Category Archives: Capitalism is a Whore

Back To The Moon!

I’ve recently discovered a fantastic magazine called Jacobin, which is unreservedly Left leaning and offers a nice, refreshing alternative voice to the wishy washy liberal middle-of-the-roadism you find in a lot of other “Lefty” sites.

Over on the Jacobin Blog, Leigh Philips proves the magazine’s worth (to me at least) with a piece about how capitalism killed the Space Program:

[...] Nobody is asking why it is that the high point of manned spaceflight was reached at the end of the sixties, wondering whether there might be a reason for this drop in ambition, this retreat from humanity’s destiny in space. It’s not as if the planet has abandoned its love of space. The international excitement over the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory hints at a yearing to be thrilled about the possibility of life on other planets.

At the same time, a kind of left-wing cynicism about  space exploration has bubbled up. Wasn’t this simply a distraction from the crisis? How can we be spending money on space while the Earth burns? How can we care about the improbable chance that we find possible evidence of the conditions for microbes having aeons ago existed on Mars when thousands of Americans are losing their homes to repossession, when half of all Spanish youth are without work?

[...]

Because these questioners might as well be asking: “Why bother exploring at all? What has curiosity ever done for us?” And this way of thinking is itself unwittingly framed by a neoliberal set of metrics, demanding immediate return on investment, and accepting the falsehood that we have an extremely limited reserve of public revenues, the greatest share of which must be directed to those areas with the highest priority.

The first point is obvious. We don’t know what benefits will be achieved when one sets off to investigate distant terrain. The adventure of exploration of the unknown is its own reward.

This comes along with Matt Novak’s appreciation of The Jetson’s on their 50th anniversary, and why they still matter:

It’s easy for some people to dismiss “The Jetsons” as just a TV show, and a lowly cartoon at that. But this little show—for better and for worse—has had a profound impact on the way that Americans think and talk about the future.

Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of exploration and innovation for its own sake. And by we, I mean our capitalist overlords. The 1% who demand that every human endeavor turn a profit, that they get the lion’s share of that profit, and that everything not profitable (to them) be scrapped. This attitude, what I’ve taken to calling Economic Calvanism, is what’s keeping us from recovering from the Great Recession, let alone settling Mars. We used to do great big things back when our leaders weren’t all greedy bastards and knew that to make money you have to spend money, often and especially on things that don’t return the investment, simply because they produce knowledge about  the Universe and provide and investment in human worth, something that cannot be balanced out on ledger or calculated for in your semi-annual report.

Or, as Leigh Philips put it:

Of course, if there were a limited pie of public resources, then a prioritization of other areas would be legitimate – Gill Scott Heron would be right. At the moment, there are other areas in more dire need. But money can be found.

The UK’s Tax Justice Network in July published research showing that revenues lost to public coffers by the super-rich hiding these sums in tax havens amounted to $21 trillion as of 2010 – as much as the US and Japanese economies combined, and the figure could be as high as $32 trillion.

There is more than enough money out there to have decent social services – and new ones, guaranteed incomes, well-funded pensions, a transformation to a low-carbon (or even carbon-negative) economy, and investment in space exploration. It’s a false choice to say: either space or everything else. The choice is actually between the current crop of political ideologies clustered around the neoliberal center, and something genuinely transformative on a global scale.

Want to Save the World? Raise Taxes

Stephen King wants to pay more taxes:

If you want to pay more, pay more, they said.

Tired of hearing about it, they said.

Tough shit for you guys, because I’m not tired of talking about it. I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar. It’s true that some rich folks put at least some of their tax savings into charitable contributions. My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (Jaws of Life tools are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts. Warren Buffett does the same; so does Bill Gates; so does Steven Spielberg; so do the Koch brothers; so did the late Steve Jobs. All fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

What charitable 1 percenters can’t do is assume responsibility—America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts. Charity from the rich can’t fix global warming or lower the price of gasoline by one single red penny. That kind of salvation does not come from Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Ballmer saying, “OK, I’ll write a $2 million bonus check to the IRS.” That annoying responsibility stuff comes from three words that are anathema to the Tea Partiers: United American citizenry.

