Archive for the sociology Category

The rise of Bitcoin: and the challenge to the global domination of big money

Posted in alternative, analysis, banks, capitalism, class, collapse, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crash, currency, debt, deficit, dollar crisis, economic collapse, economics, economy, Financial coup, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, money, neo-feudalism, political economy, politics, sociology, sovereignty, tipping point with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by jtoddring

The following article was written on October 25. I wanted to read it over once more before publishing it, then got busy with other things and forgot about it. In the roughly six weeks that have passed since the writing of this article, the Bitcoin prices have gone from roughly $200 to over $700. There have been fluctuations, as there are with all currencies, and particularly so since this is a new currency, but the overall trend is up, and in fact, Bitcoin is skyrocketing, as we predicted. People will say, well, it is fluctuating, as if that means that it is not stable. That is a foolish view, since all currencies fluctuate, and more importantly, because the overall trend has been to astronomical growth. What other currency do you know that increased its value twenty fold in just over a year, and then increased another 400% in less than two months? That’s right, none. If you had bought Bitcoins in November of 2012, they would have cost you $10 each, and they would now be worth almost $800 each. Can you think of any other investment or currency that performs remotely as well? This is extraordinarily rare. Those who are ahead of the curve tend to catch the best opportunities, and Bitcoin is no exception. Sociology and political-economic implications aside, which are very large and possibly quite profound, Bitcoin is giant in terms of investment and savings opportunities. From what I have seen, the analysis below still holds, and in fact is re-affirmed by the accuracy of its predictions as to the continued rise of Bitcoin, which we have seen in its nearly 400% jump in six weeks. Bitcoin has great potential, in a number of important ways, and we would be wise to look more into it.

*

I first came across Bitcoin from the website of Max Keiser. Since Max seems to be the single most lucid person on the planet when it comes to global finance, I thought, this must be something worth looking into. Then last night my brother-in-law started talking to me excitedly about Bitcoin, and he is a pretty smart guy, so I thought, it is definitely time to look into this. And it turns out, it is a phenomenon that is exploding. Even the habitually staid and blinkered investment community is taking notice.

BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 11:  The bitcoin websi...

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

“Bitcoins are a virtual currency that can be used to pay for goods and services around the world.  To participate in the bitcoin market, one needs a digital wallet, which can be filled either by purchasing bitcoins for goods, services or currency, or by acquiring them through a complex process known as “mining.”  (Better termed, “minting”.) The bitcoins can then be used to purchase goods or services, or sold on an exchange.  While virtual currencies have traditionally been used to purchase illicit substances, like guns and drugs, they are now accepted by numerous legitimate businesses for everything from gift cards to jets and yachts.”

– Forbes

Until recently, Bitcoin was an obscure alternative currency that seems to have been used primarily for online trading, purchases and sales, among the few businesses and individuals who have decided to make use of it – anything from illegal drugs bought and sold on Silk Road, which the FBI just took down, to wine and muffins, as one Forbes columnist described it.

But now, Bitcoin is being accepted by pubs in Berlin as a form of payment. A Federal US judge in Texas has ruled that Bitcoins are a form of money – a bit slow on the uptake, but better late than never. And the giant internet company in China which is the peer of Google, has started to accept payment in Bitcoins. So the threshold has been reached. Bitcoin seems to have definitely arrived.

Businesses like Bitcoins because it saves them money. Using Visa or Amex as a means of financial exchange costs businesses 2-3% per transaction. That may not sound like much, but for a small business, and even for many large businesses, that can add up to large, painful costs. By comparison, businesses can accept Bitcoin as a method of payment, and it only costs them 1%. That is very attractive to business owners.

Bitcoin came under some negative press due to the Silk Road trade in illegal drugs using Bitcoin, and the price or exchange rate of Bitcoin compared to other currencies dropped for a time, but it has since risen. Business owners and investors seem to feel better now that Silk Road is gone and the currency is not associated with drug trade.

But really, that would be an insane reaction on the part of the public to shy away from Bitcoin because a few of the people who use it, use it to buy or sell drugs. The main currency used for the global drug trade was US dollars until recently, and it is still one of the two main currencies used for the trillion dollar a year illicit drug trade and the money laundering that goes with it, the Euro now being reportedly more popular among big time drug traffickers.

All of the big banks are involved with laundering drug money – hundreds of billions of dollars of it a year – and they handle drug money mainly in US dollars and Euros. But nobody says, I cannot use US dollars or Euros, because that is drug trade money. The irrationality comes out of ignorance and denial. Bitcoin, as far as I can see, is every bit as legitimate as US dollars, Euros or Yen, and probably more stable.

In fact, after the FBI raided Silk Road, they confiscated millions of dollars in Bitcoins. So the US government, and specifically the FBI, is now one of the biggest investors in Bitcoin, holding roughly five percent of the global currency. Strange bedfellows indeed.

But governments and the big banks do not tend to like Bitcoin (despite the fact that the FBI is holding billions of dollars in Bitcoins) because it threatens their control of the global financial system. So the backlash is on. However, if government and the big banks are attacking Bitcoin, then we can reasonably guess that it is because it threatens their power, and for that reason, Bitcoin may really have the potential to liberate the people from the money masters who now rule the world, or at least help in that endeavour.

“Bitcoin, an enticingly anonymous “cryptocurrency” designed to wrest the international currency system from the hands of central bankers…must face a force far larger and immensely more powerful than mere lobbyists. The status quo that cryptocurrencies threaten is the international monetary system. Its opponents are therefore the current custodians of that system — namely the governments of the world. Bitcoin was never subtle about the challenge it posed. The very first sentence of the abstract in Nakamoto’s 2008 paper promised to “allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” The paper then described a way to originate — that is to “mine,” or perhaps more accurately to “mint” — Bitcoins. Yet history teaches that sovereigns of all stripes guard two prerogatives with particular zeal: the right to wage war and the right to mint currency. Bitcoin thus explicitly threatened one of the two fundamental, defining powers of government.”

– Bruce Abramson, Forbes

What Abramson failed to mention, in his otherwise excellent article, was that the Federal Reserve is not part of the US government. It is a private bank, controlled by the Wall Street and London banking elite. In fact, the majority of central banks in the world are private. That means that the banking elite control the printing of money, and not the people, through a publicly owned central bank, run and overseen by a democratically elected government.

The founding fathers of the United States felt so strongly about keeping control of the printing of money in the hands of the people, and not private banking elites, that they wrote it into the Constitution that no one shall have the power to print money other than Congress.

The banking elite tried to get the central bank of the US privatized early on. Thomas Jefferson fought them and defeated them. Abraham Lincoln fought them and defeated them, and some have felt that he was assassinated for that reason. Andrew Jackson fought them and defeated them, and also took a bullet for it, but lived. He even had it written on his tombstone: “I killed the bank.”

