America In Peril
The idea gaming of America, from whence decisions and deceptions flow
“Corporatocracy, theocracy, plutocracy, even The Idiocracy; anyway you say it, these conservative paradigms require a whole lot of crazy. We move reality into fantasy, and yet, our followers do not see for they are already hooked.”
Now more from this fantasy quote. A quote whose ideas may create Reason to Wonder whether there are any reasons this fantasy is not a likely reality considering the following real quotes and reasoning. And so I wonder in which manner—
“We need to fool and foil the vast majority of Americans interest to preserve and enhance our wealth at the expense of the general population. Since Ronald Reagan’s time we have been making this reverse democracy happen, enjoying the swelling benefit of profit as the majority loses ground.
The tax is evil mantra has succeeded in disempowering government from serving all the people. We have conditioned the population to not comprehend the substantially positive relationship between taxes and real Freedom and real responsibility to a nation. We first needed to wedge the general public away from the reality that taxes actually enhance freedom and democracy, to believing the ideological twist that taxes stifle freedom and opportunity.
Now many, if not most feel tax is actually a burden and not the responsible nature of accountability in an interconnected world. We have sold the public our own view of opportunistic advantage, yet have them believing they are fighting for their own with the perpetual ruse of “No More Taxes!” Good thing they never plan to check out whole context with actually critical thinking!
Oh! The many blessings of ignorance.
Governments loss of ground allows our corporate power to supplant it, rendering voting more and more superfluous; involved with distracting wedge issues and culture warfare blinded to real powers fields of interest. Our moral value and religious fronts are aiding this campaign greatly by generally reversing the position of Jesus Christ and inserting our own ideological lens for deciphering biblical meanings.
For instance; most do not know there was abortion allowed during Christ time yet he did nothing about it directly, instead, he spent most of his energy on the poor, the sick and the ostracised. Liberals like Christ of Nazareth believe the context a child is born into is possibly more important than denying a woman her own spiritual challenge. So what is our wedge? Everyone has had their own innocence violated in one way or another, particularly in youth.
We transfer the whole issue to be a supreme issue of innocence; the unborn child against the horrible intentions of a parent steeped in her own problems. We use detachment of the womans context, defering to the individual nature of all as once being children. What if your mom killed you! we ask in all seriousness; changing a reality equation with one of fantasy. Our followers will now be only an imaginary step away from internally registering that liberals like Christ would rather see them die than do something about it. With murder now part of the message; our followers will be capable of each and every ill in good and in Gods name. Here we use ones own spiritual insecurity and guilt in our conservative followers to target cause onto our enemies, insisting they are now the enemies of God as well.
Our Good New Time Religion
Religion is not an obstacle to the clever opportunist. We can reverse engineer any abstract concept and create an appearance reality that our view is true and its original meaning false. We cripple critical thinking by using the fear and insecurity in our fellow Americans to work against this greater paradigm consideration, making it instead the realm of individual choice.
This is why we must always generate fear toward the liberals nature and enrage inner stimulated threats to inner fantasy to be targeted externally to the objects of our choice. Simple Projection does this escapist job for us! We have subverted the collective interest of Americans and made subversion seem to be the domain of only liberalism. With business in charge of most information dispersal; we have that handle in our hand.
We accomplish this surrender of The American Spirit by igniting the passions of the populace, targeting apparent reality solution tagged to our issues. This guiding of feelings allows our cause to be infused as the impression of theirs, with ignorance and illusion as their supreme guiding lights. Then we have them right where we can manipulate them. Gradually the ladder steps further and further from reality oversight, now into the charge of fear, fantasy and paranoia triggered by our stimulation. We put evil in charge of defining good and deliver it with a smile and a prayer! My good is yours! No! Really!
Now America can be permanently rendered into a caste system having nothing to do with real equality of right or a really fair opportunity and accountability. We have controlled America by using the Pivot Point Of Perception; generating a broad-based consensus reality by continually drenching the population with apparent reality opinion disguised as wisdom, as fact, and most importantly, as plain common sense.
By worshiping the ideology of individualism we can pivot perception on abstraction, and so control both government and Democracy with our own will. Needless to say; an army of ignorance filled with passionate confusion claiming to see all too clearly, will then finish the job of our overthrow– of them! It is happening as I speak my friends. This is how our pyramid scheme of profit off of The People can last a millennium and more, past even the Pharos. –and I did it MY Way!
