Washington Post), the bankrupt casino owner, and pathological narcissist should be embarrassed and upended by our media. Instead, he is given a platform worth billions and wages a war on the poor, seniors, children and students, the Departments of Education and the Environment, language, and democracy.

The midterm elections on Tuesday will show whether the people understand that $8 trillion in the GOP tax bills was given away to households with over one million dollars income. For the first time, there were no hearings, compromises, concessions, or countermeasures as procedural justice was consigned to the dustbin.

Trump has been a never-ending fountain of lies and vulgarities. He travels from city to city with terrible things to say about all other countries, other leaders and his girlfriends! Maybe the Trump party will be sent to the dustbin!

Video: Beautiful Country Burn Again, 39 min
Ben Fountain, booktv.org event from 10/13/2018

https://www.c-span.org/video/?452867-6/beautiful-country-burn-again
The Great Depression required reordering society with a social democratic state, strong anti-monopoly laws, a robust social safety net, collective bargaining, and strong unions. In the 1950s Americans got a higher share of the fruits of productivity. Grover Norquist doesn’t realize what holds him up.

Progressive government gave clean water and raised life expectancy. FDR was elected in a democratic movement. Our politics has been degraded in the past 18 years. Americans are working more hours; corporate profits soar and wages haven’t risen since the 1970s.

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Socialism in American English
author: Robert Ogman and Hans-Jurgen Urban

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/11/436881.shtml

The attacks of Republicans on the existing welfare system are driving the US population to the left. Proposals of a universal health care enjoy the support of around 70% of US citizens including the majority of Americans voting Republican. Attempts of Republicans to represent all welfare state proposals as Maoist, Stalinist or Venezuelan nightmares are losing more and more credibility. Teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado demand a political change.

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism, Political Theory | 1 Comment

Right-wing Populism: A Wave of Nostalgia

Right-wing Populism: A Wave of Nostalgia
by Cornelia Koppetsch, 8/23/2018

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/11/01/18818615.php

For decades, western societies were marked by processes of pluralization, individualization, and liberalization. Why are attitudes and pressures of society against these trends becoming dominant? Why are escalating inequalities leading to the rise of right-wing protest movements and not primarily to renewed capitalism criticism?

Fundamental changes in the social morality and social praxis of modern societies are the causes for the rise of the new right-wing parties. Right-wing populism is anti-liberal and invokes authoritarian life forms and strong communities.

Posted in Articles, Human Rights, Political Theory | 2 Comments

Destroying the Myths of Market Fundamentalism Forum, Oct 24, 18, 8 hours

Destroying the Myths of Market Fundamentalism, 8 hrs, Oct 2018, therealnews.org

https://youtu.be/WjWETN1E6YA?t=1056
Market Fundamentalism is the dogmatic belief that unregulated, “laissez-faire” markets are the only answer to the world’s biggest social and economic problems. It’s time to confront the myths of Market Fundamentalism with compelling empirical reality that deconstructs and destroys the plutocratic hoax. Join us for an enlightening forum hosted by Ralph Nader featuring top academics, economists, and experts who will present arguments to turn the tide in this “battle of ideas.

