Chris Hedges Speech – April 15, 2011 – BOA Protest

“Liberal or Conservative, it makes no difference now. Barack Obama serves corporate interests as assiduously as George W. Bush. And to place our faith in any party or established institution as a mechanism of reform is to be entranced by the celluloid shadows on the wall of Plato’s cave.”

~ Chris Hedges

As I mentioned here, New York City’s Union Square was my destination yesterday for a Bank of America/plutocracy protest. In all honesty, I expected a much bigger turnout than the 250ish people who showed up, especially since Chris Hedges was slated to make an appearance, but those of us who made it were fierce and on point.

And since Hedges can say it better than I could on my best day, I’ll just pass him the mic…

Oh, and you really need to see this guy dance to the jazzy rage of Junkyard Empire’s version of Get Up, Stand Up.

Dancing goodness begins at 0:41.

NYC Bank of America Protest – Fri, 4/15/2011

This past December, Chris Hedges protested in front of the White House and gave this inspiring speech that gives me shivers every time I listen to it.

This Friday, 4/15/2011, I’ll be joining the fantastically awesome Hedges and the political action group Prosperity Agenda in a protest of Bank of America.

The event takes place at Union Square in New York City, and begins at 11:00 am.

I’m looking forward to meeting some of you there.

Here’s how Hedges described the event in his most recent column.

This Is What Resistance Looks Like
April 3, 2011
Chris Hedges

The phrase consent of the governed has been turned into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. Civil disobedience is the only tool we have left.

We will not halt the laying off of teachers and other public employees, the slashing of unemployment benefits, the closing of public libraries, the reduction of student loans, the foreclosures, the gutting of public education and early childhood programs or the dismantling of basic social services such as heating assistance for the elderly until we start to carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience against the financial institutions responsible for our debacle. The banks and Wall Street, which have erected the corporate state to serve their interests at our expense, caused the financial crisis. The bankers and their lobbyists crafted tax havens that account for up to $1 trillion in tax revenue lost every decade. They rewrote tax laws so the nation’s most profitable corporations, including Bank of America, could avoid paying any federal taxes. They engaged in massive fraud and deception that wiped out an estimated $40 trillion in global wealth. The banks are the ones that should be made to pay for the financial collapse. Not us. And for this reason at 11 a.m. April 15 I will join protesters in Union Square in New York City in front of the Bank of America.

“The political process no longer works,” Kevin Zeese, the director of Prosperity Agenda and one of the organizers of the April 15 event, told me. “The economy is controlled by a handful of economic elites. The necessities of most Americans are no longer being met. The only way to change this is to shift the power to a culture of resistance. This will be the first in a series of events we will organize to help give people control of their economic and political life.”

If you are among the one in six workers in this country who does not have a job, if you are among the some 6 million people who have lost their homes to repossessions, if you are among the many hundreds of thousands of people who went bankrupt last year because they could not pay their medical bills or if you have simply had enough of the current kleptocracy, join us in Union Square Park for the “Sounds of Resistance Concert,” which will feature political hip-hop/rock powerhouse Junkyard Empire with Broadcast Live and Sketch the Cataclysm. The organizers have set up a website, and there’s more information on their Facebook page.

We will picket the Union Square branch of Bank of America, one of the major financial institutions responsible for the theft of roughly $17 trillion in wages, savings and retirement benefits taken from ordinary citizens. We will build a miniature cardboard community that will include what we should have—good public libraries, free health clinics, banks that have been converted into credit unions, free and well-funded public schools and public universities, and shuttered recruiting centers (young men and women should not have to go to Iraq and Afghanistan as soldiers or Marines to find a job with health care). We will call for an end to all foreclosures and bank repossessions, a breaking up of the huge banking monopolies, a fair system of taxation and a government that is accountable to the people.

The 10 major banks, which control 60 percent of the economy, determine how our legislative bills are written, how our courts rule, how we frame our public debates on the airwaves, who is elected to office and how we are governed. The phrase consent of the governed has been turned by our two major political parties into a cruel joke. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs. And the faster these banks and huge corporations are broken up and regulated, the sooner we will become free.

Bank of America is one of the worst. It did not pay any federal taxes last year or the year before. It is currently one of the most aggressive banks in seizing homes, at times using private security teams that carry out brutal home invasions to toss families into the street. The bank refuses to lend small business people and consumers the billions in government money it was handed. It has returned with a vengeance to the flagrant criminal activity and speculation that created the meltdown, behavior made possible because the government refuses to institute effective sanctions or control from regulators, legislators or the courts. Bank of America, like most of the banks that peddled garbage to small shareholders, routinely hid its massive losses through a creative accounting device it called “repurchase agreements.” It used these “repos” during the financial collapse to temporarily erase losses from the books by transferring toxic debt to dummy firms before public filings had to be made. It is called fraud. And Bank of America is very good at it.

US Uncut, which will be involved in the April 15 demonstration in New York, carried out 50 protests outside Bank of America branches and offices on Feb. 26. UK Uncut, a British version of the group, produced this video guide to launching a “bail-in” in your neighborhood.

