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Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link New Books Worth Reading Mon Sep 19, 2016 23:25 | Seán Sheehan

offsite link 13 Billion ? Lucky for some? Mon Sep 05, 2016 13:04 | Tony Phillips

offsite link Rebuilding Ireland: Long on Promise, Short on Detail Mon Aug 29, 2016 22:20 | Eoin O'Mahony

offsite link Brexit and Other Issues: Comments on the Current Situation Mon Aug 29, 2016 21:52 | Brendan Young

offsite link Bin Charges: From Private Circus to Public Service Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:38 | Michael Taft

Irish Left Review >>

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link Where was this guy five, ten, fifteen years ago? 11:20 Thu Sep 20, 2018 | guestposter

offsite link They?re only now realising this? 10:54 Thu Sep 20, 2018 | guestposter

offsite link Dissident Republicanism and Brexit? 08:55 Thu Sep 20, 2018 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link For the want of five polling centres 07:57 Thu Sep 20, 2018 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link No agreed Independent Presidential candidate? No surprise. 07:55 Thu Sep 20, 2018 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link Some Thoughts on the Brexit Joint Report 11:50 Sat Dec 09, 2017

offsite link IRISH COMMONWEALTH: TRADE UNIONS AND CIVIL SOCIETY IN THE 21ST CENTURY 14:06 Sat Nov 18, 2017

offsite link Notes for a Book on Money and the Irish State - The Marshall Aid Program 15:10 Sat Apr 02, 2016

offsite link The Financial Crisis:What Have We Learnt? 19:58 Sat Aug 29, 2015

offsite link Money in 35,000 Words or Less 21:34 Sat Aug 22, 2015

Dublin Opinion >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Podcast Feeds

Links to Alternative Media Podcasts

  • KPFK Indy Media on Air
  • From Alpha To Omega
  • Stop Imperialism
  • Eco Shock
  • Extra Environmentalist
  • Gary Null Show

KPFK - Indy Media On Air

en-us Indy Media On Air

RSS Feed for 'Indymedia on Air' from the LA Indymedia broadcast on LA KPFK

offsite link Indy Media On Air - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 Thu Sep 20, 2018 02:30
Various hosts

offsite link Indy Media On Air - Wednesday, September 5, 2018 Thu Sep 06, 2018 02:30
Various hosts

offsite link Indy Media On Air - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 Thu Aug 30, 2018 02:30
Various hosts

offsite link Indy Media On Air - Wednesday, August 22, 2018 Thu Aug 23, 2018 02:30
Various hosts

offsite link Indy Media On Air - Wednesday, August 8, 2018 Thu Aug 09, 2018 02:30
Various hosts

KPFK - Indy Media On Air >>

From Alpha To Omega

en-ie What is happening to our economy and our politics? Are we stuck forever in this corporate dystopia? What can we learn from the failures of radical politics over the last 100 years? Tom O'Brien talks in depth to experts from the fields of Political Economy, Politics, Science, Philosophy, Complexity, Mathematics, Music, and the Environment.

RSS Feed for 'From Alpha to Omega' podcast

offsite link #005 Refuting Marx's Inconsistency & the TSSI Wed Sep 19, 2018 00:00 | Tom O'Brien
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We continue our close reading of Andrew Klimans 'Reclaiming Marx's Capital' and eat chapter 4 alive Interview Date: 15th Sep 2018 Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FromAlph... To Donate Click Here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/w... The panel this week consists of: Lexi & Rosa from https://soundcloud.com/swampside... C Derick Varn from https://www.mixcloud.com/symptom...

offsite link #004 Refuting Marx's Inconsistency & The TSSI Fri Sep 14, 2018 22:53 | Tom O'Brien
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We continue our close reading of Andrew Klimans 'Reclaiming Marx's Capital' and stick our snouts deep into chapter 3 Interview Date: 8st Sep 2018 Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FromAlph... To Donate Click Here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/w... You can find the podcast website here: http://fromalpha2omega.podomatic... The panel this week consists of: Lexi from https://soundcloud.com/swampside... Emmanuel from https://soundcloud.com/enforlora... C Derick Varn from https://www.mixcloud.com/symptom... Pouya - a listener of the show

offsite link #003 Refuting Marx's Inconsistency & The TSSI Tue Sep 04, 2018 00:00 | Tom O'Brien
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Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FromAlph... To Donate Click Here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/w... You can find the podcast website here: http://fromalpha2omega.podomatic... Interview Date: 1st Sep 2018 The panel this week consists of: Lexi & Rosa from https://soundcloud.com/swampside... Emmanuel from https://soundcloud.com/enforlora... C Derick Varn from https://www.mixcloud.com/symptom... Pouya - a listener of the show

offsite link #002 Refuting Marx's Inconsistency & The TSSI Sun Aug 19, 2018 14:00 | Tom O'Brien
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Part 2 of the Refuting Marx's Inconsitency & The TSSI Reading Group Paypal: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?t... Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FromAlph... Interview Date: 18 August 2018 The panel this week consists of: Lexi & Rosa from https://soundcloud.com/swampside... Emmanuel from https://soundcloud.com/enforlora... C Derick Varn from https://www.mixcloud.com/symptom... Alex - a listener of the show

offsite link #001 Refuting Marx's Inconsistency & The TSSI Mon Aug 13, 2018 21:16 | Tom O'Brien
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Part 1 of the Refuting Marx's Inconsitency & The TSSI Reading Group To Donate Click Here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/w... Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FromAlph... Interview Date: 11 August 2018 The panel this week consists of: Lexi from https://soundcloud.com/swampside... Emmanuel & Aiden from https://soundcloud.com/enforlora... Amogh from https://www.mixcloud.com/symptom... Alex - a listener of the show

