Tag Archives: US

The Harmful Effects of Antifa. Crisis of America’s Left

By Diana Johnstone (via Global Research)

A historic opportunity is being missed. The disastrous 2016 presidential election could and should have been a wakeup call. A corrupt political system that gave voters a choice between two terrible candidates is not democracy. 

This should have been the signal to face reality. The U.S. political system is totally rotten, contemptuous of the people, serving the corporations and lobbies that pay to keep them in office. The time had come to organize a genuine alternative, an independent movement to liberate the electoral system from the grip of billionaires, to demand a transition from a war economy to an economy dedicated to improving the lives of the people who live here. What is needed is a movement for the pacification of America, at home and abroad.

That is a big order. Yet this approach could meet with wide support, especially if vigorous young people organized to stimulate popular debate, between real live people, from door to door if necessary, creating a mass movement for genuine democracy, equality and peace. This is as revolutionary a program as possible in the present circumstances.  A moribund left should be coming back to life to take the lead in building such a movement.

Quite the opposite is happening.

Provoking a new Civil War?

The first step toward preventing such a constructive movement was a false interpretation of the meaning of the Trump victory, massively promoted by mainstream media. This was essentially the Clintonite excuse for Hillary’s loss. Trump’s victory, according to this line, was the product of a convergence between Russian interference and the votes of “misogynists, racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and white supremacists”. The influence of all those bad people indicated the rise of “fascism” in America, with Trump in the role of “fascist” leader.

In this way, criticism of the system that produced Trump vanished in favor of demonization of Trump the individual, making it that much easier for the Clintonites to solidify their control of the Democratic Party, by manipulating their own leftist opposition.

The events of Charlottesville resembled a multiple provocation, with pro- and anti-statue sides provoking each other, providing a stage for Antifa to gain national prominence as saviors. Significantly, Charlottesville riots provoked Trump into making comments which were seized upon by all his enemies to brand him definitively as “racist” and “fascist”. This gave the disoriented “left” a clear cause: fight “fascist Trump” and domestic “fascists”. This is more immediate than organizing to demand that the United States end its threats against Iran and North Korea, its open and covert project to reshape the Middle East to ensure Israel’s regional dominance, or its nuclear buildup targeting Russia. Not to mention its support for genuine Nazis in Ukraine. Yet that trillion dollar policy of global militarization contributes more to violence and injustice even in the United States than the remnants of thoroughly discredited lost causes.

The Left and Antifa

All those who are sincerely on the left, who are in favor of greater social and economic equality for all, who oppose the endless aggressive foreign wars and the resulting militarization of the American police and the American mentality, must realize that, since the Clintonian takeover of the Democratic Party, the ruling oligarchic establishment disguises itself as “the left”, uses “left” arguments to justify itself, and largely succeeds in manipulating genuine leftists for its own purposes.  This has caused such confusion that it is quite unclear what “left” means any more.

The Clintonian left substituted Identity Politics for the progressive goal of economic and social equality, by ostentatiously coopting women, blacks and Latinos into the visible elite, the better to ignore the needs of the majority. The Clintonian left introduced the concept of “humanitarian war” to describe its relentless destruction of recalcitrant nations, seducing much of the left into supporting U.S. imperialism as a fight for democracy against “dictators”.

Antifa contributes to this confusion by giving precedence to the suppression of “bad” ideas rather than to the development of good ones through uninhibited debate. Antifa attacks on dissidents tend to enforce the dominant neoliberal doctrine that also raises the specter of fascism as pretext for aggression against countries targeted for regime change.

Antifa’s excuses

Antifa has several favorite arguments to justify itself those who criticize its use of force and intimidation to silence its adversaries.

1. Its violence is justified by the implicit violence of its enemies who if left alone plan to exterminate whole groups of people.

This is demonstrably untrue, as Antifa is notoriously generous in distributing the fascist label. Most of the people Antifa targets are not fascists and there is no evidence that even “racists” are planning to carry out genocide.

2. Antifa is engaged in other political activity.

That is completely beside the point. Nobody is criticizing that “other political activity”. It is the violence and the censorship which are the hallmarks of the Antifa brand, and the target of criticism. Let them drop the violence and the censorship and get on with their other activities. Then nobody will object.

3. Antifa defends threatened communities.

But that is certainly not all they are doing. Nor is that what its critics are objecting to. Actual defense of a truly threatened community is best done openly by respected members of the community itself, rather than by self-styled Zorros who arrive in disguise. The problem is the definition of the terms. For Antifa, the victim community can be a whole category of people, such as LGBTQI, and the threat may be a controversial speaker at a university who could say something to hurt their feelings. And what community was being defended by Linwood Kaine, younger son of the Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate, Senator Tim Kaine, when he was arrested in St Paul, Minnesota, last March 4 on suspicion of felony second-degree riot for attempting to break up a pro-Trump rally at the State Capitol? Although Kaine, dressed in black from head to toe, resisted arrest, the matter ended there. What downtrodden community was the young Kaine defending other than the Clintonite Democrats? His own privilege as a family member of the Washington political elite?

