Tag Archives: Corporate Oligarchy

Why American Presidents are so Rotten

By F. William Engdahl
July 13, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

242342342What few people inside or outside the United States grasp is the fundamental transformation of US politics, especially since the 1970’s, from political parties with stable mass-based constituencies to two parties bought lock, stock and barrel by a handful of American oligarchs with one agenda—the advancement of the interests of those same oligarchs regardless of the social consequences. Next year, 2016 is a Presidential election year. Already so-called front-runners are being proclaimed by mainstream media. It has nothing to do with genuine voter support but rather with the money behind Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush.

To understand this transformation makes clearer why the United States and their Washington politicians have become some of the most despised and ridiculed in the world today and why recent presidents from Ronald Reagan through to Barack Obama have been so morally rotten.

A key part of the transformation of America has come from extraordinary Supreme Court rulings. The country has gone from a country and political system where bipartisan consensus and cooperation on legislation in Washington was the hallmark of Washington politics, to the present undemocratic state. Today ultimately there is not a dime’s difference between major candidates—Democrat or Republican. This is because there has been a series of Supreme Court rulings and laws that virtually eliminate what used to be strict limits on how much money individuals and special interest groups could give to get their candidate elected.

Creation of the American Oligarchy

Because of changes introduced in the 1980’s from the Bush-Reagan presidencies the amount of tax exemptions enjoyed by the highest income group has soared while burdens on what was once the stable middle class in income has been squeezed severely over the past three decades. As of 2010 the richest 400 Americans–people like Bill Gates, George Soros, Ted Turner, Warren Buffett, David Rockefeller—had more assets than half of all Americans.

While the average incomes of the top 20 percent in the United States grew by 43 percent in inflation-adjusted terms between 1979 and 2012, the average incomes of those in the middle 60 percent grew by only 10 percent, and the incomes of the bottom 20 percent actually fell by 3 percent. The top rapidly pulled away from the middle, while the bottom simultaneously fell further behind.

The financial crisis that exploded in 2007 with the bursting of the housing bubble devastated the middle class while tax laws enacted after 2008 helped the top 10%. The period since the first Ronald Reagan presidency in 1981 has seen the phenomenal rise of a genuine American oligarchy. The Greek word oligarchy means a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a few. It can be an oligarchy of royalty. In America today it is an oligarchy of wealth. This is the background to the dangerous developments in US election campaign financing.

No limits…

Since 1979 the US Supreme Court has handed down decisions that have literally opened the floodgates to the oligarchs’ takeover of elections.

After the Nixon Watergate campaign scandal in 1974 Congress passed amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act. The amendments created a bipartisan Federal Election Commission (FEC), to oversee and enforce the law that initially set limits to total costs of federal campaigns. The act set up disclosure requirements for federal candidates, political parties, and political action committees of donations. On the surface all looked well and good. Political elections would be monitored strictly to prevent big money interests from buying elections.

Then in 1979 Congress made amendments to the FECA law that opened a giant financing loophole in the once strict FECA. A loophole allowed individuals, unions, and corporations to give unlimited sums to parties and national party committees for “party-building” purposes. These donations are known as “soft money.”

That was not enough for some special interests. They wanted to be certain they could push the “little man” out of politics with their money, along the motto “Who pays the piper calls the tune.”

In 2007 during the George W. Bush administration the Supreme Court took up the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life. The Court ruled, 5—4, that bans on ads paid for by corporations or unions in the weeks leading up to an election are an unconstitutional restriction on the right to advocate on an issue. “Discussion of issues cannot be suppressed simply because the issues may also be pertinent in an election,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.

Then, in 2010 during the Obama first term, the Supreme Court ruled, 5–4, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that the government cannot restrict the spending of corporations, unions, and other groups for political campaigns, maintaining that it’s their First Amendment right to support candidates as they choose. The US Constitution’s First Amendment in the Bill of Rights prohibits Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.

In the majority decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the astonishing conclusion, “We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” The decision gave rise to a proliferation of “super PACs” or Political Action Committees that opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of money to be poured into political campaigns.

The consequences of these successive rulings has been the soaring costs of all public elections, meaning that only candidates who can woo the big money from Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry, Monsanto and the agribusiness lobby and private billionaires have a chance to win. No chance for a maverick like Ron Paul or son Rand Paul or Bernie Sanders.

‘Dark money’ now has free speech right

Now the Republicans in the US Congress have just passed a new law that insures that so-called “dark money” will remain dark. Dark money refers to money that passes through supposedly non-political social welfare non-profit organizations, such as the Koch Brothers’ Crossroads GPS or the League of Conservation Voters, and is therefore free from disclosure.

On June 17, the House Appropriations Committee passed the 2016 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. It included provisions that ensure that the so-called “dark money” of elections remains very dark. Section 129 of the bill prevents the IRS from making any investigation whether these social welfare groups are acting exclusively for social welfare; Section 625 prevents the SEC from requiring disclosure of political donations for publicly traded companies; Section 735 prevents a rule that requires government contractors disclose their contributions to political groups, nonprofits, and trade unions.

A closer look at the various candidates for the 2016 Presidential nominations in both Republican and Democratic parties reveals the shocking reality that almost every single one has backing of one or more American billionaires—not millionaires, but billionaires.

The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, behind the controversial Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to Texas, neo-conservatives who sit on the board of the American Enterprise Institute think tank, have publicly vowed to spend nearly $900 million to influence election races in 2016. Billionaires George Soros and Alice Walton, a Walmart heiress, back the ‘Ready for Hillary’ PAC, backing Hillary Clinton. Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign was backed by billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, also a financier of Israel’s Netanyahu. Republican “golden boy,” Jeb Bush, is backed by numerous billionaires, many from Wall Street like Henry Kravis.

With the latest dark money law, most Americans will have no clue who is buying which candidate but we can be sure both candidates, Democrat and Republican, will be backed by the financial networks of this American money oligarchy. Little wonder that recent American politics—domestic and foreign have been so rotten. These days we get what they pay for…

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

The Trans Pacific Partnership & Why It’s Nothing But A Corporate Takeover

By Andrew Martin
July 3, 2015
Collective Evolution

 

tppA Great Example of Free Trade

On the 9th of May 2000, Bill Clinton in his presidential speech was selling the merits of allowing China to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the American people.

“If you believe in a future of greater openness and freedom for the people of China, you ought to be for this agreement. If you believe in a future of greater prosperity for the American people you certainly should be for this agreement, if you believe in security and peace for Asia and the world you should be for this agreement. This is the right thing to do, it is a historic opportunity and a profound American responsibility.” Clinton went on to suggest the entry of China into the WTO would offer “a brighter future for American workers and American manufacturers. Economically this agreement is the equivalent of a one way street, it requires China to open its markets with a fifth of the world’s population, potentially the biggest markets in the world. For the first time China will agree to play by the open trading rules we do. It has never happened before, for the first time our companies will be able to sell and distribute products in China made by workers here in America.” (1)

If we look back at Clinton’s speech it becomes obvious who really benefited. The failure of governments to foresee any negative impacts of offshoring manufacturing and industry has resulted in a decimation of the middle and working class in many nations. While China has benefited significantly (economically) at least in the short term, other nations have seen their economies stripped of any meaningful industry. While most governments race to promote ‘free trade’ and the opening of foreign trade and investment, few understand the consequence this has on local economies.. or do they?