Then, as the History Channel and others have recounted the story, The Money Masters, the most powerful business elites in the US, met together on Jeckyl Island, and hatched the plan to finally succeed in gaining control over the money supply. Woodrow Wilson was duped into going along with it, and in 1917 signed into law the Federal Reserve Act, which created the private central bank which became known as the Federal Reserve. Woodrow Wilson later came to profoundly regret his error, and said that he had effectively destroyed his country without knowing it.

Now the control of the money supply and the right to print money is in the hands of the banking elite – and whoever controls the money, effectively controls the nation – or, by now, the world.

It used to be the case that “He who holds the gold makes the rules.” But after the US unilaterally abolished the gold standard, things have changed. Now the fact of the matter is this: he who controls the printing of money rules the world. And that makes the banks very happy. It should make the rest of us shudder.

As US President James Garfield said, “He who controls the money supply controls the nation.”

Or as one of the members of the leading banking elite family dynasties in the world, Mayer Amschel Rothschild said, “Give me control of a nations money and I care not who makes the laws.”

Or as the former Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King said, “Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes that nation’s laws. Usury, once in control, will wreck any nation. Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most conspicuous and sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of Parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.”

Reclaiming control over the money we use to buy and sell and trade, is therefore of supreme importance. Bitcoin may indeed become a part of the answer to that central and critical task.

The more central task is for the people to reclaim their governments and their democracy, and having done that, to restore the power to print money to the hands of the people, through a public central bank, owned and governed by the people through their elected representatives in Congress or Parliament. All talk of social change, justice, democracy or freedom is both idle and futile until and unless this is recognized and acted upon.

But let’s have some more history and information on Bitcoin before we consider such monumental changes to our world, and the potential liberation of human beings from the banking elite who now dominate the planet and effectively rule the earth. (See the Swiss systems analysis study, which I have written about earlier, and which confirmed that a handful of corporations, mainly banks, effectively dominate the entire world economy, if there is any doubt as to the accuracy of such a statement.)

The alternative currency known as Bitcoin has seen its price rise from $10 per Bitcoin in November 2012, to over $200 in less than a year. While other currencies are highly unstable for a number of reasons – including the US dollar, the Euro, the British Pound, and also the Canadian dollar, which is foolishly tied far too closely to the US dollar and the US economy – Bitcoin may prove to be much more stable. It does not compare to gold or silver for stability, but it may prove to be a safer bet than the paper money which the global economy now floats on, which is a bubble that is about to soon burst.

(see my previous articles on the rise and fall of the petrodollar, the global economic crisis, and one that I think was titled, Stock broker shocks BBC reporter, saying, The collapse is coming, and Goldman Sachs rules the world.) 

I have only begun to look into Bitcoin, but it certainly seems to show some promise, and definitely warrants further investigation, for anyone who does not want to see their bank account or their money go up in puff of smoke when the paper currencies fall, as they most assuredly will.

(See Max Keiser and Gerald Cenente for more on this.)

What we definitely need is an alternative currency which is stable and can be used for savings, purchases, sales and trade at the local level, nationally and also internationally. The presently ruling paper currencies are simply unstable and unreliable, as anyone knows who has looked into the subject in any depth. Gold and silver are stable and hold their value well, but it would be far more convenient to trade in an electronic currency than in gold or silver coins. Bitcoin just might provide a much needed, and in fact, an urgently needed solution.

Until and unless national governments, or local communities, create stable currencies which are not pure fiction, and which have more value than the paper they are not printed on, we need an alternative currency. And probably even after governments get their financial acts together, alternative currencies will remain important, as a safeguard. Do not put all your eggs in one basket.

The US dollar is definitely going to crash, and when it does, it will bring down virtually all other currencies in a cascading collapse, because all of the central banks of the world are chocked to the gills with US dollars as reserves. The shell game of moving money from one currency to another will not save us, nor will it last much longer.

This all seems inconceivable to most people, and cryptic as well as unbelievable. But it is easily understood. A fourth grader can understand it, if it is explained in simple terms and the official jargon and doublespeak is stripped away.

Look at what happened in the Weimar Republic. The German government was in debt, and started printing money at an accelerating pace to pay the debt, until finally, the value of the currency collapsed, and you literally had to take a wheelbarrow of money to the store to buy a loaf of bread. That is what is coming. Your money will soon be worthless.

The over-printing of money always devalues and ultimately destroys a currency. And that is exactly what the US Federal Reserve and the other major central banks are doing. As Max Keiser said, the paper money apocalypse is coming. And as Gerald Celente has said, it will mean a greater depression than the Great Depression.

To give the Fed some credit, they simply have no choice, or so they believe, but to continue to dump billions of dollars a month into the economy – namely, by flying a helicopter over Wall Street and shoveling money out the door: dumping billions of dollars a day into the biggest banks to keep them afloat, and in the process, keeping afloat the deceitful and dishonest ideology of trickle-down economics. (Trickle-down should really be called trickle-on: the money goes to the rich, and the poor and middle class never see it – they just get yellow rain.)

The Fed seems to believe they have no choice but to do what they are doing, because if they stopped dumping money into the economy, the economy would collapse. And they are right. They could give billions a day to home-owners and citizens, and stimulate the economy that way, but they choose to give it to themselves – the banking elite. But one way or another, they have to keep pumping money into the economy to keep it from collapsing.

But – and here is the catch – by pumping money into the economy, they have to first have money from somewhere to put into it, and as they lack that – or at least, they are unwilling to use their own multi-trillion dollar private assets which sit in offshore accounts – they have to resort to printing money out of thin air. And when you print money out of thin air, you devalue the currency. So the Fed is printing money like there is no tomorrow, in order to prop up the economy and keep it from collapsing, but in doing so, they are devaluing the currency, which is guaranteeing that the currency will collapse. By trying to stave off a major market readjustment, meaning, an economic collapse and a depression, they are guaranteeing that when the collapse does come, it will be utterly severe and simply catastrophic in its impact.

They know this perfectly well. They know full well that their wild printing of money is going to cause the dollar, sooner or later, to be devalued, and to collapse, as holders of US dollars and Treasury Bonds lose confidence in the currency, for obvious reasons, and begin to divest themselves of this worthless paper.

The sell off which will ensue as the world flees the sinking US dollar will mean the dollar will become worth only one or two percent of its present value. This is exactly what happened in the Wiemar Republic, when precisely the same pattern of over-printing money brought on radical devaluation of the currency, and the German Mark became worth only one one-thousandth of its former value, and hyper-inflation set in.

Of course, when a depression hits, the financial and business elite have an orgy of looting and a feeding frenzy, buying up real estate, businesses, factories, farms, homes and other assets at fire sale prices, so they are perfectly happy with this result.

The banking elite love disaster – they feed off of it. So do not think the Fed or the rest of the banking elite are going to protect you from an economic collapse. They are the ones bringing it on, and they are the ones who are going to benefit astronomically from it when it comes.