Civil disobedience, such as that described in the bail-in video or the upcoming protest in Union Square, is the only tool we have left. A fourth of the country’s largest corporations—including General Electric, ExxonMobil and Bank of America—paid no federal income taxes in 2010. But at the same time these corporations operate as if they have a divine right to hundreds of billions in taxpayer subsidies. Bank of America was handed $45 billion—that is billion with a B—in federal bailout funds. Bank of America takes this money—money you and I paid in taxes—and hides it along with its profits in some 115 offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. One assumes the bank’s legions of accountants are busy making sure the corporation will not pay federal taxes again this year. Imagine if you or I tried that.

“If Bank of America paid their fair share of taxes, planned cuts of $1.7 billion in early childhood education, including Head Start & Title 1, would not be needed,” Zeese pointed out. “Bank of America avoids paying taxes by using subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. To eliminate their taxes, they reinvest proceeds overseas, instead of bringing the dollars home, thereby undermining the U.S. economy and avoiding federal taxes. Big Finance, like Bank of America, contributes to record deficits that are resulting in massive cuts to basic services in federal and state governments.”

The big banks and corporations are parasites. They greedily devour the entrails of the nation in a quest for profit, thrusting us all into serfdom and polluting and poisoning the ecosystem that sustains the human species. They have gobbled up more than a trillion dollars from the Department of Treasury and the Federal Reserve and created tiny enclaves of wealth and privilege where corporate managers replicate the decadence of the Forbidden City and Versailles. Those outside the gates, however, struggle to find work and watch helplessly as food and commodity prices rocket upward. The owners of one out of seven houses are now behind on their mortgage payments. In 2010 there were 3.8 million foreclosure filings and bank repossessions topped 2.8 million, a 2 percent increase over 2009 and a 23 percent increase over 2008. This record looks set to be broken in 2011. And no one in the Congress, the Obama White House, the courts or the press, all beholden to corporate money, will step in to stop or denounce the assault on families. Our ruling elite, including Barack Obama, are courtiers, shameless hedonists of power, who kneel before Wall Street and daily sell us out. The top corporate plutocrats are pulling down $900,000 an hour while one in four children depends on food stamps to eat.

We don’t need leaders. We don’t need directives from above. We don’t need formal organizations. We don’t need to waste our time appealing to the Democratic Party or writing letters to the editor. We don’t need more diatribes on the Internet. We need to physically get into the public square and create a mass movement. We need you and a few of your neighbors to begin it. We need you to walk down to your Bank of America branch and protest. We need you to come to Union Square. And once you do that you begin to create a force these elites always desperately try to snuff out—resistance.

Bageant: Waltzing at the doomsday ball

Joe Bageant’s at it again.  This guy hits more nails squarely on their heads than Norm freaking Abram ever did on his best day.  The entire article is worthy of being excerpted, but that kind of defeats the purpose of excerpting, so here’s a small sample to suck you in, followed by the entire piece.

It ain’t robbery, it’s a business cycle

Capitalism is about one thing: aggregating the surplus productive value of the public for private interests. As we have said, it is about creating state sanctioned “investments” for the workers who produce the real wealth. Things like home “ownership” and mortgages, or stock investments and funds to absorb their retirement savings. That crushing 30-year mortgage with two refis is an investment. So is that 401K melting like a snow cone the beach.

As the people’s wealth accumulates, it is steadily siphoned off by government and elite private forces. From time to time, it is openly plundered for their benefit by way of various bubbles, depressions or recessions and other forms of theft passed off as unavoidable acts of nature/god. These periodic raids and draw downs of the people’s wealth are attributed to “business cycles.” Past periodic raids and thefts are heralded as being proof of the rationale. “See folks, it comes and goes, so it’s a cycle!” Economic raids and busts become “market adjustments.” Public blackmail and plundering through bailouts become a “necessary rescue packages.” Giveaways to corporations under the guise of public works and creating employment become “stimulus.” The chief responsibility of economists is to name things in accordance with government and corporate interests. The function of the public is to acquire debt and maintain “consumer confidence.” When the public staggers to its feet again and manages to carry more debt, buy more poker chips on credit to play again, it’s called a recovery. They are back in the game.

Waltzing at the doomsday ball

Capitalism is dead, but we still dance with the corpse
By Joe Bageant

As an Anglo European white guy from a very long line of white guys, I want to thank all the brown, black, yellow and red people for a marvelous three-century joy ride. During the past 300 years of the industrial age, as Europeans, and later as Americans, we have managed to consume infinitely more than we ever produced, thanks to colonialism, crooked deals with despotic potentates and good old gunboats and grapeshot. Yes, we have lived, and still live, extravagant lifestyles far above the rest of you. And so, my sincere thanks to all of you folks around the world working in sweatshops, or living on two bucks a day, even though you sit on vast oil deposits. And to those outside my window here in Mexico this morning, the two guys pruning the retired gringo’s hedges with what look like pocket knives, I say, keep up the good work. It’s the world’s cheap labor guys like you — the black, brown and yellow folks who take it up the shorts — who make capitalism look like it actually works. So keep on humping. Remember: We’ve got predator drones.

After twelve generations of lavish living at the expense of the rest of the world, it is understandable that citizens of the so-called developed countries have come to consider it quite normal. In fact, Americans expect it to become plusher in the future, increasingly chocked with techno gadgetry, whiz bang processed foodstuffs, automobiles, entertainments, inordinately large living spaces — forever.

