The Greek Referendum: Empirical evidence and knowledge vs. Faith-based delusional belief — thom prentice

greece flag

The Greek “crisis” and referendum Sunday is about many things, but the most UNREMARKED thing that it is about is the CLASH BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF;

* Between empirical fact and belief;

* Between reason and faith;

* Between rationality and delusion;

* Between technologically-driven, efficient systems and human values; and

* Between algorithms and the rhythms of life.

It is a matter of fact — hard, cold empirical evidence — that the neoliberal capitalist austerity policies forced in Greece by Germany’s Merkel via the EuroZone Apparatus of Oppression has caused a horrific depression. It is like intentionally infecting a human with Ebola or AIDS or cancer and then demanding that the patient cut off his arms and legs to get chemotherapy.

Yet Germany and the EuroThugs brazenly demand that Greece do that very thing.

On the other hand, there is a naive, childlike, puerile, infantile faith-based delusional belief that ‘everything will be all right if we just abandon our own needs and submit in the most servile way to the dictatorship of the German EuroZoneThugs.’ This is the same kind of delusional, aberrant, deranged thinking that makes a repeatedly battered wife decided to go home to her loving husband.

Greece is just the latest battleground — “contested terrain” –

* Between knowledge and belief;

* Between empirical fact and belief;

* Between reason and faith;

* Between rationality and delusion between technologically-driven efficient systems and human values;

* Between algorithms and the rhythms of life.

It is also about democracy vs. dictatorship;

* About whether capitalism can tolerate democracy at all;

* About whether capitalism is an organism with an immune system which detects democracies and dissents and mobilizes blood cells to smite, smite, root and branch; or perhaps it is a malignant, invasive cancer metastasizing throughout the organism of humanity ultimately killing it, organ by organ until it reigns supreme – and then dies when its “host” body dies.

* The Greek vote is also about whether nations can retain sovereignty;

* About whether international and intercontinental supranational institutions are the new veil camouflaging dictatorship;

* About whether the state is an abject failure and humans should revert to local, tribal sorts of communities which trade and interact with each other but which do not have the ties that bind – those “entangling alliances” George Washington warned of (even as he participated in slave ownership and genocide of Indians);

* About whether banks and hedge funds which make clearly reckless loans should be bailed out at al let alone again and again and again;

* About whether currency speculators like George Soros — the very kind Jesus angrily threw out of the Temple — should be bailed out for reckless currency speculations at all let alone again and again and again;

* About whether only the thin veneer — the facade — of pageant, spectacle democracy is being cynically used to camouflage outright genocidal fascism;

* About whether money has any meaning at all anyway when it is not even backed by plastic silverware and paper plates let alone at least SOME gold and silver; and

* About whether money has any meaning at all anyway backed by nothing more than pixelated zeros and ones, money created – or debited – with a point and a click;

* About whether humans should be at the center of the economic system rather than profit (per Pope Francis);

* About whether democracy should rule capitalism or whether capitalism should rule democracy;

* About whether there are any HUMAN values important as profit for vampire capitalism — HUMAN VALUES like empathy, compassion, sharing, love, helping, friendship (REAL friendship: not “like” Facebook “friends”), mutuality, community, truth and beauty, serenity and pursuit of happiness, kindness and gentleness, forgiveness …

MOREOVER, Global Heating/ClimateChange/Climate Disruption denial is another, even more dramatic example of “contested terrain” between reason and faith.

So is blind faith in political parties or Fuehrer Prinzip WORSHIP of particular leaders such as Obama for the Democrats and Reagan for the Republicans or Hitler for the Nazis, or in the Confederate battle flag or indeed, in the “nobility” of the truly wicked, evil, secessionist, traitorous, evil Confederacy itself – America’s home grown Nazi Germany. (One Per Cent of southern whites owned slaves and were therefore the wealthy and governing elites; how did THEY manage to convince the REST of southern whites who owned NO slaves to fight and die for the Confederate One Per Centers? How? And without television!)

Another example is kneejerk sieg heil faith in military and military might; in militarist sports and quarterback heroes and coach heroes; and the divine right of badged thug cops to do as they please without consequences;

Or blind faith in capitalism, in the so-called “free market” and blind faith that going to work every morning, is “normal” for human beings who have been around for about six million years counting Australopithecus and did tolerably well without Dilbert cubicles, snarling bosses, traffic jams, and malevolent, malicious aggressive, intrusive pop-up, screen-hogging marketing and advertising.

Yes, religion morphs into multiplicities of faith – in SECULAR institutions and personages – the Kims of Korea, the Windsors of England, Putin of Russia and the Bushes of United States all come to mind – in the way malignant cancer invades a human organ by organ

Here’s how: The monotheistic religions based on the psychopathic God of the Torah/Old Testament/Qur’an – the Jews, Christians and Muslims – morphs into

* The psychopathic God of the Zionist European White apartheid fascist, nuclear-armed settler state of Israel which pretends alarm at the prospect of a neighbors similarly arming itself but which in reality has nothing nuclear;

* The psychopathic God of the English, European and American empires based wholly on the tyranny model of 1500 years of the Vatican and its racism, fascism, crusades, inquisitions and manifold wicked, iniquitous, inhuman, insane wickednesses such as capitalism, “free trade”, the PetroDollar, the Dollar Uber Alles and sundry other deviances;

* The psychopathic God of the Caliphate and Ottoman Empire and in the fascist Arab puppet states of the English/Euro/US empire plus various bands of Muslim rebels on three continents resisting the corrupt western values of capitalism, militarism, empire, death, profit-at-any-cost, destruction, human immiseration and extraordinary evil.

So looking at the human species and human consciousness – say from a point of view in the outer stratosphere, maybe alien life form in a UFO — it seems that Greece is yet another skirmish, perhaps decisive, perhaps not, in the battle for human consciousness.

That battle is between human social governance by irrational, delusional, deranged, faith-based assertions of belief maintained by crass and cynical manipulation of emotions

OR

governance by empirical evidence and fact-based knowledge,

like reason, rationality and human values — kindness truth, beauty, empathy, and compassion – with governance arrived at in a democracy process like the New England town meetings or the tribal governance of the exterminated American Indian peoples. (Remaining – and seriously endangered – indigenous peoples on six of the seven continents also use this rather successful sort of local, tribal governance. So forget ‘Think Globally, Act Locally” — rather “Think Locally, Act Locally” or “Think Tribally, Not Globally” – or face human extinction.

