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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Can't say it doesn't hurt...

I don't blog for money, so stats usually don't matter. But it does kind of hurt when I spend three days on an important story and the daily readership goes way down. As usual, the stats will shoot up again as a result of some piffle-post scribbled out in fewer than twenty minutes.

After seven years, you'd thing this blogging thing would start to make sense.

As noted below, FOX Business News has been pushing pump-and-dump stock fraudsters. That's not a story...?

To me, it's interesting to note that:

1. Obama's SEC is doing nothing, nothing, nothing about the newsletter-based pump-and-dumpers.

2. These guys have gained the trust of the masses not by having economics degrees or a proven corporate background but by spreading fear stories about imminent apocalypse -- a fact which tells us much about American psychology.

3. The pumpers seem to be sincere in their love for the great Cigarette Hag Queen of the Libertarians. Which proves that the dividing line between objectivism and sociopathology is pretty thin -- perhaps non-existent.

4. FOX is perfectly willing to make these shady operations (the N.I.A., the Heartland Institute) look legit.
Joe, Libertarians do not idolize Ayn Rand. She denounced libertariansm and the LP. Objectivists are interventionist and almost always pro-Zionist. Libertarians are non-interventionist and usually very critical of the Lobby.
Had to take a break from the political news for a while.

It is an obsession...and...well I don't have to tell you.

Sometimes you have to step back due to the weight of it all or because you've been neglecting other things.

That said, there is no one like you. I appreciate your voice and those all those tasty tidbits of info you offer. I thought I knew lots of weird and obscure've got me beat.

Thanks for all you do.

Ken, Ken, Ken. You are doing "the thing" yet again. I've heard your rap innumerable times. Ain't buying it. Sorry.

What is "the thing"? Actually it's two things, both of them designed to take us to the same place.

Thing 1: You ask me to be concerned with the internecine squabbles within the various factions of libertarianism (broadly defined). As if I fucking care. As if the contest fucking matters. Those squabbles only matter to the sectarians.

Ayn Rand was a complete psycho. You have to understand that fact, first and foremost. Her entire philosophy amounted to a rationalization for psychosis.

OF COURSE that psychotic hag would have contempt for anyone within her movement (or anywhere NEAR her movement) whom she could not thoroughly control. She was a control freak. Her entire psycho-sexual maladjustment was all about dominance and submission.

Thing 2: This occurs when Libertarians, unable to defend their horrible economic record (when put into actual practice, their theories have always created nothing but poverty and misery), switch to NON-economic issues.

"Libetarians are critical of the Israeli lobby!"

"Libertarians opposed the Iraq war!"

"Libertarians think it's all right to smoke dope!"

So the fuck what? None of that matters.

When discussing libertarianism, the -- and I mean *THE* -- only thing that matters is economics.

Capitalism -- particularly finance capitalism -- is a ravenous beast that must be chained lest it destroy us all. Finance capitalists are, in essence, all Jack the Rippers who seek repeal of the laws against homicide.

Every single one of 'em is like that, without exception. They are not Atlas. They are Jack. It's not a matter of Atlas shrugging; it's a matter of keeping Jack away from the knife.

If you do not agree with that sentiment, you are my blood enemy. There can be no dialogue between us. Look: I'm (probably) older than you are and I've (probably) read more than you have. You have nothing to say to me that I did not hear, and reject, back in the 1970s.

This is why, during the 2003-2008 period, I always counseled against any alliances between the anti-Iraq-war left and the anti-war libertarians. Much as I hate the neo-conservatives, the neo-liberals are even worse.

My political stance is simple. I stated it at the founding of this blog. I like Ike. I want America to return to the economic principles of the 1950s -- steeply progressive taxes, strong unions, (comparitively) protectionist trade policies, sound regulations on banking and the stock market, funding for culture and the establishment of a social welfare safety net.

That world WORKED.

The post-Reagan world has not worked.

The closer we get to pure Libertarianism, the more vitality is drained from this country. Libertarians are destroying this country -- and every time they make things get worse, they say "The answer is MORE Libertarianism!"

I can hear you now: "You say you like the 1950s? But what about the segregation and McCarthyism? You want a return to that?"

That's a classic "Thing 2" argument. Libertarians can never resist going that route.

Okay, I guess there is a Thing 3 argument which we sometimes encounter. It comes down to this old saw: "Libertarianism has not failed. It has never really been tried."