We’ve had plenty of encouragement, especially in recent times. Before our hyper monetized economy metastasized, things such as housing values went through the sky, and the cost of basics, food etc. went through the basement floor, compared to the rest of the world. The game got so cheap and fast that relative fundamental value went right out the window and hasn’t been seen since. For example, it would be very difficult to make Americans understand that a loaf of bread or a dozen eggs have more inherent value than an iPhone. Yet, at ground zero of human species economics, where the only currency is the calorie, that is still true.

Such is the triumph of the money economy that nothing can be valued by any other measure, despite that nobody knows what money is worth at all these days. This is due in part to the international finance jerk-off, in which the world’s governments print truckloads of worthless money, so they can loan it out. The idea here is that incoming repayment in some other, more valuable, currency will cover their own bad paper. In turn, the debtor nations print their own bogus money to repay the loans. So you have institutions loaning money they do not have to institutions unable to repay the loans. All this is based on the bullshit theory that tangible wealth is being created by the world’s financial institutions, through interest on the debt. Money making money.

As my friend, physicist and political activist George Salzman writes,

“Everyone in these ‘professional’ institutions dealing in money lives a fundamentally dishonest life. Never mind ‘regulating’ interest rates,” he says. “We must do away with interest, with the very idea of ‘money making money’. We must recognize that what is termed ‘Western Civilization’ is in fact an anti-civilization, a global social structure of death and destruction. However, the charade of ever-increasing debt can be kept up only as long as the public remains ignorant. Once ecological limits have been reached the capitalist political game is up.”

You can see why I love this guy.

Boomers and Doomers and XXL bloomers

Capitalism wouldn’t be around today, at least not in its current pathogenic form, if it had not caught a couple of lucky breaks. The first of course, was the expansion of bloodsucking colonialism to give it transfusions of unearned wealth, enabling “investors” to profit by artificial means (death, oppression and slavery). But the biggest break was being driven to stratospheric heights by inordinate quantities of available hydrocarbon energy. Inordinate, but never the less finite. Consequently, the 100-year-long oil suckdown that put industrial countries in the tall cotton, now threatens to take back from subsequent beneficiary generation everything it gave. The Hummers, the golf courses, the big box stores, cruising at 35,000 feet over the Atlantic — everything.

You’d never know that, to look around at Americans or Canadians, who have not the slightest qualms about living in that 3,500 square foot vinyl sided fuck box, if they can manage to make the mortgage nut, or unashamedly buying a quadruple X large Raiders Jersey because, hey, a guy’s gotta eat, right? Why don’t I deserve a nice ride, a swimming pool and a flat screen? I worked for it (sure you did buddy, your $12,000 Visa/MasterCard tab is proof of that).

The doomers and the peak oilers gag, and they call it American denial. Personally, I think it is somewhat unfair to say that most Americans and Canadians are in denial. They simply don’t have a fucking clue about what is really happening to them and their world. Everything they have been taught about working, money and “quality of life” constitutes the planet’s greatest problem — overshoot. Understanding this trashes our most basic assumptions, and requires a complete reversal in contemporary thought and practice about how we live in the world. When was the last time you saw any individual, much less an entire nation, do that?

Compounding our ignorance and naiveté are the officials and experts, politicians, media elites, and especially economists, who interpret the world for us and govern the course of things. The go-to guys. They don’t know either. But they’ve got the lingo down.

Somehow or other, it all has to do with the economy, which none of us understands, despite round the clock media jabbering on the subject. Somehow it has to do with this great big spring on Wall Street called “the market” that’s gotta be kept wound up, and interest rates at something called The Fed, which have got to be kept smunched down. The industry of crystal gazing and hairball rubbing surrounding these entities is called economics.

In heaven, there are no jobs

The following may be old news to some who studied economics in college. However, I did not. And, for me at least, this gets at the heart of our dilemma (if dilemma is the right word for economic, environmental and species collapse). Here goes:

The human economy is made up of three parts: nature, work and money. But since nobody would pay people like Allen Greenspan or Milton Friedman millions of dollars if they talked just like the rest of us, economists and academics refer to these three parts as the primary, secondary and tertiary economies.

Of these, nature — the world’s ecosystems and natural capital — is by far the most important. It comprises about three quarters of the total value of economic activity (Richard Costanza et al. 1997). To western world economists, nature — when it is even give nature a thought — is considered to be limitless.

The second part, work, is the labor required to produce goods and services from natural resources. Work creates real value through efficient use of both human and natural resource energy. A potato is just a potato until people sweating over belt lines and giant fryers turn it into Tater Tots.

The third economy, the tertiary economy, is the production and exchange of money. This includes anything that can be exchanged for money, whether it is gold, or mortgages bundled as securities, or derivatives. In short, any paperwork device that can be rigged up in such a fashion that money will stick to it. Feel free to take a wild-assed guess which of the three economies causes the most grief in this world.

To an economist, work — the stuff that eats up at least a third of our earthly lives, is merely a “factor” called labor. Work is considered an unfortunate cost in creating added value. Added value, along with nature’s resources, is the basis for all real world profits. Without labor, the money economy could not gin up on-paper wealth in its virtual economy. Somewhere, somebody’s gotta do some real-world work, before bankers and investment brokers can go into their offices and pretend to work at “creating and managing wealth.”

