It is better to be an outcast, a stranger in one’s own country, than an outcast from one’s self. It is better to see what is about to befall us and to resist than to retreat into the fantasies embraced by a nation of the blind.
Chris Hedges

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Great Yard Sale

The finance world knows; the jig is up and they need to trade in their worthless derivative backed assets for something real. This should keep the property bubble in New Zealand inflated, at the same time the government here is selling off any State Owned Asset they can. All this so Elites here can stuff their offshore bank accounts and Go Bags. For a backgrounder, check this out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Culture of Dissent

The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress A collection of Truthdig Columns by Chris Hedges Keep up with Chris Hedges’ latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/chris_hedges. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_to_think_20120709/
Cultures that endure carve out a protected space for those who question and challenge national myths. Artists, writers, poets, activists, journalists, philosophers, dancers, musicians, actors, directors and renegades must be tolerated if a culture is to be pulled back from disaster. Members of this intellectual and artistic class, who are usually not welcome in the stultifying halls of academia where mediocrity is triumphant, serve as prophets. They are dismissed, or labeled by the power elites as subversive, because they do not embrace collective self-worship. They force us to confront unexamined assumptions, ones that, if not challenged, lead to destruction. They expose the ruling elites as hollow and corrupt. They articulate the senselessness of a system built on the ideology of endless growth, ceaseless exploitation and constant expansion. They warn us about the poison of careerism and the futility of the search for happiness in the accumulation of wealth. They make us face ourselves, from the bitter reality of slavery and Jim Crow to the genocidal slaughter of Native Americans to the repression of working-class movements to the atrocities carried out in imperial wars to the assault on the ecosystem. They make us unsure of our virtue. They challenge the easy clich├ęs we use to describe the nation—the land of the free, the greatest country on earth, the beacon of liberty—to expose our darkness, crimes and ignorance. They offer the possibility of a life of meaning and the capacity for transformation. Human societies see what they want to see. They create national myths of identity out of a composite of historical events and fantasy. They ignore unpleasant facts that intrude on self-glorification. They trust naively in the notion of linear progress and in assured national dominance. This is what nationalism is about—lies. And if a culture loses its ability for thought and expression, if it effectively silences dissident voices, if it retreats into what Sigmund Freud called “screen memories,” those reassuring mixtures of fact and fiction, it dies. It surrenders its internal mechanism for puncturing self-delusion. It makes war on beauty and truth. It abolishes the sacred. It turns education into vocational training. It leaves us blind. And this is what has occurred. We are lost at sea in a great tempest. We do not know where we are. We do not know where we are going. And we do not know what is about to happen to us. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_to_think_20120709/

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Libor: The Smoking Gun

The Barclays Bank Libor-fixing scandal currently being investigated in the UK is huge. Libor is the cost of inter-bank borrowing between the 18 largest banks in the world. Trillions are traded between banks every day. The rate is set by contacting the 18 largest banks in the world and asking them what they would charge a brother bank; the top and bottom four are thrown out and an average is derived from the middle 10. This forms the basis for all lending: because all profits, at each stage are derived from the Libor rate, published each day. For Barclays to fix the rate, there would have had to have been at least four other co-conspirators for any price they quote to move the rate. It was an increase in the Libor that brought down Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. This was the trigger for the 2007 - 2008 collapse. Stop reading about Tom and Katie, Wimbledon, or Higgs boson particle. This should get us off our asses and in the streets.