From Alpha To Omega >>

en-US Stop Imperialism - Geopolitical Analysis

RSS Feed for 'Stop Imperialism' podcast

offsite link French Elections: Le Pen and the Far Right, a Collapsed Center, and the Rise of ... Sun Apr 30, 2017 16:07 | Eric Draitser
**FREE PREVIEW**
Please visit http://patreon.com/ericdraitser to become a patron and have full access to this and other content available exclusively to subscribers.
Eric Draitser sits down with political commentator and activist Dr. Moustafa Traore to discuss the French presidential elections, the likely outcomes, and the broader political significance both nationally and internationally. [...]
The post French Elections: Le Pen and the Far Right, a Collapsed Center, and the Rise of a New Left? appeared first on .

offsite link CounterPunch Radio (Ep. 83) ? David Swanson Thu Apr 27, 2017 18:25 | Eric Draitser
Listen to Eric’s conversation with David Swanson here
This week Eric sits down with author and peace activist David Swanson to discuss war and peace in the Age of Trump. Eric and David examine whether Trump’s early days in office represent an escalation of the war machine, and how Trump is [...]
The post CounterPunch Radio (Ep. 83) – David Swanson appeared first on .

offsite link Israel: Trauma, Oppression, and the Politics of a Fascist State Mon Apr 24, 2017 19:19 | Eric Draitser
**FREE PREVIEW**
To hear full episodes and receive access to exclusive content, please visit patreon.com/ericdraitser to become a patron today.
Eric Draitser sits down with Israeli-American political commentator and doctor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience Yoav Litvin to discuss Israel and the pathology of its politics and self-image. Eric and Yoav [...]
The post Israel: Trauma, Oppression, and the Politics of a Fascist State appeared first on .

offsite link Robert Hunziker on CounterPunch Radio! Tue Apr 04, 2017 19:53 | Eric Draitser
Click here to listen to Robert Hunziker and Eric Draitser on CounterPunch Radio!
This week Eric welcomes back to the show environmental journalist and CounterPunch contributor Robert Hunziker to talk about how the earth’s climate is going bonkers, and what this means for human civilization. The conversation begins with a discussion [...]
The post Robert Hunziker on CounterPunch Radio! appeared first on .

offsite link Trump, Fascism, and the American Psyche Fri Mar 31, 2017 17:45 | Eric Draitser
Eric Draitser of StopImperialism.org sits down with independent journalist Andrew Stewart to discuss his experience at a Trump rally, Trump as the inverse Obama (right wing Hope and Change), the cowardice of the Democrats, and the mentality of Americans on both sides of the partisan divide.
For full access to all [...]
The post Trump, Fascism, and the American Psyche appeared first on .

RADIO ECOSHOCK

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RADIO ECOSHOCK

91 Radio Stations and Growing!

RSS Feed for 'Eco Shock' podcast

offsite link RADIO CLIMATE SHOCK Wed Sep 19, 2018 22:49 | Alex Smith
Will we recognize the future? Forget about giant machines to suck out carbon. If you worry about the climate, you have to save tropical rainforests. We talk with the doyen of forest activism, Frances Seymour from the World Resources Institute. But first, one  …

offsite link HOT HOUSE EARTH Thu Sep 13, 2018 01:27 | Alex Smith
With new heat records set all over the world, is there a threshold where this planet goes into another place? How hot can it get? You will hear new science from Dr. Will Steffen in Australia. Then meteorologist and storm-chaser Bob Henson covers  …

offsite link GLOBAL HEAT CRISIS (new) Wed Sep 05, 2018 23:40 | Alex Smith
New high temperature records set all over N. Hemisphere – major event. Author Roy Scranton on book “We’re Doomed – Now What”. Dialog with 3 top scientists M. Mann J. Francis & N. Diffenbaugh on what this global heat wave means. Download or  …

offsite link Best of Radio Ecoshock shows for 2018 Wed Jul 04, 2018 13:00 | Alex Smith
NEW SHOWS COMING STARTING SEPTEMBER 5TH! As always, I appreciate you as a listener and supporter of a saner future. Check out these “best of” summer shows here. Alex Smith  

offsite link Collapse: Fix it or Run Away? Wed Jun 27, 2018 19:14 | Alex Smith
You hear about a crashing ecosystem, from climate disruption to disappearing species and landscapes. What to do? There are two options: try to organize social change, or try to escape to a safer place. In this show, you will hear a sample of  …

RADIO ECOSHOCK >>

The Gary Null Show

en

The Gary Null Show

Gary takes on the real issues that the mainstream media is afraid to tackle. Tune in to find out the latest about health news, healing, politics, and the economy.

RSS Feed for 'Gary Null' show on PRN

offsite link The Gary Null Show - 09.17.18 Mon Sep 17, 2018 20:20
Today is September 17th and like always The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.
 
Today's Topics 
Aspirin found not to prolong healthy aging
 
Scientific analysis shows probiotic use is associated with fewer antibiotic prescriptions
 

Special blueberries have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
 

Dietary fiber reduces brain inflammation during aging
 

Scientists document at the anti-obesity effects of tomato and broccoli
 

Goji berry extract found to be an effective treatment for two deadly tropical diseases

offsite link The Gary Null Show - 09.14.18 Fri Sep 14, 2018 19:57
The new ceramic ?Metalgon?? filter removes, bacteria, parasites, toxic chemicals, fluoride and a wide range of heavy metals.
 