Paying the workers in society to produce real wealth costs money. Capitalists hate any sort of cost. It represents money that has somehow escaped their coffers. So when any behemoth corporation hands out thousands of pink slips on a Friday, Wall Street cheers and “the market” goes up. No ordinary mortal has ever seen “the market.” But traders on the floor of 11 Wall Street, people who’ve deemed themselves more than mortal by virtue of their $110 Vanitas silk undershorts, assure us the market does exist. No tours of the New York Stock exchange are permitted, so we have to take their word for it.

In any case, in the money economy, eliminating costs, even if those costs happen to be feeding human beings, citizens of the empire, is sublime. That is why economists in the tertiary economy can declare a “jobless recovery” with a straight face. By their lights, the perfect recovery would necessarily be 100% jobless. Human costs of generating profit would be entirely eliminated.

Say what you will about the tertiary “money economy,” but one thing is certain. It’s virulent. Right now finance makes up 42% of GDP, and is rising. Traditionally that figure has been around 9%. Fifty eight percent of the economy is “services.” When it comes to the service economy, most people think of fried chicken buckets and “customer service,” call centers harassing debtors or selling credit cards. However, much of the so-called service economy consists of “services” sub-corporations and entities owned and operated by monopolies in communications, electronic access and energy. They are designed for the sole purpose of robbing the people incrementally. Borrow a microscope and read the back side your cable and electric bill. Billing you is a “service” for which you pay. So is the guy who cuts off your lights if you don’t.

And manufacturing? Ten percent. Mostly big ticket items such as salad shooters, as near as I can tell.

What nature?

Still though, the foundation of the world, including our entire economic structure, is nature. This is clear to anyone who has ever, planted a garden, hiked in the woods, gone fishing or been gnawed on by chiggers. In vis est exordium quod terminus.

Yet, not one in a thousand economists takes nature into account. Nature has no place in contemporary economics, or the economic policy of today’s industrial nations. Again, like the general American public, these economists are not in denial. They simply don’t know it’s there. Historically, nature has never been considered even momentarily because economists, like the public, never figured they would run out of it. With the Gulf oil “spill” at full throttle, the terrible destruction of nature is becoming obvious. But no economist who values his or her career wants to start figuring the cost of ecocide into pricing analysis. For god sake man, it’s a cost!

With industrial society chewing the ass out of Mama Nature for three centuries, something had to give, and it has. Capitalists, however, remain unimpressed by global warming, or melting polar ice caps, or Southwestern desert armadillos showing up in Canada, or hurricanes getting bigger and more numerous every year. They are impressed by the potential dough in the so-called green economy. In fact, last night I watched an economist on CNN say that if the government had let the free market take care of the BP gulf catastrophe, it would not be the clusterfuck it is now. Now THAT might qualify as denial. In the mean time, anthropogenic ecocide and resource depletion, coupled with the pressures of six billion mouths and asses across the globe, have started to produce — surprise surprise, Sheriff Taylor! — very real effects on world economies. (How could they not?) So far though, in the simplistic see-spot-run American mind, it’s all about dead pelicans and oiled up hotel beaches.

Monkey with the paper

When the U.S., and then the world’s money economy started to crumble, the first thing capitalist economists could think of to do was to monkey with the paper. That’s all they knew how to do. It was unthinkable that the tertiary virtual economy, that great backroom fraud of debt manipulation and fiat money, might have finally reached the limits of the material earth to support. That the money economy’s gaming of workers and Mother Nature might itself might be the problem never occurred to the world’s economic movers and shakers. It still hasn’t. (Except for Chavez, Morales, Castro and Lula). Jobs disappeared, homes went to foreclosure, and personal debt was at staggering all time highs. America’s working folks were taking it square in the face. Not that economists or financial kingpins cared much one way or the other. In the capitalist financial world, everything is an opportunity. Cancer? Build cancer hospital chains. Pollution? Sell pollution credits. The country gone bankrupt?

“Nothing to do,” cried the mad hatters of finance, “but print more money, and give gobs of cash to the banks! Yes, yes, yes! Borrow astronomical amounts of the stuff and bribe every fat cat financial corporation up and down The Street!” All of which came down to creating more debt for the common people to work off. They seem willing enough to do it too — if only they had jobs.

Along with the EU, Japan and the rest of the industrial world, the US continues to flood the market with cheap credit. That would be hunky dory, if was actually wealth for anybody but a banker. The real problems are debt and fraud, and tripling the debt in order to cover up the fraud. And pretending there no natural costs of our actions, that we do not have to rob the natural world to crank up the money world through debt.

No matter what economists tell us abut getting the credit industry moving again, papering over debt with more debt will not pollinate our food crops when the last honeybee is dead. I suggest that we put the economists out there in the fields, hand-pollinating crops like they do in China. They seem to know all about the subject, and have placed a monetary value of $12 billion on the pollination accomplished by bees in the US. Can you imagine the fucking arrogance? All bees do is make our fruit and vegetable supply possible. Anyway, if we cannot use the economists for pollinators (odds are they are too damned whacked to do that job), we could also stuff them down the blowhole of the Deepwater Horizon spill. For the first time in history, economists would be visibly useful.

