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The Global Corporatocracy is Almost Fully Operational

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Yves here. I hope you don’t mind additional coverage of the pending trade pacts, this from a European perspective. This is bar none the single most important geopolitical initiative underway, yet it’s getting virtually no media play. While this discussion overlaps with our chat on Bill Moyers, many of you have friends, family members, and colleagues who don’t have time to watch a video but would read an article. Please use whatever route you think will work best with the people you know to get the word out.

By Don Quijones, a freelance writer and translator based in Barcelona, Spain. His blog, Raging Bull-Shit, is a modest attempt to challenge some of the wishful thinking and scrub away the lathers of soft soap peddled by our political and business leaders and their loyal mainstream media. Cross posted from Testosterone Pit

2013 is proving to be a hectic year for corporate lobbyists and free trade advocates, as they frantically flit, like busy bees pollinating succulent orchids, from one global free trade conference to another. And at long last, it seems that their hard work appears to be paying off.

In the last month alone world leaders from 12 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Mexico, pledged to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the end of the year. On the other side of the globe, meanwhile, Europe has signed a sweeping free trade agreement with Canada. And what’s more, despite all the furore over allegations of NSA and GCHQ spying on European national leaders, most EU member states are determined to ensure that the fallout from the scandal does not derail ongoing talks for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a treaty that would effectively knit together countries with nearly half the world’s GDP into a massive free-trade zone.

Indeed, the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, has already suggested that it may be necessary to temporarily suspend negotiations — not out of concern for joining in partnership with a nation whose recent actions have betrayed every possible notion of mutual trust, but rather out of fear that continued negotiations in the current climate could feed anti-free trade sentiment:

“If such events continue, and more news comes out, I fear that those who are against the free trade agreement in principle will become the majority,” said Schulz during last week’s EU summit. “My advice is to stop for a moment and discuss how we can avoid such a development.”

All of which begs the question: why all the sudden newfound enthusiasm for more free trade? Even more important, why all the secrecy? Why are our leaders desperately reconfiguring the legal super structures of global trade without either consulting their respective voting constituencies or even divulging what is actually up for grabs in the negotiations?

After all, even by official estimates (which, let’s face it, tend to have a strong upward bias) the economic benefits of the trade treaties will be negligible, at best. In the case of the TPIP, the EU and the U.S. can expect to eventually (perhaps after as long as ten years) receive a 100 billion euro boost to their respective GDPs. It’s the sort of money that, once upon a time, may have sounded impressive or even meant something. But not any more, not since the Fed and the Bank of England led the world’s central banking community on the biggest money printing binge in recorded history. 

Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific region the TPP is forecast to open up massive new opportunities for businesses both large and small, as new trade networks are forged between some of the world’s fastest growing economies.

However, while the potential benefits of the new trade agreement are supposed to be huge, they cannot as yet be divulged to the public. As U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk recently told Reuters, it’s just too early in negotiations to release a draft text to allow more public input. But that’s not to say “there will [not] be a time, once we have agreed on the text, that we may – as we have with other agreements – be able to release that.”

The message could not be clearer: to paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks, go back to bed America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. Your governments are in control.

The Real Agenda

As for the few insomniacs who remain fully awake, the real end game in this new age of “free” trade (or otherwise put, corporate protectionism) is becoming clearer and clearer. According to Andrew Gavin Marshall, these new agreements have little to do with actual “trade,” and everything to do with expanding the rights and powers of large corporations:

Corporations have become powerful economic and political entities – competing in size and wealth with the world’s largest national economies – and thus have taken on a distinctly ‘cosmopolitical’ nature.

According to a ranking published by Global Trends, 58 percent of the world’s biggest 150 economic entities in 2012 were corporations. They include oil, natural gas and mining majors, banks and insurance firms, telecommunications giants, supermarket behemoths, car manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies.

The highest ranked company on the list, Royal Dutch Shell, recorded 2012 revenues that exceeded the GDPs of 171 countries, making it the 26th largest economic entity in the world. It ranks ahead of Argentina and Taiwan, despite employing only 90,000 people. Indeed, the combined revenues of the five biggest oil companies (Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, Sinopec and China National Petroleum) were the equivalent of 2.9 percent of global GDP in 2012.

Should we be at all surprised that these massively bloated private corporations still want more for themselves and, by extension, less for us? After all, perpetual profit and revenues growth are their raison d’être; it’s what makes their sociopathic hearts tick.

“Acting through industry associations, lobby groups, think tanks and foundations, cosmopolitical corporations are engineering large projects aimed at transnational economic and political consolidation of power… into their hands,” writes Marshall. “With the construction of ‘a European-American free-trade zone’ as ‘an ambitious project,’ we are witnessing the advancement of a new and unprecedented global project of transatlantic corporate colonization.

At the root of this model is the basic notion that corporate profits and investor returns must at all times supercede all concerns about public interest. As such, as Open Democracy has pointed out, investor-state dispute settlements under TTIP would empower EU and US-based corporations to engage in litigious wars of attrition to limit the power of governments on both sides of the Atlantic:

Thousands of EU and US companies have affiliates across the Atlantic; under TTIP they could make investor-state claims via these affiliates in order to compel their own governments to refrain from regulations they dislike.

In the sickest of ironies, as a growing number of countries are questioning and even abandoning global investor-state arbitration precisely because of negative impacts against the public interest, powerful corporate lobby groups in both the EU and the US — including the European employers’ federation BusinessEurope, the US Chamber of Commerce, AmCham EU, and the Transatlantic Business Council — are pressuring for the inclusion of investor-state arbitration in TTIP.

And as you and I know, they’ll get what they want!

The Final Pusch

Just as with the signing of NAFTA and the creation of the Global Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, to later become the World Trade Organisation (WTO), there will be no public consultation whatsoever on the potential ramifications of the treaties.

And for good reason. For just as the late Sir James Goldsmith warned about GATT, NAFTA and the merging of sovereign European nations into the EU in this eerily prophetic interview with Charlie Rose in 1994, their enforcement will lead to the destruction of millions of middle class jobs and the obliteration of traditional agriculture (as happened in Mexico) and local businesses. And who in their right mind — apart from, of course, our corporate masters and their political servants — would ever vote for that?

However, the new generation of trade treaties goes far beyond what was envisaged for NAFTA and GATT. What they ultimately seek is to transfer what little remains of our national sovereignty to the headquarters of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates. In short, it is the ultimate coup de grâce of the ultimate coup d’état. Not a single shot will be fired, yet almost all power will be seized and transferred into private hands — and all of it facilitated by our elected representatives who, by signing these treaties, will be permanently abdicating their responsibilities to represent and protect the interests of their voting constituencies.

For example, as a recent leak of part of the TPP document has shown, the new rules would limit how governments regulate such public services as utilities, transportation, healthcare and education, including restricting policies meant to ensure broad or universal access to those essential needs.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As Alternet reports, the new treaty would also:

  • Grant copyright protection for corporate-created content for a stunning 120 years! It would also transform internet service providers into a private, Big Brother police force, empowered to monitor our “user activity,” arbitrarily take down our content, and cut off our access to the internet.
  • Give Big Pharma more years of monopoly pricing on each of their patents empower them to block distribution of cheaper generic drugs.
  • Strip governments of their authority to regulate exports of oil or natural gas to any TPP nation. This would create an explosion of the destructive fracking process across the globe, for energy giants could export fracked gas from and to any member nation without any governmental review of the environmental and economic impacts on local communities — or on our respective national interests.
  • Prohibit transaction taxes (such as the proposed Robin Hood Tax) that would tax speculators who have repeatedly triggered financial crises and economic crashes around the world. It would also restrict “firewall” reforms that separate consumer banking from risky investment banking, as well as provide an escape from national rules that would limit the size of “too-big-to-fail” behemoths.

These are merely a sample of the proposals that have made it into the public eye — thanks purely to the actions of a brave (or as the Obama administration would have it, terrorist) whistle-blower. Who’s to say what else is being planned behind our backs and in the conference rooms of some of the world’s most luxurious hotels?

What is clear, though, is that the global corporatocracy is almost fully operational. The clock is ticking down and unless the people of nations across the East and the West, the North and the South, begin to wise up to the acts of their elected governments, it will soon be too late. The new regime will be enshrined into law and a new kind of dystopia, bearing a disturbing likeness to the inverted totalitarianism foreseen by Sheldon Wolin, will be all around us, in every direction as far as Big Brother’s omniscient eye can see.

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171 comments

  1. YankeeFrank

    Please don’t hesitate to post more on this topic Yves. The past “trade agreements” have been disasters for working people the world over. Sir James Godsmith’s interview was indeed prescient, and if anything underestimated the scale of the disaster. It amazes me that we live in an era where so many believe the pursuit of profit is the goal of capitalism, when the goal (supposedly) was the betterment of society as a whole. The idea that the economy exists to serve the people has been completely lost, and most people won’t even blink when you propose that profit is the sole reason d’etre for business.

    When Alex Parene went on CNBC and pointed out that JP Morgan’s profits are largely the result of fraud and other criminal activities, the hosts scoffed at the suggestion that profit should be questioned in any way. I guess that’s why they are comfortable with all the drug cartel money laundering. Profit is profit no matter the body count.

    When Warren Buffet feels free to unironically complement the business acumen of Walter White, the crystal meth manufacturer and mass murderer in the tv show Breaking Bad, it is apparent the capitalists no longer feel the need to hide their avaricious and deadly schemes.

    There is no longer any shame in this class of people; and the pretense, which is all it ever was to that class, that capitalism is the best way to shared prosperity, is laid bare in its hollow insincerity. They are sowing the seeds of their own demise, though at present they clearly feel invincible. And unfortunately it will take lots of blood and suffering to overturn this sickly and deadly system, and the amount of blood and death required to do so will help decide whether what replaces it will be better or worse.

    The fact that a third of the largest economies in the world are multinational corporations is one of the scariest facts floating around my brain. These “economies” are beholden to no one and nothing save profit and its twin, power. Anything we can do to limit the total domination they crave is important.

    1. participant-observer-observed

      “The idea that the economy exists to serve the people has been completely lost, and most people won’t even blink when you propose that profit is the sole reason d’etre for business.”

      Indeed. The only thing I find unhelpful in this piece is the implication that the corporations are acting alone without the consent of the respective public(s). But a quick look around and we can easily see that much of the general public in more interested in their IPODS and STARBUCKS than service to people.

      The corporatocracy is succeeding to subvert the democratic system because of (among other things such as those mentioned) of the codependency of the public that worships at the feet of corporate materialism completely oblivious to the harm to self or others, individual or environment.

      A pervasive solution is required. It remains to be seen if human intelligence has advance enough. Most studies (Kegan et al) suggest system-level abstract thinking is out of reach of 40-60% of the public.

      Obama and friends appear to fancy themselves self-styled paternalistic CEO-cum-presidenta of massive Singapores. Let’s see if the more organic democracies like India will play along.

      1. Banger

        We should be so lucky to evolve into Singapore which is, at least, a rational and orderly society where the poor do better than they do here. Our future lies in the area of chaos and disintegration which we see going on today and will continue without a doubt. Obama and his pals are using smoke and mirrors to make it appear that they have some concern for the public–but I see little evidence of that.

        The American people, however, deserve whatever they get. No one is forcing them to believe that criminals are heroes even when they obviously do horrible things (Walter White comes to mind). Public morality is a thing of the past and, as people see the Wall Street oligarchs waltz away with ever higher profits from criminal behavior many in the public wish they could find a way to do the same–and increasing numbers of them will find a way since the internal psychic order of increasing numbers of people is declining.

        Two major institutions contribute to this situation–first, the news and entertainment media (is there a difference?) and second the phony “Christian” churches who believe in the mathematically exact opposite of Jesus’ teachings in the Gospels.

        1. sue

          Ever visit Singapore, Banger?? Might makes right society..close associate and family just finishing up year there. Careful what you wish for…messy democracy this is not.

        2. susan the other

          We have a variety of cosmopolitix right now, without any unilateral contract like these secret treaties are. The big banks have all been given money straight from the US treasury. Bail outs/ins are everywhere. There isn’t much daylight between these generous gifts to holders of odious debt and equity and those proposed in free trade monopoly treaties. Look at Tepco’s recent “profits.” Just after Tepco complained that it couldn’t do a clean-up operation on the calamity caused by its own choices (to build Fukushima Daiichi on an horrendous fault on the edge of the ocean – jesus) because it had a higher priority to serve its shareholders, the Japanese government said OK, well do that clean-up for you. It would have been much better to shoot all the Tepco execs and confiscate all the wealth of the shareholders.

          1. anon y'mouse

            whoa, den mother! shootin’s too good for ‘em.

            just lock ‘em up and let ‘em rot for a good loooong while.

            1. They didn't leave me a choice

              The danger with locking up is that they’ll be bailed out by counterrevolutionaries if they get the chance. A dead plutocrat is a dead plutocrat, and at least for the moment cannot be resurrected. Best to just kill them all to avoid trouble down the line.

          2. LucyLulu

            Nuclear power plants require abundant water for cooling requirements thus are always located next to large bodies of water. Most of Japan is subject to earthquakes although the general area of Ibaraki and adjacent Fukushima prefectures seem to have a higher frequency of quakes.

