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America today

Written By: - Date published: 1:01 pm, December 21st, 2014 - 115 comments
Categories: activism, us politics - Tags: , , , ,

Black Lives Matter vs America:


115 comments on “America today ”

  1. kenny 1

    You are kidding, right?



    • Rosie 1.1

      No kidding. Read Naomi Klein’s “No Logo”. Corporates defend their physical space fiercely in the States, against dissenters.

      Was going to quote some lines from the chapter about reclaiming public spaces, but there is a gap on the book shelf where that book should be. Must have lent it out and forgotten to get it back.

      • Paul 1.1.1

        Happened to us when we were collecting petitions for a referendum on Asset Sales.

        • Rosie

          Where was that Paul? I heard that happened in J’ville, Wellington. A friend told me the local daggy mall we have here told them to move on, “No Politics” they said, in regard to collecting signatures for the asset sales referendum.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            Mall owners only ‘rent their space’.

            It is after all private property, you wouldnt agree to ACT or National using your fence to put up billboards without your permission.

  2. joe90 2

    Bill KellerVerified account ‏@billkellerfox9

    Group begins laying down on @mallofamerica floor as police announce over loudspeakers this is an illegal assembly

    Joy Marsh Stephens ‏@AboundingJoy

    Workers leave their store and stand in solidarity. Hands up. Don’t shoot

    Joy Marsh Stephens ‏@AboundingJoy

    Cops tell workers they can’t stand in solidarity. Closes door on them.

  3. Bill 3

    Corporate freedom of cash grabbing expression? Obama, in true ‘man from Del Monte’ fashion, he say…tick

    Individual and collective freedom of expression? Man from Del Monte, he say…whassat?

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Bill That sounds incoherent. I don’t get it. It sounds like a well-managed protest achieving successful consciousness raising. And protesters would no doubt be aware that retail work is one of the important avenues for semi-skilled people and closing the mall for too long by sheer numbers and disrupting people’s ability to move around would result in lost pay to the low income workers.

      So more shorter protests, to follow on and maintain awareness amongst the public, and then what? Can someone bring a Bill forward, get an edict passed on proper procedure for handling contentious issues by police. More black police in the ranks? Different training for the police? Different recruitment approaches for police and judiciary and ensuring that there aren’t clashes of interest.

      We had one in NZ which isn’t surprising with out size. But the judge had to pass judgment on somebody who owed him or who had lent him money or something. Too close, temptation to alter judgment from personal interest should not be allowed.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.1.1

        And protesters would no doubt be aware that retail work is one of the important avenues for semi-skilled people and closing the mall for too long by sheer numbers and disrupting people’s ability to move around would result in lost pay to the low income workers.

        Yes, musn’t disrupt the corporate wage peonage of all those seven buck an hour, zero hour contract workers. The slaves must be allowed to keep rowing the galley for the masters.

        • greywarshark

          Yep CR. Leaves bile in the throat doesn’t it. These working people have nothing else offering under the capitalistic system.

          And worse with the fractured or inadequate hours they may be working, they don’t have blocks of time to do other things that would boost their living conditions. They can’t travel far across town to see friends, or family to assist those near to them and keep their spirits up.

          They may have split shifts or work half way through the night and then halfway through the day. And every breakdown, repair, maintenance to the goods they have must be made good out of their inadequate wages. Sick making.

      • Bill 3.1.2

        Bill That sounds incoherent. I don’t get it.

        So, okay…so you get the ‘Del Monte’ reference? He was the paternalistic white guy whose approval the brown skinned field workers would all hang around waiting for. Now true, in this case, the ‘big man’ in the house is also brown skinned. There’s a descriptive saying for that which I’ll leave aside because I know many ‘standard’ readers get upset at the reference.

        Anyway, when people squeal about the rights of Sony Corporation, as though the corporation actually was a person being denied expression, then the ‘big man’ takes up the cudgel on behalf of said corporation. A matter of national Security, don’t you know!

        However, when another Corporation (Mall of America) threatens citizens with arrest because they have the temerity to, peacefully and communally, express their sentiments over the impunity extended to police officers killing brown skinned people, then the ‘big man’ doesn’t seem to have anything to say.

        Now sure, maybe he forgot he’d heard all about the previous protests and the court case, or maybe he just doesn’t understand all the fuss. Or maybe it’s just that he understands that in the final analysis peoples’ rights must stand obliterated before Corporate imperatives for profit and doing business in an undisturbed fashion…and so he stays silent.

        Hope that clarifies my, admittedly now’t but a condensed rant, a wee bit for you 😉

        • batweka

          Del Monte reference seems pretty obscure.