Ben Bernanke said of the last Great Depression, and the role of the Fed and the private banking elite who control it, in that Depression, “We did it.” The banking elite who control the Federal Reserve and the money supply created a credit bubble by flooding the country with cheap money and credit, then they pulled the plug and burst the bubble, by contracting credit and cutting off the money supply. The result was the Great Depression. Massive human suffering was created across the Western world, but the super-rich got even richer, so they won, while everyone else lost.

We should take a lesson from history, and not allow the money masters, or “the monied aristocracy”, as Thomas Jefferson called the banking elite, to do this again. But I am afraid that the people are not yet sufficiently awake, or awake in sizable enough numbers, to reclaim their power before the manufactured disaster is upon them; therefore, I would say that the collapse will not likely be avoided, and that it is a virtual fact, due to the passivity of the people themselves.

 

The paper money we rely on is going to fail us. You can be sure of that. We had better start thinking about what we would do if our paper money becomes worthless, because it is going to.

Gold and silver are the smartest places to put your money, next to land you can garden on, and mortgage-free, rent-free accommodation. But Bitcoin may well be the next best place to diversify savings, and not have them disappear.

There are other alternative currencies, such as LETS, Ithaca Dollars, Toronto Dollars, etc, and they definitely merit attention as well. Most of them are strictly local currencies however, and they probably will need a secondary currency of some form for inter-community, national and international trade, even if they ever do become the main currency in use in a given town, city, county or region. Again, Bitcoin may bridge that gap. 

But again, I am new to the phenomenon, so while the need for a stable alternative currency is real and great, even urgent, whether or not Bitcoin fits the bill is something I am not yet sure of. Do your own research, would be my recommendation. It is my recommendation for every topic, in any case.

In sum, the importance of Bitcoin, if it really does prove to be a stable currency, is that it is stable, while all others – with the exception of gold and silver – are not. That means that it may prove to be a safe haven, and a way that we can continue to buy and sell and trade goods and services – to get paid for our labour and to buy things we need – after the paper money collapses.

It is definitely strongly advisable to shift money from paper money to land, tools, solar panels, wind power, seeds and garden tools, and secondarily, into gold and silver. It may be very smart to look more into Bitcoin as well, and I would say it would be wise to invest in Bitcoins as well.

Two new phenomena may end up transforming the world of banking, money and finance, and they are crowd-sourced funding and Bitcoin. The former is a definite strong contender as a catalyst for serious, major social change. Bitcoin my turn out to be the sister element to a whole new global economy, but again, I would have to look into it much more to say that with any confidence. Right now, it seems to be just a possibility – one scenario among many that could unfold in the near future.

As Forbes said, “Smart money always bets on government in the short term and technology in the long term.” The government seems too big to fail, but we know from history that governments can and do fail, and their currencies and economies as well. Look at France in the late 18th century: the government was in serious debt, and the Treasury finally went bust – that was the trigger which brought on the French Revolution. In Germany under the Wiemar Republic, the government failed utterly, the currency collapsed, and instead of a popular revolution, the German people and the world got fascism and the Nazis. So things can go either way when governments, currencies or economies collapse – a liberating revolution may ensue, or we may end up with tyranny and fascism, depending on how the people react. But what is certain, however it unfolds and whatever follows, is that collapse can and does happen. And it is coming.

Whatever you do, take your money out of banks, put it in credit unions and co-op banks, or better, in a safe – and divest yourself completely of your paper money, keeping only as much as you need for liquidity, and daily or monthly purchases, and putting the rest into something safe: like land, tools, silver and gold, and maybe Bitcoins as a minor element as well.

*

What is the significance of Bitcoin?

Security, Investment, and Revolution

 

Bitcoin seems to me to have three major points of significance as a social phenomenon. First, it offers people increased material security. The paper currencies which now dominate the global economy and which people rely on to buy their daily bread and whatever else they may want or need and can afford, if they can afford it, are simply unstable. In fact, with the currency wars that are being waged now, currencies are being systematically devalued, which means the purchasing power of paper money, or fiat currency, as it is properly called, is shrinking, prices are rising in relation to purchasing power, which is called inflation, of course; and worst of all, with the fiat money paper currencies being systematically devalued, they are guaranteed to collapse, and soon. Bitcoins are not subject to such radical devaluation or collapse, because they are in limited supply, unlike the paper money which is being printed in the trillions of dollars. So Bitcoins can be used as a safe place to store money when virtually all other forms of investment and all paper monies are extremely unstable and heading for collapse. That is the first significance of Bitcoin – it provides increased financial and material, economic security for people who are smart enough, or have enough foresight, to make use of it.

Secondly, Bitcoin offers investment opportunity. Bitcoin’s value has risen 200% over the past year. The New York Stock Exchange is at an all-time low in relation to Bitcoin. While the paper money of fiat currencies approach collapse, and the global economy approaches collapse, meaning most investments and also savings will be wiped out, Bitcoin remains strong and continues to rise in value, along with gold and silver. Bitcoins were trading at a price of just over $10 in November of 2012. As of this October they are selling for over $200. [As noted, this figure is as of October 25, 2013, when this article was written. When the article was reviewed by the author on December 10, 2013, the value of Bitcoins had risen to nearly $800.] With a limited supply of Bitcoins and falling values of paper money currencies, the price of Bitcoins is likely to rise to over $1,000.

Remember that I advised people to invest in gold and silver in 2006, when I warned that an economic collapse was coming – predicting the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, while virtually everyone was saying that things are just rosy. Silver and gold have doubled and tripled their value since then, respectively, and of course, the severe global economic crisis that I predicted did hit, and hit severely. So when I say, buy Bitcoins, and buy gold and silver, there is a proven track record of accurate predictions to back that up. This is not coming out of thin air.

Thirdly, Bitcoin may prove to be truly revolutionary. That word is wildy over-used, and used to puff and promote and hype everything from toothpaste to toilet paper, but in this case, it just may apply. We will see. Bitcoin certainly has the potential to challenge the global dominance of the banking elite in their world hegemony over the global economy and monetary system. If enough people start to use Bitcoin, then it could empower the people, while reducing the excessive powers of the global financial elite; and this, in combination with other grassroots political and economic actions, could actually bring about a much-needed revolution. Bitcoin could be one more powerful tool which the people have, with which to reclaim their power, and to dethrone the bankers and other business elites who have essentially taken over the global economy as well as the political parties, governments, media and nations of the world.

Can Bitcoin be stopped? The banking and corporate elite, and their henchmen in government certainly would like to stop it, since it threatens their power, their global dominance and their astronomically high profits, but I don’t see how it can be stopped. Bitcoin, like the internet, has no single focal point, but rather it is distributed and decentralized. The internet was built by the Pentagon’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, to be a fail-safe that could not be destroyed, by reason that if one node goes down, data would flow through another route, as Max Keiser has also described. Being based on the internet and being decentralized, Bitcoin is the same. The only way Bitcoin could be stopped, Max said, would be to shut down the entire internet – but even then, Bitcoin could work offline, on thumb drives. So Bitcoin appears to be unstoppable. And it is exploding in growth, with people using it every day all around the world.

