Redistribution

 

As Bernie Sanders continues to triumph in Democratic primaries expect to hear increased denunciations of socialism. Along the way I suspect there will be denunciations of redistribution as well.

However, it’d important to understand that the crucial redistribution has already happened and the same people who are complaining the loudest are the ones who benefited the most.

Allow me to explain.

From the New Deal to the late 1970’s, America maintained a much more equalitarian economy where every worker, from the CEO down to production personnel, served partly as a manager, participating in planning and coordination as well as sharing in the fruits of rising productivity.

US corporations invested in continuous paid training of long-term employees, allowing them to rise up the ranks. At IBM, for example, a 40-year worker might spend more than four years, or 10 percent, of his work life in fully paid, IBM-provided training. Meanwhile, top executives enjoyed commensurately less control and captured lower incomes. This democratic approach to management compressed the distribution of income and status.

While this state of affairs enhanced widespread prosperity, not everyone was happy.

The wealthy and their management allies, who had seen their profits and prestige diminish during this period seized upon the stagflation of the 1970’s to stage a counter-revolution. A new ideal of shareholder primacy, powerfully championed by Milton Friedman provided the intellectual underpinning to this ideology. Shareholder primacy argued that “the paramount duty of management and of boards of directors is to the corporation’s stockholders.”

This ideology of shareholder value as the highest responsibility of a corporation allowed a new class of management consultants–epitomized by McKinsey & Company–to focus on efficiency and to pursue this duty by expressly and relentlessly taking aim at the middle managers who had dominated mid-century firms, and whose wages cut into shareholder profits.

McKinsey framed its path to downsizing, which the firm called “overhead value analysis,” to deal with this problem. As McKinsey’s John Neuman admitted in an essay introducing the method, the “process, though swift, is not painless. Since overhead expenses are typically 70% to 85% people-related and most savings come from work-force reductions, cutting overhead does demand some wrenching decisions.”

This fundamental redistribution thus implemented and rationalized a transformation in the American corporation. Corporations downsized in response not to particular business problems but rather to a new managerial ethos and methods; they downsized when profitable as well as when struggling, and during booms as well as busts.

There was an appreciation of the societal costs these wrenching decisions might cause. When IBM abandoned lifetime employment in the 1990s, local officials asked gun-shop owners around its headquarters to close their stores while employees absorbed the shock.

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that workplace massacres began happening during this same period?

In effect, this fundamental economic redistribution allowed corporations to replace lifetime employees with short-term, part-time, and even subcontracted workers, hired under ever more tightly controlled arrangements, who sell particular skills and even specified outputs, and who manage nothing at all.

This is the world we live in presently. It’s called the Gig Economy.

Mid-century, democratic management empowered ordinary workers and disempowered elite executives. Today, top executives boast immense powers of command—and, as a result, capture virtually all of management’s economic returns. Whereas at mid-century a typical large-company CEO made 20 times a production worker’s income, today’s CEOs make nearly 300 times as much.

Now that’s some redistribution.

Going further, what obvious is the central role that redistribution has played in fueling the enormous economic inequalities that played no small part in the election of Donald Trump and now threaten to turn the United States into a caste society.

At this point I’m pretty sure that the feral elite who control the DNC are going to pull out all the stops to prevent Sanders from becoming the Democratic contender which is too bad because his candidacy would offer an amazing window into the the kayfabe our political process has become.

For one thing, an election between Sanders and Trump would expose the Resistance for the phonies they are. For all the talk of Donald Trump as some sort of Manchurian–Nazi/Russian puppet, if the choice were between Sanders and Trump I’m pretty sure that all the wealthy liberals would vote for Trump. Think about it, from the standpoint of those liberals tied to investor-class interests, a Trump victory in 2020, even if it were to raise a serious threat of authoritarianism, could be less disturbing than a Sanders-led, political realignment that threatened their redistributed gains.

