Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Occupy" and nonviolence


There may be a time in future when violence will be necessary to combat the state power of capital in the usa, but without meaning sarcasm there may also be a time when foreign intervention is necessary to liberate America from that power...all things are possible but neither is likely, and the first is even less likely than the second...

 the world has changed and is changing more rapidly than any of us can keep up with, and those changes not only involve the power of the state to kill more people but also the power of the people to democratically take control of the state...that situation has never before existed and it offers far more hope than trying to organize an army to fight the state, when it is more likely and hopeful that we can disarm that state with democratic power...

I’m not advocating that we should all join hands and sing in the face of an attacking army, but if we have not organized an army in our defense we might as well sing as we die since physical resistance under such circumstances would be meaningless...an organized military force will slaughter us unless we can counter it with our own organized military force...this is not to imply support for a non violent philosophy according to the old reality but to suggest that philosophy makes far more sense and offers far more possibility of success in the newly emerging world…

past non violence that never fought back physically but accepted vicious attacks with passive resistance swayed many of those watching on film or TV but guaranteed those taking the abuse certain physical pain and possible death...it may seem romantic but thus far it has not worked… despite myths and legends about Gandhi and Martin Luther King,  India still suffers appalling poverty and black men are crowding America’s prisons in greater numbers than ever before...and militantly violent opposition brought about by the failure of passive resistance has also failed, leading many to die or waste away in prison at trying to confront massive military force with relatively egotistical, if sincere tactics of killing some policemen and soldiers, taking some temporary territory that the state doesn’t want or need for the moment, or robbing banks… and let’s not forget that both heroic passive figures, Gandhi and MLK, were violently murdered...however, this is a different time and place and it should be remembered and meditated on, if necessary, that the entire world is seeing uprisings of a kind never before imagined, with democratic power possibilities and communications across borders and barriers that can no longer  permit the state power to separate , isolate, divide and conquer peoples with the ease in which it could in the past...

while our anger may provoke us to wish to strike back at an ugly force of armed representatives of the antidemocratic state, we had better be prepared to counter such force with equal force of our own or forget about it...and organizing an armed, revolutionary uprising in the USA at this time seems as likely as hoping for a messiah to return or show up for the first time…the desperation among the people necessary for such to happen would mean a chaotic situation of near total social breakdown had taken over, and given the tremendous task of trying to create democracy now, that task would seem a more positive endeavor to work on than trying to counter , say, nuclear arms with more nuclear arms, rather than gaining control of nuclear stockpiles and destroying them…the first is hopeless but the second is possible…

much better to follow the lead of places like Venezuela and Bolivia, where previous attempts at military coupes , armed uprisings and over throwing governments failed but democratic efforts are showing signs of turning  entire nations and areas of the globe around via organized political and economic and not necessarily military power...that kind of force exercised by the people of the west, whose nations have plundered and savaged for generations and continue to do so under control of tiny anti-democratic minorities, would not only ease burdens in places like Venezuela and Bolivia, but create a balanced movement in the west operating in the same democratic, non-violent fashion and offering hope for the global community itself, and not just one or another nation …and doing so with an army of humanity militantly demanding and exercising its rights as a majority against which no minority would have a chance….

More Thoughts On the Occupy Movement

The Occupy movement has dramatically and wonderfully seized the political moment, putting Wall Street and its mass media lapdogs on the defensive where they belong.

Predictably, Occupy critics decry the inconvenience of protest, as though protest were not already synonymous with inconvenience. Such antagonists would do well to recall that Martin Luther King was also denounced by his critics for illegal and allegedly immoral behavior. The civil rights movement in its day was every bit as inconvenient as Occupy Wall Street is today, blocking public streets, shutting down department stores, swamping local jails, forcing their unwanted anti-lynching philosophy on an unwilling public. Nevertheless, equipped with the benefit of hindsight, we now know the civil rights protesters were right.

Having said that, the free speech issues would be stark and more compelling if Occupiers were to occupy the major media corporations - NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, - since they monopolize the public airwaves with propaganda on behalf of the 1%. The 99% is flatly excluded from access to large audiences, in spite of the fact that such audiences are composed almost completely of the 99%. This cannot be justified on rational grounds.

Those who don't like public space being occupied ought to ask themselves this: Why can't we engage in real political debate (i.e., not just Democrat vs. Republican) over the public airwaves? Because the private owners of the economy won't let us. We cannot hear social democrats, libertarians, communists, socialists, anarchists, white nationalists, black nationalists, or any other popular grouping engaged in uncensored debate before mass audiences in the United States. Until that changes, public space will continue to be occupied, because that is the only means of bringing the views of popular constituencies before a mass audience.

