The Corporate Aristocracy – Us & Them

Greeks & Irish & Americans must now kneel to them, as so many others in poorer nations already do…begging for work as their jobs, conditions & security are eroded. A public paying off the debt accumulated by countries that fell for their cons & shabby, immoral approaches to business & financing.

They still walk tall, regardless of the GFC…pumping up interest rates in Australia…fleecing the home owners & small business owners. Raking in the big bucks because they head large organisations. Are INSIDERS.

Television & radio stations & newspapers & now blogs fall into their grasp…and politicians find themselves terrified to do the right thing by the masses when it comes to anti-competitive, media ownership regulations…these so called democratic leaders become wary of the weight that can be thrown against them.

They use their might to buy politicians…and throw anti-tax advertising (think mining & media corporations)  against governments…governments weakened as they are told by the propagandised masses that they should not spend taxpayer’s money to respond in kind. People convinced by the arguments of the very same corporate media that receives mining company dollars via advertising…the very same media empires & dynasties terrified of their profits & domination being undermined.

They have no allegiance to nations…they oft sprout up wherever they can make a quick, easy buck…exploit less rigid workplace regulations…they expect vast rewards for their efforts…even though they usually don’t expel any more energy than the average worker. They expect to live & retire in luxury & splendour…and support political parties that tell us we all need to work harder, longer…and accept less entitlements…but they seem to have little problem accepting bailouts if need be…and chopping down the loyal worker’s pension tree if it suits their business plan. ..and ambitions.

There is one law for them…another too often for the worker.

They are THE CORPORATE ARISTOCRATS

In 2005 I wrote the following to George Monbiot and a couple of Labor politicians I respect…

I watched The Aviator & an accompanying doco recently, they demonstrate the control big wigs like Howard Hughes had over Govt. & individual politicians…couldn’t help thinking how little things have changed. We now have a new form of Aristocracy who own major shares in the most influential of companies…who pay minimal tax due to offshore accounts & tax evasion strategies…who receive corporate welfare for their ventures…who own the mass media to promote their messages & goods…

Imo, the New Serfs are the individuals who slave their butts off for the corporate aristocracy by way of increasingly lower paid, insecure & demanding jobs…they are tied to exorbitant/artificially inflated mortgages…& increasingly indebted to immoral credit card companies…they pay with their measly income – w/ barely a murmur – escalating Health, Education & Energy costs…sectors that are increasingly privatized…

New Serfs are constantly assured by Fascist-style Governments & the Corporate owned media they are ‘becoming wealthier & their lifestyle is improving’…yet, New Serfs can be thrown off their land/property at any time by those minions of Corporate interests…the banks, local councils, state & federal Governments…

…those who frequently do the bidding of this New Aristocracy by raising property rates, land taxes & mortgage interest rates at will …with minimal or token regard for struggling individuals & families…adjustments that primarily suit the aims of Corporations as they manipulate the economy for their own grand purposes…as they expand their hold over the average individual they use terms such as ‘free trade’ & ‘globalization’.

The New Serfs are further controlled/manipulated by so called ‘Representative Governments’ that ensure the implementation of Corporate-based & designed policies (i.e. stemming from  ‘Think Tanks’ & corporate boardrooms) that enhance deteriorating workplace conditions & erosion of Worker’s benefits…

Govts. that change bankruptcy laws with the soul purpose to leave the New Serfs w/ no out (think Bush administration), no escape clause in the event of a financial emergency – Big Corps gotta have their money, if not, it wants your home & possessions. No mercy when yer dealin’ with the Big C’s…

New Serfs are also told they need to be more productive, need to tighten their belts, need work to an older age…& should save more &/or contribute more to superannuation funds so as not rely at the end of their working lives on the aged pension – supposedly becoming more unaffordable for government, even though government revenue by way of lower & middle class taxation has reached astronomical levels…& Corporate profits are reaching record heights…& the privileged New Aristocracy see their asset accumulation grow exponentially…

Yes, the New Serfs are those constantly expected to sacrifice whilst top executives/CEOs – even of failing corporations – are rewarded w/ ample benefits, mind blowing incomes & unbelievable payouts.

