After we win: 3 education policy proposals: Truth/facts, Love/community, Lifelong virtue

Education builds the future, and as you who read alternative media know so well, is a lifelong upgrade in virtue.

Alternative media is engaged in an education contest. We educate the public that US “leadership” is an oligarchy immersed in “Big Lie” crimes centering in war, money, and media (also in ~100 other crucial areas). The oligarchy “educates” through “leaders” that their actions are legal, wise, and in the public’s best interest. The oligarchy’s media controls textbooks, and are a major source of their propaganda.

To be clear: the above links (among work of hundreds in alternative media) easily explain, document, and prove a “1%” criminal oligarchy engage in psychopathic crimes that annually kill millions, harm billions, and loot trillions. The education contest is not about what the objective facts are, but the art and science of communication for public recognition of those facts.

The irony is that this battle has been fought and won before: “Enlightenment” ideals of objective and independently verifiable data is where all educated people claim to stand, and apply in all areas of competence. When these academic and professional standards are applied in this contest, “official” stories are easily and quickly exposed as propaganda surviving with normalcy bias, “Big Lies,” and appeal to authority (to stop at just three factors).

When we win, the field of education for our children will become quite different from how it looks today. Among the changes, these three seem essential:

  1. Truth/facts.
  2. Love/community.
  3. Lifelong virtue.

1. Truth/facts: This “top 3 list” is a context; the upgrade of what’s necessary in detail is lengthy and goes beyond the limited work I’ve done in history, government, and economics (full archive here) to explain, document, and prove official lies centering in wars and what we use for money.

The good news is that this shift will be relatively easy after media control is ended. The bad news is that the struggle to discern fact from spin today is the best education I can imagine.

2. Love/community: The unspoken context of education today is education of one’s self as an individual. This is important, and just one of several essential contexts that include how to successfully relate to:

  • one other person,
  • family,
  • teams/organizations,
  • communities from city, state, national to global.

This shift is one of connectedness to others, or an expression of love. Humans hold the ideal of love in high regard; it’s time to translate this ideal into real-world applications with the kind of attention that anyone really wanting to be educated in anything exercises.

Intended outcomes of this shift are human success and happiness with friends, family, groups, and communities of all sizes.

3. Lifelong virtue: Another unspoken context of today’s education is that it exists in schools, and generally comes to an end outside of work and hobby interests.

Education really means to learn how to experience and express virtue on one’s own terms at ever-higher levels. This means that with experience, as with any area, we become more proficient in feeling and contributing what we each see as what is good in Life. Obviously, this outcome produces human beings who find Life better and better with practice. This contrasts today with human beings who generally become less alive with experience, less enthusiastic, and overall less virtuous in what they experience and express.

How do we get from here to victory? Nobody I work with knows with any certainty how the endgame will play out.

The public rises in the 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action (and here) that began on the April 4 anniversary of Martin King’s assassination by the US government (civil court trial verdict, Martin’ 2-minute plea to you), and emerges unpredictably such as the Bundy land case.

In this present contest of real-world education versus propaganda, I offer my advice here.

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“Hands Down” Bush Was Tougher on Corporate America than Obama

Obama Is Even Worse than Bush

Matt Taibbi says:

“Hands down” Bush was tougher on corporate America than Obama.

That is fact, not opinion.

Taibbi explains that – as bad as the Bush administration was – they at least prosecuted the heads of Enron, Worldcom and some other white collar crooks.

In contrast, Obama hasn’t prosecuted even one high-level Wall Street executive.

Obama has prosecuted fewer financial crimes than President Reagan, Clinton or either of the Bush presidents. Indeed, Obama’s chief law enforcement officer – the Attorney General of the United States – has publicly stated that he won’t go after big banks.

On the other hand, Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined.  Obama – even more than Bush – is protecting criminal activity by prosecuting and harassing whistleblowers. Indeed, the Obama administration is are literally treating whistleblowers as terrorists.

Obama is even worse than Bush in redistributing wealth from the American people to a handful of fatcats and spying on Americans.

While everyone knows about the $700 billion “Tarp” bailout which started under Bush, a top banking analyst puts the current bailouts under Obama at more than $780 billion each year. (Background here.)

Crony capitalism has gotten even worse under Obama.  And Obama is worse than Bush in appointing cronies to powerful government positions.

And – because of the above-described policies – income inequality has increased more under Obama than under Bush.

Bush was a total disaster … Obama – the least popular president in 4 decades – is even worse.

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 3 Comments

What’s the Difference Between Fascism, Communism and Crony-Capitalism? Nothing

The essence of crony-capitalism is the merger of state and corporate power–the definition of fascism.

When it comes to the real world, the difference between fascism, communism and crony-capitalism is semantic. Let’s start with everyone’s favorite hot-word, fascism, which Italian dictator Benito Mussolini defined as “the merger of state and corporate power.” In other words, the state and corporate cartels are one system.