Hiding What is Really Going On

The “official unemployment rate” in the United States, as outlined by “Unemployment USA,” is promoted to the public between 5 and 6%. John Williams, an economic consultant who publishes “Shadow Statistics,” examines the data many mainstream media outlets fail to update or question. In a 2013 interview, Williams outlined that “the numbers are a matter of definition. If you interviewed those who are unemployed you would get a much higher rate than what the government puts out as its definition.” The headline unemployment figure is calculated by examining the civilian labor force and includes only people who are working or have looked for a job in the previous four weeks. “So if you have given up looking for a job because there is no longer any point then you are not included in the headline unemployment figures. Given the way the government’s headline unemployment rate is calculated, it can never reach 14%. This is because when the economy gets really bad (like now), unemployed workers get discouraged and give up looking for jobs. This causes the civilian labor force to decline, faster than total employment.” Williams points out that back in 1994 discouraged workers were counted. If you hadn’t looked for work in the last two years but you were still ready and able to take a job the government counted you, but it doesn’t now. Williams estimates that if the calculation was the same or similar to what it was back in 1994, the unemployment rate would be more in line with 23%. (2)

The Trans Pacific Partnership – A Corporate Takeover

There is currently plenty of talk about the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement secretly being negotiated. Firstly, if this is such as good deal for everyone, why isn’t there transparency and open debate, and why is this deal being done in private? Doesn’t seem that democratic, does it? Yet it seems the words liberty, democracy, and freedom are overused as catch cries from our political masters, who simply mouth these words to appease the masses. Secondly, I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “fast track” it conjures up thoughts of missing a few steps or doing things a bit half arsed…

The current “Trans Pacific Partnership” deal, which is being negotiated secretively between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, may well be another effort to decimate the workforce in favour of multinational profits. The “Public Citizen” organization certainly thinks so. It believes the latest TPP is an effort to offshore American jobs and increase income inequality, increase the cost of medicines, sneak in SOPA-like threats to internet freedom, empower corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards, expose the U.S. to unsafe food and products, and roll back Wall Street reforms. Sounds like one massive corporate bail out doesn’t it!

To take it one step further, the TPP would even elevate individual foreign firms to equal status with sovereign nations. This would empower them to privately enforce new rights and privileges, provided by the pact, by dragging governments to foreign tribunals to challenge public interest policies that they claim frustrate their expectations. The tribunals would be authorized to order taxpayer compensation to the foreign corporations for the “expected future profits” they surmise would be inhibited by the challenged policies. (3)

Stacking The Deck

Generally free trade agreements such as this have little to do with trade, they are about changing and stacking the deck in favour of those who will benefit. From the information available it appears that the TPP will give more power to corporations to attack and litigate against foreign nations. The late Albert Allen Bartlett, the well-respected Professor of physics at the University of Colorado (Boulder) who spoke extensively about the energy sector, suggested that “one of the principle motivations behind the U.S support for these trade agreements is to allow the U.S get their hands on resources before these resources get developed and countries want to use them for themselves.” (4) He may well be right!

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) section of the TPP would effectively give special rights to foreign investors included in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). This would open up the flood gates from which foreign investors (large multinationals) could potentially sue governments if their investments were deemed to be affected by a change in a law or policy. National regulations in areas such as food labelling, workers rights, safety and environmental protection would be at risk of violation. To illustrate, I will use an example of a large multinational mining company who wants to explore and drill for oil and gas in a certain environmentally sensitive area in your country. Under the TPP agreement any restrictions which may be placed upon the company in regard to exploration and drilling may be cause for potential litigation if the “interests of the conglomerate” could be affected. The national government of the particular country would have to either fight the litigation (tax payer funded of course) or simply give in to the company and let them do whatever they like! In effect, any TPP deal would jeopardize national sovereignty and potentially wreak havoc on the environment.

Bring in Your Own Lawyers

These disputes would be heard by an international investment tribunal (more deck stacking) with no independent judges. There would be no precedents or appeals, so decisions could be inconsistent, yet could have the ability to undermine national laws. Some argue that The TPP is being driven by the U.S in an effort to further the interests of American corporations and American workers after seeing its industry and economy decimated by Chinese dominance over the last decades. It might be a way of embedding trade between these countries to ensure China does not become more economically dominant throughout the Pacific and Asia. However, I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the prominent economist and professor at the School of Public Policy, Herman Daly, who argues that “globalisation has been a policy choice of the elites, not of the average citizen.” The mantra of “we live in a globalised economy and have no choice but to compete in the global growth race” has misled countries into supporting free capital mobility and global integration. “Globalisation” (national disintegration) was an actively pursued policy, not an inertial force of nature. It was done to increase the power and growth of transnational corporations by moving them out from under the authority of nation states and into a non-existent “global community.” (5)

Regardless of the agendas being pushed, there are three important factors at play when it comes to this deal, all of which further undermine society. These are holding us back from true progress, not the kind multinationals seek in the exploitation of resources, people and the environment, these are the erosion of democracy, integrity, and national sovereignty. These are up for grabs… not just some dodgy agreement…

Article compiled by Andrew Martin, editor of onenesspublishing  and author of One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…  and Rethink…Your world, Your future.

RethinkcoverCE2Source: excerpts from Rethink…Your world, Your future.

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pg_Jr_DCyq8

(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk8saiBYXIc

(3) http://www.citizen.org/TPP

(4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHx4N1ujfH4

(5) http://steadystate.org/eight-fallacies-about-growth/

‘A Great Day for Corporate America’: US Senate Passes Fast Track

‘Shameful’ vote all but ensures approval of mammoth trade deals like the TransPacific Partnership

By Deirdre Fulton
June 24, 2015
Common Dreams

 

Thirteen Senate Democrats joined Republicans to make sure corporate interests had the necessary votes to pass the Fast Track bill through the chamber. “How shameful,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who voted against the measure. (Photo: Archive/with overlay)

In a win for multinational corporations and the global one percent, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday narrowly advanced Fast Track, or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) —ensuring for all practical purposes the continued rubber-stamping of clandestine trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The cloture motion to end debate needed 60 votes and it got just that, passing the chamber 60-37. The full roll call is here. A final vote will come on Wednesday. Having overcome the biggest hurdle, the legislation is expected to pass, and will then be sent to President Barack Obama’s desk to become law.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who campaigned vigorously against Fast Track, said the vote represented a win for corporate America. “The vote today—pushed by multi-national corporations, pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street—will mean a continuation of  disastrous trade policies which have cost our country millions of decent-paying jobs,” the presidential candidate said in a statement.

And Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), another of the most vocal opponents of Fast Track, railed against TPA moments before the vote, accusing Congress of turning on its “moral” obligation to assist the working class.

“How shameful,” Brown said. “We’re making this decision knowing that people will lose their jobs because of our action.”

According to The Hill:

Thirteen Democrats backed fast-track in Tuesday’s vote, handing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) a major legislative victory. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) voted against the procedural motion.

The Democrats cast “yes” votes even though the trade package did not include a workers assistance program for people displaced by increased trade. The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program was a part of the last fast-track package approved by the Senate in May, but became a key part of opposition to the package among Democrats in the House.

Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, pointed out that the vote only came about via “elaborate legislative contortions and gimmicks designed to hand multinational corporations their top priority.”

Such contortions were necessary, she added, “because the American people overwhelmingly oppose these deals, notwithstanding an endless barrage of propaganda.”

Indeed, response from the progressive grassroots was fast—and furious.

