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March 01, 2012

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GOP Last Stand

I agree with you Jon. And to win the GOP will have to cheat. They know how. They have done it before and they have the people and technological resources to pull it off. Last presidential election the GOP got caught with their pants down when Obama improved on their game plan and did the “Game Change.”

However even if Obama wins the presidential race, the poor and dwindling middle class will not win anything but more enforced corporate slavery. Corporations are in charge of the world. The names for real and non-mythical supreme beings are not God or Allah but McDonalds and Wal-Mart.

As a side, that sucking up portrait of Saint Jan leeching onto the back of the Romney campaign was at the very least disgusting.

This reminds me that in Arizona the current GOP subscribes to Rules are for Fools unless we make them?

However I always have been and will stay an old time conservationist Republican, You gotta think that Thomas, Abe, Teddy and Ike are rolling over in their Monuments.

Imagining the likelihood of Romney/Obama debates, the contrasts between the libs and cons have become even more pronounced. But if the electorate is evenly divided between R's, D's and I's, how do the numbers look . . presuming that no more than half the R's are devout conservatives? While it is true that old white folks often vote with messianic dedication, the landscape DOES seem to be tilting away from them.

Then there's the wild card of how an Israel/Iran pre-election bombarama effects the equation. Romney has no demonstrated foreign policy chops, does he?

Breitbart a sign from above?

Republicans have had an extraordinary lucky streak over the past two generations. They found a vacuous but genial demigod in Ronald Reagan. Catholics, Mormons, and Baptists decided to become allies in the Culture War. They discovered that the media doesn't hold them to account for their blatant voter suppression efforts. The Supreme Court helped in 2000 by awarding the presidency to the loser of the election. And then the biggest boon of all: they engineered a global financial crisis just in time to blame everything on a skinny black guy.

Given this streak, I'm very cautious about reports of their eminent death. Although, like Clarence Darrow, I would add after hearing Andrew Breitbart died, "I've never killed a man but I've read many an obituary with great pleasure". Please, let it be true this time. Please.

There's something about this cultural-identity vector/ideological bowel movement that demands respect. A well-placed bullet won't kill it. It hovers above mere mortals, the undead of ghastly political nightmares, apparently eternal in its spectral afterlife.

I read Chait's piece and I agreed with everything in it except for the inevitable demise of this horror. 40 years is a long time. You get used to the mind fucks and the crude racism that undergirds its appeal. Maybe we'll finally wake up from this nightmare only to find everything has been contaminated by it. If so, this is the American Curse we pretended was actually our birthright and blessing. We are special! No need for humility! We can do anything because we're exceptional! Now, it's time to kill the enemy within who defile this dream.

Hello,

I'm currently out of state on some personal business, but thought I'd check in briefly.

Today's local paper had a (six day old) syndicated column by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post dealing with what "right" and "left" mean in practice instead of in theory. The column begins with a brief overview of Republican Party history in recent decades but mostly examines how Republicans support or oppose policy positions depending on whether they are proposed by Republicans or Democrats: how the same basic positions end up being labeled "right" or "left" depending on who is in office at the time; and how short political memories (among the public and seemingly among the pols themselves) allow this sort of inconsistency to go unremarked.

http://washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/what-left-and-right-really-mean/2011/08/25/gIQARtAqXR_blog.html

Sheriff Joe's attack on the authenticity of President O's birth certificate may be his last stand. Let's hope!

Considering the neo-liberal direction the Democratic Party has taken these last decades, I'd say the GOP can die in peace.

Current Sad State of the nation.
The boat is going down and there aint enough life boats.

"And even as the bodies of the dead were being unloaded, 54 seamen in Southampton were arrested for mutiny for refusing to sail to New York on the Titanic's sister ship, Olympic, until there were a sufficient number lifeboats."

Conventional political analysis mostly concludes that the US will become less right wing conservative as Hispanics become a more significant percentage of the voting population. This projection is based in large part upon the belief that Hispanic political values will remain constant over time.

This brought to mind the Catholic presidential candidate Santorum's statement that JFK's statement on separation of church and state wanted to make him "Throw up". To Catholics in the 1960's JFK was a saint. Catholics were the liberal Democratic backbone of the party.

Many of today's Catholics are right wing establishment voters. As the voting block became more affluent and gained power, it transformed into a more Conservative voting block.

When Hispanics reach the political game changing magic demographic number will the group's political values remain the same as today?

Just a thought to consider.

A logical progression JMAV?
But becoming more conservative is that necessarily a bad thing? Many of the Hispanics I see on a daily basis are close knit, hard working family's with sensible goals and dreams. I think the white liberal Catholics of yesterday that have moved to the republican side of the aisle are of two groups. Moderate republicans and nut jobs like Santorum.
Personally, since I was very young I have moved from a profit driven ideology as a Republican (Although I have always been a conservationist when it comes to the planet.) to where in my seventies and fairly secure I find myself to be more "liberal" about a number of issues. I think the current right wing kooks are very fearful of the future. And it's is well established that fear is a prime motivator used by dictatorial folks to obtain power.

