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Government - Back to Basics

Posted on February 20, 2006
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The US has unfortunately devolved into a one party corporatist state since the end of WWII, something that President Eisenhower warned the American people of in his farewell address in 1961:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Unfortunately, it has already come to pass. A government-corporate power partnership serves its own interests, ignoring the needs of the people. The false distinction between “Democrat” and “Republican” keeps Americans distracted and focused on the wrong issues while government & corporate power increases. Read my entire article here: http://www.bullnotbull.com/archive/market-02202006.html, then post your comments and solutions below.

Thanks, Michael

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26 Comments so far
  1. Don Tornquist February 20, 2006 1:47 pm

    As a nation we have drifted off track during the good times. One small step to get back on track is described at http://www.fairtax.org. The fair tax book is easy to read I do not like the way the web site reads in comparison but it is free. Some of the things that I think need to be fixed are 1) saving for retirement 2) immigration 3) fair taxation of imports compared to domestic products.

    With fairtax you invest tax free, currently with inflation the taxes on your investments will normally drop you below the rate of inflation on average. With fairtax illegal immigrants would have to pay taxes but would not get the government rebates which is better then the current setup where they do not pay taxes so they can work for less with the same take home pay. With fairtax imports would have the same percentage of US tax on them as domestic products, currently importers pay little US tax (don’t forget payroll taxes) compared to domestic producers.

    I have little hope of seeing fairtax done and done well but I am convinced it could be a big help for the little guy.

  2. Bill Niendorff February 20, 2006 2:49 pm

    Your comment “an $8,000,000,000,000 national debt that will be left to our grandchildren to pay” is, I believe, incorrect. The ammount borrowed increases the money supply and therefore increases prices due to the decreased value of the currency unit. That our grandchildren will pay off this debt for us is an illusion. We will pay for it ourselves through the hiden tax of inflation, and possible hyperinflation. That we can intellectually shift this burden to our grandchildren allows us to avoid dealing with it in the present.

  3. richard February 20, 2006 3:59 pm

    Its a shame you won’t acknowledge the one person who had a chance to make this a 2-3 party country again. ROSS PEROT.

    Back in 1996 nobody came to help him, he has something like $18 million of our tax money he held onto so he could spend after the debates, the other parties had more the twice that and were expected to raise tens of millions later.

    When the Federal Election Commission said his ratings were too low to affect the outcome and barred him from partipating, THAT WAS THE DEATH KNELL FOR AMERICAN DEMOCRACY! Then ALL the news media lined up and no one had a news team to cover his activities, not even the bulloney “FAIR AND BALANCED” network Roger Ailes gave into one party rule.

    Not even Court TV where i worked would even consider the legal aspects of this. Our tax money that we checked off $3 on our tax returns each year…what garbage. So unless Donald Trump or Mike Bloomberg or Bill Gates spend their bilions to run, we are now a 3rd world nation with no opoosing party, and maybe we should petition the UN to try and make our elctions fair..would they help?

  4. Ron February 20, 2006 5:10 pm

    In order to get back to the basics under which this nation was founded, it is necessary to use the “swiss cheese” method. Chip away at the convoluted mess that we now have, one hole at a time.

    We can start by understanding the difference between united states of America vs. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Therein lies our destiny if we do not begin chewing those holes. And yes, corporations are thought to be persons, and capitalizing USA makes it a corporation as opposed to the seperate, but united, states that we were meant to be.