Not only that but all the manipulations and obvious hypocrisy has the potential to cause profound, widespread cognitive dissonance. If enough people in the world’s most powerful nation wake up to the fact that they don’t have the kind of political system they were taught about in school, if they realize that everything they’ve been told about how their government operates is a lie, if they realize their lives have been made so unnecessarily difficult by a ruling oligarchic class with a vested interest in keeping them poor and distracted, well, then we’re looking at an actual revolution.

In this transformative milieu language matters.

Crucially, socialism and redistribution are pejoratives aimed at Sanders and his supporters to divert attention away from the fact that 40 years of redistribution has resulted in socialism for corporations and their wealthy owners and the savagery of the “free market” for the rest of us.

 

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Wrong in the right way

 

Many of our political and media elite are wrong in the right way.

I mean that they are wrong but in a way that serves wealth and power. This dynamic is not a bug but a feature. Their job is to ensure the perpetuation of the status quo which rewards them so handsomely for their supposed incompetence. Toward this end they are not incompetent at all. They know exactly what they’re doing, and they’re doing it well.

Take leading war for empire cheerleader, Max Boot, for example. The former Project for the New American Century member Boot has been a enthusiastic cheerleader for some of the most catastrophically disastrous military interventions in living memory. Think Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc. Boot has also been the leading intellectual proponent of the American empire with his 2001 screed “The Case for American Empire“.

The fact that he’s been wrong about all of these conflicts matters not a whit. He simply advocates for the deployment of expensive military equipment consistently and reliably. The corporate media and their billionaire owners love that in a pundit.

Which brings us to the US military, that hasn’t won a war in forever. Read the Pentagon Papers from the Vietnam War era or the Afghanistan Papers recently revealed by the Washington Post. In both cases, prominent U.S. military leaders admitted to fundamental flaws in their war-making practices, including the lack of a coherent strategy, a thorough misunderstanding of the nature and skills of their enemies, and the total absence of any real progress in achieving victory, no matter the cost.

Why, then, does this losing persist? The answer would have to be because this country doesn’t hold its failing military leaders accountable. Instead, it applauds them and promotes them, rewarding them when they retire with six-figure pensions, often augmented by cushy jobs with major “defense” contractors. Meanwhile, these same weapons contractors and their wealthy stockholders enjoy record profits. Apparently it pays to lose.

We can’t forget about the elite neoliberal economists who were wrong about the dangers of financializing the US economy in the run up to the Wall Street Crash of 2008. However, they were wrong in the right way by supporting the banks and financial firms that have gone on to capture the lions share of the wealth since then. These same economists were also wrong about the universal benefits of globalization, where trade agreements such as GATT and the WTO actually allowed multinational corporations to engage in trans-border arbitrage of national laws and regulations intended to protect workers, consumers,
and the environment. No matter. These same neoliberal economists have kept their jobs and are still being rewarded for being wrong.

Ultimately, the problem with being wrong in the right way is that this routine can only go on for so long. As I’ve stated here numerous times, elite venality and corruption are indicative of the end of an empire. In this case the American one.

What makes our milieu particularly humorous is that our current crop of feral elite claim to be products of a meritocratic system, as in their claim to legitimacy stems from the claim that they are more educated and talented and therefore obviously should be in the top slots because they’ll perform so much better than everyone else.

Perhaps that’s the true value of an Ivy League education–how to be wrong in the right way?

Seriously, if we examine the list of failures it becomes hard not to question our so-called meritocratic system. Go down the list: There’s the fraudulent case for the invasion of Iraq, the botched response to Hurricane Katrina–“Heckuva job Brownie”, the post Watt Street Crash failure to reform our banking sector or jail the criminal banksters, the F-35, the inept roll-out of Obamacare and the hazardous healthcare system that lurks behind it, our student-impoverishing higher education system, etc.

And, that’s before we get to the latest elite failures in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump. I’ve come to believe that Russia-gate, Ukraine-gate and the impeachment fiasco were more the result of elite-liberal CYA as Trump perfidy.

According to the book ‘Shattered’, which describes the Clinton campaign, the decision to blame Russia for her loss was made a day after Trump’s victory: “That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech. Mook and Podesta assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.”

