Tags: Oligarchs

The Challenges of Defending Your Child’s Mind from Propaganda

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 11.13.40 AMIn great empires the people who live in the capital, and in the provinces remote from the scene of action, feel, many of them, scarce any inconveniency from the war; but enjoy, at their ease, the amusement of reading in the newspapers the exploits of their own fleets and armies. To them this amusement compensates the small difference between the taxes which they pay on account of the war, and those which they had been accustomed to pay in time of peace.They are commonly dissatisfied with the return of peace, which puts an end to their amusement, and to a thousand visionary hopes of conquest and national glory from a longer continuance of the war. 

– Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations

Let’s face it, your child’s mind is fertile ground for oligarchs, corrupt politicians and any other thieving member of the so-called “ruling elite” who aim to enslave the masses both mentally and monetarily. Unfortunately, the propaganda that comes from the government and our largest corporations is perceived as being absolute truth by most people. If you’re like me, at one point in time you had to wake up to it all and accept that you had been completely brainwashed for the first few decades for your life.

On a parental level, defending my child’s mind against blatant lies and deceit from the media, military industrial complex and corporatism is really not that difficult. But what about their grandparents, cousins or the kids next door?

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Welcome to Arcadia – The California Suburb Where Wealthy Chinese Criminals are Building Mansions to Stash Cash

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 1.53.00 PMThe city, population 57,600, projects that about 150 older homes—53 percent more than normal—will be torn down this year and replaced with mansions. The deals happen fast and are rarely listed publicly. Often, the first indication that a megahouse is coming next door is when the lawn turns brown. That means the neighbor has stopped watering and green construction netting is about to go up.

Arcadia is a concentrated version of what’s happening across the U.S. The Hurun Report, a magazine in Shanghai about China’s wealthy elite, estimates that almost two-thirds of the country’s millionaires have already emigrated or plan to do so.

– From the Bloomberg article: Why Are Chinese Millionaires Buying Mansions in an L.A. Suburb?

The surge in foreigners buying up U.S. real estate has been well documented in recent years. Of all this buying, no nation has demonstrated a bigger increase in purchases than China. In fact, it is estimated that 24% of all foreign purchases of domestic real estate this year have come from China, up 72% from last year. In my post from July, Chinese Purchases of U.S. Real Estate hit $22 Billion as The Bank of China Facilitates Money Laundering, I noted that:

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Chinese Homebuilders Expand in America as U.S. Auto Loans Hit Record Levels

Just a little tale from the streets of America
Sparkled promises paved with pathos and hysteria
Trenchant, weary native sons
Step back, step back
And see the damage done
Meander to the horizon 
The streets of America

– Bad Religion, Streets of America

Late last week I published a post titled, Your Wall Street Slumlord Arrives in Europe – Goldman and Other Financial Firms Launch “Buy to Rent” in Spain, in which I highlighted the fact that U.S. financial oligarchs had recently turned their sights toward Spanish real estate after feasting on the American market for several years and driving home prices to unaffordable levels for much of the native population.

Interestingly, today I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal that noted Chinese homebuilders are beginning to make a more aggressive push into the U.S. market. One of the main reasons for this phenomenon appears to be:

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“Dead Broke” – Meet the Clintons’ $100,000 3-Week Hampton Rental

If being “dead broke” means dropping $100k on a 3-week rental in the Hamptons, then I’d like to be dead broke too.

In case you aren’t aware of what I’m referring to, recall that:

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Former Aide to Bill Clinton Speaks – “My Party Has Lost its Soul”

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.37.26 AMOne reason we know voters will embrace populism is that they already have. It’s what they thought they were getting with Obama. In 2008 Obama said he’d bail out homeowners, not just banks. He vowed to fight for a public option, raise the minimum wage and clean up Washington. He called whistle-blowers heroes and said he’d bar lobbyists from his staff. He was critical of drones and wary of the use of force to advance American interests. He spoke eloquently of the threats posed to individual privacy by a runaway national security state.

He turned out to be something else altogether. To blame Republicans ignores a glaring truth: Obama’s record is worst where they had little or no role to play. It wasn’t Republicans who prosecuted all those whistle-blowers and hired all those lobbyists; who authorized drone strikes or kept the NSA chugging along; who reneged on the public option, the minimum wage and aid to homeowners. It wasn’t even Republicans who turned a blind eye to Wall Street corruption and excessive executive compensation. It was Obama.

A populist revolt among Democrats is unlikely absent their reappraisal of Obama, which itself seems unlikely. Not since Robert Kennedy have Democrats been so personally invested in a public figure. Liberals fell hardest so it’s especially hard for them to admit he’s just not that into them. 

- From Bill Curry’s excellent article in SalonMy party has lost its soul: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and the victory of Wall Street Democrats.

Bill Curry’s article published this past Sunday by Salon is simply extraordinary. One of the things I’ve felt has been lacking in America for some time is the ability for well-meaning people within the “power structure” to look inward and be honest with themselves about the immoral decay fellow members of their socio-economic class have wrought upon the nation via a singleminded pursuit of wealth and power. A perfect example of an ignorant, destructive oligarch completely devoid of self-awareness was put on full display earlier this year when Sam Zell appeared on Bloomberg TV and essentially said the poor just need to act more like the rich.

