Lamestream news begets lamestream culture especially in the minds of “professionals”. Having financial problems so I went to my financial planner. He did however have a problem with my plan of cash money in a fireproof safe. It is his livelyhood to sell you pieces of paper which say you have money,money later that is. Bank,stock,bond or offshore derivatives none of it is edible. If the institution goes so the the money. Future? There is no future.
Sep 22 2009
Sep 05 2009
Posted with kind permission of Truthdig
By Chris Hedges
Globalization and unfettered capitalism have been swept into the history books along with the open-market theory of the 1920s, the experiments of fascism, communism and the New Deal. It is time for a new economic and political paradigm. It is time for a new language to address our reality. The voices of change, those who speak in powerful and yet unfamiliar words, will cry out Sept. 25 and 26 in Pittsburgh when protesters from around the country gather to defy the heads of state, bankers and finance ministers from the world’s 22 largest economies who are convening for a meeting of the G-20. If we heed these dissident voices we have a future. If we do not we will commit collective suicide.
The international power elites will go to Pittsburgh to preach the mantra that globalization is inevitable and eternal. They will discuss a corpse as if it was living. They will urge us to remain in suspended animation and place our trust in the inept bankers and politicians who orchestrated the crisis. This is the usual tactic of bankrupt elites clinging to power. They denigrate and push to the margins the realists-none of whom will be inside their security perimeters-who give words to our disintegration and demand a new, unfamiliar course. The powerful discredit dissent and protest. But human history, as Erich Fromm wrote, always begins anew with disobedience. This disobedience is the first step toward freedom. It makes possible the recovery of reason.
The longer we speak in the language of global capitalism, the longer we utter platitudes about the free market-even as we funnel hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars into the accounts of large corporations-the longer we live in a state of collective self-delusion. Our power elite, who profess to hate government and government involvement in the free market, who claim they are the defenders of competition and individualism, have been stealing hundreds of billions of dollars of our money to nationalize mismanaged corporations and save them from bankruptcy. We hear angry and confused citizens, their minds warped by hate talk radio and television, condemn socialized medicine although we have become, at least for corporations, the most socialized nation on Earth. The schizophrenia between what we profess and what we actually embrace has rendered us incapable of confronting reality. The longer we speak in the old language of markets, capitalism, free trade and globalization the longer the entities that created this collapse will cannibalize the nation.
What are we now? What do we believe? What economic model explains the irrationality of looting the U.S. Treasury to permit speculators at Goldman Sachs to make obscene profits? How can Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser, Lawrence Summers, tout a “jobless recovery”? How much longer can we believe the fantasy that global markets will replace nation states and that economics will permit us to create a utopian world where we will all share the same happy goals? When will we denounce the lie that globalization fosters democracy, enlightenment, worldwide prosperity and stability? When we will we realize that unfettered global trade and corporate profit are the bitter enemies of freedom and the common good?
Corporations are pushing through legislation in the United States that will force us to buy defective, for-profit health insurance, a plan that will expand corporate monopolies and profits at our expense and leave tens of millions without adequate care. Corporations are blocking all attempts to move to renewable and sustainable energy to protect the staggering profits of the oil, natural gas and coal industries. Corporations are plunging us deeper and deeper as a nation into debt to feed the permanent war economy and swell the military budget, which consumes half of all discretionary spending. Corporations use lobbyists and campaign contributions to maintain arcane tax codes that offer them tax havens and tax evasions. Corporations are draining the treasury while the working class sheds jobs, sees homes foreclosed and struggles to survive in a new and terrifying global serfdom. This has been the awful price of complacency.
Protests will begin several days before the summit. Many of the activities are being coordinated by Pittsburgh’s Thomas Merton Center. There will be a march Sept. 25 for anyone who, as Jessica Benner of the center’s Antiwar Committee stated, “has lost a job, a home, a loved one to war, lost value to a retirement plan, gotten sick from environmental pollution, or lived without adequate healthcare, water, or food. … ” There will be at least three tent cities, in addition to a Music Camp beginning Sept. 18 that will be situated at the South Side Riverfront Park near 18th Street. Unemployed workers will set up one tent city at the Monumental Baptist Church on Sept. 20 and five days later will march on the Convention Center. The encampment and the march are being organized by the Bail Out the People Movement. The Institute for Policy Studies, The Nation magazine, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, Pittsburgh United and other organizations will host events including a panel on corporate globalization featuring former World Bank President Joseph Stiglitz, along with a “People’s Tribunal.” There will be a religious procession calling for social justice and a concert organized by Students for a Democratic Society.