This message is going to be a hard sell tot he American populace, who have been told by heard the GOP for the last 40 years that raising taxes is evil, a sin not unlike kicking puppies and raping grandma. They claim a marginal increase on the 1% is tantamount to class warfare. Except that class warfare doesn’t involve taxes, it involves guillotines and nooses, pitchforks and torches. You know, actual warfare.

Look, rich people, it’s simple: Taxes are the dues you pay for living in civilized society. You’re lucky to have the opportunity. So shut up and pay your taxes.

Do your patriotic duty. You claim that America is the home of the free and land of opportunity.  Well, just like a venture capitalist, America invested in you. This country fostered your creativity, gave you the opportunity for education and the elbow room to try that risky buisiness. Now that it’s paid off, it’s time for you to pay back that seed money. Pay your taxes.

You like to claim this is a Christian nation, so do the Christian thing and help your neighbor. Charity doesn’t cut it, so pay your taxes.

Or else.

The Smell of Pepper Spray in the Morning

As usual, Naomi Wolfe has the number on the OWS crackdown:

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually “OWS has no message”. Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online “What is it you want?” answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

It’s not just that the OWS movement is getting all up in the face of Wallstreet and thus bringing the ire of their lapdogs in Washington. OWS is now threatening the income of our blessedly corrupt leaders. And thus, the DHS is coaching our militarized police on how to crack skulls.

Much has been made out of the now Internet-famous cop who casually pepper sprayed seated protesters. But what did you expect? You give a cop pepper spray and a baton he’s going to go looking for an excuse to use it. It now appears that excuse came from Homeland Security and with the blessings of our ruling class. OWS is a little more than 2 months old and so far, has been surprisingly peaceful (at least on their side). It will take a miracle for that to last because if history has taught us anything, it’s that those who make peaceful progress impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.

Living to Work

Douglass Rushkoff is making some noise again:

I understand we all want paychecks — or at least money. We want food, shelter, clothing, and all the things that money buys us. But do we all really want jobs?

We’re living in an economy where productivity is no longer the goal, employment is. That’s because, on a very fundamental level, we have pretty much everything we need. America is productive enough that it could probably shelter, feed, educate, and even provide health care for its entire population with just a fraction of us actually working.

According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, there is enough food produced to provide everyone in the world with 2,720 kilocalories per person per day. And that’s even after America disposes of thousands of tons of crop and dairy just to keep market prices high. Meanwhile, American banks overloaded with foreclosed properties are demolishing vacant dwellings Video to get the empty houses off their books.

Our problem is not that we don’t have enough stuff — it’s that we don’t have enough ways for people to work and prove that they deserve this stuff.

[...]

But there might still be another possibility — something we couldn’t really imagine for ourselves until the digital era. As a pioneer of virtual reality, Jaron Lanier, recently pointed out, we no longer need to make stuff in order to make money. We can instead exchange information-based products.

We start by accepting that food and shelter are basic human rights. The work we do — the value we create — is for the rest of what we want: the stuff that makes life fun, meaningful, and purposeful.

People like to work on their own projects, not just work for the sake of work. We have the ability to provide all the basic necessities for every citizen, thus enabling them to choose personally meaningful work without having to worry about whether it pays the bills. There are thousands of great musicians, novelists, makers, hackers, builders, painters, sculptors, innovators and doers out there who have to put their passions aside and do some menial job, just to buy the necessities that are their right. Sure, a lot of people aren’t any of these things and they would just sit around watching TV and masturbating to internet porn. But so what? Eventually,they’d get bored and find something meaningful to do with their time. Maybe it would just be building birdhouses but it could also be volunteering at their local library or soup kitchen.