For those who almost plaintively ask why the Occupy protesters don't express their discontent through the electoral system, one can only say this. How do you target the 1%, (actually probably more like one-tenth of one percent), who own the "private" economy? You can't do it by resorting to electoral politics, as the 1% owns the politicians.

True, a Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, or Ron Paul can run a third party campaign, but the 1% routinely deprives them of media time on the basis that they are merely "vanity" candidates. You can't get elected if you are not seen daily in the mass media, and the mass media is literally owned by the 1%. The last time around Ron Paul finished second in Nevada primaries, a result which was not even announced in the corporate media. The first place and third place finishers were announced, but not the second place finisher. Why? Because Paul is not under the control of the 1%. No populist candidate, whether of the right or the left, can be elected or taken seriously nationally. That's why there's an occupy movement.

Let's stop kidding ourselves about our "democracy." Under capitalism, the business cycle (presided over by the one percent) causes recessions, depressions, panics, and break-downs on a regular basis, after which the perpetrators demand huge public bailouts on the basis that the swindling class is "too big to fail." Only by going well beyond the electoral arena can we do anything about this, i.e., by organized protest.

Was slavery ended at the ballot box? Was child labor? Elections played some role, but a subordinate one, and well after organized protest had re-shaped electoral options (and in slavery's case, the entire society). That's what Occupy Wall Street is trying to do today. All history shows that progress is dependent on popular protest, which is not to say that everything a protest movement does is right. But it is always the midwife of social advancement.

Occupying public space is not the same as destroying it, as occupy critics are prone to claim. Furthermore, we should keep in mind that the Black Bloc has a predilection for trashing, but they are not the entire Occupy movement, far from it. We should also recall that those who shout the loudest for smashing and destroying are routinely found to be working for U.S. intelligence when government documents are published years after the damage has been done. The COINTELPRO documents from the 1960s protests are very revealing as to who the real criminals are, and no thinking person ought to be surprised.

To reiterate, Dr. King was subject to very similar criticisms for "violence" and "inconvenience to working people." But it's now clear he was right and the critics were wrong. While popular movements should try to minimize inconvenience to the public, critics should recognize that faulting protesters for inconvenience is the same as faulting all protest. There is no progress without inconvenience.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wiesenthal Center names top 10 anti-Semitic slurs

not from the garlic!

December 13, 2011 

The Palestinian Authority president made the remark at the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 23.
“I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and the birthplace of Jesus Christ peace be upon him, to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people,” he said.

The Wiesenthal Center said it did not consider statements by terrorist organizations, the Iranian government or “the lunatic fringe."

Other remarks that made the Top 10 list included Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's accusation that "hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed" by Israel; Christian Dior fashion designer John Galliano's rant about his love of Hitler; and director Lars Von Trier, who said he sympathizes a bit with Hitler and that "Israel is a pain in the ass."

“These 10 examples constitute a fraud alert from people who should know better who have crossed the line,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center.
For the 2012 list, the Wiesenthal Center is collecting suggestions from members of the public at slurs2012@wiesenthal.com.

from the garlic:

Early submissions include:

Mrs Grundy, Herbie Weintraub just farted.

Is that Temple Beth Midler or a White Castle?

If a Jew owns a bank is he a Jewish Banker?

Gigantic Balls or Microscopic Brains? Both!

 from the nytimes ( so it must be true, right?)

"Iranian officials reacted with outrage and incredulity after President Obama said Monday that the United States had asked Iran to return the drone. “That is a shameless demand raised by the U.S. president,” Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hejazi, the deputy chief of staff of the Iranian military, was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News agency as saying. “They raise such claims instead of apologizing to our Islamic establishment and people.”

Inspired by America's act of supremacist chutzpah, a rapist has demanded that his victim return the condom  he left in her vagina.

Democracy in 2012

“Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, torment, slavery, brutalization and moral degradation at the other…”

Karl Marx may not have referred to the 1% and the 99% when he wrote of those extremes in the 19th century, but they certainly capture this moment in the 21st. Americans appalled at minority domination of national wealth as they pay for endless wars, increasing inequality and vanishing public services have joined a rising global movement for democracy.

65% of the planet’s 7 billion people are poor, bringing the 21st century still closer to Marx’s words of the 19th. Humanity’s call for another world is growing louder and more insistent. The forces of reaction are working to smother that voice through their private governments and media but also through supposedly public and even progressive political circles.