“We’re outraged that Congress today voted to fast track pollution, rather than the job-creating clean energy we need to address climate change,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org. “It’s clear this deal would extend the world’s dependence on fracked gas, forbid our negotiators from ever using trade agreements in the fight against global warming, and make it easier for big polluters to burn carbon while suing anyone who gets in the way. That’s why we’re so disappointed President Obama has taken up the banner for ramming this legislative pollution through the halls of Congress, in a way he never pushed for a climate bill.”

Groups threatened political fall-out for those Democrats who voted in favor of Fast Track.

“Senate Democrats who just voted to proceed on Fast Track for the job-killing Trans-Pacific Partnership openly betrayed the grassroots Democratic activists who helped elect them and have been exceedingly clear in their opposition to any legislation that allows more NAFTA-style trade deals to be jammed through Congress,” said Jim Dean, chair of Democracy for America. “The Senate Democrats who allowed Fast Track should know that this vote will be remembered, it will not be erased, and we will hold you accountable.”

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, echoed that warning as she declared, “The senators who provided the margin of Fast Track victory will face angry voters in their next elections. Constituents will hold them accountable for putting the interests of transnational corporations ahead of the public.”

In addition to calling out Senate Democrats who “betrayed people and the planet” by voting for cloture on Tuesday, National People’s Action Campaign executive director George Goehl lambasted “the virtual silence of the leading Democratic candidate for president,” which he said “shows the stranglehold corporations have over both political parties.”

And Sarah Anderson, director of the Global Economy program at the Institute for Policy Studies, said it was clear who will benefit most if the pending deals are given final passage. Today is a “great day for the big money interests,” she said following the Senate vote.

US criminal economics: TPP secret treaty = ‘constitutional republic,’ debt = ‘money’, 500 million+ dead from poverty = ‘necessary.’ Had enough to demand arrests?

By Carl Herman
June 23, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

Obama evilhat tip: Ellen Brown, Web of Debt Blog

“Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people… When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous.” – Psychology Today

The .01% psychopathic oligarch “leaders” (and here) in US government, banking/finance, and corporate media wage war upon the 99.99% in ~100 crucial areas. Aside from lie-began overt unlawful military Wars of Aggression connected to economic domination with the US starting over 200 such armed attacks since WW2 and war-murdering ~30 million people (with these crimes “covered” by corporate media, let’s consider three central economic policies:

Attempting to pass TPP (so-called, “Trans-Pacific Partnership”) to remain a classified “secret treaty” for four years if passed, and without the US Constitutional requirement of 2/3 Senate approval. This is clear to anyone with a high school US government class as illegal and the Orwellian opposite of limited government under a representative constitutional republic. This is unlimited government with “rules” dictated as they go.
Claiming that US escalating total debt is a “money” supply, despite the fact that creating what we use as money as debt is the same as adding negative numbers forever, and clear to anyone with a middle school mathematics education that such mechanics can only increase the total debt and interest totals forever. This “debt supply” guarantees increasing and unpayable debt to the big banks who create the debt out of nothing, and is fundamental fraud with harm in annual trillions of dollars to claim debt rather than debt-free money is “good for us” (full documentation). Government leaders have legal fiduciary responsibility to best represent the American public.
Claiming that ~ one million children dying every month in gruesomely slow and painful deaths from poverty is an economic necessity because we don’t have “enough money,” despite the facts that money is paper, the investment is less than 1% of income (which developed nations continuously promise and then fail to deliver), this reduces population growth rates in every historical case, and the CIA claims this is the best way to end global terrorism. The total number of deaths from preventable poverty since just 1975 is ~500 million; more than all deaths from all wars and acts of violence in all recorded human history (full documentation of all poverty claims). These are Crimes against Humanity for the systemic mass-murders of millions while supporting policies such as TPP as a “race to the bottom” to further animalize human labor.

The above three bullet points summarize, with the links providing complete and professional documentation. Those of us working for reforms are unaware of even any attempts to refute our factual claims; our experience is as attributed to Gandhi:

“First they ignore you.

Then they laugh at you.

Then they fight you.

And then you win.”

Explaining Gandhi’s statement of unchallenged facts, MIT’s Simon Johnson (and former Chief Economist of the International Monetary Fund) describes our big banks being led by gambling oligarchs who have captured government as in “banana republics” (his words). He concludes fraud is the heart of Wall Street. His immediate best-selling book, 13 Bankers: The Wall Street takeover and the next financial meltdown, was discussed with President Johnson’s Press Secretary and journalist with over 30 Emmy Awards, Bill Moyers, to explain the US banking system, loss of trillions of American taxpayer dollars to oligarchs’ manipulation as a matter of definitive fact, the looting of America being protected by partners with political muscle, and all rational consideration of the facts proving massive financial crimes:

SIMON JOHNSON: The American democracy was not given to us on a platter. It is not ours for all time, irrespective of our efforts. Either people organize and they find political leadership to take this on, or we are going to be in big trouble, okay?… That’s absolutely the heart of the problem. I would also say and tell you, and emphasize, these people will not come out and debate with us. The heads of these companies or their representatives, they will not come out. They’re afraid. They don’t have the substance. They don’t have the arguments. We have the evidence. They have the lobbyists. And that’s all they have.

BILL MOYERS: They’ve got the power, the muscle, the money.

SIMON JOHNSON: They have money.

BILL MOYERS: You just have the arguments. You just have the facts. On your side.

SIMON JOHNSON: Absolutely. That’s exactly what it comes down to.

The punchline of these .01% crimes is to ask you:

Are you demanding arrests of .01% criminal leaders for obvious crimes annually killing millions, harming billions, and looting trillions?

You can also rely upon your basic history education from middle and high school to remind you that such crimes are usual on Earth, from the Roman Empire to US treaty-violations to steal land in “expansions” for “self-defense.”

Let’s look at the reasoning to support a “yes” or “no” answer for demanding lawful arrests (arrests would be to stop apparently obvious crimes; more on refusing orders for obvious crimes).

Yes, I’m demanding arrests: Confirming the facts about this article’s three topics, and/or the ~100 other crucial areas of lies and crimes, along with consideration that the .01% propaganda you hear from “leaders” and corporate media are exactly the non-responses described by Gandhi and Simon Johnson, your demand for arrests of obvious .01% “leaders” is simple responsible citizenship to stop what any prudent observer would conclude are obvious crimes. This is exactly the response the US Founding Generation demanded of Americans in order to keep a constitutional republic.

“It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power… Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go… In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson, Draft Kentucky Resolution (1798. ME 17:388)

No, I’m not demanding arrests: My questions to you:

Explain to us how this article’s three topics are lawful, including the US ongoing Wars of Aggression.
If you conclude these are crimes, explain how failure to demand lawful arrests to stop these crimes is responsible citizenship.

Really, if you’re not demanding arrests and have answers to the above two questions, please respond at this article at Washington’s Blog. Those of us working for reforms have yet to find reasonable explanation that US policies centering in war and what is used for money are lawful.

**

Note: I make all factual assertions as a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History, with all economics factual claims receiving zero refutation since I began writing in 2008 among Advanced Placement Macroeconomics teachers on our discussion board, public audiences of these articles, and international conferences. I invite readers to empower their civic voices with the strongest comprehensive facts most important to building a brighter future. I challenge professionals, academics, and citizens to add their voices for the benefit of all Earth’s inhabitants.

