If you are in the top 1 percent of the global wealth stakes, our economic system works exceptionally well. Since the financial crisis in 2008, most of the wealth created in the world has ended up in your bank accounts. By next year, you could own more wealth than the rest of the world put together.
This is not just a global phenomenon. The growing gap between rich and poor is a reality for seven out of ten people on the planet. Last week the World Bank calculated that ten Africans own more wealth than half the continent. Statistics like these are actually a cold shower on people’s natural, positive aspirations to improve their lot – they’re telling us the 99 percent won’t get there, or anywhere close.
Wealth is used to entrench inequality, not to trickle down and solve it. Our research shows how pharmaceutical and financial lobbyists spend hundreds of millions of dollars to influence government legislation in their industries’ favour, saving them billions of dollars, for instance by securing the banks’ huge state bailouts. Across the world, we see that great money doesn’t only buy a nice car or a better education or healthcare. It can buy power: impunity from justice; an election; a pliant media; favourable laws. With the privatisation of our universities it can even buy the world of ideas.
There will be no victory in the fight against poverty unless this trend of worsening inequality is reversed. This is recognised by figures as diverse as the Managing Director of the IMF and the Pope. But we cannot win it under the current broken economic system.
This is a system that sees a world possessed of huge wealth nevertheless leaving the vast majority of humanity behind with virtually nothing at all. One where women are systematically exploited; at the current rate of progress it will take 75 years before women are paid the same as men, never mind that women’s unpaid care work continues to remain invisible. And it is a system that is leading us to runaway climate change.
Yet the 1 percent are quick to tell us that there is no real alternative. Sadly, they say, nothing is ever perfect and of course there will be winners and losers (and typically, by implication, talented winners and feckless losers). But that we should be grateful – it’s the best we can hope for.
What an appalling failure of imagination. What a shocking lack of faith in human invention, ingenuity and spirit. I am sure of two things. One is that another world is possible; the second that it cannot be imagined or created by the 1% – it is up to us.
I believe we can build a human economy where people are the bottom line. We need a world where people do not have to live in fear of the economic repercussions of getting sick, or losing their home or job. Where every child gets to fulfil their potential. Where corporations pay their fair share of taxes and work for the good of the majority, not just their shareholders. Where the planet is preserved and sustained for our children and their children’s children.
This is not an impossible dream, it is a practical possibility, well within our reach. To get there we need to organise. We need to harness the boundless energy and creativity of our youth. We are many, they are few.
© 2015 Oxfam International
“Economist Michael Hudson says China’s new international bank will be exempt from a US-veto, empowering other countries to lead development and perhaps challenge the use of the dollar as the currency of global capital.”
Originally posted on Dandelion Salad:
TheRealNews on Mar 21, 2015
Economist Michael Hudson says China’s new international bank will be exempt from a US-veto, empowering other countries to lead development and perhaps challenge the use of the dollar as the currency of global capital.
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If a space or a time traveler would set his time ship’s dial to 2015, with the United States as its destination, one could think that a mandatory preparation for the journey to understand the US’ political system would be an attentive study of the Constitution. After all, the document, drafted in 1787 by the so-called founding fathers and finally ratified three later in 1790 in its original form, is supposed to be the foundation of the US’ political edifice. Two hundred and twenty-five years later, the document has been so thoroughly gutted of its substantial original merits, at least in its spirit if not its letter, that the foundation of the building has become a superfluous architectural ornament. While the US Constitution was far from being revolutionary and granted equal rights only to white male landowners, it marked, in conjunction with the French revolution of 1789, a resolute break from the European kingdoms. No king or queen could ever claim this land again, under any circumstance. A republic, ruled by a meritocracy of well-educated Anglo-Saxon patrician men, was born. Since 190 years after the US Constitution’s ratification, however, which is exactly since 1980, the country has been ruled by two dynasties or their surrogates: the Bushes and the Clintons.
American royal mafia and co: organized crime as political model
To understand the undemocratic and extremely seedy side of US modern-day politics, it would be imperative for our time traveler, de Tocqueville in training, to watch two classics of American cinema: “The Godfather” and “The Godfather Part II”. Director Francis Ford Coppola, in his fictional, yet extremely well-researched and documented films, invited us inside the US’ underbelly. During the 19th century and up to the early 20th century, massive numbers of poor immigrants, mainly Italians, Irish and Jews from eastern Europe, were lured to the Americas largely to escape economic hardship. Those who landed in the US quickly understood that they were excluded from or at best marginalized in this promised land run by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. The more ambitious ones, unencumbered by moral boundaries, developed their own form of government and social code of conduct in the form of a tightly knit family-like structure that usually strictly followed ethnic lines. The birth of organized crime in the US, either Italian, Jewish or Irish, was a direct consequence of the fight for survival of communities that were deliberately excluded from power or even any political discourse.