In a particularly sad  irony, a budding form of anarchic democracy in America grows through the “Occupy” movement, while an attempt at such governance in Libya has been crushed, at least temporarily. The NATO attack succeeded in obliterating a governing force that tried representing a majority of the Libyan people. While Khadafy’s regime made many mistakes after its initial socialist phase, perhaps most seriously in re-aligning with the treacherous west, its Green Book attempt to create real and not simply representative democracy was laughed at by cynics but in line with anarchist dreams of power coming from collective will and not individual leadership. Many in the Occupy movement may not know what really happened in Libya, but under thought control exercised by agents of the 1% relatively few have any idea.

More important, growing numbers of people are learning that minority ruled society is the root cause of most problems facing humanity. That these problems grow more severe each day makes the increased demand for change both timely and ever more necessary. The Climate Change meetings in Durban that found the 1% ruling powers standing in the way of any change threatening their fanatic worship of private investment and belief in the market deity only showed more conclusively that democracy of the 99% must become reality to end the hypocritical sham that has gone by its name far too long.

Occupy Wall Street's General Assembly urged "the people of the world…create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone."

These solutions are impossible under the domain of private capital’s 1%. The un-regulated markets of obsessive profit seeking are like un-protected sex. Even at their best they can produce unwanted results and at their worst they  may produce terminal disease, which is what present global market forces have created. We cannot opt for a temporary remission via private profiteering which carries the disease; the 99% need to consider the abolition of minority dominated market forces and the beginning of democratic control of global resources, in the interest of all the earth’s inhabitants and not just a tiny group of multi billionaires. In an alleged modern, civilized, digitized society, it’s time we end stupid mythology about hard work earning people incredible sums of money that bring them the power of gods.

How do people come by such wealth? How many packages must they deliver, students must they teach, patrons must they serve, miles must they drive, wounds must they bandage, legal briefs must they submit, floors must they sweep, children must they raise, to end up with a billion dollars? Ten billion dollars?

What sense does it make to have one human living on millions of dollars a week while billions of humans live on less than five dollars a day?

The imperial rulers maintain dominance only by virtue of military might. Without massive murder power such as was exercised in Libya and is threatened in Syria and Iran, they would already be gone and as global opposition grows that power will soon not be enough to dominate the planet. Newer threats to powerful nations like China and Russia only show the near dementia of rulers nearing the end of their reign.

But the madness of the diminishing cult, with nuclear weapons at their disposal, threatens our future, just as humanity shows signs of coming together to create a different world of peace, social justice and protection for the environment that sustains all mankind. Leaving control of social wealth in private hands would be suicide for the human race.

Henry Ford once said, “It is well enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.” He was correct. We need to understand that system and transform it by creating federal , state and municipal public banks , owned, administered and investing according to the wishes of the people whose funds are held by these institutions. We cannot rely on some wealthy people investing according to moral principles unknown to most of their class. They should be taxed and their money democratically invested in the societies that created this wealth in the first place. We need to  create a sensible maximum wage and a higher minimum wage that guarantees survival, with a social safety net that allows no one to go hungry, experience untended illness, or live without shelter.

There is far more than enough wealth to house, feed, clothe and benefit everyone, if we simply stop squandering that wealth on minorities who use it to perpetuate a system that is bringing us closer to social disaster. Capitalism is in a crisis which will get much worse before we make it better. In order to do that we need to end inequality and begin to recognize that the survival of one  is dependent on the survival of all . 2012 should be a big one for humanity.

Happy New Year.

Still More on Agents of the 1%

“Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you are on, and class analysis is knowing who is there with you.”

The emerging class conflict in America involves great confusion among many as to which class they belong to, represent, or stand with. In the far more progressive than usual division of the 1% at the top from the 99%, that overwhelming majority is still fiction when so many of them  do not know, care or even think about such social division, but only respond in capitalist individual identity group fashion to any uprising of a social nature:

How come I - and/or my group, my people or whatever minority you are forced into and accept - are not front and center of this movement?

Agents of the 1% are among alleged supporters of the 99% when they directly represent them professionally, criticize them from an allegedly more “revolutionary” position , or when they are carried in establishment journals and other media which find their critiques of society safe enough to disperse among the divided American public to keep it that way.