          • Bill

            There used to be adverts run on TV (they may still be), where pensive, indigenous field workers awaited the judgement of the ‘big white fella’ on the quality of their labours – the impending harvest. (Cos, like, obviously they were just dumb field workers and wouldn’t know a pickable fruit form a ripe fruit from a piece of dog shit and so needed some kinda godlike figure to validate them or their opinions in some way or other.)

            Anyway, in the advert, the by line was “The man from Del Monte – he say yes!” and all the happy smiling brown faces would get down to harvesting those yummy, soon to be tinned, stolen land pineapples or whatever to heighten our supermarket experience.

            You don’t remember those ads? Or is it that you do remember the ads but can’t see the parallels with all this authority shit that’s currently flying around? (Sony, malls of america, cops pinging people ‘every other day’ and facing no consequences, the associated whitehouse announcements that are, for no good reason I can figure, afforded weight and gravitas… )

        • greywarshark

          @ Bill
          Thanks. It occurs to me that corporates have been given a legal standing equal to people. So when the people want to rally in the people’s square in the mall why are the corporate people not indulgent? Rhetorical/

          I wasn’t up on Del Monte. My ignorance so thanks for explaining.

          I think one of the concerns in the Occupy movement was that public areas have been sold to corporates so limiting the ability of people to mass even if it is still legal. This would be a good example of the reasons for that and other protest on so many levels.

          • ghostwhowalksnz

            You are on the wrong track here. A shopping mall is not public space, its is entirely private property , including the car park.

            What is a problem is they try to prevent rival developments opening nearby

          • AmaKiwi

            ” It occurs to me that corporates have been given a legal standing equal to people.”

            There was a great protest sign: “I’ll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one.”

  4. adam 4

    About time – if the corporations invade public space – what do they expect?

  5. Pat O'Dea 6

    At Christmas time let us stand together with America whose closest held religious feelings have been injured.

    Desecration of one of America’s sacred cathedrals to Consumerism. and at Christmas time, Consumerism’s most holy festival of the year, disrupting the holy sacrement of shopping almost at its crescendo. That these protesters did it out of concern at the ill treatment of their fellow human beings is no excuse, only vigorous policing, including arrests must be dealt out to the blasphemers.

    Let the message be broadcast out, from on high for all to see it. And be awed at it’s majesty.

    Pack the jails with crowds of folly

    Falala, la, la, la.

    Clouds of teargas bean bag volley

    Falala, la, la, la

    Clad police in combat apparal

    Falala, la, la, la

    • tracey 6.1


      • Pat O'Dea 6.1.1

        As the riot police don full body armour to deal righteous violence to the defilers of the sacred space at the heart of the Mall Of America.

        It may be time to ask if these temples to consumerism deserves such extraordinary policing of a peaceful crowd doing no damage other than lying down or raising their hands in sign of surrender?

        So does consumerism fulfil the claims of its high apostles the mall owners and advertising companies?

        Does shopping spread joy, give hope, create a feelling of fellowship among its many congregations that throng together at the malls every Friday through Sunday that deserves to be protected from disruption with violent repression and forcible arrest by the state?

        Is shopping the opiate of the people?

        Is shopping a religion?

        Do the malls deliver the feelings of fulfillment that it’s high priests claim for it, and that usual religions deliver, and that all the hype and the brightly coloured images of smiling consumers plastered on every available vertical surface, like backlit stain glass window of the saints, try to convince us that it does.

        Maybe the religion of consumerism and shopping of which the malls are its highest expression, is best summed up by the correct translation from the German, of Karl Marx oft misquoted saying about religion.

        “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people”
        KARL MARX

        “Heart of a heartless world”,” The soul of souless conditions” sounds like the perfect place to protest social injustice.

        Shoppers beware: a materialist ethos is more misery-inducing than we thought

  6. Watched the remake of Robocop last night. The stylistic similarities are a little scary.

    • millsy 7.1

      I havent seen the remake, but I felt that the 1987 version was prophetic.

      • Colonial Rawshark 7.1.1

        Wait until you rewatch T1 and T2. And the world is being brought to the brink of nuclear destruction yet again.

  7. Paul 8

    From Wikipedia.
    ‘The mall’s private security personnel were featured in 2010 TLC series Mall Cops: Mall of America.
    In 2011, NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition and PBS’s Newshour both aired programs documenting security abuses by the Mall’s security personnel.
    At the mall people have been questioned or detained for operating video cameras, using notebooks, or other perceived suspicious behavior.
    Michael Rozin, the former manager of the mall’s behavior detection unit instructs its members that “suspicious behavior” constitutes “photographing such things as air-conditioning ducts or signs that a shopper might have something to hide”.
    Commander Jim Ryan of the Bloomington Police Department commented that the mall’s security methods may “infringe on some freedoms, unfortunately.”‘

  8. Colonial Rawshark 9

    Mass retail in the USA is dying a death.