Even the Social Security safety nets & Civil Right’s laws that once helped catch the New Serf before they hit ‘splat ground’ are riddled w/ holes. The masses that make up: the ever taunted homeless; the unsupported & constantly harangued mentally ill & drug addicted; the illegally/immorally detained refugees who are used to control political debate; the mentally tortured/neglected & increasingly abundant cheap labour force known as ‘prison inmates’…all attest to this.

The New Deal & the Social Security Systems have been treated as abysmally by governments as cattle are treated in abattoirs. Less than painless, but inevitable deaths…if the New Aristocracy get their way New Serfs will hit the ground at sonic speed if they fail to meet their standards.

For the New Serf there is little possibility of changing this scenario…they are constantly watched/observed by the New Aristocracy & their guard dogs by way of their financial transactions (their wages are forced thru banks & financial institutions, cash payments by employers are rare & dissuaded by ever interventionist governments)…

The New Serf’s movements are also constantly under surveillance by cameras as they ride public transport…drive on roads & highways – the management & construction of which has fallen more & more into private hands – they are further spied on in airports & border crossings that demand various forms of intrusive IDs…spaces w/ less & less freedom to offer due to political & media-based calls for tighter controls based on real & bogus ‘terrorist threats’…& so on…

New Serfs shop & are entertained under potentially close observation in privately owned malls, shopping centers, amusement parks, cinemas…you get the gist…private spaces w/ their own security & corporate laws that undermine the individual & collective rights set out under a nation’s Constitution & Bill of Rights (if they exist, sadly in Australia they are sorely lacking)…

New Serfs are scrutinized via their email correspondence & even occasionally their library loans. Satellites, private investigators & private security-oriented housing projects play a further & expanding role in the undermining of individual rights & privacy.

New Serfs increasingly work for gigantic companies where Unions are banned or frowned upon…corporations that spread across the land like malignant tumours & evangelical churches, constantly touting ‘prosperity’ & rallying their staff w/ strategies more suited to competitive sports teams than caring workplaces…too often offering the public masses of inexpensive, easily disposable, potentially environmentally damaging goods produced by cheap, exploited labour from developing nations such as China…

Unfortunately, for the New Serfs their vote is almost meaningless…they exist within a sham democracy due to a rigged electoral system that doesn’t allow for ‘real Opposition’ …those w/ integrity, pursuers of ‘real freedom’ are hindered/undermined by the ridiculous cost of political campaigns…there’s no level playing field w/ biased corporate sponsorship & powerful partisan lobby groups taking centre stage…

there’s an intentional lack of provision for real reformers & independent parties & candidates such as Ralph Nader/The Greens/The Libertarians/The Reform Party/The Socialists to speak at & participate in the National Debates…could you imagine if these marginalized & minority political groups & individuals were given mass exposure on a consistent basis to query & quiz the main election front-runners, to present & argue their own positions? The New Aristocracy don’t like to take risks, contrary to what they tell you…minority groups are kept as just that…a minority.

New Serfs exist in a rigidly defined, ever-tightening, shrinking cage….a broken Democracy dominated by, in the USA, an electoral college system that benefits the Red (strange & ironic choice of color) States…w/ a legal structure that robs people of voting rights if they are convicted of a crime no matter how bogus it is or how framed they were (smoke a bit of weed etc. & you’re apt to lose you’re vote if caught depending on the State you live in)…laws are sometimes designed to benefit this vote robbing system (see Florida) & those who reap the large rewards for dealing in these so called ‘illicit products’ (see Traffic)…claims are that voters are also intimidated in some areas (see Blacks in Florida & Ohio)

It’s a mess…some say to me they fear we’ll be transformed into the ‘1984’ scenario…I say we’re already in it…early stages perhaps…

…but…I see everywhere

people glued to their massive TV sets in feigned & real patriotic awe observing puppet leaders who talk about the ‘brave fight against evil terrorists from the Axis of Evil’, a common enemy that some say is more constructed & CIA supported than ‘real’ at times…brain-washed courageous soldiers fighting enemies that their Corporate dominated nations provided w/ armaments…courageous individuals fighting & occasionally deposing authoritarian & barbaric leaders that their leaders previously propped up…

…sigh.