            For that matter, Diablo Canyon and San Onofre in the US are also located on the Pacific in areas of high seismic activity. San Onofre was retired this year after a shipment of faulty generators resulted in a leak of radioactive water. This coincidentally resulted in a lawsuit by Edison, the operator, against Mitsubishi, the generator manufacturer which had a cap on liability Edison claims was vastly exceeded. Last heard the suit was going for final arbitration by a three-member international panel, as the TPP would require if implemented.

            There’s anger over Japan building a nuclear power plant in a fault zone on the Pacific, a country with far more experience building structures designed to withstand seismic activity, but none on NC over our own plants here in the US. Until June we had two in California. Today, Diablo Canyon is located 4 km from one fault and a little over 0.5 km from another. Most of the controversy seems to be over the recirculation of 2.5 billion gallons daily of heated sea water used for cooling and its harmful effect on the local marine ecosystem around the discharge cove. It’s designed to withstand an earthquake up to 7.5 on the Richter scale (Japan’s 2011 earthquake was equivalent of 9.0 on Richter, local seismic activity in Fukushima never exceeded design though we now know there was significant damage prior to tsunami, including loss of cooling to reactor #1).

            But surprisingly enough Diablo Canyon is not the power plant with the highest risk of suffering serious damage from an earthquake, according to the NRC. That award goes to Indian Point on the Hudson River. It’s proximity to NYC makes it most likely the highest-impact risk as well. Indian Point is a 40 year old plant (on track for approval of 20 year license extension) that has been long plagued with problems and has been cited for more violations since 2000 than any other plant in the US (sound familiar?). Pilgrim in Plymouth, MA (license renewed 2012 despite lack of dry cast storage and spent-fuel pools at over-capacity, those on the Cape being stranded in the event of disaster) is #2 on the list for vulnerability to earthquakes. Diablo Canyon doesn’t appear on the list until 9th. In any case, most spent fuel pools at the 100+ nuclear power plants in the US are more densely packed than pool #4 at Fukushima Daiichi, many 3-4 times more so. Now that Yucca Mountain has been effectively abandoned (despite court ruling ordering license review to continue, the review process has been defunded by efforts of Harry Reid), we need to be push for the transfer of older spent fuel into safer dry cast storage. Industry will resist as dry storage is very expensive storage compared to pools. However the US government is obligated to refund the plant operators large sums of money for funds they were required to contribute towards Yucca Mountain (assuming its abandoned for good), funds which could be stipulated for use for dry storage. Since the money, $20-$25B of which remains unspent on Yucca, was surely already spent elsewhere in government, expect conservatives to pitch a fit over any refund though.

            Diablo Canyon Faces Deadlines

            Top 10 Nuke Plants Ranked by Quake Risk

            Indian Point Had Most Nuclear Violations

        3. Winston Smith

          I agree with everything you say except that “The American people, however, deserve what they get”. Most people don’t have the innate intellectual capacity to recognize and resist the most pervasive and sophisticated system of propaganda in the history of the world, and that is not a moral failing. Those few of us who do have that capacity shouldn’t look on the rest with contempt. Ironically, contempt for the plutophilia of the masses is a form of plutophilia itself since it transfers the blame for the disorder from its plutarchic originators and beneficiaries to it’s common victims.

          But as I said, I agree with most of what you say. Before Walter White there was Tony Soprano. I also think it’s no accident that while the “wizards of Wall Street” were magically making money out of thin air, the wizard Harry Potter was a sensation. Similarly the vampires in the Twilight series represent the wealthy and train legions of young women to worship wealthy men. In case this seems ridiculous, my point was proved in spades when in the spin-off 50 Shades of Grey the vampire was recast as CEO and the young woman was recast as his submissive. I’m not saying that the authors are part of a conspiracy, but that their books succeed because they reflect and reinforce the values of the time.

          1. scraping_by

            It’s not innate intellectual capacity or moral strength that limits popular participation in these sorts of decisions. As was pointed out in the article, the information is being deliberately withheld, inquiries are being suppressed, and confusion used to screen the true workings.

            I’d also add distractions of one sort or another are substituted for the raw data, the unending stream of sex and war.

            The majority’s not unintelligent, just uninformed.

            1. Banger

              The necessary information is widely available; for example, the information about WMDs in Iraq was available but everyone chose to ignore it.

              When I’ve spoken to people of high, low and in-between education or intelligence (whatever that is–I speak here in the common sense of the word) people have made it clear that they do not want to hear anything resembling the truth–in fact the more education the worse it is. Simple laws of logic, evidence and so on are ignored to protect a mythological framework. That’s why it is so easy to fool the public. The hidden secret in this society is that people, on average, do not want the truth or even talk about it. It’s not that I or other people who share my views are that obnoxious or graceless. It is interesting that for nearly all American intellectuals, for example, any Socratic-type of dialogue is nearly impossible if the arguments starts shifting outside of “normal” boundaries. Usually someone changes the subject–or the person becomes enraged that anyone should have the temerity to question official conventional wisdom.

              I don’t mean to be critical here really, it’s just that is what human culture is about. Mythological frameworks almost always trump anything you and I might call the truth or even science–scientists are often the worst offenders, as history has shown–paradigm changes come very hard in any group who share a mythological framework.

              1. Moneta

                I have to agree. I have been railing against neo-liberalism since the mid-90s but to no avail.

                Those in the know will say: “You are on the winning side, why can’t you just enjoy the ride?”

                And those out of the loop will say: “If you knew what you were talking about, you’d be rich.”

              2. sue

                Banger,

                “everyone chose to ignore it?”-please don’t revise history-Senator Patty Murray
                stated in person, over 95% of all phone, e-mail, letter contacts from constituents were AGAINST allowing bush-cheney war powers-media chose to ignore “the people”, just as they are today.

                Don’t blame “the people” for LIES by anti-government manifest-destiny advocates who then controlled government-anymore than we can blame “the people” for Wall Street accounting control fraud, or for Obama drone war.

              3. gepay

                I find that true even in my own family and friends – if the system is working reasonably well for them – they instantly turn off when cognitively dissonant facts and logic is stated. Liberal democratic women still believe in the Democratic line because about the only thing progressive left in the Democratic party is they are better on women’s issues than the Republicans. They still refuse to believe that the Secret Service was subverted so that Kennedy could be assassinated in order that Lyndon Johnson and Nixon could then become President rather than Bobby. LBJ and ‘tricky Dicky” didn’t have the power to order the assassination. The real ‘powers that be’ felt they would do just fine as the public faces of the policies they wanted the United States to continue (Nixon’s words resonated just fine with my conservative working class>middle class [with two salaries] parents. Just like Obama sounds so much better than ‘Dubya’ but continues and expands the same policies. If the people behind baby Bush were so incompetent, how did they get such a dud elected twice.
                Goldsmith was wise enough to understand that his wealth and privileges were much safer if he lived in a stable and content society. Most people don’t care if some people are better off if their own life’s needs are met and their children have a future. The present day counterparts of Goldsmith are sated with their power, living in the Buddhist psychological state of a God-like feeling.
                Keep fighting for what’s worth saving in the present system while preparing for what can only be envisioned as a bad end to the present world system.
                Chernobyl was worse than Three Mile Island. Fukushima is worse than Chernobyl.
                The BP Gulf of Mexico disaster> the Ixtoc oil blowout> Exxon Valdez oil spill
                Bigger and worse technological catastrophes are the trend.
                As Naked Capitalism readers are quite aware the present financial catastrophe will probably end up being worse than 1929.
                The facts are depressing, we still have to deal with them.
                As they say in Russia, “We are still alive and one day we might even be happy.”

              4. different clue

                No, it was not widely available. The only MSM outlet to carry it was McClatchey Newspaper Chain. Every other MSM outlet entirely suppressed it. Many people are not obsessive blogsite readers. They have to work. They have to raise families. They are too tired and otherwise time-committed to follow multiple blogs. By the way, NPR suppressed the information as much as anyone else.

                This sort of snobbery is percieved by “the people” and leads to the people rightfully hating leftists for holding this snobbish view.

                1. Doug Terpstra

                  Thanks for this, clue. Blaming the victim tends to mitigate the deliberate crimes of the true perps while alienating latent allies. Much of the Shock Doctrine, Neocon agenda, beginning in earnest at 911, has been by secrecy, deception, and illegal violence — all to impose the full spectrum dominance of a global empire. TPP is check or check-mate in this game.

                  The American people and most of the world are victims of a brazen criminal conspiracy, and blaming those of little means and even less political power for falling prey to such determined and sophisticated treachery is offensive.

                2. sue

                  So, you’re saying Patty Murray’s statement, delivered to me in person, is not an accurate representation?

                  I can go futher-asked the reason political legislators in large part voted to allow bush-cheney war powers, she divulged, “First, we were LIED TO. Then, people took the position, if they WERE lying, it would be there butts on the line-if we vote against and are wrong, it’s ours.”

                  1. different clue

                    Why would I say that? The people who spoke to Senator Murray had very good instincts.

                    I was replying to Banger’s comment that the information was widely available to most people. That is not true. Senator Murray’s respondents were either among the small minority of people who actually had access to the information on McClatchey newspapers or time-intensive blogsites, or had good instincts.

            2. anon y'mouse

              even if the public were told, they wouldn’t be ‘up in arms’ if it were told the proper way.

              in other words, it’s secret because they didn’t want to spend the money and time up front getting the people to acquiesce.

              all you have to do is sell it like any other depraved action in our time is being sold–war in Iraq, drone killing, torture. the playbook seems to be “it might hurt a bit, but the benefits to ALL will outweigh the costs, and also—this is necessary for the proper evolution of our economies. competition, productivity, effiency!”

              they’re jamming it through, and trying to do so quickly because they don’t have 5-7 year to soften us up. notice how agreements and accords which in the end don’t really mean or do anything are talked about endlessly (Tokyo Protocol, anyone?).

              1. Moneta

                I’m not sure about that.

                Our leaders are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Many don’t even understand half of what is happening.

                Then you have the reality that to make system more fair, you would need to radically change the structure upholding the top 20-30%ers wealth. There are not very many politicians or leaders who will have the guts to deal with that.

                For example, the pension system needs to get completely reformed. A large percentage of those in the top 20-30% have one of those underfunded pensions and they don’t want anyone to touch their pensions.

                1. sue

                  Moneta,

                  Please supply documentation for your assertion that “a large portion of those 20-30%ers have pensions”.

                  Most pensions in the city of Detroit, for example, are of the $30,000.00 per year variety, and are being reduced to $4600.00. Fact. Reported in New York Times of recent, as well as variety of media sources-outlets.

      2. PaulArt

        India in particular is already showing plenty of signs of mass unrest indicated by the maoist resurgence in the last decade in several states. All these states have the common denominator of natural resource exploitation at the expense of poor people who subsist on land and river water for their survival. My bet is, there are a lot more people in the millions in the Third World with nothing to lose – ideal fuel for a revolution – will rise up first before anything happens here in the West. I am fairly optimistic that any system that traces its origins to nature, i.e. human kind in this instance will implode beyond a certain size. However much we would like to believe that mega Corporations are going to take over the world, from the vantage point of looking at this from the inside I can tell you that this kind of conspiracy is beyond the abilities of these pipsqueak CEOs who now sit at the top. I mean, you think Jamie Dimon and Jeff Immelt not to mention Dave Cote can co-ordinate efforts to take over the world? From where I sit I see how sorry their idiotic and feeble efforts are currently to keep their lumbering dinosaurs walking forward and existing purely through consolidation and takeovers. It’s all a bubble propped up by Wall Street and Fed money printing and creative accounting. I would theorize that these mega corporations will soon be challenged by young upstarts with new technologies from India and China. Just give them time. They too are motivated by the same greed that created these corporations in the first place.

        1. Banger

          To some extent I think you’re right. A lot of these guys are very limited in ability in general but rather brilliant in Machiavellian maneuvering–and that’s all you need really. It’s the organizations that have become virtual entities–each of the functionaries don’t necessarily direct anything–they have a life of their own and these organizations are growing together and have become increasingly interlocked. They don’t need particular personalities to function they are, in a sense, function like hives. The individual insect just operates under a simple set of rules and somehow, when these rules lead to what appears to be intelligent behavior. The hive-mind of these corporations interact synergetically with the hive minds of other corporations and the national security state to create a huge structure that few if any people understand but these entities act as if they were in a conspiracy–and in a sense it doesn’t matter if it’s that intentional in our terms.

          I will say this though, there are a cadre of operators that play the angles, the edges and know how to leverage power–that I’ve seen.

        2. Nathanael

          “My bet is, there are a lot more people in the millions in the Third World with nothing to lose – ideal fuel for a revolution – will rise up first before anything happens here in the West.”

          Yeah, the overthrow of empires tends to go from the outside inward, anyway. The US will probably be the last to have a revolution. But we’ll get one eventually.

        3. The Commentator Formerly Known As A Real Black Person says

          The phenomenon of lumbering dinosaurs burning dinosaur fuels to maintain AND expand their fiefdoms is unsustainable. Declining fossil fuel resources makes it impossible for one group to impose the order required to “take over” the world. Global hegemony relies requires a lot of cheaply available energy human and that’s one the many thing that’s becoming increasingly scarce.

    2. Cassiodorus

      “It amazes me that we live in an era where so many believe the pursuit of profit is the goal of capitalism, when the goal (supposedly) was the betterment of society as a whole.”