4. Antifa claims that it is in favor of free speech in general, but racists and fascists are an exception, because you can’t reason with them, and hate speech is not speech but action.

This amounts to an astounding intellectual surrender to the enemy. It is an admission of being unable to win a free argument. The fact is that speech is indeed speech, and should be countered by speech. You should welcome the chance to debate in public in order to expose the weaknesses of their position. If indeed “you can’t reason with them”, then they will shut down the discussion and you don’t have to. If they resort to physical attack against you, then you have the moral victory. Otherwise, you’re giving it to them.

5. Antifa insists that the Constitutional right to free speech applies only to the State. That is, only the government is banned from depriving citizens of the right to free speech and assembly. Among citizens, anything goes.

This is a remarkable bit of sophistry. Bullying and intimidation are okay if done by an unofficial group. In keeping with neoliberalism, Antifa is out to privatize censorship, by taking over the job itself.

Verbal Violence 

The verbal violence of Antifa is worse than their physical violence insofar as it is more effective. The physical violence is usually of minor consequence, at most temporarily preventing something that will happen later. It is the verbal violence that succeeds most in preventing free discussion of controversial issues.

Alarmed by the proliferation of pro-Antifa articles on CounterPunch, I ventured to write a critique, Antifa in Theory and Practice. My criticism was not personal; I did not mention the authors of those pro-Antifa CounterPunch articles and my mention of author Mark Bray was respectful. The result was a torrent of vituperation on CounterPunch’s FaceBook page, as well as in a hostile email exchange with star Antifa champion Yoav Litvin. This culminated with a hit piece by Amitai Ben-Abba published on CounterPunch itself. Note that both Litvin and Ben-Abba are Israelis, but pro-Palestinian, which provides the two with impeccable left credentials.

These reactions provided a perfect illustration of Antifa discussion techniques. It is a sort of food fight, where you just throw everything you can pick up at the adversary, regardless of logic or relevance. On the FaceBook page, Litvin, on the basis of my past carefully objective articles on French politics, accused me of “shilling for Marine Le Pen”. Irrelevant and inaccurate.

In his hit piece Ben-Abba dragged in this totally off-topic assertion:

Much in the same way that her early ’00spseudo-historical denial of the massacre in Srebrenica worked to embolden Serbian nationalists, her present analysis can embolden white supremacists.”

Need I point out that I never denied the “massacre” but refuse to label it “genocide”, nor did Serbian nationalists ever need my humble opinion in order to be “emboldened” – especially since the war was over by then.

I happily grant that there are issues raised in my initial article that deserve debate, such as immigration or whether or not the “fascism” of the early twentieth century still exists today. Indeed my whole point was that such issues deserve debate. That’s not what I got. Ben-Abba came up with this imaginary allusion to the immigration issue:

“‘antifa’ is a broader umbrella term that allows formerly unaffiliated folks (like the sans-papiers migrant baker who makes Johnstone’s croissants) to participate in defense of their communities against neo-fascist intimidation.”

Very funny: I am exploiting some poor undocumented baker and preventing him from being defended. Aside from the fact that I very rarely to eat a croissant, the bakers in my neighborhood are all fully documented, and moreover this largely immigrant neighborhood is the scene of frequent peaceful street demonstrations by African sans-papiers clearly not intimidated by neo-fascists. They obviously do not need Antifa to protect them. This fantasy of omnipresent neo-fascism is as necessary to Antifa as the fantasy of omnipresent anti-Semitism is to Israel.

Antifa rhetoric specializes in non sequitur. If you agree with some conservative or libertarian that it was wrong to destroy Libya, then you are not only guilty of association with a pre-fascist, you are a supporter of dictators and thus probably a fascist yourself. This has been happening in France for years and it’s just getting started in the United States.

The Antifa specialty is labeling anti-war activists and writers as “red-brown”, red for left and brown for fascist. You may pretend to be on the left, but if we can find the slightest association between you and someone on the right, then you are a “red-brown” and deserve to be quarantined.

By claiming to defend helpless minorities from a rising fascist peril, Antifa arrogates to itself the right to decide who is, or might be, “fascist”.

Whatever they think they are doing, whatever they claim to be doing, the one thing they really are doing is to tie the left into such sectarian intolerance that any broad inclusive single-issue anti-war movement becomes impossible.  Indeed, it is precisely the imminent danger of nuclear World War III that leads some of us to call for a non-exclusive single issue anti-war movement – thus setting ourselves up as “red-brown”.

That is why Antifa – unwittingly let us say – is running interference for the war party.

It is most unfortunate to see CounterPunch become a platform for Antifa. It didn’t have to. The site is quite able to reject articles, as it has systematically rejected contentions about 9/11 or as it rejected David Cobb’s and Caitlin Johnstone’s (no relative) right to respond. It could have taken a principled stand against calls for violence and censorship. It did not do so. It is one thing to encourage debate and quite another to sponsor mud wrestling.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

Preparing Your Kids for the ‘Re-education Camps’

By Annie Holmquist (via Intellectual Takeout)

The little kids walking through the airport or the state fair wearing leashes disguised as monkey backpacks signal every parent’s worst nightmare: losing their child.