Speaking of nut jobs.
Do U think I should be concerned that I dont have a birth certificate? I was born in a farm house on a river bank near Highway 69.

jmav...taking a cue from how elections, politics, and social life are taking shape in Latin American countries today, we might be able to trace the course in the U.S. Gays can marry in Mexico City and a few other municipalities even though the population has remained a devote Catholic one; interestingly, nearly all of Mexico recognizes same-sex marriages from other nations. Saying "God Bless Mexico" in a political speech or being too religious is a no, no as well. It is likely that Hispanic Catholics in the U.S. will become a little more secular than conservative, (mostly white) American Catholics. Beyond Mexico, many other nations are rapidly become progressive, socialist places...though the immigrants from progressive, Latin American countries (Argentina, Chile, Brazil) remains small in comparison; the entire region influences one another.

Back to the U.S., this could be a very interesting election year. Arpaio isn't as popular as he once was...I am remembering when one of you wrote about Arpaio's past landslide victories (70% and higher). Compare those larger victories to 4 years ago when he won with only 55%. This leaves us with a margin much more easy to overcome. In 2000 he had 67% of the electorate's support, in 2004 57%, thus in theory it should be harder, if not impossible for Arpaio to match the growth of Hispanic voters. Many of these Hispanics were eligible to vote long ago but never were engaged in the political arena. Community groups have been changing that and a powerful surge is running through Arizona's (especially in Maricopa and Pima Counties') Hispanic electorate. If it is sustained voter turnout for Dem's (whom most Hispanics in AZ support) will be huge and can ultimately contribute to a decisive win for Libs/Dems/Progressives in the U.S as well as AZ.

"Do U think I should be concerned that I dont have a birth certificate?"

Unfortunately my "cal Lash for President" posters will be useless now.

One of the authors of "Coming Democratic Majority" somewhat retracted his prediction in an article (can't find it now). He said the chance offered in 2008/9 to the Democrats, Obama&Co was bungled.

Although the GOP may be "sailing off their flat earth" (Kunstler) old myths and religions die hard. 'Things could be wonderful if only [substitute all kinds of regressive experiments].' This mantra will be repeated long after the GOP has passed and the think tank types have become cranky storytellers around the fireplace. Richard Heinberg had an insight about the self-defeating political discourse. As this society slides down, the two ends of the spectrum will point the finger at each other and shout ever louder, making common-sense political solutions that much harder.

Then there is a fundamental difficulty about being a progressive in an age of decline. Maybe it's time for a new mission: don't try to make the world 'a better place' but try to make it less bad. Even if it means 'net worse' in the long run.

Sheriff Joe and Russell Pearce have been asking about that birth certificate Cal (if that really is your name).

.........and the march towards war with Iran just keeps on keeping on.

Several of you on this board are going to have to resign yourselves to the fact that if Crazy Joe runs, he will be re-elected. 100% guaranteed. He is supported by the demographic that votes. He is opposed by people who MIGHT vote.

Last stand of the GOP? Tell me again the difference between the two parties as they exist within the actual workings inside the Beltway?? Must be my old eyes, I can't tell the difference.

Don't throwout those who have always been the "MIGHT" voters; this election cycle has taken on new meaning for those would-be bloc (and that bloc is much larger than the demographic that traditionally votes.

GOPers = crazy gun-proliferators,think that "women's rights" means they can choose where to have their babies and what to wear in the kitchen, starting wars with everyone (even liberal states in the U.S.), are uber-gay but can't dress the part or become a member of a party (Dem) that has most of gay's self-interests in mind...

Dems = we think words ring louder than bullets, immigrants/diversity don't frighten us (for the most part), we give in/cave in way too much (Obama, exhibit #1), perhaps we can live with more uncertainty, stress, and conflict (wasn't that proven in academic research) and why Dems tend to cave in more often as a Political Party...

How's that for a start?

Just as an example of words over bullets for dems...imagine if a Repug was in charge of the operation (not the theater but the politics) to take down Bin Laden instead of Obama and Clinton: No doubt gruesome photos of Bin Laden shot dead (with extensive head/face trauma) would have been released. I can't help but picture crazy Republicans (who are no doubt, faithful Christians) retaining the newspaper photo and headline as a keepsake to share with the grandchildren.

I just hope the GOP keeps pushing and pushing the women into that 1950's corner they want them to occupy. When the women finally have had enough and really get pissed off, there is going to be hell to pay.

Do U think I should be concerned that I dont have a birth certificate? I was born in a farm house on a river bank near Highway 69.

I forgot to mention that was in Persia.

Cal, as long as all your years in AZ haven't exponentially increased your melanin production I gather you will be fine. That is considering you do not plan on running against a Republican; you know, one of them there real conservatives...

I guess I should add that since you are a known collaborator on this blog (despite calling yourself a Republican), and have been spotted with the likes of Talton, you're probably screwed even if you were as pale as a redheaded stepchild.