    Ron

  5. John Spritzler February 20, 2006 5:38 pm

    You are absolutely right: corporate power rules over us undemocratically in a manner that makes a mockery of the notion that we have a government “of, by and for the people.” I believe the problem goes back way before the post WWII military-industrial complex emerged, however. In the 1890s small rural newspapers in America’s heartland were writing, correctly in my opinion, articles with analyses of the problem like this one that appeared in the Topeka Advocate:

    “Look at the multitudes who have been but recently thrown out of employment, and whose families have been destitute in consequence…It is cruel, it is inhuman, to attribute these conditions to laziness, drunkenness and incompetency. They are the natural product of a false and vicious system by which the few grow rich beyond all human need, and the many are doomed to eternal poverty and want…Remember that tramps are men, and that they are a natural product of our social system. There must be discovered some way to deal with them consistently with these facts. Can it be done without a revolution of our system? We think not.” [from "The Populist Response to Industrial America," by Norman Pollack (Harvard University Press, 1962)]

  6. Steve February 20, 2006 5:42 pm

    The “game” played for the last 80 years by both political parties could have lasted almost indefinitely into the future — however, the unbridled greed of the controlling, monied class has placed this nation’s trajectory squarely into the final throes of an endgame. I feel that the termination of this endgame will be nothing short of a violent revolution where the old order is smashed, and this once proud country — the former world beacon of liberty — will descend into Hobbes’ state of nature, where people’s lives are short, solitary, and bruitish.

    The monied folks forgot the historical truism that their best security resided in letting enough wealth trickle down to the masses so that the common folk could afford a regular purchase of bread or an occasional ticket to some form of the circus. A strong middle class was necessary for the maintenance of the status quo.

    But our manor lords decided that the rabble were living too well and that it was time to claim the power and privilege inherent in the fact that only 3% of all Americans owned more than 80% of all the wealth! The unions were gutted, the entire industrial base was hollowed out, and our borders were made porous to waves of invaders who did not share our values or our western cultural traditions.

    All of this was defended and encouraged by the toadies, sycpohants, and lap dogs of big education, big media, and of course, big business. “Free trade is good for the consumer!” “Sovereignty is obsolete!” “The mixing pot will solve all immigration issues!” How much more of this crap will we have to hear before enough people realize that they have been lead to the gates of the abbatoir?

    Well, with the imminent, permanent layoff of 30,000 GM workers, 30,000 Ford workers, 6,000 Chrysler workers, etc., etc., etc., the pot in which our beloved legislators reside will likely be brought closer to boil. The only way that these “Solons” can begin to even pretend to resolve these issues at this late date will be through an honest discussion of the issues, institution of corrective legislation, and timely rollback of the monied class power-grab. Anything less will simply clamp a lid on the pot, boiling those inside to a pulpy mess — and when the explosion occurs, no one can predict in what direction or to what extent the sh*t will hit the fan!

  7. John Arnold February 20, 2006 6:01 pm

    Bravo. Thanks for the succinct and thoughtful article. I agree with you, but must admit that I have a pessimistic view of how this will pan out. It would take a revolution of a scale not possible to change the way things are going and the apathy that applies to the majority of the populace makes this an impossibility. What a mess. Keep up the good work and the political commentary as it applies to the world economy. Cheers.

  8. Nish February 20, 2006 7:03 pm

    Hi Mike,

    I am surprised to see you write an article on politics. Most of your previous articles have been strictly financial and economic. Why the change in mood?

    My solution:

    Always buy local, Pizzaria, restuarants, fruits and veges,
    Use a highly gas efficient vehicle, bicyle or civic
    Convert your home to solar, geo-thermal etc
    Buy want you need and not what you want. Well, buy what you want in moderation, once a month, etc.
    Live as independently from corporate as possible, yet live dependently on neighbors and local communities.
    The most importantly: BUY GOLD with access cash,

    These are quiet yet effective ways to change the world.