That nightmare increases ten-fold when the loss is inflicted upon parents via so-called authority figures such as Child Protective Services or other agencies with allegedly good intentions. Unfortunately, such an event may soon be par for the course in many American homes if the opinions of PBS attorney Michael Beller become mainstream.

In an interview with the undercover journalists at Project Veritas, Beller loosened up and advanced the need for “re-education camps”—or the more friendly-sounding “enlightenment camps”—for the children of Donald Trump supporters, arguing that they will “be raising a generation of intolerant, horrible people—horrible kids.”

Clearly recorded before the election, Beller lays out his plan: “Even if Biden wins, we go for all the Republican voters, and Homeland Security will take their children away. What do you think about that? … And we’ll put them [Trump supporters’ children] into re-education camps.”

If chills just ran down your back reading that, then take heart, for Beller doesn’t intend to mistreat these relocated children. Instead, they will have the best of care, watching PBS and learning in classrooms filled with Sesame Street characters. What could be better?

Shortly after this video surfaced, PBS released an official response, saying that Beller “no longer works for PBS,” and that his comments were not in line with those of the organization. Yet while it seems unfathomable that Beller or anyone else—liberal, conservative, or otherwise—could even entertain the idea of forcibly extracting millions of children from their homes just because the political ideologies of their parents are different, such an idea has been advanced before by a very prominent historical figure: Karl Marx.

Writing in The Communist Manifesto, Marx noted that the destruction of the family, particularly the separation of children and parents, was a main goal of communism.

“Abolition of the family!” Marx prescribed, noting that “Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.” Yet this was the goal, for Marx believed the traditional family was built “On capital, on private gain” and would “vanish with the vanishing of capital.”

The father of Communism takes direct aim at the parent-child relationship in his next words: “Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.”

Marx embraces the idea of “destroy[ing] the most hallowed of relations,” replacing the education of children in the home with a social form of the same, noting how Communists seek to co-opt schools as a means of intervention and indoctrination toward their way of thinking.

Is such a plan resurfacing under those who advance a new totalitarian government? Sure, Beller no longer works for PBS, but seeing as he flippantly passes off his opinions, it’s hard to imagine that he thinks his views are not socially acceptable in his circles. Thus, those who will not submit willingly to the new “woke” totalitarian way of thinking must be made to conform to the mold, and if not themselves, then most certainly their children.

So what do we do? Do we sit back and wait for the inevitable? Do we fight to the death to keep our children and train them in our values and beliefs?

Most of us would surely do the latter. But what if even that fails? How do we prepare our children for the time when—God forbid—they may be forcibly separated from us and indoctrinated with ideologies that we can’t and won’t accept?

Two answers to that question are offered in the concluding paragraphs of W. Cleon Skousen’s 1958 book, The Naked Communist:

If the challenge to our youth today is a war of ideologies, then it is time for us to take the offensive. We should not sit back and wait for our boys and girls to be indoctrinated with materialistic dogma and thereby make themselves vulnerable to a Communist conversion when they are approached by the agents of force and fear who come from across the sea. For two generations an important phase of American life has been disintegrating. As parents and teachers we need to recognize that if this pillar of our culture collapses, our own children will be the casualties. This disintegration must stop. …

Of course, we must do more than merely teach correct principles—certainly we must practice them. I therefore close with the words of Francis Bacon who said: ‘It is not what you eat, but what you digest that makes you strong. It is not what you earn, but what yousave that makes you rich. It is not what you preach, but what you practice that makes you a Christian!’ 

Teach and do. Simple words, but incredibly challenging to put into practice. The challenge is worth it, however.

So teach your children history. Train them to value things like truth, family, and morality. Take them to church and instill Scriptural principles in their hearts. But don’t just impress such things upon them. Personally adopting these practices and modeling them for your children will go much further in helping them stand strong in the possible event that one day, they may be brought under the influence of those whose values are in direct opposition to yours.

Macaulay Culkin Supports Digital Removal of Trump from ‘Home Alone 2’

By Randy DeSoto  (via The Western Journal)

“Home Alone” actor Macaulay Culkin says he supports digitally removing a cameo by Donald Trump in the 1992 sequel to the popular film.

In response to a tweet that read, “petition to digitally replace trump in ‘home alone 2’ with 40-year-old macaulay culkin,” the childhood star responded, “Sold.”

In response to a second tweet in which Trump was replaced with empty space in the movie, Culkin tweeted: “Bravo.”

In “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” Kevin McCallister, played by Culkin, gets separated from his family at the airport and ends up boarding a flight to New York instead of Miami.

While in the Big Apple, he decides he might as well take in the sights and heads to Central Park and ultimately to The Plaza Hotel, where he checks in.

The Plaza was owned at the time by Trump, who agreed the movie could be shot on his property if he got a cameo in the picture.

In the scene, Kevin has just entered the hotel and bumps into the New York businessman, whom he asks for directions to the lobby.