Of course, Marxists say the same damned thing. The strong resemblance between Marxist zealots and Randroid zealots tells us much.
After reading your post, I couldn't get excited about the pump-and-dump fraud because it's clear to me that the big hedge funds, and investment banks like Goldman Sachs do the same thing, in a much bigger scale. Stocks can be manipulated with a pump-and-dump or a dump-and-pump. Apple has been the reciepient of the latter. Phony rumors go wild, the stock gets dpressed, and the funds buy it at dpressed prices, then the stock will recover to its normal level.
Always read your blog Mr Cannon. Never stop again :)

Petersen Leigh
Joe -

In my case, it was a function of the medium: I'm too impatient to watch a 6-minute video that conveys the same amount of information as would a written blog post I could read in 30 seconds -- and does so in a less convenient manner. As a result, I made a mental note to check out the video at a later point and moved on. Is this the later point? we'll see...

P.S. I understand your reasons for posting it this way; you wouldn't believe some of the things I've created in order to maintain my interest while teaching myself a new tech...
About your disappointment: Brian Eno had a famous line about the Velvet Underground's first album, basically that while only 10,000 people bought it, every one of them went on to form their own band. It's not the quantity of the readership, it's the quality. What may seem like a dead-on-arrival post today could bear unexpected fruit later. Keep your chin up - I'm sure the VU were disappointed with the banana album's reception at the time, but have been vindicated in retrospect.
And, with regard to Joe's comment on Libertarianism:

The "thing 3" argument doesn't just go for Marxists; it's also the standard answer for free-market/neoliberal/laissez-faire apologists, when you point out their model has failed every time it has been tried. In my experience, when libertarians make this argument, it's particularly amusing to point out that their ideological arch-enemies say the same thing - tell them they sound like a Marxist, whining about how "Leninism" or "Stalinism" isn't the same as "Marxism"
"Marxists say the same damned thing."
"It has never really been tried"
That seems to be Your basic problem.
You don't know, that - in Marx' own words
there is no such thing as "marxism".
Its impossible. Consequently, there can not be a "marxism"
to be or have been never "tried".
I am sorry to tell You, that any "marxist" You may have met or read about must have been some fake or misundertstod ideology, ideology being a brainchild. A mystification which You -understandingly- reject.
The right theory, badly understood.Twisted.
The critic of the bourgeois "economy" is not an ideology, but explains
the inner workings of capitalism, as opposed to economy.
And why it necessarily will fail.
Which is bad for humans.
The only way to survive that catastrophic process, for the individuals, is to re-construct a human society. Socialise.Organise themselves and together. This is a fight.No garanty.No model.No blueprint to follow.
Its social science of the class, that recreates humanity by creating itself. Next level, if You like. Out of the rubble.
Marx never ever pretended to know "the rght way".
Of cause, when You are wise, You start to experiment in anticipation
to create social structures early, not late.
And here You are, thats the struggle. The capitalist are unable to like that.
The rest is propaganda.
You might have fallen to it.
I know that feeling--working your ass off on a post and then feeling like no one read it. I read everything you write and have been reading everything you write since way back (2004?).

BTW, I have a conspiracy post up right now that I'd love to get your take on.

I noticed a while ago a lot of questonable practices were becoming more widespread. It seemed to start in the mid '80s. I think it was to do with deregulation. Not that it didnt exist before but the cake was very small cos so few people messed with stocks etc.

Now all sorts of bad behaviour has become endemic. I notice that the SEC has been captured. And very few people share my rather old fashioned view about what constitutes illegitimate behaviour.

Front running - normal market making.
Research edge - insider trading
Pump and dump - publicising position taking.

No such thing as an objective law. You always need some interpretation. Seems like someone somewhere drew the line in a place which meant that pump and dump was semi-legitimate.

Its dreadful but there are so many examples. A totally rigged game. Keep away, and eventually the scandals will break. One after the other. Right now they dont understand and they dont care.

I'm a Marxist. Nothing like a Randroid though. I guess I'd count as a zealot or an anti-zealot depending on where people are standing.

MarxISM isn't a notion I give huge weight to, because I don't see stuff in a neo-religious or ideological way. Of course it's stupid to ask 'what does Marxism tell us?' Better to look out of the window and see what that tells you. On the other hand, it can be an awful pose to insist on being 'Marxist without Marxism'. If that's what we want to be, fine, but there's no real need to shout it out. SHOW it in your actual critical analysis! Don't bother opposing this or that ISM. Just say what you gotta say.

'Marxist without Marxism' becomes a bit of a kind of in-crowd joke, an exclusivist label which risks having too much in common with the partyism and ideology it presents itself as opposing, or even sincerely wants to oppose.

Critics shouldn't define their outlook by what ideologies superficially similar to their own they oppose, or go on too much about what ideologies they don't agree with, if that's supposed to serve to demarcate their own take. Really if you are a 'Marxist', it doesn't matter whether you say you're into 'Marxism' or not. Best not to think about the issue - it's a silly issue.

