Posts Tagged ‘wall street’

s-MONEY-large

 

 

 

s-MONEY-large

 

These people are the enemies of democracy.

These 2020 hopefuls are courting Wall Street. Don’t be fooled by their progressive veneer

1653564_630x354.jpg

 

White Collar Crime Will Have a Field Day Under Trump

 

ws5

The sign of things to come…
Hedge funds tell Puerto Rico: lay off teachers and close schools to pay us back

Report commissioned by 34 hedge funds says government had been ‘massively overspending on education’ despite spending only 79% of US average per pupil

rich_poor

CNN: ‘Scandinavian Dream’ is true fix for America’s income inequality
  • Clamp down on Wall Street and require certain asset managers to disclose their holdings, returns and fees.
  • Enact a transaction tax to reduce short-term trading and encourage long-term investment.
  • Require companies to provide more information about their CEO’s pay relative to performance and workers’ earnings.
  • Raise taxes on capital gains and dividends.
  • Tax corporations on global income.

And to promote growth among the middle class, Stiglitz suggests that the U.S.:

  • Invest in infrastructure for long-term economic and job growth.
  • Strengthen workers’ bargaining rights.
  • Raise the minimum wage to reflect local economic conditions. (Many cities and metro areas could justify $15 an hour.)
  • Invest in young children through early education.
  • Require universal paid sick and family leave.

reagan_ghostbusters-620x412

Kieran Kelly recommended this Salon article — which is actually a revisionary look at the films of Harold Ramis.*

Baby boomer humor’s big lie: “Ghostbusters” and “Caddyshack” really liberated Reagan and Wall Street
Harold Ramis was a master of subversive comedy. But the politics of “Caddyshack” and rude gestures have backfired

* I am not in complete agreement with anyone concerned.  While the films could be criticized for their targets and execution, I don’t think the writer makes his case.  The terminology used displays some dissonance, and he rejects a nuanced, complex reading of the films.

“And that makes for a pretty liberal film, right? I mean, who else makes fun of country club grandees except for us lefty authority-questioners?

Well, free-market conservatives do.”

Here the writer steeps his clumsy criticism in the pop left/right knee jerkism we’ve come to expect out there in the mainstream.  Presenting his false argument about “authority-questioners”, it’s almost condescending.  Authority isn’t a virtue.

The reason these movies stand out and endure is because they have complexity.  They aren’t meant to tell you want to think, but to give you the opportunity to do so.  Without that complexity and challenge, there’s no classic.

Perhaps the article’s best dig is:

“The kind of liberation the rude gesture brings has turned out to be not that liberating after all, but along the way it has crowded out previous ideas of what liberation meant—ideas that had to with equality, with work, with ownership.”

Here, the author, Thomas Frank, almost makes his point.  But the dissonance, in light of what he argued previously, sinks his argument.  How he can lay all of this on Ramis and Company, in the context of a farcical comedy, is unclear.   But work and ownership, Frank says, are intrinsic to his idea of liberation.

Like the Ghostbusters?

Frank just decried the idea of the small business startup, but now he’s in favor of work and ownership.  Well make your mind up, Frank.

“Here the martinet is none other than a troublemaking EPA bureaucrat; the righteous, rule-breaking slobs are small businessmen—ghost-hunting businessmen, that is, who have launched themselves deliriously into the world of entrepreneurship.”

Yes, work and ownership.  In fact bureaucracy and the EPA itself can have problems, misdirected activities, harm.  That’s the nature of power and authority, and in this case unaccountable power: the EPA man is not the one facing jail.  Reading too much into this EPA angle may be biasing any fair interpretation of the film.

The EPA bureaucrat made a unilateral decision that was disastrous while choosing ignorance over the consequences of said decision.  It is that kind of reasoning that is the true target, not the Environmental Protection Agency or the concept of reasonable regulations.  That’s the distinct difference that received no mention.

In some ways I agree with Frank that these films chose some easy targets and largely symbolic middle fingers.  That would make them less effective, in the political context, not more.  Trying to pin the Reagan era on Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and friends is too much of a stretch to be taken seriously.  The photo (above) that Salon chose to go with seems a tad dishonest in its complete dissing of Ramis and his widely beloved works.

Unthinking lefties are as unpalatable to me as unthinking right wingers, and perhaps were to Ramis too.  We must confront these challenges and the myriad opposing ideas, even in comedy, if we’re to stand the test of time.

CN_BlueJasmine_0

 

Woody Allen does what he does, and I’m sort of cautious as to what to say about it.  I’ll need to watch the trailer and see what points are revealed before proceeding.

 

Okay, it’s all in there.  There’s a great riches to rags fall from ostentatious obscene wealth kind of through line that is pretty satisfying.  It’s easy to hate on Jasmine, the spoiled, stuck-up amoral trophy wife.  How many Jasmines don’t get the big wakeup call and continue on in their unearned lavish excess?  There’s something cathartic about this karmic kind of justice.

o-blue-jasmine-trailer-facebook

And yet, she’s not the perpetrator.  She was along for the ride, herself duped by the life.  In terms of culpability Hitler’s girlfriend isn’t some pure nun, but she didn’t give the orders, right?

In some ways this Wolf of Wall Street styled thread sticks as part of the current zeitgeist.  Jordan Belfort is now Alec Baldwin, and he’s a piece of work.  All the male characters distinguish themselves, usually in opposition to Jasmine.  A lot of heated, intense drama erupts when Jasmine is forced to come live with her lower class estranged sister — whom her former husband robbed of her life savings.

Woody intertwines the lives such that we have all sorts of unresolved tensions to play out, money, theft, the treatment of others, attitudes, class bias that sort of thing.  It’s all top notch stuff, and I’m liking the current Woody better than the old school silly Woody.

Many have suggested Cate Blanchett for the best actress Oscar, and I’m not sure as yet.  I’ll have to see all the other performances first.  She does an adequate job, but the role is annoying.  Constantly she babbles snips of her lost life on the shiny mountain.  This is an okay approach, but having to endure it takes its toll on the viewer. Because it’s not funny, although some situations are.  It’s a serious breakdown, and we can either feel sympathetic for Jasmine or gloat on her misfortunes … or both.

4/5

248330_077