Presently, there’s a push back from political and media elites, who decry the loss of faith in elite institutions and anger at the elites who control these institutions. They sneeringly refer to this as “populism” and want to blame it on Trump, or the “deplorable’s”, or anyone but themselves.

Not only is the anger at elites justified but there is a real danger in letting the rot deepen, breeding more cynicism and more alienation from even the general idea that we live in anything vaguely resembling a democracy.

Indeed, for the past four years, it has been clear that Sanders and Trump each represent a direct response to the severe (and warranted) disillusionment of average Americans, who have watched as America turns into a banana republic right before their eyes.

It’s been a heckuva job.

 

 

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Elephant in the Room

 

It’s telling that the liberal “Resistance” is pinning their hopes on John Bolton to provide damning testimony in the impeachment trial of President Trump.

Bolton, the arch-neocon, is one of the more repulsive swamp creatures to inhabit the Beltway and the fact that he’s become the liberal “Hail Mary” is indicative of the weakness of their impeachment case.

Seriously, liberal elites have been trying to impeach Trump since he surprised Hillary Clinton, who had assumed herself to be the heir apparent. Since then we’ve had 3 years of non-stop Russia-gate, Ukraine-gate and now this.

But, what’s the end game? With the balance of power in the Senate favoring the Republicans its always been assumed that they would simply vote to acquit and that would be the end of it.

There had to be another angle, and recently I read an article by the Polemicist that heightened my suspicions. The author speculates that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President managing a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason behind the House sending the flimsy Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, and why Democrats are so hell-bent on replacing Trump before the election.

“The obviousness of this losing hand, and the fact that the most politically-seasoned, can’t-be-that-stupid Democrats seem determined to play it out, have my paranoid political Spidey senses all atingle. What are the cards they’re not showing? What lies beneath the thin ice of these Articles of Impeachment? If the apparent agenda makes no sense, look for the hidden. Something that better explains why Pelosi, et. al. find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.

There is one thing that I can think of that drives such frantic urgency: War. That would also explain why Trump’s “national security” problem—embedded in the focus on Ukraine arms shipments, Russian aggression, etc.—is the real issue, the whistle to Republican war dogs. But if so, the Ukro-Russian motif is itself a screen for another “national security”/war issue that cannot be stated explicitly. There’s no urgency about aggression towards Russia. There is for Iran.

So here’s my entirely speculative tea-leaf reading: If there’s a hidden agenda behind the urgency to remove Trump, one that might actually garner the votes of Republican Senators, it is to replace him with a president who will be a more reliable and effective leader for a military attack on Iran that Israel wants to initiate before next November. Spring is the cruelest season for launching wars.”

The author says that even as Trump gives the Israeli’s everything they want, they don’t trust him to manage the fallout from an all out Israeli attack against Iran.

“That is exactly why Serious People in Israel and the United States would really, really want to have someone other than Donald Trump as President if there is going to be a war with Iran: It’s more than a fear that Trump won’t go along with it. (After all, he despises Iran, and can usually be made to do what the neocons want.) It’s that Israel won’t, in this instance, be looking to strike some weapons depots. It will be trying to eliminate the perceived strategic threat Iran poses and any possibility of retaliation—quickly, thoroughly, and for decades at least. That means destroying as much of the country as quickly as possible. Given Iran’s size (680,000 sq. mi.), strength, and tenacity, that means Israel will use overwhelming and ruthless force—including, I think, nuclear weapons. And Iran and its allied forces will strike back against all countries and all forces it considers complicit in the attack, everywhere they can reach. In that situation, Israel will need not only US military support, but, perhaps more importantly, the backing of an American president who projects the kind of leadership that can solicit the support, or at least the forbearance, of countries in the region, European countries, and the “international community.” That is not Donald Trump.”

The elephant in the room of the impeachment trial is Israel. We discussed here how maintenance of the Petrodollar is key to US foreign policy, but support for Israel rivals this dynamic in understanding US American foreign policies the Middle-East.