Last month in the Insider, “Home Alone 2” director Chris Columbus recounted that Trump “did bully his way into the movie,” but the audience loved seeing him.

“When we screened it for the first time, the oddest thing happened – people cheered when Trump showed up onscreen,” Columbus said.

“So I said to my editor, ‘Leave him in the movie. It’s a moment for the audience.’”

Though not as successful as the 1990 original, “Home Alone 2” was a box office hit, grossing about $173.6 million, which would be roughly $320.2 million in today’s dollars.

Canadian viewers do not see the seven-second scene featuring Trump when the movie airs on CBC, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation explained that the former reality television star was edited out along with other parts of the film to make room for advertisements.

The edits were made in 2014, before Trump got into politics.

While many knew the New Yorker through his NBC hit reality television series “The Apprentice,” which launched in 2004, Trump’s celebrity actually extends to the 1980s.

His New York Times No. 1 best-selling book, “The Art of the Deal,” made the real estate mogul a household name in 1987.

Draconian NY Police State Assembly Bill: Indefinite Detainment of “Disease Carriers”

By Stephen Lendman



Draconian NY State Assembly Bill A416 calls for indefinitely detainment of residents considered to be “disease carriers (sic).” 

It’s aimed at seasonal flu/influenza, diabolically disguised as covid.

It’s all-about wanting to eliminate fundamental freedoms on the phony pretext of protecting them.

If the bill becomes law and is adopted in similar form by increasing numbers of other states — perhaps by congressional legislation as well, imagine what’s possible ahead.

According to CDC data, “(d)uring the (US) 2019-2020 influenza season” — from late fall through early spring — the agency estimated that influenza “was associated with 38 million illnesses, 18 million medical visits, 405,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths.”

Similar numbers happen annually around six months of the year during cold weather months.

If the above legislation becomes law in many, most, or all US states, anyone becoming ill from what happens to tens of millions of Americans annually could be virtually criminalized and isolated from society for an indefinite period of time.

The above is the stuff that draconian police state rule is made of.

It may be coming to a neighborhood near you, including your own.

This is what New York’s undemocratic Dem Governor Andrew Cuomo may sign into law for state residents.

It would likely apply to visitors as well who become ill from influenza while in the state for business, pleasure, or other reasons.

The above is one example among many others to show how US police state rule may work once hardened to its full potential.

It’s coming without mass resistance before it’s too late.

NY legislative language calls for “the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases that are potentially dangerous to the public health (sic).”

Large scale seasonal flu/influenza outbreaks occur annually with no fear-mongering created mass hysteria, no lockdowns, quarantines, social distancing or mask-wearing.

Before this year, there was no threat of virtual mass incarceration for getting sick from an illness that does not risk the health and well-being of many others.

Why is this year different from earlier ones?

It’s all-about a long ago planned diabolical plot by US dark forces now called The Great Reset.

What’s deceptively called a “unique window of opportunity” for world leaders to reshape “global relations…national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models, and the management of a global commons” is code language for planned dystopian rule to replace free societies.

It’s all-about exploiting most people worldwide so privileged ones can benefit more than already.

It’s about controlling all aspect of our lives, including what we eat, where we’re allowed to go and work, along with instituting mass surveillance, abolishing free expression, and banning dissent.

It’s for making what’s intolerable the law of the land, resisters for restoration of fundamental freedoms perhaps locked up in gulag hell forever.

The NY measure authorizes the governor to indefinitely detain “in internment camps” anyone falling ill from what’s diagnosed as seasonal flu/influenza, or covid (aka flu by another name).

He can order internment based on PCR tests that nearly always produce false positive results so they’re worthless.

Perhaps he can target anyone in the state considered undesirable by claiming they’re ill from flu even when not scientifically so.

Is the US incrementally becoming Nazified in plain sight with no one paying attention to what’s going on?

Last year by executive order, Cuomo mandated detainment of thousands of state residents in nursing homes for becoming ill from flu called covid — also based on worthless PCR tests.

If Bill A416 is replicated nationwide in the US, everyone called ill from covid (flu by another name) will be at risk of indefinite detainment for the crime of illness authorities consider a threat to public health — even when not true.

Perhaps that’s where things are heading in the new year — the rule of law at risk of abandonment to the whims of Great Reset draconian rule.

Based on what’s going on, it bears repeating what I’ve stressed time and again.

We have a choice. Resist what’s unacceptable while there’s time or risk loss of fundamental freedoms altogether — totalitarian harshness becoming the law of the land.

It comes down to living free or being subjugated by a draconian higher power — freedom as once known and hope lost forever.

That’s the disturbing state of things in the US and other Western societies.

They’ve always been fantasy democracies, never the real thing.

They’re heading toward becoming full-blown totalitarian police states.

Tinkering around the edges for positive change won’t work. It never does, notably not now.

The only viable option is mass resistance before freedoms and hope are lost.

The unacceptable alternative is serfdom amounting to modern-day enslavement.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

2020: Annus Horribilis, The Worst Is Yet to Come? Poverty, Unemployment, Despair

By Stephen Lendman



For most Americans, 2020 was disastrous for their safety, well-being and future.

