Monday, April 25, 2011

Globalization for the Elite~Same Stage Different Actors

The Corporate State Wins Again

Posted on Apr 25, 2011


By Chris Hedges

When did our democracy die? When did it irrevocably transform itself into a lifeless farce and absurd political theater? When did the press, labor, universities and the Democratic Party—which once made piecemeal and incremental reform possible—wither and atrophy? When did reform through electoral politics become a form of magical thinking? When did the dead hand of the corporate state become unassailable?
The body politic was mortally wounded during the long, slow strangulation of ideas and priorities during the Red Scare and the Cold War. Its bastard child, the war on terror, inherited the iconography and language of permanent war and fear. The battle against internal and external enemies became the excuse to funnel trillions in taxpayer funds and government resources to the war industry, curtail civil liberties and abandon social welfare. Skeptics, critics and dissenters were ridiculed and ignored. The FBI, Homeland Security and the CIA enforced ideological conformity. Debate over the expansion of empire became taboo. Secrecy, the anointing of specialized elites to run our affairs and the steady intrusion of the state into the private lives of citizens conditioned us to totalitarian practices. Sheldon Wolin points out in “Democracy Incorporated” that this configuration of corporate power, which he calls “inverted totalitarianism,” is not like “Mein Kampf” or “The Communist Manifesto,” the result of a premeditated plot. It grew, Wolin writes, from “a set of effects produced by actions or practices undertaken in ignorance of their lasting consequences.” 
Corporate capitalism—because it was trumpeted throughout the Cold War as a bulwark against communism—expanded with fewer and fewer government regulations and legal impediments. Capitalism was seen as an unalloyed good. It was not required to be socially responsible. Any impediment to its growth, whether in the form of trust-busting, union activity or regulation, was condemned as a step toward socialism and capitulation. Every corporation is a despotic fiefdom, a mini-dictatorship. And by the end Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil and Goldman Sachs had grafted their totalitarian structures onto the state.
The Cold War also bequeathed to us the species of the neoliberal. The neoliberal enthusiastically embraces “national security” as the highest good.  The neoliberal—composed of the gullible and cynical careerists—parrots back the mantra of endless war and corporate capitalism as an inevitable form of human progress. Globalization, the neoliberal assures us, is the route to a worldwide utopia. Empire and war are vehicles for lofty human values. Greg Mortenson, the disgraced author of “Three Cups of Tea,” tapped into this formula. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq or Afghanistan are ignored or dismissed as the cost of progress. We are bringing democracy to Iraq, liberating the women of Afghanistan, defying the evil clerics in Iran, ridding the world of terrorists and protecting Israel. Those who oppose us do not have legitimate grievances. They need to be educated. It is a fantasy. But to name our own evil is to be banished. 
We continue to talk about personalities—Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama—although the heads of state or elected officials in Congress have become largely irrelevant. Lobbyists write the bills. Lobbyists get them passed. Lobbyists make sure you get the money to be elected. And lobbyists employ you when you get out of office. Those who hold actual power are the tiny elite who manage the corporations. Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, in their book “Winner-Take-All Politics,” point out that the share of national income of the top 0.1 percent of Americans since 1974 has grown from 2.7 to 12.3 percent. One in six American workers may be without a job. Some 40 million Americans may live in poverty, with tens of millions more living in a category called “near poverty.” Six million people may be forced from their homes because of foreclosures and bank repossessions. But while the masses suffer, Goldman Sachs, one of the financial firms most responsible for the evaporation of $17 trillion in wages, savings and wealth of small investors and shareholders, is giddily handing out $17.5 billion in compensation to its managers, including $12.6 million to its CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.

Read article on truthdig

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Optimism in the defense of our country is no vice

Bill Moyers Journal March 27, 2009

BILL MOYERS: As you know, earlier this week Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner proposed a vast expansion of government authority that would crack down hard on Wall Street's reckless behavior.

Just in time, it seems. You could almost hear the mob in the streets of Washington as he spoke. Popular anger was beginning to evoke unhappy images among Washington elites of the French Revolution, guillotine and all.

On the Op-Ed page of Sunday's "Washington Post" William Greider, the veteran political reporter of four decades, suggested a glass half full. He wrote that the public's rage "has great potential for restoring a functioning democracy. Timely intervention by the people could save the country from some truly bad ideas now circulating in Washington and on Wall Street."