Whether or not Bitcoin helps to spark a revolution, it certainly tips the scales back in favour of the people, and away from the global business elite, and that is most definitely a good thing. It is one more way that the people can empower themselves.

And in the process, it can also give people more economic security and improved material well-being, and in these uncertain and difficult times, that is also a very good thing.

J. Todd Ring,
October 25, 2013

 

Forbes has some interesting articles on Bitcoin here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/10/23/five-possible-reasons-for-bitcoins-most-recent-surge/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2013/10/24/why-this-entrepeneur-thinks-bitcoins-are-here-to-stay/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/10/08/the-bitcoin-backlash-is-underlay-by-a-quivering-status-quo/ 

But don’t take Forbes word as gospel, of course. Far better, listen to what Max Keiser has to say about Bitcoin – the man who has the most-watched financial analysis TV show on the planet, the most widely trusted financial analyst in the world, the insider’s insider who wrote the software for the New York Stock Exchange, and probably the person who understands the global financial system better than anyone alive.

Max Keiser on Bitcoin Currency | Interview with Max Keiser

Is Bitcoin money? – Max Keiser
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-keiser/is-bitcoin-money_b_2849031.html

 

 

 

Corporate claustrophobia, office parties and sheer frivolity

Posted in analysis, anthropology, capitalism, comedy, consciousness, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, economics, economy, humor, humour, labour, Orwell, sociology, Thoreau, work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2013 by jtoddring

Manic, rude, cut-throat and insane – yes, corporate culture is just lovely. No wonder two thirds of the people have one foot out the door – and the other third are looking for an exit. See the films, The Corporation, Office Space, and Brazil, if you want to better understand the corporate world. They pretty much sum up the general norm. There are stellar exceptions, of course, but they are the exceptions which prove the current rule. The Office of Circumlocution that Dickens satirized, the wit of Thoreau and the nightmares of Orwell, Huxley and Kafka, all presaged the pathologies of bureaucratic corporate society, more than we generally care to admit. Something has to give. Which brings me to the topic of tonight’s discussion: office party attire, and other inanities.

Lea, my belle, was asking what I’m going to where to the office party tomorrow night – I said I’ll wear anything she likes; but I draw the at wearing a thong and a kilt. I’ll wear a kilt, but no thong, sorry. Actually, I wear the same thing everyday, so my wardrobe concerns are pretty minimal – as in, zero. But I do like the kilt idea.

No, I haven’t been drinking – just high on dishwasher fumes, I guess. They must be putting a new chemical in that dishwasher detergent. We’ll have to get more of that.

It does make me think, however, to return to the central subject matter of corporate office party attire, that it might be a good idea to have an international wardrobe day once a month for every workplace. It might lighten things up to see three hundred pound Fred Jones in a sarong or Janet in a Fez – and it could broaden cultural awareness while softening the death-grip of super stress and stuffiness, and bring a breath of fresh air – in more ways than one!

But then, I think that Margarita Mondays should start at 2:00, so my business advice may be a little too much on the bohemian side for most managers and executives.

Margarita Mondays from 2:00-8:00, and Frosty Beer Fridays, 2:00-10:00…. We start and end the week with short days, to ease the strain; cut the work week to 34 hours; and increase productivity by increasing moral and decreasing stress – sounds good to me.

And how about 20 minute chair massages, or foot massages – your choice – for all staff, once a week, scheduled at your leisure and convenience? Really, the stress reduction and the improved energy and concentration that would result would increase productivity more than sufficiently to compensate for the minimal up-front expense outlay, I am convinced.

The entire corporate world and the broader economy and culture need a major renaissance and re-thinking, if not a revolution, but these tiny ideas could be some very small steps to injecting a little more life into what tends more often than not to be a rather staid, stolid and stultifying environment. I tell you, people are going to start speaking in involuntary alliteration if this keeps up without a change!

But we’re getting way to serious here for this little discussion. Time for more frivolity!

Take it away Fozzy!

Whoops – I am now told that I have misspelled the name of Fozzie Bear! Stop the presses! We must rectify this immediately! We definitely do not want to upset the Muppet fans! They are a rowdy bunch! And you certainly don’t want to see Animal upset! (Keith Moon RIP.)

Sorry Fozzie!

JTR,
December 10, 2013

New studies show babies have basically decent impulses and are strongly driven by moral imperatives

Posted in analysis, anarchism, anthropology, books, class, common ground, consciousness, democracy, elite, empowerment, freedom, Hobbes, inspiration, Kropotkin, libertarian, libertarian socialism, must-read, people's movements, philosophy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, psychology, reading, science, social theory, sociology, the world's other superpower, truth with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2013 by jtoddring

More research shows once again that compassion, empathy and mutual aid, and an instinct toward cooperation, are innate in human beings, confirming what the great Russian biologist and anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin had already amply demonstrated over a hundred years ago, in his monumental work, Mutual Aid. My but our cherished ideological self-deceptions die slowly.

The dark view of human nature presented by Hobbes and many others, is still alive and well, despite the growing mountain of evidence to the contrary. The ideology of social Darwinism, hatched by Herbert Spencer, and not, emphatically, by Darwin himself, still holds considerable sway, especially among the power elite, to use C. Wright Mills term, who use this grand self-deceit as a rationalization for their callous and frankly sociopathic behaviour.

But, as Chomsky has said, the great majority of people have basically decent impulses. Since this is the case, and since those who gravitate to positions of great power tend to be power-mongers and sociopaths, far more often than altruistic benefactors or true leaders, we should question our learned obedience to government and other elites and power structures, and trust our own common sense, and ourselves, far more.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/11/as-babies-we-knew-morality/281567/

J. Todd Ring,
November 18, 2013

NAFTA, “Free Trade” and the TPP: Fast-Track To Full Corporate Rule

Posted in activism, analysis, Canada, capitalism, Chomsky, civil liberties, class, collapse, consciousness, constitution, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, coup, crisis of democracy, deep integration, democracy, democratic deficit, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, FTAA, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, imperialism, jobs, labour, Mexico, money, Mussolini, must-read, NAFTA, nation state, national democracies, NAU, peace, people's movements, police state, policy, political economy, politics, Security and Prosperity Partnership, sociology, sovereignty, SPP, sustainability, tipping point, trade, truth, U.S., war on democracy, WEF, World Economic Forum, WTO with tags , , , , on November 6, 2013 by jtoddring

The TPP In A Nutshell: Growing corporate power and the death of freedom

The FTA, NAFTA, the WTO, the WEF, the SPP, and now, the TPP – it is all a further drive for increasing global corporate power, and we should be very concerned. This should not need to be spelled out. The situation is becoming critical. Here is some background and context.

“Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those promises have failed to materialize. U.S. trade deficits with both Canada and Mexico have surged, crippling domestic industries, prompting massive job displacement and the replacement of living wage union jobs with jobs in sectors with low pay, minimal benefits and no job security.”