Event Schedule 09:30:00 AM Ralph Nader Opening Remarks 09:50:00 AM Bert Foer Antitrust & How Kleptocracy Corrupts What Markets Are Supposed to Do https://www.antitrustinstitute.org/pe…
10:10:00 AM William Black Financial and Insurance Rackets https://law.umkc.edu/directory/facult…
10:30:00 AM Robert Kuttner The Virtues and Limits of Markets http://prospect.org/authors/robert-ku…
10:50:00 AM Greg LeRoy Subsidies, Handouts, Giveaways and Bailouts https://www.goodjobsfirst.org/about-u…
11:10:00 AM James Henry Systematized Tax Evasion https://globaljustice.yale.edu/people…
11:30:00 AM Lunch 12:15:00 PM Russell Mokhiber Systemic Corporate Crime—Business as Usual https://www.corporatecrimereporter.co…
12:35:00 PM Rob Weissman How Market Fundamentalism Corrupts The Political Process https://www.citizen.org/about/robert-…
12:55:00 PM Dennis Kelleher Endemic Market Failure/Inequality https://bettermarkets.com/dennis-kell… 01:15:00 PM Tom McGarity The Assault on Regulation (And the Case for It) https://law.utexas.edu/faculty/thomas… 01:35:00 PM Rena Steinzor The Assault on Regulation (And the Case for It) https://www.law.umaryland.edu/directo… 01:55:00 PM Damon Silvers SEC and the Inadequacy of Financial Regulation https://aflcio.org/policy-experts/dam… 02:15:00 PM Joel Rogers Public Goods https://law.wisc.edu/profiles/jrogers…
02:35:00 PM William Lazonick Stock Buybacks https://www.ineteconomics.org/researc…
02:55:00 PM Lori Wallach Market Fundamentalism and Trade https://www.citizen.org/our-work/glob…
03:15:00 PM Steven Clifford The Lack of a Free Market for Executive Compensation http://www.stevecliffordauthor.com/ab…
03:35:00 PM Ralph Nader Institutionalizing Lawlessness—Systematically Subverting Markets https://nader.org/biography/
3:50-4:30 PM Discussion

Posted in Austerity, Neoliberalism, Political Theory | Leave a comment

Right-wing Populism. Can More Madness Cure the Madness?

Right-wing Populism. Can More Madness Cure the Madness?
by f.s. montanus, Georg Rammer, Andreas Bohm and Joachi9m Bischoff

http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/10/436770.shtml

Neolikberal policy was always mad. But an even greater madness now appears with right-wing populism. Politics is mad because it writes off large parts of the population. Economic Darwinism has nested and established itself as market ideology in the brains of people.

Politics assume the strong deserve the largest part of the cake in its glorification of the performance principle. The market should conform to democracy; democracy should not be market-conforming.

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Is President Trump Fascist?
Jason Stanley, openculture.com
https://youtu.be/-QK1IVi4REI

and Umberto Eco on Fascism
http://www.openculture.com/2016/11/umberto-eco-makes-a-list-of-the-14-common-features-of-fascism.html

Posted in Political Theory | Leave a comment

“We Live in a Time of Radical Counter-Enlightenment” by Rainer Mausfeld

Rainer Mausfeld is a professor psychology at the University of Kiel.

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/10/21/18818378.php

In the past decades, democracy was undermined in an unparalleled way. Democracy was replaced by the illusion of democracy, free public debate by the management of opinion and indignation and the key ideal of come-of-age citizens by the ideal of politically apathetic consumers.

Indoctrination instead of Information

Elections do not play any role anymore for fundamental political questions. the important political decisions are made by political-economic groups that are neither democratically-legitimated nor democratically accountable. the destructive ecological, social and psychic consequences of this form of elite rule threaten our society and our life foundations more and more.

Rainer Mausfeld uncovers the systematic of this indoctrination, shows its historical constants and makes us sensitive for the many methods of psychological influencing.

“The educated sectors are particualrly susceptible for the illusion of being informed. These sectors are especially indoctrinated by the dominant ideology. This was the same in National Socialism as today. they become an important stabilizing element of the respec tive dominant ideologies through their silent tolerance.”

His new book “What about the silence of the lambs? How the most serious war crimes and violations of moral norms are made invisible for the population” was published on 10/2/2018 by Westend Verlag
https://www.westendverlag.de/wp-content/uploads/9783864897184.jpg

Posted in Neoliberalism, Political Theory | 1 Comment

Philosophical Reflections on the Economic Crisis: From Obscuristan to Absurdistan and Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy by Franz Segbers

Philosophical Reflections on the Economic Crisis: From Obscuristan to Absurdistan by Marc Batko, 54 pp, $2.99 on Kindle Direct from Amazon.
Enjoy the feast! Celebrate your independence!