Speaking of China: Since there is no way to pick up the turd of American capitalism by the clean end, much less polish it, American economists have pointed east, and set up a yow-yow about China as “the emerging giant.” The “next global industrial superpower.” Many Chinese are willing to ride their bicycles 10 miles to work through poisonous yellow-green air, and others in the “emerging middle class” are willing to wade into debt up to their nipples; this is offered as evidence of the viability of industrial capitalism. All it proves is that governments and economists never learn. In the quest of getting something for nothing, China follows the previous fools right into the smog and off the cliff.

Sumthin’ fer nuthin’

The main feature of capitalism is the seductive assertion that you can get something for nothing in this world. That you can manufacture wealth through money manipulation, and that it is OK to steal and hold captive the people’s medium of exchange, then charge them out the ass for access. That you can do so with a clear conscience. Which you can, if you are the kind of sleazy prick who has inherited or stolen enough wealth to get into the game.

Even so, to keep a rigged game going, you must keep the suckers believing they can, and eventually will, benefit from the game. Also, that it is the only game in town. Legitimizing public theft means indoctrinating the public with all sorts of market mystique and hocus-pocus. They must be convinced there is is such a thing as an “investment” for the average schmuck drawing a paycheck (and there is, sort of, between the crashes and the bubbles). It requires a unified economic rationale for government and industry policies, and it is the economist’s job to pump out this rationale. Historically, they have seldom hesitated to get down on their knees and do so.

It ain’t robbery, it’s a business cycle

Capitalism is about one thing: aggregating the surplus productive value of the public for private interests. As we have said, it is about creating state sanctioned “investments” for the workers who produce the real wealth. Things like home “ownership” and mortgages, or stock investments and funds to absorb their retirement savings. That crushing 30-year mortgage with two refis is an investment. So is that 401K melting like a snow cone the beach.

As the people’s wealth accumulates, it is steadily siphoned off by government and elite private forces. From time to time, it is openly plundered for their benefit by way of various bubbles, depressions or recessions and other forms of theft passed off as unavoidable acts of nature/god. These periodic raids and draw downs of the people’s wealth are attributed to “business cycles.” Past periodic raids and thefts are heralded as being proof of the rationale. “See folks, it comes and goes, so it’s a cycle!” Economic raids and busts become “market adjustments.” Public blackmail and plundering through bailouts become a “necessary rescue packages.” Giveaways to corporations under the guise of public works and creating employment become “stimulus.” The chief responsibility of economists is to name things in accordance with government and corporate interests. The function of the public is to acquire debt and maintain “consumer confidence.” When the public staggers to its feet again and manages to carry more debt, buy more poker chips on credit to play again, it’s called a recovery. They are back in the game.

Dealer, hit me with two more cards,. I feel lucky.

Does it hurt yet?

To anyone who is paying attention, things look doomed. Fortunately for American capitalism, nobody is paying attention. They never have. Even given the unemployment numbers, foreclosures and bankruptcies, most Americans are still not feeling enough pain yet to demand change. Not that they will. Demand change, I mean. We haven’t the slightest idea of any other options, outside those provided by the corporate managed state. So in a chorus well-schooled by the media the public demands “reform,” of the present system, the systemic pathogenic system based on exploitation of the many by the few, the one presently eating our society from the inside out. How do you reform that?

We are clueless, and the state sees to it that we stay that way. Take the price of gas, about which Americans are obsessive. In one way or another, petroleum is the subject of much news coverage, nearly as much as pissing matches between egomaniacs in Hollywood or o Capitol Hill. So one might think that by now Americans would have a realistic grasp of the petroleum business and things like oil and gasoline prices.

Hah, think again! This is America, this is Strawberry Fields, where nothing is real and the skies are not cloudy all day. We’re stewed in a consumer hallucination called the American Dream and riding a digital virtual money economy nobody can even prove exists.

Is there an economy out there or not?

If we decide to believe the money economy still exists, and that debt is indeed wealth, then we damned sure know where to go looking for the wealth. Globally, forty percent of it is in the paws of the wealthiest one percent. Nearly all of that one percent are connected to the largest and richest corporations. Just before the economy blew out, these elites held slightly less than $80 trillion. After the blowout/bailout, their combined investment wealth was estimated at a little over $83 trillion. To give some idea, this is four years of the gross output of all the human beings on earth. It is only logical that these elites say the only way to revive the economy, which to them consists entirely of the money economy, is to continue to borrow money from them.

However, the unasked question still hangs in the air: Does the money economy even exist anymore? Is it still there? (was it ever?) Or are we all blindly going through the motions because:

A: we do not understand that, for all practical historical purposes, it’s over;

B: we do not know how to do anything else so we keep dancing with the corpse of the hyper-capitalist economy;

C: the right calamity has not come down the pike to knock us loose from the spell of the dance,

or D: we’re so friggin brain dead, commodities engorged and internally colonized by capitalist industrialism that nobody cares, and therefore it no longer matters.

This is multiple choice, and it counts ten points toward survival, come the collapse.