  9. larry ross February 20, 2006 8:40 pm

    yes government corporate co-op.remember also to include the current american model of medicine in that all so selfless paradym of modern thinking.yes remember,that prior to the abraham flexner report of 1910, those tincture of mercury peddling allopaths were mocked by the public and starving both economically and in the arena of respect(not)!that report and the a.m.a. dues,introduced medical lobbying to the greedy politicians.the politicians decided that the a.m.a.(donations)had a vastly superior medical model.Note;an m.d. is an allopath.allopathy has a doctrine which states that for every symptom we shall sell said patient a synthetic remedy.kiss goodby mother nature health and wellness.allopaths nurture chronic degeneratives.why,chronicers is good cash flow.how,unhealthy people get symptoms as they cascade away from biologic homeostasis.so try to mask their discomfort with synthetics and forget to mention they should get healthy in order to cure the symptom.result after say 100 years of this model.a rapidly prematuraly degenerating population.you thought the economy was imbalanced?by every public health measure the good docs have bankrupted the modern adonis.however while good health outcomes contribute nothing to a society other than a return to status quo;these docs not only fail to achieve status quo,they are an inflating massive national tax that produces no outcome other than employment to nurture other americans declines.if the medical model was so progressive and efective shouldn’t americans be getting healthier as they spend now 20% of the nations GDP?no,the model is a synthetic man made approach that violates every principal of health,nutrition and homeostasis.how,byignoring them.in the world of medical semantics you are never unhealthy,in chronic suboptimal nutritional status,out of homeostasis,in violation of nature.no you have a disease and this disease needs a pill or several so you may become toxic and promote cell death and cancers…you see..medical care is a killer…why?medical care is not health care they are not synonymous.never ment to be about health always was about disease.why?no money in heath.america dies while the a.m.a. fiddles…..oh and you cannot sue a doctor,all outcomes are fine and no outcomes are healthy and the a.m.a. are the ones setting those illustrious standards.a man made model that puts money over people on an enculturated and institutionalized level.aint it beautiful…so american…so enterprising…if you cant make an honest living…become a professional….laws protect the parasites,wonder why?oh-forgot:the medical industrial governmental complex/FEAR IT.i like ike.ike was right!

  10. Dan February 20, 2006 8:43 pm

    A wise person once told me that the only rights we really have are the ones our neighbor is willing to cede to us. This is a matter of voluntary cooperation—something that built this nation and something that does not exist today. Identity politics have effectively ruined any chance of appealing to a common interest or dedication. Well over 10% of the US population has arrived here since 1990, and they are well aware of their manufactured “rights” and indifferent to any larger ideal or sense of common purpose. We are a nation that is rapidly loosing a common language and common ideals to an aggressive mindset of exclusive self interest and an unwillingness to agree to a common vision. Please don’t give me the treacle about they all want the American dream. Yes, they do dream the new American dream—getting what one is supposed to be entitled to at the expense of others. I know, I know. I’m a racist or a nativist or just unwilling to ’share’ with others less fortunate. The criticism applies to native born Americans as well. It took all of the last century but we’ve achieved some sort of collectivist goal—a society that has been coarsened, made vulgar, and lacking in a national purpose or ethic.

  11. Steve Coleman February 20, 2006 10:02 pm

    “An $8,000,000,000,000 national debt that will be left to our grandchildren to pay.”

    We and our children shall pay long before our granchildren and their children.

    We suffer , I believe, from a lack of fundamental principles. For example we have a tough talking commander in chief that hasn’t vetoed a single bill presented for his signature and sends sons and daughters of the poor to die when he himself dodged the armed service.We have a tough talking legislative branch that sends sons and daughters of the poor to die when not one of their own sons or daughters has been placed in harms way.

    There would be no Iraq war if president Bush’s daughters or the daughters and sons of Congressmen had any risk of injury or death.

    One of the missing priciples may be the lack of fundamental fairness. If the war was important enough that any of our sons and daughters had to be put at risk then it is only fair that the risk should be born equally by all levels of society. Having a simple military draft and lottery to see which of our children go to fight and die would do much to curtail the sensless squandering of money and lives in the pusuit of God knows what.

    History shows that societies rise to greatness then decline and fall. It may take many years for the US to fall , but the natural and irreversible decline has already begun.

    One way to slow the decline would be to at least reistate some fairness in the question of who goes to fight and die in our wars. If all levels of society had an equal risk of dying for their country you can bet there would be a much more thorough discussion of the matter than we had leading up to the Iraq fiasco.

  12. Dan Steelandt February 21, 2006 8:12 am

    In effect, what you appear to be saying is that we, as a nation, need to find a way back to a limited Constitutional Government, as espoused by our Founders in the Constitution and Bill Of Rights. To a Country that relies on a mix of individual liberty and personal responsibility. To a Country where, once again, the power is shifted away from the federal level, and back to the state, local and individual level. To a Country where National defense does NOT mean National offense and Nation building around the world. Essentially away from becoming a nanny/police State that espouses welfarism, both individul and corporate, and warfarism.
    Unfortunately, it appears that NEITHER Major Political Party is willing to take us in that direction, as their path is one of creating an ever larger Federal Government.
    If we, as a collective, are serious about “Getting Back To Basics”, we should give serious thought to the third largest Political Party. The Libertarian Party (lp.org) has for 30 plus years been espousing the exact same concerns as expressed in your article.

  13. Jeff Kassel February 21, 2006 8:21 am

    Your essay is brilliant but quite depressing. 15 years ago I left the United States simply to get away from a culture that seemed obsessed with sports and bad music. I lived next to Mt. Pinatubo in the shadow of an active volcano and made clay things. It was a lot more real than watching reality TV with some absurd scenario that had nothing to do with “reality”.

    In a third world country people are not so distracted by the kind of preoccupations that we see on national news. They are not so concerned about Lacy Peterson or whether some newlywed was murdered on a cruise ship. I don’t know who is in charge of programming at Fox or CNN but I don’t think those issues are important to people that have little or no food and no clean water and not much of a place to live. Actually more space seems to be given to those kinds of stories than are given to topics that you discuss in your essay and on your website….like horrendous debt which will drive the country and world into liquidation.

    But the problem isn’t so much government…most of them aren’t very good. The problem is the voter. The voter can get rid of bad leaders in a democracy but…he simply doesn’t care. The average voter will never see your website but they are tuned 24/7 to MTV and ESPN like superglue.

    Government is a reflection of a culture that no longer has any serious substance. While there are many who worry about the external threat of terror, I am more worried about stupid people electing other stupid people to run the largest corporation in the world….and they are running it right into the ground.

    Jeffkassel@comcast.net
    Manchester, NH

  14. Joe Zychik February 21, 2006 9:43 am

    Dear Michael,
    You wrote:
    “In order to keep government power in check, Americans have been given the First Amendment to the Constitution – freedom of speech, and the Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms – as weapons to check intolerable government oppression.”

    Americans have not been given any rights. Neither the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights, nor the Declaration of Independence bestow rights. These document *recognize* rights already possessed by the people.

    For a government to give rights, it must first have them. Governments, according to the founding documents do not have rights, they have powers. The people are vigilant and armed to protect themselves from a government that oversteps its power.

    The Bill of Rights is *not* a list of permissions. It is not a gift. It is a promise that the government will not violate the rights that inherently exist in each individual.

    Part of the problem in the US is that most people believe the government gives rights. Or as I heard one educator say, “I thank God I live in a country that allows me to speak freely.” She was wrong. This country does not allow free speech. The puprose of the First Amendment is to make sure that the government does not violate the inherent right of free speech. The government remains credible as long as it respects each individuals inherent rights.

    Also, the Bill of Rights does not list all the rights. It is a sample of the rights already possessed by the people. (See the Ninth Amendment)

    Finally, the only Amendment in the Bill of Rights which specifically states that the people possess rights independent of the government is the Second Amendment, “. . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    Whatever your position on gun control, if you removed the Second Amendment you’d have a very difficult time establishing that the people have rights. And you could be left with the fallacious argument that the government gives rights.

    Thanks for your site, Michael.

  15. Dave Stratman February 21, 2006 11:09 am

    Dear Michael–

    Thanks for a very powerful, very timely essay.

    My wife and I saw “Why We Fight” last night. One of the last speakers said words to the effect that, “Throughout American history, there has been a battle between capitalism and democracy. Now it seems that capitalism has won.”

    That film and your essay are testimony to a growing awareness among Americans that our country has been hijacked by the moneyed interests. As you point out, this phenomenon is not limited to the US: people around the world are increasingly aware of the huge gulf between their idea of what society should be and what capitalism has in store for us.

    We are at a pivotal point in history. Neither capitalism nor Communism holds a promising or even livable future for most of the world’s people. However much these systems claim to be different, in fact they are based on the same paradigm, in which ordinary people are the victims or beneficiaries of the actions of elites in a history in which economic development is assumed to be the basis of human development. Both these systems are undemocratic. Neither can lead to or tolerate our fulfillment as human beings.

    The great task to which we are called is to build a world-wide revolutionary movement to overthrow the capitalist and communist ruling structures and create true democracy, based on values of solidarity and equality. Such a revolution, in my view, is not only necessary; it is also possible. It is possible because it reflects the world that most people want–a world based not on greed and competition and Looking Out for Number One, but on love and trust and mutual support. These values are revolutionary and are under attack from all the institutions of capitalist society, and yet most people share them and try to practice them in their lives.

    Making a revolution will not mean stepping into an unknown world. It will mean rather extending to all of society the best values that we practice now with family and loved ones and transforming the institutions of society with the best of what we do and think and imagine. That will be true democracy and true fulfillment.

    Thanks again for a wonderful essay.

  16. Jason M February 21, 2006 9:34 pm

    I’m sorry, Michael, I disagree with you on this one.

    Conflating George W. Bush and John Kerry is dishonest. Kerry wasn’t elected, so he hasn’t had a chance to show what kind of a leader he would have been. Yes, he and Bush were both in skull and bones together, but John Kerry volunteered for Vietnam and served there honorably, and Bush did everything he could to get out of it. That choice alone was probably the biggest of their lives, and they chose very differently.

    What’s more, I’m not sure how you can say there’s no difference between Republicans and Democrats: look at the federal budget deficits during Clinton’s term of office and George W. Bush’s — Bush’s deficit in this year alone with eclipse the deficit for all 8 years of Clinton’s terms combined. If you think these kinds of numbers don’t matter, then why do we discuss economics at all?

    You go on to say you have a problem not with Republicans or Democrats, but with government. Well, part of the reason that governments fail is that the smart people buckle under political pressure and equivocate, as Alan Greenspan did with the Bush administration. And here you are, equivocating your views because you seemingly don’t want to offend a Bush supporter.

    I must say I’m surprised by that.

  17. Administrator February 22, 2006 9:14 am

    Hey Everyone,

    Thank you all for taking the time to read my essay, and to post the thoughtful comments, whether you agree with me or not. After reading through the comments, I have a few things I’d like to say as well. First - Nish - Like most people, I have a wide range of interests and opinions about the world, some of which are on display on this website. While my main focus has been on markets and economics, it is impossible to separate those from government. The deeper you look at the sorry state of our economy (the erosion of meaningful work, the huge budget and trade deficits, etc.), you see that most of it leads back to government policies – Policies that favor corporate strength over individuals. Corporate interests, in turn are generally in opposition to people’s interests – they care about making money first and foremost. Of course, most people want to make money too, but this is just one objective in a balanced life that includes having close friends, a loving family, time to pursue self-development, and time to spend educating their children, etc. None of these human values matter to corporations. Corps are interested in “getting the job done” regardless of the job, and regardless of the human cost (only financial costs are factored into their calculus.)

    The point that I am trying to make is that the most important things that we as a nation value — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — are being sold out from under us by our very own government, because most of us are focused on the wrong issues. This is understandable, because this is how the big media “frames” the issue, and most people just go along with what they hear on TV or read in the paper. But the TV and most newspapers first and foremost have an interest in staying in business and making money. So they have an interest in the status quo – an interest that is not necessarily in line with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for the common man. Both political parties are complicit in this because those in power benefit from the system the way it is.