      Why? The pursuit of profit has always been the goal of capitalism. Did you imagine capitalism to be some sort of warm, fuzzy entity which would tuck you into bed at night when Mom and Dad weren’t there? “Society” was deemed necessary at some point after 1932 (and in a more organized way, after 1948) because of the threat of the crisis of overproduction — if there was no “society,” nobody would be there to keep the sales receipts high and realize the profits made off of the surplus created by wage labor. So the ruling class decided that some maintenance work had to be done on the consumer society if the “American Way of Life” was to serve as a contrary position to that of the “Communists” in the Cold War.

      Now that there are no longer “Communists” to compete against, there is no longer a need for “society.” This was Margaret Thatcher’s point back in the 1980s in telling everyone that there is no such thing as society. “Society,” then, has gone back to what it was before the concept was deemed necessary — cannon fodder for elite profits.

      1. Banger

        Like amphetamine use the power of capitalism inevitably reaches the law of diminishing returns and ultimately leads to breakdown. The virtue of social democracy was as a transition towards going towards a sharing society (call it what you will) that is more natural and convivial for human beings. Sadly, the populace has not called for that and appears, to me at least, to want to go back to some for of feudalism whether through genuine desire (of wanting a stable system where ambiguity and moral-relativism disappears) or through a system of mind-control that approaches genuine sorcery.

        1. Massinissa

          Banger, its no different than the popularity of people like Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, Salazar, I guess Stalin, and basically any other authoritarian leader you can think of.

          People don’t like chaos. They want order, security, stability. Democracy is by its very nature chaotic. More ethical a system perhaps democracy is, but when people are unhappy they historically drift towards authoritarianisms and feudalisms. Most people want the world to have a clear and simple hierarchical structure, much like the ‘Great Chain of Being’ that the church promoted as the moral justification of feudalism a millennia ago.

        2. human

          The proletariat are clutching to any semblance of an empathetic system. Feudalism would actually be an improvement, as there was an explicit bond between the lower and upper classes. One reason why to define our coming “society” as neo-feudalism.

          And yes, capitalism will eventually break down…when there are no more bubbles to inflate. The problem with this is the infinite number of bubbles they seem able to inflate, eg the coming War on the Effect of Global Climate change: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/1/obama-orders-government-prep-global-warming/ . Thoreau was so right, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”

          1. Banger

            Feudalism of a sort can be seen in the mafia system of capos and the Middle Eastern system of sheiks. That’s the direction that people will gravitate towards. We need a direct relationship to power–but it will be different–in what ways I cannot predict.

        3. sue

          Banger,

          Our family emanated from Mount Snowden area of Wales; coal miners. When prices of coal reduced, mine owners closed mines. Children starved-children, who by 5 years of age were working mines. This went on till price of coal rose-then miners were again “employed”, though they owned nothing-lived in “company store” villages. (see “Matewan”):

          http://www.amazon.com/Matewan-Chris-Cooper/dp/B000068QP0/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1383531020&sr=1-1&keywords=matewan

          “Moon-rakers” or “moon cussers” took to placing candles in cages on sheep, on dark nights, near shores, to lure-wreck ships-cargoes of wrecked ships were legally stripped from wrecks. This is how families survived; otherwise they starved.

          Imagine now, surveillance society obsession in light of historical context. Just as credit card lobbyists were enabled to re-write bankruptcy laws under bush-cheney, we cannot imagine these “lords” do not know what was-is coming; they are creating the new world order-one of attempted complete control of events and people.

          Let’s also not forget historical perspective of railroad workers laid off or reduced wages, leading to burning of railroad facilities-equipment-trains.
          Surveillance systems are the answer to organized resistance.

      2. susan the other

        It is just more proof of Thatcher’s confusion and mental contradictions that at the same time she was saying “there is no society” she was openly skeptical of the EZ and would not sacrifice UK sovereignty for membership. The EZ should be a cautionary tale about the disaster that ensues when there is no sovereignty. aka “society”. So Maggie could see this clearly. The cosmopols want sovereignty without society. It sounds like another oxymoron to me. And if it is true, as this post states, that the gains from all this whirling free trade will be “negligible” it will ironically be a very high price to pay for a global quagmire like the EZ is today.

        1. Cassiodorus

          Susan and others:

          The point of my citation of Thatcher’s “there is no society” was to point to a reason why people would believe in something so unreal as that “the goal (of capitalism) was the betterment of society as a whole.” The elites of the capitalist system once cared about “society” using a Keynesian logic — bringing more people into the mainstream of economic circulation, and increasing sales, was deemed necessary to keep the profit rates high. And for awhile it worked, until the crisis of profitability of the 1970s.

          Thatcher said what she said as a sponsor of neoliberal capitalism, which has as its goal the privatization of state assets into elite hands and the subordination of society (real society, not the “individuals and their families” of Thatcher’s imagination) to “markets” controlled by corporate oligopolies. The full quote: “And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.” One must assume that among the members of Thatcher’s “family” are the private interests who benefited from her regime.

          The society of Keynesian populism, the one which was directed from the perspective of John F. Kennedy that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” was fueled by a growth rate averaging 4.9% per year. What survives of that society appears as a relic of a previous stage of capitalism. Today the annual growth rate is maybe one or two percent if we’re lucky, and the profit rate is maintained at a high level through the sort of tactics mentioned above by “Don Quijones.”

          1. sue

            “Privatization” of state assets is exactly what Adam Curtis’ video “Mayfair Set” depicts-but in formal form, complete with names named, of those involved.

            It is substantial video BBC documentary.

  2. Skeptic

    A lot of very sage people have suggested that Humans will be supplanted by Machines. Well I would suggest that that day is already here.

    Corporations are machines which employ Humans to exploit, degrade, indebt and enslave their fellow Humans. In some cases, even hunt them down and murder them. These Corporations cannot exist without these Quisling Humans to betray their species. In many cases, these Quislings are mere shells of Humans having no empathy or compassion as they go about their daily betrayal.

    So, the wild, outrageous claims of stoned out scifiers are here and now. View at your local Stupormarket, Mal*Mart, .gov, Quicksand Loans or other TBTF corporate “business”.

    “Would you like a hot apple pie with that, dear?”

    1. Banger

      Well, maybe not quite machines, but human constructions who exemplify in every way possible what the I Ching calls the “inferior man.” There is nothing wrong, according to the I Ching, with the inferior man as long as it is under the control of the “superior man” who sets the course and the inferior man carries it out. When the inferior man is in a position of leadership (unless the issue is narrow) then disaster occurs for individuals and society.

      Corporations are practical enterprises where people get together to focus on solving some particular problem. When the corporation is subject to the society as they once were the problems are few. At any time the sovereign state could revoke the charter and bring the directors to justice as should have happened to the main Wall Street banks–but that is not even remotely possible today.

      Corporations are usurping powers who run this society using not just the power that comes from the gun but also from magic (PR/advetising/marketing/propaganda) culled from not just old slight-of-hand and misdirection techniques but also using all the findings of neuro- and social-science to program people through accessing their unconscious.

      1. sue

        Actually, Banger, “The inferior man is the subject of the “superior”-and the superior man is the subject of the inferior, to improve”…Taoism notes both arise together-not as “separate” from one another-they are in fact dependent upon one another….note historical connection between I-Ching and Taoism.

        1. Banger

          And Confucianism–the two are meant to be in alignment but when the inferior man sorts of considerations dominate then there is trouble and disorder.

          1. sue

            Sorry, Banger,

            Confucianism is the direct opposite of Taoism. Towit, Confucianism is hierarchy western style-gods, then emperor, then emperor’s designates, then
            court vassals, etc, etc.-the people, or individual on bottom of hierarchy.

            Taoism begins with the individual-none of other “hierarchy” would exist without
            the individual. Individual must acquiesce to empower all other portions of hierarchy.

            http://www.thriftbooks.com/viewdetails.aspx?isbn=0231086024

            http://www.thriftbooks.com/viewdetails.aspx?isbn=0231086032

            Primary impetus behind western culture infatuation with Confucianism is “filial piety”-relegation of individual to power structure.

      2. PaulArt

        90% marginal tax rates and Estate taxes. That is the sure antidote. Nothing cures the Fat Cats like 90% marginal tax rates. The problem is, both good and evil come out of the investment of Fat Cats so, once they have done some good (usually the first time)then their shelf life is over, take them out of the system with 90% tax rates. The other thing is, CASTRATE Wall Street and surgically explore and cut, cauterize connections between Wall Street Banksters and the Fed. Well, I guess everyone knows this so I will get off my soap box.

  3. s spade

    My only quibble with this post is the idea that giant corporations are primarily interested in profits. For some time now they have been engines of executive looting and nothing more. Try being a stockholder and watch your returns shrink to the vanishing point. The new style of feudalism involves the corporation as tax gatherer and distributor of the spoils: to executives, to legislators on the take, to academic toadies, to private armies. As for the public wising up before it is too late, it is already too late.

  4. Chris Rogers

    The ramifications of this power grab by a cabal of transglobal corporations and leading politicians is without precedent, and yet it goes largely unreported in the Mainstream media – obviously being the propaganda outlet of this despicable cabal, and thus unwilling to upend the applecart.

    What is truly worrying is the usurpation of the nation-state itself, the dissolution of which offers unimagined horrors moving forward as our corporate masters attempt the greatest coup of all in the interests of a tiny minority whose interests are diametrically at odds with ours, namely the people and population of the planet as a whole.

    I can’t say we were not warned, for interestingly the UK’s Labour Party of the late 60′s and 1970′s contained a large segment that was opposed to what was then the European Economic Community on the grounds that it was a puppet of corporate interests, rather than an institution committed to the welfare and social justice of the citizens of the Western European democracies – I remember well persons such as Peter Shore denouncing the EEC and warning what would happen if the UK ever joined this supranational entity. To say that the Left in Europe was hoodwinked by Jacques Delors in the late 1980′s would be a gross understatement.

    It was said at the time that the Labour Party Manifesto for the 1983 UK general election was the longest suicide note ever written, it transpires it was effectively one of humanities last hopes to escape the horrors that we are now gazing at. That this is facilitated by elected politicians is the greatest insult of all.

    1. Banger

      The mainstream media narrative is thus completely false. Everything they say is a lie and twisted and tortured into two main “lines.” The first is to convince people that they are helpless in the face of baffling events that make no sense and that history is just “one damn thing after another” as Churchill quipped. The second is that the basic set-up is the only possible one that more humanistic arrangements are unrealistic and that the winners and losers scenario is what life always was, is and will be for ever and ever, Amen.

      1. John Mc

        Banger,

        I struggle with your language: “Everything is lie”, or “completely false” with mainsteam media.

        While I do agree heavily with you about the propaganda cycles of corporate media in this country, I think we have to get better with our words, as well as our understanding their persuasion tactics. Specifically, I think we need to be sensitive to the varieties of propaganda.

        The everything is lie or completely false reactions are not exactly accurate. In fact, I would argue that the best lies contain a high degree of or enough truth in them to succeed while embedding a more toxic strand that as Keynes suggested not one in a thousand would be able to diagnose or differentiate. For example, Robert Reich posted an article on Common Dreams today.

        Mostly, he is hammering the same inequality meme, but as Yves rightly pointed out in an earlier article, he has some explaining to do about de-regulation, trade agreements and labor standards during the neoliberal turn. All the while, he is trumpeting his involvement in the world’s most profitable presidency while driving a mini-cooper (see Inequality for All).

        My point is that he has enough truth (as we need spokesmen for the inequality battle), but he is disingenuous when talks about the problems and solutions. He reverts to the staid faux-left-right-divide debates that settle very little and validate the neoliberal state. Second, his language serves to embolden policies that may eventually harm Americans (as Yves discusses on Bill Moyers).

        My thesis here is that scholars, bloggers, and critical thinkers need to be careful with our use of “always, never, us-them, none-all, everything-everyone and pronouns in general as they are more important to the Bernaysian efforts than many realize.

        1. Banger

          You are right–bad language–what I usually say is “everything is a lie even if it’s true” by which I mean that even if the literal facts are more or less correct the context is false. Thus, to me, it is all lies, propaganda and PR. I was able to observe how public opinion is formed–it’s all show-biz, believe me.

    2. James Levy

      We’ve got so do a serious assessment of who is winning and who is losing in all this. American politicians are sure that many more than the 1% understand that our stable of multinationals will do very well from a deal like this, as will our scientific and engineering elites who still churn out a disproportionate percentage of the most lucrative patents. It would be easy if this was only a sweetheart deal from the kleptocratic CEOs. They could be overcome. But the fact that the media, Hollywood, the investor class, the extractive industries, the arms makers and dealers, and the Tech sector can all make a killing off this baleful treaty makes it a monster almost impossible to kill. There is something here for almost everyone in the top 15% of the population, and they are the only ones that count here.

      Bottom line: the educated cadres who will hear about and weigh in on this matter will overwhelmingly be at best ambivalent about, at worst greedily in favor off, this treaty. Stopping it would entail the mass mobilization of the lower 2/3 of the population, and in American history such masses have almost never been mobilized for anything (even for the American Revolution, which according to John Adams never commanded the solid support of more than a third of the population).

      1. anon y'mouse

        even worse, I fear. notice the comment of the above corporat-o-crat.