But expect difficulties. The Secret Service has so far denied protesters permits while it determines the size of the “security perimeter” it will impose around the world leaders. Pittsburgh has contracted to bring in an extra 4,000 police officers at an estimated cost of $9.5 million. Activist groups have reported incidents of surveillance and harassment. The struggle to thwart the voices of citizens will be as fierce as the struggle to amplify the voices of the criminal class that is trashing the world’s economy. These elites will appear from behind closed doors with their communiqués and resolutions to address us in their specialized jargon of power and expertise. They will attempt to convince us they have not lost control. They will make recommitments to free-trade agreements from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, the World Trade Organization and NAFTA, which have all thrust a knife into the backs of the working class. They will insist that the world can be managed and understood exclusively through their distorted lens of economics. But their day is over. They are the apostles of a dead system. They maintain power through fraud and force. Do not expect them to go without a struggle. But they have nothing left to say to us.
“Those who profess to favour freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground,” Frederick Douglass wrote. “They want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
If you can, go to Pittsburgh. This is an opportunity to defy the titans of the corporate state and speak in words that describe our reality. The power elite fear these words. If these words seep into the population, if they become part of our common vernacular, the elite and the systems they defend will be unmasked. Our collective self-delusion will be shattered. These words of defiance expose the lies and crimes the elite use to barrel us toward neofeudalism. And these words, when they become real, propel men and women to resist.
“The end of something often resembles the beginning,” the philosopher John Ralston Saul wrote in “Voltaire’s Bastards.” “More often than not our nose-to-the-glass view makes us believe that the end we are living is in fact a new beginning. This confusion is typical of an old civilization’s self-confidence-limited by circumstances and by an absence of memory-and in many ways resembling the sort often produced by senility. Our rational need to control understanding and therefore memory has simply accentuated the confusion. … Nothing seems more permanent than a long-established government about to lose power, nothing more invincible than a grand army on the morning of its annihilation.”
Chris Hedges’ latest book is “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.”
Jun 10 2009
The experiment began in the 70s with the idea, propulgated by the likes of Milton Friedman, that free markets could solve all of societies ills. The role of the Nation State, as well as of democracy itself, became second place to the miracles of the market. The traditional functions of regulation, imposed democratically to ensure the interest of public good, would now be relegated to market forces which would ensure the public good through Darwinistic selection. Those who survive and prosper do so because they provide the most service or good. Privatization of utilities such as power and water would usher in a new era of competition and lower prices for consumers. Lifting off burdonsome government regulations would free the markets to naturally select and economies would flourish.
This never happened.
Joseph Stigletz, Nobel Prize winning, former chief economist for the World Bank began to notice a pattern. Everywhere the experiment was implemented, economic disaster occured. Throughout the 80s and the 90s, all across Africa and South America the free marketeers, through the mechanisms of the IMF and the World Bank, got to try out their theories: deregulate, denationalize, privatize.
It didn’t work. Facts:
“In perhaps the most comprehensive such study to date, Scorecard on Globalization 1980-2000, Mark Weisbrot, Dean Baker and other researchers at the Center for Economic and Policy Research documented that economic growth and rates of improvement in life expectancy, child mortality, education levels and literacy all have declined in the era of global corporatization (1980-2000) compared to the years 1960-1980. From 1960-1980 many countries maintained protectionist policies to insulate their economies from the international market to nurture their domestic industries and allow them to become competitive. Those policies are the same ones on which U.S. economic prosperity was built.
The Scorecard findings include:
- Slower economic growth for countries at all income levels;
- A negative growth rate for the poorest countries;
- For moderately wealthy countries, income growth declined from 100% increase per capita between 1960-1980 to a 21% increase in the last two decades;
- Reduced progress in education as evidenced by declining school enrollment rates and literacy. Slower growth in domestic spending correlates to decreased educational spending;
- An overall slowdown in reducing infant and child mortality and in improving overall life expectancy (this is not necessarily an indicator of policy failure–it could be a natural flattening of progress curve).
You don’t have to go to Argentina to see the wrath of the Free Market God.