    I had one man who said he was a corporate psychologist to Fortune 100 companies who called my essay “partisan, shallow, uninformed and naive.” He asked that I take his name of my email list and said, “I was a potential customer, but no longer.”

    I think that his email speaks exactly to the problem that I am trying to address: Rather than listen mindfully, people would rather close their ears to anything disagreeable and instead attack and call names. This is the culture that is created by corporations, and on display on televisions across America in their combative “Crossfire” type shows. The message we get time and again is, “either you agree with me, or you are wrong and stupid.”

    The message of my essay is of course disagreeable to most people who work for the Fortune 100, or serve the Fortune 100, or anyone who is extremely dedicated to one or the other political parties, simply because they gain some kind of benefit from their identification. Part of their self is wrapped up in “being” a Democrat, a Republican, or a Whatever. I think the psychologist’s last line is very telling: “I was a potential customer, but no longer.” I’m sure the writer saw no irony in his comment, but the larger meaning is clear: In this society, money is to be valued over one’s personal values and self-expression. People are expected to sacrifice their values in order to earn money. Corporations are not democracies, they are dictatorships. Think about it – you check your values at the door - you are not paid to think nor feel your own thoughts, only to act on behalf of the corporation, even if that means sacrificing your friends, family and values. This is something I find particularly absurd.

    Thank you to Joe for pointing out that the *inalienable* rights means that governments don’t grant them - we already have them. It remains our responsibility claim them, and see that they are not infringed upon by our government, nor anyone else.

    Finally, to Jason - I thank you for the comments, and I appreciate you voicing your disagreement. I can see your points, but I respectfully disagree. The last thing that I remember of Kerry was his final flip flop on counting the votes in Ohio: First he said, “We will fight to the end and count every vote” - or something to that effect. And less than 2 days later he threw in the towel and said there was no point in fighting, that the election was over. That sealed the deal for me in terms of his leadership. You don’t have to sit in the office of the Presidency stand up for what you truly believe in, and in my opinion, that is what true leadership is about.

    Again, I don’t fault Kerry per se - he is a politician, just like the rest of them. Most of them say a lot of things they don’t really mean. I agree with you that Kerry volunteered for Vietnam, and Bush shirked it, and no question that is a big personal difference that says a lot about a person’s character. But it was also 35 years ago. Kerry had no stated objective to get us out of Iraq — and that is one example of what I mean about there being no meaningful difference between the parties. Sure, a little tinkering here and there to give the appearance of a choice. But to use a metaphor, do you have a meaningful choice between a Big Mac and a Whopper, or between Coke and Pepsi? Well, technically, yes. But what if you want some healthy food? I guess you could make the argument that the Whopper has more lettuce, and a tomato, too. Maybe Coke has a little less sugar…

    I don’t at all mean to be flip here, but this is the kind of choice that I see between the Reds and the Blues. Where is the party that will ask honest, meaningful questions that are relevant to the lives of you and I? Clinton was popular among Democrats, but he also signed NAFTA, which was great for the corporations, and terrible for working people in this country. And in terms of balancing the budget — he did it by raiding the Social Security Trust Fund. That is supposed to be a separate account, dedicated to paying benefits in the future. Clinton combined it with the overall budget — borrowed it, so to speak — to make it appear that the budget was balanced. The budget was *never* balanced, at least not from an honest accounting perspective. Furthermore, look at Clinton Years on the Treasury’s Public Debt to the Penny statistics: http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/opd/opdpenny.htm There is not a single year-to-year drop during the Clinton Administration. Clinton ran the debt up, Bush is running it up more. Reagan ran it up, Carter ran it up, Ford ran it up, Nixon ran it up, Johnson really ran it up. In terms of comparison, while Bush may not be comparable to Clinton, he’s probably more in line with Johnson – a Democrat. This is what I mean by lack of meaningful distinction.