Perhaps no journalist better understands the intertwining twists and turns of government and money, the collision of capitalism and democracy, than William Greider. He wrote the definitive account of the Federal Reserve system, SECRETS OF THE TEMPLE. In the spirit of Thomas Paine he produced, WHO WILL TELL THE PEOPLE? Followed it with, THE SOUL OF CAPITALISM. And now, COME HOME, AMERICA: THE RISE AND FALL (AND REDEEMING PROMISE) OF OUR COUNTRY.

Watch Video Here

Wall Street Trades in Political Currency

WILLIAM GREIDER: Unfortunately, Secretary Geithner, has a record- which we know about. When he was President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. And he was at the table, in many of the bailout transactions. First Bear Stearns then A.I.G. and others. And this is, again, not my opinion, but people on Wall Street talk about it all the time. He got spun around again and again by the big Wall Street players. The bailout of Bear Stearns was really about protecting J.P. Morgan Chase.

The story was told backwards in the press, basically, because it's a story the government told that J.P. Morgan came in to buy Bear Stearns at the behest of the government. But in fact, if Bear Stearns had gone down, J.P. Morgan Chase was vulnerable itself to a wave of derivative crashing crisis. When they bailed out A.I.G., the chief executive of Goldman Sachs was in the room. Why was he in the room? Well, because he had big exposure to- through derivatives, to A.I.G. So, when they pump money into A.I.G., it sends the same dollars out and buys back these derivative contracts at par value, not even discounted, to the banks and others who hold them. Goldman Sachs gets $12 billion out of that transaction. This is another scandal waiting to surface. And I trust good, smart reporters are already on the case. And following the dollars that moved around among the leading financial institutions in ways that politicians could not have not known about it. It defies reason to think that Washington didn't know this was happening.

BILL MOYERS: "The New York Times" on Thursday had this remarkable full page graph, based upon the excellent work of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group you're familiar with-


BILL MOYERS: That monitors money and politics. They said, where Wall Street trades in political currency, and if you look at this you realize that political connections may be the new currency for deal makers. Right? And it shows which of the financial elites have contributed to which elite politicians.

click to enlarge

Flashback to 1981, Ronny Raygun, and Trickle Down Economics

William Geider

The Education of David Stockman
About a similar situation during the Ronny Raygun administration where Stockman, as his finacial advisor, was spinning the numbers to boost the economy

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

All things change, but the stage remains the same

Needless to mention, the Lewis & Clark Centennial was a big thing in 1905 but things have changed a lot since those times. Indeed, 2005, passed by without any signifigant celebrations, with most of the recognition being cultural and educational, and most of that was on the innertubes. The American people, whats left of the natives included, watched CNN and Fox News for entertainment, while discovering that the real News was not to be found on the main stream media. There is still information on the tubes, but I  seriously doubt that it will be there for long. Senator Joe Lieberweinerman is pushing for the Internet Kill Switch as we speak, order to keep "We The Sheeple" safe it is going to be necessary to control all of this information that folks are getting from non corporate sources. The information will still be there, but available on a "need to know" basis, which will be fine for Obama's Blackberry or most large corporations, defence industies etc, but for the rest of us; we might as well go back to using short wave radio. So, realising that I am drifting off subject, I would like to share some interesting stuff I ran across this morning. Believe it or not this is not political...zzzZZZ er not contemporary politics anyway.

National Bicentennial Exhibition

This is the pipe tomahawk of Meriweather Lewis. An artifact unique to the American frontier, this highly decorated one was reserved for diplomatic gifts and high status individuals. Lewis still had this with him when he died. Click image to enlarge, it's almost like touching it

Girandoni military model repeating air rifle invented by Bartholomäus Girandoni, Vienna, Model of 1780

This interesting gun belonged to Meriweather Lewis, and was also important in the history of the settlement of the Northwest. It was known that he possesed an air rifle, but it is only in recent years that the identity of the gun was discovered. The Shoshone Indians were well aware that the long rifles had to be reloaded between shots, so were in awe of the rifle that didn't run out of shots. Lewis demonstrated the rifle in front of the Indians as he met them going across the country.


Friday, April 8, 2011

With or Without a Government Shutdown - Republicans have Already Won the Debate

Published on Friday, April 8, 2011 by

by Thom Hartmann

With or without a government shutdown, Republicans have already won the debate on our nation's budget. Why? Because the corporate media is on their side.

Make the wealthy pay their fair share.

A budget shouldn’t just focus on spending cuts directed at the poor and middle-class - it should also include revenue raisers like closing corporate loopholes and asking millionaires and billionaires to cough up a few extra bucks a year. Let’s cut some wasteful spending, but let’s also raise a few taxes. But this common sense narrative has been lost inside the main stream corporate media - where there’s only one question that’s being asked today, and that is “how much spending needs to be cut?”