If there is no economy left, what the hell are we all participating in? A mirage? The zombie ball? The short answer is: Because the economy is a belief system, you are participating in whatever you believe you are. Personally, I believe we are participating in a modern extension of the feudal system, with bankers as the new feudal barons and credit demographics as their turf. But then, I drink and take drugs. Whatever it is, the money economy is the only game in town until the collapse, after which chickens and firewood may become the national currency. The Masai use cattle don’t they?

At the same time, even dumb people are starting to feel an undefined fear in their bones. When I was back in the States last month, an old high school chum, a sluggard who seldom has forward thought beyond the next beer and Lotto scratch ticket, confides in me:

“Joey, I can’t shake the feeling that something big and awful is going to happen. And by awful I mean awful.”

“Happen to what?”

“Money, work, our country. Shit, I dunno.”

“Probably all three,” I opined. “Plus the environment.”

“Cheerful fuck, ain’t ya?”

“That’s what they pay me for, Bubba.”

Some in the herd are starting to feel a big chill in the air, the first winds of the approaching storm. Yes, something is happening, and you don’t know what it is, dooooo yew, Mistah Jones?

However, the most adept economists and other court sorcerers are going along as if nothing too unusual is happening — calling it a recession, or more recently a double-dip recession (don’t you love these turd-balls, making it sound as harmless as an ice cream cone — gimme a double dip please!) or even a depression. But no matter what it is, they smugly assure us, there is nothing happening that the world has never seen before. Including the insider scams that ignited the catastrophe. It’s just a matter of size. Extent.

OK, it’s a matter of scale. Like the Gulf oil spill. We’ve seen spills before, just not this big. But over the next couple of years as the poison crud circulates the world’s oceans, the Deep Horizon spill will prove to be a global game changer, whether economists and court wizards acknowledge it or don’t. Anything of global scale, whether it is in finance, energy, foreign aid, world health or war contracting, is accompanied by unimaginable complexity. That makes it perfect cover for criminal activity. Particularly finance, where you are always close to the money.

Jim Kunstler, never at a loss to describe a ludicrous situation, sums up the paper economy’s engineering of our collapse nicely:

“Wall Street — in particular the biggest ‘banks’ — packaged up and sold enough swindles to unwind 2500 years of western civilization. You simply cannot imagine the amount of bad financial paper out there right now in every vault and portfolio on the planet … the people fabricating things like synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) had no idea what the fuck they were doing — besides deliberately creating documents that nobody would ever understand, that would never be unraveled by teams of law clerks … and were guaranteed to place in jeopardy every operation of the world economy above the barter level.”

Phew!

So, for $5,000 and an all expense paid trip to Rio: What does a good capitalist do after having stolen all there is to steal from the living, then stolen the nation’s future wealth from the unborn through debt both public and private?

Tick tock, tick tock. The wheel spins.

Blaaaaaamp!

“Your answer please.”

“A good capitalist would ‘invest’ his haul in some other racket, some other scam in the money economy.”

“Vanna, a pie in the kisser for this guy, please.”

The problem with the answer is that economy is now toxed out. Radioactive. Crawling with paper vermin and all manner of vermin, especially toxic derivatives — about $1.4 quadrillion worth (even as we are still trying to get used to hearing the term trillions), according to the Bank of National Settlements. That is 1,000 trillion, or $190,000 for every human being on the planet. There is not now, and never will be, enough wealth to cover that puppy — because there is not enough natural world under the puppy to create it. Not the way capitalism creates wealth.

Defenders of capitalism who say it can and must be saved must also admit that there is not enough money left to work with, to invest. There is only debt. Oh, yeah, we forgot; debt is wealth to a banker. Well then, all we gotta do is collect $190,000 per head from people in Sudan and Haiti and the rest of the planet.

Naw, that’s too hard. Elite capital’s best bet is a good old fashioned money raid on the serfs; create another bubble that will buy enough time before it pops to make the already rich a few billion richer. To that end, the G-8 is blowing one last bounder out there in the hyperspace where the economy s alleged to be surviving. Naturally, they are doing it in order to “save the world economy.” The tough part is figuring out what to base the next bubble on.

May I suggest Soylent Green?

Under God, with fees and compound interest for all

From the outset, capitalism was always about the theft of the people’s sustenance. It was bound to lead to the ultimate theft — the final looting of the source of their sustenance — nature. Now that capitalism has eaten its own seed corn, the show is just about over, with the nastiest scenes yet to play out around water, carbon energy (or anything that expends energy), soil and oxygen. For the near future however, it will continue to play out around money.

As the economy slowly implodes, money will become more volatile stuff than it already is. The value and availability of money is sure to fluctuate wildly. Most people don’t have the luxury of escaping the money economy, so they will be held hostage and milked hard again by the same people who just drained them in the bailouts. As usual, the government will be right there to see that everybody plays by the rules. Those who have always benefited by capitalism’s rules will benefit more. That cadre of “money professionals” which holds captive the nation’s money supply, and runs things according to the rules of money, can never lose money. It writes the rules. And rewrites them when it suits the money elite’s interests. Capitalism, the Christian god, democracy, the Constitution.

It’s all one ball of wax, one set of rules in the American national psyche. Thus, the money masters behind the curtain will write The New Rules, the new tablets of supreme law, and call them Reform. There will be rejoicing that “the will of the people” has once again moved upon the land, and that the democracy’s scripture has once again been delivered by the unseen hand of God.