…& to think that most who voted were acquainted w/ the lyrics: ‘we won’t get fooled again’.

 They will use selective opinion polls to lower protective tariffs/barriers in order to allow Corporations to set up massive, intensive farms & robotics-based industries exploiting cheap, cheap labor in order to create mass produced, potentially environmentally-damaging products to trade back to the so called ‘civilized & free world’ under the auspices of ‘free trade’…all supposedly for the good of poorer nations.

Once again these Corporations can further exploit the poor/the workers in the developing world & keep the average consumer in the so called ‘wealthy nations’ (ever been to the Cayman Islands?) addicted to their plastic goods & sugar-filled foods & destructive automobiles…eyes transfixed by the TV that is a roll call of ads & propaganda.

The focus is Imperialist, for instance, it defines all Africans as poor & in desperate need of the Western Capitalist’s assistance & education…conveniently, no or little mention is made of the ‘real’, ‘diverse’ & ‘valuable’ resources & sectors in Africa such as oil, minerals, tea & tobacco crops, plants utilized for medicinal purposes, eco tourism including animal sanctuaries & so on & so on. We can guess the various reasons why.

There doesn’t seem to be many brave visionaries out there w/ the power to change things for the better. Too many politicians are owned or blackmailed by one or more corporate interests…some are fairer/more egalitarian in approach than others but in the end their attempts at undermining this apparently fated move towards Global Fascist Corporatism seem akin to a tempest in a tea cup…the Corporate juggernaut marches on like the tripods do for most of the recent ‘War of the Worlds’ flick…resistance seemingly futile…

Hope is something I too find hard to grasp these days as Amerika grows in influence & Australia moves daily to become one of its many States.

Unfortunately, it looks as if Amerika is getting the Supreme Court it desires…not what the compassionate & fair citizens would want.

The title of Aussie band Sea Life Park’s recent album is ‘We Get What You Deserve’…too friggin’ true ?

How much has changed in those 5 years? A few things, we do hear more positives about Africa & Sth America, they are shown in a more diverse light…but the corporate aristocrats seem to be no more accountable for their excessive income & business behaviour as they were prior to the GFC.

Or am I missing something?

N’

20 comments on “The Corporate Aristocracy – Us & Them

  1. Coming to yer country sooner than you think…

    courtesy of the CORPORATE ARISTOCRACY who prefer to live affluently & be bailed out durin’ bad times at yer expense:

    Ireland bailout: From €1,100 a week to living on the streets of DublinHomeless man’s descent from full time worker to a tent in a car park shows the plight of Ireland’s economic losers

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/nov/26/ireland-bailout-homeless-man

    Asked what he thinks of the tens of billions of euros the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank are pumping into the Irish banks, the institutions many in the republic blame for the country’s ills, Quigley points to a bitter irony all around him.

    There are hundreds of empty apartments all around Tallaght, the so-called ghost complexes built during the boom on cheap credit from banks that are now bust. They even include some flats in the block above where Quigley often beds down for the night. “There are 300,000 empty apartments and flats in this country and yet there are not enough beds in hostels to house people like me. That is why the organisations that work for the homeless hand out sleeping bags and tents.

    “If the government cared they would open up some of those empty apartments for the homeless. After all the government owns the banks and the banks own the ghost apartments.”

    Quigley predicts that the looming cuts to social welfare, jobs and general austerity will drive more on to the streets and into crime. But he declines to denounce those held responsible for the malaise by most Irish people and instead focuses on his own recovery.

    And so it begins…

    focus on your own recovery…and watch our upcomin’ bread & circus plans go into action…

    You enjoy the Olympics RIGHT? And royal weddings?
    You can watch them thru the shop window. Whilst eating our affordable burgers & chips…and drinking cheap soft drinks.

    It will take your mind off your horrid predicament & losses.

    We promise we’ll have a low income job for you down the line. If you beg. And compete with a great pool of labour.

    And then you can start all over again.