To finish this coup we go underground; form front groups to instigate and propagate a groundswell of apparent populism while having our friends in government and media promote fantasies of impending socialist government; this, obviously seen by any collective based care. We intend to keep all that we can get. Hell no you wont!; to any of it going anywhere that we ourselves do not approve of! Now that is Freedom! Fantasy is a key to taking down Democracy and installing plutocracy. I must admit to you in all honestly; I love this ruse. Thank you Jesus!
From here we can promote ideas that in the abstract appeal to all as causes of Freedom. In practice this freedom will serve we who have, by keeping Democracy inebriated and inept with confusion. I remind you that stealthy intellectual contradiction as to Freedoms true whole context and cost is an absolute must. Our wealth does give us the means to make this happen while having many Americans cheer our cause as their own at their own peril. Our wealth itself makes us more free than the majority!
Emotion people; emotion enables ignorance to rule as enlightenment...”
Meanwhile. Back to the first start of this post.
.(By now: What is her talking about?)
Maybe I will change that title later. I really wished to say; The Ascendant Mania Of The Right Wing; Where Ignorance And Ideology Poison The Principles Of Freedom And Democracy.
The trouble with titles can be the instant concept framing that ensues in what seems to be a polarized population. Mention the Mainstream Media, or even The Media these days, and differing views will hear entirely differing Consensus Reality mindset suppositions. Notions of The Truth and Facts will also be sifted into Confirmation Bias assumptions designed to select out contradictory or negating context, concept and information to keep the comfortable security of predetermined ideological curves.
Enough already from me.
From Bill Moyers: “Welcome to the Plutocracy!”
This excerpt from Bill Moyers piece on the plutocracy I saw on Truthout. I know; in some spheres these very people are considered very bad by the corporatocracy/plutocracy/cracy
“For years she had worked at minimum-wage jobs, until 17 years ago, when she was hired by the Whirlpool refrigerator factory in Evansville, Indiana. She was making $ 18.44 an hour when Whirlpool announced earlier this year that it was closing the operation and moving it to Mexico. She wept. I’m sure many of the other eleven hundred workers who lost their jobs wept too; they had seen their ticket to the middle class snatched from their hands. The company defended its decision by claiming high costs, underused capacity, and the need to stay competitive. Those excuses didn’t console Connie Brasel. “I was becoming part of something bigger than me,” she told Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times. “Whirlpool was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
She was not only sad, she was mad. “They didn’t get world-class quality because they had the best managers. They got world-class quality because of the United States and because of their workers.”
Among those workers were Natalie Ford, her husband and her son; all three lost their jobs. “It’s devastating,” she told the Times. Her father had worked at Whirlpool before them. Now, “There aren’t any jobs here. How is this community going to survive?”
And what about the country? Between 2001 and 2008, about 40,000 US manufacturing plants closed. Six million factory jobs have disappeared over the past dozen years, representing one in three manufacturing jobs. Natalie Ford said to the Times what many of us are wondering: “I don’t know how without any good-paying jobs here in the United States people are going to pay for their health care, put their children through school.”
Now, if Connie Brasel and Natalie Ford lived in South Carolina, they might have been lucky enough to get a job with the new BMW plant that recently opened there and advertised that the company would hire one thousand workers. Among the applicants? According to the Washington Post; “a former manager of a major distribution center for Target; a consultant who oversaw construction projects in four western states; a supervisor at a plastics recycling firm. Some held college degrees and resumes in other fields where they made more money.” They will be paid $15 an hour – about half of what BMW workers earn in Germany
In polite circles, among our political and financial classes, this is known as “the free market at work.” No, it’s “wage repression,” and it’s been happening in our country since around 1980. I must invoke some statistics here, knowing that statistics can glaze the eyes; but if indeed it’s the mark of a truly educated person to be deeply moved by statistics, as I once read, surely this truly educated audience will be moved by the recent analysis of tax data by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez. They found that from 1950 through 1980, the share of all income in America going to everyone but the rich increased from 64 percent to 65 percent. Because the nation’s economy was growing handsomely, the average income for 9 out of l0 Americans was growing, too – from $17,719 to $30,941. That’s a 75 percent increase in income in constant 2008 dollars.
