Author Archive | Liam McGonagle

Pope Benedict Peace Message Calls For Wealth Redistribution

Pope BenedictWait a second — does this make Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich a couple o' them "Cafeteria Catholics"? From Francis X. Rocca at the Huffington Post:
VATICAN CITY (RNS)— Noting a "rising sense of frustration" at the worldwide economic recession, Pope Benedict XVI said that a more just and peaceful world requires "adequate mechanisms for the redistribution of wealth." The pope's words appeared in his message for the World Day of Peace 2012, released on Friday (Dec. 16) at the Vatican. The message laments that "some currents of modern culture, built upon rationalist and individualist economic principles, have cut off the concept of justice from its transcendent roots, detaching it from charity and solidarity." Authentic education, Benedict writes, teaches the proper use of freedom with "respect for oneself and others, including those whose way of being and living differs greatly from one's own."
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Worker-Owners of America, Unite!

Gar Alperovitz chimes in on the re-evolutionary convergence of capitalism and socialism into a hybrid paradigm in a recent article in the NY Times:

The Occupy Wall Street protests have come and mostly gone, and whether they continue to have an impact or not, they have brought an astounding fact to the public’s attention: a mere 1 percent of Americans own just under half of the country’s financial assets and other investments. America, it would seem, is less equitable than ever, thanks to our no-holds-barred capitalist system.

But at another level, something different has been quietly brewing in recent decades: more and more Americans are involved in co-ops, worker-owned companies and other alternatives to the traditional capitalist model. We may, in fact, be moving toward a hybrid system, something different from both traditional capitalism and socialism, without anyone even noticing.

Some 130 million Americans, for example, now participate in the ownership of co-op businesses and credit unions.

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Apocalypse Tao: Austerity Hits the Export Economies

Seventh SealAgence France-Presse, via MSN News, calls our attention to the typically under-stated way in which the 2nd trumpeter plays his solo*:

Large-scale strikes have hit China in recent weeks, as workers resentful about low salaries or lay-offs face off with employers juggling high costs and exports hit by lower demand from the debt-burdened West.

Politburo member Zhou Yongkang said authorities needed to improve their system of “social management”, including increasing “community-level” manpower.

“In the face of the negative impact of the market economy, we have not formed a complete system of social management,” Zhou said in a Friday speech to officials reported by the state Xinhua news agency at the weekend.

“It is urgent that we build a social management system with Chinese characteristics to match our socialist market economy.” China’s economy grew by 9.1 percent in the third quarter, down from 9.5 percent in the previous quarter.  Manufacturing — a key engine of growth — slumped to its lowest level in nearly three years last month, amid slowing demand from the European Union and the United States.

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The Gift That (We) Keep(s) on Giving: Through January 2013

“Demand a property tax on idle wealth.  Demand it NOW.” —Liam McGonagle

“Seriously, do you expect a better opportunity to extract concessions from your enemies than when they lay begging, bleeding at your feet?” Liam McGonagle

In case you were in the washroom when ‘Jersey Shore’ was interrupted with this late-breaking newstory:  Ben Bernancke just committed the U.S. to provide the European Central Bank (“ECB”) with an unlimited line of credit.

That’s right, a brand new bailout.  Structurally along the lines that Business Insider had warned us about in September, but much more ambitious; that article had postulated a trifling $1 trillion, not the bottomless pit we’re actually being presented with.

The basic deal is that we hand dollars over to the ECB in exchange for Euros, the value of which, has become highly dubious to say the least. The ECB will in turn invest those dollars in large corporate banks to bolster balance sheets they themselves ruined through reckless underwriting practices and constant pressures for tax holidays and austerity measures.… Read the rest

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The Wind that Shakes the Parley: Police Voice Concerns about Being Used to Stifle Legitimate Protest

Ray LewisThis past week has tacked on more examples of politicians using law enforcement to stifle dissent among unsatisfied constituents.  NY’s Mayor Bloomberg, for instance, was quoted referring to the NYPD as his “own army”.  “But other facets of this story have been developing behind the scenes.  Could Operation SHIELD and Ray Lewis raise the “wind that shakes the parley”?  Chris Faraone writes in the Boston Phoenix:

As Occupy camps from coast to coast face evictions — and in many cases have already been pushed out of parks and plazas like so much human trash — it’s clear that the institutional response to the movement is escalating dangerously. Likewise, relations between police and activists seem to be deteriorating, as non-violent protesters continue to be arrested almost daily.

