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It's only when we assume that this inequality must be the result of unfair coercion and exploitation at a systemic level that it becomes political fodder.

I don't agree with that, but it's tangential to the central question here, which is where on the Wealth Line in the FSoA do people stop being Poor and become Middle Class, and when do Middle Class people stop being Middle Class and become Rich?  ???  :icon_sunny:


The rest of it is just arbitrary measures of relative income/wealth used to make sweeping economic and political claims that are unwarranted.

Why are they "unwarranted"?  People are very concerned about their station in life relative to their neighbors.  "Keeping up with the Joneses" in the lexicon.  Jack down the street buys a New Tesla, Bill has to buy  new Mercedes EV to go him one better.

Besides that, you're bombarded every day in the media with the "Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous".  It's just not good enough you see to have a small McHovel on the wrong side of the tracks.  Everyone in the society aspires to be Kim Kardashian or Richard Branson.

Beyond THAT, if you are male and want to attract quality women, it takes $MONEY$ 🤑.  Trust me I know about this, been there, done that. own the T-shirt.

How much money you have is the measure of Status in this society, and status is very important among all primates, and plenty of other mammals also.

I hardly think anything beyond abject poverty is "unwaranted" in discussing wealth.


Energy / 🔦 Venezuela Blackouts
« on: Today at 01:38:44 PM »
Can you imagine if when it's New York Shity in this situation and not Caracas?  :o


Venezuela: call for calm amid blackouts and anti-Maduro protests

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Vice-president blames ‘fascist right’ and its ‘imperial masters’ in Washington for power cuts

Tom Phillips in Caracas

Tue 26 Mar 2019 08.27 EDT
Last modified on Tue 26 Mar 2019 16.05 EDT

Millions of Venezuelans endure another blackout – video

Nicolás Maduro’s embattled administration has called for calm after millions of Venezuelans were again plunged into darkness by a nationwide blackout reportedly affecting 21 of its 23 states and the capital, Caracas.

In a late-night television broadcast – which most people were unable to watch because of the outage – the communications minister, Jorge Rodríguez, claimed it was the result of a “brutal” attack on a hydroelectric plant on Monday night.

The blackout – which had yet to be resolved by Tuesday morning – came a fortnight after virtually the entire country was paralysed by a six-day power failure.

“We want to ask the people of Venezuela to assist us in this recovery process by continuing to show the tranquility and strength we have demonstrated in recent days because we will manage to defeat this electricity war against the people of Venezuela,” Rodríguez said. “We are working with great determination.”
Jorge Rodríguez speaks during a broadcast at the Miraflores palace in Caracas.
Jorge Rodríguez speaks during a broadcast at the Miraflores palace in Caracas. Photograph: Reuters

Earlier, his sister, the vice-president, Delcy Rodríguez, accused Venezuela’s “fascist right” and its “imperial masters” in Washington of causing another major blackout that struck on Monday lunchtime and affected at least 16 states.

Neither offered evidence anti-Maduro “saboteurs” were behind Venezuela’s blackouts. Many people suspect they are the result of crumbling infrastructure caused by years of corruption, incompetence and under-investment.

Others, however, are convinced by the government’s claim that the blackouts are part of a US conspiracy to destabilise the country and topple Maduro.
'Horror, fear, despair': Venezuela's oil capital shattered by 'tsunami' of violent looting
Read more

“Donald Trump will not set foot in our country. This is a free and sovereign nation,” said Thais Coa, a 56-year-old head teacher, after her school was closed by a power failure.

At a recent pro-Maduro rally in Caracas, the Chavista activist and historian José Corredor claimed the blackouts had been “cooked up” by the opposition and the White House in order to provoke chaos that would allow them to seize power – and Venezuela’s natural resources.

“The US wants to take over the world,” Corredor fumed. Asked if he had a message for Donald Trump, Corredor replied in English: “Fuck you.”

The opposition politicians battling to force Maduro from power described Monday night’s blackout as further proof Hugo Chávez’s political heir needed to step down.

“They are liars and they are corrupt,” tweeted Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader who declared himself Venezuela’s rightful interim president in January and is now recognised by most western governments.

“Right now we are planning actions to express the indignation of the entire population which will no longer tolerate the trickery of those responsible for the disaster they have turned Venezuela into,” Guaidó added.

Others voiced concern for the lives of patients in Venezuela’s already buckling hospitals.

María Teresa Belandria, who Guaidó recently named his parallel ambassador to Brazil, tweeted: “All I can do is pray. For the sick. For those who need oxygen. For the babies in incubators. Pray. God, please look to us with merciful eyes.”

Leonardo Padrón, a prominent Venezuelan journalist, tweeted: “This country is a shadow filled with people.”