**

Carl Herman is a National Board Certified Teacher of US Government, Economics, and History; also credentialed in Mathematics. He worked with both US political parties over 18 years and two UN Summits with the citizen’s lobby, RESULTS, for US domestic and foreign policy to end poverty. He can be reached at Carl_Herman@post.harvard.edu

Note: Examiner.com has blocked public access to my articles on their site (and from other whistleblowers), so some links in my previous work are blocked. If you’d like to search for those articles other sites may have republished, use words from the article title within the blocked link. Or, go to http://archive.org/web/, paste the expired link into the box, click “Browse history,” then click onto the screenshots of that page for each time it was screen-shot and uploaded to webarchive. I’ll update as “hobby time” allows; including my earliest work from 2009 to 2011 (blocked author pages: here, here).

Ignoring Reality, Subverting Morality: GMOs and the Neoliberal Apologists

By Colin Todhunter
June 14, 2015
Global Research

 

ee110-evil-monsantoMonsanto is often called one of the most ‘evil’ companies on the planet. It has a history of knowingly contaminating the environment and food with various poisons, cover ups and criminality (see this, outlining the company’s appalling history). In recent times, there has been much focus on its promotion and patenting of GMOs, the deleterious impacts of its glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup and how GMOs pose a threat to human and animal health, ecology and the environment (see this, for example).

Campaigners and activists have described how global agribusiness players like Monsanto are threatening food security and food democracy. Monsanto and others have been able to capture or unduly influence government regulatory/policy agendas, important trade deals and global trade policies via the WTO. Monsanto is a major player and wields enormous political influence and receives significant political support.

 

Little wonder then that we now have campaigns specifically targeting Monsanto. While it is laudable and correct to highlight the actions of Monsanto and indeed its partners like The Gates Foundation, we should not be side tracked from developing a wider analysis to understand the underlying forces that drive companies like Monsanto.

A recent piece by Christina Sarich shows that any shares held by Gates or the individuals at the top of the Monsanto corporate structure like CEO High Grant or CTO Robb Fraley are dwarfed by those held by institutional shareholders, such as Vanguard, Capital Research and State Street.

While it is difficult to specify the individuals behind these entities and others like them in the financial-corporate world, existing research (and in the absence of data, informed speculation) indicates the name Rothschild crops up time and again along with Goldman Sachs, Loebs Kuhn, Lehmans, Rockefeller, Warburg, Lazard and Israel Moses Seif. Moreover, the eight largest US financial companies (JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, US Bancorp, Bank of New York Mellon and Morgan Stanley) are entirely controlled by 10 shareholders and four companies appear as shareholders in these many of these: Black Rock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity. In fact, these four appear to be major stock holders in many major US and European companies. (See this broader breakdown of big money and ownership.)

Some try to divert your attention from these highly concentrated and overlapping patterns of ownership and the influence it brings by saying it all belongs in the realm of conspiracy theory and merely mouth tired cliches about ‘democracy’, but many of the families and individuals who own or control the world’s biggest corporations have not been sitting idly by. In some cases, they and their ancestors have been amassing wealth and exerting their power over a period of centuries. They haven’t appeared overnight, it’s taken them a long time for them to get to this stage and mold or set up institutions like the IMF, World Bank or WTO to do their bidding. So much so in fact that David Rothkpf estimates there are between 6-7,000 individuals who now form a global superclass.

Rothkopf is former managing director of Kissinger Associates and deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policies. In 2008, he published his book ‘Superclass: the Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making’:

“The superclass constitutes approximately 0.0001 percent of the world’s population. They are the Davos-attending, Gulfstream/private jet–flying, money-incrusted, megacorporation-interlocked, policy-building elites of the world, people at the absolute peak of the global power pyramid. They are 94 percent male, predominantly white, and mostly from North America and Europe. These are the people setting the agendas at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, G-8, G-20, NATO, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization. They are from the highest levels of finance capital, transnational corporations, the government, the military, the academy, nongovernmental organizations, spiritual leaders and other shadow elites. Shadow elites include, for instance, the deep politics of national security organizations in connection with international drug cartels, who extract 8,000 tons of opium from US war zones annually, then launder $500 billion through transnational banks, half of which are US-based.” Project Censored (Exposing the transnational ruling class)

Although we must not assume that this elite is a unified entity, there is an interlocking directorate of state-corporate entities that have a unity of interest in maintaining its wealth, power and the economic and political structures that facilitate this, while eradicating challenges to its power.

Through its control or membership of powerful think tanks, directorships, board memberships, horizontal and vertical integration of parent/sister corporate entities and cross-ownership, this club ensures the corporate media says what it wants it to say, opposition is muzzled, controlled or subverted, wars are fought on its behalf and the corporate control of every facet of life is increasingly brought under its influence – and that includes food: what is in it, who grows it and who sells it. Fail to understand the set up described here and you will fail to grasp that companies like Monsanto are but a tentacle of elite interests.

Jon Rappaport highlights how this interlocking directorate works on a company level by looking at Monsanto and Whole Foods. He shows that five out of the top 10 shareholders for each company – the holders of the most stock – are the same. The five are investment funds and they buy stocks in many companies. But this should not be regarded as some kind of conscious conspiracy to control the food market, although such a practice should not be discounted. Rappaport says these funds make automatic purchases of stocks, based on computer calculations and based on the rankings of companies.

The point is that when you focus solely on Monsanto, you may be failing to grasp the fact that if it weren’t Monsanto, or if Monsanto were to disappear, another company would appear because in a world of vulture corporations, profit compulsion and market capture, there is money to be made from GMO technology, markets to be ‘exploited’ and indigenous agriculture to be uprooted. The Rockefeller family and US agribusiness corporations realised this when they facilitated the ‘green revolution’ just as institutional speculators in land or commodity crops know it today.

Monsanto is integral to a system of globalisation that benefits Western oligarchs, which is underpinned by an increasingly powerful military-industrial complex that ensures these interests are served if other means fail (watch John Perkins here discussing his time as an economic hitman). And the result has often been highly profitable on the back of economic and social devastation. Look no further than Michel Chossudovsky’s analysis of Somalia or Ethiopia to see how agribusiness made a killing from policies that destroyed local economies and farming. The US and its corporations, facilitated by the IMF and WTO, effectively dismantle agrarian economies and then offer the problem as the cure.

Ultimately, the GM issue is not about ‘marching against Monsanto’, labelling or ‘choice’ – as important as all of that is – it is about the geopolitics of food and agriculture and challenging an increasingly integrated global cartel of finance, oil, military and agribusiness concerns that seek to gain from war, debt bondage and the control of resources, regardless of any notions relating to food security, good health and nutrition, biodiversity, food democracy, etc.

Instead of being informed about any of this, the public must listen to slick corporate mouthpieces like media-savvy Mark Lynas, or watch TV programmes like BBC Panorama that play fast and loose with facts and viewers’ emotions that tell us all is safe with GMO and this technology can rid the world of hunger. You see, it’s all about the ‘science’ (or debasement of it) and ‘helping the poor’ (while betraying a colonialist mindset) and nothing else, so we should just put up and shut up.

That’s the way they like it. Because any type of critical analysis that links the GMO issue with the system these neoliberal mouthpieces defend and which touches on the concerns outlined in this article is met with mockery and name calling from them – it’s all ‘anti-capitalist’ twaddle or conspiracy theory mouthed by a bunch of ‘green blob’, immoral, self-serving hippies, so they say.

They seem to think projection passes for debate. It doesn’t.

An American Oligarch‘s Dirty Tale of Corruption

By F. William Engdahl
June 12, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

soros1_1496566bRarely does the world get a true look inside the corrupt world of Western oligarchs and the brazen manipulations they use to enhance their fortunes at the expense of the public good. The following comes from correspondence of the Hungarian-born billionaire, now naturalized American speculator, George Soros. The hacker group CyberBerkut has published online letters allegedly written by Soros that reveal him not only as puppet master of the US-backed Ukraine regime. They also reveal his machinations with the US Government and the officials of the European Union in a scheme where, if he succeeds, he could win billions in the plunder of Ukraine assets. All, of course, would be at the expense of Ukrainian citizens and of EU taxpayers.

