"The wealthy, not only by private fraud but also by common laws, do every day pluck and snatch away from the people some part of their daily living. Therefore, when I consider and weigh in my mind these commonwealths which nowadays do flourish, I perceive nothing but a certain conspiracy of rich men in procuring their own commodities under the name and authority of the commonwealth.
They invent and devise all means and crafts, first how to keep safely without fear of losing that which they have unjustly gathered together, and next how to hire and abuse the work and labor of the people for as little money and effort as possible."
Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political science professor and former Air Force lecturer, will present findings on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that argue that the majority of suicide terrorism around the world since 1980 has had a common cause: military occupation. Pape and his team of researchers draw on data produced by a six-year study of suicide terrorist attacks around the world that was partially funded by the Defense Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency. They have compiled the terrorism statistics in a publicly available database comprising some 10,000 records on some 2,200 suicide terrorism attacks, dating back to the first suicide terrorism attack of modern times — the 1983 truck bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. Marines. "We have lots of evidence now that when you put the foreign military presence in, it triggers suicide terrorism campaigns, ... and that when the foreign forces leave, it takes away almost 100 percent of the terrorist campaign," Pape said in an interview last week on his findings.
Or... you could simply plug your ears and close your eyes to trifles such as counter narratives grounded in empirical evidence like Bob Schieffer of Face the Nation fame who launched into an ankle-biting tirade at GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul for expressing heretical thoughts about the consequences of American foreign policy...
Glenn Greenwald’s extended comments on this performance by one of our finest stenographers to Power is worth reading in full.
Oddly enough this former regulator who gained vast experience in prosecuting the last batch of financial frauds to menace the economy during the S&L crisis of the late 1980's never seems to make any appearances on CNN, MSNBC, et al. Humm, I wonder...
Allow me to preempt the simple-minded before viewing: this is not an endorsement of Ron Paul but merely a thought exercise. Major thanks to Jack Crow to whom my lazy ass is increasingly in debt of late...
Since the G20 Summit will be coming around these parts soon with plans to hash out the further institutionalization of austerity for the masses, I thought this little ditty would be a nice lullaby for those of us charged with protecting the pampered asses of our guests:
Africa's crown jewel now lays in ruins but then again that's the whole point friends. Now that the most developed nation on the continent with the largest proven oil reserves has been pulled apart someone's got to put it back together again.
Silly Libyans just didn't understand that this sort of shit is for sovereign people... and "we" don't allow that sort of thing bub:
Please don't mistake the posting of this video as an endorsement of Giddafi the man. No, as should be clear to all but the willfully blind, what now awaits the Libyan people left to the tender mercies of NATO and the IMF will be orders of magnitude worse than anything Big G may have dished out.
Billionaire Warren Buffet's modest proposal in a recent New York Times editorial has set off the mouth pieces of plutocracy like you wouldn't believe. Well, actually what's not to believe given the characters in question? In any event I thought Jon Stewart of The Daily Show had a pretty funny take on it:
It is hard to determine what Obama really is, what he stands for, behind the artfully crafted, histrionic façade. He seems at times to be a sort of Herbert Hoover, or even a Neville Chamberlain, consistently giving ground to the bankers' bully boys. Or is he just another power groupie like so many others these days, without principle or character, wishing to 'get his share,' wishing to be accepted?
I suspect that like most of the politicians and bureacrats he is without a moral compass, rationalizing a grotesque selfishness above honor, oath, and duty, despising the many, worshipping at the altar of greed.-JCA
"A few weeks before announcing his re-election campaign, President Obama convened two dozen Wall Street executives, many of them longtime donors, in the White House’s Blue Room. The guests were asked for their thoughts on how to speed the economic recovery, then the president opened the floor for over an hour on hot issues like hedge fund regulation and the deficit..."-NYT (aka Stenographers of Record)
You can rest assured that no one would cheer on such a development here in my home state of Illinois more than the jackass who ran the city of Chicago for more than two decades. Recently, former Chicago mayor-for-life Richard M. Daley cashed in his chips so to speak after 22 years on the throne by accepting a paid advisory position with the law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman which served an instrumental role in the sell-off of city assets such as the Chicago Skyway (short-cut to northern Indiana, formerly a public highway), the city parking garages, and parking meters. This firm also negotiated the attempted sale of Chicago's Midway Airport (third-world style) that fortunately fell through with the 2008 financial crisis.
