The UK votes to leave the EU

Craziness, bad craziness…

My semi-coherent thoughts are that Scotland and Northern Ireland will looking to jump out of the UK now. Whatever exists of the British Commonwealth has got to be affected by all this as well.

Europe is going to react with their own independence referenda: Greece, definitely, but also Italy, likely Spain, and some of the other nations that can’t handle the German-backed austerity measures.

Right now we’re watching the entire global economy tanking. We could be witnessing a meltdown greater than the collapse of 2007-2008.

Cue a reread of Thom Hartmann’s “The Crash of 2016“?

Thom Hartmann on “Sociopathic Paychecks”

This is from Thom Hartmann‘s daily email newsletter

Sociopathic Paychecks
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that “Executives and other highly compensated employees now receive more than one-third of all pay in the US…  Highly paid employees received nearly $2.1 trillion of the $6.4 trillion in total US pay in 2007, the latest figures available.”
 
This article is largely excerpted from Thom Hartmann’s new book “Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture.”

One of the questions often asked when the subject of CEO pay comes up is, “What could a person such as William McGuire or Lee Raymond (the former CEOs of UnitedHealth and ExxonMobil, respectively) possibly do to justify a $1.7 billion paycheck or a $400 million retirement bonus?”

It’s an interesting question. If there is a “free market” of labor for CEOs, then you’d think there would be a lot of competition for the jobs. And a lot of people competing for the positions would drive down the pay. All UnitedHealth’s stockholders would have to do to avoid paying more than $1 billion to McGuire is find somebody to do the same CEO job for half a billion. And all they’d have to do to save even more is find somebody to do the job for a mere $100 million. Or maybe even somebody who’d work the necessary sixty-hour weeks for only $1 million.

So why is executive pay so high?

I’ve examined this with both my psychotherapist hat on and my amateur economist hat on, and only one rational answer presents itself: CEOs in America make as much money as they do because there really is a shortage of people with their skill set. And it’s such a serious shortage that some companies have to pay as much as $1 million a day to have somebody successfully do the job.

But what part of being a CEO could be so difficult-so impossible for mere mortals-that it would mean that there are only a few hundred individuals in the United States capable of performing it?

In my humble opinion, it’s the sociopath part.

CEOs of community-based businesses are typically responsive to their communities and decent people. But the CEOs of most of the world’s largest corporations daily make decisions that destroy the lives of many other human beings.

Only about 1 to 3 percent of us are sociopaths-people who don’t have normal human feelings and can easily go to sleep at night after having done horrific things. And of that 1 percent of sociopaths, there’s probably only a fraction of a percent with a college education. And of that tiny fraction, there’s an even tinier fraction that understands how business works, particularly within any specific industry.

Thus there is such a shortage of people who can run modern monopolistic, destructive corporations that stockholders have to pay millions to get them to work. And being sociopaths, they gladly take the money without any thought to its social consequences.

Today’s modern transnational corporate CEOs-who live in a private-jet-and-limousine world entirely apart from the rest of us-are remnants from the times of kings, queens, and lords. They reflect the dysfunctional cultural (and Calvinist/Darwinian) belief that wealth is proof of goodness, and that that goodness then justifies taking more of the wealth.

Democracy in the workplace is known as a union. The most democratic workplaces are the least exploitative, because labor has a power to balance capital and management. And looking around the world, we can clearly see that those cultures that most embrace the largest number of their people in an egalitarian and democratic way (in and out of the workplace) are the ones that have the highest quality of life. Those that are the most despotic, from the workplace to the government, are those with the poorest quality of life.

Over time, balance and democratic oversight will always produce the best results.  An “unregulated” marketplace is like an “unregulated” football game – chaos.  And chaos is a state perfectly exploited by sociopaths, be they serial killers, warlords, or CEOs.

By changing the rules of the game of business so that sociopathic business behavior is no longer rewarded (and, indeed, is punished – as Teddy Roosevelt famously did as the “trustbuster” and FDR did when he threatened to send “war profiteers” to jail), we can create a less dysfunctional and more egalitarian society.  And that’s an important first step back from the thresholds to environmental and economic disaster we’re now facing.

I would link to it directly if I could find the newsletter on the web.

Senator Bernie Sanders on Harry Reid’s Hormone Deficiency

Apropos to my letter to Harry Reid — over at Thom Hartmann, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the difficulty of blocking the Republican filibuster thanks to Harry Reid’s hormone deficiency.

Scroll down to ‘THP090702 Brunch with Bernie.’ I am confident this will link rot like a big dog.

Rotted, dog removed…

Progressive Radio Hosts

What happened to Randi Rhodes?

Is she still off the air? What’s it been – 30 days?

Did she get fired from Nova M Radio? Is she back in Palm Beach at her former radio station?

What about Thom Hartmann? Since he and Air America ‘parted ways’ I can’t get his podcast, even from his direct site.

The ‘Left’ is friggin’ imploding…

Thom Hartmann Comments

Saw these over at Thom Hartmann’s blog

Reclaiming the Issues: Bring Back the Elites

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Friday suggested that Barack Obama is “elite” in part because Obama was wearing sunglasses:

Can Barack Obama, a man of elite education if not elite background,break into the middle class and talk regular? Can he talk to regular people in their kitchens tonight, in their living rooms?

[…]

Everybody thinks Barack is too cool. In other words, there he is with the shades, getting on the plane. A little bit too elegant, a little bit too proud of his own bearing. Is that a problem, that he’s just too cool for words. In other words, elite.

Chris Matthews is wrong. [more]

and

How Wall Street Can Bail Itself Out Without Destroying The Dollar

For Grover “Drown Government In The Bathtub” Norquist, this bailout deal will work out very well. At a proposed cost of $4,780 per taxpayer, it’ll further the David Stockman strategy of so indebting us that the next president won’t have the luxury of even thinking of new social spending (expanding health care, social security, education, infrastructure, etc.); taxes will even have to be raised just to pay for the bailout. It’ll debase our currency, driving up commodity prices and interest rates, which will benefit the Investor Class while further impoverishing the pesky Middle Class, rendering them less prone to protest (because they’re so busy working trying to pay off their debt). It’ll create stagflation for at least the next half decade, which can be blamed on Democrats who currently control Congress and, should Obama be elected, be blamed on him. [more]