        “we must pause while public opinion simmers down.” to paraphrase.

        these people will not ever stop until they get what they want. it is why our government is so bad. even if the first bill doesn’t pass, the same crap is attached in a rider to another. again and again and eventually it goes through, and then we’re all sitting on our arses on the side of the road going “where’s my horse?”

        the whole world needs to be mobilizing. we need to realize that corporations were only tools, machines for making money. budding capitalists (aspirationally rich types) will say “everything in your house was the product of a corporation” and act as though it was necessary to get goods. it never was. it was only a method of organizing people to make goods. there are many ways of organizing people.

        profit can’t be afforded. the entire human population that does not reap most of the benefits from these corps are having their health and livelihoods skimmed off the top by them, and those who manage and serve them.

        impossible, I know. but we need the bulk of humanity on one page about this.

        1. Nathanael

          The particular sort of scam where they try to push the same thing through after it’s been defeated by public opinion four or five times — that’s a very stupid and shortsighted scam.

          After a while *the majority public opinion* decides “The only way to stop this crap is direct military action”, and then you have a civil war on your hands. Which you do not want, if you’re part of the elite.

          The situation is so proto-Russian-Revolution, so proto-French-Revolution, that I just know it’s going to blow up sooner or later — unless we overthrow the elite peacefully, earlier. Of course, the danger is that the situation is also very Weimar Germany or pre-Mussolini Italy.

          One thing is clear: the current status quo of elite kleptocrats stealing stuff and providing no services is not sustainable. It will end. Somehow.

  5. DakotabornKansan

    We have been fed junk economics for the last 150 years.

    Now, the Four Horsemen are coming. They have been unleashed by the global corporatocracy.

    The global corporatocracy has driven us to the point of multi-linked global collapse and disaster in many aspects of our lives.

    Where can we go before we are dragged to a bitter ending by the Four Horsemen?

    “People are beginning to get angry but not nearly enough,” says economics professor Herman Daly in this excellent film (h/t JCC):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fbvquHSPJU

    “The inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic rulers is one of our gravest faults. We have been blinded to the depravity of our ruling elite by the relentless propaganda of public relations firms that work on behalf of corporations and the rich. Compliant politicians, clueless entertainers and our vapid, corporate-funded popular culture, which holds up the rich as leaders to emulate and assures us that through diligence and hard work we can join them, keep us from seeing the truth.” – Chris Hedges

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/print/lets_get_this_class_war_started_20131020

    “We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all—by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians—be participating in its destruction? Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us. How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing.” – Wendell Berry

    As Yves said, please use whatever route you think will work best with the people you know to get the word out.

    1. Banger

      Why? The failure of the imagination–the imagination has been captured by the wall-to-wall entertainment enterprise that is the fatal flaw in the human system that leaves us open for unconscious programming. The zombie movies are an example of what we fear and what we fear is becoming true.

      1. s spade

        Gustave Le Bon explained all this in 1895 in his little book called The Crowd. Democracy is too easily subverted by propaganda and its soft form, public relations, particularly when a toadying class of politicians, academics, junior executives, and ‘personalities’ is easily marshaled by the oldest expedients, bribery and careerism.

        Sauve qui peut.

      2. sue

        Propaganda disguised as “entertainment”, documented by Adam Curtis, “The Century of Self”:

        http://www.amazon.com/Century-Curtis-producer-Power-Nightmares/dp/0930852753/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1383493968&sr=1-2&keywords=adam+curtis+The+Century+of+Self

        “To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests? Among the main characters are Freud himself and his nephew Edward Bernays, who was the first to use psychological techniques in advertising. Curtis quotes a Wall Street banker saying “We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”

        and “The Trap”:

        http://www.amazon.com/Trap-What-Happened-Dream-Freedom/dp/0930852621/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1383494016&sr=1-2&keywords=adam+curtis+The+Trap

        “Explores how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today’s dysfunctional idea of freedom. In three parts. The first explains the baleful influence of game theory on economics and international relations. Game theory says humans are basically suspicious, selfish and constantly strategizing. It was created by a man who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia… Part two is about some ill effects of game theory / free market theory on society, for instance with over-the-counter drugs, bureaucracies and schools. Part three, “We Will Force You To Be Free,” starts with the concepts of negative and positive freedom, that is freedom from and freedom to. It goes on to how the rhetoric of freedom has been used by revolutionaries to justify violence, by the neo-cons to justify “shock therapy” in Eastern Europe and more recently in Iraq, with horrific consequences. Certainly one of the most thought-provoking and intelligent films of recent times.”

        1. John Mc

          I saw both of these documentaries years ago and they changed how I saw the world.

          Curtis’ Century of self is a staple in my graduate level Consumer education course, and I believe (along with the work of Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges, or John Perkins) a venue to have real and sustained dialogues that did not occur beforehand. Great point Sue!

        2. Benjamin

          I’ve been suspicious of Adam Curtis since I first heard of him through a segment he did on a Charlie Brooker show in which he explained at length how we had all become Richard Nixon. It was apparent to me right from the start that he was presenting elequent and persuasive bullshit. His ‘documentaries’ may include their fair share of valid points, but one needs to be intensely wary of anyone who presents the complexities of world events and history as a simple to follow narrative.

          1. sue

            Ben,

            Please take each Adam Curtis component involved and issue by issue, discuss, debate, or dialogue that with which you find historical inaccuracy. Please don’t attempt abstract, “kill the messenger” blanket discredit.

            Begin with “The Power of Nightmares”-most recent, therefore well known historical documentation?

            (Socratic method)

          2. John Mc

            I agree with your overarching point about simplistic narratives for complex interactions.

            However, Curtis’work is important for a number of reasons:

            1. Informed me about myths like the birth of the public relations field (Bernays) and how the marketing American Exceptionalism works as a control.

            2. The story of US consumer manipulation, group/individual psychology and the use of business practices to extract “hidden desires” and consumer wealth which serve as another control of mimicking models of a society (and their wealth).

            3. Also, this movie addresses what John Perkins calls the Octopus’ head covering the US with its tentacles spread all over the world. There are very few mediums which have not been especially sanitized for our consumption. Having a counternarrative is healthy, and somewhat lacking in my midwestern background of white male privilege.

            For that matter, a website such as NC is a pretty rare event in culture that either lacks information-expertise, or a desire to interrogate failing institutions. I see this as similar as the watching Curtis’ work.

            I wonder if those who are interested in Curtis’ work are subject to simplistic thinking, looking for easy answers, or strawmen analyses?

            1. sue

              And it doesn’t end with Curtis-read 70′s-80′s expose’ of advertising, “Subliminal Seduction”:

              http://www.thriftbooks.com/viewdetails.aspx?isbn=0451098870

              The perceptual threshold can be managed.

              Eat Popcorn and Drink Coca-Cola,

              This book is incredible it is dated but revels some of the secrets of Madison ave. I do not think this book is a hoax in fact I think such advertising methods have become worse.

              Mr. Key claims subliminal sexual symbols (and images of death) or objects are often used to entice consumers to buy and use various products.

              Subliminal messages bypass conscious recognition.
              Here is a brief overview of some of the techniques discussed.

              Subliminal Embedding

              “One prevalent form of subliminal technique (Subliminal Embedding)
              was described as the insertion of words or body forms (embeds) by the use of shadows or shading or the substitution of forms or shapes generally associated with the body. The consumer does not perceive them at a normal rate of awareness. And thus is given no choice whether to accept or reject the message as is the case with normal advertising.”

              Other methods mentioned
              1 Figure ground reversals (synchronistic illusions)
              2/ Embedding
              3/ Double Entende
              4/ Tachistoscopic displays
              5/Low intensity light
              6/Lighting and background sound

              7/quick cuts
              8/meta contrast
              9/backward masking

              Subliminal condition

              Ad’s use phrases directed at the sub level.
              “I love Coke.”
              Beatty Crocker mmmmm moist.
              Super moist
              Hey hot shot aren’t you coming?

  6. Brooklin Bridge

    The general public must be on to something, or the government wouldn’t keep this so secret. TPTB (Obama front and center) probably realize that NAFTA gave it away; no point in tempting fate, or an angry mob.

    As mentioned above in this thread’s comments, it’s probably too late for public reaction to do much anyway, it’s not as though we live in a democracy or something or have representatives we can contact, ha,ha,ha,ha, though it’s always worth trying. We should also be looking at those self destruct fault lines and weaknesses that will blossom from such extensive pathology and help them along wherever possible.

    Note that freedom of expression on the internet probably has its days numbered, as mentioned in the post, so there is another little “lights out” challenge we better get working on.

    Note also, I wouldn’t be surprised if all those who seem utterly oblivious of the consequences of all this constitutional and economic shredding behavior going on in every aspect of their lives turn out to be nothing more – and nothing less – than a huge success in AI and neural network technologies. They’re robots, dummy! That isn’t an “IPod”, it’s a truly miniturized power pack! And they’re sooo real. The Turing challenge has finally been solved! Yeaaa!!!

    1. Dan Kervick

      They’re keeping it secret to prevent the public from having the opportunity to organize any opposition. If we don’t know what’s it in, we don’t know who the winners and losers are, and can’t organize a rational response. Once it is ready, it will be rolled out with some sort of public relations blitzkrieg, led by the Clintons no doubt to assist the administration, but with plenty of key Republican support too.

      I’m guessing the number one selling point will be that if we don’t have the treaty, China will bury us in the 21st century.

      The unconditional public demand right now should be “no fast track”. The fast track is what will allow them to ram it through before anybody can figure out what it’s all about.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I completely agree. My first sentence wasn’t clear; I meant exactly what you said, that TPTB were keeping it from the public because the public would object – and they would object in part at least because of their prior experience with NAFTA which was sold less secretly. But now, poorer and somewhat wiser, they are “on to something” and would treat any trade agreement not kept secret with considerable suspicion.

      2. Brooklin Bridge

        Oh, and “China will bury us” is a very plausible guess as to the sales pitch in the brief public interim after they whip it out for an up or down vote.

  7. Moneta

    If households are reeling, then at one point, consumerism should collapse. But we are not there yet.

    Go look at the big discretionary stocks, many have doubled or tripled since the crisis. Discretionary is THE best returning sector since the crisis!!!

    Revenues are back up, which means households are still consuming or that inflation is up and not yet being reported correctly. Costs are at all-time lows thanks to troughs in nearly all item lines:
    -low taxes
    -low interest rates
    -low wages
    -low pension costs
    -low dd&a de to low investing

    I believe that households are still clinging to their old ways waiting for the economy to come back. It can take 5 years for households to adapt to new financial circumstances. (How did you go bankrupt: “Gradually, then suddenly”)

    Many of those companies are not investing all that much, mainly increasing debt to increase their dividend. I sense that we need a collapse in consumer stocks, discretionary in particular, if we want this game to change. If that happened, I would expect the elite in these sectors to start stabbing the elite of other sectors in the back.

    The problem is that consumerism is still very well alive and households are shooting themselves in the foot by feeding the corporate beast.

    1. Banger

      Citizens believe in TINA as they’ve been programmed to believe so no matter what privations they experience they will accept the current ethic promoted by the propaganda organs and entertainment media.

      This mind-control regime has managed to eliminate the idea of public virtue and even most personal virtues.

    2. sue

      “consumerism”, Moneta, would have already “collapsed” had banks not been consumer-FED subsidized to continue status quo-who do you suppose is empowered; consumers??

      “free market” Rand-Greenspan-Friedmanism has failed miserably.

      1. Moneta

        I agree.

        But if I understand correctly, your ultimate goal is to pin everything on the elite and “make them pay”.

        You do realize, don’t you that this blaming trait is usually associated with the right?

        Progressives don’t usually look to burn people at the stake; they usually dream of reforming them.

        1. James Levy

          You are not going to reform 99% of men with 50 million who think that if they jigger the system even more in their favor they’ll be worth $500 million in a few years. You aren’t going to get Jamie Dimon to “go, give all you have to the poor, and follow me.” You are not going to get Obama to give up the powers Dubya bequeath to him and that he himself has usurped. They are like the slaveholders of the antebellum South. You will have to wrest their “property” from them by force, then leave them out of the governing system for a generation until they have all died off. If every Confederate officer and soldier had simply lost the vote and the right to hold office for life (hardly a tough penalty for treason, which normally gets you lined up against a wall and shot) this country would be in infinitely better shape than it is today.

          1. Moneta

            You will have to wrest their “property” from them by force, then leave them out of the governing system for a generation until they have all died off.

            I agree. But progressives don’t do that kind of dirty work. That kind of work is usually done by someone on the right who feels slighted and needs revenge.

            The left is going to somehow need to get on the good side of the right if it wants to gets its way.

            1. sue

              “progressives don’t do that sort of work”??

              So, there was no Marine General Smedley Butler, no FDR, no Pecora Commission, creating economic stability over 60 years?

              Corporal Bradley Manning, Snowden, Julian Assange-WikiLeaks didn’t inform “the people” of the truth their leaders “tortured”??

              It appears obvious “the people” are subject to forces inhibiting their abilities to
              cause the sort of “change” necessary-the sort Obama had no intention of supplying, though having promised, for easy example. (DLC dems are NOT “progressives”)

          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            50 million? If you take out the incomes of the top 300 people in the US, the percapita income equals that of Brazil.