ADVANTAGE: deranged delusion.

Mostly because it has had a long and successful run since agriculture and human civilization – especially “Western White Christian Civilization as We Know It” — began its aberrant rise perhaps 6,000 years ago (compared with 6 trillion for Australopithecus and 4.5 billion for Earth.)

Moreover, psychopathic humans have forced servile humans to contribute to burning through 500 million years of tree-based carbon fossil fuels in about 100 years – quite a remarkable accomplishment for the psychopaths of this oh-so-clever species, engineering its own extinction by using the atmosphere as an open, stinking sewer. Hey Elites: Good Luck on that space station!

But delusional faith-based assertions of belief are NOT restricted, of course, to official religion. Indeed “faith” in the Eurozone is a religion and in the US, while technically a secular state,

America itself has become a delusional, faith-based religion

of American Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, of City on a Hill and the Divine Right of Empire stretching over the seven continents and the seven seas. This one, and its junior partner the English and EuroZoneThugs, are the most dangerous at all.

Advantage: aberrance.

Polls at noon Friday, 3 July 2015ce as I write this seem to show Greek voters split down the middle. Perhaps this reflects the same sort of wicked, fierce campaign of bludgeoning of Greece into submission by the EuroZoneThugs that was seen in the English/London financial empire elite bludgeoning of Scotland into submission on its referendum for independence last winter.

Perhaps it is a similar reflection of the bludgeoning of the voters of Wisconsin who had a chance in 2012 to recall the aberrant, fascist, Republican governor, Scott Walker, and narrowly FAILED TO DO SO. (The financial bludgeoning of voters was by the billionaire Koch Brothers who financed their puppet, Walker, into the governorship and away from recall. In exit polls, voters seem to resent being asked to even vote on the matter MORE than they resented Walker!)

Perhaps it means that the flip side of psychopathic leadership – the psychopathic, servile citizens – are even more enthusiastic about their own servility, their own chains. (Voltaire: “It is difficult to free people from the chains they revere.”) If I were Greek I would be yelling “FUCK YOU!” to the EuroZoneThugs the way Iceland, Argentina, Russia and Ecuador did when they defaulted and bailed in the past two decades. (They are all doing well, now thank you very much.)

The fact that after such bludgeoning as the Greek people have faced over the past five years of EuroZoneThugs-imposed neoliberal austerity, that about half of the voters

do NOT want to say “FUCK YOU!” to the EuroZone

speaks volumes. (That seems to be SOME improvement over the massive support of slavery and the Confederacy by non-wealthy and non-slave-owning southern whites … but not enough. If democracy is to have a shot – if species Homo sapiens sapiens is to have a shot – democracy and locality should ALWAYS win by a comfortable two thirds – even in a rigged vote, should it not? Some sort of mandate FOR democracy? Otherwise, why bother? Let’s just pick our potentate and the hell with it and be done with it. But event that is not fool-proof. Two thirds of Germans voted AGAINST Hitler and the Nazis in 1932 and 1933 but of course that is difference for an up-or-down vote on democracy vs. NOT democracy rather than having the two third splits among several Left parties.)

So perhaps the Greek vote on Sunday is REALLY a vote on whether democracy has a future in “human systems” – in humanity – at all:

* Technologically-driven, efficient systems run by compassion-free, technocratic HumAndroid RoboTronics or societies based on human values?

* Algorithms or the rhythms of life?

At this point on this day, democracy seems to be coming up short in Greece – and this, in the nation which took Sumerian democracy and improved it and then bequeathed it to the world.

Democracy or servility to dictatorship?

Advantage: servility to dictatorship

“Je suis deconsole.”

— thom prentice

thom pic

15 Ways Bill Clinton’s White House Failed America and the World — AlterNet via NakedCapitalism

US-CLINTON-BOMBING ANNOUNCEMENT

TO READ THIS DIRECTLY ON ALTERNET WITHOUT MY ANNOTATIONS, CLICK HERE

TO READ THIS DIRECTLY ON ALTERNET WITHOUT MY ANNOTATIONS , CLICK HERE

Yves here. This post is a

well-deserved attack on the modern Democratic party: all corporate all the time, with a few gestures to women and minority groups to distract them from their fallen economic standing.

Clinton continued and institutionalized the assault on the workers and hence the middle class

that started under Carter [why Edward Kennedy ran in 1980 and why I supported Kennedy]

and really got rolling under Reagan.

I would have removed some items listed below to make room for

how Clinton let ex Goldman co-chariman, later Citigroup vice chairman Bob Rubin to do a Wall Street takeover of the Democrats.

Rubin and his acolytes are so well ensconced that one astute DC observer calls them “the Rubino crime family”.

The Rubin connections were the big reason the effectively bankrupt bank was not resolved [DECLARED INSOLVENT AND BANKRUPT] in 2008. Had that occurred, it would have chastened the rest of the banking industry (of course, prosecutions of senior executives would have had a similar salutary effect).

I’d put the Rubin infiltration as one point, and perhaps his strong dollar policy, which helps Wall Street (a major financial center needs a perceived to be solid currency to hold its standing) at the expense of Main Street and workers.

NakedCapitalism readers no doubt will have other additions they’d make to this tally. Perhaps the botched health care reform plan under Hillary that made it impossible to broach the topic for a generation, allowing American health care costs to continue to escalate?

By AlterNet Staff. Originally published at Alternet

Bill Clinton remains one of America’s most popular presidents. A national poll last March by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found 56 percent of Americans had a clearly favorable view of Clinton. That’s long been true for African Americans—from novelist Toni Morrison famously calling him the “first black president” while in office, to books explaining his appeal after his presidency ended.

bill clinton chin up

Clinton has used this popularity to build his enormously ambitious global foundation, collecting $2 billion in assets for many anti-poverty and health initiatives, as well as building a personal fortune from speechmaking estimated at $30 million or more.[He earend $35,000 in 1992 as Governor of Arkansas.] In recent years, most of the public has forgotten what Clinton did as president, even as he has steadily been in the news.

But for more than a year before Hillary Clinton launched her latest presidential campaign, Bill Clinton has been selectively telling media outlets that he made some mistakes as president and might have acted otherwise. He’s even tried to recast actual events and been taken to task by fact-checkers who recall his leading role in what became major crises, such as the 2008 global financial implosion.