Unprecedented numbers of people lost jobs — a greater percent of working-age Americans than in the 1930s Great Depression. 

Millions more became way underemployed earning poverty wages with few or no benefits — struggling daily to survive.

Well over 100,000 small businesses went bankrupt or otherwise shut down permanently because of draconian lockdowns, quarantines and related policies.

According to Gallup survey data, “Americans’ mental health ratings s(ank) to a new low” in 2020— with no end to mass-misery in prospect.

Chicago’s Water Tower Place is the city’s preeminent downtown shopping mall along its Magnificent Mile.

Its survival is threatened by lack of enough retail traffic.

A city news report said there’s “real anxiety that Chicago’s main shopping districts — the Magnificent Mile and Gold Coast — are (at risk) of falling apart” for lack of enough revenue to keep operating.

The Illinois Retail Merchants Association said “economic fallout” from what’s going on “made it difficult for businesses to keep up with high downtown rents.”

What’s true about Chicago’s retail environment applies to the US nationwide — with no end of it in prospect looking ahead.

According to the National Restaurant Association, up to half of the nation’s restaurants may close permanently if the current environment continues or worsens — millions of jobs to be lost with them.

Looking ahead in the new year, is unprecedented food insecurity, hunger, malnutrition, untreated illnesses, and homelessness coming in the weeks and months ahead?

While Congress and the Wall Street owned and controlled Fed throw trillions of dollars of free money at the nation’s privileged class, most US households never endured harder than ever hard times than now.

They’re worsening, not improving, because of indifference in high places toward the nation’s most disadvantaged that are exploding in numbers of affected millions of people — the US middle class disappearing in plain sight.

Everything going on — the Greatest Main Street Depression in US history — was planned by US dark forces in cahoots with monied interests.

It’s all about benefitting them exclusively by exploiting most others.

It includes creating an unprecedented in size permanent underclass.

Longer-term, the diabolical scheme aims to create a ruler-serf society, harming the vast majority of Americans.

Seasonal flu/influenza — disguised as covid — has been and continues to be the phony pretext for getting Americans to go along with what no one should tolerate.

Their fundamental freedoms may be permanently lost so privileged interests can more greatly benefit from their misery.

Providing $600 stimulus checks to qualified households pales in comparison to open-checkbook handouts to Wall Street, other corporate favorites, and the already super-rich.

The paltry amount mocks growing poverty and deprivation that’s highly likely to worsen in the new year.

The US is not only unsafe and unfit to live in, it’s permanently thirdworldized.

It’s a totalitarian/plutocratic banana republic in the Northern Hemisphere — the world’s largest and most threatening to everyone everywhere.

On New Year’s Day, establishment media maintained their mass deception drumbeat.

According to NYT fake news, “in 2021 things will start getting better (sic).”

“And there’s good reason to believe that once the good news starts, the improvement in our condition will be much faster and continue much longer than many people expect (sic).”

The Washington Post pretended that “the big story of 2021 could be a very hopeful one (sic).”

Like other establishment media, it’s pushing the myth of mass-vaxxing to the rescue — ignoring how experimental covid vaccines may cause irreparable harm to human health overall, along with risking the illness they’re supposed to protect against but won’t.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “(t)he great comeback of 2021 is surely coming (sic).”

“(I)t will begin to explode in late spring, with vaccines more available and a spreading sense that things are easing off, and be fully anarchic by summer (sic).”

The above disinformation ignores the reality of unprecedented/made-in-the USA misery that’s highly likely to worsen ahead and become permanent for most Americans.

I see nothing to be optimistic about in the new year and what follows.

The only solution is popular revolution. Nothing else can prevent state-sponsored dystopia that’s well underway.

It’ll worsen without mass outrage and rebellion against the diabolical system.

It’s our lives, our well-being, our future, and our choice to accept the unacceptable or rise up against it.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Global Poverty: How the Rich Eat the Poor and the World

The Big Lies

By Prof. John McMurtry



First published by GR on January 24, 2016

The 2016 Oxfam Davos Report which the mass media have ignored arrestingly shows that 62 individuals – 388 in 2010 – now own more wealth than 50% of the world’s population. More shockingly, it reports from its uncontested public sources that this share of wealth by half of the world’s people has collapsed by over 40% in just the last five years.

Yet the big lies persist even here that “the progress has been made in tackling world poverty” and “extreme poverty has been halved since 1990”.

Reversing Undeniable Fact as Ultimate Justification

Unbelievably, the endlessly repeated assertion of the form that ‘the poor are being lifted out of poverty in ever greater numbers’ continues on untouched despite the hard evidence that, in fact, the poorer half of humanity has lost almost half of their wealth in just the last five years.

This big lie is significant in its implications. For not only is a pervasive claim about the success of globalization undeniably falsified while no-one notices it. Basic market theory and dogma collapses as a result. What is daily claimed as an infallible benefit of the global market is shown to be the opposite of reality. What does it mean for “trickle-down theory” when, in truth, the trickle down goes up in hundreds of billions of dollars to the rich from the already poor and destitute?