Phxsunfan, i surrender to your logic

Cal,
Is that the HWY 69 that also runs through Dallas and Kansas City?

Hwy 69 runs from Minnesota through Iowa into kansas city and all the way to Beaumont TX. It misses Dallas to the east by a few miles.

In loving memory:

http://exiledonline.com/mark-ames-1-andrew-breitbart-0-exiled-editor-does-dirty-chicken-dance-on-breitbart%e2%80%99s-grave/


"You know, in the days before bloated West Hollywood trolls like Breitbart could claim macho warrior status merely by carrying someone else’s water and publishing someone else’s PR packages—back in the rugged old days, if a fascist pig picked a fight with a rival, the way they decided who won and who lost was pretty simple: The guy who died lost. The guy who lives, wins.

Gosh, I guess that means… I won."

http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/2012/03/02/20120302phoenix-sustainability-adviser-focus-vacant-land-use.html

Here's an excellent assessment of Obama's stimulus package, by Noam Scheiber, editor at the New Republic:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-02-27/obama-stimulus-economy-recession-recovery/53274210/1

In 2008 Obama's incoming economist, Christina Romer, calculated that a $1.8 trillion stimulus would be required. The administration instead decided to spend less than half of that, with the idea that a smaller boost to the economy would allow it to reach "escape velocity" (essentially the point at which a self-reinforcing "virtuous cycle" of hiring and spending took over). Instead, the economy took off, but failed to reach escape velocity, stalling and falling back.

The author notes that this penny-wise but pound-foolish strategy has long-term costs that will linger for years. In addition for the need (already happening) to extend tax cuts (e.g., the payroll tax cut), unemployment spending, and other stimulus-like measures that have inflated the original stimulus program's costs despite the original intent to save money, there is the additional problem of long-term unemployment and the difficulty those individuals will have in finding jobs even once the economy recovers.

An interesting USA Today business section article on Phoenix's housing market:

http://www.usatoday.com/MONEY/usaedition/2012-02-28-Phoenix-housing-marke1t_ST_U.htm

The article notes that in 2011, 94 percent of homes costing $100,000 or less were purchased by "cash buyers" (read: investors); many of these homes were converted into rentals and leased to families that had lost their homes to foreclosure. Since the median home price in Phoenix in 2011 was around $100,000 this accounts for a large amount of home purchase activity. The article says that in January 2012, 25 percent of home purchases were by investors; but that is a single month and may well understate investor activity, judging by the other statistic.

The article suggests that whereas investor activity is driving up the cost of these low-priced homes up, the Phoenix housing market in general will remain essentially static (0.6 percent added to average home values) in 2012; this is better than an expected average national decrease of 3.7 percent.

However, the article does not indicate how much of this expected slight increase in Phoenix area home prices is due to investor activity at the lower end, and how much is due to broader health in the market.

The article notes that nearly half of Phoenix's homes are "underwater" (more owed on mortgages than the homes are worth), versus 1/5 nationally, and that "the region" saw the nation's sixth-highest metropolitan foreclosure rate last year. These new foreclosures are expected to drive down home values when they come onto the market. New home building, of course, remains low (though in places like Gilbert is picking up).

So it looks as though investor competition in the bottom half of the market is driving the cost of those homes up, and this is offsetting expected decreases elsewhere in the market due to additional foreclosures reaching the market.

The article notes that because of weak regulation of foreclosures (no court supervision is required) it would take only about 20 months to liquidate all Phoenix area homes that are in foreclosure or 90 days or more behind their payments, which is half the national average, as many other states have made the foreclosure process more burdensome to lenders, in order to insure that they are carried out properly and with the rights of the residents fully protected.

Emil, FWIW - I was told by a realtor (I know, lips moving - but it's a friend of the family) that banks are dribbling blocks of foreclosed homes back on the market at a rate designed to keep the prices up.

I don't know the veracity of this, or how much it is contributing to the causes you've suggested.

The GOP's last stand?

How about human's last stand?

Phoenix is erecting "Hazard warnings" for Phoenix trails, so nobody will get any boo-boos.

Are we now too dumb to go for a walk?

The GOP & Libertarian way - Let the dumb bastards die.

The Demo/Liberal/Progressive way- Save the poor bastards so they will have more dumb kids so maybe they will vote for us, we hope, we hope, we hope.

Idiocracy, it's here, it's now.

In my neighborhood, the outlines of a disaster are slowly becoming apparent. Virtually every real-estate transaction reflects Emil's report on the housing market. Where once 80% of the houses were owner-occupied, the number is drifting inexorably to 60%, about the tipping point for slum formation. So, even if the foreclosure fiasco eventually works itself out, the aftermath will still involve erosion of housing values and Phoenix's social fabric. The process is self-reinforcing and relentless.

BTW, if you look at the historic districts, you can see some resistance to this phenomenon. Houses with intrinsic character and charm hold their value better than production houses. Investors tend to be bottom feeders, and they don't pay "historic" premiums.

