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Peter_Puget

Investment Fail III

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Economic fortunes come and go, this is not the first age of extreme wealth concentration in our history, and it probably won't be the last. Social progress; the opportunity of individuals to find their own path, marches on, however.

 

I like the whole "arc of history bends toward justice" thing and certainly colossal strides have been made in terms of both the legalistic definition of equality under the law (the actual operation of the "justice system" however is questionable, yes I know your position on the war on drugs) and the improved cultural acceptance of difference (as long as it doesn't challenge consumer capitalism). What isn't addressed is how the concentration of wealth, marketization, and the hardening of class structures hollows out and limits the actual exercise of freedoms in a meaningful way. Yes, America has witnessed rising inequalities and concentration of power before (not to mention the fact that the country was founded by waves of immigrants seeking to escape rigid class-bound Europe), but how many lost generations are we going to need to see before the liberal left starts to address class in America while getting thrown a bone or two in the form of paper rights the exercise of which are dependent almost solely on the ability to pay?

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The big change from the 60's and 70's is a change in mentality relative to many people aspiring to wealth. In the 60's and 70's corporations were all about assembling conglomerates, but they turned out being unwieldy and more trouble than they were worth. The task of dismantling them went to a new class of rising legal and mba all-stars and in the 80's they became adroit at doing just that for their corporate masters.

 

Then things went awry when a couple of these clowns got loose in the wild - they began raiding older corporations that were governed and managed with and for 'traditional' values for their pension funds and easily liquidated assets. The old guard didn't know what hit them and the go-go 80's was a boom of pirates and raiders with a newly honed instinct and intuition for less-than-well-guarded corporate assets and pensions.

 

That initial period of corporate raiding wound down as management and boards of directors realigned to the 'new normal' of a more aggressive competitive, legal, and financial landscape. The raiders then looked around to see what other piles of unguarded cash might be laying around and in the 90's went after healthcare and airlines siphoning billions off of doctors and pilots who didn't have the wherewithal to even grasp what was happening as it was let alone do anything about it.

 

Then during the late 90's the raiders were getting more politically savvy and pushed for 'banking and financial reforms' that would further erode the ability to protect cash and allow them to set up an unregulated shadow financial system. Once that was accomplished it was full-steam ahead on the course that led us to where we are today - the packaging of all principal forms of consumer debt into asset-backed securities that are sliced, diced, rated, and traded such that it is all but impossible to trace a piece of investment paper back to a specific home, auto, student, or credit card. The dotcom boom simply contributed to their success by cementing a 'bubble' investment mentality in the minds of consumers that played out in the real estate markets.

 

In the 00's that same scenario played out in debt markets for nations with many governments acting no differently than Americans taking on mortgage debt. The debt crisis of nations like Greece and Portugal is just another facet of the overall ABS fiasco run amok. The reality is nothing substantial has changed and our world is still dominated by an unregulated shadow financial system.

 

Don't kid yourselves, the fundamental change that took place in business in the 80's was we grew a generation of sharp lawyers and MBAs who changed the 'meaning' of business from one largely revolving around value creation [over time] to one where [instant] legal / financial piracy without value creation is half the new game. We, as a nation and as individuals, are all the poorer for it.

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Economic fortunes come and go, this is not the first age of extreme wealth concentration in our history, and it probably won't be the last. Social progress; the opportunity of individuals to find their own path, marches on, however.

 

I like the whole "arc of history bends toward justice" thing and certainly colossal strides have been made in terms of both the legalistic definition of equality under the law (the actual operation of the "justice system" however is questionable, yes I know your position on the war on drugs) and the improved cultural acceptance of difference (as long as it doesn't challenge consumer capitalism). What isn't addressed is how the concentration of wealth, marketization, and the hardening of class structures hollows out and limits the actual exercise of freedoms in a meaningful way. Yes, America has witnessed rising inequalities and concentration of power before (not to mention the fact that the country was founded by waves of immigrants seeking to escape rigid class-bound Europe), but how many lost generations are we going to need to see before the liberal left starts to address class in America while getting thrown a bone or two in the form of paper rights the exercise of which are dependent almost solely on the ability to pay?