Real-world communism, for example as practiced in the People’s Republic of China, boils down to protecting a thoroughly corrupt elite and state-owned enterprises (SOEs). The state prohibits anything that threatens the profits (and bribes) of SOEs–for example, taxi-apps that enable consumers to bypass the SOE cab companies.

What A Ban On Taxi Apps In Shanghai Says About China’s Economy

The Chinese mega-city of Shanghai has been cracking down on popular taxi-booking apps, banning their use during rush hour. Until the apps came along, the taxi companies, which are government owned, set the real price for fares and collected about 33 cents each time someone called for a cab. That can add up in a city the size of Shanghai. Wang says the apps bypassed the old system and cut into company revenues.Much has been made of China’s embrace of capitalism, but — along with transportation — the government still dominates key sectors, including energy, telecommunications and banking. Wang says vested government interests won’t give them up easily.

How else to describe this other than the merger of state and corporate power? Any company the state doesn’t own operates at the whim of the state.

Now let’s turn to the crony-capitalist model of the U.S., Japan, the European Union and various kleptocracies around the globe. For PR purposes, the economies of these nations claim to be capitalist, as in free-market capitalism.

Nothing could be further from the truth: these economies are crony-capitalist systems that protect and enrich elites, insiders and vested interests who the state shields from competition and the law.

The essence of crony-capitalism is of course the merger of state and corporate power. There are two sets of laws, one for the non-elites and one for cronies, and two kinds of capitalism: the free-market variety for small businesses that are unprotected by the state and the crony variety for corporations, cartels and state fiefdoms protected by the state.

Since crony-capitalism is set up to benefit parasitic politicos and their private-sector cartel benefactors, reform is impossible. Even the most obviously beneficial variety of reform–for example, simplifying the 4 million-word U.S. tax code–is politically impossible, regardless of who wins the electoral equivalent of a game show (i.e. Demopublicans vs. Republicrats).

The annual cost of navigating the tax code comes to about $170 billion:

Since 2001, Congress has enacted about one new change to the tax law per day. Pathetic, isn’t it? This tax code is a burden and a fiasco and deeply unpatriotic. As Olson’s Taxpayer Advocate Service notes, this code helps tax evaders; hurts ordinary, honest taxpayers; and corrodes trust in our system.

Here’s why the tax code will never be simplified: tax breaks are what the parastic politicos auction off to their crony-capitalist benefactors. Simplify the tax code and you take away the the intrinsically corrupt politicos’ primary source of revenue: accepting enormous bribes in exchange for tax breaks for the super-wealthy.

You would also eliminate the livelihood of an entire industry that feeds off the complexities of the tax code. Tax attorneys don’t just vote–they constitute a powerful lobby for the Status Quo, even if that Status Quo is rigged, unjust, wasteful, absurd, etc.

It’s not that hard to design a simple and fair tax code. Setting aside the thousands of quibbles that benefit one industry or another, it’s clear that a consumption-based tax is easier to collect and it promotes production rather than consumption: two good things.

As for a consumption tax being regressive, i.e. punishing low-income households, the solution is very straightforward: exempt real-food groceries (but not snacks, packaged or prepared foods such as fast-food), rent, utilities and local public transportation–the major expenses of low-income households.

1. A 10% consumption tax on everything else would raise about $1.1 trillion, or almost 2/3 of total income tax revenues, not counting payroll taxes (15.3% of all payroll/earned income up to around $113,000 annually, paid half-half by employees and employers), which generate about one-third of all Federal tax revenues and fund the majority of Social Security and a chunk of Medicare.

As for the claim that a 10% consumption tax would kill business–the typical sales tax in California is 9+%, and that hasn’t wiped out consumption.

2. The balance could be raised by a progressive tax on unearned income, collected at the source. Most of the income of the super-wealthy is unearned, i.e. dividends, investment income, interest, capital gains, stock options, etc. As a result, a tax on unearned income (above, say, $10,000 annually to enable non-wealthy households to accrue some tax-free investment income) will be a tax on the super-wealthy who collect the vast majority of dividends, interest, capital gains and investment income.

A rough estimate would be 20% of all unearned income.

This would “tax the rich” while leaving all earned income untaxed, other than the payroll tax, which is based on the idea that everyone should pay into a system that secures the income of all workers. This would incentivize productive labor and de-incentivize speculation, rentier skimming, etc.

The corporate tax would be eliminated for several reasons:

1. It is heavily gamed, rewarding the scammers and punishing the honest

2. All income from enterprises is eventually distributed to individuals, who would pay the tax on all unearned investment income.

But such common-sense reform is politically impossible. That’s why the answer to the question, what’s the the difference between fascism, communism and crony-capitalism is nothing.