How Phoenix will look in five years should either confirm or deny this phenomenon. The other salient factor is the climate. If the Midwest is showing increasing vulnerability to deadly storms, what will be Phoenix's fate be on this warming planet? I imagine depleted water resources will tell the story here, along with increasingly brutal summers.

If your Phoenix rising last longer than 4 days, call Dr. Sell

"Phoenix is erecting "Hazard warnings" for Phoenix trails, so nobody will get any boo-boos."

OMG! What if some hiker stumbles and scratches an arm on the signpost? Better put up another warning sign! . . . just to be safe.

LIke a lot of people that drive cars there are a lot of hikers I see daily that should not be there. How about a license to hike. Particularly for folks in July that run their dogs up and down the mountain with no water. Or the mothers I see in July dragging their 4 year old along with no hat, no sunglasses and no water? I have even called the park rangers on adults that I found leaving their small kids and animals in their vehicle. And on one occasion I called the cops to South Mountain on a couple that left there 90 year old mom ( this is called elder abuse) in the car in June with the window rolled up. They did leave her water but she got heat stroke and dropped the water on the floor board.

I would like to approach the mayor on buying up more land adjacent to areas like South Mountain. Particularly the piece of property near the end of 32nd street south of Baseline and just to the east of 32nd street. I helped build the Charles Christensen tail in North Phoenix that runs from 7th avenue to Tatum. No houses and less water use.

Well, the old posting problem has suddenly returned. I'm using a completely different computer in a completely different state, still Internet Explorer but running Windows 7 Professional instead of the older system I had used.

I notice that recently successful attempts at posting were preceded by the system asking me to type in the anti-spamming alphanumerics, prior to accepting the post. Tonight, when I tried to just now, that step was skipped, and the comment would not appear.

I'll send Mr. Talton a copy and see if he'll post it.

I've been trying again. This time I got a most unusual error message (usually, no error message, just the failure of the comment to appear despite the software claiming, falsely, that it had been posted). Here it is, as copied from a pop-up window:

Your comment could not be posted. Error type: undefined Error 503 Service Unavailable
Service Unavailable

Odnamrod Meditation:
XID: 2753477670

"Investors tend to be bottom feeders..."
   .
Yes, especially in the current market: there is little chance for a good return on investment capital from the previously dependable home-flipping racket, since the best that can be hoped for in most areas, at the moment, is that a purchased home retains its value.
   .
What exists is an engorged rental market, since the large number of Phoenix area foreclosures and bankruptcies left lots of families without a place to live and unable to qualify for a new home loan, yet accustomed to the single-family home lifestyle.
   ,
The Phoenix housing market is enormously affordable, but tightened lending standards combined with a still sinking market discourage resident-homeowners from purchasing: even if they qualify, who wants to buy an asset that may lose ten percent of its value in the next year or two, at the tail end of a housing crash whose ultimate contours have yet to be determined?
   .
Enter the investor, who has plenty of cash: the price of the home is low for him, first because he needn't pay interest on a loan to obtain it; second because house prices have tumbled so far; and third because in many cases (e.g., institutional investors, whether foreign or domestic) they are buying large blocks of houses, and lenders are so eager to remove these non-performing assets from their books, that they give a further discount to those who purchase in quantity.
   .
In some cases, lenders stuck with these properties allow investors to hire their own property assessors preparatory to bidding, and the assessors tend to low-ball their estimates on behalf of their investor employers: not a conspiracy, but they know what their employer wants -- a low estimate -- and they know that if their employer is dissatisfied with them, they will hire someone else to perform a whole lot of estimates. Banks are loath to challenge such estimates for fear of driving off these big buyers.
   .
All of these factors, plus continuing foreclosures entering the market, tend to drive prices down or keep them from rising as fast as they otherwise would. The opposing dynamic is competition among investors for rental properties, and a dwindling (though still large) assortment of desirable properties (i.e., those in decent areas that don't require extensive rennovations to make habitable); this tends to elevate home prices or keep them from sinking.
   .
Soleri's point about increasing percentages of rental properties (which may not be well maintained by the owner-investors, since that eats into their bottom line profits, and may not be well maintained by renters, for the very reason that the property is not theirs and they have no equity stake), is a good one.

That said, there will come a time when the housing market has bottomed out in a way that is obvious even to nervous prospective buyers, and then there will be a growth in home purchases, especially while home values and interest rates remain low.
   .
The investors will be sitting pretty then too, because not only have they had the use of a performing asset (buying something dirt cheap at auction which gives them a steady income stream from rent), but they will then be able to sell the homes at whatever point they decide makes good business sense. As these homes are sold (many of them to those who have been renting them, as the economy and the housing market recovers), this too will drive up the value of such properties. The percentages (of owner-residents versus renters) will return to more normal ranges.

The GOP leading up to and through the Bush years and continuing now:

"Brutish pseudo-religious false nationalism."