Remember how Wesley Clark described in 2007, that the US was planning on starting with Iraq and finishing off with Iran? Since then the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism. The planning for these actions–the Yinon Plan–took place decades ago. The Oded Yinon Plan is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It states that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of “praying for war with Iran” Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together “urged” Trump to approve the killing of Iranian General Soleimani. Pence, who will become president if the Democrats succeed in impeaching Trump, is a member of Christians United For Israel (CUFI). Pompeo, characterized as the “brainchild” of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran.

I know this all sounds batshit cray-cray but if the last couple years have shown us anything it’s that we’re in uncharted waters and pretty much anything is possible.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

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Deplorable

 

Hillary Clinton was at Sundance over the weekend for the premier of a new documentary entitled Hillary.  According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Hillary received a standing ovation from the liberal Hollywood audience after the showing.

I’m not surprised that the Sundance crowd adores her. They have made out like bandits in the globalized economy that Hillary and her husband Bill were instrumental in bringing about. Indeed, the Clinton administration turbo-charged the financialization of the American economy and was instrumental in accelerating the off-shoring of middle-class manufacturing jobs to Mexico and China. The priority of this new financialized economy was maximizing shareholder value, not making things; let alone wasting good money on workers and infrastructure.

Moreover, Bill and Hillary epitomized the New Democrats who transformed the Democratic party from one that represented workers to the one that represents the wealthy liberal professionals at Sundance. For the attendees, these are the best of times. Globalization has meant that they can buy their I-Phones and tablets, computers and electronics, their automobiles and bicycles for a fraction of what they would have to spend if they still paid American workers to produce these products. Instead, they turn a blind eye to the realities of Asian manufacturing, where workers are paid a pittance and US manufacturers, like Apple, avoid regulations and environmental concerns.

For the American workers who’ve been left behind to stew in despair throughout abandoned towns and cities across the “flyover” regions, Hillary had a word for them.

Deplorables.

The Sundance documentary is a largely flattering portrait, but director Nanette Burstein does address Clinton’s marriage to former President Bill Clinton and his involvement with Monica Lewinsky; her failed presidential campaign; and how she became “kind of a Rorschach test for women and women’s roles as soon as I burst onto the public scene when Bill was running for president.”

During the question and answer session following the premier, Hillary spoke of how during the making of the documentary no question or line of inquiry had been out of bounds. Clinton sat for more than 35 hours of interviews with Burstein.  The filmmaker said she is grateful for “how willing Secretary Clinton was to share her story on such an honest, human level, and give me the time and the trust. Not be worried about how I was going to put this together.” Burstein reiterated that nothing was off limits, and that Clinton had no editorial control over the documentary.

However, while I haven’t seen the film, I bet that there were a number of topics that were in fact “off limits.” With that regard, here are some of the topics, in no particular order, that I would have asked her about, if a shlub like me got to make documentaries about famous people.

  1. While Hillary talked about her legal work during the Watergate hearings, what about the legal work she did while in Arkansas for Walmart and for the banker Jackson Stevens?
  2. What was the Clinton’s involvement with the goings on in Mena, Arkansas as relating to shadowy US intelligence agencies funding the Contra’s with drug smuggling? The Clintons’ own involvement in Iran-Contra revolved around the covert activities at Arkansas’ Mena Airport, which involved the CIA front company Southern Air Transport and occurred while Clinton was governor. Hillary has always claimed to be a co-equal with her husband during their time in governance, so she was in a position to know all about these nefarious affairs.
  3. Did these nefarious affairs, which enabled the deep state in their Nicaraguan regime-change operations, demonstrate the Clinton’s trustworthiness for the Ovel Office?
  4. What about Hillary’s own actions as Secretary of State, where she was instrumental in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi–“We came, we saw, he died”–the coup in Honduras, the coup in Ukraine, and the attempted coup in Syria, where she was pressing for a no-fly zone?

Like I said, I haven’t seen Hillary and don’t plan on seeing it. But I’m pretty sure the director didn’t get into any of those topics, which is too bad because that would make for one hell of an engrossing movie.

They could star Meryl Streep.