[Clinton REPEALED the New Deal-era BANK REGULATION LAW in 1999 just MONTHS after he was NOT thrown out of office for a series of extra-constitutional series of blow jobs. Hmmmm. Clinton worked had previously OPPOSED repeal but somehow found COMMON GROUND with the racist, fascist, corporate, heathen capitalist Republican US Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas and, with Republicans (YET AGAIN AS WITH NAFTA) passed the bill repealing the BANK REGULATION BILL from the NEW DEAL ERA.

It was called the ‘financial modernization act’ or some such grand and devious propagandistic Big Lie diversion — otherwise people would have picked up on it and raised HELL. I doggone sure would have but it all just glided by me and of COURSE I ‘trusted’ Bill Clinton; after all I vehemently opposed the whole impeachment process. So, I GUESS we should fix responsibility on the DAMNED REPUBLICAN CONGRESS (Denny Hastert of recent fame, the indicted Tom DeLay, et al…) for both the REPEAL ***AND*** THE IMPEACHMENT as well as for the FINANCIAL COLLAPSE OF 2008.]

What follows are 15 ways Bill Clinton’s presidency did not serve America or the world, [FUCKED THINGS UP WORSE THAN NIXON AND REAGAN] and in many ways deepened and perpetuated the problems we face today. This article was prepared by AlterNet staff members Janet Allon, Michael Arria, Jan Frel, Tana Ganeva, Kali Holloway, Zaid Jilani, Adam Johnson, Steven Rosenfeld, Phillip Smith, Terrell Jermaine Starr and Carrie Weissman.

1. Prison-loving president. In May, on the heels of the unrest in Baltimore sparked by Freddie Gray’s death in police custody, Clinton apologized for locking too many people up. Thanks, Bill.


READ CHRIS HEDGES: “AMERICA’S PRISON EMPIRE” BY CLICKING HERE.

hedges front on

The 2.4 million people in prison and the 160,000 Americans serving life in prison largely because of his policies might be excused for not accepting Clinton’s apology. Tag-teaming with ex-President Ronald Reagan, Clinton is the president most responsible for the mass incarceration of Americans on an epic scale. The gung-ho crime fighter-in-chief passed the single most damaging law with his omnibus federal crime bill in 1994, which included the infamous “three strikes” law (three felony convictions means a life sentence) and ensured that mandatory minimum sentences imprisoned even low-level, non-violent offenders for a long, long time.

Clinton discussed his regrets about the crime bill with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “The problem is the way it was written and implemented is we cast too wide a net and we had too many people in prison,” he said. “And we wound up… putting so many people in prison that there wasn’t enough money left to educate them, train them for new jobs and increase the chances when they came out so they could live productive lives.”

All true, except it was not just lack of funds that eliminated education and rehabilitation programs in prison, it was a deliberate choice. Sensing the political popularity of being tough on crime, Clinton fully embraced the lock-’em-up-and-throw-away-the-key mentality, and gloated about three strikes. It strains credulity to think that this exceptionally intelligent man did not understand the dire consequences of what he was doing, as his wife now says.

Clinton’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 helped set the national mood. Dozens of states followed with their own mandatory minimum laws. While there is some talk today of criminal justice reform on a minor level (like for low-level drug offenses), no one is talking about the all-but-forgotten population doing hard time thanks in large part to Clinton.

bill clinton wierd grimace

2. Punitive welfare reform. The consequences of Bill Clinton’s welfare reform bill have been devastating for millions of American families. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 took a page directly from Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. In an atmosphere steeped in decades of conservative scaremongering around the specter of sexually reckless “welfare queens,” Clinton’s 1992 campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it” played directly to white voters’ fears of black crime and poverty. Twenty years after scrapping the longstanding Aid to Families with Dependent Children in favor of the right wing’s underfunded and more punitive vision, the number of poor American children has exploded and black welfare recipients are subject to the system’s most stringent rules.

In 2012, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that while “in 1996, for every 100 families with children living in poverty, TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] provided cash aid to 68 families,” that number plunged to 27 out of every 100 families living in poverty by 2010. Conservatives trumpet these numbers, often citing the fact that nationally, TANF enrollment fell 58 percent between 1995-2010. But they neglect to mention that the number of poor families with children rose 17 percent in the same period.

Sociologist Joe Soss, who has examined the long-term racial consequences of welfare reform, which allowed states to decide how funds were allotted and eligibility determined, also noted that, “all of the states with more African Americans on the welfare rolls chose tougher rules…[E]ven though the Civil Rights Act prevents the government from creating different programs for black and white recipients, when states choose according to this pattern, it ends up that large numbers of African Americans get concentrated in the states with the toughest rules, and large numbers of white recipients get concentrated in the states with the more lenient rules.”

bill clinton

3. Wall Street’s Deregulator-in-Chief. As president, Clinton outdid the GOP when it came to unleashing Wall Street’s worst instincts,

by supporting and signing into law more financial deregulation legislation than any other president, according to the Columbia Journalism Review.

He didn’t just push the Democrats controlling the House to pass a bill (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) that dissolved the Depression-era Glass-Steagall law, which barred investment banks from commercial banking activities.

* He deregulated the risky derivatives market (Commodity Futures Modernization Act),

* gutted state regulation of banks (Riegle-Neal) leading to a wave of banking mergers, and

* reappointed Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chair. In recent years, Clinton has ludicrously claimed that the GOP forced him to do this, which led in no small part to the global financial crisis of 2008 and the too-big-to-fail ethos, with the federal government obligated to bail out multinational banks while doing little for individual account holders.

“What happened?” he told CNN in 2013. “The American people gave the Congress to a group of very conservative Republicans. When they passed bills with veto-proof majority with a lot of Democrats voting for it, that I couldn’t stop, all of a sudden we turn out to be maniacal deregulators. I mean, come on.”

As CJR put it, “This is, to be kind, bullshit,” reciting a list of Clinton deregulatory actions that began while Democrats were the majority, starting with appointing “Robert Rubin and Larry Summers in the Treasury, which officially did in Glass-Steagall and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which left the derivatives market a laissez-faire Wild West.”

CJR concludes, “The bottom line is: Bill Clinton was responsible for more damaging financial deregulation—and thus, for the [2008] financial crisis—than any other president.”