Yup, that's them.

(just read that in a book)

Since Emil started this off-topic talk about housing.

I have an accquaintance who got over his head on his first and second mortgage. Second mortgage was for a pool and extensive landscaping.

He approached the holder of the second mortgage and advised them if they didn't accept an offer of $5,000 cash to settle an $85,000 second mortgage, he would walk.

The lender accepted his $5,000 buyout.

So he has a free pool and landscaping.

He learned how to do this on one of the financial radio talk shows.

If that's capitalism, it's pretty screwed up.

The people get screwed.
The banks get screwed.
Everybody gets screwed.

Just make sure you are the screwer, not the screwee.

"That said, there will come a time when the housing market has bottomed out in a way that is obvious even to nervous prospective buyers, and then there will be a growth in home purchases, especially while home values and interest rates remain low."

Or, people will wake up, and fully comprehend that Phoenix will rise from the ashes only as a city less than half its current size.

Well said SC

"Or, people will wake up, and fully comprehend that Phoenix will rise from the ashes only as a city less than half its current size."

Really?

The current U.S. population is 300 million: the last estimate I saw projected 400 million by 2039, four years earlier than previous estimates. They're going to live somewhere, aren't they?

Factors tending to encourage continued growth in the Phoenix Metropolitan area:

(1) Abundant land available for private development: this tends to make land (and thus housing built on land) more affordable; much of this land is on the periphery, so outward expansion is encouraged. What you may see is a greater emphasis on self-contained peripheral communities and less commuting, as gas prices rise.

(2) Little in the way of restrictive land-use regulations (unlike, say, coastal California). Again, this helps keep land costs from skyrocketing, hence housing costs.

(3) Lower than average property taxes. Ditto.

(4) Cheap housing, due in part to structural factors intrinsic to the local market, and due in part to the housing crash itself. "Phoenix homes are 15% more affordable now than they were on average from 1985 to 2000." (See link above)

(5) Comparatively low cost of living.

(6) No snows in winter, lots of blue sky and sunshine.

(7) Comparatively new construction, in Phoenix compared to back east, but especially in the more recently developed areas (e.g., Chandler and Gilbert).

I would expect it to take a decade before the Phoenix housing and jobs markets make a full recovery. That said, I don't think it makes sense to project a ghost-town. Population growth drives expansion, and the Phoenix metropolitan area has plenty of land available, unlike some older areas which are built out and surrounded by other built out municipalities (they can only grow up, not out, and that's more expensive and less attractive to families looking for "the American dream" of a new, single family home with a yard in a nice area).

AZRebel, if someone has to take a haircut, better the lenders than the borrowers. That method of resolving debt also increases disposable consumer income, which means more demand for goods and services, which means more hiring, lower unemployment, and lower social costs.

As long as the economy is weighted down with countless households owing more than their houses are worth, and/or otherwise saddled with consumer debt racked up during the boom years (whether from second mortgages, cash-out refinancing, or credit card use), they'll be saving more and spending less, and the recovery as a consequence will be slow.


Let's hope that this is the GOP's last stand. A win by Romney might destroy what is left of the United States.

The best thing that could possibly happen would be huge defeat of the Republican Party. I wish that all the Republicans would LOSE.

By the way -- THERE ARE NO JOBS. NO one can get a job. No one is hiring. The job market is dead.

As for the housing market, there is only one possible alternative.

The long-term trend of the housing market is DOWN. DEAD. CRASHED. BURNED.

The housing market ultimately will follow the job market and wages. People who buy houses mostly make the payments out of their earnings.

But, the key factor is: THERE ARE NO JOBS. Wages are falling. There is massive job destruction in the United States. The middle class is being annihilated, with great glee and celebration by the Republicans.

Starving peons cannot spend much on house payments.

The horrible job market will not improve, so the long-term trend of the housing market will be DOWN.

This is guaranteed to happen. There is no alternative.

You are going to see real starvation in the United States, because there are no jobs at all.

Disagree? Who is hiring? Post a list.

The United States is going to burn. I'm going to see it. The Republicans are looting it, and there will be nothing left. Sooner or later, there will be insurrections and it's all going to burn up.

Starving peons, who are abused, hated and exploited, don't make good citizens. The corporations that run everything are not going to pay people to work.

It's inevitable. The United States is going to burn. The only other possible outcome is a totalitarian slave-labor state. The Nazis (oops, i meant Republicans) will used forced-labor camps. People who work at WalMart already stumble around like gaunt zombies, with no teeth, stained clothes and a destitute, filthy appearance. The average WalMart employee looks like a homeless person. Perhaps that is because they earn so little that some of them are homeless!!!!

Mick, you are so full of it.

"The only other possible outcome is a totalitarian slave-labor state."

Yes, it could go on just like it is. Mick is correct. Emil is soporific.