Labour-power, use-value and exchange-value, wage-labour, surplus value, historical dynamic of class struggle, capital as the cycle of (money) to (commodity) to (more money for the rich bastards). And of course, finance capital. These are notions that cannot usefully be dispensed with, IMO.

For that reason, it remains important to know that how these notions were used by Leninists and Stalinists in the last century was the OPPOSITE of how they can (and must, one way or another!) be used by those who want to resist the worsening of social conditions and help get the world, hopefully some century soon, to a time where 'the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all'.

Otherwise you chuck the baby out with the bathwater.

The mode of production in the Soviet Union was a type of capitalism. Its basis was the exploitation of wage-labourers.

Clement Attlee or Harold Wilson were capitalist puppets. But social democracy and reintroducing the main aspects of social conditions prevalent in say 1945-1975 in Britain would beyond any shadow of a doubt be a fucking big step in the right direction from where we are now.

Can the capitalist class make such concessions? Does finance capital have too strong a grip? Maybe we'll find out. I suspect that people's minds might be too rotted (several generations of TV and consumerism!) for us to have a reasonable hope that things won't get a lot worse in the so-called 'advanced West' before they stand a snowball's chance in hell of getting better.
"Labour-power, use-value and exchange-value, wage-labour, surplus value, historical dynamic of class struggle, capital as the cycle of (money) to (commodity) to (more money for the rich bastards). And of course, finance capital. These are notions that cannot usefully be dispensed with, IMO"

I agree that quite a few of these notions are useful but NOT "use value" and NOT "surplus value". Im not sure about "capital as a cycle".

Use value and "surplus value" are obviously bollox. Try and define them in a meaningful objective way. Go on, I dare you.

The phrases make no more sense in Marx than they do on those informercials where they offer you a $100 "value" for only $9.99 plus shipping and handling. Or when they talk about "value" stocks.

You're the only one covering this story -- can't entirely measure interest via $$s but I understand your frustration.

Great definition of post-Reagan progressive (including shout-out to Ike). How is it there's not a muscular left New Dealist fraction growing within the Dem Party? Partly deepening power of the right (and finance/oil/insurance oligarchs) in political clout and campaign financing and partly decline in skill set and smarts of D electeds. No one of Frank Church, Phil Hart, Ed Muskie, Gary Hart (a restless ghost), John Culver or Gaylord Nelson calibre extant.
Harry 5:52 AM
"quite a few of these notions are useful"
Notions ?
Categories !
Please, this is about science vs.
Anybody mixing the terms up in such a manner in a natural science
couldn't get any further.
This is key.
Although very common "mistake"(pending on good-or-not-so-good-will of the speaker).
Then start thinking on use-value.
What would a human be working for,
if not to create use-value ?
(to reproduce, biologically,first)
Even a capitalist is working for use-value ONLY.
Use-value for the capitalist being to produce in order to produce
Problem here being, the one is oposed to the other. (kills)
(some couple of thousand pages missing here, sorry, cannot do THAT
for You)
-For what it is worth..
Anyone talking about science and marx in the same sentence wasn't paying attention in science class.

I like Marxist analysis - i think it illuminates. What more can one ask.

So "use value" is what we work for? Does that mean that all work creates "use value"? How would one measure any of that? What if two people disagree about the amount of use value? Whose opinion counts?

I spent a long time labour over Sraffa in my youth. I found him quite hard to understand. Similarly so his mates. After some time working on that subject it became clear to me that all Mr. Sraffa had managed to prove in a life time of work was the labour theory of value was a very special case. Outside of the absurd concept of the "invariant unit of production/value" the idea that value and labour were in some sense proportionate was clearly bollox.

Aggregating labour to arrive at value is just silly. Better define value first, and just telling me its what I work for is obviously circular.

Anyway, I am being an ass, so I should shut up.

Harry 6:20 PM
"Anyone talking about science and marx in the same sentence wasn't paying attention in science class."
-> Anyone NOT talking about science and marx in the same sentence isn't a (self-conscious) member of the PROLETARIAN class.
- which in itself would NOT necessarily qualifying anybody as an "ass".

AND one should NEVER "shut up", least by oneself !

"What if two people disagree about the amount of use value? Whose opinion counts?"

People may disagree about virtually anything.
That doesn't normally mean, truth is impossble to be established.
The thruth in science is through practicability.
History shows, historic dialctical materalism works very well for the proletarians.
The battle is not over.
Compare 150 years of struggle to 2000 Years of "christianism".
I never heard anybody blaming "christianism" doesn't work.

Its never to late to learn. "The utility of a thing makes it a use-value ..."