? Produce safe, clean, drinking water from any source using the Gary Null Emergency Water Filter. The unit is designed for use after natural disasters, where potable water is not available. Also, the unit can be utilized for daily drinking water in your home.
 
? The Gary Null Emergency Water Filter uses state of the art Ceramic micro-filtration with Metalgon? filter material for reducing a wide range of toxic contaminants in drinking water.
 
 
? The combined filter technologies efficiently remove bacteria, parasites, chlorine, chloramine, chemicals, fluoride, sediment, debris, turbidity, bad taste & odor.
 
? Uses gravity to push water through the filters to supply thousands of gallons of clean, safe drinking water from any fresh water source. The water is then stored in the lower chamber ready for use. A tap is provided to draw filtered water. 
? The unit can hold up to 1.5 gallons of water in the top and lower chambers. For continued use, the top chamber is refilled with source water. The unit issupplied with 2 filters.
Each Gary Null Emergency Water Filter provides you with the ultimate protection that you and your family need. If your water supply gets shut off and there is no source of clean water, the Gary Null Emergency Water Filter can produce hundreds of gallons of safe, clean, great tasting water from any fresh water source.
The filters are rated to last up to 600 gallons depending upon quality of source water. Each filter can be cleaned to remove particulates from the outer ceramic shell of the filter. This will restore the flow rate of the filter and allow peak water production. The housing can be disassembled and the filters cleaned to remove particulates.
The Gary Null Emergency Water Filter is supplied with 2 Gravity Ceramic with Metalgon? filters. Both filters combined will produce 1/2 gallon of filtered water per hour.
 

Features: 1.5 Gallon Capacity, 2 Ceramic Filters are Included: Produces 1/2 gallon of water per hour. The filters should be replaced approximately every 600 gallons when used continuously. If one does not use the filters and saves the unit for emergencies, the filters will last until used.
Applications: - Camping, Emergency Situations and everyday use where portable water is required. - The Gary Null Emergency Water Filter unit is designed for use where pressurized and/or suitable portable water is not available. - The Gary Null Emergency Water Filter uses gravity to filter the water from the upper chamber through (2) Ceramic filters to supply clean, safe drinking water from most any water source, which is stored in the lower chamber ready for use.

 
BUY NOW 

offsite link The Gary Null Show - 09.13.18 Thu Sep 13, 2018 22:06
Today is September 13th and like always The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.
 
In this episode Gary goes into a deep discussion on  Michael Brenner's Plutocracy Now! article 
 