What can we say now of the tirelessly proclaimed doctrine that the global market brings “more wealth for all” when, in fact, unimpeachable business evidence shows the opposite reality on the ground and across the world. For the poor have undeniably lost almost half their share of global wealth while the richest have multiplied theirs at the same time.

The evidence proves, in short, that the main moral and economic claims justifying the global market are very big lies becoming bigger all the time.

Worse than delusional, the lived reality of impoverishment of billions of people is reversed, the victims are continually proclaimed to be doing better under the system that increasingly deprives them of what little they have, and a trillion dollars worth of loss to the poorer half of humanity ends up in the pockets of the rich within only five years.

While the ever bigger lies go on justifying the global system that eats the poor alive as “poverty amelioration”, ever more of the same policies of accumulation by dispossession justify still more  stripping of  the majority as more “austerity”, more “welfare cuts”,  and more “labor flexibility” – in a word, more starvation and depredation of people’s lives and life conditions as “more freedom and prosperity for all”.

The Statistical Shell Game that Masks the Life-Devouring Reality

As World Bank, IMF and like figures claim to show the uplifting of the poor out of poverty across the world, media of record like The Guardian and the New York Times report the claims with headlines to show all is well and getter for the poor and the majority as they are in fact grindingly reduced in their actual lives, work and life security. Thus the very big lies are instituted as given facts which economists and social scientists propagate without a blink.

In fact, these alleged great gains for the poor out of poverty and absolute poverty alike are based on income gains of less than a cup of coffee a day, an observation that is so well blocked from view that readers may now be seeing it for the first time. Thus the hypnotic thrall of the big lies are sustained, while no other life support system is. I have had economists and interviewers of high note respond angrily when this delusion is pointed out, as if I was letting down the poor rather than exposing the big lies. In this way, we find that the masking falsehoods  have gone so deep into expert and public assumption that the real-life world can no longer be engaged. These big lies then work in the background to the non-stop big lies that precede endless  foreign conflicts and wars to “defend the free world”

No-one appears to observe that the income gains ’lifting the poor out of poverty’ typically refer to emigrants from the countryside into polluted cities, insecure and dehumanized life conditions for those who formerly had at least a family dwelling, clean air and water and living horizons.  In short, the standard $1.50 +/- measure of uplift out of poverty and extreme poverty is inhumanly absurd, but triumphally used as proof that the system is serving the least too.

The Counter-Revolution against Social Evolution that Engineers Deepening Recession

Throughout the unseen redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich (now buried in much talk of “inequality”), ever more “market reforms” are enforced as “enhanced competition”, “liberalized de-regulation”,  “reduced welfare costs” and “austerity programs to correct excesses”. The “excessive entitlements” of the system are all projected on the victims so that  the truly insane entitlements of the richest to multiply their fortunes with no committed life function, value or coordinate but still more money-demand for them is somehow not noticed. This is yet another level of normalized big lies forming the ruling thought system.

In fact beneath the pervasive propaganda conditioning citizens to believe in the private money shell game devouring the world, the poorer half of humanity has been deprived of one trillion dollars of wealth while the 62 richest people have gained almost twice as much for themselves by the operations of this global disorder. Yet the Davos Report further emphasizes that still another US $760 billion goes annually to non-producing investors by immense transnational tax evasion with impunity across the world. Again the borderless money-capital freedom of ‘globalization’ vastly enriches the richest, while simultaneously doubling down on deprivation of the poor as ‘poverty reduction’.

Here the system is programmed in effect to strip the funding of all public sectors and institutions which have evolved to serve the common life interest. Public services and infrastructures too are perpetually driven towards bankruptcy not only by never-ending defunding, cutbacks, privatizations, and corporate lobby control of public policies and subsidies, but by ever-soaring public tax evasion near one trillion dollars annually about which governments and trade treaties have done nothing to correct yet.

Thus governments which could invest in sustaining humanity’s social and ecological life support systems from growing deterioration and collapse are now systematically bankrupted or debt enslaved along with most citizens. In consequence without governments knowing why, the world economy slips into ever deeper recession from the collapse of economic demand at the public and majority levels.

Eating the World Alive as Global Competition

The new law of human evolution is that are required to compete for more money and commodities for themselves as “necessary to survive”, with the borderless system de-regulated and structured to increasingly impoverish the great majority while multiplying the wealth of the rich. The facts are now long in. Corporate globalization is not only out of control. It is eating the world alive at all levels towards cumulative collapse of organic, social and ecological life organization. Global competition means, in fact, the majority’s life means and security keep falling as the environment is looted and polluted on ever larger scales of depredation. Yet only “more growth” of this system is imagined as a solution. The system is clinically insane

While the common life-ground is blinkered out a-priori by the ruling value system, those deprived and left behind disappear into multi-level big lies proclaiming the opposite. This is why the facts are not reported. This is why claimed actions to stop the world bleeding blinker out the system disorder causing them. This is why even progressives assume economic falsehoods as if they were true. Like a cancer system at the macro level, this exponentially multiplying private money-sequence system has only one set-point – to blindly grow itself while masking the life-devouring disorder as “enhancing people’s well-being”.