Mafia families had a strictly enforced code of conduct and precise hierarchy, with a don (boss) at the top; a consiglierie (adviser to the head of the family) directly picked by the don; an under boss who was usually groomed to be the don’s successor; capos (the lieutenants), and “soldiers”. In the 1930s, under the supervision of Lucky Luciano, the don of all dons, not only the five Italian mafia families worked together, but they also collaborated on many occasions with the Jewish and Irish mafia. In this parallel brand of power and economy, mafia families extracted contributions (a primitive form of taxation of usually 10 percent of income) from businesses, ironically to protect them from random criminal activity. By the mid-1930s mafia families controlled large sections of the US economy. The prohibition of alcoholic beverages, which spanned from 1920 to 1933, marked the apogee of the mafia families, either Italian, Jewish or Irish. The mob controlled the flow of liquor, and Americans were thirsty.
During the prohibition era, Joe Kennedy (father of John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy), the patriarch of a family that passed for being true US aristocracy although he had been the grandson of a dirt-poor potato-famine Irish immigrant, substantially increased his vast fortune by importing, from the UK and Canada, and selling illicit liquor in association with Italian-American don Frank Costello and Jewish gangster Meyer Lansky. Joe Kennedy had an edge on the competition: he went into the prohibition era in 1920 with large stocks of booze from his father’s own stores. In what cannot be a coincidence, on the day prohibition ended 13 years later, Joe Kennedy had three exclusive deals to import British whiskey and gin, as well as an extensive network of retailers already in place. Kennedy understood that his political ambitions for his sons would require vast amounts of money. Like any mafia bosses, don Joe Kennedy wanted to start a dynasty at any cost and regardless of moral or even legal considerations. In the US, money meant power, and this notion was the motto for both supposed blue-blood patriarch Kennedy and don Lucky Luciano.
Bush mafia vs Clinton mafia: Defining US politics from 1980 to 2016
Arguably, the first term of George H. Bush, founder of the Bush dynasty, started in 1980 when he officially became Vice President or, to use the mafia term, super under boss to Ronald Reagan, an aging actor, perhaps already senile, hired to perform the role of global don: “Leader of the free world” and most powerful man on earth, according to US mainstream media propaganda. Bush Sr. had previously run the Central Intelligence Agency. During the two terms of the Reagan administration (1980 to 1988), it was common knowledge that Bush Sr was the boss who led US policy. He officially became the don in 1988, and ran his own operation with pretty much the same crew until 1992. James Baker was the key consigliere to don Bush Sr, but he also listened closely to the Talleyrand of US politics, consigliere extraordinaire Henry Kissinger. Bush Sr’s under boss was Donald Rumsfeld who picked his capo in the person of Dick Cheney. George W. Bush or Bush Jr, when his turn came, kept most of the old don’s crew with some minor changes and additions. Cheney became the under boss, while Rumsfeld took the vital Pentagon portfolio.
Before George W. Bush’s turn, the Clinton dynasty came along in 1992, courtesy of WallMart, and with the firm intention, as an obligation to their sponsors, to facilitate a global corporate imperialist agenda. With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), don Bill Clinton went the extra mile for the benefit of his friends in transnational corporations. Bill Clinton became a favorite of Wall Street’s investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs, by being instrumental in the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act which was voted in 1933 during the Great Depression in the aftermath of the 1929 Wall Street crash. The Glass-Steagall Act limited commercial banks securities activities, and it clearly separated commercial banking from investment banking, to curtail speculation. The repeal of this Act allowed Wall Street investment banks to gamble money that was held in commercial banks, and this was arguably one of the lead systemic factors in the 2008 global financial-market crash.