Any attempts to bring people together around common problems and issues will find these agents claiming their particular problem(s) are being slighted by these less politically well informed folks who don't understand the problems of :  gays-blacks-women-immigrants-workers-jews-people of color-people of no color -choose one , and need to be better informed before they - the intelligentsia of revolution can possibly join them. As in:

I haven't heard a word from these "occupiers" about Palestinians, the rape of the native Americans, the slaughters at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the lynching of Sicilians, and most important, not a word about the plight of Arab-American lesbian hiv positive unemployed people in America...outrageous!

 Who the hell really cares if 1% of the richest people in America own congress, the white house , the judiciary , corporate capital and the banks? What the hell difference does it make if climate change and foreign wars advance the cause of capital while destroying the planet and its people, when a disabled gay defrocked priest  falsely convicted of child molesting cannot find an apartment in Columbus Ohio and not one of these Occupiers has mentioned his plight?

Let's get our priorities straight.


Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you are on, and class analysis is knowing who is there with you.

Which side are we on?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Capitalist Journalism Linked to Brain Damage

by Michael K. Smith

We have long since reached the point where the Consumer Product Safety Administration should issue warnings about consuming corporate broadcast and print journalism, which is surely as toxic as anything ingestable. The model has already been set in the tobacco industry, which long ago began warning buyers that "cigarette smoking has been found to be hazardous to your health." So why not a federal warning along the following lines: "Warning! Production and consumption of corporate media content has been found to cause brain damage in laboratory animals, i.e., consumers. If accidentally swallowed, dilute heavily with skepticism until normal brain function returns."

Exhibit A in the brain damage display case should be a recent Forbes column by John Tamny ("What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One Percenters"), which takes the Occupy Wall Street protesters to task for failing to realize that the fabulously wealthy 1% that dominate the political system are in reality our benefactors, and that we had best stop "demonizing" them and instead express gratitude for their heroically self-sacrificing efforts to enrich themselves, which deliver vast trickle-down benefits to all of us.

Such a tall tale would be embarrassing to read even to a class of toddlers, but such is the state of intellectual opinion in the U.S. that such claims are not only given wide dissemination but are typically accorded the status of self-evident truths. This makes the title of the article transparently ludicrous, as who can really believe that we rarely hear that the rich are hardworking benefactors of the general public? In point of fact, the rich are continually praised for the alleged public benefits their asset allocation bestows, so that even the most devoted monk living a completely renunciate life in the remotest possible location could not hope to escape this fatuous theme.

Below are more of the specific claims Tamny makes in his article. Let us examine each of these "ideas" in turn.

1. Critics of the 1% are motivated by envy. They rarely consider the work and sacrifice involved in making it to the top of the economic pyramid.

There can be little doubt that the hungry envy the well fed, but how does that justify a system that awards a tiny minority of investors more wealth than they could spend in a hundred lifetimes while tens of millions of impoverished people die every year from starvation and disease? It does no good to say that the latter group lacks the initiative to take care of itself, since it is obviously impossible to take care of oneself without regular access to food. This is precisely what the starving lack.

Where conditions are less severe than those that obtain under outright starvation, it is not clear that the rich are envied at all. The Occupy movement, for example, does not appear to even be interested in entering the ranks of the wealthy, but rather, seems to want to abolish their class power, so that wealth may be created and distributed differently, and all may live decently. In other words, the goal is not personal enrichment but social well-being: None rich, none poor, all gainfully employed and reasonably well off. The fact that some, many, or all rich people have undergone personal sacrifice to accumulate their fortunes does nothing to discredit this aspiration. In fact, it simply misses the point.

2. If anything, the 1% at the top are the exploited, since they are guaranteed no return and in fact risk their very capital, whereas the "exploited" 99% get paid for their labor no matter what.

Whose capital was risked on the pretext that banks are "too big to fail?" Obviously, the public's. Who sacrificed their homes, jobs, and retirement pensions so that financial swindlers could enrich themselves, often by betting against stocks they were avidly promoting? Obviously, the general public did. Who is currently sitting on trillions of dollars of bailout capital while tens of millions of Americans wallow in economic misery? That's right, the one percent, our economic "benefactors," who somehow never get around to investing in job creation, though they claim they are doing so night and day. But where are the jobs?

On the labor question, the idea that workers enjoy a guarantee of being paid for their labor is absurd. Most of the necessary labor in society is at best very partially paid, and much of it completely unpaid, like the raising of children. At present, the economic gains realized from rising productivity created by human labor are monopolized by a corporate elite that itself produces nothing. Commodification of production is not a productive effort! (Question: How many credit default swaps does it take to feed a family?)