John McMurtry is University Professor Emeritus at the University of Guelph and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His work has been translated from Latin America through Europe to Japan, and he is the author/editor of UNESCO’s three-volume Philosophy and World Problems, as well as more recently, The Cancer Stage of Capitalism; From Crisis to Cure.

How Billionaires Become Billionaires

By Prof. James Petras



First published by Global Research on October 5, 2017

America has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country.

In this essay we will discuss the socio-economic roots of inequalities and the relation between the concentration of wealth and the downward mobility of the working and salaried classes.

How the Billionaires become Billionaires

Contrary to the propaganda pushed by the business press, between 67% and 72% percent of corporations had zero tax liabilities after credits and exemptions … while their workers and employees paid between 25 – 30% in taxes. The rate for the minority of corporations, which paid any tax, was 14%.

According to the US Internal Revenue Service, billionaire tax evasion amounts to $458 billion dollars in lost public revenues every year – almost a trillion dollars every two years by this conservative estimate.

The largest US corporations sheltered over $2.5 trillion dollars in overseas tax havens where they paid no taxes or single digit tax rates.

Meanwhile US corporations in crisis received over $14.4 trillion dollars (Bloomberg claimed 12.8 trillion) in public bailout money, split between the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve, mostly from US tax payers, who are overwhelmingly workers, employees and pensioners.

The recipient bankers invested their interest-free or low interest US bailout funds and earned billions in profits, most resulting from mortgage foreclosures of working class households.

Through favorable legal rulings and illegal foreclosures, the bankers evicted 9.3 million families. Over 20 million individuals lost their properties, often due to illegal or fraudulent debts.

A small number of the financial swindlers, including executives from Wall Street’s leading banks (Goldman Sachs, J. P. Morgan etc), paid fines – but no one went to prison for the gargantuan fraud that drove millions of Americans into misery.

There are other swindler bankers, like the current Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who enriched themselves by illegally foreclosing on thousands of homeowners in California. Some were tried; all were exonerated, thanks to the influence of Democratic political leaders during the Obama years.

Silicon Valley and its innovative billionaires have found novel way to avoid taxes using overseas tax havens and domestic tax write-offs. They increase their wealth and corporate profits by paying their local manual and service workers poverty level wages. Silicon Valley executives ‘earn’ a thousand times more than their production workers..

Class inequalities are further reinforced by ethnic divisions. White, Chinese and Indian multi-millionaires exploit Afro-American, Latin American, Vietnamese and Filipino workers.

Billionaires in the commercial conglomerates, like Walmart, exploit workers by paying poverty wages and providing few, if any, benefits. Walmart earns $16 billion dollar a year in profits by paying its workers between $10 and $13 an hour and relying on state and federal assistance to provide services to the families of its impoverished workers through Medicaid and food stamps. Amazon plutocrat Jeff Bezos exploits workers by paying $12.50 an hour while he has accumulated over $80 billion dollars in profits. UPS CEO David Albany takes $11 million a year by exploiting workers at $11 an hour. Federal Express CEO, Fred Smith gets $16 million and pays workers $11 an hour.

Inequality is not a result of ‘technology’ and ‘education’- contemporary euphemisms for the ruling class cult of superiority – as liberals and conservative economists and journalists like to claim. Inequalities are a result of low wages, based on big profits, financial swindles, multi-trillion dollar public handouts and multi-billion-dollar tax evasion. The ruling class has mastered the ‘technology’ of exploiting the state, through its pillage of the treasury, and the working class. Capitalist exploitation of low paid production workers provides additional billions for the ‘philanthropic’ billionaire family foundations to polish their public image – using another tax avoidance gimmick – self-glorifying ‘donations’.

Workers pay disproportional taxes for education, health, social and public services and subsidies for billionaires.

Billionaires in the arms industry and security/mercenary conglomerates receive over $700 billion dollars from the federal budget, while over 100 million US workers lack adequate health care and their children are warehoused in deteriorating schools.

Workers and Bosses: Mortality Rates

Billionaires and multi-millionaires and their families enjoy longer and healthier lives than their workers. They have no need for health insurance policies or public hospitals. CEO’s live on average ten years longer than a worker and enjoy twenty years more of healthy and pain-free lives.

Private, exclusive clinics and top medical care include the most advanced treatment and safe and proven medication which allow billionaires and their family members to live longer and healthier lives. The quality of their medical care and the qualifications of their medical providers present a stark contrast to the health care apartheid that characterizes the rest of the United States.

Workers are treated and mistreated by the health system: They have inadequate and often incompetent medical treatment, cursory examinations by inexperienced medical assistants and end up victims of the widespread over-prescription of highly addictive narcotics and other medications. Over-prescription of narcotics by incompetent ‘providers’ has significantly contributed to the rise in premature deaths among workers, spiraling cases of opiate overdose, disability due to addiction and descent into poverty and homelessness. These irresponsible practices have made additional billions of dollars in profits for the insurance corporate elite, who can cut their pensions and health care liabilities as injured, disabled and addicted workers drop out of the system or die.