– Expose the TPP

 

What have been called “free trade” agreements are more accurately called corporate rights agreements, as Chomsky and others have said. And these agreements have helped to de-industrialize the US and Canada while shifting production to Mexico and other cheap labour offshore locations, such as India and China, wiping out the bulk of the middle class at home in the process, while leaving the great majority around the world in poverty as well, and generally benefiting only a small elite. Continuing in this course would clearly be disastrous for the vast majority of the people world-wide.

NAFTA, CAFTA, the FTAA, the WTO, the WEF, the SPP, the ECB and the Fed, and now, the TPP – all of these are treaties and organizational structures which represent the enthronement of the global corporate elite as the de facto rulers of the world, as the London Financial Times itself has said. They represent, in essence, a set of treaties between big business and governments, in which governments yield and cede their power to the trans-national corporate elite who already dominate the global economy, the major media and the political process and governments of most nations in the world today.

What this represents is the merger of business and the state, which as Mussolini himself said, is the very definition of fascism. What we are seeing is the destruction of both democracy and freedom, as well as human rights, constitutional law and civil liberties, under a global corporatist rule of increasingly stark neo-feudalism.

And if that were not already bad enough, we should also recognize that the people do not even benefit economically. Such moves benefit the few at the top, while the middle class is eliminated, the sea of poverty grows as the great majority of the people are driven into a growing underclass, inequality skyrockets, and a police state is constructed to keep the increasingly discontent masses silent and obedient, suppressed, subjugated, and neutralized – meaning effectively, neutered.

This is not even mentioning the utterly disastrous effects that our new global empire of corporate feudalism is having on the environment and the prospects for any kind of future for human life on earth.

Say no to the TPP and corporate rule, or say hello to a new and hellish form of Babylon, and an accelerating race towards a collective suicide.

J. Todd Ring,
November 6, 2013

Anarchism, capitalism, democracy and common sense

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, American politics, analysis, anarchism, banks, capitalism, China, class, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crisis of democracy, democracy, democratic deficit, ecological crisis, elite, empire, empowerment, end-game, environment, fascism, fascist, Feudalism, freedom, geopolitics, globalism, globalization, health care, human rights, hybrid, inspiration, Jefferson, Lenin, libertarian socialism, libertarianism, media analysis, money, must-read, neo-feudalism, oil, Orwell, peace, people's movements, philosophy, police state, policy, political economy, political philosophy, political theory, politics, politics of oil, propaganda, psychology, resources, social theory, socialism, sociology, sovereignty, sustainability, the world's other superpower, tipping point, truth, U.S., war, war crimes, war on democracy on October 25, 2013 by jtoddring

I am not inclined toward market anarchy, or anarchist capitalism, as I see it as being both non-viable, since capitalism without restraints invariably breeds monopoly capitalism, which is no longer capitalism in the sense of a free market, but a form of feudalism, since the few end up dominating and ruling over the rest; and because capitalism is based upon a two-tiered society of the owners of production, in Marxist terms, the people who have an unequal share of economic power, and hence also, social, cultural and political power, and those who must work for them in order to survive; and thus, capitalism is based upon the need (of the many, not the few) to rent yourself out for money, which is degrading and dehumanizing, as well as antithetical to freedom.

Renting yourself out for money was called wage slavery by Abraham Lincoln and others who opposed it. A more stark and honest term for what it means to rent yourself out for money is simply prostitution.

Unless you want to be a slave – or a slave master, if you are both lucky and also supremely unethical – or you are simply lost in confused thinking and illusions, you cannot support capitalism in any form: at least, not without strong legislation such as labour laws, minimum wage standards, workplace safety requirements, environmental protocols, and above all, anti-trust legislation to prevent and break up monopolies.

If you want capitalism, if you want an economic system and a society based upon wage slavery – though I do not see why any sane person would – then at the very least, you have to put restraints on it: you have to chain the beast, or it will devour you.

You certainly cannot support a form of capitalism that strips capital, and the controllers of capital, of all restraints – unless you are either a self-deluded ideologue, or you are a member of the business elite, or a wanna-be member of this class.

So I would say that the idea of market anarchy, or anarchist capitalism, is one that is propounded by two groups: the deluded, and the cynically dishonest and self-serving.

Of course the business elite like the idea of eliminating all government oversight and restraints on their actions. It would mean total freedom for them – freedom to loot and pillage at will, to play one nation, state, province and community against another in a race to the bottom, with ever lower wages and working conditions, and ever lower environmental standards, and by these and other means, to gather even more of the wealth, resources and power on the planet into their hands, even more rapidly and frantically than they are already doing.

The corporate elite also favour the elimination, not only of all governmental restrictions on their actions – although they are quite keen to push for a police state to restrain the actions of the people, and to further secure their power and their de facto rule; they also strongly favour the elimination of all social safety nets and all government programs that help the poor and unemployed.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, social programs that help the people cost money – and the corporate elite would rather their multi-billion and trillion dollar state subsidies increase; therefore, programs that help the people must be slashed and eliminated – the welfare state is supposed to provide for the rich, not the masses.

Secondly, and more essentially, the welfare state, and all social safety nets and social programs that help the poor and the unemployed, must be slashed and eliminated, so that the people will be driven to desperation, and will welcome their corporate masters, and beg to be shackled and chained for a mere few cents an hour, or a few crumbs of bread.

The business elite like to talk amongst themselves and in the business press about what they call pampered Western workers. They like Chinese workers much better, as the offshoring of production and the deindustrialization of the West make abundantly clear. They do not want to pay $30 or $40 an hour for labour, or even $10, or $7.50 an hour for a wage slave in North America or Europe, when they can get one for $1 an hour in Mexico, or $0.10 an hour in China. Destroying social programs and safety nets means that Western workers can be trained to accept Chinese standards of pay – which is to say, social programs and safety nets must be destroyed in order to make the pampered Western workers more compliant and malleable serfs.

The other means of creating an ultra-low cost labour pool is through slavery, and that is being vigorously pursued by the reigning corporate powers as well – it is called the prison system. Prison labour is a rapidly growing out-sourcing choice for large, profitable corporations. With prison labour, you can pay workers just pennies an hour, and if they get out of line, you can get the guards to beat them to a pulp.

But to return to the driving down of wages and benefits across the West…

This is the primary reason for the so-called austerity programs being foisted on the people, purportedly for their own good, and the reason for the attack on the welfare state and all social programs across the Western world: free the corporations of the bondage of having to pay wages that people can live on, by driving the people to utter desperation, where they can be more easily manipulated, and exploited on a greater scale, for the increased profits of the already astronomically rich few. It is a grand and noble vision indeed.

But the main attack on government is an attack by big business on government regulations applying to big business. (They are happy to see red tape, high taxes and bureaucratic hurdles thrown up for small business, but they want a fast-track and a back door, with zero restrictions and zero taxes for themselves. Taxes, laws and regulations are for the little people.) The business elite do not want government restrictions on their actions. They want the subsidies and the bailouts and the protection of an increasingly militarized police state and a welfare state for the rich, but they do not want any restrictions on their own actions. Fascism for the people, total freedom for the elite – that is what the corporate oligarchs who rule the world today want, and that is what we are rapidly being driven into, like corralled cattle, being herded down the cattle chute.