Venezuela’s capital was left almost entirely in the dark when electricity went off shortly before 10pm on Monday, prompting loud cries of abuse directed at Maduro.

“No doubt they will come out tonight and say this was another imperialist act of sabotage by the US government,” Jerry Rodríguez, a 19-year-old resident of Caracas, predicted before Venezuela’s government did precisely that.

“This is stupid, there’s nothing to support this. There’s no logic to it.”

Caracas was not the only region affected. Local media said at least 21 states lost power including Venezuela’s most populous state, Zulia, and Barinas, where Chávez was born and raised. In the early hours of Tuesday, Venezuela’s presidency announced that school and work would be cancelled for at least 24 hours while it attempted to restore power.

Ysmaria Miranda, a 40-year-old dentist from the northern state of Anzoátegui, said there was no electricity near her home in the city of Anaco. Like many, she had no idea when it might return.

“I feel frustrated. All the basic services [will] fail as here no electricity means no water,” Miranda said.

“I blame … the government. Inefficiency,” she added.

"Middle class" is a loaded word, just like 'rich' is a loaded word.

Most Americans are taught that if they have income above the poverty line, then that makes them middle class. Especially if they can hit that magic "median household income" number, which is now just over 60K.

Median net worth is about 97K. But older married people my age are worth 3 times that much.

How rich is that really? Well, if you put your 300k into a CD in the bank, it will return a whopping $700/ month...add that to your average Social Security check and it gets you to a whopping $2K per month.

So how middle class is that?  It's below the poverty line for a family of four. Spare me your middle class retirement. It sucks.

They may be "loaded" words, but we use them all the time when discussing wealth, and are commonly used by politicians, media, protesters, etc.

If we don't have a definition of what they mean, discussing this topic is impossible.

We are no closer to such a definition.


Paranthetically, Harald Eia who gave the TED talk isn't a practicing professional sociologist who works in academia.  He graduated witha "Candidates Degree" which is roughly equivalent to a Master's.  He's a Documentary filmmaker and comedian on Norwegian TV who is obviously on his own agenda.

Harald Eia - Brainwash

Here's one of his documentary series:

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You can find more of the episodes HERE.


We're no closer here to getting a definition of Poor, Middle Class and Rich to work with.


That and it reflects only the immediate picture since I spent many years earning far less.

Oh of course.  Same here.  I spent many years earning a good deal more, and a few years earning less.  It's only a measure of your current situation.



Wealth and income are two different things. This is a an important distinction, and you shouldn't conflate the two. This is something that amounts to a common mistake, not a way to get to the truth of anything. Only poor people think high net income equals wealth. Rich people know better than that.

Well, the Global Rich List website provides a calculator for both parameters, so clearly they think both are important measures for determining how rich you are.

What's the purpose?  To try and get some kind of reasonable definition of when you leave the Poor to become Middle Class, and when you leave the Middle Class to become Rich.  Until we have a definition we can agree on, we can't discuss the issue in any reasonable fashion.


It already has served a purpose.  As I know a bit more about RE and Eddie than the average reader, and since I certainly know my own situation the calculator shows that the Capitalism/Socialism debate in the Diner is being conducted by white old farts all of whom are in the upper 2% of global income/assets.

Being in the upper2% Globally doesn't mean a whole lot when you have the Ameikan CoL to pay to live.  That's why you have to isolate that portion of the table to get comparitive measures of Amerikans.



I think fixed income Frank is close to underfunded and will have to watch his pennies closely. [/quote]

Of course he is underfunded!  That's why he is in the "Poor" category! lol.  It is however the situation that about 40% of Amerikan retired people are in.

I find Professional Pete must be living above his means because with that income his savings are weak; 20 years at $60000 he should be reading the Money Mustache guy!

That's debatable.  Depends how often his cars broke down and whether his kids need orthodontics and whether he stayed healthy.

Business bill seems to be doing better than any grease monkey I've ever met and 90 percent of small business owners I know. I punched in my own numbers; Made me feel very well off.

Obviously, you have never known any Body Shop owners in Springfield, MO.  My nephew raced on the NASCAR dirt track there.  The guy who owned the majority interest in the track had the biggest car repair and body shop in SW Missouri.  He ran some nice carz.

Care to share with us where you fall in percentages on the Global Rich scale?



Wealth and income are two different things. This is a an important distinction, and you shouldn't conflate the two. This is something that amounts to a common mistake, not a way to get to the truth of anything. Only poor people think high net income equals wealth. Rich people know better than that.

Well, the Global Rich List website provides a calculator for both parameters, so clearly they think both are important measures for determining how rich you are.

What's the purpose?  To try and get some kind of reasonable definition of when you leave the Poor to become Middle Class, and when you leave the Middle Class to become Rich.  Until we have a definition we can agree on, we can't discuss the issue in any reasonable fashion.