I came across this following threads from Front Page news links here. No discredit upon Rogue Columnist if this turns out to be wacky. It looked interesting to me, and a (very brief) examination of "New Scientist" in Wikipedia, while not impressive, at least seems to rule out the possibility of fascist, anti-semitic, or other right-wing influence.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228354.500-revealed--the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

EXCERPT:

The idea that a few bankers control a large chunk of the global economy might not seem like news to New York's Occupy Wall Street movement and protesters elsewhere (see photo). But the study, by a trio of complex systems theorists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, is the first to go beyond ideology to empirically identify such a network of power. It combines the mathematics long used to model natural systems with comprehensive corporate data to map ownership among the world's transnational corporations (TNCs).

"Reality is so complex, we must move away from dogma, whether it's conspiracy theories or free-market," says James Glattfelder. "Our analysis is reality-based."

Previous studies have found that a few TNCs own large chunks of the world's economy, but they included only a limited number of companies and omitted indirect ownerships, so could not say how this affected the global economy - whether it made it more or less stable, for instance.

The Zurich team can. From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, they pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. Then they constructed a model of which companies controlled others through shareholding networks, coupled with each company's operating revenues, to map the structure of economic power.

The work, to be published in PLoS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms - the "real" economy - representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues.

When the team further untangled the web of ownership, it found much of it tracked back to a "super-entity" of 147 even more tightly knit companies - all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity - that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. "In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network," says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

Editorial corrections:
"That method of resolving debt also increases disposable consumer income, which means more demand for [Chinese] goods and services, which means more hiring [in China], lower unemployment [in China], and [higher resource consumption]."

Yeah, "Sister Sledge", anything other than Mick's absurd hyperbole is "soporific". Right. When you learn the difference between Nazi concentration camps and Walmart, wake me up.


If you have a difference of opinion, "Sister Sledge", don't post it as an "editorial correction" (meaning, you pretend to quote someone else while altering the content of the quotes).

Generalized, increased domestic demand for the goods and services of U.S. businesses means more hiring in the U.S., lower unemployment in the U.S., and lower social costs in the U.S.

As for higher resource consumption, perhaps you can supply a realistic plan for the short-term increase of employment and income levels, within the existing system, that does not involve increased resource consumption?

Please stop posting your defective nonsense under ever-multiplying aliases to conceal the true source.

"increased domestic demand for the goods and services of U.S. businesses"

e.g. WalMart (i.e. China)

Absurd.

"Appeasement! Appeasement, I say!"

Walmart is not the only company operating in the United States. Even if it were, more domestic demand would mean more hiring (by Walmart) and higher employment, less unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and food stamp payments in the United States. Walmart, like other businesses here, has to hire U.S. residents to run and operate its stores, U.S. residents to staff its pharmacies, U.S. residents to deliver its orders and stock its warehouses, and so forth; all of this independent of whether, and how much, of its stock is manufactured domestically or in foreign countries.

None of which is to argue that outsourcing manufacturing is a good idea for the American economy. It isn't. Again, I'll ask you to stop trying to confuse matters.

"A nag I, la soil yuk sorting potty
eco futons arm test."

Again, I'll ask you to stop trying to confuse matters.

"Appeasement! Appeasement, I say!"

Hey! You shouldn't insult Mick. He's right, ya know. :)

Furies Lie Limp, please stop posting your defective nonsense under a consistent alias. It's the Internet, after all. Be playful.

I've got an opinion somewhat less apocalyptic than Mick's but close enough to put us on the same watch list. I know I've mentioned this before but I don't see how all this vitriol and hate just disappear. The scandal that is Rush Limbaugh is revealing a breathtaking degree of moral absolutism in our culture. This is evenutally going to express itself in violence since the insanity has no other means of clearing itself. Dehumanizing other people requires moral certitude. You don't kill other people unless you think God is talking through you. Or, that you yourself are God (perhaps, El Rushbo Himself).

The witch's brew of incendiary rhetoric has fully addicted tens of millions with a secular form of End Times hysteria. These people will not shake this off. There will be blood.

I agree with Soleri, which is why I keep writing these "Tell me how this ends" columns. Things can't continue as they are indefinitely.

Soleri,
The only reason Republican Party public figures scolded Limbaugh was due to their concern of losing female voters in the upcoming election. Had Limbaugh's latest character assassination been directed against a person representing a class of voters not in play for Republicans there would be no outcry.

The behavior of the right wing media pundits has served to mold younger Republicans and those under 45 don't even understand the concept of civility.

The right wing media pundits are far worse than their opposition pundits.

"[...] their concern of losing female voters in the upcoming election"

...and, one might hope, the vote of any male voter whose heart is in the right place.

"Tell me how this ends"

Eternal peace.

"Eternal peace."

Nay! Neck and neck, in a photo finish!

Folks: this "Republican demise" discussion sure turned into a cafeteria of ideas,verdad?!