3. Billionaire cable television "visionary" John Malone had to share motel rooms with his fellow owner Bob Magness on the way to the top.

Sacrifice on the way to the top does not justify having a "top." The pyramid structure of capitalism, in which the 99% resemble crabs in a bucket climbing all over each other, in order to arrive at the summit where the 1% reside, is simply unnecessary. Another world is possible, and urgently necessary.

4. Successful people have the nerve, drive, and self-assurance that the rest of us lack, and are extraordinarily hard workers. They "work a lot harder and smarter than do the rest of us."

Let us concede, for the sake of argument, that some combination of personal attributes correlates with financial success under capitalism. Tamny believes "being smart" has a lot to do with this, although without a scientific understanding of human nature we are not in a position to know what the relevant combination of success-breeding qualities are. It seems a reasonable surmise that greed and aggression are more prominent among these than "being smart" is, since these are the qualities capitalism most rewards, but let's leave this part of the discussion aside. What follows from the fact, if it is a fact, that 1% of the people have "success" attributes that the 99% mostly lack? The only thing that logically follows is a critical comment about the perversity of capitalist incentives and rewards, which breed moral indifference at the top and mass starvation and disease at the bottom. Why is such a grotesque social arrangement tolerable, much less praiseworthy?

5. "It's not where we start in life that dictates where we end it."

In fact, quite the contrary. If we are born with the attributes of a mathematical genius, but live in a nomadic society whose members only know how to count to ten, what are the chances that we will develop the ambition to be a mathematical genius, much less fulfill it? What are the chances that a child born with brain damage because his mother passed her pregnancy in chronic hunger, will become a great scientist, a great teacher, a great anything? For that matter, what are the chances that a child born to a billionaire will develop a healthy social conscience? In all of these cases, the chances are close to zero. Only a social revolution could change this, which is hopefully what the Occupy movement will become.

In short, whatever a society's capacity for upward mobility (and it is greatly exaggerated in the U.S.), it simply does not justify an arrangement where one percent of the population monopolizes social wealth for its own enrichment while starving the general public of the resources it needs for education, social services, and even survival.

6. People who criticize Wall Street investment bankers for merely "moving money around" are guilty of "staggering" naivete. These people dispense capital, the lifeblood of society, and their skills are so rare and valuable that work consumes their entire lives.

The frequently joyless grind that so many of the rich become trapped by may simply be added to the rest of the unbearable social costs of capitalism, so that it, too, may spur us on to revolution. There is nothing naive in this. In fact, the "naivete" rests with those who think capitalism, now subject to world-wide protest and virtually constant environmental calamity, is a sustainable system.

7. The 1% "make all of our lives easier, cheaper, and more entertaining."

Suicide is certainly easier and cheaper than living a long life, and the spectacle of an intelligent species being led to extinction by 1% of its members is, admittedly, highly entertaining, but such observations hardly justify a lemming-like devotion to suicidal leadership.

8. John D. Rockefeller thrived in spite of repeated rejections, unlike most people, so he deserved his wealth. This was also true of Steve Jobs and (author) Kathryn Stockett.

In 1914, John D. Rockefeller owned the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, which owned the mines, the boarding houses, the campgrounds, the buildings, the saloons, the recreation spots, the schools, the churches, and the shacks of his coal miners.

Rockefeller employed the miners, the supervisors and guards who beat them, the spies who ferreted out the union members, the scabs that broke the strikes, the company coroners and judges who refused damages for injuries and deaths, and the detectives who ended up riddling the miners' families with bullets from a Gatling gun.

For years Colorado Fuel and Iron Company had ignored the miners’ leaking roofs, sagging floors, and broken windows, the old newspapers nailed to the walls to keep out winter, the thick clouds of soot that blanketed the ground and choked the air, the stagnant creek full of mine slag and garbage that ran behind the miners’ huts, the barefoot, hungry children that played beside the putrid water, the illiterate parents who could offer them no better life, and the inadequacy of $1.60 a day pay. The company summarily rejected the miners’ request for an eight-hour day, an honest weighing of the coal, a chance to shop in non-company stores, a 10% raise, and union recognition.

John D. Rockefeller, with $24 million invested in Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, was utterly devoted to perpetuating misery and preventing unionization: “We would rather that the unfortunate conditions continue...than that American workmen should be deprived of their right, under the Constitution, to work for whom they please.”