    And whatever you do, don’t blame us…or accuse us of corruption and immoral behaviour…you don’t want us sending our media, police, lawyers & mental home staff after you…do you?

    We haven’t got time for your petty finger-pointing games & fancy, fairies at the bottom of the garden regulations…

    we have yachts & mansions to buy & sell.

    And a world to rule.

    Hmmm…
    N’

  2. Major obstacles when it comes to overcoming the rule of the corporate aristocrats:

    Vertical integration

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_integration

    For instance, News Corp can distribute its wares thru Foxtel that it part owns.

    AND

    Horizontal integration

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontal_integration

    Media terms

    Media critics, such as Robert McChesney, have noted that the current trend within the entertainment industry has been toward the increased concentration of media ownership into the hands of a smaller number of transmedia and transnational conglomerates.

    Media is seen to amass in centre where wealthy individuals have the ability to purchase such ventures (e.g. Rupert Murdoch).

    Horizontal integration, that is the consolidation of holdings across multiple industries, has displaced the old vertical integration of the Hollywood studios.

    The idea of owning many media outlets, which run almost the same content, is considered to be very productive, since it requires only minor changes of format and information to use in multiple media forms. For example, within a conglomerate, the content used in broadcasting television would be used in broadcasting radio as well, or the content used in hard copy of the newspaper would also be used in online newspaper website.

    What emerged are new strategies of content development and distribution designed to increase the “synergy’ between the different divisions of the same company. Studios seek content that can move fluidly across media channels.

    When corporate aristocrats speak they have alot more megaphones at their disposal to get their message across than you.

    N’

  3. As always Nas’ a well written and original piece. Yes indeed, Amerika the home of the free and the brave as long as you have the $s to pay for it…empty houses, empty apartments while thousands sleep on the frozen pavements. And Australia was heading in the same direction. Even this morning there was a report about impoverished university students being evicted from their squat…such is the encouragement our young people get to continue with their studies.

  4. Thnx Min. I believe that if provided the opportunity a Coalition federal government would govern using similar “debt, debt, debt!!!” scare tactics as those bein’ used in Europe & the UK to carve deeply into the public sector & services & social security…in order to shift moneys & clients to their corporate aristocratic supporters.

    We know how Tony Abbott was willing to throw away essential revenue (the Super profits tax) in order to please his mining boss masters.

    We know that Abbott is opposed to the NBN rollout…the one opportunity for regional & rural small businesses to prosper via the web…and for people in those areas to gather essential & empowering information via their homes, businesses, hospitals. medical centres, schools, libraries & so on.

    We know that Abbott, the shadow treasurer & shadow finance ministers fart on about Labor’s debt non-stop.

    We know they once supported WORKCHOICES.

    We know that many CORPORATE ARISTOCRATS would love to see a more flexible labour market that would enable them to increase profits at the worker’s expense.

    We know they OWN many shares in their & other corporations.

    And many CORPORATE ARISTOCRATS would like to see corporate taxes lowered…and be able to gain more access to services & utitlities provided by governments.

    N’

  5. Always an odd one Nas’…the Libs wanting to overturn a tax that the big miners had agreed to. And not one single bleat on the MSM about this peculiarity.

    I think that the NBN indicates more than anything how Abbott is just opposition for opposition’s sake. Wake up Abbott..you lost the support of the indies and thus the election for this very reason.

  6. Min, Gillard was forced to do a deal w/ the titans of mining that lost much potential revenue for the government.

    The corporate aristocrats punched Labor hard…the government did not do nearly as well as they could have.

    Part of the reason was the corporate media campaign that pushed the mining baron’s agendas.

    They worked together to screw the people out of billions of dollars. Full stop.

    Abbott supported their cause…and was willing to take Palmer & Forrest’s side when the piss weak compromise was made.

    The top corporate aristocrats are the winners…some just like to step on others.

    In the long run it’s the people who get royally screwed.

    N’

  7. Diverting from topic but interesting nonetheless…two of the men who helped bring down Rudd:

    (Paul) Howes came to national attention as a union spokesperson for the miners during the Beaconsfield Mine Disaster.