        2. anon y'mouse

          burn, blame or what. who is in charge? that is all that should be of concern.

          people who are on the side of obscuring who is really running things make me wonder.

          those who immediately cry ‘class warfare’ when the poor, pitiful oligarchs are held responsible (even if just in online postings) make me wonder.

          if we don’t find out who is really in control (“to blame”) then we’ll all wander around thinking that we can change the world by purchasing the ‘right kind’ of lightbulb, car etc.

          1. Moneta

            Nobody is perfect so when you blame, the finger always comes back to you. The powerful will always find a way to divert attention.

            What is important is understanding what is happening. How are the 1%ers getting richer and what are the 99% doing/not doing to help them get away with it.

            BOTH 1%ers and 99%ers play an intricate role in this world situation.

            There is a clear percentage of the population that has no choices and only exists but there is still today a definite 20-30% that still has choices and can be, along with the 1%, also be “blamed” for our current ongoing situation.

            And I am confident that many on this blog are part of this top 20-30% who is part of the problem and blaming the 1%ers.

            That being said, I do realize that we will probably need to condemn a few bankers to get things done because humans need restitution and retribution to qualm their anger… but that is not progressive and will just lead to another faulty system.

          2. Moneta

            Most of the 1%ers I know are not obscuring anything. They are part of the grand delusion!

            Many think they are great and the losers are just complaining because they are not deserving; that if they just pick themselves up by their bootstraps, they can get somewhere.

            But I’d be willing to say that most don’t even think about the others. They are just doing their thing, benefitting from being at the right place, at the right time, with the right package. They are making money, oblivious to what is happening to the lower classes. And the richer they get, the more disconnected they become.

        3. sue

          Moneta-

          nice attempted reversal of issue orientation. As you are aware, the last 60 years
          of economic stability was brought to us courtesy of FDR economic regulatory legislation (Pecora Commision).

          DEregulatory legislation is easily assimilated, historically, documented. A good place to begin is to follow the money-you have been oft challenged to do so; never been forthcoming in said effort.

          Sheila Bair, in “Bull By The Horns” accomplishes a quite accurate overview-as you may be aware, she directs responsibility directly at Wall Street, as do I. I can prove this thesis easily, as you are aware-as has Ms. Bair-a lifetime republican.

          Next misdirection awaited.

        4. different clue

          Its a good thing FDR was not the kind of progressive you speak of, then. He knew that the way to deal with Germany/Japan/Italy was to kill enough of them that the rest would unconditionally surrender.

          As it took the conservative California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to point out . . . ” ‘hug a nazi, make a liberal’ just doesn’t work.”

  8. Moneta

    The irony…

    A life of consumerism will promote GLOBALIZATION in many different ways.

    Americans go to University aspiring to live the good life which means buying luxury items that often come from outside their country. Wealth is always attracted to exotic consumption. So when you convince an entire population to aim for wealth, you are increasing the attraction of foreign products or spending outside your country.

    If Americans want jobs to come back, they will need spend inside their own country but this will mean higher costs, less spending on discretionary items and more on staples and services… but this will make them feel poor because the good life has been associated with toys and not better services or the proper maintenance of common goods.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      If Americans want jobs to come back, they will need spend inside their own country [...]. -Moneta

      They will also need training in international detective skills. It’s getting harder and harder to find out where things are even made, never mind what they are made of.

        1. JTFaraday

          Yeah, that’s the kind of ripple effect you get when you toss a dime in a lake.

          The real problem is that people–and I’m sure this is true of Canadians as well, not just Americans– are overwhelmingly dependent on the products of large mega-corporations for the basic necessities of life.

          Like food. And this is true even if you avoid over processed mass marketed junk food. Certainly, one of the biggest hits on the NAFTA score card was that delivered to agriculture in Mexico, in favor of American frankenfood

          And it sounds like the very purpose of the TPP is to enable currently existing corporations to prohibit the ability of national governments to develop their local economies.

          So, this enforced corporate dependency is not so readily resolved as your incessant diatribe against the consumerist values of the free spending American would suggest.

          1. Moneta

            Read my comment below.

            One of the reasons why I come to this blog is because I believe Americans don’t realize how pervasive and life destroying their consumerism is. And even worse, they are forcing it on the rest of the world.

            Calculate how much energy and resources (joules) one typical day of an American’s life requires (food, transportation, housing, etc.) and then compare it with that of a European, Chinese, Indian. Don’t forget to include all the energy and resources that were spent and are still being spent by governments for roads, utilities. Don’t forget to include all the consuming for corporate America because you are probably somehow using their premises… Even the poor get to use these premises.

            And Canada right now is even worse than the US in per capita energy consumption!

            1. JTFaraday

              I did read your comment below. It sounds like you need to exercise that freedom of consumption prerogative you throw at the great mass of Americans and move.

          2. Moneta

            Yeah, that’s the kind of ripple effect you get when you toss a dime in a lake.
            ——-
            I believe in the butterfly effect. I believe that movements start from the ground up; that we all have an impact on each other, from the poor person to the rich.

            I also believe in determinism, that the past determines the future so the future is already written. But just like Yves feels she has to write, I feel I have to keep on talking about energy, resources and over-consumerism. I don’t know if it will lead to an outcome I want but I just feel that is what I have to do.

            1. JTFaraday

              Sure, you can keep talking but that doesn’t mean you’re right.

              The whole post is about how the the US government, in combination with mega-corporations, determines public policy. The spending and laboring decisions individuals get to make happen somewhere way down the line.

              This is not new, it’s just that the mega-corporations are attempting to put themselves officially in the driver’s seat, as opposed to taking the passenger side as in the 20th century economy to which you allude.

              But you can always move out of your 5% neighborhood if you don’t the culture there. It certainly does seem to be overly coloring your view of how things work and how people think and how much money we burn.

              1. Fiver

                Moneta points out an obvious truth, i.e., that a “standard” middle class American (or Canadian) lifestyle is not only grotesquely wasteful, but is quite impossible globally, as we’d need at bare minimum another 3 planets’ biospheres and resources – and your retort is “If you don’t like it, move.”?

                Since when did JT Faraday start talking like some jowly, white, flag-waving, fat fuck from Five Forks Flats?

                The US indeed has over a hundred million people struggling from one day to the next and tens of millions more one bad break away from bust. It also has 40 million engaged in, and another 80 million coming up the ladder to engage in, the most wantonly wasteful lifestyles/living standards/”culture” ever known. The top 10% account for 40%+ of “consumer spending”. The next 30% bring it up to 80%+. And you can be certain, because the society has been bombarded non-stop with consumerist propaganda embedded in every aspect of living over a multi-generational period, that the other 60% would like nothing more than the lottery win that puts them into the house, car, toys and travel they’ve been trained by the wealthy’s minions to deeply desire – one glance at the “Black Friday” shopping news video ‘openings’ should suffice to warrant your reconsideration.

                There is no ‘growth’ crisis in the US – good Lord, anything but. What is evident on spec, and with a lifetime’s reflection, is a monumental wealth distribution crisis, the redistribution required being from private, discretionary, lunatic-level consumptive spending, by the top 20% to 30%, and equally insane levels of military/faux-”security” and corporate subsidy public spending to the creation of an entirely new project, ie., a truly sustainable economy for all of us. You know as well as I that every other path leads to disaster, so “reversing” the current, US-centred, US-driven global corporate State-building enterprise that these “trade” agreements embody had better be possible, or we are all 100% screwed.

          3. anon y'mouse

            even if you WANT to live according to your values, in many cases it isn’t possible.

            avoid corporate food for a month. unless you are a semi-wealthy person who can afford a year’s food with a CSA up front, and then cook entirely from scratch and still do without many things that have become ‘typical’ it is impossible.

            don’t you understand? the system has been set up this way deliberately. how much of this ‘consumerism’ that you’re talking about is non-discretionary? if 70/100 cents is spent on necessities that can’t be done without, and there are few or NO alternatives except corporate ones, where is the freedom of choice for the person who needs things to survive?

            that’s the whole point, people! to make us so dependent upon this crap that we can’t get away even if we want to. unless you’re advocating that we all go a kind of homeless, granola ‘galt’ and become willing to live in mud huts or something.

            1. Moneta

              I believe that a large percentage is financially stuck. However, there is still a 20-30% that has choices and if opting for the status quo.

            2. oddity

              I believe that you have described the end game that comes from the division of labor. Since this idea started back in Plato’s day, I don’t see a quick fix coming any time soon.

      1. Moneta

        I have a perfect example which dates back to a few years ago when my daughter was in kindergarten…

        We lived in a neighborhood serving the top 5%. Yet the school, attended by the children of these 5% percenters, had not changed one thing since the 50s. The school was probably full of asbestos and the class smelled of mould. In fact, they had to shut it down at one point to fix that problem.

        Every morning, there would be a swath of 60K+ luxury cars dropping off the kids at this decrepit school. And somehow when I pointed out this incongruence, the parents would look at me as if I has horns growing out the side of my head.

        Then one day, in a local paper, you had this picture of a boomer leaning against his 100K+ premium Mercedes. He was complaining that his school taxes had shot up from 200$ to 400$ annually while he had no kids attending school…

        I could not help wonder if he ever had any or if he planned on getting treated by someone older than him when he got too old to care for himself. But he has been successful and he has probably convinced himself that bad things only happen to those who are not as great as him. (Babbitt philosophy).

        People don’t realize the consequences of their choices. And even when you point it out, the light still does not go on. Why? Because humans can rationalize anything. And the farther away you are from necessity, the more disconnected you become.

        The top 30% don’t want to pay taxes but are ready to send an extra 20K to 40K outside the country for their luxury cars while they are not saving for retirement nor making sure that the infra around them will be up to snuff by the time they retire.

        They won’t think twice about gutting a kitchen that is still fully operational (but out of style)and turning into a gourmet kitchen. They have actually convinced themselves that it is an investment and can not even see how it can be wasteful.

        We have been making the wrong choices for 3 decades and it is now catching up to us. Here in Canada, we are in the US equivalent of 2006… we have not seen anything yet.

        1. Banger

          First of all there is an “idea” that we ought to be doing “everything” for our kids. For many people that is just and ideological meme. I’m good so that obviously, I do what is good and being pro-my kids is something I do. Of course before that doing for myself to enhance my status (luxury cars and big houses special shoes, handbags and so no) comes first because that is the meaning of life–isn’t it? In other words those parents don’t really care much for their kids–in fact, there’s an epidemic of texting while parenting–check out what Shelley Turkle has to say on that.

          Second, the idea that there is a commons has gone out of fashion–the ideology of Margaret Thatcher (“there is no such thing as society”) so if other people are having a tough time that’s just too bad, if anyone gets in the way of cheap gas in the Middle East then kill them. And, even more, if someone gets in the way of our fantasy lives they must be crushed (terrorists!!!).

          It may be the case that most people don’t go as far as I’ve described but it is the direction we are going in. Moral degeneration is the order of the day and, also, an opportunity for all of us who have some sense of public morality to show the practical value of a caring.

          1. Banger

            Oh–and, of course, be part of a community of like-minded comrades–this is as important or more important than all I listed above.

        2. sue

          “the school had not CHANGED”..are you in education, Moneta? Please be specific-”changed” from what, into what? What is desired GOAL? Ever compare
          with international education? What is the GOAL there? What sort of “changes”
          do you desire, specifically, beyond the abstract?

          Most, when so confronted, desire opportunity for their own children.

          1. Moneta

            The school building and lot were just like they were when they were built. Just 60 years older and decrepit.

            1. anon y'mouse

              all of our buildings should be 60 or more years old.

              they should be well-maintained (no mold or asbestos), but they should be old.

              this rebuilding the built environment every 20-30 years is the most wasteful thing in existence, aside from cars and car culture of dependency.

            2. sue

              Moneta,

              Are you willing to admit you intend to indict “educational process” on the basis
              of a building?

              1. Moneta

                NO. My comment had NOTHING to do with the quality of education.

                It had everything to do with the overspending on consumer goods and underspending on common goods.

                1. sue

                  Moneta-you are now suggesting that consumer spending desires led to Wall Street economic disaster???

                  Really???

    2. sue

      Moneta still blaming the VICTIMS of “free market” Rand-Greenspan-Friedman economics.

      The ability of “free market” advocates to reverse reality belies historical documentation-accuracy.

      1. Moneta

        blame

        verb (used with object)
        1. to hold responsible; find fault with; censure: I don’t blame you for leaving him.

        2. to place the responsibility for (a fault, error, etc.) (usually followed by on ): I blame the accident on her.

        3. Informal. blast; damn (used as a mild curse): Blame the rotten
        ———–
        Of course I find fault with their actions. They keep on shooting themselves in the foot! It takes 2 to tango.

        If you believe they are not responsible, this will mean they have been forced to act against their free will. And if they acted against their free will, I will ask what makes you think the 1%ers have free will?

        Do you believe there is free will for the 1%ers and no free will for the 99%?

        Anyway, it does not matter who I think is to blame or not. What matters is understanding the problem and fixing it.

        1. Moneta

          I believe there are much better opportunities for the elite but I don’t believe we have free will.

          I believe in cause and effect. Just like when you kick a ball it goes in a certain direction depending on a multitude of variables which none of us can really calculate precisely. And if we can’t even determine the outcome of a sports game before it is played, how can we even determine the evolution of societies which is way more complex.

          I want more fairness but is that our future? I don’t know. All I know is that when I look at the animal kingdom, there is no “fairness” à la human, mostly Malthusian determinism.

        2. sue

          It’s much simpler than your attempted distraction of terminology, Moneta-who has the money? How much are we discussing, to break the U.S. economy for over 6 years already, on the way to many, many more?

          Does government have it? They claim to be broke. Do individuals have it?

          Follow the money-yet again, you haven’t.

          How can you blame economic disaster upon those who lost? Historical revisionism at its finest.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I believe I’m paid a better than average amount. I’m confused on how wealthy you mean. You talk of buying an expensive foreign car, for me and many of the folks I work with that meant a 10 year old Honda Accord or Civic because like me they have an hour or more commute. Fancy foreign car? I see those around my apartment complex but they aren’t driven by the wealthy. They seem more commonly purchased by the status envious, who can barely afford them, and the status panic-ed who believe that they’ve become wealthy or want others to believe it.

      For folks wealthy like me, most of us wish we could be wealthy enough to own our own time, live comfortably — that is warm house, and enough food to eat, and live with a certain security that an illness won’t take away what chance we might have to retire someday. I once dreamed of being able to provide a better life for my children — where better means a life where they could own their own time, live comfortably, give me grandchildren and live with a modest security that they too might retire and enjoy grandchildren.

      I don’t believe I’m that atypical. There are folks who are indeed very tied to consumerism. They are readily evident in my state. However, I see consumerism as a symptom, a created illness, giving evidence for the root cause of the growing misery in lives of the multitudes living in this age.

      As for the deteriments of the malady, we could enjoy consumerism in a world of small mom&pop stores and shops without the ills the Corporations have brought us. I like nice and pretty things; well-made things; but they don’t need to be terribly flashy or expensive to be pleasing, and I’m not at all ashamed to admit to this fondness. Corporate goods and glitter aren’t really very pretty or pleasing. Increasingly, the corporate goods have become all that’s readily available (yes I do still hunt down the little things that please me but with increasing difficulty). The small shops have become chains stores, main street was replaced by the shopping malls. Consumerism didn’t aide or abet that process, the local zoning ordinances and property tax deals helped make these things happen along with the consolidation of production coupled with the consolidation of market outlets. Walmart isn’t a consumerist Utopia. We have fewer and fewer choices of crummier and more shoddy products. So much for the benefits of free trade.

      As for “Buy American”, or I guess “Buy Canadian” for you, you have to pay a lot for that promise made by the very corporations that so readily lie about whatever you might pay a little extra for. “Sure it’s 100% made in America!”; “Safe and economical, you bet”; “You can expect 200,000+ miles of reliable transportation with this baby.”; “A little old lady just used it once a month to pick up groceries and her Social Security checks.”

      1. Moneta

        I believe, here in Canada anyway, we have been spending too much on stuff that depreciates and ends up in the dump and not enough on infrastructure maintenance and social structures.

        Now our infrastructure is falling apart and our cities and burbs are full of McMansions that were built on a model of planned obsolescence.

        Interestingly, many don’t see a problem with that.

    4. sue

      I see, Moneta,

      So Sheila Bair (Head of FDIC) condemnation of Wall Street inventions of “collateralized debt obligations” and “credit default swaps” destruction of U.S. economics is wrongheaded?

      Can you therefore (and yet again) follow the money to show any other conclusion?

      Did “the people”, or the government invent “collateralized debt obligations” or “credit default swaps”?

      Please don’t yet again go tangential on the specific question.

    5. sue

      authorship intending to NOT do transparency, oversight, accountability-in other words, to NOT follow the money to Wall Street economic disaster is the real culprit, Moneta, as you are aware-

      yet again, who invented “collateralized debt obligations” and “credit default swaps”, which are responsible for “criminogenic accounting fraud”??

      It wasn’t “the people”, or consumers consuming, or government, was it? (direct question)

  9. Ryan Langemeyer

    We are well past the point of stopping the Corporate Leviathan that took off with a vengeance and without guilt when Reagan was elected. The same men have been working on this for more than 30 years, and as this opinion piece states, the plan is “almost fully operational”. It’s too late. Efforts to stop it are a waste of time and resources.

    It is time to retreat to safe havens (whatever that means to you) all over the world, to learn to live as simply as possible, and to model the behavior of the exiled dissidents in Fahrenheit 451 [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451]. The exiles in F 451 memorize books, which are being burned by the “authorities”, in order to save the ideas in them for future generations. Our ONLY task now is to save valuable ideas and earth friendly technologies for our decedents.

    Learn how to take care of yourself, on every level. Pull your personal and financial energy out of the system as soon as possible. Learn to eat as your Great-grandparents ate – simple, nutritious foods from your own garden and orchard. Leave the countries that are responsible for and are pushing this moral decay (i.e.- USA, England, Europe) and learn to live like most people in the Third World countries. I chose Uruguay, and am very happy with my choice, but there are many other places to go.

    It is past the point of stopping the Leviathan. Get out of its way, and make a better future for yourself while you prepare a better future for those who will survive what is coming.

    1. Ulysses

      Sounds like your move to Uruguay worked out well for you! Do you have any advice for those of us who aren’t independently wealthy? To move to a foreign country and buy sufficient property to become a well-fed small farmer is beyond my means, I’m sorry to say. Personally I will resist and struggle against the kleptocrats with every ounce of energy I possess until the day I die.

      1. Banger

        The alternative if you are forced, like I am, to live in the USA is to do several things:

        1) enjoy life–because finding joy and pleasure strengthen us and makes our POV more palatable–if we are depressed because we, in contrast to our neighbor, know the full extent of the horror then our neighbor will not want to join us–to understand things without attachment (a principle of martial arts) enables us to function better–things are f!cked? So what feel the air blow through your hair live in the moment.

        2) Understand that you are living in the middle of a magical battle against sorcery (PR, advertising, media and so on) where “they” are literally trying to control your mind through making it pleasurable to do their will and painful to do what you want to do. Decondition yourself from the mainstream marrative that is false about nearly everything important particularly major events. Liberating yourself from that mindset, in every detail will bring you strength and hope–it is the mass deception more than physical force that is enslaving us.

        3) There are ways to strengthen yourself and open up your horizons to higher and more inclusive states of consciousness whether through psychedelics, prayer, meditation, and, above all nurturing your heart through compassion and love.

          1. Ulysses

            Knowing and speaking the truth do help one to feel better, yet we also need to give and to receive kindness. I think it’s also important not to judge too harshly those who are still deluded by slick corporatist propaganda. Let the strength of your own example nudge them gently toward the light.

  10. Banger

    I waver a lot. I don’t know whether it’s worth it to preserve what is left of civil society to minimize human suffering or to advocate for chaos out of which something might come.

    One thing I do know and that is we are not just in a traditional battle between plebes and patricians (we are) but in a magical battle for the imagination collective and individual of mankind. The oligarchs consciously use magic to control the populace. This magic consists of stage magic techniques of slight of hand, misdirection, smoke and mirrors as well as neo-shamanism which consist of using insights learned from a stunningly rich assortment of social- and neuro-science research findings about how to manipulate human beings and, finally (I suspect), real hoodoo/voodoo shamanism and God only knows what else.

    My point is that the first thing we need to do is to understand that the war is mainly being fought in the mind and spirit of human beings and the only way out is to heal the damage already done to us individually and in our circle of loved ones and then focus on strengthening ourselves on a psychic level.

    An example of this is the tendency we all have of being negative about this situation. We have to see this time as an opportunity and an opening. Why not? We are living in, clearly, the most interesting period of history where everything that happens has enormous consequences. Whether Rome fell or kept going as an Empire was trivial compared to whether we take a wrong turn in our society–the entire planet and civilization itself could be in peril. Had Kennedy not believed in human beings rather than listening to his morally corrupt and evil generals (their agenda all along was to have a nuclear war with the USSR) how many of us would be here?

    If we can see our own insights here as blessings and from which change can flow we will change the psychic weather just a bit so that positive energy can start to heal us. I will try to start with myself–I say the situation is ripe for change for it has never been so obviously a result of malevolent forces who are doing very little to hide their intentions–this makes it easy to point out if we reach out and empower each other.

    1. Massinissa

      Advocate for chaos. Well, not advocate per se: Inaction will do the job just as well, and considering the futility of trying to save the current system, we can save our energies for fixing the next stage instead of trying to fix this one, broken beyond all repair.

      Lenin was right. Things have to get worse before they get better. It always happens that way. Sort of like how WW2 was necessary for large amounts of prosperity to come afterwards.

      Hopefully we wont need WW3 for things to get better though…

      1. human

        Yes. Starve the beast. Refuse to work with it. Refuse to be a part of it. Advocate. Minimize. Localize.

        However, don’t let your guard down about this system being broken. From the PTB (shortsighted) perspective, it is working marvelously as intended.

        1. sue

          Work locally, to pass legislation to end all political contribution-money is property-not “speech”-it is illegal to give property to influence legislation.

    2. Ulysses

      Yes! One of the most effective means of resistance is to refuse to accept the learned helplessness pushed onto us by the corporate propagandists. While my family can’t afford to retreat to a “safe haven” in Uruguay, we can and do participate in urban gardens, and benefit from participating in a large circle of mutual support among residents of our humble neighborhood.

    3. mundanomaniac

      “Liberating yourself from that mindset, in every detail will bring you strength and hope–it is the mass deception more than physical force that is enslaving us.

      3) There are ways to strengthen yourself and open up your horizons to higher and more inclusive states of consciousness whether through psychedelics, prayer, meditation, and, above all nurturing your heart through compassion and love.(Banger)”

      I fully embrace your approach to the human mess caused by the specific degeneration in the minds of the US-”elite” determinig the present world-stile.

      One Way, that gives me the independent mind I need to breath freely is the magic of the zodiac and the running lights of heaven (Moses 1, 4).
      Just today, the “magical” Reformations-Sunday found me meditating the present earth-quarter of the determination of my fellow countrymen. (Recently I did the same to the country governed in Washington)

      http://mundanestagebuch.blogspot.de/2013/10/washington-befuddled.html
      and
      http://mundanestagebuch.blogspot.de/2013/10/washington-noch-6-jahre-zorn-im-nebel.html

      Maybe some of you readers, fluent in german,or daring to try the Google-Translator are interested in that aproach.

      1. Banger

        Google translate is not great from German to English–very different gramatical structure, obviously. At any rate I know quite a bit about astrological symbolism and find your ideas interesting. Certainly befuddlement is a good description o the situation in Washington–though I’ve been away for a couple of years.

    4. sue

      We could answer the question this way-should “we” (they, actually-Wall Street-corporate influence+FED) have allowed the few banks actually failing, to fail???

      Where would “we” have been? Would it have been worth it? Many share the opinion Wall Street banks and insurance companies should have been allowed to fail, and as Sheila Bair defines (from inside FDIC) re-organized, sold off, absorbed.

      Should FED bailouts to Wall Street banks who caused (again, Sheila Bair, from the inside) have been allowed?

  11. whatsilliness

    Really now: ALL the major nations have the equivalent of the NSA, and they all spy on each other. This includes such nations as isreal, China and, that’s right, Germany.

    IF anything, nations such as Germany–which is to say the EU,and China haave invested in economic espionage than they do traditional spying.

    The idea that the USA is somehow alone in this is poppycock–in fact, the USA literally learn this stuff from the British. While Obama is horrendously incompetent and most certainly the worst president in out history, this latest scandal can hardly be laid at his feet.

    What is particularly risble is to hear this whinging out of the Germans who deeply depended on US sigit during the Cold War–in fact it would not now be a whole nation living in freedom with out it.

    Thees Hues and Cries out of the so-called “leaders” of the EU is pure Kabuki theater meant for the proles (and to further butress the case for the Neo-Soviet EU “government”). It is nothing more than this.

    As for the notion that the NSA is somehow the “intel arm” of some imagined “Corporate Conspiracy”, well now, all one can say is that those who propse such claptrap have little idea how the business world works. Do you really think that soap maufactures “rely” on the NSA or are capable of some sort of nefarious “conspiracy”.

    I tell you what the “Conspiracy” is: it is the creation of anti-democray, leftist oligarchies like the EU.

    If you do not think that the EU is deeply envolved with sigint against the EU you are foolish indeed, but then reader here are mired in the usual neo-marxist BS in the first place.

    What lunacy–right in line with all the claptrap about a “Corporate Leviathan”or the notion the “we” have been “fed” something called “junk economics” for as long as “150 years”.

    We have been fed, or rather they have attempted to feed us, “junk econmics” since the 1930, and almost all of it has come from the communists in the Democrat Party or their co-religionists in Europe.

    THe problem is Left wing government and the tyranny and econmics lunacy that it spawns–the signal lunacies being “Globalism” and the idea the “globalism” is not wholly the creation of so-called “Progressive”.

    What claptrap–you people should go out into the real world for a change.

    1. Doug Terpstra

      It is beyond silly to imagine that the global corporate kleptocracy, Wall Street bailouts, perpetual war, and unprecedented inequality is all evidence of a Neo-Marxist plot. And only in an alternate universe could anyone twist an oligarchy into a left-wing construct. At risk of baiting a confused, foaming at the mouth troll, may I ask what planet you’re from?

    2. Fiver

      That you again, Cofer? You got Cheney with ya this time?

      WTF was that, boys? Exactly what kind of fucked-up political viewpoint is it you’re supposed to be representing here with that performance? Nobody talks like that? Can’t you guys be a little less transparent? Now, get out of here.

  12. Bill Frank

    For us in the US, I believe the final step for the elites to consolidate control will take place when drones are employed full scale in our airspace. With a few hundred fully operational drones dedicated to every major urban area the “authorities” will be able to monitor 24/7 movement. If you think the masses are manipulated by fear now, just wait and watch what happens when drones become the norm.

    1. Nathanael

      What will happen is that people will get their own drones — or entire factions of the military-industrial complex will break ranks and start fighting with other factions — and a civil war will start.

      This is what usually happens when some idiot attempts to use military power to achieve total control. It does not work. Total control can only be achieved through successful marketing (or propaganda, if you prefer), and maintaining that over long periods requires at least some actual competence at producing tangible results. The elite propaganda in the US is already failing.

  13. susan the other

    Sovereignty without society. Here’s how they do it. The 60% of the world’s biggest economic “entities” are not countries so they need sovereignty. Because they are looking not at the mirage of free trade but straight at the sovereign power to tax. Their goal is to usurp the power to tax via their own tribunals, literally using trade disputes as a ruse. And also thereby avoid taxation themselves.

    1. human

      LOL. How prescient. You’ve hit the nail on the head!

      Ala the premise (model) of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act of 2006, interference of expected profits will now be contestable in court, with the taxpayer picking up any and all tabs of course.

    2. anon y'mouse

      you are exactly right. they need the power to do whatever they want without interference of governments or individual humans who mistakenly think they still have ‘rights’.

      they want ultimate power to determine all that will happen. humans are now not even second class citizens. we are serfs (bound to country, in any case, even if not having a plot of land to call our own within it. most of us not wealthy can’t move about) in all but name.

  14. Sagebrush

    Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). AKA one more elite push on the handle to flush the American people down the drain. It’s truly amazing that most Americans are unaware they’ve been paddling around in the toilet for years with the corporate elite and ultra rich jumping up and down on the flush handle.

  15. Chauncey Gardiner

    Thank you for this article. This proposed transfer of power from our democratically elected representatives and senators to the CEOs of multinational banks and corporations has not been approved by either house of our Congress, and Congress has responsibility for introducing and passing legislation. As the author observes, this agreement would represent a permanent abdication of power by Congress (and also a permanent loss of power by the two major political parties).

    Re: … “In the last month alone, world leaders from 12 countries, including the U.S., Australia, Japan, New Zealand and Mexico, pledged to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the end of the year.”

    So, Obama has committed to Congressional approval of this bill?… including its introduction by one his allies, review, and its approval by Christmas?… Seems the president is quite confident despite his recent failures. Must be his masters are running basically the same game plan they did to get the Federal Reserve Act passed into law almost exactly 100 years ago.

    I expect a “Fast Track” effort by this Administration as the legislators are trying to get out of town for Winter recess ahead of the Holidays. Of course, like a lot of other citizens I wonder what the specific components of “The offer they cannot refuse” will be this time, but this is not fait accompli. We don’t live in a totalitarian dictatorship, and it isn’t October 2008 when the system was collapsing.

    Accordingly, I differ with many other respondents here today. I believe many of our legislators are people of courage, wisdom and compassion who harbor grave reservations about what is being proposed. I think there are significant questions about whether this very lengthy and involved document will be approved by Congress, particularly given the issues identified by the author of this article and by Yves Smith, Bill Moyers, Dean Baker and many other concerned citizens over the past several months.

    The American people are not unaware of the power grab that is being attempted here, as was evidenced by the size of Moyers’ viewing audience. I believe the proponents of this legislation have made a grave miscalculation.

    1. Banger

      I hope you are right–there has been a paradigm shift that showed up in the Syrian crisis a few months past. People are not so ready to be stampeded into more war. We’ll see if it extends to trade agreements as well. I think the general mood is one of confusion and distrust–people distrust the administration and the Republicans almost equally and that’s a good sign we can all build on by presenting alternatives view that the media will not present. People are searching and, eventually, they will find–I hope they do before the ability to choose anything at all begins to dissipate.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Banger,
        Hope I’m not being Panglossian and naive in my view. I feel it’s important we acknowledge and appeal to their better selves. As with others here, I will also be respectfully expressing my disagreement with these proposed agreements to the staff of my representative and senators.

        Thanks.

    2. Brooklin Bridge

      Most people were aware of Syria and shallowness of the push for war, but almost none are aware of TPP and even fewer are aware of TTIP. This gives a lot of cover for congress critters to vote their friendly lobbyists. By the time it is common knowledge, for instance, that patents are now granted for 100+ years, everyone will assume it was always that way.

      We may be reaching a tipping point of sorts in other areas such as simple lack of basic necessities for so many people, but we are not there yet in this country at least, and certainly not in terms of awareness of the evils of the TPP. The 1% are benefiting greatly from the rabbit punch effect of hitting us on so many fronts almost simultaneously…

      I think your, “many of our legislators are people of courage, wisdom and compassion”, may run up against the same deflationary problem (from a roar to a snore) that Kucinich and Sanders did when they caved entirely on the ACA.

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      Most people were aware of Syria and shallowness of the push for war, but almost none are aware of TPP and even fewer are aware of TTIP. This gives a lot of cover for congress critters to vote their friendly lobbyists. By the time it is common knowledge, for instance, that patents are now granted for 100+ years, everyone will assume it was always that way.

      We may be reaching a tipping point of sorts in other areas such as simple lack of basic necessities for so many people, but we are not there yet, and certainly not in terms of awareness of the evils of TPP. The 1% are benefiting greatly from the rabbit punch effect of hitting us on so many fronts almost simultaneously…

      I think your, “many of our legislators are people of courage, wisdom and compassion”, may run up against the same deflationary problem (from a roar to a snore) that Kucinich and Sanders did when they caved entirely on the ACA.

    4. different clue

      The Tea Party voters and Reps might be the strongest knot of resistance to TTP and Fast Track for reasons of Nation and Sovereignty. Maybe enough Dem SenReps could be pressured to vote against Fast Track to make up a majority along with the TPs. Unless every Dem is a Catfood Dem these days. In which case, maybe the TPs can pressure their
      Reps and a couple of Senators into working together to shut down the government and shut down the House of Representatives to prevent any action being taken at all.

  16. Eureka Springs

    Funny how the model for TPP is much the same as the process of implementing the U.S. Constitution itself. Design it in secret by and for a few rich property owners / now corporations… and pass it absent the will of the people…. before a Shay’s or whiskey rebellion can gather enough mojo. Which of course is always after the fact… and so far, easily shot bloody down.

    Burst a QE bubble or something, declare the fed’s no longer able to save the day alone… and insist TPP is the only thing we can do now. Shock Doctrine 73 point 0.

    Much as I was disappointed in Graeber here recently… it may be helpful to get him or someone like him to remind people just what worked best and didn’t work at all in fighting WTO etc.

    1. Nathanael

      The US Constitution succeeded because the people implementing it were generally competent.

      When they weren’t (John Adams), they were replaced (Thomas Jefferson).

      A tyrannical government can survive — pretty easily. An *incompetent* tyrranical government cannot survive.

      We have frightening levels of incompetence in our politicians today — “Beltway Bubble” thinking has led to politicians who understand less than the early Egyptian Pharaohs did about running a country.

      1. Nathanael

        The same is true of the “old guard” corporate CEOs who are pushing all these treaties and wars, by the way. They’re grossly incompetent at governing anything.

  17. John Medcalf

    I’m not above calling this the Manchurian Candidate’s final onslaught. This is war by another name. This is the doomsday battle. Humiliation is Obama’s kryptonite. We need to derogate TPP with truly unseemly terms or we are just clucking. And then we need Russia to suggest a solution ala Syria.

    1. Fiver

      Re Obama’s Kryptonite:

      Humiliation? Maybe. But more like the sort of failure that can break somebody’s public persona completely – Lyndon Johnson comes to mind. A man forced to recognize how evil used him.

      1. different clue

        Johnson cared because Johnson wasnt’ evil. Obama is evil so why would Obama care? Maybe humiliation will work. More likely causing mass defection of the Catfood Democrats from their image-tainted Obama might work, if there is a way to cause it. Turning Obama into kryptonite for Democrats might work, if there is a way to do that.

  18. Jim

    Do we have the freedom to make another life for ourselves and our friends and neighbors right now–despite the corporatocracy being built around us?

    Can each of us begin to adjust our personal lives so there is more of a harmony between what we say, how we say it and how we live?

    Is it way beyond time to begin to focus on our political thought and action more as a realm of freedom, and not simply as a realm of repression and control?

    Are there now, in our present political climate, techniques of individual mobilization which can lead to an understanding of power– as something beyond mere condemnation?

    Could one small example be an engagement in repetitive practices that would improve our qualifications for repeating those same steps again and again (in the areas of both physical and mental effort) which overtime might help to move us out of passivity and into self-enhancement, connection and a better world?

    Could such self-shaping ever lead to an ethical/cultural revival?

  19. kevinearick

    Self Destruction

    The default mode of life is self destruction. Without purpose, you will self destruct. There is purpose everywhere. Choose one. Experiment. Choose another. If you do not provide for your community, government will grow to do it for you, at a much higher cost, your freedom to choose. The TBTF Empire WMD is simply socialized self destruction mode.

    Iraq is sitting on a sea of oil, but finds itself occupied and living in poverty, while American MSAs embrace fracking. The Ag REIT complex is creating a global dust bowl, and the American Government issues a war decree on weather, as an infrastructure make-work project. Those are no accidents of nature. That is human stupidity.

    The global economy has no purpose, and, if you haven’t noticed, all the global powers, derivatives of energy and food control, are gearing up for war, accelerating the process with corn, which is of scant more nutritional or energy value than pot, in the name of green energy. Clear cutting a forest to grow corn and install wind turbines is yet another ratchet up the stepladder of stupidity from nuclear, because it destroys diversity, purpose, faster.

    The space program failed because it was a war program, and the fall back, the auto era, is a failed relic of the past. GM doesn’t sell cars. It sells credit debt, to control energy to its own end, and thanks to the bail out/in, it’s now controlling your food. Boeing doesn’t sell jets. It sells credit debt. You might want to short circuit the short circuit, and grow your own victory garden, before these morons cut off your food and energy supply lines, automated by Silicon Valley for the purpose.

    Or, buy more war bonds. The limousine liberals thank the drive-by Christians for participating. Now, back to the coliseum, for the football game and player IPOs, driven by Facebook, Twits without a clue, with the lowest overall quality and highest priced healthcare in the world, pleading for more corn syrup and ethanol.

    Isn’t cartel extortion with prohibition grand?

    Don’t give stupid credit and expect less stupid. Only you can provide purpose. Consensus is simply too slow to escape its own gravity, which is why it implodes every time. The circuit breaker simply increases the destruction with another false assumption. How you time it depends upon your development.

    The empire shorts itself. All you have to do is look at it, from a distance.

  20. Jeremy Grimm

    After reading Yves analysis of the TPP yesterday, I sent emails to State Representative and State Senator (the other Corey Booker seems already bought and paid for), telling them I was adamant against the TPP. After this review of the TTIP I’m going to send two more emails — for what it’s worth.

    I watched the entire interview with Sir James Goldsmith and ordered a copy of his book when it finished. I now feel very right about my decision that I don’t like Charlie Rose. In the debate, such as it was between Goldsmith and Laura Tyson, Charlie Rose seemed to let Tyson speak out of proportion to what he allowed for Goldsmith’s responses. Even so, Goldsmith demolished her arguments, many of which didn’t seem to make sense on reflection, regardless of Goldsmith’s rebutals. Her arguments for job creation through free-trade sounded ‘magical’ rather than logical or reasonable.

    I couldn’t find the comment so I could refer to it — I agree with the commenter above who suggested we most certainly don’t mind additional coverage of the pending TPP and TTIP and look forward to more. For me this issue could become my litmus test (as the Republicans call it) for who I will not vote for again if they vote for fast track and/or vote for either of these ‘trade’ agreements.

    I am growing very concerned that as the corporatocracy squeezes down they will unleash the forces that lead to the creation of unions. My understanding of the history of that creation is that corporations eventually embraced unions as the lesser of evils because the wild cat strikes and sabotage had become too disruptive and too costly. Unions promised a way to restrain, control, and manage workers. The supply chains for what remains of our domestic production of goods have become extremely long and fragile. I suspect other industries have similar long and narrow bottlenecks.

    1. Nathanael

      “I am growing very concerned that as the corporatocracy squeezes down they will unleash the forces that lead to the creation of unions. ”

      This is already happening. These are also the forces which led to the creation of communist revolutionary organizations, by the way. It’ll happen for sure.

      Areas with fragile supply chains will be devastated. And the more violence the corporatists apply, the more people will strike and protest and the more the system will be devastated.

      Your analysis is exactly right. Smart corporate leaders recognized that negotiating with unions was better than wildcat strikes and (in the case of miner’s unions) dynamite attacks on the bosses. We now have a generation of stupid corporate leaders.

      1. sue

        Your historical perspective is accurate-operative problem is today one of very nearly complete surveillance.