Don Clinton’s consigliere was mainly first-lady Hillary, but he also took the advice of the other super-consigliere besides Kissinger: Polish-born Zbigniew Brzezinski. Consigliere Brzezinski started his career in 1966 when he advised Lyndon B. Johnson. He returned in the late 1970s to advise Jimmy Carter. When he was Carter’s consigliere, Brzezinski came up with the idea to finance and arm the Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. Don Clinton’s under boss was Leon Panetta, and the lead capo was Rahm Emanuel. When dona Hillary Clinton lost what she viewed as being her turn in the driver’s seat, both the Clinton and Bush mafias made sure that young capo Barack Obama, who had not patiently waited for his turn in the limelight, was surrounded by trusted hands. One can imagine the deal imposed on Obama by Bill and Dick. The Bush mafia would keep the Pentagon for the time being; Hillary would run US foreign policy from the State Department; don Bill’s under boss Leon Panetta would become Obama’s CIA director (2009 to 2011) and boss of the Pentagon (2011 to 2013). Clinton’s trusted lead capo Rahm Emanuel became Obama’s under boss. Don Bill did not stay idle after the 2008 election; he became Obama’s lead consigliere, with the occasional help on geopolitical dossiers such as Ukraine from… Brzezinski, of course. The 88-year-old anti-Russian Democrat uber-consigliere’s latest contribution has been to bring back the Cold War into international affairs. Bill Clinton’s main task was to replenish the family coffers through the Clinton Global Initiative, a fund raising operation disguised as being humanitarian. After the 2010 earthquake, Haitibecame don Bill’s pet project and personal fiefdom.
Is there anyway off this sinister merry go round?
By now, our time-traveler hero realizes that the premise of the upcoming 2016 US presidential election “fight” is already set. It will be a rematch of an old time classic: Bush against Clinton, dona Hillary versus don Jeb. For good measure, and to give American consumers of elections a sense that their democracy is not an illusion, there will be unelectable challengers in the fake primaries. This will be strictly for entertainment purposes and to indulge the so-called American left. On a short list of likely seat warmers for Hillary are Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, perhaps even Joe Biden. On the Bush side of the ring, the supposed primary challengers will be harder to find: perhaps Mitt Romney again or phony Libertarian Rand Paul. But let us listen to what consigliere extraordinaire Henry Kissinger recently said on the issue; after all, he has advised more US presidents than anyone else alive. In a September 6, 2014 interview with NPR‘s Scott Simon, when asked if Hillary Clinton would make a good president, Kissinger said: “I know Hillary as a person, and as a personal friend. I would say, yes she would be a good president. But that would put me under a great conflict of interest if she were a candidate, because I intend to support the Republicans…. Yes I would be comfortable with her as a president.” Our time traveler, de Tocqueville in training, is dazed, confused and disgusted by what the US has grown into: the sort of charade that notions like democracy, the common good and morality have become in this display of vile and raw power for power’s sake.
Gilbert Mercier is the Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post.
“We have commented before on the delusions of the Zionist leadership of the United States and George Friedman in particular. Last month George Friedman, founder of the Israeli thinktank Stratfor, held a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. It is again delusional, but a gem nevertheless, because Friedman is brutally frank about the intentions of the US: global empire and nothing less. He does nothing to hide the fact that Ukraine was indeed a largely successful US power grab at the cost of Russia.”
Originally posted on DeepResource:
Extract with ‘highlights’ of speech of George Friedman for the ‘Chicago Council on Global Affairs’. For the full speech, see below.
We have commented before on the delusions of the Zionist leadership of the United States and George Friedman in particular. Last month George Friedman, founder of the Israeli thinktank Stratfor, held a speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. It is again delusional, but a gem nevertheless, because Friedman is brutally frank about the intentions of the US: global empire and nothing less. He does nothing to hide the fact that Ukraine was indeed a largely successful US power grab at the cost of Russia.
A few quotes, borrowed from this source:
“… the relationship between Germany and Russia. Because united they are the only force that could threaten us and to make sure that that does not happen.”
“General Hodges […] He actually pinned…
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Compiled by Thomas Baldwin, Biloxi, MS, March 16, 2015
The war mongering that goes on in the U.S. is total insanity! And the Neocons and the Corporate Fascists are working relentlessly to make that happen, and as a first choice not a last one! Here is the Washington Post OpEd on March 13 and David Swanson’s thoughtful response. If Americans don’t demand control of this insane thinking emanating from Washington on Iran and the Ukraine, we are all going to be dead. ISIS and ISIL will simply be afterthoughts in our radiation poisoning.
It is well known by now that the infamous letter written by Senator Tom Cotton was prompted by Bibi Netanyahu’s speech before Congress which the Republican leadership in the Congress arranged. That strategy was reinforced by AIPAC, the Zionist or Jewish lobby and their influential elite in Washington. That was a great deal of last week’s news.
On March 13, an OpEd article was headlined in the Washington Post by Joshua Muravchik of John Hopkins University. The article was entitled, “War With Iran is Probably Our Best Option.” So now there are these stark raving mad neocons who are trying to drive policy by their access to corporate media, who just loves to see us at war, too. It truly is insanity at a heightened pitch advocating war as a “preferred” option to peace. David Swanson has an excellent response in his article: “The Washington Post Will Kill us All.”