(I just invested some WORK, You see )
Joe believes he is smarter than Alex Cockburn, American Conservative, Juan Cole, Certain Nation staffers, I needn't go further, but,...Dennis Kucinich and Ron and Rand Paul-(antiwar coalition legislators to cut off the funds)-any whom have advocated temporary coalitions to oust the Elite. I guess Juan Cole was a fool for running that Rand Paul anti Patriot Act clip yesterday saying Paul was more for rights than Obama.

I, btw am a NB Populist in favor of autarky and, let's call it, "Populism In One Country." So is the leading NB blogger in the US.
Who has also expressed qualified admiration for Paul when his anti-Elitist stances appear to have some dynamism to them. I'm for allying at least loosely with any anti-elitist force to crumble the Police State and its Empire.

We'll worry about differences during rebuilding time.
So Anon,

Many thanks for your comments. Its been a long time since I thought about these issues, and I am rusty and not sure of my ground. I should make it clear that I consider myself a fan of Marx, in the sense that certain tools of analysis he provided me with have been a very good predictor of the likely course of events over the last 10 years.

Indeed if I had paid more attention, and been more cynical I would have made much more cash in my speculations, because I would have bought bank bonds when they were trading at distressed prices. I didn't because I could see the banks were bust. I should have because even I could recognise they controlled the governments of both the UK and the US. So they could tap into the entire resources of the state. I am astonished that governments would rather protect the interests of the current rich than protect the integrity of the system as a whole. For me, that one act was a "poker tell". The twitch which tells you the underlying truth of the game - its totally rigged in favour of the incumbent rich.

Looking at things now I realise that paradoxically, finance capitalism remains in absolute control in the US but its grip over the UK is a little weaker. Andrew Haldane in the BoE for example is saying things which would get you fired immediately in the US.

Im blathering on. But my point is that I like Marxism cos for me it has been prescriptive. It has given me insights I have been able to act on and make money from.

The labour theory of value is not central to those insights. It is counter intuitive, and very definitely not prescriptive. And its prescriptions wont make you money in speculation - or havnt in my experience. My guess is that the theory served simply to make a basis for arguing for that workers are exploited and because at the time there was a feeling that you need a "theory of value".

I dont think we do need a theory of value, any more than we need a theory of god.

I also find it hard to believe that we need evidence to prove that labour as a factor of production is exploited. a) Its so self-evident its not funny b) I think the interests of the majority have prima facie legitimacy. Obviously the majority can do bad things but I will worry about that when it becomes a pressing problem. Right now, the immiserisation of the poor is a more pressing problem.

Anyway, thank you for the links. I did read them and they were useful - valuable if you like - but I couldnt put a price on them ;).


How about "Workers of the Euro-American World Unite"...."White Socialism In One Country" (ht Jack London)?.....
Harry 5:25 AM. :

Production may be divided into two sites : natural and human.
Natural production is the object of (human's) work on science as natural sciences-
Human prodction i.e. the self reproduction of the human species is located
within nature - the relevant limitation here being "on planet earth".
Human production -self-reproduction- if it is destructive to its natural base-
would be (and IS) IR-rational, or IDIOTIC in the true sense
"a private citizen," "individual"), from ?d???, idios ("private," "one's own" )).
Human "production" opposing Nature would be (and IS) de-priving - a contradiction in itself.
A "human being" is - in terms of natural science- zoon politicon- NOT.
A-sigular- "human being" is ALWAYS an abstraction, a term for something that doesnt exist in
the real world. Necessarily.Robinson is the example. He carried already a society (politicon)
in his brain,mind and ressorted on it.
Which does not mean, IDIOCY, PRIVATICY, PARASITISM TYRANNY are not able to take over the rule on
society (politicon) ore parts thereof.
Albeit locally, temporally.
The finites of "locally" being planet earth.
The finites of "temporally" being "eternally".
Eternally - STOP !
Bacause : Long before that, tyranny of idiocy () ofends the natural structure of the human (sapiens!)
brain. At least that.
There is the super-evolutionary prozess inside each fraction of the capital, which has to tend to rationalize.
There are the concurrencies among all of those fractions that each one individually tend to rationallity.
But the ENDS of all that ?
Irrationality, in ALL senses:
Earth burnt.
Man mad.
Numbers infinite.
An ever smaller number of idiots based on private(ly) use(d)-valuable Capital (calculating-machines)
wanking life on earth (including YOU, ME, US, BEAUTY of LIFE)
What is that WORTH ??!

The majority of HUMANS (proletarians, a class, politicon,social,natural,ETERNAL)
cannot survive within the bounds of "privacy". And resist "it".
Capital comes as a process of production of use-value- that is essentially social.
It must now become RATIONALISED as a whole.
"Rationalised" means to be put back into human terms, not abstract from "human" nature
and nature itself.
That is what all these fights are about.
The rest is distraction, propaganda, SMOKE.
-> Have a GOOD day, everybody.
I dont disagree at all.

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