    Zero Hedge characterises how holiday sales this year crashed.


    A lot of US malls today are basically becoming abandoned car parks.


    • Paul 9.1

      Good. Malls destroy communities.
      Let’s hope for the return of the High Street.

    • nadis 9.2

      And yet………



      Remember: zerohedge = convicted bulgarian inside trader. He has a very bearish agenda. I started reading it in about 2010/2011 and he was mega bearish then. He’s been wrong all the way up since then.

      If you like, I can link to dozens of sensationalist crap from “Tyler Durden”. He is so wrong so often it is funny. Here is one of my favourites:


      but actually:


      • Colonial Rawshark 9.2.1

        Retail sales are going up at a far higher than average rate? According to those fake goal seeked numbers?

        LOL all is well then!!! Let’s see how strong US retail really is shall we?

        Walmart profit warns after sales decline 7 quarters in a row


        But maybe you are talking about this kind of retail, nadis?

        Porsche sales jump 21% leading luxury car sales boom


        Remember: zerohedge = convicted bulgarian inside trader. He has a very bearish agenda. I started reading it in about 2010/2011 and he was mega bearish then. He’s been wrong all the way up since then.

        Oh yes, because the US and global economy has been going so well! (And to be honest I guess it has for the 0.1% who make their money off the financial markets gaming) Re: your call on the “convicted bulgarian insider trader.” Firstly ZH has many many different contributors. And the only thing wrong with him from your industry’s point of view is that he got caught.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Luxury car sales outpace overall market

          More good news for retail! Hooorah!


        • nadis

          So the official Census bureau retail sales figures are faked? Can you cite some evidence? Are you claiming the rank and file staff there are corrupt?

          And be wary of extrapolation….. You seem to love taking a few anecdotes or a small sample and making a wide ranging, sweeping generalisation from it. Retail sales figures faked? Love to see some evidence for that…… And just so you know, luxury goods sales in the US aren’t big enough to make any real difference to the gross retail sales numbers.

          If you read the zero hedge story closely he’s talking about 2 days sales figures from half of thanksgiving.

          While there may be many authors (who really knows), Daniel Ivandjiiski is widely understood to own the website. And in zero hedges own words:

          “So how do we plan to handle conflicts? We don’t. You should assume that at all times we are so totally just talking our book it would shock and awe you like the unexpected, early-morning arrival of a cluster of BGM-109C Tomahawks (were you a believer in the importance of “optics” that is).”

          “The reality is, critical readers should read analytic posts and the rest of Zero Hedge with the blanket assumption that the author is totally ‘conflicted.’ (Phrased more logically, that the author stands to benefit from being right- imagine that).”

          I’m all for understanding and adjusting for biases, but man you should really take a look at your incredible dismissal of of anything about the US, which is remarkable given your obvious lack of understanding about the country. What did they ever do to you?

          Mind you, one ZH story that might be true is this one…….

          http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-18/russia-has-begun-selling-its-gold-according-socgen thats more than 10% of their gold holdings – so much for a gold backed ruble (another zerohedge sccop………)

          • Colonial Rawshark

            So what is your comment on Walmart suffering 7 straight quarters of sales declines while brand new Porsche sales are heading towards record highs?

            Does that signal a two track economy to you? The USA 1% doing bloody well and everybody else getting reamed?

            • nadis

              No not really….. you’re struggling with small sample bias again. Walmart has been losing market share for years. Check out Costco sales (or any number of other large retailers) – Costco up 7% year on year. And online, Amazon up 38%, online as a whole up 15% yoy.

              And you know how many cars porsche sell? 35,000 ish. At an average price of 100k, thats $3.5 billion. Total retail sales, round off to (say) 4.8 trillion. Porsche sales account for 0.07% of annual retail sales. So a 20% increase in Porsche sales moves overall retail sales by less than 0.02%. Still think Porsche sales are driving the growth in retail sales?

              Geez your arguments are easy to debunk.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                “Easy to debunk”? For a ‘pretend and extend’ corporate cheerleader you really are ill informed.

                Jan 2014 CNBC: “Tsunami” of chain store closures expected over next few years, up to 50% (!!!) of retail space to shutter


                Mar 2014 USA Today: Macys, Radioshack, Sears, Staples all closing multiple stores, no end of store closures in sight


                Oct 2014: USA Today: at least 12 Russell 3000 retail chains have fewer stores compared to 2 years ago with more closures expected


                Yes man, according to you and your fabricated statistics, retail life is good LOL. Apart from all the redundancies and abandoned and shut down premises that is.