Plutocracy Now!
CONSORTIUM NEWS  September, 2018 ? 
By Michael Brenner
Plutocracy literally means rule by the rich. ?Rule? can have various shades of meaning: those who exercise the authority of public office are wealthy; their wealth explains why they hold that office; they exercise that authority in the interests of the rich; they have the primary influence over who holds those offices and the actions they take.
These aspects of ?plutocracy? are not exclusive. Moreover, government of the rich and for the rich need not be run directly by the rich. Also, in some exceptional circumstances rich individuals who hold powerful positions may govern in the interests of the many, for example Franklin Roosevelt.
The United States today qualifies as a plutocracy ? on a number of grounds. Let?s look at some striking bits of evidence. Gross income redistribution upwards in the hierarchy has been a feature of American society for the past decades. The familiar statistics tell us that nearly 80 percent of the national wealth generated since 1973 has gone to the upper 2 percent and 65 percent to the upper 1 per cent. Estimates for the rise in real income for salaried workers over the past 40 years range from 20 percent to 28 percent. In that period, real GDP has risen by 110 percent ? it has more than doubled.
To put it somewhat differently, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the top earning 1 percent of households gained about 8 times more than those in the 60 percentile after federal taxes and income transfers between 1979 and 2007 and 10 times those in lower percentiles.
In short, the overwhelming fraction of all the wealth created over two generations has gone to those at the very top of the income pyramid.
That pattern has been markedly accelerated since the financial crisis hit in 2008. Between 2000 and 2012, the real net worth of 90 percent of Americans has declined by 25 percent. Meanwhile, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates et al, i.e. the wealthiest 1 percent of the world?s population, now own more than half of the world?s wealth (according to a Credit Suisse report in Nov. 2017). Croesus is green with envy.
Not By Accident
Theoretically, there is the possibility that this change is due to structural economic features operating nationally and internationally. That argument won?t wash, though, for three reasons.
First, there is every reason to think that such a process has accelerated over the past nine years during which disparities have widened at a faster rate. Second, other countries (many even more enmeshed in the world economy) have seen nothing like the drastic phenomenon occurring in the United States. Third, the readiness of the country?s political class to ignore what has been happening, and the absence of remedial action that could have been taken, in themselves are clear indicators of who shapes thinking and determines public policy.
In addition, several significant governmental actions have been taken that directly favor the moneyed interests. This includes the dismantling of the apparatus to regulate financial activities specifically and big business generally.
Runaway exploitation of the system by predatory banks was made possible by the Clinton ?reforms? of the 1990s and the lax application of those rules that still prevailed. Former Attorney General Eric Holder, let?s recall, went so far as to admit that the Department of Justice?s decisions on when to bring criminal charges against the biggest financial institutions will depend not on the question of legal violations alone but would include the hypothetical effects on economic stability of their prosecution. (Those adverse effects are greatly exaggerated).
Earlier, Holder had extended blanket immunity to Bank of America and other mortgage lenders for their apparent criminality in forging through robo-signing of foreclosure documents on millions of home owners. In brief, equal protection and application of the law has been suspended. That is plutocracy.
Moreover, the extremes of a regulatory culture that, in effect, turns public officials into tame accessories to financial abuse emerged in stark relief at the 2013 Levin Committee hearings on J P Morgan Chase?s ?London Whale? scandal. Morgan officials stated baldly that they chose not to inform the Controller of the Currency about discrepancies in trading accounts, without the slightest regard that they might be breaking the law, in the conviction that it was Morgan?s privilege not to do so.
Senior regulators explained that they did not see it as their job to monitor compliance or to check whether claims made by their Morgan counterparts were correct. They also accepted abusive treatment, e.g. being called ?stupid? to their face by senior Morgan executives. That?s plutocracy at work. The Senate Finance Committee hearing drew only 3 senators ? yet another sign of plutocracy at work. When mega-banks make illicit profits by money laundering for drug cartels and get off with a slap on the wrist, as has HSBC and others, that too is plutocracy. FDR, it rightly is said, saved American capitalism. Barack OBAMA saved predatory financial capitalism.
When the system of law that is meant to order the workings of society without reference to ascriptive persons is made malleable in the hands of officials to serve the preferred interests of some, it ceases to be a neutral instrument for the common good. In today?s society, it is becoming the instrument of a plutocracy.
The financial behemoths and big business in general can count on sympathetic justices to bail them out when cornered by prosecutors. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, was making an earnest attempt to call to account several predators when the New York Supreme Court pulled the rug out from under him. Their generous interpretation of the dubious Supreme Court decision on wrongful trading cases upheld the overturning of the conviction of Michael S. Steinberg, the highest-ranking officer of notorious hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors. Bharara was obliged to drop seven outstanding cases against the Wall Street biggies.
Corporate Tax Dodging
There are myriad other examples of complicity between legislators or regulators, on the one hand, and special business interests on the other. Environmental Protection Agency judgments that are reversed under the combined pressure of the commercial interests of affected and beholden politicians is one. The government?s decision not to seek the power to bargain with pharmaceutical companies over the price of drugs paid for with public funds is another. Tolerance for the concealment of offshore profits in the tens of billions is a third. This last is the most egregious.
Some of the most profitable companies pay little or no federal taxes. Apple is outstanding among them ? it has paid zero. Facebook and Microsoft follow closely behind. General Electric received a tax refund in 2015 ? after revenues of $8 billion. Its global tax rate in all jurisdictions was 3.2 percent.
In California, several corporate giants (including Apple and Genentech) have launched an aggressive campaign in an unprecedented effort to be reimbursed for real estate taxes on the grounds that their assets have been over-assessed ? and their profits unfairly cut. The Silicon Valley town of Cupertino hosts the world headquarters of Apple, which built its vast campus there in 2014. It has 13,000 employees. How much does it pay the city of Cupertino for the services provided? $6,000.
Apple has rejected polite suggestions that it might raise that amount on grounds that doing so would be in contradiction of its business model. The threat of packing up and moving the whole shebang to Sheboygan is hardly credible given the multi-billion investment in concrete and glass. Apple?s power to get its way is political and cultural. Cupertino, by the way, was a prosperous town before Apple set up shop there.
Even in Seattle, bastion of progressive politics, Amazon has shown how easily it can intimidate and muscle politicos to do its bidding. A path-breaking corporate tax was enacted in May that would raise $50 million annually to help cover the cost of desperately needed affordable housing programs. It was passed unanimously by the City Council to nation-wide acclaim.
In June it was scuttled by a 7-2 vote. What had happened to produce this ?epiphany?? Simple ? Amazon announced that it was suspending all expansion plans for Seattle, and were joined by Microsoft, Starbucks and others in a declaration of war against the city. Mayor Jenny Durkin caved in: ?We heard you,? she said while waving the white flag and bowing to her masters.
In short, a city besieged by barbarians saved itself by enslaving itself. Thereby, Seattle is little different from an old style corporate run mill town like Bethlehem or Scranton, Pennsylvania. That?s our bright high-tech future under plutocracy.
Please note: Seattle and Silicon Valley are where Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democratic leaders go to plead for money from hedge fund vultures and IT billionaires to fund their ?Republican-lite? ?reform? campaigns.
Über Alles