4. Gutted manufacturing via trade agreements. Bill Clinton helped gut America’s manufacturing base by promoting and passing the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, in 1993, when Democrats controlled Congress. That especially resonates today, when another Democratic president, Barack Obama, and Republicans in Congress, are allied against labor unions and liberal Democrats to pass its like-minded descendant, the Trans Pacific Partnership. “NAFTA signaled that the Democratic Party—the “progressive” side of the U.S. two-party system—had accepted the reactionary economic ideology of Ronald Reagan,” wrote Jeff Faux, on the Economic Policy Institute Working Economics Blog.

In 1979, then-candidate Reagan proposed a trade pact between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. But the Democrats who controlled the Congress would not approve it until Clinton pushed it in his first year in office. NAFTA has affected U.S. workers in four major ways, EPI said. It caused the permanent loss of 700,000 manufacturing jobs in industrial states such as California, Texas and Michigan. It gave corporate managers an excuse to cut wages and benefits, threatening otherwise to move to Mexico. Selling U.S. farm products in Mexico “dislocated millions of Mexican workers and their families,” which “was a major cause in the dramatic increase in undocumented workers flowing into the U.S. labor market.” And NAFTA became a “template for rules of the emerging global economy, in which the benefits would flow to capital and the costs to labor.”

The World Trade Organization, World Bank, International Monetary Fund all applied NAFTA’s principles, which gave corporations the power to challenge local laws protecting health and safety if they cut into profits—like labeling tobacco packaging.

The NAFTA “doctrine of socialism for capital and free markets for labor” could also be seen in the way the U.S. government “organized the rescue of the world’s banks and corporate investors and let workers fend for themselves” in the Mexican peso crisis of 1994-’95, the Asian financial crash of 1997, and the global financial meltdown of 2008.

clinton angry

5. No LGBT equality: Defense of Marriage Act. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was one of conservatives’ biggest victories in the 1990s. Passed by Congress and signed into law by Clinton in 1996, the bill defined spouse as “heterosexual” and deprived legally wed same-sex couples of many significant benefits, from Social Security benefits to hospital visitation rights. It allowed states to refuse legal recognition of couples married in other states.

Writing in the New Yorker, Clinton’s former advisor on gay issues, Richard Socarides, addressed why he signed the wildly discriminatory legislation. For one thing, Socarides said that Clinton’s political opponents outmaneuvered him. He also chalks up the president’s decision as “a failure to imagine how quickly gay rights would evolve.” The former president was hardly an ardent supporter of the legislation. The New York Times noted, “Mr. Clinton considered it a gay-baiting measure, but was unwilling to risk re-election by vetoing it.”

But the damage was done. For almost a decade, same-sex couples suffered financial and emotional hardships. Gay couples weren’t allowed to make medical decisions for their partners, couldn’t get the major tax breaks afforded to heterosexual couples, and faced unequal treatment in many other areas of law. In 2013, Clinton stated his opposition to the law. That year, in a major gay rights victory, the Supreme Court declared DOMA’s Section 3 (which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman) unconstitutional. Today, 37 states have legalized same-sex marriage, and in coming days, the Supreme Court is expected to do so.

6. Expanded the war on drugs. Although Clinton called for treatment instead of prison for drug offenders during his 1992 campaign, once in office he reverted to the same drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors. He rejected the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. He rejected lifting the federal ban on funding for needle exchange programs. He placed a permanent eligibility ban on food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense, even marijuana possession. And he prohibited felons from living in public housing.

He also championed the 1994 crime bill, a $30 effort that included more mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine, extra funds for states that severely punished convicts, limited judges’ discretion in sentencing, and allocated billions for federal prison construction and expansion. During Clinton’s tenure, federal prison spending jumped $19 billion (171%), while funding for public housing declined by $17 billion (61%). Under Clinton, nearly $1 billion in state spending shifted from education to prisons.

The U.S. prison population doubled from about 600,000 to about 1.2 million during the Clinton years, and the federal prison population swelled even more dramatically, driven almost entirely by drug war prosecutions. Yet a month before leaving office, Clinton said in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of drug users and that pot smoking “should be decriminalized.” If only he had acted on those sentiments when it mattered.

Bill Clinton and the fraudulent  christian apostate Rev. Billy Graham on the second night of the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade Saturday, June 25, 2005

Bill Clinton and the fraudulent christian apostate Rev. Billy Graham on the second night of the Greater New York Billy Graham Crusade Saturday, June 25, 2005

7. Expanded the death penalty. When running for president in 1992, then-Arkansas Gov. Clinton allowed his state to execute Ricky Ray Rector, a convicted murderer with severe mental impairments. Despite much criticism, Clinton’s decision not to commute the sentence not only established his tough-on-crime credentials as a national candidate, it also became a precedent to the expansion of the federal death penalty under his White House.

Clinton’s 1994 crime bill expanded the death penalty to 60 additional crimes including three that don’t involve murder: espionage, treason and drug trafficking in large amounts. Throughout his presidency he ignored calls for a national moratorium on federal executions. In April 1996, Clinton followed up and signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) into law. Introduced by Kansas Republican Sen. Bob Dole in response to the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995, it severely restricted the ability of federal judges to grant relief in cases, reduced trials for convicted criminals and sped up the sentencing process.

In 2011, Troy Davis, an African American convicted of killing an off-duty cop, was put to death in Georgia. Davis’ case sparked nationwide protests as many believed he was innocent. There was no evidence linking him to the crime and seven witnesses who helped put him on Death Row later recanted their testimony.

Many believe Bill Clinton helped seal Davis’ fate years before. Many of Davis’ appeals were denied for procedural reasons and his 2004 petition, which included the recanted testimony and the possible identity of the killer, was rejected by the federal judge since, under current regulations, such evidence has to be presented first in state court. Davis’ defense was unable to do that because, shortly before AEDPA became law, Congress slashed $20 million from post-conviction legal defense organizations. In a piece in Time, Brendan Lowe quoted Dale Baich, an assistant federal public defender in Arizona: “The bottom line is that the AEDPA is very harsh and unforgiving.”

what bill clinton did for america

8. Returned to Cold War priorities. As the Soviet Union collapsed, the U.S. under President George H.W. Bush forged ahead with the same imperialist stance toward Europe.

As Bush’s successor, Clinton had an historic opportunity to attempt a cooperative, non-aggressive international model based on international law. While his administration frequently gave lip service to these ideals, a far-reaching economic and political agenda to bring Eastern Europe into the NATO-E.U.-U.S. orbit was in the works. As Clinton’s former national security advisor Anthony Lake summarized, “Throughout the cold war, we contained a global threat to market democracies: now we should seek to enlarge their reach.” And enlarge they did. [There is NO SUCH THING as a “market democracy”. Markets aka CAPITALISM CANNOT TOLERATE DEMOCRACY. Only FASCISM WILL DO.]

The Clinton administration intervened massively across the former Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, with direct interventions in the Balkans through NATO, corporate buyouts of industry from Poland to the Czech Republic, and the notorious “shock doctrine” of neoliberal economic reforms in exchange for IMF loans: cutting wages and corporate taxes, increasing working hours and slashing social programs. Bringing the Baltic states and Eastern Bloc countries into military arrangements associated with NATO, and establishing a major military garrison in the Balkans, Bill Clinton set the stage for the clash on Russia’s border in Ukraine currently overseen by Obama, which could last for decades and undermine the process of integrating Russia into the industrialized world.

9. Joycelyn Elders and the culture war. At a 1994 U.N. Conference on AIDS, the U.S. Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, was asked if “a more explicit discussion and promotion of masturbation” could help limit the spread of the virus. Elders said she was “a very strong advocate” of teaching sex education in schools “at a very early age.” She added, “As per your specific question in regard to masturbation, I think that it is something that is a part of human sexuality and it’s a part of something that perhaps should be taught. But we’ve not even taught our children the very basics.”

Less than a month later, Elders was asked for her resignation. She had spent just 15 month serving as Surgeon General of the Public Health Service under the Clinton administration. As Arkansas governor, Clinton had appointed her director of the state’s Health Department, the first African American to hold the title.

Elders later clarified that she’d suggested not to teach schoolchildren how to masturbate, but that masturbation is a natural part of human sexuality. “People have taken a lot of things I’ve said in a most unusual way,” she said. However, Clinton White House chief of staff Leon E. Panetta said her comment was, “just one too many,” and her remarks on masturbation were “not what a surgeon general should say.” Elders has also endorsed legalizing drugs and giving out birth control in high schools.

Then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich said, “It’s good for the country and good for the president that she’s departed.” But as the New York Times reported, Elders’ dismissal was met with heavy criticism from gay rights organizations, abortion rights groups and liberal organizations like People for the American Way. The New York City chapter of Planned Parenthood commented, “Mr. Clinton will be making a serious political mistake if he continues to try to out-Newt Mr. Gingrich.”

bill clinton pres photo

10. Turning Lincoln Bedroom into fundraising condo. The Lincoln Bedroom is an historic bedroom on the second floor of the White House that was at one time Abraham Lincoln’s personal office. Under Clinton, it served another purpose: an overnight apartment for top political donors. Between 1995 and 1996, donors who gave a total of $5.4 million to the Democratic National Committee—including businessman William Rollnick, who gave $235,000 to the DNC, and investor Dirk Ziff, who gave $411,000—stayed overnight as White House guests.

Clinton had few doubts about the idea. When originally pitched to him in a note by deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes, the president responded, “Ready to start overnights right away.” Sadly, Clinton started a trend. On the campaign trail, George W. Bush criticized Clinton for “virtually renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to big campaign donors.” Yet when Bush took office he continued the practice, handing the location over to donors who had given him over $100,000 and personal friends, including Texas oilman Joe O’Neill and Republican National Committee fundraiser Brad Freeman.

11. Bombed Sudanese pharmaceutical plant. On Aug. 20, 1998 the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum North, Sudan was annihilated by a cruise missile strike launched by the Clinton administration. President Clinton claimed the plant was making a deadly nerve agent and maintained connections to Osama bin Laden, who was unknown to most Americans at the time. Sudan claimed it was a factory producing medicines that saved thousands.

The factory’s owner, Salah Idris, denied the allegations vehemently and unsuccessfully tried to sue the U.S. government. According to a U.K. Guardian story, the plant “provided 50 percent of Sudan’s medicines” and was the country’s main source of anti-malaria drugs. Germany’s ambassador to Sudan, Werner Daum, says the bombing led to “several tens of thousands of deaths” and Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to the president explaining how it had slowed down relief efforts in the region. In his book, Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror, Jason Burke credits the bombing with bolstering terrorism: “[it] confirmed to [bin Laden and his cohorts], and others with similar views worldwide, that their conception of the world as a cosmic struggle between good and evil was the right one.” Noam Chomsky has written that the bombing’s consequences “may be comparable” to the attacks of September 11.

bill clinton painting

12. Doubled down on Iraq sanctions. Due to President George W. Bush’s disastrous war of choice in Iraq,

people forget Bill Clinton’s Iraq humanitarian disaster: U.S. sanctions that decimated the Iraqi economy, crippled the civilian infrastructure, and according to a 1999 UNICEF survey, ultimately led to the deaths of more than 500,000 children.

Though the sanctions began under President George H.W. Bush in 1990, Clinton expanded them, insisting a week before he took office in 1993, “There is no difference between my policy and the policy of the [Bush] administration” and squashing any subsequent effort to rein them in.

In 1996, Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright continued to defend the sanctions. By 2000, some members of Congress cited an increasing number of reports of the humanitarian crisis, calling for an end to sanctions. House Democratic Whip David Bonior referred to it as “infanticide masquerading as policy.” But Clinton refused to budge, defending the policy until the end of his presidency in 2001. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden cited the sanctions as one of his primary motives behind the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, DC later that year.

13. Political smears: Sistah Souljah. Clinton was highly regarded by African Americans during the 1992 election cycle for his ability to articulate how racism impacted their communities. However, when it mattered most, he dropped the ball on race when it was completely unnecessary. It started when he blasted hop-hop artist Sistah Souljah over her comments in a Washington Post article about the Los Angeles riots, which were sparked by the acquittal of several Los Angeles policemen who beat truck driver Rodney King. “If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?” she said.

Souljah claims she was misquoted. However, a few weeks later, both she and Clinton spoke at Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition conference in Washington. Clinton used his appearance to criticize her statements, saying, “We can’t get anywhere in this country pointing the finger at one another across racial lines.” He compared her remarks to former KKK wizard David Duke.

As Matt Bai wrote for Yahoo, Clinton was not going to lose black votes by calling the rapper out. Black people were (and still are) hyper loyal to the Democratic Party. But since Clinton is being reflective about his presidency, perhaps he needs to go back to 1992 and rethink why he used his time at the Rainbow Coalition to appeal to a segment of white voters who may have wanted to see him distance himself from Rev. Jackson, still a key leader in the Democratic Party at the time.