Yet despite these facts, proponents of globalization, like members of a cult, ignore evidence for ideology. And with every indicator of failure, they respond “more”.
Take the California energy crisis of the ’90s. This is one of the first areas where they got to try out their experiments in the U.S. By promising cheaper prices for consumers through deregulation and market selection, they lobbied and passed legislation to free up the energy markets. The result? In one day, electricity prices rose 7000%. No, that’s not a typo. In the end they had to call in the regulators again. But not before Enron and others milked Californians for over $7 Billion.
How did they do it? They profiteered on the fact that electricity, unlike widgets, is not something you can do without. So they colluded and schemed and basically held California’s electricity for ransom.
The free marketization of natural monopolies such as water and power is bad economics, but the free marketization of medicine is immoral. Just like water, healthcare is not optional. And yet the priest of the free market expect the forces of consumer demand to apply to kidney transplants and cancer treatment. But they really don’t expect that. They’re just out to make a buck. So they falsely claim that profit incentives have created the best healthcare system in the known world. Meanwhile, 45,000,000 (45 million) Americans have to crowd into emergency rooms to get substandard treatment and if you need something severe like a new kidney, tough luck.
Democrats: going right along.
Like Californians, all Americans havw been taken for a free market ride. At every turn the neoliberals are trying to perform their ideologically driven, factually challenged experiment here. And the Democrats are going right along. The party of FDR has shed of it’s old skin as the party of the people for a new, gobalization friendly sheen.
But in doing so, they have also shed the post-New Deal, anti-corporate, highly regulatory policies that oversaw the greatest economic prosperity in the history of the world and led, for the first time, to the creation of a thriving middle-class.
By bellying up to the free market alter, Democrats have largely lost their reason for existing. And it shows. For the past few decades, with the exception of civil rights and social issues, Democrats have been hard pressed to define a unifying principle. The Democratic agenda has consisted of issues: education, prescription drugs for seniors, choice or now gay marriage. But a fundamental principle around which to coalesce has been awash in inconsistencies and contradictions. The old principles of economic justice and progressive populism have given way to corporate appeasment and economic abiguity. The principles of FDR’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society have been replaced by Clintonian Machiavellianism and the myth of globalization as vehicle for the spread of democratic prosperity.
And while the liberal left and the religious right have been fighting over partial birth abortions, endowment for the arts, and gay marriage, the corporate center have been driving off with the furniture.
This has led to an exodus from the Democratic party of progressives who no longer feel they can support policies that continue to allow the accumulation of wealth and power into corporations while devouring the poor and working class. And the exodus will spread. As free market reforms failed in South America and elsewhere, they will fail here as well. And there is nothing in our history to indicate that we are protected from the fate of those other failed countries: civil unrest, riots, military intervention. If you believe that we are fundamentally different from those in Argentina and elswhere, I suggest you look at the streets of Boston after a Celtics upset.
The inevitable outcome of extreme economic diparity is social instability. And as all of the evidence indicates, the inevitable outcome of globalization is extreme economic disparity.
Globalization vs. Democracy
Of all the outcomes of globalization, none is more dangerous than the subversion of democracy. Just as corporate influence is corrupting the democratic process here at home, it corrupts smaller, less institutionalized countries tenfold. But if bribery of officials and CIA covert operations are the old way of globalizing, then the new way is the WTO and GATS. The WTO is a way to give the undemocratic imposition of the corporate agenda a bit of legitimacy. Kind of like Disney in Vegas. And GATS is the new law that makes it all happen.
Globalization vs. U.S. Constitution
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Article VI.4 says that governments have a duty to hold “a balance between two potentially conflicting priorities: promoting trade expansion versus protecting the regulatory rights of governments.” But who determines this balance between democratically enacted regulation and the promotion of trade expapansion? The democratically elected leglislature? The democratically elected president?
A mysterious entity called the GATS Disputes Panel decides where the balance is drawn. Who is the GATS Disputes Panel? If you can find a list of it’s members anywhere we’d sure like to have it. But using a criterion called the “necessity test”, the GATS Disputes Panel has the authority to override U.S. legislation if it finds that leglislation causes an unnecessary burdone to the promotion of free trade.
Keep in mind, none of the trade agreements — NAFTA, GATS, and GATT — are debated or voted on democratically. They are negotiated in closed session and signed in closed session. So we now have an undemocratic body that has regulatory override authority over not just the United States government but over all participating countries.
