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World War 2 was a boon for the United States economy, the linchpin in FDR’s economic reform, a windfall for The American worker, and with its resolution followed fears of recession, and from those fears arose The Truman Doctrine, the consecration of United States’ modern foreign policy, which began with America’s transformation from an agrarian society to an industrial economy, a transformation that began with The Gilded Age and ended with The New Deal. If FDR’s domestic policy sustained America and World War 2 guaranteed her maximum employment, then The Truman Doctrine laid the foundation for the preservation of that model, a model predicated upon war - covert war, total war, The Cold War - a complete reversal of traditional American isolationist foreign policy, which was established with George Washington’s farewell address.

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The Libertarian movement’s extremism alienates a large portion of the population. “Conservatives” disapprove of the party’s social agenda and “liberals” disapprove of its economic agenda, although an increasing number of actual market-liberals and paramilitary approve of the party’s message. An unfortunate drawback of this sociopolitical drama is the antipathy that has been generated towards one of the party’s main talking points. If you were to chat up a die-hard Libertarian at the counter of your neighborhood diner, somewhere between “Hello” and “Ron Paul,” he’s sure to mention The Federal Reserve, and for good reason.

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[Reposted from Truth-Out, byline: Joseph Natoli]

Newly elected Mayor Bill de Blasio's "tale of two cities," referring to the wealth divide in New York, sounds nicely Dickensian, but the "boots on the ground" reality is not divided so clearly. Roughly speaking, the bottom 40 percent of Americans are what Dickens' Noddy Boffin called "scrunched" while a top 20 percent, if we follow the counsel here of "Scrunch or be scrunched," are doing the scrunching. A middle 40 percent, are, as Gradgrind facts show, decidedly more of the scrunched class than the scrunching class, although their confusions, misrecognitions and dreams of former well-being render them as liable to identify with the scrunchers as with their fellow scrunched.

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American history has been married to the history of money since its founding, albeit what began as an experiment, a revolution or rebellion to overthrow an economic system predicated upon exploitation and inequality has changed over a period of 237 years into one of the most exploitative and unequal countries on Earth. The original thirteen colonies were intended to be nothing more than sweat shops for British plutocrats who worked in tandem with government to enrich themselves while consolidating state power, and they accomplished this through a series of economic reforms that would later be branded as “mercantilism.” The constituent parts of mercantilism are many and varied but can be categorized into a handful of systems that include - but are not limited to - taxation, off-shoring, debt and monopoly. “Free-trade,” which gained popularity during The Gilded Age and has become the sine qua non of finance today, is nothing more than a modest expansion upon the aforementioned themes with one significant exception. “Free-trade” cut the umbilicus that attached private interests to state interests. What began as an illicit affair between government and a conniving merchant class evolved into an abusive relationship, ending in marital rape. Today we find ourselves in a twisted situation in which the “government of the people, for the people, by the people” is shackled to a pipe in the basement closet, forced to shit in a bucket and cry herself to sleep at night.

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America’s civilian workforce consists of 156 million people and 7.2 percent is unemployed according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, yet evidence suggests the number of Americans struggling financially is higher than the unemployment rate bandied about on the 10 o’clock news. 15.2 million Americans work low-wage jobs, earning less than 23,000 dollars per annum, and 11.2 million Americans are unemployed, yet approximately 90.4 million people are neither employed, low-wage nor unemployed. They’re simply “discouraged.” BLS collects data on only 7.4 percent of discouraged workers: the approximate 3.1 million who have “searched for work in the previous year, but not the last 4 weeks,” and the approximate 3.2 million who “did not search for work in the previous year.” The remaining 84.1 million include those who The Bureau of Labor Statistics says, “Includes some persons who are not asked if they want a job.” They may as well have said, “We have no fucking clue.”

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. . . Trailblazer, which led to the wholesale privatization of the intelligence sector, cost an estimated 1.2 billion dollars and enabled the violation of Americans’ constitutional rights, replaced ThinThread, a NSA program that was built in-house, cost 3 million dollars and included anonymization software that protected the privacy rights of U.S. citizens, and the privatization scheme (Trailblazer) replaced the smaller program (ThinThread) on August 20th, 2001, 22 days before The September 11th attacks, yet the replacement wasn’t immediate. ThinThread was just shut down.
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Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 06:57 AM PST

A Critique of Libertarianism

by johnnymonicker

The Libertarian Party Platform is clear and concise. Principle among The Libertarian’s concerns is the establishment of a “free and competitive market.” Under the heading “Economic Liberty,” The Libertarian Party Platform states that “a free and competitive market allocates resources in the most efficient manner.” Libertarians oppose “government subsidies to business, labor, or any other special interest.” This would include kickbacks to institutions like AIG, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, who receive an annual subsidy from the public amounting to 83 billion dollars, yet remain completely unprofitable.

