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marmar's Journal
marmar's Journal
March 29, 2020

How Capitalism Kills During a Pandemic

(Jacobin) Critics of socialism often point to the mass deaths that occurred under dictators like Stalin and Mao. Such deaths were abhorrent, of course. But one problem with this line of attack is that it selectively ignores the numerous examples of mass deaths that occurred under brutal capitalist regimes, while also overlooking the everyday deaths that are a matter of course under capitalism, caused by grinding and utterly unnecessary poverty.

Both of these realities are or soon will be confronting us under the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. The virus will likely kill millions of people in the United States alone. Many of these fatalities could have been avoided if we had a social order that placed the needs of people over profit. Make no mistake: we’re facing a pandemic that could produce one of the worst mass deaths in human history, and capitalism will be responsible for many of them.

Profit Over People

To explain why, we should first go over some basics about capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system in which a small number of people (capitalists) own the vast majority of material resources (land, buildings, factories) necessary to produce useful things. Other people, the working class — the vast majority of us — own very little or no such resources.

Members of the working class must sell their labor to capitalists for a wage in order to survive (or they must depend on the financial support of someone else who works for a wage). The capitalist then sells the products made by the worker on the market, hoping to fetch a price over and above the cost of materials and what they paid the worker who made the goods. The difference between a good’s cost of production and the price the good sells for is what the capitalist keeps as profit (and can do with whatever the hell they feel like: buy a yacht, build a fourteenth bathroom in their mansion — whatever their heart desires).

Usually, capitalists compete with one another to sell similar goods. That competition forces each capitalist to keep their prices as low as possible. But, in order to continue making a profit, capitalists need to keep costs low as well. .......(more)


March 27, 2020

Race War advocates seek to exploit coronavirus crisis

The suspected white supremacist who plotted to bomb a hospital facing the coronavirus crisis was in touch with a then-active U.S. Army soldier who wanted to launch his own attack on a major American news network and discussed targeting a Democratic presidential candidate, according to an FBI alert summarizing the case.

On Tuesday, as 36-year-old Timothy Wilson was on the verge of trying to detonate a car bomb at a Kansas City-area medical center, agents from the FBI’s field office in Missouri attempted to arrest him. But shots were fired, fatally wounding Wilson, according to the FBI. .......(more)


March 24, 2020

The mayor of shark city is at it again this morning

President Donald Trump is ready to end the social-distancing and thinks it’s time to go back to normal. The problem is that people are still contracting the coronavirus. Indeed, epidemiologists suggest that this may be one of the worst weeks Americans have seen yet.

“Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!” he tweeted. .............. (more)


March 23, 2020

Mehdi Hasan: It's Time to Use the 25th Amendment


It’s time. We can’t wait any longer. You need to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

You know what it says: “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

The truth of the matter is that President Trump does not have the mental capability to “discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Amid an unprecedented political, economic, and public health crisis, the commander-in-chief is unwell — and unfit.

You know this. On Friday, you were standing next to the president in the White House briefing room when NBC correspondent Peter Alexander asked him what he had to say to Americans who “are scared right now” because of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump responded with inexplicable rage, denouncing Alexander as a “terrible reporter” for asking a “nasty” question, and then mocking the owners of NBC — telecom giant Comcast — as “Con-cast.” ......(more)


March 22, 2020

This Is Not a Recession. It's an Ice Age.

(The Atlantic) We can’t say we’re in a recession yet, at least not formally. A committee decides these things—no, really. The government generally adopts the view that a contraction is not a recession unless economic activity has declined over two quarters. But we’re in a recession and everyone knows it. And what we’re experiencing is so much more than that: a black swan, a financial war, a plague. Maybe things feel normal where you are. Maybe things do not feel normal. Things are not normal. For weeks or months, we won’t know how much GDP has slowed down and how many people have been forced out of work. Government statistics take a while to generate. They look backwards, the latest numbers still depicting a hot economy near full employment. To quantify the present reality, we have to rely on anecdotes from businesses, surveys of workers, shreds of private data, and a few state numbers. They show an economy not in a downturn or a contraction or a soft patch, not experiencing losses or selling off or correcting. They show evaporation, disappearance on what feels like a religious scale. ....... (more)


March 21, 2020

'A weak man with delusions of competence'

In a brutally blunt piece for the New York Times, columnist Jennifer Senior went scorched earth on Donald Trump for his lie-filled performances in the now daily press briefings on the coronavirus pandemic — suggesting the media call them what they are: presidential “propaganda.”

Following a day when the combative Trump attacked NBC reporter Peter Alexander for merely asking what he could say to the public that is living in fear of the pandemic, Senior said enough is enough. ......(more)


March 21, 2020

The upcoming job losses will be unlike anything the US has ever seen

(CNBC) When the damage the coronavirus inflicts on the U.S. jobs market becomes clearer, it could be unlike anything the country has ever seen.

Judging by numerous forecasts from economists, the avalanche of furloughs will easily break the record for most in a single month.

Upcoming weekly jobless claims will shatter the standards set even during the worst points of the financial crisis and the early-1980s recession, with Bank of America forecasting a total of 3 million when the number is released Thursday. Those figures are expected to be so bad, in fact, that the Trump administration, according to several media reports, has asked state officials to delay releasing precise counts. ........(more)


March 19, 2020

Dean Baker: Any corporate bailouts should wipe out shareholders first

(MarketWatch) It looks like we are seeing an effort to do a replay of 2008 where we were told that we had to give all the money to the banks or the world would end. Today the story is that we have to bail out the airline, cruise, hotel, and restaurant industries or tens of millions of workers will lose their jobs. Well, the disaster threats were not true in 2008 and they deserve even less credence today.

The story in 2008 was that all our major banks had effectively made themselves insolvent through their own greed and bad judgment. They had made hundreds of billions of dollars worth of mortgage and mortgage-related loans that suddenly went bad when the housing bubble burst.

If we let the market work its magic, they would have all gone bankrupt. ........(more)


March 17, 2020

Now Cheetolini is picking a fight with Michigan's governor....

.... because states are taking the initiative as his administration fiddles. Time to put him in a corner and ignore him like you would a screaming brat.


(Raw Story) President Donald Trump on Tuesday continued lashing out at governors even as criticism mounts of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

One day after getting into a Twitter feud with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Trump targeted Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer with an angry tweet. ...... (more)


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Hometown: Detroit, MI
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