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The language of control

 

In a recent interview Matt Stoller confirmed something that I long suspected. Stoller, the author of Goliath: The 100 Year war between Monopoly Power and Democracy, describes economics as the language of the aristocracy, or oligarchy, if you will. He says that economics is a language for how to understand the world, but also a language that precludes discussing power. “The point of economics as a discipline is to create a language and methodology for governing that hides political assumptions from the public.”

Economics does it by creating a mathematized language that hides political assumptions, while inserting this mathematized language into every important governing structure. The point of the mathematized language is to hide important governing decisions from the public, and to make sure that only the best people (read–the wealthy) are allowed to control the levers of power.

Ever since my first Econ 101 lecture I have suspected as much. Going further, it’s become obvious that the discipline of economics has become a means to justify the savage inequality created by 40 plus years of neoliberal ideology.

We live in an age of precarity, epitomized by a gig economy where employers have the whip hand. According to research by the Bank of England, the labour share of income has fallen significantly in the USA and in other advanced economies as well. The decline in power of labor has led to new precarious forms of employment: mostly flexible, low-payed, unstable jobs that are underregulated by labour legislation and offer few if any benefits.

Individuals are considered contractors or “entrepreneurs” maximizing their “human capital”, which consists of knowledge, skills and abilities of an individual, to be managed just like any other form of capital. This logic turns citizens into another actor in the so-called “free market”, with its “natural” and “objective” laws. If the market-actor succeeds, they increase their human capital. If they fail and fall into poverty, it’s nobody’s fault but theirs because the market is savage but fair (just like nature).

Following this pernicious logic, any social support and protection (like labors unions) is considered a violation of free will and a burden to the “job creators”.

Thus, precarity driven by the ideology of neoliberalism becomes the default setting for the modern “liberal” technocratic governments. Think the New Democrats and the Third Way, the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barak Obama.

Or, as Margaret Thatcher proclaimed–There is no alternative.

Neoliberal economic ideology is ready as a powerful weapon in this class war. Media, internet, books and experts strive to persuade workers that this state of insecurity is necessary, normal or even desirable. And the defenders of flexible and unstable jobs claim that this is the objective logic of economy which has nothing to do with political decision-making or power relations.

Neoliberal economics also presents itself as the key social science that can solve problems in any other social field: law, culture, education, social care etc. Indeed, it’s been amazingly successful at colonizing every facet of our lives.

Neoliberalism has ordained the “free market” to be the best method for organizing our society therefore other issues are no longer considered to be a matter of politics, which means they are no longer subject to democratic choice. In this manner are power relations erased. The decisions instead are technocratic and seem to be not a matter of voluntary acts of power, but a ‘forced’ solution, based on the impersonal necessity of the global free market. This is what famous political theorist Wendy Brown called neoliberal rationality.

However, precarity really is a political problem rather than some kind of temporary technical mistake of capitalism. Precarity is the theory of surplus value of labor taken to its logical endpoint, a constructed system of neo-exploitation.

Right now the leaders of such a constructed system are meeting in Davos, for the World Economic Forum. For these sociopathic masters of the universe precarity is not a bug but a feature of late stage capitalism.

It is ironic that the theme of this year’s Davos conclave is “stakeholder capitalism” – the idea that corporations have a responsibility to their workers, communities and the environment as well as to their shareholders.

Besides the dark humor associated with the replacement of shareholder with stakeholder, the pledge should be viewed as a PR exercise. The assembled CEOs know they can increase their wealth much faster by boosting equity values in the short term by buying back their shares of stock, suppressing wages, opposing unions, ignoring environmental regulations and lobbying politicians for tax cuts and subsidies.

In other words, despite all the pious proclamations at Davos it will be business as usual. So expect more downward pressure on wages, more payoffs to politicians for tax cuts and subsidies and further rollbacks of environmental regulations. All of which will worsen the prevailing precarity.

In tandem we can expect neoliberal economists to continue to insist that there really is no alternative.

 

 

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More Projection

 

To make sense of our seemingly crazy world just turn everything around. It’s all projection.

For instance, that whole war on terrorism thing since 9/11 is projection, big time. War of terror would be more accurate. Presently in the Middle-East, all the accusations against Iran (“greatest sponsor of terrorism”, Iran allied with al-Qaeda, etc.) are a projection of US actions. The uncomfortable reality is that the US employs terrorist proxies in the Middle-East as a key means of maintaining its corporate empire, while Iran opposes them.