If you read the full Washington Post coverage and listen to some of Sistah Souljah’s commentary on white supremacy, you’ll see she makes some valuable points about anti-blackness and structural racism that are worth considering. But Clinton chose not to delve into that. Instead, he preferred to sell a sistah out and play the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show.

the incredible shrinking president time cover bill clinton

14. Knew about coming Rwandan genocide. This might be Clinton’s worst foreign policy failure. Intelligence analysts knew in advance about the plans for the Hutu-led genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda, yet the White House did nothing to try to stop it. In 2013, Clinton told MSNBS that he could have sent some 10,000 U.S. troops to the Central African nation to support a U.N. peacekeeping force and perhaps saved 300,000 lives—about a third of those who perished.

In retrospect, Clinton said, “You can’t stop everything bad that’s happening.” He pointed to his success ending sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, the Bosnian war and the 1993 Oslo Accord between Israel and the Palestinians. The fact remains that the White House knew one of the worst genocides since World War II was coming, and did not try to halt it.

15. Escalated America’s foreign drug wars. In Clinton’s second term, he initiated Plan Colombia, a multibillion-dollar effort to reduce that country’s coca and cocaine production and end a decades-long war between Bogota and leftist FARC rebels. While Colombian President Andres Pastrana Arango originally envisioned the initiative as an economic development, roughly 80% of U.S. aid under Plan Colombia was military assistance,

making Colombia the third largest recipient of foreign aid after Israel and Egypt.

Plan Colombia strengthened the Colombian military, which was allied with rightist paramilitary groups. It made gains against the drug trade and the FARC, but at a huge cost. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands became internal refugees. Concern over human rights abuses in the Colombian security forces resulted in the passage of the Leahy Provision, which barred anti-drug aid to any military unit involved in human rights abuses.

And then there was Mexico. Early this year when in Mexico, Clinton apologized for the U.S. role in the war on drugs and also for NAFTA, both of which led to violence. “I wish you had no narco-trafficking, but it’s not really your fault,” he said. Clinton’s policies were a double blow for Mexico. He deepened the drug war’s efforts to reduce U.S. domestic drug use by interdicting flows from abroad, forever changing the nature of Mexico’s contraband economy from small-time mom-and-pop operations to the immensely wealthy, powerful and violent cartels of today.

Meanwhile, NAFTA opened the floodgates to illegal drugs hidden in the massive flows of legitimate commerce across the border. Large corporations weren’t the only beneficiaries of free trade; so were Mexican drug traffickers.

bill clinton oval office

CHRIS HEDGES: America’s Slave Empire [YES you read that right: AMERICA’S SLAVE EMPIRE!] — TruthDig

lynching by american flag

TO READ THIS STORY WITHOUT ANNOTATIONS, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO GO DIRECTLY TO TRUTHDIG.

Three prisoners—Melvin Ray, James Pleasant and Robert Earl Council—who led work stoppages in Alabama prisons in January 2014 as part of the Free Alabama Movement have spent the last 18 months in solitary confinement. [Where were you?]

Authorities, unnerved by the protests that engulfed three prisons in the state, as well as by videos and pictures of abusive conditions smuggled out by the movement, say the men will remain in solitary confinement indefinitely.

The prison strike leaders are denied televisions and reading material. They spend at least three days a week, sometimes longer, without leaving their tiny isolation cells. They eat their meals seated on their steel toilets. They are allowed to shower only once every two days despite temperatures that routinely rise above 90 degrees.

The men have become symbols of a growing resistance movement inside American prisons. The prisoners’ work stoppages and refusal to co-operate with authorities in Alabama are modeled on actions that shook the Georgia prison system in December 2010. The strike leaders argue that this is the only mechanism left to the 2.3 million prisoners across America.

By refusing to work—a tactic that would force prison authorities to hire compensated labor or to induce the prisoners to return to their jobs

by paying a fair wage

—the neoslavery that defines the prison system can be broken. Prisoners are currently organizing in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

“We have to shut down the prisons,” Council, known as Kinetik, one of the founders of the Free Alabama Movement, told me by phone from the Holman Correctional Facility in Escambia County, Ala. [Could you write him an encouraging kletter?] He has been in prison for 21 years, serving a sentence of life without parole.

“We will not work for free anymore. All the work in prisons, from cleaning to cutting grass to working in the kitchen, is done by inmate labor. [Almost no prisoner] in Alabama is paid. Without us the prisons, which are slave empires, cannot function.

Prisons, at the same time, charge us a variety of fees, such as

* for our identification cards or wrist bracelets, and

* [impose] numerous fines, especially for possession of contraband.

* They charge us high phone and commissary prices.

Prisons each year are taking larger and larger sums of money from the inmates and their families.

The state gets from us millions of dollars in free labor and then imposes fees and fines.

You have brothers that work in kitchens 12 to 15 hours a day and have done this for years and have never been paid.”

“We do not believe in the political process,” said Ray, who spoke from the St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Ala., [Could you write him an encouraging letter?] and who is serving life without parole.

“We are not looking to politicians to submit reform bills. We aren’t giving more money to lawyers. We don’t believe in the courts. We will rely only on protests inside and outside of prisons and on targeting the corporations that exploit prison labor and finance the school-to-prison pipeline.

We have focused our first boycott on McDonald’s. [Could you NOT go to McDonald’s. Or actually, to any labor-exploitive fast food place?]

iwo jima mcdonalds

McDonald’s uses prisoners to process beef for patties and package bread, milk, chicken products.[I can’t stand it: Aren’t corporations and “conservatives” demanding that government GET OUT OF THE MARKET?! And if THIS isn’t SLAVE LABOR, then WTF IS?! Sorry.]

We have called for a national Stop Campaign against McDonald’s. We have identified this corporation to expose all the others.

There are too many corporations exploiting prison labor to try and take them all on at once.” [Again, I can’t stand it: Aren’t corporations and “conservatives” demanding that government GET OUT OF THE MARKET?! And if THIS isn’t SLAVE LABOR, then WTF IS?! Sorry.]

“We are not going to call for protests outside of statehouses,” Ray went on. “Legislators are owned by corporations. To go up there with the achy breaky heart is not going to do any good. These politicians are in it for the money. If you are fighting mass incarceration, the people who are incarcerated are not in the statehouse. They are not in the parks. They are in the prisons. If you are going to fight for the people in prison, join them at the prison.