What the three hacked documents reveal is a degree of behind-the-scene manipulation of the most minute details of the Kiev regime by the New York billionaire.

In the longest memo, dated March 15, 2015 and marked “Confidential” Soros outlines a detailed map of actions for the Ukraine regime. Titled, “A short and medium term comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine,” the memo from Soros calls for steps to “restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement.” To do the restoring, Soros blithely notes that “General Wesley Clark, Polish General Skrzypczak and a few specialists under the auspices of the Atlantic Council [emphasis added—f.w.e.] will advise President Poroshenko how to restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement.”

Soros also calls for supplying lethal arms to Ukraine and secretly training Ukrainian army personnel in Romania to avoid direct NATO presence in Ukraine. The Atlantic Council is a leading Washington pro-NATO think tank.

Notably, Wesley Clark is also a business associate of Soros in BNK Petroleum which does business in Poland.

Clark, some might recall, was the mentally-unstable NATO General in charge of the 1999 bombing of Serbia who ordered NATO soldiers to fire on Russian soldiers guarding the Pristina International Airport. The Russians were there as a part of an agreed joint NATO–Russia peacekeeping operation supposed to police Kosovo. The British Commander, General Mike Jackson refused Clark, retorting, “I’m not going to start the Third World War for you.” Now Clark apparently decided to come out of retirement for the chance to go at Russia directly.

Naked asset grab

In his March 2015 memo Soros further writes that Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s “first priority must be to regain control of financial markets,” which he assures Poroshenko that Soros would be ready to assist in: “I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.”

He also calls on the EU to give Ukraine an annual aid sum of €11 billion via a special EU borrowing facility. Soros proposes in effect using the EU’s “AAA” top credit rating to provide a risk insurance for investment into Ukraine.

Whose risk would the EU insure?

Soros details, “I am prepared to invest up to €1 billion in Ukrainian businesses. This is likely to attract the interest of the investment community. As stated above, Ukraine must become an attractive investment destination.” Not to leave any doubt, Soros continues, “The investments will be for-profit but I will pledge to contribute the profits to my foundations. This should allay suspicions that I am advocating policies in search of personal gain. “

For anyone familiar with the history of the Soros Open Society Foundations in Eastern Europe and around the world since the late 1980’s, will know that his supposedly philanthropic “democracy-building” projects in Poland, Russia, or Ukraine in the 1990’s allowed Soros the businessman to literally plunder the former communist countries using Harvard University’s “shock therapy” messiah, and Soros associate, Jeffrey Sachs, to convince the post-Soviet governments to privatize and open to a “free market” at once, rather than gradually.

The example of Soros in Liberia is instructive for understanding the seemingly seamless interplay between Soros the shrewd businessman and Soros the philanthropist. In West Africa George Soros backed a former Open Society employee of his, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, giving her international publicity and through his influence, even arranging a Nobel Peace Prize for her in 2011, insuring her election as president. Before her presidency she had been well-indoctrinated into the Western free market game, studying economics at Harvard and working for the US-controlled World Bank in Washington and the Rockefeller Citibank in Nairobi. Before becoming Liberia’s President, she worked for Soros directly as chair of his Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

Once in office, President Sirleaf opened the doors for Soros to take over major Liberian gold and base metals assets along with his partner, Nathaniel Rothschild. One of her first acts as President was to also invite the Pentagon’s new Africa Command, AFRICOM, into Liberia whose purpose as a Liberian investigation revealed, was to “protect George Soros and Rothschild mining operations in West Africa rather than champion stability and human rights.”

Naftogaz the target

The Soros memo makes clear he has his eyes on the Ukrainian state gas and energy monopoly, Naftogaz. He writes, “The centerpiece of economic reforms will be the reorganization of Naftogaz and the introduction of market pricing for all forms of energy, replacing hidden subsidies…”

In an earlier letter Soros wrote in December 2014 to both President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, Soros openly called for his Shock Therapy: “I want to appeal to you to unite behind the reformers in your government and give your wholehearted support to a radical, ‘big bang’ type of approach. That is to say, administrative controls would be removed and the economy would move to market prices rapidly rather than gradually…Naftogaz needs to be reorganized with a big bang replacing the hidden subsidies…”

Splitting Naftogaz into separate companies could allow Soros to take control of one of the new branches and essentially privatize its profits. He already suggested that he indirectly brought in US consulting company, McKinsey, to advise Naftogaz on the privatization “big bang.”

The Puppet-Master?

The totality of what is revealed in the three hacked documents show that Soros is effectively the puppet-master pulling most of the strings in Kiev. Soros Foundation’s Ukraine branch, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) has been involved in Ukraine since 1989. His IRF doled out more than $100 million to Ukrainian NGOs two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, creating the preconditions for Ukraine’s independence from Russia in 1991. Soros also admitted to financing the 2013-2014 Maidan Square protests that brought the current government into power.

Soros’ foundations were also deeply involved in the 2004 Orange Revolution that brought the corrupt but pro-NATO Viktor Yushchenko into power with his American wife who had been in the US State Department. In 2004 just weeks after Soros’ International Renaissance Foundation had succeeded in getting Viktor Yushchenko as President of Ukraine, Michael McFaul wrote an OpEd for the Washington Post. McFaul, a specialist in organizing color revolutions, who later became US Ambassador to Russia, revealed:

Did Americans meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine? Yes. The American agents of influence would prefer different language to describe their activities — democratic assistance, democracy promotion, civil society support, etc. — but their work, however labeled, seeks to influence political change in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy and a few other foundations sponsored certain U.S. organizations, including Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Solidarity Center, the Eurasia Foundation, Internews and several others to provide small grants and technical assistance to Ukrainian civil society. The European Union, individual European countries and the Soros-funded International Renaissance Foundation did the same.

Soros shapes ‘New Ukraine’

Today the CyberBerkut hacked papers show that Soros’ IRF money is behind creation of a National Reform Council, a body organized by presidential decree from Poroshenko which allows the Ukrainian president to push bills through Ukraine’s legislature. Soros writes, “The framework for bringing the various branches of government together has also emerged. The National Reform Council (NRC) brings together the presidential administration, the cabinet of ministers, the Rada and its committees and civil society. The International Renaissance Foundation which is the Ukrainian branch of the Soros Foundations was the sole financial supporter of the NRC until now…”

Soros’ NRC in effect is the vehicle to allow the President to override parliamentary debate to push through “reforms,” with the declared first priority being privatization of Naftogaz and raising gas prices drastically to Ukrainian industry and households, something the bankrupt country can hardly afford.

In his letter to Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, Soros hints that he played a key role in selection of three key non-Ukrainian ministers—Natalia Jaresko, an American ex- State Department official as Finance Minister; Aivras Abromavicius of Lithuania as Economics Minister, and a health minister from Georgia. Soros in his December 2014 letter, referring to his proposal for a “big bank” privatization of Naftogaz and price rise, states, “You are fortunate to have appointed three ‘new Ukrainian’ ministers and several natives (sic) who are committed to this approach.”