May 26 2009
May 20 2009
This diary is a book review of Kees van der Pijl’s (2007) work on “foreign relations,” Nomads, Empires, States. Van der Pijl argues that the field of “foreign relations” must be rethought, and doing this will allow us to see why relations between nation-states are only one mode of foreign relations, and not necessarily the most important one in this era. Rethinking foreign relations, then, we should be able to understand why the regime of “global governance” has failed to triumph in a world without endemic warfare between nation-states.
(crossposted at Big Orange)
Mar 16 2009
KBDI a Denver Colorado PBS station is taking lot’s of flack over truth telling.
The station it seems ran a piece about Arron Russo’s Freedom to Fascism plus other “conspiracy” theorists. Arron however is only one of the more prominent activists in the growing 188 million memmber New World Order watchers. His/this piece is only tip of the deception iceberg.
Mar 01 2009
The capitalist system may well be suffering the worst crisis in its history. According to George Soros, billionaire investor and frank analyst of the system he defends, the world financial system has in effect disintegrated and there is no possibility of a near-term resolution to the crisis. He believes that the turbulence is in fact worse than during the Great Depression and that the current crisis is equivalent to the collapse of the Soviet Union. As he recently told an audience at Columbia University: “[Capitalism] was placed on life support, and it’s still on life support. There’s no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom.”
Dec 18 2008
The underlying political process associated with deviant globalization is the disaggregation of the “sovereignty bundle” of powers associated with the high modernist liberal state. In many places the state is no longer (if, indeed it ever was) the de facto governing authority, in the sense that it does not control the delivery of fundamental political goods, such as security, infrastructure, education, and health care. Different pieces of that bundle are being parceled out to (or, more commonly, grabbed by) a variety of actors: tribal leaders, gangsters, NGOs, religious leaders, transnational and local corporations, mercenaries, ethnic militias, and so on. The particular combinations vary from place to place, and there is a great deal of path dependency. In many places, the same actors who control the resource flows associated with deviant globalization are also de facto providers of “state-like services” such as security or infrastructure. And naturally enough, the common people who rely on these providers tend to align their political loyalties accordingly.
What’s new in this situation is that in many cases these “political actors” have no interest in actually becoming a state or taking over an existing state. They’re happy to wield state-like authority and power, while enriching themselves via dubious business operations. I’m thinking here of groups as various as the Mahdi Army in Iraq, the PCC in Brazil, the ‘Ndrangheta in Italy, or Laurent Nkunda’s crew in Congo. None of these organizations plan to declare sovereign independence and file for membership of the United Nations. What they want, simply, is to carve out a space where they can do their business and not have the state mess with them. This means that, unless a state confronts them, they’re disinclined to challenge states directly-directly challenging the state is expensive, and generally bad for business. As this new class of post-state political actors takes over functions formerly monopolized by states, they and their constituents lose interest in the state. From a political perspective, therefore, deviant globalization leads to (and also is facilitated by) the proliferation of jurisdictionally ambiguous spaces where sovereignty as it has traditionally been conceived simply no longer exists. It’s a self-reinforcing dynamic.
Western pundits and politicians like to describe these sorts of spaces with highly misleading terms such as “failing states” or “undergoverned zones.” The implication of such terminology is that the people living there want to be just like us, but that somehow they’re unable to get there. But such a belief is, if I may be blunt, a narcissistic delusion masquerading as political science. Contrary to what the bien-pensants claim, most so-called failing states don’t want to get fixed. In many of these zones, the local powers that be are quite content with these novel, informal political arrangements. It allows them to make fabulous amounts of money running globe-spanning commercial empires, while being recognized as the “big men” within the communities that they care about. They have no desire to attain the West’s ideal of an inclusive, welfare-providing modern state. These guys are “postmodern” in the sense that they realize that the West’s form of modernity will never include them, and they’re charting an entirely different path. It’s very different from the classic revolutionary movements of the twentieth century.
Sep 16 2008
Current pivotal dates are September 30 then October 9 to the 13th. I do plan on extracting as much cash as humanly possible once the severance check hits the bank. Anybody who knows what that limit is before setting off the bells and whistles at the FBI please let me know. I do have to talk to my daughter about how after my employment termination I access my own money(direct depostit) via the computer I have not built yet. She and apparently the entire world knows how to look at my finances but I do not.