The ethic of corporate entitlement is carried to its extreme by Uber. The company flouts laws and regulations as a matter of course. It exploits its disposable gig workers to build a clientele and then tells local authorities that if they enforce the rules, Uber will leave ? and leave angry voters behind. Currently, they are hotly contesting a ruling of the California Supreme Court that its throw-away workers are not ?independent contractors.? In its typical aggressive fashion, Uber leaders are buying politicians and stirring its promoters to get a legislative exception. Board member Ariana Huffington, former progressive activist, is in full support. So it goes in a plutocracy.
Relaxed interpretations of the tax laws by the IRS to the advantage of high income persons can be added to the list. So, too, can the give-away to sole source contractors of the tens of billions squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of such direct assists to big business and the wealthy is endless.
The point is that government, at all levels, serves particular selfish interests no matter who holds high positions. While there is some difference between Republicans and Democrats on this score, it has narrowed on most major items to the point that the fundamental properties of the biased system are so entrenched as to be impervious to electoral outcomes. The most revealing experience that we have of that harsh reality is the Obama administration?s strategic decision to allow Wall Street to determine how and by whom the 2008 financial crisis would be handled.
Systemic biases are the most crucial factor is creating and maintaining plutocratic orientat... of government. They are confirmed, and reinforced, by the identities and identifications of the persons who actually hold high elected office.
Our leaders are nearly all rich by any reasonable standard. Most are very rich. Trump?s cabinet is dominated by billionaires. Those who weren?t already rich have aspired to become so and have succeeded. The Clintons are the striking case in point. That aspiration is evinced in how they conduct themselves in office.
Congress, for its part, is composed of two rich men/women?s clubs. In many cases, personal wealth helped win them their offices. In many others, they knit ties with lobbies that provided the necessary funds. Former Senator Max Baucus should have worn a Big Pharma jersey, like soccer players, if truth in advertising rules pertained. Whether they are ?bought off? in some sense or other, they surely are often coopted. The most insidious aspect of cooptation is to see the world from the vantage point of the advantaged and special economic interests.
Democrats? Devolution
The devolution of the Democratic Party from being the representative of ordinary people to being just ?another bunch of guys? is a telling commentary on how American politics has degenerated into a plutocracy. The party?s rolling over to accommodate the interests of the wealthy has been a theme of the past decade or longer.
From the Obama White House to the halls of Congress, party leaders (and most followers) have conceded the dominance of conservative ideas about macro-economic strategy (the austerity dogma), about retaining largely untouched the for-profit health care ?non-system,? about bailing out the big financial players at the expense of everyone else and the economy?s stability, and about degrading Social Security and Medicare. The last item is the most egregious ? and revealing ? of our plutocratic ways and means. For it entails a combination of intellectual deceit, blatant massaging of the numbers, and disregard for the human consequences in a time of growing distress for tens of millions. In other words, there is no way to conceal or spin the trade-offs made, who is being hurt and who would continue to enjoy the advantages of skewed fiscal policies.
The most compelling evidence of how the money interests shape American politics is the systematic disregard for the most overt manifestations of predatory capitalism. Consider the tax exemption corporate leaders have granted themselves by devising ingenious ways of incorporating themselves in tax havens (or even no-tax cyber space) where all profits are registered via the manipulation of transfer pricing ? as noted above. Yet, there is not a single bit of proposed legislation to remedy this gross misappropriation of wealth being considered by either branch of the United States Congress. It was raised, albeit tangentially and briefly, by only one candidate in the 2016 election ? Bernie Sanders.
No one is raising it in this year?s mid-terms. As for the hedge fund/private equity vultures, they were singled out for denunciation by Newt Gingrich ? of all people ? back in the 2012 Republican primaries against Mitt Romney. It was the main reason for his surprise victory in South Carolina. Then came the much publicized debate in Florida. To everyone?s surprise, Gingrich was completely silent about hedge funds and never mentioned Romney?s career as a hedge fund predator. What happened? The Party heavies made him a proposition he could not refuse: either shut up or you?ll never eat lunch again in Washington. Fold up your lucrative consultancy, turn in your celebrity card, and start getting your new wife accustomed to dinners at Eat & Park.
The Media?s Job 
There is another, absolutely crucial dimension to the consolidation of America?s plutocracy. It is controlling the means to shape how the populace understands public matters and, thereby, to channel thought and behavior in the desired direction. Our plutocratic guides, prophets and trainers have been enormously successful in accomplishing this. One object of their efforts has been to render the media into either conscious allies or to denature them as critics or skeptics. Their success is readily visible.
Who in the media has challenged the plutocracy serving falsehood that Social Security and Medicare are the main cause of our deficits whose imminent bankruptcy puts in jeopardy the American economy? Who even bothers to inform the public that those two programs? trust funds draw on a separate revenue source from the rest of the budget? Answer: no one in or near the mainstream media.
Who has performed the most elementary service in pointing out that of all the jobs created since 2009, small as the number has been, 60 percent at least have been either part-time or temporary? Answer: again, no one. Who has bothered to highlight the logical flaws in the market fundamentalist view of the world that has so deformed perceptions of what works and doesn?t work in macro-economic management? Yes, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz and a handful of others ? although even Krugman?s colleagues writing on business and economics at The New York Times seem not to have the time to read him or else lack the wit to comprehend what he is saying.
Think Tank Takeovers 
A second objective in a similar vein has been to dominate the think tank/foundation world. Today, nearly every major Washington think tank depends on corporate money. Businessmen sit on the boards and shape research programs. Peter G. Peterson, the hedge fund billionaire, took the more direct route of acquiring the International Institute of Economics, renaming it after himself. He then set about using it as an instrument to carry on the campaign against Social Security which has become his life?s work.
Then there is Robert Rubin. Rubin is the distilled essence of financial malpractice, and the embodiment of the government-Wall Street nexus that brought the country to wrack and ruin.  Author of Clinton?s deregulation program while Secretary of the Treasury: later super lobbyist and Chairman of the conglomerated super bank CITI (only made possible by his deregulation) in the years before it was pulled from the brink of bankruptcy by Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner; and adviser to Barack Obama who stocked the new administration with Rubin protégés.  He since has ensconced himself as Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations and Director of the highly prestigious, lavishly funded Hamilton Project at Brookings. By happenstance, both organizations late last year featured presentations by Jaime Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, America?s biggest bank. The presentation was billed as a forum for a leading global CEO to share priorities and insights before a high-level audience of CFR members.  This is plutocracy in action.
Education Undermined
The third objective has been to weaken public education. We have witnessed the assault on our public elementary school system in the name of effectiveness, efficiency and innovation. Charter schools are the watchword. Teachers are blamed as the heart of the problem. So privatization, highly profitable privatization, is sold as the solution to save America?s youth in the face of ample evidence to the contrary. Cast aside is the historical truth that our public school system is the one institution, above all others, that made American democracy. It also is a bastion of enlightened social thinking. It thereby qualifies as a target.