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Next Up: Beto atop Skyscrapers.  Beto atop the Statue of Liberty?  Somebody has to Photoshop that one.

Best Publicity gimmick in DECADES!  Millenials gotta love this shit.


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 ENVIRONMENT 03/25/2019 08:55 pm ET
Global Carbon Emissions Hit Record High In 2018: IEA

China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70 percent of the rise in energy demand.
Nina Chestney

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) - Global energy-related carbon emissions rose to a record high last year as energy demand and coal use increased, mainly in Asia, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

Energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7 percent to 33.1 billion tonnes from the previous year, the highest rate of growth since 2013, with the power sector accounting for almost two-thirds of this growth, according to IEA estimates.

The United States’ CO2 emissions grew by 3.1 percent in 2018, reversing a decline a year earlier, while China’s emissions rose by 2.5 percent and India’s by 4.5 percent.

Europe’s emissions fell by 1.3 percent and Japan’s fell for the fifth year running.

Carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global average temperature rise which countries are seeking to curb to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.

For the first time, the IEA assessed the impact of fossil fuel use on the increase in global temperature and found that CO2 emitted from coal consumption was responsible for over 0.3 degrees Celsius of the 1 degree rise in global average temperature since pre-industrial times.

Global energy demand grew by 2.3 percent in 2018, nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a strong global economy and higher heating and cooling demand in some parts of the world, the IEA said.

“We have seen an extraordinary increase in global energy demand in 2018, growing at its fastest pace this decade,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.

“Last year can also be considered another golden year for gas ... but despite major growth in renewables, global emissions are still rising, demonstrating once again that more urgent action is needed on all fronts,” he added.

By country, China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70 percent of the rise in energy demand.

Global gas demand increased at its fastest rate since 2010, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, driven by higher demand as switching from gas to coal increased.

Demand for energy from renewable sources rose by 4 percent but the use of renewables needs to expand much more quickly to meet long-term climate goals, the report said.

Oil demand grew by 1.3 percent in 2018, while coal consumption was up 0.7 percent as higher demand in Asia outpaced declines everywhere else.

“Coal-to-gas switching avoided almost 60 million tonnes of coal demand, with the transition to less carbon-intensive natural gas helping to avert 95 million tonnes of CO2 emissions,” the IEA said.

“Without this coal-to-gas switch, the increase in emissions would have been more than 15 percent greater,” it added.

(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by David Evans)


Recession fears trigger sea of red in Asian stocks; US and Europe are are only slightly lower
Callum Burroughs

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on December 04, 2018 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Recession Watch Banner

    Fears of a US recession reached new highs during Asian trading hours on the back of bond market warnings.
    US futures are slightly lower in trading after a brutal session on Friday which sent the S&P 500 1.9% lower.
    Nasdaq futures are down 0.3%, while European markets are mixed.

Asian stocks closed in the red with recessionary warnings front and center on Monday.

The selloff on Friday bled into Monday trading, but seemed to stop at Asia as US futures and European stocks are broadly flat. The worries followed a yield curve inversion last Friday, which signalled the bond market's increasing concern about global growth and US recession.

Weaker industrial data out of Germany and dovish moves by the Federal Reserve last week had also dampened sentiment.

Investors saw the inversion of the three month to 10 year year US Treasury yield curve on Friday, the first since 2007, as a flashing light on global recession which prompted a broader run on equities.

"Global stocks have taken a battering in the last couple of sessions as bond yields have sunk across the board," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at "The slide in yields last week was a red flag for equities; the bond market loudly proclaiming that it's not confident about the growth outlook."

Here's the roundup as of 10.32 a.m. in London (6.32 a.m. in New York)

    The Shanghai Composite dropped 2% Monday while Japan's Nikkei plunged 3% as the country's economy struggles through global economic headwinds.
    In the US, futures are slightly in the red with the Nasdaq down 0.3% while the Dow and S&P 500 are both 0.1% lower.
    European markets are mixed, but broadly flat. The Euro Stoxx 50, France's CAC and Germany's DAX index are all little changed.
    US 10-year Treasury yields dived on Friday following the yield curve inversion but investors have fled equity markets for bonds Monday, with yields up 0.4%
    Oil, which had previously been boosted by OPEC+ cuts, slightly declined amid growth fears with Brent down 0.1% and WTI 0.4% lower.