The shortened life expectancy for workers and their family members is celebrated on Wall Street and in the financial press. Over 560,000 workers were killed by opioids between 1999-2015 contributing to the decline in life expectancy for working age wage and salary earners and reduced pension liabilities for Wall Street and the Social Security Administration.

Inequalities are cumulative, inter-generational and multi-sectorial.

Billionaire families, their children and grandchildren, inherit and invest billions. They have privileged access to the most prestigious schools and medical facilities, and conveniently fall in love to equally privileged, well-connected mates to join their fortunes and form even greater financial empires. Their wealth buys favorable, even fawning, mass media coverage and the services of the most influential lawyers and accountants to cover their swindles and tax evasion.

Billionaires hire innovators and sweat shop MBA managers to devise more ways to slash wages, increase productivity and ensure that inequalities widen even further. Billionaires do not have to be the brightest or most innovative people: Such individuals can simply be bought or imported on the ‘free market’ and discarded at will.

Billionaires have bought out or formed joint ventures with each other, creating interlocking directorates. Banks, IT, factories, warehouses, food and appliance, pharmaceuticals and hospitals are linked directly to political elites who slither through doors of rotating appointments within the IMF, the World Bank, Treasury, Wall Street banks and prestigious law firms.

Consequences of Inequalities

First and foremost, billionaires and their political, legal and corporate associates dominate the political parties. They designate the leaders and key appointees, thus ensuring that budgets and policies will increase their profits, erode social benefits for the masses and weaken the political power of popular organizations.

Secondly, the burden of the economic crisis is shifted on to the workers who are fired and later re-hired as part-time, contingent labor. Public bailouts, provided by the taxpayer, are channeled to the billionaires under the doctrine that Wall Street banks are too big to fail and workers are too weak to defend their wages, jobs and living standards.

Billionaires buy political elites, who appoint the World Bank and IMF officials tasked with instituting policies to freeze or reduce wages, slash corporate and public health care obligations and increase profits by privatizing public enterprises and facilitating corporate relocation to low wage, low tax countries.

As a result, wage and salary workers are less organized and less influential; they work longer and for less pay, suffer greater workplace insecurity and injuries – physical and mental – fall into decline and disability, drop out of the system, die earlier and poorer, and, in the process, provide unimaginable profits for the billionaire class. Even their addiction and deaths provide opportunities for huge profit – as the Sackler Family, manufacturers of Oxycontin, can attest.

The billionaires and their political acolytes argue that deeper regressive taxation would increase investments and jobs. The data speaks otherwise. The bulk of repatriated profits are directed to buy back stock to increase dividends for investors; they are not invested in the productive economy. Lower taxes and greater profits for conglomerates means more buy-outs and greater outflows to low wage countries. In real terms taxes are already less than half the headline rate and are a major factor heightening the concentration of income and power – both cause and effect.

Corporate elites, the billionaires in the Silicon Valley-Wall Street global complex are relatively satisfied that their cherished inequalities are guaranteed and expanding under the Demo-Republican Presidents- as the ‘good times’ roll on.

Away from the ‘billionaire elite’, the ‘outsiders’ – domestic capitalists – clamor for greater public investment in infrastructure to expand the domestic economy, lower taxes to increase profits, and state subsidies to increase the training of the labor force while reducing funds for health care and public education. They are oblivious to the contradiction.

In other words, the capitalist class as a whole, globalist and domestic alike, pursues the same regressive policies, promoting inequalities while struggling over shares of the profits.

One hundred and fifty million wage and salaried taxpayers are excluded from the political and social decisions that directly affect their income, employment, rates of taxation, and political representation.

They understand, or at least experience, how the class system works. Most workers know about the injustice of the fake ‘free trade’ agreements and regressive tax regime, which weighs heavy on the majority of wage and salary earners.

However, worker hostility and despair is directed against ‘immigrants’ and against the ‘liberals’ who have backed the import of cheap skilled and semi-skilled labor under the guise of ‘freedom’. This ‘politically correct’ image of imported labor covers up a policy, which has served to lower wages, benefits and living standards for American workers, whether they are in technology, construction or production. Rich conservatives, on the other hand, oppose immigration under the guise of ‘law and order’ and to lower social expenditures – despite that fact that they all use imported nannies, tutors, nurses, doctors and gardeners to service their families. Their servants can always be deported when convenient.

The pro and anti-immigrant issue avoids the root cause for the economic exploitation and social degradation of the working class – the billionaire owners operating in alliance with the political elite.

In order to reverse the regressive tax practices and tax evasion, the low wage cycle and the spiraling death rates resulting from narcotics and other preventable causes, which profit insurance companies and pharmaceutical billionaires, class alliances need to be forged linking workers, consumers, pensioners, students, the disabled, the foreclosed homeowners, evicted tenants, debtors, the under-employed and immigrants as a unified political force.

Sooner said than done, but never tried! Everything and everyone is at stake: life, health and happiness.