Catching up

With the many links I failed to note over the past week

Christopher Ketcham believes the economic crisis will cleanse the land of kitsch, crap and the pimps who market the stuff. This is his silver lining and he considers it a praiseworthy endgame to America's binge-driven consumer culture.

A grim assessment can be found in Michael Hudson's latest essay:

The financial "wealth creation" game is over. Economies emerged from World War II relatively free of debt, but the 60-year global run-up has run its course. Finance capitalism is in a state of collapse, and marginal palliatives cannot revive it. The U.S. economy cannot "inflate its way out of debt," because this would collapse the dollar and end its dreams of global empire by forcing foreign countries to go their own way. There is too little manufacturing to make the economy more "competitive," given its high housing costs, transportation, debt and tax overhead. A quarter to a third of U.S. real estate has fallen into negative equity, so no banks will lend to them. The economy has hit a debt wall and is falling into negative equity, where it may remain for as far as the eye can see until there is a debt write-down.

Mr. Obama's "recovery" plan, based on infrastructure spending, will make real estate fortunes for well-situated properties along the new public transport routes, but there is no sign of cities levying a windfall property tax to save their finances. Their mayors would rather keep the cities broke than to tax real estate and finance. The aim is to re-inflate property markets to enable owners to pay the banks, not to help the public sector break even. So state and local pension plans will remain underfunded while more corporate pension plans go broke.

Mike Whitney argues that:

Eastern Europe is about to blow. If it does, it could take much of the EU with it. It's an emergency situation but there are no easy solutions.

Peter Phillips argues that the Obama administration has not abandoned the neoconservativism of the recent past; it has only softened or 'humanized' this strategic focus so that a fragmented world might accept it as legitimate. Yet, continuing to rely upon this strategy would spell misfortune for more than the non-Americans killed, maimed or jailed by the American security and war apparatus. In fact, militarism has already thoroughly corrupted America's national politics, according to Phillips. The developmental path that would lead the country away from this political impasse begins with an active and self-sustaining anti-war movement.

Chris Hedges warns that the economic crisis, not the "terrorist threat" abroad, might bring down America's democratic republic. The penultimate situation: The economic crisis motivates Americans to take to the streets in defense of their interests and the federal government responds to this "provocation" by declaring martial law, thus abolishing the democratic-popular threat to the security apparatus and the economic sectors that depend on this apparatus.

Tom Englehardt wonders if the current economic crisis will endure until that time when it can meld with the pending ecological catastrophe.

Benjamin Netanyahu will attempt to form the next Israeli government, according to the New York Times. If Netanyahu is successful, the new government will sit on the far right and will not likely include the moderate Kadima party or its leader Tzipi Livni who are expected to join the opposition.

And Rick Santelli's now infamous rant:

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