Elsewhere Soros speaks about de facto creating the impression within the EU that the current government of Yatsenyuk is finally cleaning out the notorious corruption that has dominated every Kiev regime since 1991. Creating that temporary reform illusion, he remarks, will convince the EU to cough up the €11 billion annual investment insurance fund. His March 2015 paper says that, “It is essential for the government to produce a visible demonstration (sic) during the next three months in order to change the widely prevailing image of Ukraine as an utterly corrupt country.” That he states will open the EU to make the €11 billion insurance guarantee investment fund.

While saying that it is important to show Ukraine as a country that is not corrupt, Soros reveals he has little concern when transparency and proper procedures block his agenda. Talking about his proposals to reform Ukraine’s constitution to enable privatizations and other Soros-friendly moves, he complains, “The process has been slowed down by the insistence of the newly elected Rada on proper procedures and total transparency.”

Soros suggests that he intends to create this “visible demonstration” through his initiatives, such as using the Soros-funded National Reform Council, a body organized by presidential decree which allows the Ukrainian president to push bills through Ukraine’s legislature.

George Soros is also using his new European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank to lobby his Ukraine strategy, with his council members such as Alexander Graf Lambsdorff or Joschka Fischer or Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, not to mention former ECB head, Jean-Claude Trichet no doubt laying a subtle role.

George Soros, now 84, was born in Hungary as a Jew, George Sorosz. Soros once boasted in a TV interview that he posed during the war as a gentile with forged papers, assisting the Horthy government to seize property of other Hungarian Jews who were being shipped to the Nazi death camps. Soros told the TV moderator, “There was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was–well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets–that if I weren’t there–of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would.”

This is the same morality apparently behind Soros’ activities in Ukraine today. It seems again to matter not to him that the Ukrainian government he helped bring to power in February 2014 US coup d’etat is riddled with explicit anti-semites and self-proclaimed neo-Nazis from the Svoboda Party and Pravy Sektor. George Soros is clearly a devotee of “public-private-partnership.” Only here the public gets fleeced to enrich private investors like Mr. Soros and friends. Cynically, Soros signs his Ukraine strategy memo, “George Soros–A self-appointed advocate of the new Ukraine, March 12, 2015.”

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Koch-Funded Economist Wants “Less Democracy”

Professor of Capitalism

By Ben Norton
March 28, 2015
Counter Punch

 

Dr. Garett Jones is wary of democracy. He is Associate Professor of Economics and BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center, “the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas,” at George Mason University, you see. He wants “less democracy.” He, like so many of his academic colleagues, writes scholarly articles in prestigious economics journals, extolling the virtues of moralless, unmitigated greed and absolute plutocratic tyranny. And it just so happens that that inconvenient “democracy” thing is an “inefficient” burden on the path toward a society based on these principles.

In “10% Less Democracy: How Less Voting Could Mean Better Governance,” a 24 February 2015 presentation at George Mason University’s Center for Study of Public Choice, Jones bemoans the “anti-market bias” inherent in democracy. He laments that protectionism is “encouraged by voters,” and that, “around the world, looming elections mean less labor market liberalization.” Jones also is distraught that elected electricity commissioners “shift costs to the … industrial sector.” The burden should always be on the worker, naturally.

A good macroeconomist maintains “skepticism toward maximum democracy,” the professor says, as “less democratic monetary policy” leads to “lower, more stable inflation, with no apparent change in the unemployment rate or real GDP growth.” He cites Alan Blinder, a former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve and Princeton professor of economics who served on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, who candidly admits that “events since 1997 have pushed me more and more toward the conclusion that society would indeed be better off if politicians confined themselves to broad decisions about tax policy and left the details to a group of technocrats analogous to the Fed’s Board of Governors.” This is the kind of thing economists say to each other behind closed doors: Democracy is bad, and society would be much better if ruled under the silicon fist of a technocratic oligarchy.

Prof. Jones also draws from the work of Jennifer Hochschild, a professor of government and African and African-American studies at Harvard University, who argues that “expansions of the suffrage bring in, on average, people who are less politically informed or less broadly educated than those already eligible to vote.” Those who take this view to its “logical” conclusion are compelled, by this “logic,” to deduce that more democracy is bad. (Uncoincidentally, this is the very same argument chauvinists and white supremacists used to oppose voting rights for women and black Americans, paving the way for rigged literacy tests.)

Jones concludes his presentation suggesting we have more appointed, rather than elected, political leaders. He quotes Jason Brennan, Professor of Strategy, Economics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and Thomas Jefferson. The former, in a fit of illogic verging on the embarrassing, insists “Citizens have a right that any political power held over them should be exercised by competent people in a competent way. Universal suffrage violates this right.”

The latter Founding Father—who himself, fittingly, opposed democracy for fear that democratic forms of political organization would necessarily lead to attempts to create democratic forms of economic organization, or, in other words, anti-capitalist uprisings (as were seen in incidents like Shay’s Rebellions, which, as historian Howard Zinn reminds us, inspired the anti-democratic slave-owning architects of the US to create “a strong central government” in order to “suppress working class rebellions, to suppress slave rebellions, to protect settlers and expansionists who move into Indian territory”)—chimed that “our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people with a certain degree of instruction.” Who exactly is to be responsible for this “instruction”? Why, the propertied ruling class, of course.

Bourgeois Philosophy Says the Bourgeoisie Should Rule

Garett Jones, an economist from a Koch Brothers-funded college, advocates what he calls “epistocracy,” that is to say, a euphemism for a technocratic capitalist dystopia in which decisions are made by the “knowledgeable” (in other words, the educated; in other, other words, the rich; in other, other, other words, the bourgeoisie).

The criteria by which the “knowledge” on which his ideal society is based is measured are of course conveniently absent from Prof. Jones’ social blueprint. Presumably because he does not value all knowledges.

Knowledge is a social construct, shaped by political-economic ideology. Kant famously conceived of philosophy as the critique of knowledge. Foucault devoted a good chunk of his corpus, in his “archaeologies,” to the study of the change and development of human knowledge. He divided human history into a series of periods in which a particular kind of knowledge, what some might call an epistemological “Zeitgeist,” took precedence. Even epistemology, the philosophical inquiry in what he know and how we know it, is based on particular values, presuppositions, principles. These are what Fouacult called the “epistemes,” or “discursive formations” that stand as the hallmarks of particular historical phases. It is to the enunciation and elaboration of these ideas, in an historiographic framework, that his 1966 opus The Order of Things and 1969 The Archaeology of Knowledge, among others, are devoted.

Jones’ conception of knowledge carries none of these subtleties whatsoever. It is a value-laden, thoroughly bourgeois one. It is a colonial system in which the knowledges of those outside the capitalist, white supremacist, Eurocentric ideological paradigm are wholly devalued, in which utmost precedence is bestowed upon the non-empirically substantiated conjectures of the classical liberal intelligentsia of the so-called “Enlightenment”—those who perverted science and disguised “bourgeois relations” as “inviolable natural laws,” to quote Marx.

Unsurprisingly, Jones is by no means a marginal economist. Nor is he in any way anomalous in his field. In fact, he is highly regarded, and his dark Weltanschauung is representative and reflective of his fellow academic ilk. He serves as Associate Editor for the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Editorial Board Member for the Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, Co-Editor of Econ Journal Watch, an Co-Host of the Adam Smith Reading Group.

On his university website, the professor notes he has “worked on Capitol Hill,” in order to help the neoliberal US government more blissfully further ingratiate itself in neoliberalism. He served on the US Congress Joint Economic Committee in the summer of 2004, where he remarks he drafted “policy papers on Social Security ‘reform’ [read: gutting] and other economic issues.”