                • nadis

                  You’re extrapolating again. For every loser I’ll show you a winner. And I’m not sure I am a cheerleader, just trying to be factual. I certainly would show bad news if I could see it – if we talked about auto loans for instance, I could show you some pretty bad practice. But the US economy is generally on the mend.

                  Still waiting for you to provide evidence that the Census bureau fabricates statistics. You are quick to claim it, very slow to provide evidence……. Still that’s the beauty of blogs – you can make up outrageous shit and not have to prove anything and continue believing you’re a razor sharp, fact based destroyer of BS. Good on ya.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    You’re extrapolating again. For every loser I’ll show you a winner.

                    Of course I’m extrapolating. Because I use information to gain knowledge.

                    Show me the winners then. You say you can. Show me the MSM reporting on big new shopping malls being built. Show me the new retail chains expanding. Show me the big restaurant outlets reporting improving restaurant by restaurant sales to match your pretend improving US economy. Show me the mainstream car dealers reporting sales are up and days inventories are down because the middle class suddenly have more money to spend and are more credit worthy.

                    I’m waiting. Please hurry. Or you’re full of shit.

                    Still waiting for you to provide evidence that the Census bureau fabricates statistics. You are quick to claim it, very slow to provide evidence…….

                    Don’t be a dick, I’m not the US Department of Justice or the New York Times.

                    I’m fascinated that as a bankster you pretend to not understand the concept of goal seeking statistics and manipulating/hiding data.

                    • Lanthanide

                      Viper, just because bricks and mortar retail sales are slowing, doesn’t mean the economy as a whole is slowing. nadis already said that online sales overall are up by 15% – where do you think that growth has been coming from?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Online and from the top end of the retail/boutique/luxury end of the market, I guess.

                      Maybe the money is still going through somewhere, but it doesn’t change a very important dynamic: thousands of stores shutting down leaving both employment and communities devastated.

                      Viper, just because bricks and mortar retail sales are slowing, doesn’t mean the economy as a whole is slowing

                      Don’t talk about “the economy” as a monolith any more. Talk about what is happening to the bottom 80% of people in it. In NZ they would be all the people on less than $65K pa, approx.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            This is how broken the “independent” (lol) central banking system has become – NIRP is replacing ZIRP world wide. Now it’s going to cost you money to put deposits in a bank (in many cases it effectively does anyway with account fees etc.)

            This is a policy which benefits bankster speculators (which Nadis represents) while destroying savers and pensioners who rely on savings account interest to live.



            • nadis

              No I disagree with that policy entirely, but I acknowledge that QE has worked better than the alternatives, which would have been an even bigger deflationary shock as institutions hoarded capital. Still not sure how to reverse out of QE though. I also think the bailout of banks was a disgrace. I also think regulation – here and in the US – is skewed way, way too much in favour of large financial institutions.

              I just acknowledge what I see as the truth, and dismissing hard data points that don’t fit with your world is dishonest. Still waiting for a citation showing how the Census Bureau corruptly fiddles data releases……….?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                When I look at how the BLS has manipulated labor statistics over the last 3 decades I’m pretty confident those same types practices are endemic across other US govt depts. But I have no “proof” as such. I’m not the DoJ. I can’t subpoena the Census Bureau to deliver to my door step anything which would resemble “proof.”

                You know this of course.

                By the way, I’m not saying that these are ‘corrupt practices’ as you term it. I am saying that it is goal seeking or manipulative. For instance, the redefinition of who is counted as unemployed to minimise unemployment numbers is done right in the open. Albeit usually buried in an appendix in small font.

                Re: QE – politically the power elite wanted that new cheap money going to them, instead of into fiscal stimulus to rebuild US infrastructure (which by most reports could do with $2T to $3T of spending to bring up to scratch).

          • RedLogix


            Without wanting to divert the thread – I had the opportunity to talk last night with two people (RL face to face) who have been in the gold industry several generations at a senior level.

            Their answer fell somewhere between the two positions we took the other night and could be summed up – the industry is stupidly complex and no-one knows for certain what is happening. And if they had to put money on it – they think there is not enough gold to cover all the ETF’s – but again no-one has a clue by how much.

            • nadis

              Sure – the gold market is very opaque and no-one sees everything, I grant you that. But whenever talks about gross market manipulation (not the garden variety fixing stuff) just ask them about futures fungibility. they won’t have an answer.

              As a thought experiment try this. Assume there is a massive shortage of physical gold. Why wouldn’t Russia use its reserves to buy 300 billion dollars worth of gold futures and take them to physical delivery? One of two things will happen:

              1. there will be a massive failure to deliver physical gold. Gold prices sike up to $5000, $10,000 as traders scramble to find gold. Faith in western monetary system shattered. State communism/kleptcracy wins. Russia wins.