For his tireless work in transforming the city into a reliable source of economic rent-extraction for Big Business and major investors Rich Daley can expect to be richly rewarded. This of course is the expected trajectory of those who faithfully serve Capital at the expense of the public (think Bill Clinton). King Richard certainly isn't unique in this regard but his legendary lack of sophistication (no brief stopover in academia for the sake of appearances) brings the practice into unseemly bold relief given the realities of Chicago's cratered economy.
No city embraced the neoliberal model with more fervor than Chi-town and Daley relished his role as the Pied Piper. To pick just one example, under Daley's tutelage Chicago helped pioneer the privatization of public schooling with the charter school scam now being pimped across the country by the Obama administration, tellingly with the same hack as the spearhead: Arnie Duncan. The overall purpose of such schemes being to transform that which the public holds in common, be it railroads, airports, toll roads, forests, or... school systems into privately held entities from which tribute in the form of access fees may be charged to the very public for which these resources were developed at taxpayer expense generations ago. We can expect Daley's successor Rahm Emanuel to accelerate this process as opportunities present themselves. Only committed and organized popular resistance can prevail against the coming onslaught.
A common device now being utilized wherever the subject of the economy is discussed in the mainstream media these days is to treat any solution that does not first preference the needs of corporations as unserious and in need of no further pursuit. The most effective methodology is deletion of alternatives by omission--they just... don't enter into the discussion. Therefore, advocates for alternative solutions are, unsurprisingly, absent from this debate on mainstream platforms. So don't look for Michael Hudson, Dean Baker, or Richard D. Wolff on CNN, MSNBC, Faux News, or Meet the Press. Conventional wisdom has it that the solution to the financial crisis caused by Wall Street greed and malfeasance and a thirty year adherence to neoliberal policies that de-industrialized the nation and financialized the economy to the primary benefit the top 1% of "earners" is to introduce austerity measures to the population at large.
The aforementioned Dr. Wolff has illuminated an alternative strategy in his latest essay wherein he challenges the currently received wisdom that only the financial oligarchs can lead us out of the crises:
More and more we hear that nothing can be done to tax major corporations because of the threat of how they would respond. Likewise, we cannot stop their price gouging or even the government subsidies and tax loopholes they enjoy. For example, as the oil majors reap stunning profits from high oil and gas prices, we are told it is impossible to tax their windfall profits or stop the billions they get in government subsidies and tax loopholes. There appears to be no way for the government to secure lower energy prices or seriously impose and enforce environmental protection laws. Likewise, despite high and fast rising drug and medicine prices, we are told that it is impossible to raise taxes on pharmaceutical companies or have the government secure lower pharmaceutical prices. And so on.
Such steps by "our" government are said to be impossible or inadvisable. The reason: corporations would then relocate production abroad or reduce their activities in the US or both. And that would deprive the US of taxes and jobs. In plain English, major corporations are threatening us. We are to knuckle under and cut social programs that benefit millions of people (college loan programs, Medicaid, Medicare, social security, nutrition programs, and so on). We are not to demand higher taxes or lower subsidies or fewer tax loopholes for corporations. We are not to demand government action to lower their soaring prices. And if we do, corporations will punish us... The rest...
*The art that accompanies this post comes from the pen of political cartoonist Mike Flugennok whose work pulls no punches. The rest of his work can be seen at his web site Sinkers.org. Give him a visit.