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Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 11:13 PM PST

Usury on The Macroeconomic Scale

by johnnymonicker

The most relevant and likely example of a deflationary crisis results as a consequence of usury, or debt, otherwise known as “credit.” The only way a country can sustain inequality when its currency is highly valued is by providing an unprecedented volume of credit, which is why The United Kingdom is the most indebted nation in the world today (we’re talking “private debt,” not “public debt”). The same rule applies in an inflationary economy. When wages remain stagnant while the money supply expands, money flows into the hands of the few while the majority treads water in an ocean of high prices and excessive debt. Americans now own almost 40 trillion dollars in private debt, or over two times the GDP. That means we would all have to work a little under three years without any income to pay it off. If you were to add public debt to the equation, which - including intragovernmental holdings - exceeds the national GDP by roughly 1 trillion dollars, then the total United States debt today equals a little under 57 trillion dollars, or almost four times the GDP.

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Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM PST

Slavery & Mercantilism

by johnnymonicker

The ongoing debate between historians who study The Revolutionary era is a political one. Participants typically fall into two camps, Jeffersonian sympathizers and Hamiltonian sympathizers, and the debate invariably covers the topic of slavery, a moral blight upon the Revolutionary generation that would continue as a matter of debate for every generation that succeeded it. Hamiltonian sympathizers claim The Federalists were opposed to slavery whereas The Anti-Federalists - and by extension, The Democrat-Republicans - were avidly pro-slavery, which is a convenient half-truth. It’s unlikely that slavery would have dominated the colonial landscape if it were not for British economic policy, which was predicated upon the success of a wealthy upperclass working in concert with government through a system of exploitation that lowers wages, increases profits and raises armies. Slavery was foisted upon the colonial South to increase supply for Britain’s manufacturing base. Most planters (plantation owners) were members of the British aristocracy, wealthy land speculators who lived abroad and sought low-wage labor to defray the costs for their overseas operations. Colonists eager to compete with their neighbors, absentee landlords who had amassed large tracts of land, found themselves indebted to The Royal African Company, a state-sanctioned monopoly owned by The Royal House of Stuart that encouraged the growth of America’s peculiar institution by trading chattel property (slaves) for credit.

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Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 12:20 AM PST

The Necessity of Revolt

by johnnymonicker

Perhaps we would be better served and more honest with one another if were to rename "The Age of Enlightenment" according to its actual effect, which is deceit. Wouldn't you be more inclined to read the writings of those touted as the progenitors of a new age if you knew they were party to what could be considered, "The Age of Deceit,” if you knew that ideologues, charlatans and yes-men established the ideological foundations of “The New World,” and wouldn’t you find your love of country, your love for The United States of America, replenished if you knew that it emerged from a rebellion that decried the tangible results of such deceit? Consider the number of voices throughout human history that go unheard. What did The Sons of Liberty discuss in the squalid corridors of Boston? Who were the protestors that trespassed upon The Dartmouth, Eleanor and Beaver and destroyed their cargo?

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While the country attempted to readjust to the new sociopolitical and socioeconomic landscape, out of the blight that followed The Civil War emerged a period of upheaval characterized by partisanship and corruption. Reconstruction, The North’s attempts to re-absorb The South while protecting the rights of blacks, was distinguished by intermittent successes overshadowed by ultimate failure. Laws that extended suffrage to black voters were coupled with laws that disenfranchised varying (often large) percentages of the white Southern population, a policy enforced by Union troops stationed in the former Confederate States. The political machine was born. Republican partisans and opportunists, many of whom abused positions of power for personal gain, were the benefactors of political arm twisting. Where the values of civil reformers overlapped with the interests of political operators, gains were made to advance civil rights legislation, extend public education and grant suffrage to black Americans, yet many of these reforms were dismantled by vindictive Southern politicians called “Redeemers.” The most lasting contribution of Republican idealism during Reconstruction were the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, which extended citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” and guaranteed those persons the vote, yet in spite of these provisions, state legislatures across The South would disenfranchise black Americans and segregate schools and communities until 1965.

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On July 8th, 1549, in a quiet corner of the county of Norfolk, people witnessed a spectacle that would strike contemporary audiences as strange and reactionary, yet was both expected and appreciated in the mid sixteenth century: commoners filling ditches and uprooting fence posts in the countryside of Wymondham. This was no everyday affair nor annual occurrence, it was a protest, and foremost among the protesters grievances was enclosure, the appropriation of common land for private use, which was increasingly being perpetrated by landed gentry working in concert with lords of the manor, the aristocracy.

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