              2. Gold is delivered. Price depends on supply/demand.

              If I believed the theories, and I was Russia, I’d give it a crack.

              The physical ETF’s show audited gold holdings (see 864 page list of gold bars for GLD here: http://www.spdrgoldshares.com/usa/gold-bar-list/) with numbered bars, and they have at least halved in size over the last two years and there hasn’t been any obvious stress about releasing the gold. But yeah, the gold market is very secretive which I think is why there are so many crazy rumours around it. You only find out what central banks are doiong a year or two down the track.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Just look at the Chinese situation where warehouse receipts for commodities like copper, which have been used as security for huge loans and other financial instruments, has been found to have been promised to multiple counterparties. Or simply missing altogether. Whoops.

              And you can bet this isn’t a problem isolated to China or a few Chinese based financiers:


              • nadis

                Again, I hate repeating myself. But if it was true for US commodity exchange cleared futures, I know for a fact that profit seeking players would be demanding delivery on a f#ck load of futures contracts. Ipso facto and all that.

                I’d believe anything in China – rule of law ain’t their strongest point. The best advice I ever heard about investing in China was “Easiest place to invest in, hardest place to repatriate a profit from.”

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  The market is behaving as if there is no actual problem, and that proves that there is no actual problem?

                  Uh, sure.

              • ghostwhowalksnz

                You can buy gold plated tungsten bars openly in China

                They would only have one use !

            • nadis

              As of 18 Dec, total gold holdings in all ETF’s was 51.6 million ounces. Thats about 61.9 billion dollars worth. In Jan 2013 total holdings were 84.6 million ounce, with gold at $1700 holdings were worth about 144 billion. So around 1130 tons of gold has been delivered (as numbered bars) out of the ETF’s in just under 2 years. If there really was a shortage, I think the price would have gone up, not down.

              If we are talking about 62 billion dollars of systemic risk – that was about 3 weeks of QE by the US fed.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                If we are talking about 62 billion dollars of systemic risk – that was about 3 weeks of QE by the US fed.

                You didn’t calculate the systemic risk – which would be extremely hard to do as you would have to determine the impact of associated counterparty and derivative risks. You just looked at today’s paper value of the ETFs.

                Same with having a few thousand bad subprime mortgages in Florida and Nevada. It wasn’t the book value of the mortgages which caused the banks to stop trusting each other. It was the uncertainty around the massive securitised assets those loans had been packaged into.

                But of course as a former bankster managing director, you would know that.

                • nadis

                  Well – please explain to me how you can have systemic derivative risk with a physical gold ETF? Who are the counterparties?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    How the hell would I know? If other parties have been treating the ETFs as being as good as gold just lighter and more convenient – which you say they are?

          • adam

            I was not aware that the census bureau did the business states in the USA. I thought it was done by the US department of commerce and their bureau of economic analysis. A department and bureau, both know to produce good results on request. So sorry Nadis not convinced by any of your arguments – it’s also a bit rich to argue that Colonial Viper is not offering facts, when, you’re knee deep in hyperbole.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              nadis coming out and saying that he is a former senior banker is a very interesting, recent, and incredible development.

              • nadis

                Senior is a bit of a stretch. More mid-level. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before on this blog. Its certainly no surprise given most of the things I engage in are economics or market related – I’d say at least 75% or more of my comments.

              • nadis

                Look – once again you are showing yourself to be fact challenged.

                This from September 6 2014:

                “I worked for an investment bank”

                This from 14 January 2012:

                “I worked for investment banks for many years and was at ground zero during many crises, but I believe the ability of banks to socialise losses is a massive rort.”

                Do you want me to search back further? Pretty much every comment of mine on on the search is related to economics.

                Yet another fact based fail CV.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Well, I’m just delighted to have a multimillionaire member of the bankster fraternity with us tonight.

            • nadis

              read the name at the top of this document Adam.

              Point out something I’ve made up or a fact that isnt true. So far CV has done lots of that – the last one is claiming the Retail Sales data in the US is falsified. Link please. Or a retraction.

                • adam

                  I’m not downloading a PDF – now put up a web page.

                  A retraction for what? You keep talking about a government department in The US which does not do the job you say it does. Also they don’t do stats for jobs either – just so you know.

                  • nadis

                    Cmon Adam – time to move off your modem and onto broadband.


                    I know very well who does what in terms of statistics in the US. You were saying?


                    (the retraction call was to CV – sorry to confuse)

                    • nadis

                      Adam…….. waiting, waiting……..

                    • nadis

                      Adam – are you there? Hello? Hello?