 

First off, it's not the 'liberal left's' problem to solve. It's everyone's. This isn't a Dem v Rfuck thing - although framing it that way, while tres fashionable, gives one an excuse to do nothing because nothing can be done with two bowsers for parties, no?

 

Second, some organizations climbed into the ring a long time ago and have been hitting hard ever since. Your message is that no one's doing anything. Social justice advocacy organizations are doing more now, more effectively, with more money, and more people, than ever before. Anyone who's actually involved in the fight knows that.

 

Finally, you speak as if this is the WORST PERIOD IN AMERICAN HISTORY!!! Today is positively cushy compared to most of the past. Your opinion is born from a background of relative comfort.

 

Economic equality is an inherently tougher issue because it involves people getting off their asses and making it happen. Helping the weaker among us is one thing, erasing class differences is quite another. They are not the same objective.

 

Has our government been sucking too much corporate cock in terms of EZ taxes and lack of regulation? Absolutely. Has that cock been way, way too greedy? (read this week's WSJ on executive pay increases during this 'economic crisis', for example). Fuck yeah. Have voters screwed themselves repeatedly in this regard? Right again.

 

And therein lies the rub. No organization can force voters not to fuck themselves.

 

That's the tough part.

 

Perhaps things have not gotten bad enough for voters to get over their apathy, wake up, and smell the coffee. Perhaps they never will - and those who are disadvantaged and who refuse to help themselves come election time aren't worth saving after all.

 

Blaming the victim? Always. Voting is pretty easy. The 'other side' seems to have no problem with it.

 

Hell, I don't know.

 

Personally, I'll continue to work on concrete, civil libertarian issues with definable objectives, and leave erasure of class differences to our loftier thinkers.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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When I tried to say that the votors were to blame, who was it that said voting was a fraud? Was that bill, or Kimmo? Or Buckaroo?

 

I can't remember. Those were some lulz, though.

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The logic went something like this:

 

"Voters would never vote for evil. Bush was evil. Therefore voting never happened."

 

Q.E.D.!

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The logic went something like this:

 

"Voters would never vote for evil. Bush was evil. Therefore voting never happened."

 

Q.E.D.!

 

I'm gonna stop you from a self-reply trifecta. Let's leave those for j_bot.

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Of course it's the liberal left's problem to solve. For all the bluster about political struggle you seem to think either that there are no real interests at play here, that all interests are or can be made compatible, or that systems can be built to keep interests in equilibrium. The third option, familiar to us all, neither precludes the recognition that some interests are incompatible or taking sides.

 

My message isn't that no one's doing anything. I have a great respect for the work civil and human rights organizations do. Those legal rights are the bedrock of liberal democracy and must be continuously defended and expanded. What I'm saying is that in spite of the strides made in those areas (setting the Patriot Act and all those related failures aside) we have seen massive concentrations in of power and wealth and an attendant drop in mobility and opportunity for regular Americans. Legal freedoms are sacred but can't be the end-all-be-all for left politics if people are effectively limited from exercising life, liberty, and the pursuit happiness (equality of opportunity) based on income. When the left starts dealing with its economic blind spot and starts offering real alternatives to the policies that have only benefited the wealthy, your dumb and frustrated voter problem solves itself.

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The logic went something like this:

 

"Voters would never vote for evil. Bush was evil. Therefore voting never happened."

 

Q.E.D.!

 

I'm gonna stop you from a self-reply trifecta. Let's leave those for j_bot.

 

Self-replying is the new editing.

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The logic went something like this:

 

"Voters would never vote for evil. Bush was evil. Therefore voting never happened."

 

Q.E.D.!

 

I'm gonna stop you from a self-reply trifecta. Let's leave those for j_bot.

 

Self-replying is the new editing.

 

self-replying is aid

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Perhaps things have not gotten bad enough for voters to get over their apathy, wake up, and smell the coffee. Perhaps they never will - and those who are disadvantaged and who refuse to help themselves come election time aren't worth saving after all.

 

Blaming the victim? Always. Voting is pretty easy. The 'other side' seems to have no problem with it.