But then it stopped. Since 1980 the economy has also continued to grow handsomely, but only a fraction at the top have benefitted. The line flattens for the bottom 90% of Americans. Average income went from that $30,941 in 1980 to $31,244 in 2008. Think about that: the average income of Americans increased just $303 dollars in 28 years.
That’s wage repression.
Another story in the Times caught my eye a few weeks after the one about Connie Brasel and Natalie Ford. The headline read: “Industries Find Surging Profits in Deeper Cuts.” Nelson Schwartz reported that despite falling motorcycle sales, Harley-Davidson profits are soaring – with a second quarter profit of $71 million, more than triple what it earned the previous year. Yet Harley-Davidson has announced plans to cut fourteen hundred to sixteen hundred more jobs by the end of next year; this on top of the 2000 job cut last year.
The story note: “This seeming contradiction – falling sales and rising profits – is one reason the mood on Wall Street is so much more buoyant than in households, where pessimism runs deep and unemployment shows few signs of easing.”
There you see the two Americas. A buoyant Wall Street; a doleful Main Street. The Connie Brasels and Natalie Fords – left to sink or swim on their own. There were no bailouts for them.
Meanwhile, Matt Krantz reports in USA TODAY that “Cash is gushing into company’s coffers as they report what’s shaping up to be a third-consecutive quarter of sharp earning increases. But instead of spending on the typical things, such as expanding and hiring people, companies are mostly pocketing the money or stuffing it under their mattresses.” And what are their plans for this money? Again, the Washington Post:
“…. Sitting on these unprecedented levels of cash, U.S. companies are buying back their own stock in droves. So far this year, firms have announced they will purchase $273 billion of their own shares, more than five times as much compared with this time last year… But the rise in buybacks signals that many companies are still hesitant to spend their cash on the job-generating activities that could produce economic growth.”
That’s how financial capitalism works today: Conserving cash rather than bolstering hiring and production; investing in their own shares to prop up their share prices and make their stock more attractive to Wall Street. To hell with everyone else.
Hear the chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Ethan Harris, who told the Times: “There’s no question that there is an income shift going on in the economy. Companies are squeezing their labor costs to build profits.”
Or the chief economist for Credit Suisse in New York, Neal Soss: As companies have wrung more savings out of their work forces, causing wages and salaries barely to budge from recession lows, “profits have staged a vigorous recovery, jumping 40 percent between late 2008 and the first quarter of 2010.”
Just this morning the New York Times reports that the private equity business is roaring back: “While it remains difficult to get a mortgage to buy a home or to get a loan to fund a small business, yield-starved investors are creating a robust market for corporate bonds and loans.”
If this were a functioning democracy, our financial institutions would be helping everyday Americans and businesses get the mortgages and loans – the capital – they need to keep going; they’re not, even as the financiers are reaping robust awards.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. But he’s run off with all the toys.
Late in August I clipped another story from the Wall Street Journal. Above an op-ed piece by Robert Frank the headline asked: “Do the Rich Need the Rest of America?” The author didn’t seem ambivalent about the answer. He wrote that as stocks have boomed, “the wealthy bounced back. And while the Main Street economy” [where the Connie Brasels and Natalie Fords and most Americans live] “was wracked by high unemployment and the real-estate crash, the wealthy – whose financial fates were more tied to capital markets than jobs and houses – picked themselves up, brushed themselves off, and started buying luxury goods again.”
Citing the work of Michael Lind, at the Economic Growth Program of the New American Foundation, the article went on to describe how the super-rich earn their fortunes with overseas labor, selling to overseas consumers and managing financial transactions that have little to do with the rest of America, “while relying entirely or almost entirely on immigrant servants at one of several homes around the country.”
Right at that point I remembered another story that I had filed away three years ago, also from the Wall Street Journal. The reporter Ianthe Jeanne Dugan described how the private equity firm Blackstone Group swooped down on a travel reservation company in Colorado, bought it, laid off 841 employees, and recouped its entire investment in just seven months, one of the quickest returns on capital ever for such a deal. Blackstone made a killing while those workers were left to sift through the debris. They sold their homes, took part-time jobs making sandwiches and coffee, and lost their health insurance.