One fine day, the miners struck. Troops loyal to Rockefeller mounted a machine gun on a hill overlooking the miners’ camp and exploded two dynamite bombs. The miners grabbed their rifles and took up positions in nearby streams, leaving women and children alone in their tents.

At dusk, the militiamen descended from the hills with coal oil and set fire to the miners’ tents. The workers’ wives and children died like trapped rats while the rampaging soldiers looted their belongings. The next day, a telephone linesman lifted a twisted iron cot and found the “Black Hole of Ludlow,” a pit filled with the charred, pretzel-shaped bodies of two young mothers and eleven children.

Publicist Ivy Lee issued press releases announcing that Rockefeller’s strikebreaking triumph had cast a blow for “industrial freedom.”

Granted, few of us can match John D. Rockefeller in the personal attributes necessary to accumulate vast capital while producing such social disasters, but how many of us want them, or should want them?

The Sources:

Adamic, Louis, "Dynamite - The Story of Class Violence in America," (Chelsea House, 1958)

Chomsky, Noam, "Equality: Language Development, Human Intelligence, and Social Organization," reprinted in "The Chomsky Reader," (Pantheon, 1987)

Foner, Philip S., Ed. "History of the Labor Movement in the United States, vol. 5 - The AFL in the Progressive Era 1910-1915," (International Publishers, 1980)

Tamny, John, "What You Don't Often Hear About Those 'Greedy' One Percenters" Forbes, November 27, 2011

Tye, Larry, "The Father of Spin - Edward L. Bernays and the Birth of Public Relations," (Crown, 1998)

Yellen, Samuel, "American Labor Struggles," (S.A. Russell, 1936)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Election Bulletins from The Garlic News Bureau

Republicans to hold group Bar Mitzvah ceremony for all candidates – except Michele Bachman who will have a Bas Mitzvah – to show allegiance and devotion to Israel.

 “After the ceremony, as further sign of their deep devotion to financing from American Jewish interests, they will all participate in a bombing raid on a Palestinian refugee camp” said party spokesperson Rush Bimbo.

Depending on how quickly funding follows bombing, the candidates may also participate in additional attacks on Iran, Syria and Rhode Island .

Herman Cain Accuses Michelle Bachman, Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher of Sexual Harassment

Hillary Clinton says “ All options were on the table” re her relationship with Herman Cain.

Bill Clinton says “ I did not have sex with Herman Cain, Margaret Thatcher or my wife.”

Barrack Obama leads Perry ,Bachman, Romney, Grumpy, Sleepy and Doc in polls, but trails Dopey, Gingrich, Santoro, Sneezy, Sleazy and Steven Colbair .

Republican Debates to Become Weekly Reality Show on Fox

Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Bill Moyers and Annette Funicello to form new Populist-Disney party, run intellectually superior cartoon candidates for elections in Venezuela and Bolivia.

“ Americans are not yet up to the collective intellectual level we need so we’ll start with more advanced countries” said party spokesperson Helmut Wittgenstein.

Crackpot Realism moves ahead of Perpetuation of Idiocy as primary reasons for voting.
In Primaries or General elections.

Stay Tuned…

in or out…

wont make any difference

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Is No Tea Party

by Michael K. Smith

In spite of the predictably absurd attempt of the corporate media to portray the Occupy Wall Street movement as a left-wing version of the Tea Party (so Obama and GOP "moderates" can pose as reasonable centrists) the two movements are completely different. The Tea Party is a fake populist movement of the well-off seeking to attack "big government" that helps the poor and middle class, while Occupy Wall Street is a movement of the downwardly mobile ex-middle class seeking neither small government nor big government, but rather, representative government. Their objection is to a government of rich capital, by rich capital, for rich capital.

The Tea Party attempts to paint the Occupy movement as hypocritical on the basis that Danny Glover and Michael Moore are included in the 99% while successful businessmen are considered part of the 1% exploiting class even when they are far from being millionaires or billionaires. But this is nonsense, as both Glover and Moore acknowledge that they are the part of the 1% that happens to sympathize with the just aspirations of the 99%, while small business is obviously not part of the gargantuan centers of private wealth that the Occupy movement is indignant about. If anything, small business has benefitted from the occupy movement, which has been a boon for coin laundries, pizza parlors, and camping supply stores. In any case, small business is simply not part of the corporate owning class monopolizing social property for its own ends.

The important distinction between the one percent and the ninety-nine percent has to do with private ownership of social property. The one percent lives mostly on investments, i.e., stocks, bonds, rents, and other (social) property income. Its income derives mostly from the labor of other people. The 99% lives mostly on wages, salaries, fees, and pensions. Its income derives mostly from laboring for those who own.