And Russia-gate, at it’s very essence, is projection. All of the panic over Russians hacking our precious democracy comes at a time when the US stands accused of violating the sovereignty of countless nations that went against Washington’s neoliberal policies. Ever since the fall of the USSR, the US has embarked on a jihad of regime change, using the soft-power means of color revolutions and hybrid warfare, or terrorist proxies if these methods prove insufficient.

By this time, especially following the release of the Mueller Report, you would think that conspiracy theories involving Russia and American democracy would have subsided; instead they’ve only escalated as the U.S. enters the hot end of the 2020 presidential election campaign.

Presently, Americans are bombarded with corporate media stories about the dastardly Russians threatening our elections. “A signature trait of Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘is his ability to convince people of outright falsehoods,’ William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in a statement. “In America, they using social media and many other tools to inflame social divisions, promote conspiracy theories and sow distrust in our democracy and elections.”

Yeah, we got it. The Russians are coming. Be very afraid.

Ukraine-gate is more projection, where basically Joe Biden did everything that the Democrats accuse Trump of doing. The corruption and quid pro quo are all there on a grotesque scale. And Biden is so brazen about the whole thing, he brags on tape at the Council of Foreign Relations and admits to his crime. Meanwhile, this latest projection has resulted in the Democrats impeaching President Trump as a desperate ploy to avoid the fallout from Russia-gate and Ukraine-gate, now that the Barr-Durham probe is poised to shine a light on this can of wriggling worms.

Going further, Ukraine-gate is ultimately projection from the coup in Ukraine that Obama initiated in 2014 with the able assistance of Victoria Nuland. The upshot was that the US, in a familiar bit of “war on terror” projection, employed Neo-Nazi’s as terrorist proxies to provide the muscle in the civil war that resulted from the coup. In fact the US is still arming and training these Neo-Nazi’s stormtroopers against the Russian supported rebels in the Donbass. The whole controversy that resulted in the impeachment, after all, concerned Trump withholding anti-tank missiles to be used by these erstwhile allies.

This brings up an uncomfortable reality. None of the ongoing projection would be anywhere as effective without the active assistance from the corporate media. Indeed, the downsizing and effective elimination of investigative journalism has exacerbated the problem. Now, savvy editors and journalists understand that the route to success is to parrot the official line, of their plutocratic owners.

In fact the power of these vast news media corporations to manipulate the way the populace thinks and votes stretches far beyond the consequences of a mere presidential election. The ability to manufacture consent for the agendas of the plutocratic class which controls these corporations enables empire and the war and militarism that accompanies empire. Projection also enables and contributes to the soul crushing precariat produced by neoliberalism and the increasingly Orwellian surveillance programs that have transformed our country.

This ongoing projection is coming at a critical junction in American history. The US is struggling to hold on to its dominant position as the world hegemon. And rather than seeing that their unipolar world is ending, our sociopathic elite are prepared to use any and all means to hold their position in the world. The deep state and crucial sectors of the US ruling class are absolutely terrified that China is already outpacing the “indispensable nation” economically and that Russia has outpaced it militarily. Both countries recently held joint naval drills with Iran.

The problem with projection for we the people is that we are unable to see the truth while accepting the lies. We’re supporting al Qaeda/ISIS and Neo-Nazi terrorist proxies. We’re supporting the military dictatorship of  the American empire. We’re supporting our subservience to supranational corporate diktats. And ultimately we’re supporting the thirdworldization of our own political/economy.

The result is permanent warfare and globalizing poverty that are hallmarks of this dystopia, as is the widespread despair.

It’s getting late in the game but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Just saying.

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Enemy Of Empire

 

General Soleimani was assassinated because he was successful at opposing the US empire and defeating their terrorist proxies.