He also indicates that he “speak[s] on policy topics regularly in the media and in the Washington, DC, area,” and has appeared in C-Span’s Washington Journal, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fox Business, the New York Times, and more.

Nay, Jones is in many ways metonymic of the entire capitalist system he so faithfully admires. What makes Jones different from his economic ecclesiastical brethren is simply the fact that he has the chutzpah to openly say what so many other bourgeois economists are thinking deep-down.

Among Jones’ other gems of research are articles about how “the presence of American troops typically led to higher economic growth in host countries during the second half of the 20th century,” which he hopes “encourage others to look more closely at the micro-level institutional mechanisms whereby a U.S. troop presence can improve long-run economic performance,” to “better explain the positive relationship between military deployments and the wealth of nations.”

Jones also has done extensive work in IQ studies—a field full of unapologetic racists who claim that (pseudo)science convincingly “proves” that white people are “smarter” than black people and Latinxs and that men are “smarter” than women (just as eugenics “proved” that Europeans were superior). His support for epistocracy is doubtless rooted in this fetishization of “knowledge” with the supposedly “objective” metric of IQ.

One wonders if the neoliberal economist also secretly thinks that black people, Latinxs, women, and poor people should not vote, as, were they to not do so, and were the “knowledgeable” rich white men to decide who should run society, inflation would supposedly be lower, the economy would allegedly run more smoothly, politics would purportedly be more “efficient.” If so, he might have chutzpah, but not enough to openly make such preposterous remarks.

The fact that IQ and class are inextricably linked is conveniently absent from this discussion. When one takes even the scantest of looks at the large body of scientific research on the subject, one will see that epistocracy is quite simply rule by the rich. As professor Bruce Charlton writes in the Times Higher Education, the “existence of substantial class differences in average IQ seems to be uncontroversial and widely accepted for many decades among those who have studied the scientific literature. And IQ is highly predictive of a wide range of positive outcomes in terms of educational duration and attainment, attained income levels, and social status.”

Or, as Dr. Charlton writes elsewhere, the “basic facts on Class and IQ are straightforward and have been known for about 100 years: higher Social Classes have significantly higher average IQ than lower Social Classes. For me to say this is simply to report the overwhelming consensus of many decades of published scientific research literature.”

Capitalism Is Anti-Democratic

Capitalists often claim that socialism is the “opposite” of democracy. Equating socialism with oppressive bureaucratic tolitarianism (a descriptor that applies equally well to the contemporary’s US’ neoliberal capitalist system, one might add) is one of their oldest reactionary tricks in the book. As with so many things reactionaries say, nevertheless, this is not just completely false; it is in fact the antithesis of what is true. Dr. Jones—like right-“libertarian” apostle Ayn Rand, who wholly abhorred democracy—shows capitalists’ true colors.

Rand, the idol of so many an economist and US politician today, described democracy as “a social system in which one’s work, one’s property, one’s mind, and one’s life are at the mercy of any gang that may muster the vote of a majority at any moment for any purpose.” “Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom,” she screeched.

This is the extreme, concentrated anti-democratic strand at the heart of capitalism. There is no denying it. Some have simply tried to cover it up, with a thin layer of the soot that is left of the scorched remains of the working class. Others, like Jones, are more brazen. The opinions of the “unknowledgeable” masses who may be offended by such “scientific” observations appear to be of little consequence.

Pablo Iglesias, the leader of Spain’s enormously popular leftist grassroots party Podemosin a February 2015 interview on Democracy Now, insisted that “If we don’t have democratic control of economy, we don’t have democracy. It’s impossible to separate economy and democracy.”

Iglesias is right. There is no democracy without democratic control of the economy—i.e., socialism. A system of private control of capital—i.e., capitalism—is nothing but the tyranny of the propertied.

Liberal capitalist “democracy” is only a “democracy” insofar as it gives the masses a minuscule spectrum (e.g., the two factions of the Business Party in the US, the Democrats and Republicans) within which to request minor changes—preponderantly mere cosmetic ones—to the capitalist political-economic system that rules over them without the slightest of regards for their consent. And it does this while simultaneously robbing them, exploiting them, pillaging the surplus value of their labor, and of the labor of workers in colonized and/or occupied nations in the periphery upon which “their” economy thrives, as does a leech on a host, or “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

Ben Norton is a freelance writer and journalist. His website can be found at http://BenNorton.com/.

 

Is the U.S. a Fascist Society? Fascism is a Political Economic Structure Which Serves Corporate Interests

By Danny Haiphong
Global Research, March 14, 2015
April 8, 2014

 

Corporate Cash Floods US Congressional ElectionsThis article was first published on April 8, 2014.

Most Americans are taught in school that fascism is a ruthless one party dictatorship, the most popular example being Nazi Germany. This is a misconception. Fascism is a political economy, not merely a political system that existed in one moment of history. Fascism, as defined by Black revolutionary and assassinated political prisoner George Jackson, is the complete control of the state by monopoly capital. Fascism is the last stage of capitalism in the heart of the US imperial center where the relationship between the state and corporation becomes indiscernible.  A difficult, but necessary, task for the left in this period is to acknowledge that fascism is the system of rule in the United States.

The privatization of the public sector, de-unionization of the entire labor force, and violent austerity are the seeds of domestically grown fascism in the economic realm.  Such fascist activity has brought about the rapid decline of political and economic conditions for the working class and the rapid accumulation of wealth and profit for the ruling class. Workers are doing more and more on the job for less and less pay.  The jobless are either searching desperately for work or not searching at all.  Shelters are overflowing and turning the homeless away. The US has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners despite only possessing 5 percent of the world’s population.  Mass joblessness, poverty, imprisonment, and homelessness are material forces that breed fear and competition amongst the working class.

The paradox of fascism lies in its ability to sustain and grow in the midst of deteriorating conditions for the majority of the population. The racist foundation of this country is useful in this regard. The white working class steadfastly defends its privileges obtained from white imperial pillage of Black and indigenous people both here and abroad. The white ruling class maintains unity with the white working class because, although exploitation has heightened for everyone, Black and indigenous people (including undocumented immigrants) remain economically and socially oppressed to a much harsher degree than Whites.  To ensure racism does not precipitate a radical struggle between white supremacy and Black freedom, the US ruling class has molded and trained a Black political class. This class of neo-colonial elites, with Barack Obama leading the way, works in the interests of fascism by protecting the rule of the white ruling class while teaching the entire Black community that Black faces in high imperial places is not only desired, but also worthy of staunch defense.

Furthermore, fascism relies on a racist enforcement arm to control the political direction of the oppressed.  The expanded surveillance and military state that currently spies, detains, and wiretaps the 99 percent remains more dangerous and repressive for the Black community. The vast majority of wiretaps, police and vigilante murders, and stop-and-frisks happen to Black and brown people.  So instead of joining forces with the Black community to build a powerful movement, exploited white Americans can still rely on the state to enforce racism on its behalf.

The US corporate media and education system provide the ideological chains of fascism.  In this period, both systems serve as mouthpieces for US imperial ambitions, values, and behaviors. Fascism is normalized in the American mind through the inculcation of racism, individualism, and a depoliticized and inaccurate conception of history and politics.  The US education system conditions the oppressed and oppressors into their positions in society. Black and indigenous youth attend factory schools that emphasize obedience to authority, which instills a dehumanized and subservient disposition for a future in low-wage work or prison.  From K-12, Black working class youth are taught to “pledge allegiance” to the flag of genocide and colonialism in over-crowded, police-occupied, and privatized schools.  White youth “pledge allegiance” in better-funded schools more capable of conditioning them into positions of power.  However, all youth are taught a mythological version of US history that applauds white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalist development as “freedom” and “democracy.”

