Category Archives: AUDIO

Rentier Capitalism And Basic Income

By Guy Standing – Fostering globalization in the context of the ongoing technological revolution has been favorable for economic growth globally. But governments and international bodies have signally failed to counter adverse distributional outcomes within countries.

Similarly, in advocating labor market flexibility, negligible attention has been given to the widespread economic insecurities this has generated.

Meanwhile, the neo-liberal phase of globalization has evolved into ‘rentier capitalism’, in which more and more income is going to those possessing physical, financial, or so called intellectual property. Rental income has been boosted by increased firm concentration in many economic sectors – epitomized by the rise of ‘superstar firms’ = and by government action, most notably the strengthening of intellectual property rights protection and the growth of the subsidy state, as governments have chosen to compete by throwing subsidies at large corporations and rich individuals. In so doing, they have regressively depleted public budgets.

One term to describe this conventional fiscal policy is pluto-populism, hereby tax cuts and subsidies are concentrated on so-called entrepreneurs and ‘wealth creators’ while state benefits and public services are cut for low-income groups, ostensibly to reduce the budget deficits that result from the fiscal generosity to the rentiers.

Consequently, in most countries, the share of income going to capital has risen sharply and the share going to labor has plunged. Within the share going to capital, the share going to rentiers has risen; within the share going to labor, the share going to higher earners has risen.

If we wish to escape from the regressive economic paradigm, we must nurture a narrative and vocabulary that focuses on emerging socio-economic groups. In that regard, a global class structure has been taking shape, in which the new mass class is the ‘precariat’. more>

The future of political warfare: Russia, the West, and the coming age of global digital competition

By Alina Polyakova and Spencer Phipps Boyer – The Kremlin’s political warfare against democratic countries has evolved from overt to covert influence activities. But while Russia has pioneered the toolkit of asymmetric measures for the 21st century, including cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns, these tools are already yesterday’s game. Technological advances in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and machine learning, combined with the growing availability of big data, have set the stage for a new era of sophisticated, inexpensive, and highly impactful political warfare.

In the very near term, it will become more difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish between real and falsified audio, video, or online personalities. Malicious actors will use these technologies to target Western societies more rapidly and efficiently. As authoritarian states such as Russia and China invest resources in new technologies, the global competition for the next great leap in political warfare will intensify.

As the battle for the future shifts to the digital domain, policymakers will face increasingly complex threats against democracies. The window to mount an effective “whole-of- society” response to emerging asymmetric threats is quickly narrowing. more>

How to Build an Autocracy

BOOK REVIEW

How To Build An Autocracy, Author: The Atlantic.

By David Frum – Fortunately for him, he did not need to campaign hard for reelection. His has been a popular presidency: Big tax cuts, big spending, and big deficits have worked their familiar expansive magic. Wages have grown strongly in the Trump years, especially for men without a college degree, even if rising inflation is beginning to bite into the gains. The president’s supporters credit his restrictive immigration policies and his TrumpWorks infrastructure program.

Allegations of fraud and self-dealing in the TrumpWorks program, and elsewhere, have likewise been shrugged off. The president regularly tweets out news of factory openings and big hiring announcements: “I’m bringing back your jobs,” he has said over and over. Voters seem to have believed him—and are grateful.

Most Americans intuit that their president and his relatives have become vastly wealthier over the past four years. But rumors of graft are easy to dismiss. Because Trump has never released his tax returns, no one really knows.

Anyway, doesn’t everybody do it? On the eve of the 2018 congressional elections, WikiLeaks released years of investment statements by prominent congressional Democrats indicating that they had long earned above-market returns. As the air filled with allegations of insider trading and crony capitalism, the public subsided into weary cynicism. The Republicans held both houses of Congress that November, and Trump loyalists shouldered aside the pre-Trump leadership.

The business community learned its lesson early. “You work for me, you don’t criticize me,” the president was reported to have told one major federal contractor, after knocking billions off his company’s stock-market valuation with an angry tweet.

In an 1888 lecture, James Russell Lowell, a founder of this magazine, challenged the happy assumption that the Constitution was a “machine that would go of itself.” Lowell was right. Checks and balances is a metaphor, not a mechanism.

The American system is also perforated by vulnerabilities no less dangerous for being so familiar. Supreme among those vulnerabilities is reliance on the personal qualities of the man or woman who wields the awesome powers of the presidency. A British prime minister can lose power in minutes if he or she forfeits the confidence of the majority in Parliament. The president of the United States, on the other hand, is restrained first and foremost by his own ethics and public spirit.

What happens if somebody comes to the high office lacking those qualities? more>

Why Don’t We Trust Our Leaders?

By Ngaire Woods – In developed democracies today, political leadership is increasingly up for grabs. Voters, clearly tired of the status quo, want change at the top, leaving even major parties’ establishments struggling to install leaders of their choosing.

The message to the establishment is clear: we don’t trust you anymore. But some of the leaders voters do trust could pose a very real danger – to their supporters, their countries, and the world.

Trump – with his admiration of dictators, unabashed racism and sexism, ignorance regarding the issues, and mercurial temperament – stands at the top of this list.

Those who led the British campaign to leave the European Union – such as Conservatives like Boris Johnson (now the country’s foreign secretary) and Nigel Farage, the right-wing populist leader of the UK Independence Party – are similarly disparaged for recklessly jeopardizing the future of the UK and the EU alike.

If mainstream leaders want to change voters’ minds, they should look carefully at what leadership really means. Here, it is worth recalling the insights of US General George C. Marshall, who contemplated the topic as he worked to rebuild the US military in the 1940s.

Marshall argued that leadership is a matter not of rhetoric, but of character. In particular, leaders must display three key qualities to win the trust needed to lead effectively:

  • purpose,
  • impartiality, and
  • competence.

It is time to revitalize good leadership. more> http://goo.gl/9McYAF

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CONGRESS WATCH FINAL PRE-ELECTION JOBS REPORT: Obama Recovery Officially Dead Last in Job Creation, US Congress On Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Radio Show, US Congress On KPRC’s Joe Pags Show, US Congress On KSEV The ‘Mack’ Show, US Congress … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Q&A at The Woodlands-South Montgomery County Chamber 8-22-12, YouTube [VIDEO 26:47] Fighting to Repeal ObamaCare, US Congress Macroeconomic Impacts of Federal Regulation of the Manufacturing Sector, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) The Obama Administration: A History … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Texas Medical Center News Conference 8-8-12, YouTube [VIDEO 26:08] Rep. Kevin Brady at East Montgomery County Chamber 8-9-12, YouTube [VIDEO 28:01] Rep. Kevin Brady FOX 26 Houston Morning News 8-3-12, YouTube [VIDEO 3:37] On News92FM with Mike Barajas, … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Ellmers Calls on Reid to Allow Senate Vote on Obamacare, US Congress Rep. Ellmers on Obamacare Repeal, July 10, 2012, YouTube [VIDEO 1:53] Renee Ellmers, [VIDEO 6:36] USTREAM Rep. Ellmers Gets Help In Pressuring Reid For Senate ObamaCare … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH STATEMENT: Rogers on EPA Permit Objections in Kentucky, US Congress Rogers Honors Region’s First Ever Congressional Award Gold Medalist, US Congress Rogers Commends Local Military Academy Appointees, US Congress Rogers Welcomes UNITE Director to Washington for Rx Drug … Continue reading

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CONGRESS WATCH Jim Sensenbrenner’s Take on Possible Changes at Gitmo, [AUDIO] 620 WTMJ Related articles Update from Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (blogs.strategygroup.net)