The same goes for the country?s proud network of public universities. From state to state, they are starved for funding and made sacrificial lambs on the altar of the austerity cult.  They, too, are stigmatized as ?behind the times,? as no longer doing the job of supplying the business world with the obedient, practical skilled workers it wants. Business schools, long a dependency of the corporate world, are held up as the model for private-public partnership in higher education.  Distance learning, often managed by for-profit ?expert? consultants or ?entrepreneurs?, is advertised as the wave of a bright future ? a future with fewer liberal-leaning professors with fuzzy ideas about the good society. Distance learning is the higher education companion to the charter school fad. Lots of promises, little delivery, but well conceived to advance aplutocracy friendly agenda.
Here, too, boards of regents are led by business men or women.  The abortive coup at the University of Virginia was instigated by the rector who is a real estate developer in Virginia Beach. The chairman of the Board of Regents at the University of Texas system where tensions are at a combustible level is a real estate developer. The chairman at the University of California is CEO of two private equity firms ? and the husband of Senator Diane Feinstein. His pet project was to have the moneys of the California teacher?s pension fund (CALPERS) placed in the custody of private financial houses. Two former directors of the fund currently are under criminal investigation for taking very large kick-backs from other private equity firms to whom they directed monies ? and which later employed them as ?placers.? That?s plutocracy at work.
Money as the Measure of All Things
The ultimate achievement of a plutocracy is to legitimize itself by fixing in the minds of society the idea that money is the measure of all things. It represents achievement, it is the sine qua non for giving people the things they most want. It is the gauge of an individual?s worth. It is the mark of status in a status anxious culture. That way of seeing the world describes the outlook of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.  It is Obama who, at the height of the financial meltdown, lauded Jaime Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO,  as ?savvy and successful businessmen.? It is Obama who eagerly became Dimon?s golfing buddy ? an Obama who twice in his career took jobs with corporate law firms. It was Bill Clinton who has been flying the world in corporate jets for the past twelve years. It is the two of them who promoted Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles to press for the crippling of Social Security. That?s plutocracy pervading the leadership ranks in both parties of what used to be the American republic.
Perhaps the most extraordinary achievement of the plutocracy?s financial wing has been to convince the political class that its largely speculative activities are normal. Indeed, they are feted as being the economy?s principal reason for growth. Their ruse follows that their own well-being is essential to the well-being of the national economy and, therefore, they deserve privileged treatment.
Subtlety, discretion and restraint are foreign to their buccaneering style with deep roots in the country?s culture and history.  Their behavior is often impulsive and grasping: greedy to display what they can get away with and that  they are top dogs. They are playing with the nation?s wealth to enrich themselves rather than manage an economy.
There is little interest in building anything that might endure ? no ?new order,? no new party, no new institutions. Not even physical monuments to themselves. Why bother when the existing set-up works so well nowto your advantage and your like-minded and like-interested associates who can turn ideas, money and policies in their direction with ease.
Meanwhile the public is blind to how they are being deluded and abused, thanks in large part to a supine news media. Little changes in a country whose civic ideology imbues the populace with the firm belief that its principles and institutions embody unique virtue. Challenging that is a threat to plutocrats and the media and the educational system they run or influence.  
A Wall Street Police State
One of the most stunning examples of direct plutocratic involvement in the state was Wall Street?s audacity in coopting a part of the NYC Police Department in setting up a semi-autonomous unit to monitor the financial district.
Funded by Goldman Sachs et al, managed in part by private bank employees in key administrative positions, and with an explicit mandate to prevent and deal with any activity that threatens them, it operates with the latest high tech equipment out of a dedicated facility provided by its sponsors. The facility for years was kept ?under the counter? so as not to tempt inquisitive parties to expose it. This is the unit that coordinated squelching of the Occupy Movement?s Manhattan demonstrations. It represents the appropriation of a public agency to serve and to serve under private interests.
The post-9/11 hyper-anxiety provided political and ideological cover for a deal devised by Mayor Mike Bloomberg (himself a Wall Street billionaire who went down the line to defend Wall Street against all charges of financial abuse) in collusion with his former associates.  Is this simply Bloomberg exposing NYC?s fiscal dependency on financial sector jobs?
This is the same Bloomberg who killed a widely supported initiative to set a minimum decent wage of $10 an hour with health insurance ($11.50 without) on development projects that receive more than $1 million in taxpayer subsidies. He stigmatized the measure as ?a throwback to the era when government viewed the private sector as a cash cow to be milked?. The last time we really had a big managed economy was the USSR and that didn?t work out so well.? That?s as plutocratic as it gets ? and in liberal New York.
No Conspiracy Necessary
Furthermore, the moving parts of plutocracy are not well organized. There is no conspiracy as such. It is the convergence of outlook and self-interests among disparate persons in different parts of the system that has accomplished a revolution in American public life, public discourse, and public philosophy.
Nobody had to indoctrinate Barack Obama in 2008-2009 or intimidate him or bribe him. He came to the plutocrats on his own volition with his mind-set and values already in conformity with the plutocracy?s view of itself and of America. This is the man who, for the first two years of his presidency, repeatedly misstated the coverage of the Social Security Act of 1935 ? ignorant and not bothering to find out, or willfully ignorant so as to create a convenient comparison with his fatally flawed health care pseudo-plan. This was the man, after all, who cited Ronald Reagan as a model for what sort of presidency America needed. He has been living proof of how effectively Americans had been brought into line with the plutocratic vision.
This is not to say that the plutocrats? success was inevitable ? or that they were diabolically clever in manipulating everything and everyone to their advantage. There has been a strong element of good fortune in their victory. Their most notable piece of luck has been the ineptitude and shortsightedness of their potential opposition ? liberal Democrats, intellectuals, professional asociations and their like.  The plutocratspursued their goals in a disorganized, diffuse way. However, the absence of an opponent on the contested terrain ensured success.
Not Smart
As for cleverness, the American plutocracy is actually a stupid plutocracy. First, it overreaches. Far better to leave a few goodies on the table for the 99 percent and even a few crumbs for the 47 percent than to risk generating resentment and retaliation.
Since the financial meltdown, financial and business interests have been unable to resist picking the pockets of the weak. Fishing out the small change in the wake of grand larceny is rubbing salt into wounds.  Why fight a small rise in the minimum wage? Why ruthlessly exploit all those temps and part-timers who have so little in the way of economic or political power anyway? Why squeeze every last buck from the small depositors and credit card holders whom you already systematically fleece? In the broad perspective, that sort of behavior is stupid.
To explain it, we must look to the obsession with status of America?s audacious corporate freebooters. These peculiar traits grow more intense the higher one goes in the hierarchy of riches. One is the impulse to show to everybody your superiority by displaying what you can get away with. ?Sharp dealing? always has been prized by segments of American society. It?s the striving, insecure man who has to prove to the world ? and to himself ? that he can act with impunity. He is little different from the hoodlum showing off to his pals and to his moll.
These people at heart are hustlers ? they crave the thrill of pulling off a scam, not constructing something. Hence, Lloyd Blankfein not showing up for White House meetings yet having Obama thank him for letting the president know, albeit after the meeting already had begun, that Blankfein can?t make it. Hence, Jaime Dimon indignantly protesting his verbal mistreatment by the press, by the White House, by whomever.