While the elimination of government would mean total freedom for the corporate elite, it would mean total subjugation under neo-feudal corporate rule for the rest of us, and therefore we should oppose it – vigorously and passionately.

If you want to abolish government, you had better abolish all great concentrations of economic power first, or you will not have anarchism, much less freedom – you will simply have unfettered corporate rule, and a new form of tyranny.

So no, I do not support market anarchism or anarchist capitalism. I would tend to favour libertarian socialism, or anarchist socialism, where collectivism and anti-statism come together in a valuing of both freedom and mutual aid, as Kropotkin, Rocker, Bookchin, Bertrand Russell, Chomsky and others have argued for. In the short term, however, I would be happy simply to see a government that truly is, of the people, by the people, for the people, and not simply a servant of ruthless corporate powers and the super-rich.

I do not believe that a truly free society is even attainable without a very strong degree of mutual aid and solidarity among the people, which is absolutely necessary to accomplish the goal of a free society. So freedom and mutual aid must go hand in hand. To dream of it being otherwise is sheer fantasy.

How we blend and balance freedom and mutual aid, or liberty and collectivism, is the question. Whether or not we must, is a non-issue.

*

The seizure of corporate property by the workers, or by the people otherwise, at the local level, I do see as frequently if not generally justified, and Rothbard gives some good examples, such as workers taking over any and all corporations that are tied to the military-industrial complex, since they are involved in mass murder, among other reasons.

We can also look to the example of Argentina, where workers took over factories and ran them themselves, very successfully, as the documentary, The Take, revealed.

Or we can look to the Spanish Revolution, which was a largely anarchist revolution. The anarchist experiment in Spain, which lived between 1936 and 1939, I believe, was extremely successful, and could certainly be repeated elsewhere, but it would take great international solidarity to keep it alive in the face of the predictable backlash by the presently reigning vested interests.

As Chomsky has said, what the elite fear most, is the threat of a good example. For that reason, any example of worker control or workplace democracy, of any alternative to elite corporate rule, will be viciously attacked, no matter how small or remote. We must be prepared for that; but that is not an insurmountable obstacle to real social change. The people always have the real power. They simply need to realize it, and act upon the fact.

The anarchist revolution in Spain unfortunately ended up being crushed by an alliance between Western business elites, Western governments and the Soviet Union – Bolsheviks despise worker control just about as much as capitalists do. (Lenin destroyed the worker councils immediately upon seizing power, and Kropotkin declared after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, that the revolution is dead. But the example of a successful anarchist revolution, and a proven successful anarchist-socialist model for an advanced industrial society, still lives, and it still offers a better alternative, by far, over what we have now.

But to return to the subject of appropriation – or reclamation, as it might better and more accurately be called – there are other good reasons which justify such actions, and make them entirely legitimate, aside from the ones mentioned by Rothbard.

First of all, if what is nominally called private property was gained through illegitimate means, then all claim to title is null and void. For example, if an armed band of thugs rolls into town, and steals all that the people have or possess at gun point, we would say they have no right to that property. If one nation sends in its military to seize the oil or other resources of people in a foreign land, then that nation has no legitimate claim to such property. If a slave owner amasses a great fortune by means of the labour of his slaves, then he has no right to that property, which is more justly the property of the slaves who produced that wealth – cotton for example, or sugar cane, and the revenues from it – and not the slave master who illegitimately lays claim to it. And there are less obvious reasons for the invalidation of claims to property rights, such as great imbalances of power. In essence, all of these examples involve the exploitation of an imbalance of power to acquire wealth, and the imbalance of power makes all such claims to property acquired through these means, null and invalid.

That is the case generally for large concentrations of wealth and economic powers, such as the big corporations have today – for reasons of imbalances of power, and special favours sought by means of what is essentially bribery to political candidates, through what is euphemistically called election financing, among other reasons. The claims of property rights on the part of the corporate giants are highly dubious at best, and in reality, groundless, invalid and illegitimate.

Of course, this raises fears and even terror in some, for fear that their property will not be regarded as sacrosanct. Where do we draw the line between legitimate property rights, and appropriation or reclamation of what are reasonably viewed as illegitimate claims on property or resources, is the question we must ask. We draw lines all the time, and it is not hard to imagine a reasonable balance being sought and found. For example, leaving all small and medium businesses intact, as well as all family farms, family homes and personal possessions, but endorsing and supporting an appropriation or reclaiming of resources and assets which are presently held by the largest corporations, forthwith to be held as the shared property of the people – just as we now share public parks and public roads, public libraries and public fire departments – with shares in these corporation distributed equally to the people (and full voting shares, of course).

This would break up the corporate giants, immediately strip them of their excessive powers, put some teeth in anti-trust measures, and most essentially, would bring an immediate end to the domination over the global economy, the political process and the media by the presently ruling corporate elite. And it would once again restore some semblance of equality and also accountability within our society, and would at the same time dramatically increase the justice in our society, and also the quality of life and well-being of the people, immeasurably. I would therefore urge that such steps be taken immediately.

And it does not have to be an all or nothing scenario. We could start with the worst offenders, the banks, for example. If you want to dethrone Wall Street, and reign in the banking elite, and thereby get money out of politics, as any sane person should want today, then break up the big banks. And what are you going to do with them, one might ask. Well, one option is to do just what I have described here: seize their assets, and distribute shares of ownership equally among the people, effectively turning them into democratically controlled co-ops, with dividends paid directly to the people.

You do not let such corporate criminals get away with such crimes, nor do you give them a mere slap on the wrist. They are said to be too big to fail. Well, they are too big to exist – unless they are controlled by the people. Confiscate their assets, and return the power to the people.

Six giant banks now dominate the entire American economy, as well as both major political parties. Seize these powers, and put them in the hands of the people, and you will have a revolution – and real social change.

And we can have a mixed economy. We do not have to move too fast, if that scares people. Look at Europe – mixed economies are the norm. Most European nations have universal public health care, which is essentially a socialist feature of their society, yet they have democratic governments, constitutions, freedom and civil liberties, and they have capitalist, market-based economies. Adopting a universal public health care system did not turn these countries into Communist regimes, no matter what the paranoid right may scream. They are mixed economies with essentially republican governments and market economies. We can drop the paranoia now.

Despite the red scare tactics and the misunderstandings, having a socialist medical system has not turned European nations into Stalinist regimes, or anything remotely of the sort. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of Americans have wanted a Canadian or European style health public health care system for decades – and it is half as costly as the for-profit private health care system of the United States. But this is an aside.