Of course it will never happen so long as we let the rich lead us into Economic Calvinism and demand that the poor and working class live in abject poverty and depredation.  It will require rewiring society as it is currently built but that wiring is old and in need of replacing anyway.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Unemployed. In Greenland! But let’s back up a few months here and frame this story properly…

Back in December, I was informed that the University would not be renewing my contract and so I would be leaving my position at the library come the end of the fiscal year, June 30. A week before Christmas is a hell of a time to get that kind of news.

And who tells someone they’re fired 6 months ahead of time? Because let me tell you, that colors the way you spend those last 6 month. And we’re not talking rainbows and sunshine neither. (True story: 3 months ago I thought I was having a heart attack. At 33. From the stress. Turned out it was just indigestion. From the stress.)

I had 6 months to look for new jobs and did. Things were looking up as, a week before my job ended, I scored an interview for mid July, doing my old job only for more money and hey wouldn’t that be great, because I’d get two weeks of vacation, during which my folks were here. So Ducks in a row is what it was.

Except that I didn’t get the job. That was kind of a blow, I don’t mind telling you because I nailed that interview. We’re talking Gold Medal dismount. Or so I thought. Plainly it was lacking in something as they went with someone else. But that’s fine. I didn’t want that crummy job anyway. *Sniff*

Because really and truly, I’ve been looking forward to being unemployed. Which is weird to say but let me unpack that a moment: Did I mention the stress? Of working someplace that doesn’t think you’re good enough to keep around long term but clearly thinks your adequate enough to keep around for half a year? Mind games would be fun to play after 6 months of that fucked up situation. So yeah. I’m not loosing any sleep over being out of that job. And I mean that literally. I haven’t slept so good in the last 3 years as I have in the last 3 weeks.

Also I’ve been wanting time to write and focus on my novel since I got to Oregon 3 YEARS AGO. I sort of fell into a job right away, which was unintended, but a bonus.

But the gig is over and now, while I look for gainful employment in the worst economy since the Great Depression, battling a hundred other overqualified librarians in a thunder dome lined with razor blade covered books, vying for the one position, I have a moment to focus and actually do what I love, which is write. And so long as I don’t fritter it away, I can finish my novel in a month or two, while I look for other jobs, and maybe, if I’m lucky, back into a new career getting paid to write for a living. Even if it means a pay cut (and it will) even if it means moving to a smaller apartment (which is likewise very likely) because I won’t have to go up against fucking Master Blaster just to work at a fucking library.

Being a librarian pays the bills, but it’s not my dream job. And weirdly enough, being unemployed in the Second Great Depression is liberating. I don’t have any more excuses and if no one’s going to pay me to do the career I’ve built up over the last 8 years, then fuck it, I’ll write my books for a living. If I’m going to live under a bridge and starve to death, might as well do what I love.

But the card board Manse is a little ways off yet. The government teat of Unemployment is a sweet, sweet cushion between here and there. And for a few months at least, I can work at making my dreams come true. There are worse things in the world, like working a shitty job I don’t like, for a university that doesn’t appreciate all the hard work I did for them.

So that’s where I am: all I have left is the dole and a few daydreams of respect. But it beats dying or working for the man, which is just dying, only slower and from the inside out.

So. How’d you spend your summer vacation?

The Millennial Myth

You may have heard of the Millennials (and count yourself lucky if you haven’t). They’re the tech savvy kids born since the late 1980s, who grew up with the Internet and mobile phones and are plugged in, turned on and engaged in the use of web-based technology in ways that are both dazzling and frightening. Or so we’re told. Because the Millennials, like Gen X and the baby Boomers before them, are a demographic construct, a social fiction made up to sell a narrative and more importantly, to sell product.

These kids aren’t engaging in a digital environment that speaks to a spectacular, intuitive grasp of technology. They’re thumbing cell phone keyboards because it’s easier than actually using a phone. And that’s the problem with ubiquitous technology: it becomes easy to use on the surface for the most shallow of purposes. We can bounce packets of data off satellites in geosynchronous orbit but mostly, that data we’re sending is teenage gossip and cute cat pictures. The kids these days, they aren’t engaged in the savvy use of technology. They’re banging digital rocks together because they don’t know how to do anything else. Jaded grownups just assume they already know everything and so don’t bother to teach them anything.

