According to Thom Hartman, these two concepts are often confused. In fact, he urges that we ditch capitalism and embrace free enterprise:
If you ask someone like Rand Paul, he’d say somebody participating in this sort of system is a “capitalist.” But the cleanest definition of a capitalist is someone who uses their money – their capital – to make more money. Some capitalists do this by investing their capital in the stock market; others do it by investing in other people’s start-up businesses: they are called venture capitalists.
These kinds of capitalists do play their part in our society. Sometimes, they help small businesses get off their feet. But here’s what you won’t hear on Fox Business or CNBC: capitalists aren’t that productive and they aren’t actually necessary. Many are just like Paris Hilton: they sit around on their butts by the pool all day waiting for their dividend checks to come in. They make money while contributing absolutely nothing to the rest of society. And here’s the thing: free enterprise works just as well without capitalists, capitalism, or even venture capitalists. Worker-owned cooperatives are just as successful as any business backed by a massive Wall Street loan. . . . Too much capitalism is actually dangerous. All the major economic crises of the past 200 years were caused by capitalists on Wall Street trying to use their money to make more money.
Here’s the scenario: Jeremy Paxman continually tells Russell Brand that he has not right to be heard because he doesn’t bother to vote. Brand explains to Paxman that voting is a farce that makes voters complicit in the rampant political/corporate corruption. Invigorating discussion that is well worth your time.
Matt Taibbi takes aim at an amazingly bizzare Forbes article written by Ayn Rand devotee named Harry Binswanger. I was curious about Ayn Rand back when I was 18, but I moved on. Binswanger hasn’t and, in fact, has doubled down. As always, Taibbi’s serious message is wrapped in entertaining prose:
It reads like an Onion piece, just hilarious stuff. I mean, Jesus, even Lloyd Blankfein himself didn’t go so far as to take the “God’s work” thing 100% seriously, and here’s this jackass saying, without irony, that the Goldman CEO literally out-God-slaps Mother Teresa.
The thing is, for all its excesses, Mr. Catyanker’s piece does reflect an attitude you see pretty often among Rand devotees and Road To Serfdom acolytes. Five whole years have passed since the crash, and there are still huge pockets of these Fountainhead junkies who genuinely believe that the Blankfeins of the world are reviled because they’re bankers and they’re rich, and not because they’re the heads of unprosecutable organized crime syndicates who make their money through mass fraud, manipulation and the shameless burgling of public treasure. In this case you have a guy who writes for Forbes, a business publication,and apparently he isn’t acquainted even casually with any of the roughly 10,000 corruption cases involving Blankfein’s bank.
Taibbi’s article contains a succinct rundown of many of the ways Goldman Sachs actually makes money. Hint: It’s not by producing goods or services helpful to ordinary Americans.
At Democracy Now, Amy Goodman discussed McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, which has been referred to as “the next Citizens United.”
Republican leaders and wealthy GOP donor Shaun McCutcheon wants the Supreme Court to throw out aggregate limits on individual contributions in a single two-year cycle, saying they violate free speech. “If these advocate limitations go down, 500 people will control American democracy. It would be ‘government for the 500 people,’ not for anybody else — and that’s the risk,” says Burt Neuborne, law professor and founding legal director of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. . .
“AMY GOODMAN: During the oral arguments, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, quote, “By having these limits you are promoting democratic participation, then the little people will count some, and you won’t have the super-affluent as the speakers that will control the elections.” Justice Antonin Scalia responded somewhat sarcastically by saying, quote, “I assume that a law that only—only prohibits the speech of 2 percent of the country is okay.” That was Scalia.
BURT NEUBORNE: And that’s the—that’s the gulf that divides the court on these cases. Justice Ginsburg thinks that we should use campaign finance reform to advance equality, so that everybody has a roughly equal political influence. Scalia says, “Look, if you’re rich, you’re entitled to have as much influence as you can buy.” And that’s now been the collision, and the Scalia side has won five-to-four consistently in recent years.”
Here’s what’s on my mind. Many of us care deeply about social and political issues, and it does feel good to clarify each other’s thoughts here on FB, but it doesn’t change politicians views. I’ve ranted about U.S. warmongering online for almost a decade, and it hasn’t changed America’s obsession with war as the first tool of choice for attempting to “fix” social conflict.