So we could easily imagine a mixed economy where we have excellent social programs, such as universal pensions, unemployment insurance and public health care, a market-based economy, open and transparent constitutional democracy with rights and freedoms for all enshrined in law and custom, and also have large sectors of the economy run as worker co-ops or publicly owned co-ops; run, not by the state, but by boards of directors and chief executives that are elected by the people directly, with the people being the majority or even the sole share-holders.

We are talking about taking giant, unwieldy, unaccountable and undemocratic corporations which are now out of control and running rampage, and turning them into accountable, democratically run co-ops, owned and controlled directly by the people. This would make a dramatic, and much needed, urgently needed change to our society. I see no reason to delay.

So yes, re-appropriation, or a reclaiming of resources by the people from the corporate oligarchs who have seized them and laid claim to them, is not only entirely justified and legitimate – it is also highly practical, workable, and an attainable goal which should be sought without delay.

In fact, I would say that if we do not take such measures, and soon, then the corporate elite will consolidate their power globally, with the results being that we find ourselves living in an Orwellian, technocratic, neo-feudal fascist regime, and a very dark age.

We must take bold steps now, to protect the people and ourselves from the clear and mounting threats of a full-blown corporate fascism. When six banks control 40% of the wealth of America; when six corporations control 90% of American media and can effectively manipulate the public mind; when Wall Street and the Fortune 500 fund the elections and effectively choose the political puppets of their liking; and when and a few dozen corporations, mainly banks, effectively control the global economy and rule the world, as a recent Swiss study showed, in a case of science confirming the obvious, then it is time for a bold and unhesitating response on the part of the people, without question.

Furthermore, with regards to claims of property rights: abuses of any great power also render all claim to that power null and void, as the Declaration of Independence states – and this applies to economic powers, such as those held by the business elite and the corporate giants, every bit as much as it applies to kings and queens, governments and political powers. If you abuse it, you lose it. And the corporate giants and the billionaire class who control them, are most definitely abusing their power.

A tax on tea sparked the American Revolution – it was a last, final insult, after myriad insults and injuries by an oppressive and tyrannical power. Such a tipping point is fast approaching again, when the people will say, No more, and the corporate empires will be swept aside, like so many empires that have fallen and been cast off in the past.

*

So I would say no to market anarchism, or anarchist capitalism, but yes to the people reclaiming the resources and assets that are held by the big corporations: for reasons of justice and equitability, for reasons of accountability, for reasons of environmental stewardship and the survival of the human race on earth, which is now in great peril, and because the corporate powers have become, and are now, simply tyrannical, by any reasonable definition or meaning of the word, and are causing great injury to the people as well as the earth on which we all depend for life.

If Thomas Jefferson could argue that a tax on tea is overly vexatious and justifies a revolution – I am exaggerating somewhat of course, to make a point, but we get the point of it – then surely today there is every justification for revolution against the new tyrants,  who are the reigning global billionaire class of the super-rich, and the giant corporations they control – who are infinitely more injurious to the people than King George ever dared to dream.

Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson warned that the corporations, and what he called the new moneyed aristocracy who controlled them, were already bidding defiance to our laws and challenging our democratic government to a contest of strength. And he said that he hoped the new moneyed aristocracy shall be killed in its infancy. He did not mince words, nor did he have any illusions as to the great dangers which confronted the people. We did not listen however, and that is why we are in trouble today. By now, any further delay in putting serious checks and balances on the new ruling super-powers of the corporate elite, would be nothing short of disastrous.

The powers and the abuse of powers, of and by the King of England, pale in comparison to the powers and the abuse of powers of and by the Bank of America or Goldman Sachs alone. It is time to dethrone the new tyrants. It is time to kick the corporate oligarchs out of the palace and into the streets – certainly out of government, and out of their present position as the de facto world government, and the unelected rulers of the world, as the business press itself calls them.

(The business elite prefer to call themselves the masters of the universe – and no, I am not joking – and their demonstrated egomania, power-lust and sheer madness only adds to the reasons to throw them from power.)

Gentleness is the best general rule, but there is a time for boldness. There is a time for the ferocity of a lion. And there is a time for the overturning of tables. Throw the money changers from the temple. They have overstepped their proper bounds, and have made themselves a menace. They must be deposed. And the most direct and effective way to dethrone this newest ruling class of would-be emperors, Caesars and Tsars who are the global corporate elite, is to reclaim their assets, and thereby to strip them of the very basis of their powers.

If a person on a rooftop with a rifle starts shooting at people, you disarm that person, and stop the violence. The big corporations and the business elite who control them are now wielding vast and unaccountable powers, which is reason enough to strip them of such powers; and in addition, they are demonstrably wreaking havoc, destruction and great suffering on the earth and upon the people. Therefore, they must be disarmed. And the only way to effectively disarm them, or to reign them in and halt their drive to fully dominate and control the global economy and the resources, the wealth and the nations of the world, which they are well on their way to doing, as anyone who is paying attention can clearly see; as well as to prevent them from destroying democracy completely, and to halt their clearly suicidal onslaught against nature and the earth, is to strip them of their powers – which means, stripping them of their assets.

It must be done. The people must reclaim their power. And no, Lenin, you were wrong, and we will not repeat your mistakes. No, this time, the revolution must come from below, and power must be returned to the people, and kept close to the people, at the level of the grassroots, and not in the hands of any ruling class or ruling elite of any kind – be it a political elite, a bureaucratic elite, a military elite, a religious elite, a self-proclaimed intellectual elite, or a business elite.

Freedom will come. And it will mean more than being able to choose between Coke or Pepsi, or choosing between which slavers will shackle your legs and make you their wage-slave.

A new day is being born. The writing is on the wall.

Stand now, people.

J. Todd Ring,
October 24, 2013

Mexico City: A study in impermanence, and a lesson to us all

Posted in activism, alternative, alternatives, analysis, anthropology, collapse, consciousness, conservation, crash, disaster, ecological crisis, ecology, empowerment, end-game, global warming, Mexico, must-read, political economy, politics, politics of oil, post-carbon, social theory, sociology, sustainability, tipping point, truth with tags , , on October 19, 2013 by jtoddring

pablo lopez luz photographs the concrete waves (or carpet, as he puts it) of Mexico City

 

The unbelievably sprawling concrete carpet of Mexico City seen in these photos make me think… Gorgeous country, beautiful culture and people, horrible government, amazing capital city – but utterly unsustainable, as most cities are. Watch for the ruins – like those in Palenque or Tikal, the ruins of the fallen, once-great cities of the Maya, now covered over by jungle.

Watch for the ruins of most of our present sprawling modern cities, as the people flee the collapsing infrastructure, brought on by our own unwillingness to live in ecological balance.

Sayonara.

Return to nature? We will soon have no choice. As Matt Stein, Ronald Wright, Jared Diamond, David Suzuki and many others have told us, we are bringing on a collapse of our civilization, due to our ecological neglect. We will go back to nature, and learn once again to live more simply, as well as more richly, rest assured. Some of us will do it voluntarily, and with foresight. Others will be forced into it, by necessity as infrastructure breaks down.