The one percent doesn't see anything wrong in runaway war spending; continual tax cuts for the rich; HMO price gouging; the off-shoring of millions of jobs; trillions of dollars in unconditional bailout money going to banks and transnational corporations; fiscal stimulus packages that make the stock market boom while doing little or nothing to help 25 million unemployed and underemployed Americans. The good society is the society that promotes maximum profit for the 1%, no matter how much suffering and injustice is borne by the unimportant 99%.

According to the Tea Partiers, U.S.-based corporations have every right to flee the country, enticed abroad by lower taxes, less regulation, and cheap labor. These are sound moves any corporation accountable to its shareholders has to make, and the fact that such outsourcing systematically erodes the U.S. middle class, and has for several decades, is an incidental consequence. Profit is holy, however earned, and the destruction of people's lives mere collateral damage ("externalities" in the jargon of free trade theorists).

A favorite mantra of Tea Partiers is that workers are not being robbed by capital but are voluntarily agreeing to whatever wages and benefits employers feel like offering. Of course, we could say the same of robbery victims on city streets, who voluntarily hand over their wallets to armed hoodlums when given the choice of doing that or having their brains blown out. This makes almost as much sense as saying that U.S. workers voluntarily erode their standard of living by submitting to outsourcing, runaway military spending, repeated tax cuts for the super rich, bankster bailouts and on and on. What choice do they have? (Note: polls show that the American people favor increased taxes on the wealthy rather than further cuts in government services, but who cares? The wealthy control the government, and trillions of dollars in further cuts are on the way, while tax rates continue to decline for the wealthy.)

Particularly ludicrous is the Tea Party claim that Occupy Wall Street and Obama are European-style "socialists," and that their penchant for excessive social spending is driving both Europe and the U.S. to economic ruin, the characteristic destiny of socialist states. This fanciful thesis overlooks the fact that the Occupy movement is a severe critic of Obama, while European socialism ended with the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 (it was in all the papers). Apparently, Tea Partiers need a refresher course on political economy: Cuba is a socialist society; the European Union is entirely capitalist. There is no question but that it has fallen into serious crisis, but it's capitalism that's in crisis, not socialism.

Equally foolish is the notion that the Occupy protesters' criticism of capital is hypocritical unless they renounce their use of cars, airplanes, computers, smart phones, Facebook, any and every technological item owned by corporate America. The upshot is that if you object to capital buying the government, you are anti-business! Of course, a slave in the ante-Bellum South could have pronounced slavery morally irreproachable on similar grounds, since slavemasters were the source of everything the good life had to offer in their day. Abolitionists were simply anti-cotton.

The Tea Partiers never tire of reminding us that we are children of the Founding Fathers, and therefore somehow obligated to allow corporate America to loot the public treasury. History is not their strong suit. Thomas Jefferson explicitly rejected rule by "monied incorporations," which he regarded as a kind of slavery. Speaking at the 50th commemoration of the Declaration of Independence he said their triumph would spell the death of the American Revolution. If he had lived to see corporations given all the rights of biological persons, he never would have stopped screaming.

The accusation that the Occupy movement is just an attempt to foist more "big government" on the American people can simply be dismissed as the rantings of modern day Know Nothings. Ask yourself this: Is anyone calling for the elimination of the U.S. national security state, now the largest planned economy in the world? This is the biggest part of "big government," and the GOP, the Tea Party, and the Democrats are all united in promoting it. In short, big government is here to stay; the only question is what master it shall serve, corporations or we-the-people.

There is no need to deny that government had a hand in the 2008 disaster, but capital created the speculative monster, and not for the first time. Busts, panics, crashes, and break-downs are a constant occurrence under capitalism, and can't be remedied at the ballot box, no matter who our preferred candidates are. Hence the Occupy movement, and the rising tide of protest throughout the world.

Tea Partiers like to claim that government "interference" in the marketplace is artificial and destructive of "free markets." (Their belief in the immaculate conception of capitalism is truly touching.) But so is corporate interference. Market distortion due to the centralizing influence of private tyranny, i.e. corporations, is completely contrary to the free market forces described by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations. According to Smith, free markets are characterized by extensive and pervasive equality, not oligarchy, which is what we have now. Tea Partiers never take this into account.