One is Emil's comment on Wal*Mart, where he sort of slides over the fact that they hire lotsa minimum wage/no benefits people, thus creating added burdens on our economy. The bigger they get, the greater the burdens. Plus, their predatory tactics with suppliers tend to squeeze much of the profit out of most relationships. And their corporate IQ is pretty low, in synch with the dumbing down of America . . resembling the dinosaur whose body grew as his head stayed tiny.

So to tie this back into the original subject, it is likely that too many of WMT's employees and customers vote Republican . .against their own best interests. Their loyalty defies logic and probably continues to give the Southern vote to the conservatives.

Folks, if ya haven't seen it:

"Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" (2005)

http://www.amazon.com/Wal-Mart-High-Cost-Low-Price/dp/B000BTH4K4

Also,

http://makingchangeatwalmart.org/

I don't think this will be the last hurrah for the GOP. It is definitively on the downhill, but barring universal enlightenment it will be a long ride to the bottom. I don't see the GOP compromising on its supposed twisted values in the future or attracting any voters that are not white fringers.

I am increasingly of the opinion that the GOP's only moment was the Civil War under the leadership of Lincoln. Since then it has strayed from free labor and cozied up to money (corporations and the rich). On the flip side of the coin, the GOP and Lincoln should have rid us of the Democratic Party. It has been an embarassment ever since thru Jim Crow, the Civil Rights movement and now financial inequality. Its existance has drowned the emergence of genuinely progressive movements as has the GOP (TR, Ike & FDR being the exceptions to this rule).

Good historical stuff, eclec.

Better men than me have tried to drain the swamp that is DC. The swamp stays and the creatures that inhabit it get slimier and slimier.

Soleri, U got that nailed.
“Moral Absolutism in our culture. This is eventually going to express itself in violence since the insanity has no other means of clearing itself. Dehumanizing other people requires moral certitude. You don't kill other people unless you think God is talking through you. Or, that you yourself are God (perhaps, El Rushbo Himself). The witch's brew of incendiary rhetoric has fully addicted tens of millions with a secular form of End Times hysteria. These people will not shake this off. There will be blood.”

No Country for Old Men. Not true, Old Men are driving this dehumanizing crap. And they have gathered an Army of younger folks that are back from killing. And these old men are the guys that supply the guns. It will pit brother against brother. Not all these old men are “Anglos”. I know a lot that are “Hispanic” and a few that are “Black.” Interesting that many of these men I know are Catholic.

Only women can now save the day. Why women? Because they are the leaf-cutter ants!

I'll disagree with both AzRebel and eclecticdog here. Progressivism occurs when there's a middle class strong enough to battle entrenched corporate interests. Liberalism occurs when organized labor is as strong politically as corporate interests. What hamstrings us as a nation is that the middle class is beleaguered and shrinking while organized labor is just a shadow of its former self. When scarcity becomes the dominant reality, selfishness is its primary expression.

The Democrats have no other choice but to troll in those places where the loot is. Say, Wall Street and K Street. Ideologically, they're still wedded to the idea of a pluralistic democracy with strong counterweights to oligarchy. But this doesn't translate to the functional plane of political practice. It can't since concentrated wealthy insists on its own narrow interests. The mind fuck of modern conservatism tells us that government can only waste our money, which means we should let the oligarchy steal it instead.

If you want to drain the swamp that is DC, scream, shout, and plead for rigorous campaign finance reform (including the abrogation of the vile Citzens United decision). But don't think for an instant that they'll roll over for you. If you are aware to any degree, you are the enemy. You will be vilified and marginalized. Party labels here are less important than the protection of concentrated wealth. At all costs. Even that of the nation itself.

"Party labels here are less important than the protection of concentrated wealth."

Right Soleri, fits my old 5000 bankers theory.

So do U think rB>C will help?

Actually, "morecleanair", I didn't "slide over" anything involving Walmart. I made a much broader point, which is that decreased consumer debt leads to increased consumer demand, which means more hiring by domestic companies, whether Walmart or anyone else.

My suggestion was, if anyone is going to take a "haircut", let it be the rich lenders, instead of the consumers: if the latter walk-away from debt, they have more money to spend and less need to save, and they will spend it on goods and services (i.e., consumption) as opposed to rich lenders, who will take debt repayment and put it into stocks or bonds or government securities, not the productive economy.

One of the Conservative Trolls here then saw fit to attempt to misinterpret my remark into a defense of Walmart, which you echo, whether foolishly and innocently, or otherwise. So, stop being a patsy, or stop being a co-conspirator: take your pick.

Just as someone needs to take away Colbie Caillat's rhyming dictionary, someone needs to take away access to online anagramming software from "Sister Sledge" (the alias of a Rogue Columnist commenter, not to be confused with the musical group of the same name).

Meanwhile, let's contemplate this from Our Host:

"I agree with Soleri, which is why I keep writing these 'Tell me how things end' columns. Things can't continue as they are indefinitely."

Why can't they? Isn't that exactly what they've "always" done? And "indefinitely" is, well, indefinite, isn't it? So again, I don't see much in the way of rigorous mathematica limit points involved in this discussion. I'll be glad if a sea-change occurs in 2012 (well, provided it's my kind of sea-change), but I'm not holding my breath based on an old Mayan Calender or a Yanni album or anything like that.