Foresight is always the wiser path.

The work to protect nature and all life on earth must go on, of course, and so too must we work towards a sustainable society, both sociologically and ecologically. But we must now also man the life boats. The ship is sinking. Of that, there is no longer any doubt. Human beings will carry on, but not without some major challenges ahead. It is time to face the music, and deal with the facts as they are, and not as we wish them to be.

J. Todd Ring,
October 18, 2013

US government shutdown, and other fairy tales and examples of political theatre

Posted in American politics, analysis, banks, Barack Obama, Canada, Canadian politics, Chomsky, collapse, consciousness, corporate fascism, corporate rule, corporations, corporatism, corporatocracy, crash, crisis of democracy, debt, deficit, democracy, democratic deficit, Democratic Party, economics, economy, elite, empire, empowerment, far right, fascism, fascist, fiscal conservative, freedom, geopolitics, health care, imperialism, money, neo-feudalism, neocon, neoconservatism, neoliberalism, Obama, police state, policy, political economy, politics, propaganda, psychology, Republican, Republican Party, right, right wing, sociology, the right, truth, U.S., war, war on democracy, wellness with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by jtoddring

I’m not sure what to make of the hoopla going on in the US right now. I’m inclined to think it’s all just political theatre, as Gerald Celente calls it, designed to distract the people from the real issues – the central one being, who controls the government and the nation? Wall Street, the big banks and largest corporations, or the people? After all, both of the major parties are controlled by the same six big banks, the private banking cartel which is the Fed, the military-industrial-security complex, Wall Street and the biggest 500 corporations on the planet, so what is this charade really about? As Celente said, it’s WWF – the World Wrestling Federation: it’s all scripted; it’s all political theatre. They all work for the same people.

Some Americans, mainly on the right, and mainly the rich, want to shrink government and abolish social programs that help and protect the poor, as well as the middle class – and half of Americans are now living below, at, or just above the poverty line, so that means 50% of the American people would get badly shafted, and far more would be badly hurt.

Some Americans – the overwhelming majority, well over 70% – favour public, universal health care, such as Canada, Britain, Europe and most of the civilized world has. But Obamacare is nothing of the sort. Obamacare is Romneycare – Obama simply took Romney’s package and made it his own. Obamacare, like Obama’s entire presidency, is designed to appease and sooth the masses and post-pone real political action, popular uprising or social unrest, while continuing the facilitation of the rape and pillage of the nation and the world by the largest corporations and the wealthiest 0.01%. What is amazing is that more people do not yet recognize these facts, although a great many, and a growing number do. The Obamacare package averts public, universal health care, which the people want, props up a crumbling private, massively subsidized for-profit health care system, and will put even more money into private, for-profit health insurance and health industry corporations, with dubious benefit to the people, if any. So the entire debate is dishonest to begin with, and radically out of joint with reality.

Furthermore, for those who want to cut government debt and spending, it should be noted, and made clear, that one of the best ways to do that, along with ending war and de-funding the massive military-industrial-security complex, the imperial storm troopers, the goon squads and the surveillance state, is to switch to a public health care system. (See Chomsky for a clear-headed and honest analysis of these points.)

The for-profit private health care system of the US has been shown repeatedly to cost far more than the public, not-for-profit health care systems of Canada, Britain and Europe. So once again, the debate is a farce; is filled with deceit; and again, radically out of sync with reality.

In the face of all of this, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I tend to worry greatly for the American people, as I do for human beings and all life on earth generally; but I trust they will resolve these problems. In the meantime, I pray, and will do all I can to seek out and share the best information and ideas I can find – from the left, right, centre, and anywhere I can find them.

Will the government shut down? Hardly likely, it seems to me. If it does, it will be disastrous for millions of people – even though the US government is the biggest criminal syndicate on the planet, next to the billionaire oligarchs who control it, along with virtually every other nation and government on earth. But a shutdown of the US government probably would not last long in any case, and the big bureaucratic machine of the state will restart again, if for no other reason, than because the people who control it – the super-rich, the corporate and banking elite, rely on it as a cash cow, a welfare state for the rich, a constant source of dizzying subsidies, bail-outs and forced wealth transfers from the people to the ruling plutocrats (they call it a “stimulus” package); and as a protective hired thug which can be, and is being used to keep an increasingly unruly rabble and frustrated populace subdued and under control, so that the great global looting spree can continue unabated.

The US government has handed the biggest banks and the global banking elite $14 trillion since the economic crisis of 2007-2008 erupted – enough to pay off the mortgages of every American, and every student debt and credit card debt, and all personal debts in the US, with approximately $13 trillion left to spare: which is enough to eliminate global poverty many times over, or, enough to eliminate global poverty, and create the global infrastructure for a truly sustainable society. Other corporate sectors are receiving smaller sums, in the range of a mere few tens or hundreds of billions of dollars a year, in regular subsidies, bail-outs and props. The six biggest banks now control a huge swath of the US economy, yet they are now fully dependent on on-going government subsidies just to survive. Their profits now are roughly equal to what they are receiving in regular government “stimulus” moneys, meaning, they would be forced out of business if they had to go without massive public funding from the government. This is to say nothing of the giant military-industrial-security and surveillance complex and its over $1 trillion annual cash flood coming from Washington and the Federal budget. Do we really believe that the same people who fund and control both of the two major parties want this gravy train to end? Think again. Not on your life.

No, the true rulers, the global business elite, need the US government, and will not let it be shutdown for long, if at all. So again, I am inclined to view all of this melodrama and hyperbole as so much theatre: bread and circuses, my friends, bread and circuses.

Keep the people divided – divide and conquer being rule number one for any good power-monger; and feed them bread and circuses to keep them distracted while their pockets are picked, and to keep their eyes diverted from the shackles and chains around their necks, wrists and legs. And sometimes, soap operas, sit-coms, “reality tv,” sports and celebrity gossip are not enough – political theatre is also needed; and so, it is provided.

The reality is, there are far too many pigs that are neck deep with their heads in the trough for the government to shut down for long. The ruling oligarchs simply won’t allow it, so let’s be real here, and keep such facts in mind while the hysteria mounts.

If the US government, or either of the major parties was truly interested in reducing the debt and deficit, then the on-going wars of empire would be ceased immediately and sworn off, all foreign US military bases would be closed, the military-industrial-security complex would be radically de-funded and the global surveillance and police state apparatus shut down, with savings of close to $1 trillion a year – which would mean that were is no more fiscal crisis.

If, in addition to this, universally accessible, publicly funded not-for-profit health care was brought in, further enormous cost savings would be made, and there would be a windfall of money available for real economic recovery, job creation, infrastructure and urgently needed environmental programs.

But none of this is on the agenda, none of this is even open to discussion, for the simple reason that the ruling class of plutocrats and corporate tsars and robber barons don’t want this, because that wouldn’t benefit them.

This is the real story; the rest, a mere charade.

J. Todd Ring,
September 30, 2013