Monday, September 17, 2018

AMERICA: THE FAREWELL TOUR

Today I was running a few errands. I usually listen to music, but I decided to tune into NPR. It was a mistake. If you take the time to educate yourself on the issues, you should be disgusted by what passes for a national public radio broadcast. It's almost completely crap, what isn't crap, isn't moving the conversion forward, it's barely of human interest.

The public owns the airways, but we gave it away to our corporate overlords. We gorge on their bullshit and go willingly to oblivion.

But at least we have Chris Hedges:

(On Contact at RT America)

"In a conversation about his new book ‘America: The Farewell Tour,’ Chris Hedges tells journalist, Hugh Hamilton, that institutions and practices rooted in a capitalist economic system in the US are unraveling, while also making a call for action. Two-part interview."

(Simon & Schuster.com)

"America, says Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter Chris Hedges, is convulsed by an array of pathologies that have arisen out of profound hopelessness, a bitter despair, and a civil society that has ceased to function. The opioid crisis; the retreat into gambling to cope with economic distress; the pornification of culture; the rise of magical thinking; the celebration of sadism, hate, and plagues of suicides are the physical manifestations of a society that is being ravaged by corporate pillage and a failed democracy. As our society unravels, we also face global upheaval caused by catastrophic climate change. All these ills presage a frightening reconfiguration of the nation and the planet.

Donald Trump rode this disenchantment to power. In his “forceful and direct” (Publishers Weekly) America: The Farewell Tour, Hedges argues that neither political party, now captured by corporate power, addresses the systemic problem. Until our corporate coup d’état is reversed these diseases will grow and ravage the country. “With a trademark blend of…sharply observed detail, Hedges writes a requiem for the American dream” (Kirkus Reviews) and seeks to jolt us out of our complacency while there is still time."



Tuesday, September 11, 2018

AMAZIN'

(DemocracyNow.org)

"Amazon made headlines Tuesday when it became the second American company, after Apple, to reach $1 trillion in value. Amazon’s founder and chief executive, Jeff Bezos, is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of more than $167 billion. But what’s behind that wealth? What about its workers? The working conditions in Amazon’s warehouses have been the focus of protests, union drives and several investigations—including by student reporters. As students throughout the country head back to class, we feature an investigative report by students at the Rutgers University Department of Journalism and Media Studies."

(DemocracyNow.org)

"Independent Senator Bernie Sanders has targeted Amazon for its role in widening the wage gap in the United States, and this week he is expected to unveil legislation requiring large employers like Amazon to cover the cost of federal assistance received by their employees. We speak with journalist James Bloodworth, who spent a month working undercover as a “picker” in an Amazon order fulfillment center and found workers were urinating in bottles because they were discouraged from taking bathroom breaks. His new book is “Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain.”

(DemocracyNow.org)

"In Part 2 of our interview with U.K.-based journalist James Bloodworth, he describes how he went undercover as an Amazon warehouse “picker” and found impoverishment and mistreatment. His new book is Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain."

Monday, September 10, 2018

AFRAID OF A CLOSER LOOK?

(Truthout.org)

"Reinforcing the worldwide perception of the US as “a bully and a hegemon” that will not tolerate attempts by the global community to hold it accountable for its deadly actions overseas, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is set to deliver a speech on Monday that will reportedly threaten International Criminal Court (ICC) officials with sanctions if they dare to move ahead with probes into US or Israeli war crimes."

UPDATE!

John Bolton Threatens International Criminal Court Members for Probing U.S. Torture in Afghanistan
(DemocracyNow.org - 9/11/2018 Show)

"Climate Change Supercharges Hurricane Florence as 1.5 Million Evacuate in Carolinas & Virginia"

And other shit storms, etc....
SUPREME CORPORATIONS

The Supreme Court will soon be in control of the corporations. Legal decisions will benefit the companies and institutions that profit at the expense of the people and the planet.

A corporate state is a fascist state, run to enrich the oligarchs and exploit working class people. If you believe the American Revolution was fought against tyranny, how can you continue to support the Duopoly that represents the new American Aristocracy?

Resist the status quo!

(Ralph Nader.org)

"Observers say that confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become President Trump’s second pick for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court will make the Court more conservative. It is more accurate to say Kavanaugh will make the Court more corporatist.

With Kavanaugh, it is all about siding with corporations over workers, consumers, patients, motorists, the poor, minority voters, and beleaguered communities.

Repeatedly Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions put corporate interests ahead of the common good—backing the powerful against the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless."

* * * * *
The Democratic Party is not an opposition party, they side with Republicans on most major issues. 
Pressure Democrats to represent public interests. Better yet, just stop electing them, and vote for independent candidates or progressives running against incumbents. Republicans are obviously paid spokesmodels for the Corporate State and are deservedly despised. Democrats just pretend to represent the people, which also makes them deservedly despised, by anyone paying attention.