The corporate media, despite being far more monopolized than the US school system, provides a more diverse means of education. Corporations like CNN and the New York Times habitually lie about the facts of political events to protect the white ruling class and its institutions from accountability.  Corporate hip-hop, music, and television entertainment compliment corporate news syndicates by doping the mind full of mindless garbage.   It matters little if the media of choice is watching “Scandal”, listening to Nicki Minaj on the radio, or reading the Washington Post. The boardrooms of five corporations are manufacturing consent to the US fascist system. Malcolm X succinctly summarized the function of the corporate media when he said “if you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

Friday, April 4th was the 46th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.  Although King never claimed that the US was a fascist society, he certainly was struggling with the fundamental structure of US society by the end of his life.  In “Where do We Go from Here” (1967) for instance, King stated that

“ . . . more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society . . .and you see, my friends, when you deal with this you begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the oil?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Who owns the iron ore?’ You begin to ask the question, ‘Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that’s two-thirds water?’”

Unsurprisingly, King’s opposition to racism, capitalism, and war placed a target on his life. The US government was found guilty of using its intelligence agencies to murder King in 1999.  The murder of King was part and parcel of the US government’s crackdown on the radical left, which is now imbedded in the legal framework of this country since the institution of the “War on Terror.”  King’s legacy should inspire us to dig deep into the roots of the type of society we live in and the type of society we want to live in.  George Jackson’s conclusion that the US indeed is a fascist society receives little attention from the US left. Further, this article could not possibly analyze in the detail deserved every element of the US ruling order. However, there is ample evidence that we should no longer be asking the question of whether fascism exists in this country, but rather, where do we go from here.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager. You can contact Danny at: wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com.

The Dire State of Our Nation (What You Won’t Hear from the Politicians)

By John Whitehead
January 21, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

“As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” ― Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

No matter what the politicians say about how great America is and how we, as a people, will always triumph, the fact is that the nation seems to be imploding.

Despite the dire state of our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to plague our lives and undermine our freedoms will be addressed by our so-called elected representatives in any credible, helpful way, and certainly not during a State of the Union address.

Consider the following facts:

Our government is massively in debt. Currently, the national debt is somewhere in the vicinity of $18 trillion. More than a third of our debt is owned by foreign countries, namely China and Japan.

Our education system is abysmal. Despite the fact that we spend more than most of the world on education ($115,000 per student), we rank 36th in the world when it comes to math, reading and science, far below most of our Asian counterparts. Even so, we continue to insist on standardized programs such as Common Core, which teach students to be test-takers rather than thinkers.

Our homes provide little protection against government intrusions. Police agencies, already empowered to crash through your door if they suspect you’re up to no good, now have radars that allow them to “see” through the walls of your home.

Our prisons, housing the largest number of inmates in the world and still growing, have become money-making enterprises for private corporations that rely on the inmates for cheap labor.

We are no longer a representative republic. The U.S. has become a corporate oligarchy. As a recent survey indicates, our elected officials, especially those in the nation’s capital, represent the interests of the rich and powerful rather than the average citizen.

We’ve got the most expensive, least effective health care system in the world compared to other western, industrialized nations.

The air pollution levels are dangerously high for almost half of the U.S. population, putting Americans at greater risk of premature death, aggravated asthma, difficulty breathing and future cardiovascular problems.

Despite outlandish amounts of money being spent on the nation’s “infrastructure,” there are more than 63,000 bridges—one out of every 10 bridges in the country—in urgent need of repair. Some of these bridges are used 250 million times a day by trucks, school buses, passenger cars and other vehicles.

Americans know little to nothing about their rights or how the government is supposed to operate. This includes educators and politicians. For example, 27 percent of elected officials cannot name even one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment, while 54 percent do not know the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war.

Nearly one out of every three American children live in poverty, ranking us among the worst in the developed world.

Patrolled by police, our schools have become little more than quasi-prisons in which kids as young as age 4 are being handcuffed for “acting up,” subjected to body searches and lockdowns, and suspended for childish behavior.

We’re no longer innocent until proven guilty. In our present surveillance state, that burden of proof has now been shifted so that we are all suspects to be spied on, searched, scanned, frisked, monitored, tracked and treated as if we’re potentially guilty of some wrongdoing or other.

Parents, no longer viewed as having an inherent right to raise their children as they see fit, are increasingly being arrested for letting their kids walk to the playground alone, or play outside alone. Similarly, parents who challenge a doctor’s finding or request a second opinion regarding their children’s health care needs are being charged with medical child abuse and, in a growing number of cases, losing custody of their children to the government.

Private property means little at a time when SWAT teams and other government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, wound or kill you, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family. Likewise, if government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property.

Court rulings undermining the Fourth Amendment and justifying invasive strip searches have left us powerless against police empowered to forcefully draw our blood, forcibly take our DNA, strip search us, and probe us intimately. Accounts are on the rise of individuals—men and women alike—being subjected to what is essentially government-sanctioned rape by police in the course of “routine” traffic stops.

Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. The courts were established to intervene and protect the people against the government and its agents when they overstep their bounds. Yet the courts increasingly march in lockstep with the police state, while concerned themselves primarily with advancing the government’s agenda, no matter how unjust or illegal.

Americans have no protection against police abuse. It is no longer unusual to hear about incidents in which police shoot unarmed individuals first and ask questions later. What is increasingly common, however, is the news that the officers involved in these incidents get off with little more than a slap on the hands.

If there is any absolute maxim by which the federal government seems to operate, it is that the American taxpayer always gets ripped off. This is true, whether you’re talking about taxpayers being forced to fund high-priced weaponry that will be used against us, endless wars that do little for our safety or our freedoms, or bloated government agencies such as the National Security Agency with its secret budgets, covert agendas and clandestine activities. Rubbing salt in the wound, even monetary awards in lawsuits against government officials who are found guilty of wrongdoing are paid by the taxpayer.

Americans are powerless in the face of militarized police. In early America, government agents were not permitted to enter one’s home without permission or in a deceitful manner. And citizens could resist arrest when a police officer tried to restrain them without proper justification or a warrant. Daring to dispute a warrant with a police official today who is armed with high-tech military weapons would be nothing short of suicidal. Moreover, as police forces across the country continue to be transformed into extensions of the military, Americans are finding their once-peaceful communities transformed into military outposts, complete with tanks, weaponry, and other equipment designed for the battlefield.

Now these are not problems that you can just throw money at, as most politicians are inclined to do. As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, these are problems that will continue to plague our nation unless and until Americans wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones who can change things.

For starters, we’ll need to actually pay attention to what’s going on around us, and I don’t mean by turning on the TV news, which is little more than government propaganda. Pay attention to what your local city councils are enacting. Pay attention to what your school officials are teaching and not teaching. Pay attention to whom your elected officials are allowing to wine and dine them.

Most of all, stop acting like it really matters whether you vote for a Republican or Democrat, because it doesn’t, and start acting like citizens who expect the government to work for them, rather than the other way around.

While that bloated beast called the federal government may not listen to you, you can have a great impact on your local governing bodies. This will mean gathering together with your friends and neighbors and, for example, forcing your local city council to start opposing state and federal programs that are ripping you off. And if need be, your local city council can refuse to abide by the dictates that continue to flow from Washington, DC.

All of the signs point to something nasty up ahead. The time to act is now.

John Whitehead, constitutional and human rights attorney, and founder of the Rutherford Institute.