Last week, I got a robocall from a voice that told me that Obamacare is going to destroy the United States. I don’t believe that. I also believe that Obamacare is full of flaws (I think the U.S. should guarantee ALL citizens a reasonable minimum level of health care doing an end-around private insurers, based on what is sustainable in terms of the overall budget–I would much rather prefer Medicare for all to Obamacare).
This robocall said to “Hit 1, to be transferred to Senator Blunt.” I hit 1. A man from Roy Blunt’s office answered the call and proceeded to horribly misrepresent several aspects of Obamacare. He proceed to tell me that his poll of choice showed that people from Missouri are heavily against the things offered by Obamacare. I told him that I didn’t trust the methodology and that I know 1,000 people who are not against the things offered by Obamacare. He tried to get off the phone. I challenged him to stay on the phone. I asked him whether there weren’t SOME decent aspects of Obamacare, such as eliminating exclusions for pre-existing conditions. He hemmed and hawed. He told me that costs will go up under Obamacare. I responded, “Costs for health insurance rose throughout the 8 years of George W. Bush. They go up regardless of who is the President.” I kept this twerp on the phone for 5 painful minutes (painful for both of us), and challenged Senator Blunt to do SOMETHING so that in a nation that has more resources than most, we don’t have people dying for lack of medical treatment. He actually seemed to be agreeing with me a bit at the end.
[More . . . ]
Huge securities trading spike occurs before it would be possible to even receive the information electronically, much less react to it after reading it.
“[T]he Fed news was certainly present in trading centers in Chicago and New York before 2pm. The evidence is overwhelming. It is unknown how many people had access to this information – for a timed news release, it would have been at least an administrator, probably Q.A. and others. What we do know is the resulting explosion of trading just 1 thousandth of a second after 2pm, was unprecedented in the history of Fed news announcements, and much of that trading was based on information obtained before the set Federal Reserve Board release time.”
I’m betting that there won’t be any prosecutions.
Shocking story by “This is American Life.” Nancy Pelosi attends 400 political fundraisers per year. Politicians of both parties spend untold amount of town raising money, planning to raise money or thinking about raising money. How much money do members of the house of representatives need. At 7:41 of this recording, you’ll hear a Federal Representative from Ohio admitting that he needed to raise $10,000-15,000 PER DAY. This amounts to $2.5 M over two years. The story goes on and on, and amounts to a total corruption of our supposed democracy.
Fascinating article in Daily Kos. Here’s some of Nixon’s accomplishments (granted, that he had a different Congress):
1969 – Nixon enters peace negotiations with North Viet Nam
1970 – Nixon negotiates permanent deal with USSR not to use Cienfuegos (Cuba) for ballistic missile Submarines
1971 – Nixon increases arms sales and loans to Israel
1972 – Nixon enters into successful SALT talks with USSR
1973 – Nixon withdraws thousands of troops from VietNam, ends draft.
1973 – Nixon agrees to support Israel, begins airlift that allows Israel to counterattack. Nixon and the USSR negotiate a peace protecting Israel and ending the war.
Big sections on domestic policies too. Well worth a read.
Lee Camp explains why it is absurd for Barack Obama to even be considering putting Larry Summers in charge of the Federal Reserve.
Here is the referenced article by Greg Palast. Here’s an excerpt:
The Memo confirmed every conspiracy freak’s fantasy: that in the late 1990s, the top US Treasury officials secretly conspired with a small cabal of banker big-shots to rip apart financial regulation across the planet. When you see 26.3% unemployment in Spain, desperation and hunger in Greece, riots in Indonesia and Detroit in bankruptcy, go back to this End Game memo, the genesis of the blood and tears.
The Treasury official playing the bankers’ secret End Game was Larry Summers. Today, Summers is Barack Obama’s leading choice for Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, the world’s central bank. If the confidential memo is authentic, then Summers shouldn’t be serving on the Fed, he should be serving hard time in some dungeon reserved for the criminally insane of the finance world.
The memo is authentic.