                    • adam

                      A pop up to a downloading pdf – is uncivil. Seriously it is just rude. And I note your link now is significantly different from the PDF one.

                      Two – yes many web pages publish data – what I was said is, who compiles the data – is not the census bureau.

                    • nadis

                      Are you deliberately being a bellend?

                      ” I note your link now is significantly different from the PDF one.”

                      The pdf link is on the exact page link I subsequently posted – seriously you’re just being stupid now. How about reading the link I sent you rather than ignoring the plain facts just because they conflict with your embedded ignorance. To make life easy for you:

                      From the Census Bureau “What we do” page:

                      “Economic Indicators
                      The Census Bureau releases fourteen different reports on key economic indicators. Each indicator is released on a specific schedule.”

                      List of economic indicators compiled by the Census Bureau:


                      Please, I’m trying to help you here, but your ignorance is showing.

                    • adam

                      Really, personal insults – What a pleasant person to argue with you are. Your arguments look weaker by the moment.

                      You have just confirmed to me you are a rude, impolite individual who is fixated with the desire to be right.

                      Please feel free to offer up more insults – as that seems how you do rhetoric.

                      The point of this post was the right to protest in a mall, and good on those individuals who did so. I see what you have written and your style of writing is trollish. As such, I don’t think I’ll bother anymore with such a hubristic individual.

                      As always it’s good see an individual replace, good argument with a debased desire to be right. I never said the department of Census does not publish this research. What I said was that the department mandated with the compiling of this research is another. But then again, you read what you want to read, and would rather throw around personal insults – good day to you sir, good day.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Very interested in why you suddenly went from being a dumb prick 6 months ago to a smart bankster prick today.

                • nadis

                  Not sure how you define either? Please expand? As I say I have always commented more on financey type topics.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Then give me one example of you commenting in detail on any US financial market or any of the issues at any investment bank from 2012 or 2013.

                    edit – you anticipated my request perfectly. Very well done!

                    • nadis

                      1. See comment above.
                      2. Do a search on the Standard using the key words “nadis” “investment” or “banker” etc
                      3. Withdraw and apologise (I won’t hold my breath. I’m sure you’ll just move the goalposts as per usual practise)

                      OK – just saw your comment – I’ll take your “Well done” as fulfilling #3. But would still like to see a link to “corruption in retail sales data”

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      I apologise. You have indeed commented on financial and banking issues in depth before. I’d always just written you off as being a right wing shill for the 1% and not a very able one either.

                    • nadis

                      Well, that last comment is offensive on many levels.

                      1. I think I know more about market structures, investment banking practices, economics than most commentators on this site, and this dialog and the recent one with RedLogix tend to support that view. I post lots of facts, lots of links, carefully structured arguments and it usually ends up with vague unsupported assertions that I am wrong and then ad hom abuse directed at me. I don’t care, but I think it does illustrate this point.

                      2. You have no idea of my family circumstances or what I do with my time and resources. Feel free to call me a shill, but I think you’d be surprised. And you know very little about my views on social justice, again I think you’d be surprised at what I believe in. Unless ironic, I don’t think you’ll find a single comment from me in the last 3 years where I support a position that infringes on a persons human rights.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      well it seems like my previous perceptions of you were not correct nadis and therefore need to be updated (reason why I used the past tense just previously – i.e. I had…); it is quite likely that I ended up lumping you in with “THEM” (i.e. RWNJs) without any proper justification for doing so.

                    • nadis

                      ok then, truce (once you link to retail sales corruption proof………)

                      But fwiw, I’m often critical of bank behaviour, govt subsidies to corporates, monopolistic industries in NZ, unethical behaviour, erosion of individual rights. Where you might have a problem is that I believe market pricing is the best way to allocate resources, but unfortunately the mechanism is usually so distorted either by government action/inaction, corporate misbehaviour, or lack of externality pricing, it often doesnt work.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      I’m quite fine with market pricing for lots of things; however the more essential something is for basic day to day life and dignity, the less fond I grow of it, and rapidly so.

                      I look at Singapore, much vaunted bastion of free market capitalism. But the Singapore government also recognises housing as a public good, human right, and key to social stability. So up to 80% of new residential property developments in Singapore (basically apartments of one sort or another) is government provided.

                      The retail numbers thing…maybe another night eh.

    • greywarshark 9.3

      Consumerism was going to keep the American dream going but they forgot that people need to have jobs to get money etc. That’s what they taught me at school. You can’t believe what you get taught!

      Tom Lehrer’s version of Christmas spirit – the merchandising spirit.

      Mad magazine selection of carols http://www.madcoversite.com/mad401-carols.html

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.3.1

        When McDonalds and Walmart executives are complaining that customers cannot afford to buy at their outlets, you know that shit is going down.