SEAN PATRICK MALONEY CALLS ZEPHYR TEACHOUT “UNHINGED” FOR ACCURATELY DESCRIBING HIS VOTING RECORD
(The Intercept.com)


BANK BOMB

(Chris Hedges at Truthdig.com)

"During the financial crisis of 2008, the world’s central banks, including the Federal Reserve, injected trillions of dollars of fabricated money into the global financial system. This fabricated money has created a worldwide debt of $325 trillion, more than three times global GDP. The fabricated money was hoarded by banks and corporations, loaned by banks at predatory interest rates, used to service interest on unpayable debt or spent buying back stock, providing millions in compensation for elites. The fabricated money was not invested in the real economy. Products were not manufactured and sold. Workers were not reinstated into the middle class with sustainable incomes, benefits and pensions. Infrastructure projects were not undertaken. The fabricated money reinflated massive financial bubbles built on debt and papered over a fatally diseased financial system destined for collapse."
HOW MANY TIMES?

(Rob Urie at Counter Punch.org)

"As if on special at Metaphors-R-Us, and just in time for the primary elections, CNN published an article on fake buttons that are provided to give people the illusion of control. It seems psychologists determined that fake buttons at crosswalks, in elevators and in other public and quasi-public places convey a sense of control without the power of control. In the space between upcoming elections and the creeping realization that connected capitalists still control the country, the question is of what reform candidates can really accomplish?"

* * * * *

"Graph: When Bill Clinton entered office as president in 1993 he immediately reneged on his campaign promise to increase social spending citing the budget deficit as the reason. Shortly thereafter (non-financial) private debt (as a percent of GDP) began to rise rapidly as government spending was replaced with bank loans. This increased profits for Wall Street until excessive private debt killed the economy in 2007.  National Democrats favor economic austerity because it increases profits for Wall Street. Source: Worldbank."

* * * * *

"It is ironic, and perhaps wholly coincidental, that insurgent groups as diverse as Occupy Wall Street and the Black Panthers were shut down when they began demonstrating that they could build (small scale, ultimately utopian) alternative institutions. Elections are intended to change the cast of characters without challenging existing institutions. This is what Nancy Pelosi is making clear through her re-statement of the Democrat’s commitment to economic austerity. And it would seem to imply that the greatest impediment to progressive programs comes from establishment Democrats."
CORPORATE IMAGE

When I heard about Nike stock going down after the Colin Kaepernick decision, I thought, "Of course! Rich white guys probably own most of their stock and they hate all that kneeling for the anthem stuff, but since Kaepernick is really speaking out about injustice and brutality, and young people are trending progressive these days, they will love the decision, and buy, buy, buy."  It appears my gut was right. Cha ching! 

Of course, Nike seeming progressive and being progressive are quite different things, as the following article fully explains.

(Jeffrey St. Clair at Counter Punch.org)

"Nike changes its brand more often than Madonna and more profitably. In the company’s latest transformation, Nike has risked–make that sought–the ire of Donald Trump and his drones by making Colin Kaepernick the face of its latest campaign under the inspiring slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick’s brief presence in an otherwise sentimental ad triggered a tweet from Trump and a boycott by the Deplorables, who took to burning their overpriced footwear. It was precisely the response Nike wanted and sales of Nike products have surged over the last week. With social justice icon Kaepernick fronting the brand, no one will be thinking about Nike’s wretched labor practices inside its sweatshops in Honduras, Indonesia and Vietnam. This is a proven formula for the company. When Nike was under intense public scrutiny in the 1990s, it recruited civil rights legend Andrew Young to whitewash the company’s record. The image changed, but the cruel conditions didn’t. Now, with the company rocked by sexual harassment charges against some of its top executives, Nike’s betting that Kaepernick will refrain from speaking out against the dismal practices of his employer. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and LeBron James have all remained mute about the savage treatment of the workers who make the shoes and apparel that are sold under their image. So as a reminder who Nike really is under the patina of its pitchmen, we’re running this excerpt from my book Born Under a Bad Sky.–JSC"

* * * * * * *

"The reason companies like Nike pay people like Michael Jordan $20 million is that their profits depend more on the image of the company than the quality of their products. That’s why direct pressure on the corporations such as Nike, The Gap, and Disney may be the most effective consumer strategy of all. Disney, for example, could not long withstand a campaign that tells people that Mickey Mouse t-shirts are made by Haitian kids in oppressive sweatshops where they aren’t paid enough to eat. “If Americans knew what was going on down here, the yelling, the hitting, the abuse,” says Wendy Diaz, “I’m sure that they would help stop the maltreatment.”

(The book by Jeffrey St. Clair)