Other than a very small minority of plugged in super nerds, none of the kids in the Millennial generation knows anything about computers. I’ve been around them now, in an academic environment, for 8 years. I’ve met 20 year-olds who’ve never opened a word document. Every Fall semester, I encounter a new crop of recent high school grads whose only experience with the Internet is posting updates on their friends MySpace pages. If you’re lucky, they have a Yahoo account and may have sent an e-mail or two, but usually just to their parents.

But the Millennial Myth is a popular delusion that persists and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why. Until today. While listening to a candidate for a new Instructional technologist position at the University, I heard yet another Boomer tell a room full of Gen Xers and other Boomers that these Millennials needed to be handled differently because the were savvy customers. In what other area do we assume teenagers know more than parents and teachers? And who benefits from this assumption? Cut out the bullshit lingo and what you have left is the truth: they’re customers.

The Millennial Myth is a consumer model. “We don’t need to teach kids how to properly use technology,” the Micky Marketeers tell us, “Because that way, we can sell them products they don’t know they don’t need.” The handful of young (and old) savvy tech users will search out their own technology needs and find their way to the Open Source fringe sector or other specialty areas. They’re not the Millennial demographic. They’re the 1 in a million inoculated against these slogans. Marketeers don’t give a shit about them and so neither do educators who have adopted the MBA approach to education, where students are just a special class of customers. What the Marketeers and Business Model Academics are after are the non-savvy tech users. Because they’ll buy whatever shiny thing the Marketeers and BMAs want to sell them this fiscal semester. Maybe it’s a new style of mobile phone, or maybe it’s a useless degree in business management, physical therapy or library science. Whatever keeps the profit margins in the black.

Business Opportunities Involving the London Bridge

Of all the novels we could be living in, this is not the one I would have suspected:

Hansard is the official printed transcript of the proceedings of the houses of parliament — in other words, the working log of the British government.

It is an authoritative primary source, and records every speech made in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Interestingly, it also records words spoken under parliamentary privilege.

So when an eminent member of the House of Lords stands up six hours into a debate and blows the gaff on a shadowy foreign Foundation making a bid to buy the British state, and this is recorded in Hansard, one tends to sit up and take notice. And one takes even more notice when His Lordship tip-toes around actually naming the Foundation in question, especially after the throw-away about money-laundering for the IRA on behalf of the Bank of England. Parliamentary privilege only stretches so far, it seems, and Foundation X is beyond its reach. I’m going to quote at length below the cut — if you want to read the original, search for “1 Nov 2010 : Column 1538″ which is where things begin to tip-toe into Robert Ludlum territory.

This is Charlie Stross, shining light on the story that Lord James of Blackheath stood up in the House of Lords and explained how a shadowy organization had come to him with an offer of 6 Billion pounds, gratis, to help fix the British economy and that maybe someone should look into this because it sounds too good to be true and further, all the research he’s done suggests it’s genuine.

Due to having his server flash-mobbed by the entire Internet, Charlie had to take down the comments. However, yesterday afternoon when I read this story, there was much discussion as to the nature and identity of Foundation X.[1] Firstly, there can’t be many organizations with the sort of profile capable of making a credible offer of this size, especially since, according to Lord Blackheath, they explained how their organization was essentially still on the Gold Standard and that their multi-billion pound grant was backed by bullion.[2] One candidate floated was that Foundation X is a front for the Vatican bank, which is notoriously secretive as to the size and nature of its accounts and also atatched to an organization large enough and ancient enough to have that kind of hard currency sitting around. still, 6 Billion Pounds in gold bullion is a staggering amount of metal. Most countries don’t have that much gold just laying around, for various reasons but if anyone would, I’d suspect the Vatican. But where did the Vatican get all of it?