These latter two articles are partially presented here with the full reference provided at the links.
The Washington Post Will Kill Us All
“War with Iran is probably our best option.” This is an actual headline from the Washington Post.
Yes it’s an op-ed, but don’t fantasize that it’s part of some sort of balanced wide-ranging array of varied opinions. The Washington Post wouldn’t print a column advocating peace to save its life — as such an act just might help to do. And you can imagine the response if the headline had been: “Racism is probably our best option,” or “Rape is probably our best option,” or “Child abuse is probably our best option.” Nobody would object: “But they’ve probably had lots of columns opposing child abuse. Surely they can have one in favor, or do you want to shut down debate?” No, some things are rightly considered beyond the range of acceptability. War, in Washington, is not one of them.
Now, war propaganda is illegal under the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights. War itself is illegal under the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the United Nations Charter. But the Washington Post isn’t one to worry about legal niceties.
There was quite a brouhaha last week when 47 senators tried to impede negotiations between the White House / State Department and Iran. Yes, charges of violating the Logan Act were ridiculous. If that was a violation, there have been thousands. In fact here’s one now from the Washington Post. Iran’s government reads this vicious piece of propaganda just as surely as it reads an “open letter” from 47 sexually repressed climate-denying bible-thumping nimrods with corporate funding. When my town’s government passed a resolution opposing any U.S. war on Iran I was immediately contacted by Iranian media, and our city council members were never charged with undermining the federal government’s so-called foreign policy. But the nonpartisan substance of the critique of the 47 Fools and of the Netanyahu Get-Up-Sit-Down aerobics workout was important and applies equally to the Washington Post:advocating war is immoral, illegal, and idiotic.
It is no secret what war on Iran means:
“Iranian cities — owing to geography, climate, building construction, and population densities — are particularly vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a new study, ‘Nuclear War Between Israel and Iran: Lethality Beyond the Pale,’ published in the journal Conflict & Health by researchers from the University of Georgia and Harvard University. It is the first publicly released scientific assessment of what a nuclear attack in the Middle East might actually mean for people in the region.
“Its scenarios are staggering. An Israeli attack on the Iranian capital of Tehran using five 500-kiloton weapons would, the study estimates, kill seven million people — 86% of the population — and leave close to 800,000 wounded. A strike with five 250-kiloton weapons would kill an estimated 5.6 million and injure 1.6 million, according to predictions made using an advanced software package designed to calculate mass casualties from a nuclear detonation.
“Estimates of the civilian toll in other Iranian cities are even more horrendous. A nuclear assault on the city ofArak, the site of a heavy water plant central to Iran’s nuclear program, would potentially kill 93% of its 424,000 residents. Three 100-kiloton nuclear weapons hitting the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas would slaughter an estimated 94% of its 468,000 citizens, leaving just 1% of the population uninjured. A multi-weapon strike on Kermanshah, a Kurdish city with a population of 752,000, would result in an almost unfathomable 99.9% casualty rate.”
Continued at link 1
And the Washington Post article:
War with Iran is probably our best option
by Joshua Muravchik, March 13
Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
The logical flaw in the indictment of a looming “very bad” nuclear deal with Iran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered before Congress this month was his claim that we could secure a “good deal” by calling Iran’s bluff and imposing tougher sanctions. The Iranian regime that Netanyahu described so vividly — violent, rapacious, devious and redolent with hatred for Israel and the United States — is bound to continue its quest for nuclear weapons by refusing any “good deal” or by cheating.
This gives force to the Obama administration’s taunting rejoinder: What is Netanyahu’s alternative? War? But the administration’s position also contains a glaring contradiction. National security adviser Susan Rice declared at an American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference before Netanyahu’s speech that “a bad deal is worse than no deal.” So if Iran will accept only a “bad deal,” what is President Obama’s alternative? War?
Obama’s stance implies that we have no choice but to accept Iran’s best offer — whatever is, to use Rice’s term, “achievable” — because the alternative is unthinkable.
But should it be? What if force is the only way to block Iran from gaining nuclear weapons? That, in fact, is probably the reality. Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.
Such visionary regimes do not trade power for a mess of foreign goods. Materialism is not their priority: They often sacrifice prosperity to adhere to ideology. Of course, they need some wealth to underwrite their power, but only a limited amount. North Korea has remained dirt poor practicing its ideology of juche, or self-reliance, but it still found the resources to build nuclear weapons.
Continued at link 2: