Killing the Host: Michael Hudson’s Devastating Exposé of the Global Economic Crisis

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In Killing the Host, economist Michael Hudson exposes how finance, insurance, and real estate (the FIRE sector) have seized control of the global economy at the expense of industrial capitalism and governments. The FIRE sector is responsible for today’s extreme economic polarization (the 1% vs. the 99%) via favored tax status that inflates real estate prices while deflating the “real” economy of labor and production. Hudson shows in vivid detail how the Great 2008 Bailout saved the banks but not the economy, and plunged the U.S., Irish, Latvian and Greek economies into debt deflation and austerity. Killing the Host describes how the phenomenon of debt deflation imposes punishing austerity on the U.S. and European economies, siphoning wealth and income upward to the financial sector while impoverishing the middle class.

Viva Trump?

Were it not for the Donald, the electoral season so far would have been the bore that many of us were expecting and dreading. Trump turned it into a guilty pleasure, more interesting by far than any of his reality TV shows.

And it looks like the Trump phenomenon has legs. Unless something very unforeseen happens, or the man loses interest, it won’t flicker out anytime soon. Eager to feather their own nests, seasoned political operatives are already defecting to the Trump campaign. A joke barely a month ago, the Donald actually stands a chance of winning the early caucuses and primaries. After that, who knows!

But to get there, he will have to do more than attack other Republican candidates and Fox media personalities for being the phony ne’er-do-wells that they are. He will have to appeal to what is basest and most contemptible in human nature. More

The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?

One of the most firmly entrenched myths of The American Ideology is that the U.S. is a “middle class society,” a “land of opportunity” where anyone who works hard has the opportunity to achieve the standard of living which has made America “the envy of the world.” A common, and spot on, rejoinder has been to remind us that America has always had a sizable class of permanently poor people and that it is just factually false that those ready, willing and able to work are on the path to middle class status.

But does this reply concede too much? Has there ever been a substantial middle class in America? Or has a poor working class been able to mask its condition by accessing an institution that has disguised a large portion of a poor working class as a middle class? The best place to start is with the history of the modern American middle class. More

Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention

Several writers have noted that Bernie Sanders has been scant in terms of his foreign policy -- small portions. But a thornier problem is that the little that he has articulated in terms of foreign policy -- the foreign policy issue that he's been most passionate about really -- is extremely regressive and incredibly dangerous. That issue is the role of Saudi Arabia. Sanders has actually pushed for the repressive regime to engage in more intervention in the Mideast.

In discussing ISIS, Sanders invariably has talked about Saudi Arabia being the solution. It's couched in language that seems somewhat critical, but the upshot is we need more Saudi influence and intervention in the region. In effect, more and bigger proxy wars, which have already taken the lives of hundreds of thousands in Syria and could even further rip apart Iraq and Libya. More

Dams in America

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A 200-year graphic history of dammed rivers by James Syvitski of the University of Colorado.

Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch

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Atomic Power’s Secret Spills:
Paul Gunter exposes one of the nation’s hidden scandals: the systemic radioactive leaks plaguing America’s nuclear power plants; The Rise of Big Generic: Steve Hendricks on how we got to the $1,200 knock-off prescription; WWII Redux: Peter Lee on the rise of Neo-Fascism from Ukraine to Japan; The Masked Face of American Racism: Ruth Fowler on race mimicry by white women; Sick Behind Bars: Thandisizwe Chimurenga provides a grim assessment of the pitiful state of medical care inside US Prisons. PLUS: Kristin Kolb on the Great Northwest in flames; Chris Floyd on the radical economics of Pope Francis; Mike Whitney on how the Fed wrecked the recovery; JoAnn Wypijewski takes a drive across the blood-stained Great Plains; Jeffrey St. Clair on the once and future ruins of the American Southwest; Lee Ballinger the lethal legacy of Big Oil; and film-maker Ed Leer on the cinema of mass-shootings.

This Week on CounterPunch Radio
Margaret Kimberley & Sukant Chandan

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  • HOST: Eric Draitser
  • GUEST: Margaret Kimberley & Sukant Chandan
  • TOPICS: #BlackLivesMatter, Bernie Sanders, Imperialism in Africa and Asia + Much More!