—————

Joe Bageant is the author of Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War. His newest book, Rainbow Pie: A Redneck Memoir, deals with America’s permanent white underclass, and how it was intentionally created. To be released in September in Australia and October in the United Kingdom. Rainbow Pie is available for preorder from Amazon-UK and Amazon-Canada. In Australia, the book can be pre-ordered at Scribe Publications.

Monsanto EVP and Nalco (Corexit) Director are the same person

The evil that is Monsanto has been pretty well documented at this point.  For those of you who are late to the game, however, I offer you The World According to Monsanto.

Watch the other seven parts here.

If you don’t have time for the movie at the moment, the quick version is that Monsanto’s genetically modified seeds are ruining farmers, making you sick or dead, and making them kajillions of dollars.

Nalco may or may not ring a bell for you, as they keep a relatively low profile, but if you’ve been paying even passing attention to BP’s apocalypse in the Gulf of Mexico, then you’ve probably heard of their product, Corexit.  In this piece, I pointed out that:

…in 2003, none other than Goldman Sachs was part of a three-pronged group that purchased Nalco, so Goldman not only was a key player in destroying the world’s economy, and facilitating the greatest wealth transfer in, well, all of recorded history, but they can now take pride in the knowledge that they’ve had a small hand in bringing about the 7th sign of the Hopi Indian end times prophecy.

Corexit is more toxic, and less effective than most of the other dispersants BP could be using.   In fact, BP continues to use it weeks after the EPA demanded that they stop using it. As of May 22, 670,000 gallons of Corexit had been sloshed into the Gulf of Mexico, which, contrary to BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward’s completely reprehensible understatement of the century, is an absolute crap load of extremely toxic sludge.  In addition to the Goldman connection, the investment firms Apollo Management and the Blackstone Group are also making money on every drop of Corexit that gets dumped into the Gulf.  And hey, this is probably just crazy ass blind luck, but Lord Jacob Rothschild happens to be a Member of Blackstone’s International Advisory Board.  Funny how those pesky Rothschilds always manage to be right in the center of the action, right?

Now let’s bring Monsanto back into the story.

It just came to my attention that Carl M. Casale is Monsanto’s Executive Vice President as well as Nalco’s Director.

How nice for him, right?

Well, here’s hoping that there is a hell, and that there’s a special spot reserved there especially for this despicable destroyer of worlds, and all of the other disaster capitalists who provide such lucrative incentive for so many people to do the wrong thing every chance they get.

Slowly I turn … or … I’m fucking fed up

After about 5 years of looking the corporate war machine we call society straight in the eye on a daily basis, I believe that I may have reached my saturation point.

Between the corporate commoditization of every-fucking-thing imaginable, BP’s government assisted apocalypse, the continued deterioration of civil liberties, the multiple wars and rumors of wars, the global financial collapse, the Zionist’s and Christian Zionist’s (neocons) apparent determination to bring about Armageddon, and a host of other completely mind-numbing, environment-destroying, soul-crushing, and baby-maiming hijinks, I’m really having trouble just making it through the day without stapling my own eyes shut, let alone absorbing more evidence of our ongoing self-destruction and bringing it to your attention.

Especially since it seems as if the only people who care enough to be enlightened are the ones who are already enlightened to begin with, and unfortunately, that group of people is only large enough, world-wide, to fill Rhode Island, which, in case you’re not up on your U.S. demographics, means that there aren’t very many of us.

I know that I don’t win many new followers by denigrating the intellect of the masses, but at this point, I’m so fucking flabbergasted by people’s brazen unwillingness to understand our situation that I don’t know what to do any more.  It’s impossible to communicate with people who still believe that either side of our two-party coprporotocracy has their best interests at heart, and that our marauding military has been in a state of constant war for the past 100 or so years because we’re protecting democracy,™ and that the corporate media is anything other than a state propaganda ministry, and that our intelligence apparatus is there to keep us safe, and that Wal-Mart is a good thing because their prices are low, and that fluoride in drinking water is for healthy teeth, and that Zbigniew Brzezinski‘s daughter is a perfectly acceptable news anchor for MSNBC, while a former AIPAC attack dog performs the same function for CNN, while reporting on the vile terrorists who so viciously attacked the poor Israeli do-gooding soldiers as they attempted to throw a surprise welcome party on the Mavi Marmara (sarcasm), and that mercury in vaccines is safe, and that swapping freedom for security is just an unfortunate sign of the times, and on, and on, and on.

The American way of life, at the most fundamental level, is based on a mountain of lies so goddamned high that any hope of having an honest, intelligent  discussion about anything, in any real way, is absolutely hopeless, unless you happen to be talking to one of the few Rhode Islanders I mentioned above, in which case, you’ll simply be preaching to the choir.

Yesterday, I said this on a Facebook thread that I started about the Obama administration’s latest corporate love letter:

“I spend almost all day, every day, so angry I could fucking spit, but most people can’t be bothered to care even a little.  Give them a big mac, a pair of Nikes, and a savings account with an interest rate well below the rate of inflation and they’re happier than pigs in fucking shit.”