SEE ALSO: Yet another recession warning just flashed red — a Treasury 'yield curve' just inverted for the first time since 2007


Michael Avenatti arrested on federal charges of wire fraud and extortion

By Stefan Becket

March 25, 2019 / 9:56 PM / CBS News

Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels' and a fierce critic of President Trump, speaks to the media after being arrested for allegedly trying to extort Nike for $15-$25 million on March 25, 2019, in New York City. Getty

Attorney Michael Avenatti, who came to national prominence as the lawyer for adult film star Stormy Daniels, was arrested on federal charges in two separate cases in California and New York, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York charged Avenatti for allegedly trying to extort Nike for nearly $20 million. Prosecutors said he and another attorney threatened to release damaging information about the company if it did not meet his demands.

The U.S. attorney in Los Angeles separately announced Avenatti faces bank and wire fraud charges for allegedly embezzling money from a client and defrauding a bank through fake tax returns.

Avenatti was arrested in New York and appeared in federal court Monday afternoon in Manhattan. He was released on a $300,000 personal recognizance bond and ordered to surrender his passport. He is also required to report any transactions of $5,000 or more to the court, and his travel is restricted. He's scheduled to appear in court in California on April 1, with preliminary hearings in New York set for April 25.

The criminal complaint in the New York case says Avenatti and an alleged co-conspirator, an attorney identified as "CC-1," requested a meeting with Nike's lawyers in New York last Tuesday, March 19. Two of the attorneys represent Nike as outside counsel at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, and one of the attorneys works for Nike in-house.

CBS News has learned CC-1 is Mark Geragos, the high-profile celebrity attorney whose recent clients include former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the actor Jussie Smollett. Geragos was not charged in the complaint released Monday. His office said he had no comment on the allegations.

During the meeting at Geragos' office, Avenatti said he represented the coach of an amateur athletic union (AAU) basketball team in California whose contract with Nike had not been renewed. He said the coach had evidence of Nike employees funneling illegal payments to top high school basketball prospects and their families.

The coach Avenatti said he represented is Gary Franklin of Los Angeles, CBS News has learned. Franklin is the cofounder and executive director of the California Supreme, a basketball program in Southern California.

Avenatti allegedly threatened to hold a press conference detailing the allegations to coincide with the beginning of the NCAA basketball tournament and Nike's quarterly earnings call. The complaint says Avenatti offered to scrap the press conference if Nike paid his client $1.5 million and hired Avenatti to conduct an internal investigation of the company.

After the meeting later that afternoon, Nike's attorneys contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office to report the alleged extortion attempt.

On March 20, the next day, two of the Nike attorneys held a phone call with Avenatti that was recorded by law enforcement. Avenatti allegedly reiterated his demands for payment for him and his client.

"I'm not f---ing around with this, and I'm not continuing to play games," Avenatti was recorded as saying. "You guys know enough now to know you've got a serious problem. And it's worth more in exposure to me to just blow the lid on this thing. A few million dollars doesn't move the needle for me. I'm just being really frank with you."

"I'll go and I'll go take $10 billion off your client's market cap. But I'm not f***ing around," he said.

On March 21 — the day of the Nike earnings call and the first day of the NCAA Tournament — the group met again in New York, with the Nike attorneys recording the meeting. They asked Avenatti and Geragos whether they could arrange to make a payment without an internal investigation.

"If [Nike] wants to have one confidential settlement and we're done, they can buy that for $22.5 million and we're done," Avenatti is quoted as saying. "Full confidentiality, we ride off into the sunset."

Avenatti set a deadline of Monday, March 25, to reach an agreement and arranged another meeting. Early Monday afternoon, Avenatti tweeted: "Tmrw at 11 am ET, we will be holding a press conference to disclose a major high school/college basketball scandal perpetrated by @Nike that we have uncovered."

He was arrested when he showed up for the meeting in New York, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a press conference.

In a statement Monday afternoon, Nike said it "will not be extorted or hide information that is relevant to a government investigation."

"Nike has been cooperating with the government's investigation into NCAA basketball for over a year. When Nike became aware of this matter, Nike immediately reported it to federal prosecutors," the company said. "Nike firmly believes in ethical and fair play, both in business and sports, and will continue to assist the prosecutors."

In the California case, prosecutors charged Avenatti with wire fraud, saying he negotiated a $1.6 million settlement for a client but used the money for personal use and to pay expenses for his coffee business.

Avenatti is also charged with bank fraud in California. According to the criminal complaint, Avenatti lied about his income to obtain more than $4 million in loans from a Mississippi bank in 2014. The complaint alleges Avenatti gave The Peoples Bank bogus tax returns showing more than $14 million in earnings for the three preceding years. In fact, the complaint alleges, Avenatti never filed returns for those years, and owed the IRS $850,000 from prior years.

Avenatti came to prominence for his representation of Daniels, the adult film star who alleged she had an affair with President Trump and was paid for her silence in the weeks before the 2016 election. On Monday, Daniels said she cut ties with Avenatti more than a month ago "after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly."

Lex Haris contributed to this report.

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