“The fall of Empire, gentlemen, is a massive thing, however, and not easily fought. It is dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity—a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop.” – Isaac Asimov, Foundation
“Any fool can tell a crisis when it arrives. The real service to the state is to detect it in embryo.” – Isaac Asimov, Foundation
I read Isaac Asimov’s renowned award winning science fiction trilogy four decades ago as a teenager. I read them because I liked science fiction novels, not because I was trying to understand the correlation to the fall of the Roman Empire. The books that came to be called the Foundation Trilogy (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation) were not written as novels; they’re the collected Foundation stories Asimov wrote between 1941 and 1950. He wrote these stories during the final stages of our last Fourth Turning Crisis and the beginning stages of the next High. This was the same time frame in which Tolkien wrote the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Orwell wrote 1984. This was not a coincidence. ⇒ Keep Reading
By Michael Hudson, distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a professor at Peking University. originally published at Michael-Hudson.com. Republished with permission of the author.
Trump is Obama’s Legacy. Will this Break up the Democratic Party?
Nobody yet can tell whether Donald Trump is an agent of change with a specific policy in mind, or merely a catalyst heralding an as yet undetermined turning point. His first month in the White House saw him melting into the Republican mélange of corporate lobbyists. Having promised to create jobs, his “America First” policy looks more like “Wall Street First.”
His cabinet of billionaires promoting corporate tax cuts, deregulation and dismantling Dodd-Frank bank reform repeats the Junk Economics promise that giving more tax breaks to the richest One Percent may lead them to use their windfall to invest in creating more jobs. What they usually do, of course, is simply buy more property and assets already in place.
One of the first reactions to Trump’s election victory was for stocks of the most crooked financial institutions to soar, hoping for a deregulatory scythe taken to the public sector. Navient, the Department of Education’s knee-breaker on student loan collections accused by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) of massive fraud and overcharging, rose from $13 to $18 after it seemed likely that the incoming Republicans would disable the CFPB and shine a green light for financial fraud. ⇒ Keep Reading
On a superficial level, Trump and Bush couldn’t be more different from Clinton and Obama. Indeed, pollsters say that many people voted for Trump because they wanted change … Just like they voted for Obama because he promised “hope and change” from Bush-era policies.
But beneath the surface, Trump, Obama, Bush and Clinton are all very similar on 4 core issues.
On January 15th, he told the Washington Post: “We’re going to have insurance for everybody. … There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”
On September 27th of 2016, while campaigning against Hillary Clinton he told CBS “60 Minutes”: “Donald Trump: By the way. Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, “No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private.” But — Scott Pelley: Universal health care? Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now. Scott Pelley: The uninsured person is going to be taken care of how? Donald Trump: They’re going to be taken care of. I would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. And, you know what, if this is probably — Scott Pelley: Make a deal? Who pays for it? Donald Trump: — The government’s gonna pay for it.”
Republicans demand a healthcare bill (or medical system) that will simultaneously (and without sacrificing quality of healthcare) reduce their total expenses on medical care — including their insurance premiums and their out-of-pocket costs — and that will also be more free-market (with less government involvement and regulations) than in existing U.S. healthcare policy (both before and after Obamacare began); they want more free-market, and less cost, and also no sacrifice on quality.
The economic data show that (by far) the most cost-effective medical care is in countries that have socialized healthcare; the least cost-effective (meaning the least efficient) medical care is in countries that have not socialized healthcare, and the middle that’s between those two extremes is countries (there is only one: Switzerland) that are between those two categories: countries that legally require everyone to have health insurance but that remove the profit-motive from health insurance by having (as Switzerland puts it) “60 government-approved non-profit insurance providers offer basic mandatory insurance and optional loss-of-earnings [disability] insurance in accordance with legal requirements and the supervisory authority’s directives.” America’s propagandists for Obamacare had been saying such things as “Switzerland Has Its Own Kind of Obamacare — and Loves It”, and mentioned that “For many Americans, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which makes health insurance mandatory, is a bitter pill to swallow” but that it’s really “a victory for common sense,” but they were misrepresenting the extent to which the Swiss system is similar to Obamacare, and also misrepresenting (over-praising) the Swiss system’s track-record of performance.
Liberals in the United States are relatively educated, yet extremely inarticulate when it comes to Trump, his budget proposal, or the U.S. military.
In a typical email, Moveon.org sent out the message this week that nobody should confirm a Supreme Court nominee until it’s determined that Trump is a “legitimate president.” Until then, the U.S. military should go on slaughtering families for him? And once he’s “legitimate” then a horrible fascist Supreme Court nominee should be approved? And what would it take for Trump to become “legitimate.” According to the email, it would take proving that Trump didn’t collaborate with Putin to rig the U.S. election. According to the linked video, it would take that plus seeing Trump’s tax returns, plus proving that Trump is not violating the foreign emoluments clause. All three demands are given a xenophobic slant.
Of course Trump is blatantly violating the foreign and the stronger domestic emoluments clauses. That’s not a question to be investigated or doubted. But there has been zero evidence made public by anyone that he and Putin “rigged” his election. However, examining what Robert Reich in the video linked above, and others, mean by “rigged” points to one of numerous reasons that considering the election “legitimate” would be ridiculous. What they mean is that there exists the slimmest possibility that Trump sent Putin and Putin sent WikiLeaks the emails that added extra evidence to the transparent sabotaging by the Democratic Party of its own strongest candidate. Under those known circumstances, the election is already knowable as illegitimate. Add to that Trump’s losing the popular vote, Trump’s openly intimidating and threatening voters, Trump’s court battles against counting paper ballots where they existed, the absence of verifiable ballots in many places, the exclusion of voters by Republican Secretaries of State stripping them from the rolls, the exclusion of voters with ID requirements, the nomination of Trump by the corporate media through disproportionate coverage, the open and never-denied system of bribery used to fund all the campaigns, etc. Suggesting that explaining away a xenophobic fantasy would make such an election legitimate is disgusting. ⇒ Keep Reading
Demonocracy’s sharp 2 minutes of the tragic-comic mathematical certainty for a society that creates what is used for money as debt; just as certain as adding negative numbers forever causes only and always increasing aggregate debt until a system collapse:
We the People endure endless criminal actions under a .01% rogue state empire, with rhetoric by both political parties’ “leaderships” most accurately defined by bestselling Yale Professor emeritus Harry Frankfurt as bullshit: the inversion of objective factual reality.
This can also be characterized as corporate media “covering” a “Big Lie” .01% crime with “fake news.” The great news, as usual, is that we have technical solutions to end all real problems. In this case, Benjamin Franklin is one of hundreds of America’s best and brightest who clearly document that monetary reform with public banking allows government to operate without taxes with abundant funding.
Most Americans are unaware that what they’re told is literally Orwellian inversion of the objective data. Given opportunity, here and now, to allow Dr. Franklin to walk you through this breakthrough available to We the People, will you invest the 10 minutes to learn?
One of ~100 game-changing areas that We the People must recognize is that our .01% wanna-be masters loot us by the trillions every year, with the core of this criminal fraud by creating what we use for money as debt owed to them. The fraud’s core is to lie to us by calling debt/credit they create out of nothing and issue to us as so-called “loans” as money, when debt is the Orwellian opposite of money. ⇒ Keep Reading
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