        Of course to people like nadis, Porsche and Mulberry are doing just fine; there are no problems and the future is bright.

  9. Here’s the Archdruid on recent economic events:

    Since most of the world’s economies run on petroleum products, the steep oil prices of the last few years have taken a hefty bite out of all economic activities. The consequences of that were papered over for a while by frantic central bank activities, but they’ve finally begun to come home to roost in what’s politely called “demand destruction”—in less opaque terms, the process by which those who can no longer afford goods or services stop buying them.

    Energy is so central to a modern economy that when the price of energy goes up, every other sector of the economy ends up taking a hit. The rising price of energy functions, in effect, as a hidden tax on all economic activity outside the energy sector, and sends imbalances cascading through every part of the economy. As a result, other economic sectors cut their expenditures on energy as far as they can, either by conservation measures or by such tried and true processes as shedding jobs, cutting production, or going out of business.

    Now of course a debacle of the Penn Square variety requires at least one other thing, which is a banking industry so fixated on this quarter’s profits that it can lose track of the minor little fact that lending money to people who can’t pay it back isn’t a business strategy with a long shelf life. I hope none of my readers are under the illusion that this is lacking just now. With interest rates stuck around zero and people and institutions that live off their investments frantically hunting for what used to count as a normal rate of return, the same culture of short-term thinking and financial idiocy that ran the global economy into the ground in the 2008 real estate crash remains firmly in place, glued there by the refusal of the Obama administration and its equivalents elsewhere to prosecute even the most egregious cases of fraud and malfeasance.

    At least three economic sectors outside the fossil fuel industry, as I see it, stand to suffer even if all we get is an ordinary downturn. The first, of course, is the financial sector. A vast amount of money was loaned to the fracking industry; another vast amount—I don’t propose to guess how it compares to the first one—was accounted for by issuing junk bonds, and there was also plenty of ingenious financial architecture of the sort common in the housing boom.

    The second sector I expect to take a hit is the renewable energy sector. In the 1980s, as prices of oil and natural gas plunged, they took most of the then-burgeoning solar and wind industries with them.

    The third sector I expect to land hard this time around is the academic sector. Yes, I know, it’s not fashionable to talk of the nation’s colleges and universities as an economic sector, but let’s please be real; in today’s economy, the academic industry functions mostly as a sales office for predatory loans, which are pushed on unwary consumers using deceptive marketing practices. The vast majority of people who are attending US universities these days, after all, will not prosper as a result; in fact, they will never recover financially from the burden of their student loans, since the modest average increase in income that will come to those graduates who actually manage to find jobs will be dwarfed by the monthly debt service they’ll have to pay for decades after graduation.

    • Colonial Rawshark 11.1

      Yep. The last bastions of public science and intellectual pursuit are now being crippled. All that will be left is science and technology for private profit and private power.

      • I think most academics have a strong social conscience but they aren’t the ones getting funding…
        e.g. neoliberal (mainstream) economists and their patently false theories

    • left for deadshark 11.2

      good thinking here,Ropata:Rorschach. 🙂

  10. nadis 12

    Average student loan balance in the US (USD24,000 in 2012)
    Average student loan balance in NZ (NZD19,700)

    Call it 31,000 vs 20,000. Would have thought the difference would be a lot greater.

    • Paul 12.1

      Does that include 1st and 2nd year students…
      Or is it the average after leaving University?

      • nadis 12.1.1

        just total loans divided by total borrowers. I guess what surprised me was average annul tuition at a state univiersity for instate residents is about US$8000 per annum. About the same as here given my kids experiences.

  11. Brian McPerkins 13

    So how many people here commentating on what life is like in America, have actually lived there, or know someone that lives there?

    • Pat O'Dea 13.1

      “So how many people here commentating on what life is like in America, have actually lived there,…”

      Wolfgang Kaleck, the general secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights doesn’t live there.

      Khalid El-Masri a German citizen who got mistakenly caught up in America’s systemic human rights abuse, who was kidnapped and tortured, never lived there. I doubt he has even visited there. El-Masri certainly won’t be considering visiting there now

      This hasn’t stopped them from being able to make evidence based judgements about the sort of society current day America is.

      Germany files human rights charges against the Bush administration

    • RedLogix 13.2

      What I do know from both observation (Americanism being an aggressively exported cultural construct it’s hard to avoid), several visits and working extensively with Americans – it is the most diverse culture on earth.

      Virtually every shade of human value and experience can be found within it’s borders and history. Which makes just about anything anyone says about the place wrong from some perspective.

    • GregJ 13.3

      So how many people here commentating on what life is like in America, have actually lived there, or know someone that lives there?