Which, reading it now, reminds me that inflation is a hidden fucking tax, people!  It’s the product of a completely unnecessary and totally unethical financial system that was foisted upon the American people in 1913, in the dead of the night, by the under-handed machinations of the Rockefellers and the Rothschild’s, who had been trying to get their filthy hands around the throat of the American economy for around 100 years, because they knew that if they could get the government to borrow all of its money, at interest, from their privately owned cartel of banks (the Federal Reserve), that they would essentially control the government.

Learn all about it here and here but whatever you do, don’t just continue walking around in an iPhone induced fever haze, believing the state-sanctioned nonsense that keeps insisting that markets are mysterious things that can’t be directed or predicted, because, as Amschel Mayer Rothschild once said, if one controls a nation’s currency, then that person need not care who makes the laws.

It really is THAT simple.

Our economy has been directed and controlled by a small group of assholes, sometimes referred to as the corporate banking elite, since 1913.

The great depression was engineered by these people.  So was the dot-com bubble, and the housing bubble, and the derivatives bubble, and every other fucking bubble that’s ever bubbled.  These events, or cycles, actually, are simply vehicles by which the already rich and powerful become even more rich and powerful, at the expense of the rubes (that’s you and me).  The bubbles are one of the main tenets of the never-talked-about-above-a-whisper economic policy called trickle-UP economics.  It’s a system that more and more has been socializing the risk while privatizing the profits for rich, powerful fuckers, making them more rich and more powerful, even as you use your college degree to run a fucking cash register at Starbucks.  All while you scream and wave your arms about “socialist” policies that would use your tax dollars for a reasonable fucking health care system as opposed to blowing the limbs off of Muslims who had the unfortunate luck of being born on land that has stuff that the corporate banking mother fuckers want.

I’m sorry, I realize that this has turned into a bit of a slowly I turn moment.  I really didn’t mean to write anything more than a short explanation for why I haven’t been writing much lately, but well, here we are 800 words later, and I’m really not sure if I should even post this, but I suppose that a bit of unadulterated anger is ok every once in a while, and if you’re here, reading this, then chances are you’re as angry as I am.

Economic hitmen and mutant viral capitalism

Fractional reserve banking, interest, and debt are among the most important weapons of control for the corporate elite in their enslavement of humanity.

I know, I know, enslavement of humanity is soooooo very dramatic, and besides, didn’t Lincoln abolish slavery?  Well, I’m talking on a global scale here, and while we’re at it, one could easily argue that the best slave is one who believes he is free.

Last month, in a post titled Money as debt is the control grid, I said the following:

If you want to truly understand what’s going on in the United States, and in fact, the entire world, then you must understand the concept of usury, or as we’ve come to call it, fractional reserve banking.

This knowledge, combined with an understanding that the Federal Reserve (and nearly every other Central Bank in the word) is a cartel of private banks, earning interest on the money it loans to your government, will make it absolutely clear to you who is really in control.

One need look no further than the father of central banking, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who once famously stated:

“Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes the laws.”

I also posted the terrific video series titled Money As Debt, which clearly demonstrates exactly how this mechanism has been employed to control not only individuals, but also entire nations.

If you haven’t watched it, I strongly suggest that you do so before reading on.

So why am I rehashing this now?

Well, I ran across this little animated gem today called Economic Hitmen, which explains the process by which the IMF and the World Bank, along with private consulting firms, and western intelligence agencies have been used to create the world’s first truly global empire.

Have a look.

The video is basically just a two-minute encapsulation of John Perkins’ book called Confessions of an Economic Hitman.

Here’s a synopsis:

“Economic hit men,” John Perkins writes in his controversial new book, “are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as Empire but one that has taken on terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.”

John Perkins should know about economic hit men—he was covertly recruited by the U.S. National Security Agency to be one. For years, he worked for an international consulting firm where his job was to convince underdeveloped countries to accept enormous loans, much larger than what was really needed, for infrastructure development—and to make sure that the development projects were then contracted to U. S. multinationals. Once these countries were saddled with huge debts, the American government and the international aid agencies allied with it were able, by dictating repayment terms, to essentially control their economies. It was not unlike the way a loan shark operates—and Perkins and his colleagues didn’t shun this kind of unsavory association. In fact, they even referred to themselves as “economic hit men.”

This is a story of international political intrigue at the highest levels. For over a decade, Perkins traveled all over the world—Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Columbia, Saudi Arabia, Iran—and worked with men like Panamanian president Omar Torrijos,  who became a personal friend. In 1974, he helped to implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of Saudi petrodollars back into the U. S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the Islamic fundamentalist House of Saud and a succession of American administrations. Perkins’ story illuminates just how far economic hit men were willing to go, and unveils the real causes of some of the most dramatic developments in recent history, such as the fall of the Shah of Iran and the invasions of Panama and Iraq.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, which many people urged Perkins not to write, is a blistering attack on–and exposé of–the little known inner workings of both government and corporate policies that have fostered globalization and led to the impoverishment of untold millions of people across the planet. It is a story that will increase the reader’s understanding of why so many people in so many countries hate America and what is has come to stand for.

This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to understand the forces that really control our world.  It also goes a long way towards explaining the real reasons why they hate us.  And for the hundredth time, it’s NOT because of our freedom.

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