The kryptonite to fight the prison system, which is a $500 billion enterprise, is the work strike. And we need people to come to the prisons to let guys on the inside know they have outside support to shut the prison down. Once we take our labor back, prisons will again become places for correction and rehabilitation rather than centers of corporate profit.”

The three prisoners said that until the prison-industrial complex was dismantled there would be no prison reform. They said books such as Stokely Carmichael’s “Ready for Revolution” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” along with the failure of prison reform movements, convinced them that the only hope to battle back against a prison system that contains 25 percent of the world’s prisoners was to organize resistance. And they find no solace in a black president.

“To say that we have a black president does not say anything,” Ray said.

“The politicians are the ones who orchestrated this system. They are either directly involved as businessmen—many are already millionaires or billionaires, or they are controlled by millionaires and billionaires.

We are not blindsided by titles. We are looking at what is going on behind the scenes. We see a coordinated effort by the Koch brothers, ALEC [the American Legislative Exchange Council] and political action committees that see in prisons a business opportunity. Their goal is to increase earnings. And once you look at it like this, it does not matter if we have a black or white president. That is why the policies have not changed.

The laws, such as mandatory minimum [sentences], were put in place by

big businessso they would have access to cheap labor.

The anti-terrorism laws were enacted to close the doors on the access to justice so people would be in prison longer. Big business finances campaigns. Big business writes the laws and legislation. And Obama takes money from these people. He is as vested in this system as they are.”

obama smoking blunt

In Alabama prisons, as in nearly all such state facilities across the United States, prisoners do nearly every job, including cooking, cleaning, maintenance, laundry and staffing the prison barbershop. In the St. Clair prison there is also a chemical plant, a furniture company and a repair shop for state vehicles. Other Alabama prisons run printing companies and recycling plants, stamp license plates, make metal bed frames, operate sand pits and tend fish farms.

Only a few hundred of Alabama’s 26,200 prisoners—the system is designed to hold only 13,130 people—are paid to work; they get 17 to 71 cents an hour.

The rest are slaves.

slave sale poster

The men bemoaned a

* lack of recreational and educational programs and basic hygiene supplies,

* the poor ventilation that sends temperatures in the cells and dormitories to over 100 degrees, [Is this a problem at your house?]

* crumbling infrastructures,

infestations of cockroaches and rats, [Is this a problem at your house?] and

corrupt prison guards who routinely beat prisoners and sell contraband, including drugs and cell phones.

These conditions, coupled with the overcrowding, are, they warned, creating a tinderbox, especially as temperatures soar. There was a riot in St. Clair in April. There has been a rash of stabbings and fights in the prison. Prisoners have assaulted 10 guards in St. Clair during the last four weeks.

“The worst thing is the water,” said James Pleasant, a St. Clair prisoner who has served 13 years of a 43-year sentence. “It is contaminated. It causes kidney, renal failure and cancer. The food causes stomach diseases. We have had three to four outbreaks of food poisoning in the last four months.” [Got problems with your water at home or work?]

He said that the prolonged caging of prisoners and the closing of rehabilitation programs, including education programs,

guarantee recidivism, something sought by the corporations that profit from prisons. An estimated 80 percent of prisoners entering the Alabama prison system are functionally illiterate.

“Sleeping on a concrete slab is not going to teach you how to read or write,” Pleasant said. “Sleeping on a concrete slab will not solve mental health issues. [How was your mattress last night?] But the system does not change. It does what it is designed to do. It makes sure people are driven back into the system to work without pay.”

“For years we were called

niggers

to indicate we had no value or worth and that anything could be done to us,” Ray said. “Then the word ‘nigger’ became politically incorrect. So they began calling us criminals. When you say a person is a criminal it means that what happens to them does not matter. It means he or she is a

nigger.

It means they deserve what they get.”

Prisons, the men said, have increasingly placed larger and larger financial burdens on families, with the poorest families suffering the most. Prisoners, too, suffer as a result.

“If you don’t get money from your family, your poverty blocks you out from buying items at the commissary or making phone calls,” Council said. “You can’t communicate with your family. If you don’t have someone to send you money you can’t even buy stamps to write home.

They [authorities] are supposed to give us two free stamps a week, but I have never seen them do it in my 16 years of incarceration.

We pay a $4 medical co-pay if we make a sick call. Every additional medication we receive is $4. If you have a cold and you get something for sinuses, pain meds and something for congestion, that becomes a $16 visit. And if you get $20 from a family member, the state will take $16 off the top to pay for the visit. You end up with $4 to spend at a jacked-up canteen. There are a lot of brothers walking around in debt. …” [Hey how is YOUR health care plan these days? And HOW can people in PRIOSN wind up in DEBT? Especially TO THE STATE?]

“It takes brutality and force to make a person work for free and live in the type of conditions we live in and not do anything about it,” Ray said. “The only way they made slavery work was to use force. It is no different in the

slave empire of prisons.

They use brutality to hold it together. And this brutality will not go away until the system goes away.” [HEY! Any of your people know how the INDIANS did WITHOUT ANY JAILS or PRISONS?]

The men described numerous horrific beatings by guards.

Pleasant said,

“They stood me up against the wall [with my hands cuffed behind me].

There were about 10 officers.

They started swinging, punching and hitting me with sticks.

They knocked my legs out from under me.

My face hit the floor.

They stomped on my face.

They sent me to the infirmary to hide what they did, for 30 days.

When I looked in the mirror I could not recognize my facial features.

This was the fourth time I was beaten like this.” [Say, how is that BAD BOSS of yours today or that CONNIVING colleague at work?]

I asked the three men, speaking to me on a conference call, what prison conditions said about America. They laughed.

“It says America is what it has always been, America,” said Ray. “It says if you are poor and black you will be exploited, brutalized and murdered. It says most of American society, especially white society, is indifferent. It says nothing has really changed for us since slavery.”