      Both. I have an Uncle, Aunt & Cousins who live in Colorado, Florida & New York and a very good friend currently living in Michigan. I lived briefly (1 year) in Boston. Like many New Zealanders we have widely spread contacts.

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.4

      The more important question Brian McPerkins, is what % of American federal and state politicians have ever been outside the USA.

      I’m guessing – less than 50%.

      • GregJ 13.4.1

        Yep – 2 weeks Annual Leave doesn’t leave much time for travelling far or in any depth. The figure is inflated by military personnel who’s experience is however somewhat “skewed”. 😈

        Of course the US is really about 7 or 8 different countries wrapped into one!

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Of course the US is really about 7 or 8 different countries wrapped into one!

          And where the American Civil War continues, and the Confederacy is still going all out to destroy the government of the Union.

  12. Pat O'Dea 14

    Playing with fire

    The Reichtstag Firemen

    Then and Now

    In February 1933 Adolf Hitler falsely blamed his political opponents, the communists, for the burning down of the Reicthstag. Adolf Hitler’s cabinet opportunistically used the Reichstag fire as an excuse to issue a decree that placed constraints on the press and authorized the police to ban political meetings and marches. Laying the groundwork for further repression of German citizen’s civil rights, Nobody knew then, where that would end up.

    “….They exploited the Reichstag fire to secure President von Hindenburg’s approval for an emergency decree, the Decree for the Protection of the People and the State of February 28. Popularly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, the regulations suspended the right to assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other constitutional protections, including all restraints on police investigations.”

    In December 2014 a New York police leader falsely blamed his political opponents, the protesters and the Mayor, for the murder of two police officers. This New York police leader opportunistically used the murder of two police officers as an excuse to publicly announce that protests against police violence “must not go on” and “must not be tolerated”, laying the groundwork for further repression of American citizen’s civil rights. Nobody knows now, where that will end up.

    “There is blood on many hands tonight. Those that incited violence on the streets under the guise of protest. That tried to tear down what New York City police officers did everyday.
    We tried to warn, it must not go on, it must not be tolerated…”


    • Are there people you disagree with who aren’t just like the Nazis, or is it a generally-applicable concept?

      • nadis 14.1.1

        Its very simple Milt. US= Bad, Everyone else is much better.

      • Pat O'Dea 14.1.2

        I rarely if ever compare people with nazis, and never if they are not mass murders, and agree this is a bad look. What I am comparing here, are political opportunists who try to use a tragedy for political advantage, and pointing out, it never ends well.

        That Pat Lynch is using the deaths of two of his officers who were not killed by protesters or anywhere near the protests to say the protests “must not go on” is political opportunism of the worst kind.

        • nadis

          so by your own explanation, Pat Lynch is a mass murderer?

          • RedLogix

            That’s called ‘putting words in another persons mouth’ nadis. It’s poor form at best.

          • Pat O'Dea


            Did you actually read what I said?
            Pat Lynch is not a nazi because he is not a mass murderer. Stop trying to twist it around.
            What I wrote is that Pat Lynch is a Right Wing political opportunist.

            While it may be argued that I have strayed somewhat over the margins of Godwin’s Law, for which I apologise to Pat Lynch, (I fully understand that you are not a mass murderer, or a nazi), I have done this to try and point out to Pat Lynch and his supporters, the dangers, first of wanting to suppress protest, and secondly, the history of opportunisically exploiting a tragedy to try and achieve that result.

  13. nadis 15

    That’s why i framed it as a question. Pat O’Dea is the guy who compared Pat Lynch to a nazi, and then said he only makes that comparison if the comparator is a mass murderer.

    Not a biggie, but very easy to make bold statements and then ignore the implications.

    • RedLogix 15.1

      That is not what he said.

    • Pat O'Dea 15.2


      I think it is you who are trying to ignore the implications.

      I will try to think of another analogy to explain it to you.

      • Pat O'Dea 15.2.1

        The opportunist exploitation of the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, which was carried out by Saudi and Jordanian nationals. But was used by those who wanted invade Iraq to whip up public hysteria to enable them to do it. (When Iraq had zero to do with 9/11,)

        just as the German Communist Party had nothing to do with the Reichstag fire,

        See the pattern here nadis?

  14. Pat O'Dea 16

    New York Police who turned out in large numbers, purportedly to show respect for the two slain police officers, instead used the occassion to stage a concerted protest action, and politicised the funeral of the two police officers, by turning their backs on the Mayor.


    The question must be asked who are the police serving, the people represented by their democratically elected representative, or political demagog Pat Lynch?

    Can the people trust a paramilitary force that publicly displays disrespect for democracry?

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