    During the Beaconsfield mine collapse, (Bill) Shorten, in his role as National Secretary of the AWU, the union representing the miners, played a prominent role as negotiator and commentator on developments in the immediate aftermath and the ensuing rescue operations. The mine rescue operations drew mass national media coverage, and raised Shorten’s political profile ahead of the 2007 election.
    (Wikipedia)

    At least we can trust our union & ex-union leaders not to play footsy w/ the corporate aristocrats.

    N’

  8. Worth thinking about:

    Political Connections Linked to Corporate Corruption

    ScienceDaily (Sep. 21, 2010) — While most citizens recognize that corruption is “bad,” the average citizen is unaware of the benefits enjoyed by politically connected firms, or how common government favors are worldwide. In the U.S., many citizens were outraged at the provision and size of bailouts for “too big to fail” banks. A new study from the journal Financial Management claims that not only does corruption exist in the corporate world, but that political connections are extremely important for corporate success.

    Author Mara Faccio studied several thousand firms from forty-seven countries. She classifies a politically-connected firm as “A company where at least one of its large shareholders (anyone controlling at least ten percent of voting shares) or one of its top officers (CEO, president, vice-president, chairman, or secretary) is a member of parliament, a minister, or is closely related to a top politician or party.”

    Faccio claims, “Politically connected firms have higher leverage (in the form of preferential loans), pay lower taxes, have regulatory protection, are eligible for government aid, and have stronger market power. They differ more dramatically from their peers when their political links are stronger, and in more corrupt countries, although these characteristics can be observed worldwide.”

    Faccio alleges that connected firms appear to enjoy substantial favors from their governments, which further indicates that the distortions in the allocation of public resources are common in both emerging and developed countries. Faccio, “My study affects day-to-day corporate decisions. It is unfortunate that firms with no political ties appear to be at a disadvantage. Those in leadership at politically connected firms need to think about how their choices affect the long-term operations of their business, and the business and political world at large.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100921101348.htm

    N’

  9. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

    The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Maine — 77%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%, and Vermont — 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, and Virginia — 74%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 74% , Massachusetts — 73%, Minnesota — 75%, New York — 79%, Washington — 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  10. “And still do, Nas’. They still do.”

    True jane. Now that the states are changing hands I doubt that the likes of Abbott & Hockey will be viable long-term leaders for the Liberals…too many know what they would do to workers if they got in.

    Mr. “gospel truth” is not to be trusted.

    And Hockey has played the messenger boy for many a destructive policy.

    Turnbull is a corporate aristocrat.

    And now we hear that radical right-wing kook & WorkChoices salesman Kevin Andrews on Sky News accussing The Greens of being “radical”. Pot kettle I reckon.

    How does a radical like Andrews get into a mainstream party?…to think he’s a frontbencher…makes ya shake yer head.

    One thing I can’t stand is “right-to-lifers” who fart on about preserving life in that old-fashioned patriarchal way…but have no problem serving in governments that go to war w/ allies that leads to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of children.

    Wankers!

    N’

  11. A superpower run by corporate aristocrats:

    Food Banks Bracing For End Of Extended Unemployment Benefits

    Arthur Delaney (Huffington Post)

    Food banks across the country are watching for the end of federally-funded extended unemployment insurance.

    “We are bracing for it,” said Vicki Escarra, CEO of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity, in an interview with HuffPost. Escarra said that Feeding America’s 200 member food banks across the country feed nearly six million people every week.

    “I can assure you, if these unemployment insurance benefits are not reinstated we’ll see these numbers go way up,” Escarra said.

    Two federal programs — Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits, which together provide up to 73 weeks of jobless aid on top of 26 weeks of state aid — are set to begin to expire this week because Congress has not reauthorized them. According to the Labor Department, two million long-term unemployed will be dropped from the programs by the end of December if Congress does not act…

    A study released by Feeding America this year found that of the 37 million people served by its member food banks, 70 percent came from households with incomes below the poverty line. The study found that 5.7 million people received emergency food assistance in 2009, a 27 percent increase from 2006.

    more here:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/29/food-banks-bracing-for-en_n_789198.html

    The corporate aristocrats get tax cuts & bailouts…those workers who’ve lost their jobs, homes, healthcare, relationships…get screwed.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS…from the Grinch corporate aristocrats.

    N’

  12. “Don’t mention the rich.”

    November 29, 2010

    The Rich Have Nothing to Worry About

    Why Not Declare Class War and be Done With It

    By DAVID MACARAY (CounterPunch)

    Not only has the so-called “trickle-down” theory of economics been revealed to be a cruel hoax, but most of the good industrial jobs have left the country, the middle-class has been eviscerated, the wealthiest Americans (even in the wake of the recession) have quintupled their net worth, and polls show that upwards of 70 per cent of the American public feel the country is “headed in the wrong direction.”

    No jobs, no prospects, no leverage, no short-term solutions, no long-term plans, no big ideas to save us. While the bottom four-fifths struggle to stay afloat, and the upper one-fifth cautiously tread water, the top one-percent continue to accumulate wealth at a staggering rate.

    Thanks to the global engine, there are now hundreds of billionaires. Oligarchies, “client-state” capitalism, wanton deregulation, CEOs earning monster salaries, corporations receiving taxpayer welfare, and half the U.S. Congress boasting of being millionaires. Meanwhile, personal debt in the U.S. continues to soar, one in ten people are out of work, and food stamp usage sets new records every month.

    Yet, even with near-record unemployment, the Department of Commerce reported this week that U.S. companies just had their best quarter….ever. Businesses recorded profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, which is the highest rate (in non-inflation-adjusted figures) since the government began keeping records, over 60 years ago. Shrinking incomes, fewer jobs….but bigger corporate profits. Not a good sign.

    Yet when you broach the dreaded subject of “class warfare” you get blank stares. When you try to demonstrate, through charts and graphs and scores of real-life examples, that the system is largely rigged to accommodate the wealthy and powerful—and that we face an unfortunate Us vs. Them dilemma—people back away.

    There’s an old joke: An Oxford professor meets a former student and asks what he’s been up to. The student tells him he’s working on his doctoral thesis, whose topic is the survival of the class system in the U.S. The prof expresses surprise. “I didn’t think there was a class system in the U.S.,” he says. “Nobody does,” the student replies. “That’s how it survives.”

    The conviction that class distinctions don’t exist in the U.S. raises some obvious questions: Could this stubborn belief be driven by something as simple as old-fashioned optimism? Or is it a form of whistling in the dark—combating fear and despair by denying that things are as bad as they seem? Or could it be the product of self-delusion and vanity….of no one wishing to be labeled “working class”?…

    In former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s excellent memoir, Locked in the Cabinet, there’s an account of Lloyd Bentsen, Clinton’s Treasury Secretary, making a similar reference. In reply to Reich’s observation that the wage gap was widening precipitously, Bentsen says, “Look, Bob, we shouldn’t do social engineering through the tax code. There’s no reason to declare class warfare.”

    While the rich obviously don’t want us rocking the boat, the disparity has become so alarming, even billionaire investor Warren Buffet broke ranks and acknowledged that the Bush-era tax cuts should be allowed to expire. Said Buffet, “If anything, the wealthiest Americans should pay even more in taxes.”

    Buffet aside, as long as those three catch-phrases—class warfare, social engineering, and redistribution of wealth—provoke the same Pavlovian responses from Republicans and Democrats alike, the rich have nothing to worry about.

    more here:

    http://www.counterpunch.com/macaray11292010.html

    Seems to me the corporate aristocrats declared war on the people long ago.

    And some in the mainstream media are actin’ like the Sheriff of Nottingham.

    N’

  13. Some key comments from the winner of the World Food Prize, David Beckmann, as he talks to Ray Suarez of PBS Newshour:

    RAY SUAREZ: Even in Arlington, Virginia, one the wealthiest counties in one of America’s wealthiest metropolitan areas, more and more people rely on food banks to get enough to eat.

    Nearly 17 million families in America, about 15 percent of all households, had trouble putting enough food on the table last year. And while the economy has shown some signs of recovery, the number of Americans going hungry this season is increasing.

    As high unemployment persists, poverty is up and wages are flat. In Arlington, each day, people line up for a weekly ration at the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Demand has grown by 50 percent in the last two years. Volunteers drop off food items and serve more than 3,300 people a week, giving out some 26 tons of food every month.

    I spoke to the Reverend David Beckmann, president of the faith-based advocacy organization Bread for the World, earlier this week. He’s the winner of the 2010 World Food Prize and author of the new book “Exodus From Hunger.”…

    DAVID BECKMANN: Well, the big increase in hunger is because of unemployment. So, much more than before, it’s young people with children, people who have lost their job, people who maybe can’t get a full-time job. They’re working a few hours, 20 hours a week, but they can’t feed their kids. That’s the big surge.

    RAY SUAREZ: So, we’re seeing a lot of new people in that population, people who haven’t had this problem before and now are downwardly mobile?

    DAVID BECKMANN: Right. There are lots of cases where people five years ago were contributing to food banks. And now they have to go into food pantries to — to complement what they can afford to buy at a grocery store for their children.

    RAY SUAREZ: Well, what has increased demand meant for the emergency system? Have places — like this food pantry that we’re in, how have they coped?

    DAVID BECKMANN: The increase in need far outpasses what we have been able to do through charitable means.

    That’s why it’s so important that we do things like provide tax credits for the working poor, so, if somebody’s got an $8-an-hour job, that they can get a little bit of extra income that they can use to get their car fixed or maybe enroll in a program as a dental hygienist.

    Food banks can provide that kind of assistance. You know, they can provide a couple bags of groceries. And, in fact, people who are struggling with unemployment and the current economy need also to have the supports that we can provide them through our government.

    You know, some people — some people are talking like, you know, the way to improve our economy is to cut programs for poor people. This is bunk. First, we need to help people who are struggling get a leg up. That’s good for the economy, for everybody.

    And the programs that help poor people are tiny in relationship to the federal budget. So, we need to strengthen those programs, make them work as — just as effectively as we can for poor people, at this time of real crisis for many families.

    More here:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/social_issues/july-dec10/worldfood_11-26.html

    What a great job the American political leaders & corporate aristocrats have done in ensurin’ security for their people.

    What brilliant role models for the rest of the world.

    And they say the Wikileaks people are irresponsible.

    N’

  14. A certain amount of the Wikileaks are indeed irresponsible acts…putting innocent people’s lives at risk related to allegiances/collaboration & covert operations in conflict zones is plain irresponsible…yes…but I’ve noticed when it’s goss & leaks courtesy of the Murdoch empire & other major news organisations it’s in the “public interest”…but when it’s Wikileaks it suddenly transforms into terrorist/criminal acts.

    I will concede that NY Times reporter Judith Miller & Bushevik Lewis Libby were dragged across hot coals over Plamegate…but these are rare occurences.

    Interestin’:

    WikiLeaks says major bank is its next target

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed a fresh “mega leak” will target a major US bank early next year.

    Speaking to Forbes magazine, Mr Assange said he was ready to unleash tens of thousands of documents that could “take down a bank or two”.

    Comparing the documents to the emails that exposed Enron’s dealings amid its collapse, the controversial Australian said an existing “big US bank” was the subject of a pending data dump.

    Asked about any future leaks, he said: “Yes. We have one related to a bank coming up, that’s a mega leak.

    “It’s not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it’s either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it.”

    More here:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/11/30/3080435.htm

    I doubt if Wikileaks hesitates to put the info out they will ever get it out…when ya fck w/ the big players who can manipulate governments to bail them out &/or ignore their immoral, sometimes criminal practices, yer gonna get bashed big time.

    It’s time the people heard more of the truth about these corporate aristocrats who control governments like puppets.