An African girl is tortured aboard a slave ship in this Isaac Cruikshank print from 1792 Library of Congress
[How much did you enjoy YOUR last cruise vacation?]

lynching by american flag

hedges front on

Jack Balkwill: The Capitalists are Out to Get Me and there is Nowhere to Run to, Baby, Nowhere to Hide– CounterPunch

[As an “urban hermit” — a poet with now extremely limited exposure to the meathooks and tentacles of Amerikan capitalism — this piece nevertheless reflects and describes my experiences, precisely. To me, these experienes are clear and unmistakeable signs of the looming collapse of racist, fascist, christian supremacist Aryan US capitalist empire civilization. As in Jurassic Park, the jeep keeps falling down the tree — forever it seems — one breaking branch at a time. But unlike the film, pretty near no one gets out alive. … But read this and enjoy some laughter and see how your own experiences might match …]

TO READ THIS DIRECTLY ON COUNTERPUNCH, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

BY JACK BALKWILL for COUNTERPUNCH

The capitalists have decided to make my life a living hell. I can’t seem to do the slightest thing without their making it more difficult. It does no good to submissively implore, “I give up–you win,” they continue the torture relentlessly, with seemingly nothing to gain save for the pleasure of it.

When asked, “What do you do for a living,” most of us can’t respond, “I inherit from robber barons.” Many of the capitalists clearly may not only give such a response, but can add “I absolutely love to torment Jack for no reason.”

Case in point. I put a video into my DVD player and up pops a piracy warning. Then another, in case I missed the first one, telling me about the penalties for piracy, assuming I’m a criminal. Then one in French, knowing almost nobody in the USA parlez vous Francais, but also knowing it’s a great opportunity to harass honest citizens to let them know who’s in charge.

The real pirates don’t have to watch the insulting FBI warnings, because they don’t copy that crap. They just do the movie, so their customers get a much better deal than those who abide by the laws.

After giving up, having realized they are never going to let me get to the movie, running a massive number of ads for Blue Ray players and other products the capitalists have for sale (again, the pirates don’t have to watch this crap), I decide to go out and check the mail.

But I can’t find my mail. It may be buried somewhere in the ads bulging from my mailbox. I have written to the individual corporations asking them to please stop sending me this, but they don’t care, they are capitalists, and they rule. They can bother me if they want to, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

I know, the propaganda is that there are places you can call or write that will stop junk mail, and I’ve tried them all, but the capitalists pay no attention and send me enough paper to wipe out the forests of British Columbia, just to show me they have complete control and I should keep my mouth shut.

I look out on the horizon, expecting, like an idiot, that I will see a magnificent sunrise, or trees, or some sign that the capitalists haven’t completely destroyed nature, but alas, all I see are billboards– thousands of them in every direction, urging me to buy things from the capitalist factories in China, where they sent my job.

So I turn on my computer to check my email. If I have email I can’t find it, the capitalists have decided that I need to buy numerous products. They will decide what email I get, and how much, thank you. Somewhere in the spam there may be a note from a friend, but I will unlikely ever find it. The email I want probably goes into the junk email folder, but that’s as deluged as the inbox. I’ve paid companies to have this fixed, but unwittingly gave my money to capitalists whose first priority is profit. They kept the money and the spam increased.

It’s like health care. You give the capitalists money and they tell you after the multimillion dollar salaries of executives and billions in profits, there’s nothing left for actual health care, followed by “Be sure to send in your premium, or you will lose your plan,” like the plan actually does something other than drain your bank account.

So I decide to listen to some soothing music. Only I can’t hear it because the capitalists are ringing my telephone throughout the day, out to convince me I should buy products I can’t afford because of my job hopping to China, following the one that floated to Indonesia, at the fancy of the capitalists. I am on the do not call registry, but the capitalists don’t care. They remind me with each phone call I get from them after reporting them, that they have the power.

So I turn on my TV to see what’s on the news, only to find that every channel has commercials blaring, encouraging me to take more pharmaceuticals to help me cope (how do they know?), and they are not about to let me get to actual news. When I do finally imagine I get through, the news items reflect the commercials– same slant, for the same capitalists. The “journalist” anchor, paid $15 million a year to parrot the capitalist viewpoint, tells me we live in the Land of the Free.

Not free to have health care or a decent job like people in other major industrialized nations, but free to finance a military force which protects capitalists all over the world from any outbreak of the dreaded democracy. So dedicated is the USA to freedom that it takes the world’s largest prison system to maintain this Land of the Free.

The capitalists own my government, financing the political campaigns to get some of the slimiest sycophants imaginable to run the White House, Capitol building and Supreme Court on their behalf, so I can’t call 911– they own it. I’m pretty sure if I dialed 911 they would report me to Homeland Security for complaining and I would soon be water boarded while watching FBI warnings in French about what happens to terrorists like me.

The capitalists have privatized my government, so services we once had are now for profit, so good luck if you want the government to do anything. Profit is their only priority. Call a government office and a robot answers, instructing you to “press one if you speak Swahili. Press two if you speak Ancient Greek….” You know this is going to take awhile, and in fact, nothing ever comes of it as far as I am aware.

The capitalists have their own problems, like what to buy the kid for his birthday– another champion polo pony or a Congressman accoutered with reins and a saddle. Then there are those tortured night sweats, pondering the potential for any outbreak of an iota of democracy around the planet (it could happen, but thankfully they have 800 military bases around the globe heading this nightmare off).

I do take solace in knowing the NSA, on behalf of the capitalists, is copying billions of spam emails daily and billions of commercial phone calls that must make totalitarianism much more difficult to achieve. They must sift through all of this fruit of capitalism before winnowing incriminating data down to finger an activist trying to oppose wars, pollution, bankstering or other capitalist felonies.

The capitalists know they are killing thousands of people annually in unsafe workplaces, where their managers are aware the workplaces are unsafe yet do nothing about it because it would interfere with profits. But if human life were a priority of the capitalists, they would allow a real health care system like other industrialized nations have.

Nothing interferes with profits (see any free trade agreement). The capitalists know they are killing millions each year around the globe from unsafe products they sell, but continue because of the profits. Would someone who was not a psychopath kill six to eight million people by selling them tobacco products, year after year?

It’s difficult to tell how many die from capitalist polluting around the globe, because the health impact is largely undocumented, with most of the chemical combinations untested, but it’s easy to guess at least millions, if not tens of millions.

Wistfully I accept that there is no impending challenge to capitalist rule. I have no doubt the capitalists would murder me save for the enjoyment they get from watching me writhe in agony. I am certain they would kill us all if there was a dime in it for them anywhere, but of course, they need a working class with which to produce profit (no way any of them is ever going to do a lick of work).

I suppose it will have to be enough to know that their servants, to retaliate for the humiliation and abuse, are likely pissing in their martinis.

Jack Balkwill is an activist in Virginia.

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