But as tensions build between Occupiers and Big Brother, what’s also true is that individual officers are increasingly concerned about their role in combating Occupy.

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Who Will Protect the Protectors?

“What bullsh*t, Liam.  If your lot really thought they [i.e., the police] were part of the “99%”, you’d be doing something to protect them, too,” Sorcha Nic Congail

Well, it has to be admitted that my cousin Sorcha has a point. A powerful point. Not the sort of thing that I would have been inclined to explore on my own unbidden. But that’s what friends are for, I guess. To prod you along some paths you would never have even considered, left to your own devices.

Here’s where the hole ugly mess began:

Photo, allegedly of the dog Parrot moments before being shot to death by police.

I received a copy of this photo last weekend from an FB friend and as a dog lover was immediately horrified.  As a kid I grew up with dogs — lots of dogs.  Probably the best, most loving and loyal animals on earth. I’d long ago come to see dogs as man’s natural companion and most trusted comrade.… Read the rest

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An Undifferentiated Mass of Human Dignity


Occupy: Social Supernova?

It’s an anti-capitalism thing. No, it’s an anti-war thing. No, it’s a civil rights thing.  No, it’s a desert topping. No, it’s a floor wax.

Ever since the Occupy movement began garnering mainstream media attention there has been an energetic, maybe even desperate, debate to define the significance of thousands of people from all over the nation spontaneously gathering in America’s large urban centers, decrying the rapacious criminality of the establishment — all sans identifiable figureheads or fixed policy programs.

Yes, from the start it was clear that, in its broadest outlines at least, this thing was a passionate rebuke to parasitic Wall Street types.  Whatever that may mean in actual practice, it’s definitely not a formulation consistent with laissez-faire economics a la the Koch brothers’ Tea Party. So not surprising that most right wing analyses approached the topic with a dismissive laziness. They’ve crafted fear into a formidable electoral weapon and are well familiar with the coward’s first law of dealing with Truly Scary Things:  avoid real contact.… Read the rest

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Poll: Is Tim Geithner A Fatal Liability for Obama?

Timothy GeithnerThe past few weeks have not been good ones for Tim Geithner, Obama’s Treasury Secretary.  On Tuesday, Ron Suskind’s book, “Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President”, came out detailing behavior that could be most generously interpreted as gross insubordination, if not an outright unconstitutional usurpation of executive power by an political appointee.

Nor did Geithner do himself any favors by openly proclaiming before European finance ministers:  “He [Obama] ‘s not in charge; I am”.

Has this rendered Geithner a political “toxic asset”?  Should he be given his walking papers immediately?  Should Geithner be let free when soldiers refusing to serve 2nd, 3rd or even 4th tours of duty in Afghanistan are jailed for years?  In deciding a response, which is most important to you:  enforcement of the United States constitution, Obama’s personal reputation, the Democratic Party’s electoral viability for 2012 or polemical use of the issue to further Republican partisan aims? … Read the rest

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Great News, Everybody: A New (Secret) Bailout!

The Blind Leading The Blind

The Parable of the Blind. Pieter Bruegel (1568)

In Business Insider, scuttlebutt that German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be softening up Obama, Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for yet another round of bailouts for the incompetent multinational financial elites.

Awesome! I was afraid that the next round of bailouts would require “patriots” like representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to take to the floor begging again. I feel so relieved now, knowing that the whole thing can proceed quietly without anyone having to jeopardize their campaign funding.

But where do our other, prospective “leaders” stand on this topic? Hard to say. Irrelevance and opacity seem to be the primary tenets of the major candidates’ PR machines. Here’s what I mean.

Ron Paul’s heart may be in the right place regarding the need to end counterproductive wars and pointlessly intrusive social wedge issues, but his knack for failing to identify urgent priorities remains unequalled.… Read the rest

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