It’s long been suspected that the Vatican was the recipient of a large amount of purloined Nazi gold after World War II. This is significant because it’s not like you can just walk into a bank with a few metric tons of Nazi gold and exchange it for Pounds or Euros.This gold is hot and to say that it has some dubious legal and moral baggage attached is an understatement. It’s Nazi Gold, man. So for half a century, the Vatican may or may not have been sitting on a giant cache of evil currency that they have no practical way to launder. Until now.

As Charlie Stross pointed out in the comments (vanished temporarily) back in 2008 the IRA was in the process of becoming a legit political party in ireland but still had in their possession a large amount of tainted money, previously used for arms dealing during the Troubles. When the financial crisis hit and British banks were looking for some liquid capitol to keep civilization rolling, the IRA stepped in and said, hey guys launder our dirty money and we’ll call it even.

So this is like that, only with a shadowy cartel of Vatican bankers instead of the IRA and a butload of Nazi gold instead of dirty money.[3]

Of course one wanders just where the Vatican got all this Nazi gold. Then of course one remembers who the current Pope is. Which suggests the third act revelation for this tawdry story of corruption and international finance:

Berlin, 1945. A cabal of Nazi bankers come to the Vatican during the waning days of WWII and explain that they have all this gold and the Vatican can have it, for a price. In exchange for moving the Reich’s assets into safe keeping, these secret Nazi bankers are to be absorbed into the Vatican Bank’s hierarchy. Over the years, the key tot he vault full fo Nazi gold is passed aorund from bishop to cardinal of a secret group. Maybe the previous Popes don’t even know about the secret crypt full of Nazi gold,[4] at least until the current Pope, a former Hitler Youth member, took the throne of Peter. The ring of guardians to the gold crypt growing aged and scarce, reach out to a trustworthy member of the inner circle. after all, if things turn bad, who better to have on your side than the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who is now Pope? During his initiation, he was handed the old ring of iron keys, one to the secret crypt where the mummified corpse of Jesus rests and another to the crypt full of gold.

Of course, this would explain the pope’s recent visit to England. He was checking out the place, seeing where he’d like to have his statue built. Because once it’s made public that the Vatican solved Britain’s financial problem with a helpful donation of money (let’s not dwell on where it came form) this will reconcile 400 years of bad blood between the Anglican church and the Vatican. Soon, converts tot he Old Faith will be swelling the pews (and coffers) and the Church will be back on top, having reclaimed a long lost kingdom.[5]

It wouldn’t seem any less likely.

_________
1. Assuming of course that it isn’t a giant hoax on His Honor. There was speculation that Foundation X could be
The Office of International Treasury Control (OITC), which I had honestly never heard of until this came up. Their Wikipedia entry is fascinating to say the least. That there exists int he real world a shadowy cabal claiming to manage the world’s finances is honestly not that surprising. Though they really need a more colorful name than OITC. Something like The Skeleton Key or Brotherhood of Midas would be appropriate.

2.This is where things start to sound like a cross between a Nigerian 419 scam and Glen Beck pilfering your grandma’s wedding ring on FoxNews. And if it turned out that Lord Blackheath was contacted by an organization headed by a deposed Nigerian Prince, would this story seem more or less likely?

3. Lord Blackheath casually mentioned in this speech, recorded in the Hansard, that he had helped launder IRA money through legitimate banks, which not only adds a bit of credibility to this scenerio, but also is probably why Foundation X contacted him in the first place. I’m sure there are worse ways to earn one’s pearage than being known as the Lord of Money Laundering, but not many. But Black markets are still markets and the line between legitimate and illegitimate business is blurring all the time (See: Cheney, Dick; Blackwater).

4. I’m guessing JP II, that wily Pole, would not take to kindly to the knowledge that he was sitting on several metric tons of Nazi gold and probably would have spileld th ebeans. Though, he apparently knew about the Vatican’s international pedophile ring as well, so maybe he was not quite the stand up guy popular opinion would have us believe. Either way, a stash of nazi gold is one opf those need to know secrets that could easily be kept from particularly liberalism Popes, especially in an institution of that size. So for th epurpose of our story, we’ll pretend JPII was ignorant of this little skeleton in St. Peter’s closet.