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The New York Times Describes Obama – “A Restless President Weary of the Obligations of the White House…”

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 4.27.46 PMWhat’s so amusing about today’s article from the New York Times titled, At Dinner Tables, Restless President Finds Intellectual Escape, is that the author appears to be quite sympathetic to Obama. She seems to want to portray the President as a real statesman; one who is so far above politics and the pedestrian task of being Commander in Chief that he finds it necessary to flee his responsibilities in order to find intellectual escape while dining extravagantly with “elites” in Europe. In contrast, he merely comes across as the arrogant, disconnected, oligarch coddler he is.

The article also seems to say something important about the New York Times’ own disconnectedness, particularly considering the paper’s Pentagon correspondent recently referred to the American public as children, with the government and mainstream media playing the role of parents.

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India’s Central Bank Will Sell Gold on the Market in Exchange for Gold at the Bank of England

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 3.50.34 PMIndia’s gold policy over the last several years is about as dysfunctional as any government policy I have ever seen, and that’s saying a lot. In case you need a reminder, here are a few posts I have written on the subject:

The Times of India: “Almost Every Passenger on a Flight from Dubai to Calicut Was Found Carrying 1kg of Gold”

Gold Smuggling Increases 7x in India and Surpasses Illegal Drug Trade

Indian Temples Fight Back Against Government Gold Grabbing Plot

In a nutshell, Indians were buying too much gold for their government’s comfort, so the “authorities” stepped in with duties and import restrictions in an attempt to stifle the trade. So smuggling soared.

Fast forward to today. It appears the government has finally realized they can’t stop their citizens penchant for gold, so they have decided to dump central bank gold onto the market. What is incredible to me is that they are justifying this with a so-called “swap” into phantom gold at the Bank of England. The favored global hub of shady, rent-seeking, banker oligarchs.

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The Pitchforks are Coming…– A Dire Warning from a Member of the 0.01%

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

From Nick Hanaeur’s excellent Politico Op-Ed: The Pitchforks are Coming…For Us Plutocrats

Over the past several years, I have been extremely critical of the 0.01% as a socio-economic class, often referring to them as criminal oligarchs. This has nothing to do with the incredible sums of money they have amassed. I’m simply not interested in chasing that kind of wealth, nor am I an envious person. I don’t care how much money anyone has. What I do care about is the kind of power that such money can buy, and how that power is then abused to purchase politicians and run roughshod over entire societies. I have also been disgusted with the fact that the 0.01% as a class seem self-absorbed, apathetic and delusional when it comes to the catastrophe the current economic and financial system is reaping upon the planet. So busy are they patting themselves on the back and scrambling to acquire that next billion to see what is rapidly unfolding beyond their moats.

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Matt Stoller Destroys Timothy Geithner in His Epic Review of “Stress Test”

Geithner is at heart a grifter, a petty con artist with the right manners and breeding to lie at the top echelons of American finance at a moment when the government and financial services industry needed someone to be the face of their multi-trillion dollar three card monte. He’s going to make his money, now that he’s done living his life of fantastic power after his upbringing of remarkable mysterious privilege. After reading this book and documenting lie after lie after lie, I’m convinced that there’s more here than just a self-serving corrupt official. There’s an entire culture, of figures at Treasury, the Federal Reserve, in the entire Democratic Party elite structure, and in the world of journalism, a culture in which Geithner is seen as some sort of role model.

- From Matt Stoller’s fantastic article published yesterday, The Con-Artist Wing of the Democratic Party

Timothy Geithner is likely to go down in American history as one of the most dangerous, destructive cronies to have ever wielded government power. The man is so completely and totally full of shit it’s almost impossible not to notice.

The last thing I’d ever want to do in my free time is read a lengthy book filled with Geithner lies and propaganda, so I owe a large debt of gratitude to former Congressional staffer Matt Stoller for doing it for me. Stoller simply tears Geither apart limb from limb, detailing obvious lies about the financial crisis, and even more interestingly, Geithner’s bizarre bio, replete with mysterious and inexplicable promotions into positions of power.

So without further ado, here are some excerpts from this excellent article. From Vice:

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Silicon Valley Billionaire Who Blocked Public Access to Popular Beach Claims: “He Owns the Road, the Beach and the Tides”

Earlier this month, I highlighted the fact that one of Obama’s closest billionaire buddies, Silicon Valley oligarch, Vinod Kholsa, had aggressively moved to block access to the very popular Northern California destination Martins Beach. The post was titled, Silicon Valley Billionaire Buys Popular Beach and Then Blocks Public Access, in which I wrote:

Vinod Kholsa, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and well known Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is at the center of a lawsuit revolving around the popular Northern California destination Martins Beach, located six miles south of Half Moon Bay. The beach has always been popular with families and surfers alike, and the prior owners had always provided access for a $5 fee. Mr. Kholsa has taken a different approach, which has consisted of putting up a locked gate to block the beach’s only road access point and painting over a billboard welcoming people to the beach.

At the time, some expressed disbelief that such a good so-called “liberal” would take this action, but it is now clear these people were in serious oligarch denial. We now learn from the SF Gate that:

There had, until now, been a note of uncertainty about why beach owner Vinod Khosla decided to kick people off Martins Beach, but the billionaire venture capitalist made his motives pretty clear, according to this Chronicle story by Melody Gutierrez.

The green tech titan does not want the hoi polloi touching what he believes is his sand, tidelands or surf.

“Martin’s beach is private property, including the sandy beach and the submerged tidelands seaward of the mean high tide,”  argued lobbyists hired by Khosla in a letter to state lawmakers. “There are no existing ‘public’ lands to which access is needed.”

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