That fall, Blackstone’s chief executive, Stephen Schwarzman, reportedly worth over $5 billion, rented a luxurious resort in Jamaica to celebrate the marriage of his son. According to the Guardian News, the Montego Bay facility alone cost $50,000, plus thousands more to sleep 130 guests. There were drinks on the beach, dancers and a steel band, marshmallows around the fire, and then, the following day, an opulent wedding banquet with champagne and a jazz band and fireworks display that alone cost $12,500. Earlier in the year Schwarzman had rented out the Park Avenue Armory in New York (near his 35-room apartment) to celebrate his 60th birthday at a cost of $3 million. So? It’s his money, isn’t it? Yes, but consider this: The stratospheric income of private-equity partners is taxed at only 15 percent – less than the rate paid, say, by a middle class family. When Congress considered raising the rate on their Midas-like compensation, the financial titans flooded Washington with armed mercenaries – armed, that is, with hard, cold cash – and brought the “debate” to an end faster than it had taken Schwartzman to fire 841 workers. The financial class had won another round in the exploitation of working people who, if they are lucky enough to have jobs, are paying a higher tax rate than the super-rich.
So the answer to the question: “Do the Rich Need the Rest of America?” is as stark as it is ominous: Many don’t. As they form their own financial culture increasingly separated from the fate of everyone else, it is “hardly surprising,” Frank and Lind concluded, “ that so many of them should be so hostile to paying taxes to support the infrastructure and the social programs that help the majority of the American people.”
You would think the rich might care, if not from empathy, then from reading history. Ultimately gross inequality can be fatal to civilization. In his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, the Pulitzer Prize-winning anthropologist Jared Diamond writes about how governing elites throughout history isolate and delude themselves until it is too late. He reminds us that the change people inflict on their environment is one of the main factors in the decline of earlier societies. For example: the Mayan natives on the Yucatan peninsula who suffered as their forest disappeared, their soil eroded, and their water supply deteriorated. Chronic warfare further exhausted dwindling resources. Although Mayan kings could see their forests vanishing and their hills eroding, they were able to insulate themselves from the rest of society. By extracting wealth from commoners, they could remain well-fed while everyone else was slowly starving. Realizing too late that they could not reverse their deteriorating environment, they became casualties of their own privilege. Any society contains a built-in blueprint for failure, Diamond warns, if elites insulate themselves from the consequences of their decisions, separated from the common life of the country.
Yet the isolation continues – and is celebrated. When Howard came down to New York last December for what would be my last interview with him, I showed him this document published in the spring of 2005 by the Wall Street giant Citigroup, setting forth an “Equity Strategy” under the title (I’m not making this up) “Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer.”
Now, most people know what plutocracy is: the rule of the rich, political power controlled by the wealthy. Plutocracy is not an American word and wasn’t meant to become an American phenomenon – some of our founders deplored what they called “the veneration of wealth.” But plutocracy is here, and a pumped up Citigroup even boasted of coining a variation on the word— “plutonomy”, which describes an economic system where the privileged few make sure the rich get richer and that government helps them do it. Five years ago Citigroup decided the time had come to “bang the drum on plutonomy.”
And bang they did. Here are some excerpts from the document “Revisiting Plutonomy;”
“Asset booms, a rising profit share and favorable treatment by
market-friendly governments have allowed the rich to prosper… [and] take an increasing share of income and wealth over the last 20 years.”
“…the top 10%, particularly the top 1% of the United States –
the plutonomists in our parlance – have benefitted disproportionately from the recent productivity surged in the US… [and] from globalization and the productivity boom, at the relative expense of labor.”
“… [and they] are likely to get even wealthier in the coming years. Because the dynamics of plutonomy are still intact.”
I’ll repeat that: “The dynamics of plutonomy are still intact.” That was the case before the Great Collapse of 2008, and it’s the case today, two years after the catastrophe. But the plutonomists are doing just fine. Even better in some cases, thanks to our bailout of the big banks.
As for the rest of the country: Listen to this summary in The Economist – no Marxist journal – of a study by Pew Research:
More than half of all workers today have experienced a spell of
unemployment, taken a cut in pay or hours or been forced
to go part-time. The typical unemployed worker has been
jobless for nearly six months. Collapsing share and house
prices have destroyed a fifth of the wealth of the average
household. Nearly six in ten Americans have cancelled or
cut back on holidays. About a fifth say their mortgages are
underwater. One in four of those between 18 and 29 have
moved back in with their parents. Fewer than half of all adults
expect their children to have a higher standard of living than
theirs, and more than a quarter say it will be lower. For many
Americans the great recession has been the sharpest trauma since
The Second World War, wiping out jobs, wealth and hope itself.