Rush Limbaugh is exactly as contrite as his management (responding in turn to the program's advertisers) demands. Limbaugh made the mistake of picking a paleo-conservative position involving -- of all things -- contraception, to complain about, instead of defending fiscal conservatism (the true class interests of the wealthy). Now he looks like the fat, pill-popping old fogey that he is, and that just doesn't help the Overclass that underwrites him one little bit.

P.S. As long as we're indulging in blather here, when I logged into Yahoo I saw a "news story" about Taylor Swift in a bikini. She looks like she was just liberated from Bergen-Belsen. Eat a hamburger, dearie. (If Rush had confined himself to this sort of abuse, he'd be on the right side of political correctness, and wouldn't need to be apologizing.)

The only thing that will change the Citizens United decision, anytime soon, is an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which explicitly denies political rights to corporations (which, after all, are merely an organizational formality which allows shareholders to escape personal financial and criminal responsibility for the acts of the businesses they own, while qualifying them for certain tax breaks). Those who wait around for the U.S. Supreme Court to change membership and favorably revisit the issue, will be waiting for a very long time.

So get cracking, you chaps.

P.S. That should read "mathematica(l) limit points."

Also, one of Arizona's legislators, a female one, has recently introduced a bill that would require advertisers to explicitly note whenever "before and after" photos have undergone digital editing or other photoshopping, or perhaps even lighting changes, makeup changes, etc..

I think this is great FOR THE GENERAL CONSUMER but unfortunately the "debate" (such as it is, for a bill which -- so far as I know -- hasn't even been reported out of committee) revolves around "feminism" instead of consumer rights.

Someone please tell me why advertisers should be able to deceive potential customers with falsified, incomparable photos? Even the most enthusiastic "free market" defender ought to be against fraud and deceptions, and to regard the regulation of accurate product advertising as a legitimate role of government.

Talton's "Blooming Rock" interview on the future of Phoenix looks pretty good. Check out the current Front Page links.

Why can't they? Isn't that exactly what they've "always" done?

Well, no. Things do change, sometimes dramatically. You can't always make a positivist argument one way or the other here because the data points are too numerous for collation. I think one of the reason this blog exists (alongside others like Clusterfuck Nation) is to talk outside the blinders of conventional wisdom. James Kunstler has been spectacularly wrong about quite a few things. But he was warning about the financial meltdown a couple of years before it happened. You earn a tremendous amount of respect when you call a game changer like that. Likewise, Talton nailed Arizona's looming real-estate debacle five years before it finally happened. Arizona's history was simply "more of the same" until it wasn't. The exact date is less important than the trendline itself, which some see but many more deny.

Talton and Kunstler deserve the respect they get because elite opinion is often not only wrong but unapologietically so. You can read Tom Friedman or David Brooks and get the A list's version of reality. In Arizona, Grady Gammage, Elliott Pollack, and Bob Robb serve a similar function. It would be hilarious if it wasn't so tragic in its pigheadedness.

"Things can't continue as they are indefinitely." - Rogue

"Why can't they?" - Emil

Correct-0-mundo Emil. They can and they will.

In human terms it will seem indefinite, but it historical terms it will last as long as, well, as long as the last Empires on this earth lasted.

I always get a kick when I hear people say things like:

America, the greatest experiment in the history of mankind.

America, the greatest world power in the history of the world.

Actually, no, it's just the "latest" experiment that is headed south and it will take the same amount of time to unravel as the last empires, anywhere from 100 years to 200 years, then poof. Time for a new experiment.

Emil: your area of expertise may be macroeconomics. Mine is retailing. I know firsthand the malignant carnage WMT has created. So I question your using them as an example of how things may improve in this economy. Try TGT; they have a soul and a balanced strategy that's not based on commoditizing everything they touch.

Emil, a logical statement.
“Even the most enthusiastic "free market" defender ought to be against fraud and deceptions, and to regard the regulation of accurate product advertising as a legitimate role of government.”
But my experience is there are a great number of “free market” entrepreneurs out there that believe fraud and deception is the way. And these same folks are strongly opposed to any governmental regulation or investigations. The old saw is, “Buyer Beware. Good example is the US Company’s currently conducting dangerous pharmaceutical testing (for piddling pay) in places like Shantytown India.

I think Arizona fits the fraud and deception, is OK profile. And most those good old boys selling you soap, pots and pans and fire crackers certainly are most opposed to any kind of regulation. The only time they get any heat is when they don’t send in their 10 percent.

It could become an incredible end run by the GOP, but it would work.

Their plan: Let this horrible GOP primary race run it's course. Have the whole country very discouraged that their choice will be between Obama or one of the current losers. Then....

At the convention, bring in a fresh horse,(Jeb, Sarah, etc.)

The majority will jump at the chance for someone fresh.

Could be in the works.

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