5. Ignoring of course that Britain is the second most secular nation in the world and the Brits in no real hurry to get religion any time soon. But all stories are allowed one implausible fact. OK, maybe in this case, two.

The Golden Age

This is everything that is wrong with the global economy, all in one tidy little package. And yes, it comes from the UAE, which along with Dubai, is emblematic of late stage capitalism in all it’s horrific beauty. It’s the perfect mix of traditional values and unregulated commerce that US Conservatives are always going on about but don’t have the balls to act out. There’s a gross pageantry in that part of the world that still finds medieval displays of ostentatious wealth to be just fine and dandy. In Europe, they made sumptuary laws against this sort of thing for a reason. So, if there’s some grandiose manifestation of opulent greed run amok, it will shimmer into existance in that crass little pocket of decadence, like a heat mirage filtered through Donald Trump’s libido. I’m not one to go in for supernatural explanations when human agency is good enough at explaining things but fucking hell, a gold-dispensing vending machine? There is clearly an evil force at work here. Probably a Djinn. Maybe a wizard. An evil, evil wizard.

There’s really only one thing you can pay for with gold. Or rather, one class of thing and none of it wholesome. You can’t drop by the corner market in Abu Dubai and pick up a gallon of milk, paid for with a gold dabloon. An ingot will not buy you a candy bar, or even a meal at a posh restaurant. The staff just doesn’t have the wherewithal to handle that sort of transaction. Where do you stack the bars where the busboys won’t trip over them? Counting out a till full of gold dust at the end of the night brings a fresh hell to the dreams of anyone whose ever worked retail. You just can’t spend gold anywhere, is what I’m getting at. That’s why we have paper money and electronic accounting. Lugging around a purse full of pieces of eight instills one to levels of pomposity we tend to find a bit gouche. A fist full of gold inspires one to dress the part. Before long, you’re wearing poet sleeves unironically, carrying around snuff and whipping out silk hankies. That’s why this shit goes down over in the UAE. They’ve already got the fancy wardrobe for that sort of thing. You see a man in caftan and mirror shades, accompanied by an entourage of thugs in thousand dollar shoes and you expect that man to have on his person a velvet lined bag full of precious metals. Well, not on his person. He has someone who handles the carrying of such things for him. Probably a eunuch.

But why? Why convert a chunk of your walking around cash into a piece of gold?* Just to have something fancy to fondle when you get bored of belittling the peasants?

The sort of man who would want gold from a dispenser at any hour of the day is the sort of man who wouldn’t think twice about buying a person. ” Buying as person what? A fancy watch? A painting?” No. That sentence didn’t end prematurely. You deal in gold when you want to purchase a human life, but don’t want to mess around with the sticky legal contrails paper currency and digital transactions leave behind.

Gold is the perfect currency for human trafficking. Child prostitutes. Slave labor. What have you. And if you’re not into the buying and selling of other people, there’s always good old fashioned money laundering. Gold is untraceable. It’s also a commodity with a proven, intrinsic value and while the price fluctuates, it’s never not going to be in demand. Which of course makes sense why they’d install the first gold vending machine in the UAE. Not exactly a nice neighborhood, even if everyone’s driving Lamborghinis and dressed like CEOs.

And of course, there’s the other end of that queasy supply and demand transaction. That repugnant slave trader you met in some abandoned parking garage at 2am may have some even less savory business ventures he’d like to fund with that gold of yours. There’s always someone else looking to trade you something interesting for your pile of gold bars. And it ain’t a roast beef sandwich with all the trimmings, that’s for certain.

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* Fun fact: Since pissing off so many legit businesses with his cretinous rants, Glenn Beck’s show is heavily sponsored by companies who offer to buy your gold jewelry, for which they will pay you the going market rate. This is part of a growing trend n the Tea Bagger subculture, which has decided to embrace, among many other bad ideas, investing in gold as away to survive the coming socialist/Marxist economic collapse. This has created a small but growing investment bubble in gold. And as we all know, investment bubbles are just keen!