What Tea Partiers, libertarians, and other free-trade enthusiasts never get is that big government is the creation of big business, which demanded national regulation of a national market to replace the chaos of conflicting state regulations inherited from the 19th century. So being pro-big business and anti-government is like being pro-acorn and anti-tree.

Postscript: Ron Paul can no longer count on a warm welcome in the Tea Party movement, and he more than any other single individual gave the movement its claim to populism.


For a Tea Party take on the Occupy Wall Street movement, see Sally Zelikovsky, "Occupy Wall Street Protesters Need a Dose of Reality," Marin Independent Journal, December 6, 2011

On Adam Smith, see Daniel Fusfeld's "The Age of the Economist," (Harper Collins, 1994) pps. 23-36

On Smith's view that free markets need to be characterized by pervasive equality, see Noam Chomsky, "Keeping the Rabble in Line," (Common Courage, 1994) page 248.

On the Tea Party, see Paul Street's "Real Populism vs. Fake," in the December 2011 edition of Z Magazine.

On big business being the source of federal government regulation, see Gabriel Kolko, "The Triumph of Conservatism - A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916," (Free Press, 1963)

Friday, December 9, 2011

More From Agents Of The 1 %

After divisive bickering over use of the word “Occupy” as the name for the movement to transform the system and not simply work on grievances of a particular group within it, the unofficial agents of the 1% came together and submitted a series of new title words deemed more politically correct.

These came from many different multi-diverse-ethno-racial-sex-lifestyle language specialists. What follows is only a brief list of submissions:

Sodomize Wall Street

Circumcise Wall Street

Make Wall Street Your Bitch

Cut Wall Street’s Balls Off

Beat The Living Shit Out Of Wall Street

Send Wall Street To A Therapist

Run Your Mouth Until Wall Street Gives Up

Colonize, Decolonize or Recolonize Wall Street

Overwhelm Wall Street With Hugs and Love

Curse Out Wall Street in Many Languages But Not English

For the complete list, and the strategy and tactics paper on How To Keep The Movement Divided and Powerless, write to:
Chief Agent of the 1%
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington D.C.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Occupy Oz

by Michael K. Smith

Those who never wanted an Occupy Wall Street movement are now in the business of telling us why it's all over, even as its animating concerns continue provoking popular discontent. L. Gordon Crovitz in the Wall Street Journal (Are Tent Cities Free Speech?) claims that Occupy Wall Street "has worn out the patience of even the most liberal cities" due to alleged "threats to health and safety." "If they have to rely on unlawful campouts and disrupting neighborhoods instead of using speech," Crovitz goes on, "their message must not be very persuasive."

As usual with the Journal, there is no logic to the conclusion. There is no way the Occupy protesters can get a fair hearing in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, or in the corporate media in general for that matter, which is what made occupying public space a speech issue in the first place. Crovitz might have some credibility if he had persuaded the Wall Street Journal's editors to give regular editorial space to the Occupy Wall Street movement in return for their voluntarily dismantling the protest encampments. But that would have quickly led to a critique of capitalism, which the corporate media cannot abide. Better to slander and distort the message of the opponent you fear you can't honestly defeat, than permit a fair debate. Hence we repeatedly hear that Occupy Wall Street "has no message," as though "Make The Banks Pay" were a declaration of impenetrable obscurity.

In any case, what has really worn out American patience is not protest, but capital, especially the global corporations that monopolize the gains from productivity increases created by the entire U.S. workforce, then squander them on endless war, hucksterism, and outright fraud. This has left nearly everyone deeply in debt, and increasing numbers without jobs, houses, pensions, or hope for the future. Naturally, the proposed remedy is more tax cuts for the class that looted the public treasury and now sits on trillions of dollars of unproductive assets, refusing to invest in job creation. But giving them more money is like giving free gasoline to arsonists.

There is no protest without disruption, of course, so Crovitz's complaint on this score is simply a rejection of protest per se. The policy implication would seem to be to cancel the Martin Luther King day holiday and renounce the civil rights movement, which was as inconvenient in its day as Occupy Wall Street is today. The nerve of those people who violated established norms for the use of public space, in order to impose their anti-lynching views on the rest of us!

As for the wisdom of occupying public parks, there may be some merit to the claim that political speech has no right to usurp the other legitimate uses of park space. Perhaps it is time to consider occupying the headquarters of major media corporations, which monopolize access to mass audiences with infantilizing commentary and "entertainment," both designed to pre-empt the emergence of a popular challenge to plutocratic minority rule. In such venues the free speech issues couldn't be more stark and compelling.