Please order the eBooks!

https://www.amazon.com/Philosophical-Reflections-Economic-Crisis-Obscuristan-ebook/dp/B0764KFS2P/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538923510&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=philosophical+refelctions+on+the+economic+crisis

and Poverty Returns with Misguided Policy by Franz Segbers, translated by Marc Batko, $2.99 on Kindle Direct from Amazon.
Poverty is the result of enriching the super-rich and corporations. The state should represent the public interest, not special or private interests, and is charged with reducing poverty and inequality.
Capitalism is a religion that makes competition and the market into natural laws, marginalizes and ignores system criticism and alternatives and degrades nature and the future into decorations.

https://www.amazon.com/Poverty-Returns-Misguided-Policy-Segbers-ebook/dp/B07FB4NWKX/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539169314&sr=8-1&keywords=poverty+returns+with+misguided+policy

362 million views for Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”! We’re not alone!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR5ApYxkU-U

Posted in Essays, Political Theory, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | 1 Comment

The Criminality of the Elites

The Criminality of the Elites
by Fabio De Masi and Laura Wiesboeck, September 2018

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/10/03/18817977.php

The offenses of the upper classes are hardly publicized. The little are hung while the big can run. People wait in vain for strong interventions in the economic realm while police measures are enforced on the street in no time. Financial criminality harms the state, the community and economic growth (e.g. high-frequency trading, shadow banks, financial products).
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https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/economy-value-private-public-investment-by-mariana-mazzucato-2018-09
Who Really Creates Value in an Economy?
Sep 11, 2018 Mariana Mazzucato

Ten years after the global economic crisis, profits have recovered, but investment remains weak. Ultimately, the reason is that economic policy continues to be informed by neoliberal ideology and its academic cousin, “public choice” theory, rather than by historical experience.

LONDON – After the 2008 global financial crisis, a consensus emerged that the public sector had a responsibility to intervene to bail out systemically important banks and stimulate economic growth. But that consensus proved short-lived, and soon the public sector’s economic interventions came to be viewed as the main cause of the crisis, and thus needed to be reversed. This turned out to be a grave mistake.

In Europe, in particular, governments were lambasted for their high debts, even though private debt, not public borrowing, caused the collapse. Many were instructed to introduce austerity, rather than to stimulate growth with counter-cyclical policies. Meanwhile, the state was expected to pursue financial-sector reforms, which, together with a revival of investment and industry, were supposed to restore competitiveness.

But too little financial reform actually took place, and in many countries, industry still has not gotten back on its feet. While profits have bounced back in many sectors, investment remains weak, owing to a combination of cash hoarding and increasing financialization, with share buybacks – to boost stock prices and hence stock options – also at record highs.

The reason is simple: the much-maligned state was permitted to pursue only timid policy responses. This failure reflects the extent to which policy continues to be informed by ideology – specifically, neoliberalism, which advocates a minimal role for the state in the economy, and its academic cousin, “public choice” theory, which emphasizes governments’ shortcomings – rather than historical experience.

Growth requires a well-functioning financial sector, in which long-term investments are rewarded over short-term plays.

Adam Smith’s Destructive Hand
by Frances Coppola, March 3, 2017

http://www.coppolacomment.com/2017/03/adam-smiths-destructive-hand.html

Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts in economics. It is usually interpreted to mean that when individuals all operate according to their own self-interest, their actions somehow combine to create a well-ordered, well-functioning society “as if guided by an invisible hand”.

To be fair, this statement about the “invisible hand” (from the Theory of Moral Sentiments) does seem to mean exactly that:

[The rich] consume little more than the poor, and in spite of their natural selfishness and rapacity…they divide with the poor the produce of all their improvements. They are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society, and afford means to the multiplication of the species.