  21. WorldisMorphing

    That 1994 Goldsmith interview with Charlie Rose can indeed aptly be characterized as “eerily prophetic”. In fact, eerily prescient enough to be the latest addition into my YouTube archive of favorite videos.
    I think I might have to begin considering making my own little(hmm…probably not little) video montage, using my ‘treasure trove’ and adding my own thoughts and content to make my own narrative thread connecting it all. I think after 5 years of learning, fact-checking and especially filtering through the irrelevant crap (God knows there’s a lot of that !), the ideology driven misinformation and propaganda, the inherited preconceived wisdom and wishful thinking; I think I know enough now.

    IF [r]evolution were even possible, it could only come from a dissident technocratic elite aided and\or prodded by the productive elite(scientists&engineers)–itself somewhat aided by a critical mass of poor&working&middle class that will have [finally]understood where we are in the ‘Grand Scheme of Things’… and why.
    To achieve all this would essentially require educating a critical mass of the population on:
    #1. The history of economic thought.
    #2. The scientific fundamentals of energy and resources.
    In other words: we need an updated version of John Kenneth Galbraith’s “The Age of Uncertainty”, because resource depletion is very certain. The ideal outcome in my view would entail a reform of land and economic rents regulation, and the forging of a new social contract instituting a job and income guarantee.
    Still, I realize there is no way for such an idea to not sound preposterous; but absent a divided elite, I fail to see what power could truly counterbalance the “Gobal Corporatocracy”. The trigger may come from the bottom; the change won’t. Because of the complexity, as Occupy Wallstreet has demonstrated, without a clearly defined vision, we will never get out of this mess. Without a clearly defined vision, chaos will choose for us.

  22. Paul Tioxon

    If you look at the geography of the proposed Global Trading Blocs, it resembles what used to be called THE FREE WORLD. The EU, The Americas, The British Commonwealth, and of course Japan, formed most of the nations of the world that were outside of The Soviet/Sino Bloc. This area was deliberately composed by the American Foreign Policy designers, a collaboration of The Council On Foreign Relations, and various high ranking government officials of The State Department, The White House, among others. From 1930′s, during the American involvement in WWII and after, the idea of a GRAND AREA, absolutely necessary for the disposition of American economic output and the acquisition of raw materials, was proposed and fought for by people such as George Kennan.
    ———————————————————–

    This excerpt is from a talk by N. Chomsky:

    “…One of the clearest and most lucid accounts of the planning behind this was by George Kennan, who was one of the most thoughtful, humane, and liberal of the planners, and in fact was eliminated from the State Depatment largely for that reason. Kennan was the head of the State Department policy planning staff in the late 1940s. In the following document, PPS23, February 1948, he outlined the basic thinking:

    We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3 percent of its population…. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity…. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction…. We should cease to talk about vague and…, unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

    http://www.chomsky.info/talks/19850319.htm
    ———————————————————-

    If you notice, Viet Nam is one the proposed Asian nations, along with Malaysia. These nations are critical due to the size of their markets and necessary raw material that we do not have but need for manufacturing. Rubber for the tires of our automobile oriented society and economy, for instance is currently produced by Vietnam 5th and Malaysia 3rd in global production. Due to many declassified documents and the passage of time, much more is known about the negotiations of The Council(CFR), its interlocking memberships with the government and the study groups developing ideas for the State Department(State). Again, the overlay of interests in nations with strategic materials and markets that can absorb what we produce, and by we, I mean, the US and the Americas, as well as Japan.

    __________________________________________________________

    The following is an excerpt from G. William Domhoff:

    “The starting point for the deliberations of the Economic and Financial Group on international monetary questions can be found in CFR Memorandum E-B34 of July 24, 1941. It was meant primarily as a general framework for studies of the international monetary, investment, and trade organizations that would be needed to integrate the Grand Area. It begins with a good summary of the Council vision and strategy discussed in the previous section. Entitled “Methods of Economic Collaboration: The Role of the Grand Area in American Economic Policy,” it began with a statement of purpose, an overview of the war situation at that moment, and a review of the Grand Area concept that is useful for its conciseness and directness:

    “The purpose of this memorandum is to summarize the concept of the Grand Area in terms of its meaning for American policy, its function in the present war, and its possible role in the postwar period. The memorandum is the introduction to a series concerned with the methods of integrating the Grand Area economically.”

    It continued with a section on “The Grand Area and American defense that starts with an excellent overview of the American economy and its needs, which is worth quoting to once again give a sense of the breadth and depth of the Council’s blueprint for the postwar world:

    The economy of the United States is geared to the export of certain manufactured and agricultural products, and the import of numerous raw materials and foodstuffs. The success of German arms from the invasion of Poland onward brought most of Europe under Nazi domination and threatened the rest of the world. Faced with these facts, the Economic and Financial Group sought to determine the area (excluding continental Europe, which for the present was lost) that, from the economic point of view, was best suited to the defense of the United States. Such an area would have to: (1) contain the basic raw materials necessary to the full functioning of American industry, and (2) have the fewest possible stresses making for its own disintegration, such as unwieldy export surpluses or severe shortages of consumers’ goods.

    With this end in view, a series of studies was made to ascertain the “degree of complementarism” in the trade of several blocs: the Western Hemisphere, the British Empire (except Canada), and the Far East. (The relevant memoranda are listed in the Appendix.) From the point of view of the United States, the Western Hemisphere is an inadequate area because it lacks important raw materials, which we get from southeastern Asia, and it is burdened with surpluses normally exported to Europe, especially the United Kingdom. An extension of the area in opposite directions to take in these two economically important regions thus becomes necessary. The extension brings new problems, but it was found that the United States can best defend itself — from an economic point of view- in an area comprising most of the non German world. This has been called the ‘Grand Area.’ It includes the Western Hemisphere, the United Kingdom, the remainder of the British Commonwealth and Empire, the Dutch East Indies, China, and Japan.”

    http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/postwar_foreign_policy.html

    ____________________________________________________________

    Since the end of WWII, the IMF, The World Bank and The UN have served as non-military instruments of power projection by the US Government. The process involves internal political battles today, with more than one premier power network represented by a multi-polar set of think tanks, funded by competing business interests, sometime completely at odds with one another in terms of means, tactics and even global strategy altogether. The most obvious being strict isolationists, with absolute free market and non-government intervention into their business affairs, which of course is secondary to the government trump card of national security, which is promoted by internationalists, global trade and finance types from Wall St. Note, the origins of the CIA being from Wall St and the Big 3 Ivies, Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Today’s pivot towards Asia is a snappy meme, but what is going on is the diplomatic correlate of the 2 theater war doctrine. We are negotiating a trans Pacific area trade bloc at the same time we are negotiating a European or N Atlantic trade bloc, which will have interlocking features with numerous other national pacts and treaty groups for security purposes, such as NATO and ASEAN. The coming features of these groupings will accommodate not just the nations, but the competing private sector actors as well, so that there can be as much ease of access to markets as well as raw materials needed for manufacturing. Since the end of the Cold War and the stabilizing of Russia and the growth of China, a new Grand Area agreement is needed to accommodate the new geo-political realities. The US is attempting to keep ahead of everyone else as the rest of the world grows relatively stronger and can make effective demands on the 50% of the world’s resources we used to assume was our entitlement.
    ——————————————————

    http://www.binghamton.edu/fbc/commentaries/

    I Wallerstein writes a commentary on the relative decline in the power of the US, which Obama is currently working to avoid, slow or mitigate as well as possible, to the benefit of those who currently hold power and do not want to lose any more than they have absolutely have to.

    1. Nathanael

      Using 1950s-era plans for world organization in the 2010s is a recipe for failure — yet that is exactly what the people in power are, idiotically, trying to do. You describe well how lack of thinking on the part of the people in power brought us to this point.

      They will be swept away by history. Our goal should be to make that sweeping less bloody than World War I, another period when antiquated elites holding on to unsustainable doctrines of the past were swept away by history.

    2. Fiver

      Excellent comment demonstrating the historical scope and clear intent on creation of a US-centred, US-dominated global Empire, the active planning for which actually pre-dated WWII.

      These “trade” agreements are aimed at finishing what the WTO couldn’t, i.e., a global pact on so-called “services” under which sovereignty in critical spheres is limited or removed altogether. As China and Russia would never agree to such sweeping limitations, the deals also automatically serve as the opening salvo in what will be the Final Round War for global dominion over energy, food, land, water, distribution, use, price and of course environmental degradation – the “legal” counterpart to US military hegemony, and a certain recipe for calamity.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Fiver,
        Interesting observations from Paul, Nathanael, and yourself. Thanks. Casts this initiative into an additional aspect I hadn’t really considered, what with all the attention being focused on lack of transparency, secrecy, obfuscation, the huge transfer of political power and favors to large banks and corporations: To what extent is it being strategically driven by and in response to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)?… or are they ultimately just part of the mix too?

        … Sovereign nations versus transnational corporations in a broader context?… just more corruption and deception?… or “The Great Game”?

  23. John-Albert Eadie

    Just saw you (‘Yves’) on Bill Moyers w.r.t. TPP. Your partner Dean was clever and not wrong but you were smarter and quicker and better. What stuff! I particularly liked the comment about living in DC and venturing out only to NYC. Worth crying over.

  24. Nathanael

    “Operational” is the wrong word.

    The global coporatocracy is a fantasy of the 0.1%. It is impossible to make it work. It is a lot like the Third Reich in that respect. Or perhaps like the fantasy of “US world dominance” which sprang up after the Cold War. Or perhaps the “balance of power” among the “great powers” which was alleged to exist in the 1900-1910 period.

    It’s an unsustainable and self-destructing scheme. The only questions are *how* it will collapse and *what* will replace it.

  25. RBHoughton

    So if they insist on secrecy they cannot object to a bit of speculation, right?

    When Britain handed over the baton to USA there was no problem – the countries were united by language and foreign & economic policy. It was seamless, but today USA and UK are absolutely opposed to handing over to the BRICS in the same way.

    They all have socialist ideals and concern themselves with equity and fair-do’s in a way completely at variance with our AngloAmerican economic and commercial law.

    What would become of limited liability under their care? What of the company as an individual if their voice carried weight? They would dismantle the system we built on the ruins of democracy after defeating revolutionary USA and France and revert to some semblance of justice and fairness. There will be no incentive for growth if people start caring for each other.

    So the answer is to hand the ownership of the planet to big business and force governments large and small to vacate the seat of power. The means of removing governments from power is the ability to collapse the monetary system – that should frighten the sort of lily-livered politician that generally runs a country sufficiently to obtain his submission.

  26. DaveO

    It was great to hear you on with Harry Shearer again.
    Looking forward to sharing the podcast extensively.
    Thank you VERY much.

  27. kimsarah

    The Trans Obama Partnership agreements stand a better chance of facing rough seas ahead if the Big O has his name and ego attached to it.

  28. p78

    “What they ultimately seek is to transfer what little remains of our national sovereignty to the headquarters of the world’s largest multinational conglomerates. In short, it is the ultimate coup de grâce of the ultimate coup d’état. Not a single shot will be fired, yet almost all power will be seized and transferred into private hands — and all of it facilitated by our elected representatives who, by signing these treaties, will be permanently abdicating their responsibilities to represent and protect the interests of their voting constituencies.”

    Excellent synthesis of the whole article. Thanks.

  29. Fiver

    I must say I was very disappointed that NC would delete 2 of my comments, in particular my response to “Whatsilliness” whose work I’ve seen elsewhere, and to whom I gifted a crisp, witty reply.

    That said, I agree with a comment above (sorry, have lost the spot) to the effect that these “trade” deals are now being rushed through in somewhat panicked fashion – the angst arising from this year’s stirring of the American people by Snowden, Syria and the utter farce surrounding the “debt ceiling”.

    Canada’s PM Harper, in the midst of his own sleazy scandal, signed a MoU “deal” with Europe even though it will take at least 2 years to finalize – meaning Canada has pre-signed off on whatever the US manages to squeeze from the EU. But with relations with Germany now fraught (as I’ve repeatedly suggested would occur if the US did not cease attempting to force Germany to eat Europe’s losses)I can well imagine this deal not going ahead at this time.

    The US has for so long taken Europe for granted, it doesn’t think a major split is possible – they (US) are mistaken. Europe will see the TPP for what it is – a threat to Europe’s share of global GDP, and a very dangerous stance taken vis a vis China, and the rest of the BRICS/emerging markets, none of whom will embrace anything that cedes the US greater power to crush independent, national prerogatives.

    The US is attempting to build “Fortress USA” against the inevitable, global conflict coming, but aside from the Anglosphere, it has alienated virtually everyone. We may see a TPP deal and a US/EU deal, but it’s already evident that no population in any of these countries will recognize the “binding” in the binding agreements. There is an unmistakable odour of desperation as what only recently was viewed as an elite “no brainer” for Obama to implement in his own methodical way following a long-planned script has become a “must have” agreement(s) that cements status quo position of dominant, wealth-extracting, US power.

    Kill this deal, or it will kill us.

    1. sue

      You’re not the only one(s) who have replies to comments eradicated, “fiver”…

      Obama’s infamous “professional left” have found themselves censored nearly as often as Obama himself has censored them. (and as completely)

  30. Sitting_Bull

    Just as NAFTA turned out to be a lie, that stated it would create more American jobs, this too will spell the doom of the American democracy, and jobs. The puppet in the White House, and at 10 Downing St. will sell out the citizens of both the EU, and the US. The only people who will benefit are the very wealthy. They will at last realize their dream, of world domination.

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