Then there is Jack Welch, the titan of American industry who struts sitting down, holding the Guinness record for the most manufacturing jobs outsourced by one company ? and yet impudently calling Obama ?anti-business? after the president appoints his hand-picked successor, Jeffrey Immelt, to head the White House?s Job Council. Or Bank of America?s faking compliance with the sweetheart deal it got from Obama on the felonious foreclosure scam.
The ultimate episode of egregious lawlessness is the MF Holdings affair ? whereby under its chief, former Senator and Governor Jon Corzine, this hedge fund took the illegal action of looting a few billion from custodial accounts to cover losses incurred in its proprietary trading. JP Morgan, which held MF Global funds in several accounts and also processed the firm?s securities trades, resisted transferring the funds to MF?s customers until forced to by legal action. Punitive action: none. Why? The Justice Department and regulatory bodies came up with the lame excuse that the MF group?s decision-making was so opaque that they could not determine whose finger clicked the mouse. Shades of SNL. To pull capers like these and get off scot free without chastisement is the ultimate ego trip.
 Where the Money Is
Willie Sutton, the notorious bank robber of the 1940s, explained his targeting banks this way: ?That?s where the money is.? Today?s financial swindlers go after high risk gambles because that?s where the biggest kicks are. That is more important than the biggest bucks ? although they add to the thrill. The constant status striver and insecure financial baron is a compulsive gambler. He needs his fixes: of winning, of celebrity, of respect, or deference as transitory as all may be.
American culture provides few insignia of rank. No ?Sirs,? no seats in the House of Lords, no rites of passage that separate the heralded elite from all the rest of us. Since oblivion shadows the most famous and acclaimed, they often grasp for whatever is within reach ? however ludicrous that might be.   When IR Magazine awarded JPMorgan the prize for ?best crisis management? of 2012 for its handling of the London Whale trading debacle, at a black-tie awards ceremony in Manhattan, Morgan executives were there to express their appreciation, rather than hide in shame. The only Wall Street personage who has played the celebrity game without being marginalized in the public mind is Robert Rubin. Through nimbleness and political connection he has semi-institutionalized his celebrity status. Yes, there is former Fed chairman Paul Volcker. But his stature is built on an unmatched record of service to the commonweal and unchallenged integrity. The Blankfeins and Dimons and Welchs and Rubins not only lack the critical attributes ? they also  appear to scorn the public, rathe than serve it, which even private financial institutions should do, while still making a decent profit.
The plutocrats? compulsive denigration of the poor and the dispossessed is perhaps the most telling evidence of status obsession linked to insecurity borne of their often ill-gotten gains. That is at the core of their social personality.  They seem to find it necessary to stigmatize the everyone not in their class as losers. Those at the lower end are condemned as as moral degenerates ? drug addicts, lazy parasites ? rather than victims of their financial system.  This attitude is in part to highlight their superiority and in part to blur the human consequences of their rapacity.  Behavior of this kind is the antithesis of a cultivated image of the statesman of commerce ? even though they are paying a price in public esteem despite the media?s attempts to maintain their elevated status. 
American plutocrats have a deep craving to believe in their own virtue ? and to have others recognize it, despite the facts.  Their perverse pride in beating the system does not tarnish how they regard their behavior. Blankfein said: ?I have been doing the Lord?s work.?
Dimon swaggers through the Council on Foreign Relations or Brookings with the huddled masses in his audience beaming their adulation as they bask in his fame and thirst for his wisdom on the great affairs of the world. Would he give his views on whether the BRICS can rig the LIBOR rate with the connivance of the Bank of England and the Federal Reserve ? or ignore regulatory reporting rules when they threaten to reveal a madcap scheme that loses $6 billion?
The Widespread Effect
Plutocracy in the current American style is having pernicious effects that go beyond the dominant influence of the rich on the nation?s economy and government. It is setting precedents and modeling the unaccountability and irresponsibility that is pervading executive power throughout the society. Three successive presidential administrations and two decades of rogue behavior by corporate elites have set norms now evident in institutions as diverse as universities and think tanks, the military and professional associations ? even private clubs. The cumulative result is a widespread degrading of standards in the uses and abuses of power.
Plutocracy raises social tensions. Logically, the main line of tension should be between the plutocrats and the rest of us ? or, at least, between the plutocrats and all those with modest means. But that is not the case in the United States. While it is true that there were bitter words about Wall Street moguls and their bailouts during the first year or so after the financial collapse, it never became a main line of political division.
Today, outrage has abated and politics is all about austerity and debts rather than the distribution of wealth, and the power that goes with it.The deep-seated sense of anxiety and grievance that pervades the populace manifests itself in outbreaks of hostile competition among groups who are in fact all victims themselves of the plutocrats? grabbing most of the country?s wealth ? leaving the rest of us to fight over scraps. So it?s private sector employees pitted against government employees because the latter have (some) health insurance, some pension and some security relative to the former who have been shorn of all three. It?s parents worried about their kids? education against teachers. Both against cash-strapped local authorities. Municipalities vs states. It?s the small businessman against unions and health insurance requirements. It?s doctors against patients against administrators. It?s university administrators against faculty and against students, and faculty against students competing for much-reduced appropriations. It?s all of those against boards of regents and state governors.
Nearly everyone is frustrated by the ever-sharpening contrast between hopes and aspirations and darkening realities of what they might expect for themselves and their children. Meanwhile, the folks at the top wait confidently and expectantly above the fray that they have engineered ? ever ready to swoop down to strip what remains by way of privatized public assets, no-bid contracts, tax and regulatory havens, commercially owned toll roads, student loan monopolies, rapacious buying of foreclosed properties with federal incentives, and myriad tax breaks.
 President Obama used his State of the Union Address of 2017 to send the message loud and clear. ?Let me put colleges and universities on notice? he warned, ?If you can?t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.? He thereby set forth a line of reasoning that put him on the same wavelength as Rick Perry because the reality is the exact opposite. It is because public funding has gone down by 2/3 over the past few decades that colleges and universities are obliged to raise tuition ? despite flat-lining faculty and staff salaries.   This is the essence of intellectual conditioning to the plutocracy?s self-serving dogma and the suborning of public authorities by the plutocracy. Beyond capture, it is assimilation.
Does this sort of perverse pride go before the fall? No sign of that happening yet. Plutocracy in America is more likely to be our destiny. The growing dynastic factor operating within the financial plutocracy militates in that direction. Wealth itself has always been transferred from one generation to another, of course; reduced inheritance taxes along with lower rates at upper income brackets generally accentuate that tendency. With socio-economic mobility in American society slipping, it gains further momentum.
Something approaching a caste identity is forming among the financial elites ? as personified by Dimon who is the third generation of Wall Street stockbrokers and financial managers in his family. His father was an executive director at American Express where the young Dimon joined forces with Sandy Weill.  As a revealing coda to this generational tale, Dimon, last year, hired his 81-year old father to work for JP Morgan Chase. His father?s first-year salary was $447,000; slated to rise to $1.6 million ? now that the apprentice has some work experience under his belt, presumably.  A sense of limits is not part of the financialplutocracy?s persona.
Michael Brenner is a professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh

offsite link The Gary Null Show - 09.11.18 Tue Sep 11, 2018 19:44
Today is September 11th and like always The Gary Null Show is here to inform you on the best news in health, healing, the environment.
 
Today's Topics: 
 
Low fitness may indicate poor arterial health in adolescents
 
Study shows medical cannabis effective in treating a wide range of health conditions
 
Milk thistle protects against COPD caused by secondhand smoke

 
 

Change your diet to save both water and your health
 
Gaia theory

offsite link The Gary Null Show - 09.10.18 Mon Sep 10, 2018 19:22
A deep history of the radical right's stealth plan for American - legacy and activities of the Koch Brothers and its future impact
Prof. Nancy MacLean is the William Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University where she specializes in race, gender, labor history and 20th century social movements. In the past she was chairwoman for the Department of History at Northwestern University. She is a fellow of the Society of American Historians and received many awards for her publications on the history of Ku Klux Klan, the American women's movement, and segregation and human rights activism. Her most recent book is "Democracy in Chains: History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America" -- a piercing examination into the history and background of right wing academics in the tradition of Nobel Laureate James Buchanan and the Charles Koch and their campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, stop action on climate change and make a radical revision to the Constitution.  The book was named Most Valuable Book and Favorite Book of the Year by The Nation and The Progressive respectively and became a finalist for the National Book Award.

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