This should have been challenged long ago on the lack of counterfactual evidence. It is an assertion, not a fact. Nonetheless, despite the glaring inequalities in our world today, it could be true…

from Marc on Oct 6

Upside down day with the 50-48 vote! Dostoevsky warned that western people could surrender freedom to the Grand Inquisitor for his promise of happiness (or a deal!). The Twitterer isn’t a “self-made millionaire” or a “successful businessman.” He and Ryan should gain a new perspective and see the last two decades as a lucky throw of the dice!
Trump is living out the “Uncle Sucker myth” where the US was carelessly exploited by everyone! (cf. Michael Hudson)
Trump knows how to wield victimhood (cf. Trevor Noah). Civil society is horrified by demonization of victims. Public spirit returns when the public is included and trillions are not stolen in tax bills without hearings!
The light shines in the darkness – in the Senate – and not only above the darkness!
Time to reconcile with Russia and abandon Russophobia, the “Russia in your cornflakes myth”!

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National Council of Churches: Kavanaugh must resign immediately! – Oct 4

https://www.vox.com/2018/10/4/17937312/national-council-churches-condemns-brett-kavanaugh-scotus

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Marc on Oct 12

The Party of Trump may be expunged on Nov 6 in a landslide or blue wave. He has turned the stomachs of the nation through lies and vulgarity and gave $8 trillion to households with over a million dollars. Like inequality, tax heists hurt and make the future very blurry!

Trump always makes himself the victim of the media and culture wars. Like Hitler, Trump scapegoats minorities and the weak nonstop and says terrible things about all countries and leaders except Kim Jong. As Hitler created a threat out of thin air (“International Jewry was exterminating Germany”), Trump lambasts the media, the Democrats, Obama, Hilary, Medicare for All and the human rights of immigrants (cf. Trevor Noah on Trump’s “victimhood”) and is a chronic liar.

Marc on Oct 13

Eight Questions in Resisting Authoritarian Trumpism

1) How preposterous for the ABA, 2,400 law professors, the ACLU to be brushed off in the Kavanaugh nomination?
2) Were there ever tax bills (e.g. GOP/Paul Ryan tax heists of $8 trillion) without hearings?
3) Is the security state characterized by generalization of fear, scapegoating, fear-mongering, the cult of the strong man and depolitization?
4) Did the liar-in-chief say on 10/12 he has lost billions while president?
5) Do we live under Hocus Pocus or Humpty Dumpty, words mean what I say they mean?
6) How can we see the speck in the South African’s eye and not the militarism log in our own eye?
7) Are we cleaning the outside of the cup and leaving the inside filthy?
8) Is Trump cutting everything but the military and fighting the poor, seniors, students, and children, checks and balances, democracy and language?

Marc on Oct 17

In 1930, the great British economist John Maynard Keynes thought his grandchildren would only need to work a 15-hour week thanks to the technological revolution. An anthropology problem arose when the desire for wealth surpassed the desire for freedom.

De-acceleration, slowing down and enjoying reduced working hours with better long-term health and more time sovereignty should be part of the hyperlink world where the two-inch world is eclipsed.

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Audio: Neil Young – Let’s Impeach the President
for lying and leading our country into war
using all the power we gave him
shipping all our money out the door
whose the man who hired all the criminals
who hide behind closed doors

https://youtu.be/k4kTnP5VJ1k?t=12

Posted in Financial Market Capitalism, Political Theory | 1 Comment

Affordable Rents? A State of Emergency Intensifies

Affordable Rents? A State of Emergency Intensifies
by Werner Rugemer and others, 2018

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2018/10/01/18817927.php

Rents explode in cities after massive sales of public housing to brutal investors. Affordable housing is in short supply. Something must change fast. In 1987, there were 5.5 million social apartments in Germany. Today, there are only 1.5 million in all Germany. Since 2014, the number of homeless in Germany has doubled to 800,000. Investors go unpunished. The Great Coalition government under Helmut Kohl abolished nonprofit housing cooperatives in 1988.