Soleimani was not a mastermind of terrorism, as the corporate media alleges. He was a mastermind of legitimate resistance against American illegal occupation and state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East. Moreover, Soleimani is a figure of almost mythical status for legions of young Hezbollah supporters, Houthis in Yemen, resistance fighters in both Iraq and Syria, Islamic Jihad in Palestine, and all across the Global South.

The defeat of Islamic State and their assorted proxies in Syria and Iraq exposed the dirty war that the U.S. had orchestrated and it’s dishonest, hypocritical claims about fighting terrorism. It’s not so much Iran’s military capability but its influence in the region, in particular Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen that upsets Washington. Soleimani was instrumental in defeating their terrorist proxies–al-Qaeda and ISIS, in Iraq and Syria. He was a fearsome enemy of Sunni terrorism and played a massive role in halting the spread of ISIS. That is why Soleimani became such a hate-figure for Washington. He had thwarted the American imperialist agenda for subjugating the region according to its strategic desires.

Rogue economist Michael Hudson sheds light on what is in effect a protracted “democratic” oil war: “The assassination was intended to escalate America’s presence in Iraq to keep control of the region’s oil reserves, and to back Saudi Arabia’s Sunni terrorists (Isis, Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra in Syria and other divisions of what are actually America’s foreign legion) to support U.S. control of Near Eastern oil as a buttress of the US dollar. That remains the key to understanding this policy, and why it is in the process of escalating, not dying down.”

The US national security establishment came to understand that Soleimani was the key strategic asset for Iraq to eventually assert control of its oil wealth, while progressively defeating their terrorist proxies. That’s why his days were numbered.

Hudson, in this must read article elaborates on something I’ve written about before. The dirty little secret of the war on terror is that the US  uses terror groups as proxies to effect regime change while pretending to fight them. And, of course, the corporate media plays along.

Dr. Hudson also relates the backstory. “I sat in on discussions of this policy as it was formulated nearly fifty years ago when I worked at the Hudson Institute and attended meetings at the White House, met with generals at various armed forces think tanks and with diplomats at the United Nations. My role was as a balance-of-payments economist having specialized for a decade at Chase Manhattan, Arthur Andersen and oil companies in the oil industry and military spending. These were two of the three main dynamic of American foreign policy and diplomacy. (The third concern was how to wage war in a democracy where voters rejected the draft in the wake of the Vietnam War.) The Vietnam War showed that modern democracies cannot field armies for any major military conflict, because this would require a draft of its citizens. That would lead any government attempting such a draft to be voted out of power. And without troops, it is not possible to invade a country to take it over”.

He says that the solution for the US, in order to maintain its empire, has been to utilize airpower combined with terrorist proxies to wage war on countries that refuse to follow Washington’s diktat’s. Crucially, this means pricing you oil or natural resources in dollars and recycling them through Wall Street.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of global hegemon. This privileged position of holding the reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington’s global power.

This salient foreign policy dynamic is key to understanding the crucial role that Saudi Arabia plays through its control of Wahabi Sunnis turned into terrorist jihadis willing to sabotage, bomb, assassinate, blow up and otherwise fight any target designated as an enemy. So in addition to playing a key role in the U.S. balance of payments by recycling its oil-export earnings are into U.S. stocks, bonds and other investments, while buying US armaments, Saudi Arabia provides manpower by supporting the Wahabi members of America’s foreign legion, ISIS and Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda. Terrorism has thus become the “democratic” mode of today U.S. military policy.

Perversely, the upshot of this assassination could be the opposite of what the US hoped to achieve. On Sunday, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi joined a majority of the Iraqi parliament in demanding that the US—after expending trillions in treasure and blood—leave the country forthwith.

With his death, Soleimani may be about to achieve the goal he strove for in life: Withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq. His assassination, will upend Iraq’s strategic positioning. The Iraqi attempt at balancing between Washington and Iran will be destroyed by this reckless act. It may well mark the beginning of the end of the US presence in Iraq, Syria, and ultimately of America’s worldwide empire.

I will not shed any tears. Our corporate-empire has been terrible for most Americans. It has made us venal and corrupt, it has destroyed the middle class, and it has entrenched a small subset of sociopaths into positions of total, unaccountable power.

Good riddance.

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