    N’

  15. Wikileaks could have targetted The Robber Barons long before now …

    …including Goldman Sachs – aaah, such an easy target … Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld …

    … instead they chose to put troops at risk …

    … and disrupt diplomatic relationships – to our disadvantage NOT those who choose to attack our society …

    I would much sooner diplomats be able to communicate candidly about other leaders and nations between themselves than a make believe that Assange & Co seem t think will be more acceptable …

    … and who made Wikileaks the final arbiter of Truth … when their operations are as opaque as the governments they expect to be transparent …

    … Wikileaks is a political organisation that is naieve in the extreme …

    … instead of being a peace promoter they have become a chaos manufacturer in a world that is slowly crumbling …

    … Wikileaks is just another cog in the destruction of the world as we know it …

    … people need to re-read the history of the 1930’s for a parallel … for it is being repeated …

  16. I think you’ll find that many readers & contributors across the blogosphere have read numerous articles, documents & books on various aspects of the 30s…even viewed various forms of propaganda, artworks and so on.

    BTW, a view from one vet:

    An Iraq Surge Vet on Wikileaks
    By JOSH STIEBER

    October 22 – 24, 2010

    Dear members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other willing parties,

    This is an anticipatory letter aimed to advise you on your response and responsibility for the coming Wikileaks release, expected on October 23rd. Based on the White House’s response to the last leak about Afghanistan, the temptation seems strong to once again divert attention away from accountability.

    I write as a young veteran who once fully embraced the concept of a preemptive war to keep my fellow citizens safe and, as President Bush declared, because “America is a friend to the people of Iraq.” I now hope to preempt your response to the information regarding that war in which I fought. When I learned in school about the design of the American system of government and all the noble qualities it represented, invading Iraq seemed to me, at the time, to be a surefire way to make the world a better place.

    On the front-lines however, I saw those very values that had so inspired me seldom put into practice. Despite claims of goodwill, infantry training left my comrades and I desensitized; how could we scream “Kill them all, let God sort them out” on a regular basis and still believe that we were caring for the oppressed people of Iraq? The glorious history I’d been taught–where colonists could no longer tolerate harsh British rule and revolted over taxes, lack of representation, quartering of homes, and other offenses–was turned on its head when we displaced Iraqi families from their homes to build an outpost. The will of the people—what a democracy is supposed to rest on—was brushed aside as we stormed past a peaceful protest where Iraqi men, women, and children had gathered, asking us not to occupy their neighborhood…

    The coming leak about Iraq is your chance, your obligation to make up for what was largely ignored last time. For every question you ask of Manning and Assange and their characters, the much greater question needs to be asked of where the accountability in U.S. foreign policy has gone. Pentagon officials said there was blood on Assange’s hands over the last leak; can you back those claims? And how do you respond to the blood that has been needlessly spilled throughout the war? Just as you demand accountability for leakers, you owe accountability to those whose names these wars are carried out in. While you focus on only questioning the messengers, it seems highly likely that allies of the U.S. will question our priorities and honor, while our adversaries will be further assured that our noble claims of caring for humanity and wanting to save their countries is cheap rhetoric.

    Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, griped that he “was ashamed to have to sit there and listen to the president express his great angst about the leaking that is going on here in this town.”

    I write on behalf of those around the world who are ashamed to have to listen to the President, along with military and political officials, express their great angst over leaks while seeming to ignore the realities of what those leaks reveal about the very nature of these wars. When you fail to take account for what has been done in our names, funded by our taxes, and fought by those who believe that the U.S. should represent something noble, we will search for and tell the truth; if you are ashamed by citizens practicing the accountability that our country was designed to demand, then that says more about you than about us.

    Please do something different; take accountability for these wars and the full truth about them. More specifically, please take account for what is detailed in both the Iraq and Afghanistan leaks by running the needed investigations, addressing the policies and practices that have gone unchecked, and beginning a much needed reconciliation process. If you need soldiers who are willing to collaborate what is detailed in the reports, I will be the first to step forward for this rounds of leaks.

    more here:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/stieber10222010.html

    N’

  17. I’ll make this short and sweet.

    Australian armed forces operate under entirely different RoE to US troops …

    … to quote one US Iraqi Vet as a be all and end all is deceptive to say the least.

    Over 40 countries have troops in Afghanistan …

    I’m also well experienced with Yankee sabre rattling … cost me a couple of years and and a couple of my mates their lives …

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