Land speculation is prevented in Vienna. The Vienna Housing Fund buys up possible development land. The constitutional state must be helped to its feet. In impoverished Germany after WW1, local communities built hundreds of thousands of nonprofit apartments. The pressure from below made all the difference.

From Craigslist Eugene – Rants and Raves – Oct 1

RE: Trump is here to stay

No he’s not.

Lots of “Trump is here to stay” nonsense flying around and lots of red-baiting, throwing the Socialist and Communist words around while you fail to mention how Trump is sucking up to the former head of the KGB. What up with that? I guess Putin’s a good Communist but Bernie’s a bad Socialist ?(he’s actually a Democratic Socialist, big difference.) You can’t answer that can you?

Dems will take the House in 2 months. Then it’s over for Trump. He won’t be impeached or removed with the TFA (both would take 3/4ths of the Congress to do) but at that point he’s essentially a lame duck. With Dems controlling the House, (hopefully without Pelosi) Trump will not have the rubber stamp he has enjoyed for the past two years. Then we ride out the next two years. The last thing we want is that bible thumper Pense as President.

When it’s over, here’s how I think the TRUMP RIECH will have scored. No wall. No nuke treaty with NK. Totally destroyed any respect we had in the World, just like Bush. Failure to end the ACA. Tax breaks rolled back. Regulations reinstated. All the damage he has wreaked will be reversed and we will finally get Medicare for all. Trump will go down in history as the most hated and worst one term President ever. Then he will be indicted and convicted.

If Kavanaugh can be stopped from being confirmed, Trump will have failed to pack the Supreme Court. Even if it can’t be stopped, there are other ways to deal with it. Since his hearing last week, Kavanaugh is a flawed nomination because he lied under oath. He can be impeached. If The Republicans don’t have the Congress and the Supreme Court, they won’t be able to protect Kavanaugh or Trump.

This is why this election is so important. Look for it to go the same as when Obama was elected. Blue Wave. It’s Hillary’s fault that Trump got elected. If ANYONE else had the been nominated, Trump would not have won. I blame the DNC for TRUMP. Them and their superdelegates!

From Marc on October 2

Be nonconformists, October is not only “stamp collecting month”!

In late-stage capitalism, we fight against a bullying culture and an insult society. The Repugnacrats have done nothing against education loans, the affordable housing crisis, the health care crisis. the job creation crisis and the global warming crisis. Their strategy is to scapegoat the weakest, minorities, migrants, women, students, children, seniors and the poor, to fear monger and create threats out of thin air.

Trump has terrible things to say about all countries particularly Canada, Germany and China and always calls himself the victim of the media and culture wars. Hitler and Goebbels mesmerized the German people by saying “International Jewry was exterminating Germany” and Germany was forced to “total war.”

Resist the beginnings of fascism! Reclaim democracy and the social contract! Truth must well up within people and cannot be forced or commanded. Indirect criticism, thoughts that wound from behind, can bring enlightenment, Soren Kierkegaard said. We are born in an egg and our life-project is to break the shell, said Gunter Grass. The bull-headed can be quarantined and defanged by social movements of the uncoupled and outraged. Resignados become indignados! They have the money but we have the numbers.

Posted in Human Rights, Reducing Inequality/ Redistribution | Leave a comment

BookTV: Justice John Paul Stevens, 56 min

BookTV: CSpan May 9, 2014
After Words with Justice John Paul Stevens, 56 min

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens talked about his book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, in which he recommends six ways he believes the U.S. Constitution should be amended. He spoke about reforms to campaign finance, the death penalty, gerrymandering, and the Second Amendment. He was interviewed by Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?319106-1/after-words-justice-john-paul-stevens

Posted in Medicare for All, Political Theory | Leave a comment