Hopefully we have until spring of 2009 before the nukes(not from missles BTW) start taking out major cities.
Now why do I have to search the internet to find interesting people reportedly coming from high places. Well the cognitive dissonance of corporate America that I have experienced is massive and I hope to write the Naomi Klein type of book documenting all of it. My personal and up close history of me, the first generation to be born outside of the family farm. That means in only a single generation a shining nation and hope of the world has been erased and all of mankind slinks back into the dark ages.
I reflect upon and entire career and how the stuff you buy is just not what it could be. In order to make money making something there is a pieces per hour count which must be made. Out of that the CEO has to have a mansion in Boca Raton and bonuses for the cannibalization of the core business functions to make the bottom line look good have to be paid out.
Remember those innocent days when Martha Stewart had to go to jail simply for lying to the Feds? Well these days anyone can rape and pillage the entire village and nobody but nobody goes to jail.
An Illumati salute to you all. Stand at attention and click your heels together as the Nazis did. Extend your right arm in a conventional military salute position but instead of bringing four fingers toward the forehead use two fingers to cover your upper lip. You are supposed to do this mocking Hitler’s moustache and the ideals he represented. Fascism, a super race of superior humans with their manifest destiny to control all others. Hmmm….sound strangely familiar.
In the timeline of man’s history, Adolph for all the destruction he did reign upon man did not last for an extended period of time. I can not fathom why the United States, both political parties included seeks to emulate and repeat the 1940’s and 1929 concurrently. Could we avert their bullshit by letting them know a majority of Americans know the real score? Well I think not because there is a value to the negative powers of TeeVee and keeping the peasants occupied with below the belt issues like pigs and lipstick.
Given my survival I will know after looking into your eyes if I should or should not waste my time helping you hook up twelve volt battery systems. I do think it might become that desperate. I started my activism with this guy and to this day it is more appropriate than ever.
Sorry for all the doom and gloom and let’s hope the benevolent aliens and meditating monks can affect real “Change” in the world without depopulating 90% of the planet.
Sep 14 2008
In the microcosm that is my world people have come to my aide. Why, because they love me. In two days massive progress has been made on cleaning up my second floor apartment. My grandson delighted at the view from the second floor porch window.
When I am/was, not busy at work building stuff to support world known scientists I can also sweat copper pipes, run 14/3 romex, service my oil burner nozzle and skim coat over holes in plaster walls. I have come to view the cheapening of building trade practices and materials and codes as another sub program in the Illuminati Plan to Destroy America. No better example than Boston’s own Big Dig.
They talked about extending my “retirement” to give me time to train my replacement. That might be appealing at first glance as it would/might put the lump sum severance package into the new IRS tax year. Then I thought about it.
I would be giving energy to the dark side of the force.
We sat, him and I and marveled from an elevated perch. Grampy’s truck, Daddy’s truck, Grampy pool and Grampy’s camper could all be see from a different perspective. Childhood innocence can be so wonderful until it’s used against the child. I am getting to old to be doing the work of twenty something tradesmen but honest labor has made me feel really good.
Don’t give “it” energy. By “it” I mean any one of the manufactured “issues” currently being used to end America.
The global war on “terror”.
The global tax on energy use
The building of the surveillance structures that will be used against my grandson.
Aug 25 2008
Greetings folks, the start of new week and thus we kick off another episode of Manufacturing Monday! Never a dull moment when it comes to covering stuff that either goes into the products you buy, or the impact that that consumption leads to. Now originally, I had these other items on bio-fuels, hydrogen cars, China and oil, and a few other things. But I see now that my section on the bailout of the US automakers is so big, that the whole thing is too long. So, if it is OK with you, I will post those items tomorrow.
Aug 19 2008
Yeah, well the main one was to do something constructive that I liked and put food on the table for my loved ones. I had a career, a twenty two year career but the business assholianism of globalization and “free” trade is about to end all of that. I am offered an early retirement package at the height of my skill set mainly because they can do it in China for 1/9th the cost. People wonder why I have watched zero minutes of the Beijing Olympics and their carbon exempt smog laden air. The seats are empty mainly because China don’t like large numbers of people getting together. Their system BTW is THE model for OUR dystopian New World Order corporate fascist future.
I am almost destined to take the lump sum now and run or face the prospects of a non-existent pension from a company with a future potenial of Enron.