 

Hell, I don't know.

 

Which part about Obama mobilizing grassroots support, running a left campaign on "real hope and change you can believe in", winning by a large margin as a result and then governing as a conservative all while taking in record amounts of corporate cash did you forget? Give me a break.

Edited by prole

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You can't separate 'civil libertarian' issues (like they're a 'nice to have') from 'economic issues'. The War on Drugs alone has cost all of us trillions. It has cost its direct victims their entire quality of life, including the ability to work productively - which costs the rest of us more. Since 50%+ of all busts are for drugs alone, the 3 to 1 discrimination pattern against blacks in the criminal justice system, from arrests to sentencing, is primarily fueled by the War on Drugs.

 

For the life of me, I can't figure out why supposedly 'progressive' folks remain so clueless to this obvious, direct connection between civil liberties and class.

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Perhaps things have not gotten bad enough for voters to get over their apathy, wake up, and smell the coffee. Perhaps they never will - and those who are disadvantaged and who refuse to help themselves come election time aren't worth saving after all.

 

Blaming the victim? Always. Voting is pretty easy. The 'other side' seems to have no problem with it.

 

Hell, I don't know.

 

Which part about Obama mobilizing grassroots support, running a left campaign on "real hope and change you can believe in", winning by a large margin as a result and then governing as a conservative all while taking in record amounts of corporate cash did you forget? Give me a break.

 

Knee jerk reference to Obama, as always. Yawn.

 

Obama's just the latest kid on the block, but you know that.

 

Try some real discussion some time. You might like it.

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Perhaps things have not gotten bad enough for voters to get over their apathy, wake up, and smell the coffee. Perhaps they never will - and those who are disadvantaged and who refuse to help themselves come election time aren't worth saving after all.

 

Blaming the victim? Always. Voting is pretty easy. The 'other side' seems to have no problem with it.

 

Hell, I don't know.

 

Which part about Obama mobilizing grassroots support, running a left campaign on "real hope and change you can believe in", winning by a large margin as a result and then governing as a conservative all while taking in record amounts of corporate cash did you forget? Give me a break.

 

Knee jerk reference to Obama, as always. Yawn.

 

Obama's just the latest kid on the block, but you know that.

 

Try some real discussion some time. You might like it.

 

Wait, you said:

Perhaps things have not gotten bad enough for voters to get over their apathy, wake up, and smell the coffee. Perhaps they never will - and those who are disadvantaged and who refuse to help themselves come election time aren't worth saving after all.

The point is they did (in record numbers), responding to a message and platform from the political left for systemic change and a rollback of Bush era infringements on civil liberties. They got fucked on both counts. How does that square with your quote above? I'm not sure you can count on them tuning into the "I'm not Mitt" show in '12 while Obama muddles over the prospects of systemic unemployment and "ums" and "ers" through GOP-manufactured crisis after GOP-manufactured crisis. Then again, he's a great "orator". Puts a southern preacher to shame.

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I'm with Prole on this one. We need an original real serious hope and change candidate for 2012. Obama is more like Bush than Bush. The Bush Obama tax cuts for the rich are a specific example. The . stimulus money Bush wanted to throw away flushed to hell as he was leaving office followed by Barak accepting the Bush package and even adding too and oneupping him with even more $$$ another. The way the "health care bill" was run through every congressman and lobbyist to paw over and insert special interest clauses to the point where the bill was not read by anyone who voted for it (last count) a huge one. What bullshit.

 

dees_polls_two_wings_same_bird_88.jpg

 

They're both big government, big spenders. More war, more waste. Same same.

 

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That's nice Bill. On planet Earth, however, you may have any president you like, as long as its Mitt or Obama.

 

OMG! Not Mitt! Anybody but Mitt! Where do I sign up and get a "Not Mitt" yard sign?! Put me down for canvassing at Whole Foods!

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State politics are where the action is, anyway. The kooks are close enough to the fire to get their asses branded when they step out of line too far.

 

Federal's a hopeless clusterfuck. They lost even the remotest sense of reality a long time ago. The only hope with that sludge is to pour is to let it drain in the direction the states are going.

 

 

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