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It’s Official: America is an Oligarchy and NOT a Democracy or a Republic

Scientific Study Shows that the U.S. Is an Oligarchy

We noted last year:

American democracy – once a glorious thing – has devolved into an oligarchy, according to two leading IMF officials, the former Vice President of the Dallas Federal Reserve,  the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Moody’s chief economist and many others.

But don’t take their word for it …

A new quantitative study by Princeton’s Martin Gilens and Northwestern’s Benjamin Page finds that America is not a democracy … but is an oligarchy.

Here’s a quick visual overview from the study:

In other words, when the fatcats want something, it will probably happen.  But when the little guys want something … not so much.

Highlights from the study:

A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. This paper reports on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

***

Economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. Our results provide substantial support for theories of Economic Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.

***

Very few studies have offered quantitative evidence concerning the impact of interest groups based on a number of different public policies.

***

Prior to the availability of the data set that we analyze here, no one we are aware of has succeeded at assessing interest group influence over a comprehensive set of issues, while taking into account the impact of either the public at large or economic elites – let alone analyzing all three types of potential influences simultaneously.

***

The chief predictions of pure theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy can be decisively rejected. Not only do ordinary citizens not have uniquely substantial power over policy decisions; they have little or no independent influence on policy at all.

By contrast, economic elites are estimated to have a quite substantial, highly significant, independent impact on policy.

***

These results suggest that reality is best captured by mixed theories in which both individual economic elites and organized interest groups (including corporations, largely owned and controlled by wealthy elites) play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.

***

When a majority – even a very large majority – of the public favors change, it is not likely to get what it wants.  In our 1,779 policy cases, narrow pro-change majorities of the public got the policy changes they wanted only about 30% of the time. More strikingly, even overwhelmingly large pro-change majorities, with 80% of the public favoring a policy change, got that change only about 43% of the time.

***

Our findings probably understate the political influence of elites.

***

What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule — at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

***

If policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

No wonder the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University said that politicians are not prostitutes, they are pimpspimping out their services to the highest bidder.

The Supreme Court is not much better: their allowance of unlimited campaign spending allows the oligarchs to purchase politicians more directly than ever.

Moreover, there are two systems of justice in Americaone for the big banks and other fatcats, and one for everyone else.

And not only do we not have democracy, but we also no longer have a free market economy.  Instead, we have fascism, communist style socialism, kleptocracybanana republic style corruption, or – yes – “oligarchy“.

 

Posted in Business / Economics, Politics / World News | 19 Comments

The Climate Is Invading the Earth

If an alien invader with a face were attacking the earth, the difficulties that governments have getting populations to support wars on other humans would be multiplied a thousand fold.  The most common response to officials calling some petty foreign despot “a new Hitler” would shift from “yeah, right” to “who cares?” The people of the world would unite in common defense against the hostile alien.

If only it had a face.  And what’s a face anyway?  Doctors can create faces now.  You’d still love your loved ones if they lost their faces.  And I hear there’s a movie in which a guy falls in love with his faceless computer.

The point is that there is an alien invader attacking the earth.  Its name is climate change.  And Uncle Sam wants YOU to fight it, as does Uncle Boris and Aunt Hannah and Cousin Juan and Brother Feng.  The whole family is in agreement on this one, and we are a family now all of a sudden.

Climate change breathes fire on our land and roasts it, killing crops, drying up water supplies, breeding dangerous diseases and infestations.  Climate change circles over the oceans and blows tidal waves toward our coasts.  It melts the icebergs in its evil claws and sinks our beach resorts beneath the sea.

How do we fight back?  We organize quickly, as only humans can.  We grab the $2 trillion that we spend on wars among ourselves each year, plus a few trillion more from some multi-billionaires who suddenly realize they don’t have another planet to spend it on.  We start coating the rooftops with solar panels, aimed right at the face of the monster.  We put up windmills that will turn his nasty breath against himself.

And we hit him where it really hurts, we cut off his supplies with crippling sanctions: we stop buying and making and consuming and discarding such incredible piles of crap every day.  Consumerism becomes rapidly understood as planetary treason, support for the Evil One.  We put a stop to its worst excesses and begin reining it in systematically — working together as we never have before.

Ah, but the dark lord of the heat is subtle.  He has cells of loyalists among us.  They push fossil fuels on us and tell us comforting lies.  No longer!  We will drag them before the House UnEarthly Activities Committee.  “Are you now or have you ever been a promoter of oil, gas, or coal consumption?”  They’ll crumble under the pressure.

Imagine how we could unite for this battle, what wits and courage and self-sacrifice we could put into it, what inspiring acts of bravery, what stunning creations of intellect!

Ah, but climate change is not a person, so forget the whole thing.  Did you ever notice what a funny grin Vladimir Putin has?  It’s beginning to get on my nerves.

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