The archive is catalogued by 'Politics', 'Economics', 'Mockery', 'In other news' and 'On other things' 


"Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world" - Henry Kissinger

and yet...

"Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences" – Robert Louis Stevenson

Such sweet irony - not

In my last piece ‘Propaganda – weaponisation of words’, I discussed the toxicity of the current political climate, and how political commentators use techniques like pre-supposition to reinforce their narrative. There is nothing radical about this idea – it is just the way things are. It’s inevitable; I do it myself, and as anyone who has read my stuff will have noticed – my disdain with the cocktail of crooks, hypocrites and ‘numpties’ who run the world is palpable, as is my astonishment that we let them get away with it  – you see, there I go again…

The antidote to my bias, or that of anyone else, is ‘awareness’, and from that, the ability to frame a question, and…most importantly: a desire to make up your own mind rather than collect the brownie points available from following the herd.

Fortunately these are ‘capacities’ most of us are born with, need no degree to obtain, and are available to people of every country, political party, social class, religion, and/or income group, although some of the ‘varieties’ of these variables do encourage their development more than others…or do they?

You would think, for example, that self-proclaimed ‘liberals’ would have worked out that if you truly believe in the first amendment, then:

a) You will have registered the fact that it is the first amendment, and:

b) You will fight for the right of everyone to communicate their ideas freely, even if you ‘know’ they are diametrically opposed to your own ideas…and even if you ‘suspect’ that they would deny that right to you.  You’d think any self-respecting ‘liberal’ would fight for that would you not? You might also think that a group of people who espouse ‘democracy’ would welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the power of their argument through open debate…

You’d be wrong. A few days ago, students from UC Berkeley, the ‘midwife’ of the sixties campus revolt against the in loco parentis rules that were used to suppress student protest and free speech…denied a platform to Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of Breitbart, who had been invited by the Berkeley College Republicans to speak…at the Martin Luther King Jnr Conference Centre. One history student who preferred to remain nameless told The Guardian: “We won’t put up with the violent rhetoric of Milo, Trump or the fascistic alt-right”.  Let’s hope he enjoyed the music instead, which was kicked off by a thrilling rendition of YG's ‘Fuck Donald Trump’.

It seems you can get to UC Berkeley without any awareness of irony…the problem with that of course, is that if you ever want to be ‘liberal’ in a way that John Locke, Rosa Parks or Dr. Martin Luther King himself might understand, you’re probably going to have to find some irony in your life at some point...

And in another treat for irony lovers…on Tuesday 7th February, the FT ran a piece on the necessity of sound financial regulation from none other than…Professor Larry Summers…the man who did more for financial regulation than Lance Armstrong did for drug free cycling...

The upshot of the piece is that There are big risks in a hasty rollback of financial regulation’…which is absolutely true. He makes other sensible points too…so what’s my beef? Here’s a clue:

"I would rather live with even a very bad knee than let a carpenter operate on me" – Larry Summers

“So would I.  On the other hand I'd rather get policy recommendations from a carpenter than a political careerist who helped remove Glass-Steagall from the statute book, and also argued for unregulated derivatives...who since having left 'power', has argued for deflationary, 'dumbass' ideas like negative interest rates.

I have little doubt that Donald Trump will do things that feather the nests of his pals, as did the Professor’s ex-boss, the Grifter-in-Chief, ‘Slick’ Willy Clinton...but to come to that conclusion, I didn't need a lecture from a guy who has failed upwards for the past 30 years and whose nose is seriously out of joint because the people of the United States, as is their prerogative, put the 'wrong' crook in the White House” - MarkGB

My problem with taking recommendations on regulatory reform from Larry Summers is the same problem I have with President Trump putting Gary Cohn on his team. Mr Cohn was Chief Operating Officer at Goldman Sachs, whilst the bank was fined billions of dollars for market irregularities (weasel code for massive fraud, AKA ‘theft’, ‘stealing’ ‘criminality’)…

Now call me picky if you insist…but I don’t trust a guy who works for powerful vested interests, whilst reassuring the plebs that what he’s doing is in their best interests…that’s what Summers did with the repeal of Glass Steagall and the junking of derivatives regulation…and that’s what the Wall Street ‘mob’ did with the freedoms provided by those very policy changes. I.E. They packaged up toxic waste, sold it as Triple A, and then went cap in hand to the government for a bailout…which they got, courtesy of the charlatan who carried on Summers’ great work, ex-Goldman CEO Hank Paulson.

So…‘who’ you are is important. The consequence of your actions is important. Your CV is a chimera, particularly if you work in Crony-land DC.  Putting Goldman Sachs people in charge of the banking system is like putting Ben Johnson in charge of Olympic drug testing. Irony noted.

It will end in a knockout - and then there will be excuses

Propaganda: weaponisation of words