    If you read the article “The Mandrake Mechanism” elsewhere on this site, you will see why they have to run the deficit up. Because all money is debt.

    I agree with you that people buckle under political pressure, and I agree further that Greenspan did just that. But I don’t see how I’m equivocating my views, and I would appreciate an explanation of what you mean. I’m not worried about offending anyone, I’m trying to get people to see the world from a new perspective that is neither Republican-centric, nor Democrat-centric but from the perspective of the values that Americans hold most dearly.

    When we get caught up in a group, we cede our rational thinking and decision making ability to the leaders of that group. What I have tried to demonstrate is that both of these groups put corporate interests first, before the interests of people like you and I.

    Thanks,
    Michael

  18. FeelingWeird February 23, 2006 10:22 am

    I JUST LOVE YOUR SITE MICHAEL…..

    I wish I could think of something more prophetic or interesting to say. But you just nail it on every level. You are one of the few people that I read, that hasn’t yet disapointed me in some way. Between you and Geore Ure over at Urban Survival I have all my bases covered intelectually.

    Run for president!!! LOL just feeling a little facicious..

    Robert NW Ohio

  19. Rich February 23, 2006 2:15 pm

    Hey Michael.

    I read your article and the comments, saw the old “Skull and Bones in 04″ bumper sticker we came up with together, and then couldn’t help but jump in and have my own say.

    In essence here is what I believe:

    This great nation has been hi-jacked from within from what I’d call “the money power.” There is no difference anymore between the leadership of the two major parties, they are bought and paid for by that higher power. The potential for party-politics to be hi-jacked in this way was something that both George Washington and John Adams understood - and warned everyone about. However Jefferson was a party-guy who drove this issue forward for his own benefit and to win his presidency. We now live with the result of the early introduction of party-politics in to the US system.

    Likewise, there is now no difference between any of the corporate-owned news/media sources, we all know that when we flip from ABC to FOX to NBC to CNN we get the same story from a different talking head. Sometimes we get a little “extra” from FOX, but in general the story is the same. Even NPR/PBS is now “Brought to you by JP Morgan Chase and the Pugh Charitable Trust, Rockefeller and Ford Foundations, etc.”

    The Council on Foreign Relations took over the State Department during WWII and has pretty much been in control of foreign policy ever since. This secret organization is made up of 3,500 of America’s “best and brightest minds,” the establishment/the elite. It is now like a quasi-governmental institution that holds massive sway over the day to day operations of the big ship USA.

    Likewise, the Federal Reserve came in to power in 1913 as a quasi-governmental organization and has taken over control of the creation of money on behalf of the US Government. The private hands that control the Fed are the same ones behind the majority ownership of JP Morgan Chase and Citibank (it is no coincidence that these are the two most powerful banks in the world). The same people control the major oil companies, with Exxon just producing the largest corporate profit in global financial history - - coincidentally the prior record holder was Citigroup.

    Evidence for exactly how this country is now run by a “shadow government” is everywhere, we all live inside the Matrix of this reality everyday - - here are a couple of examples to noodle on:

    The NSA, who are these people, who is in control of them, what is their budget? Do you know?

    The WTO, who are they, what is their agenda, who are they responsible to? Do you know?

    The World Bank, do you know? I particularly like the current issue of third world debt relief. Being a fan of U2 since the early 80’s I’ve followed Bono’s political career over time. I loved the lyrics through the 80’s, Sunday Bloody Sunday, etc. Just great stuff about the emancipation of the people of the world from tyranny. Well here’s a good question on the Wolfowitz run World Bank, “who forgave all of the debt? Where did the money go? What shareholders were asked to take a hit because their contributing bank forgave debt to Africa?” I can’t find answers to any of these questions anywhere. Mysteriously the debt to developing countries just evaporated and no one was hurt?

    Anyway, I digress a little.

    The bottom line is people, that the world is already run by an international cabal of banking/corporatist/statists who have erected a shadow global government that does the bidding of the major coporations in connivance with democratic and dictatorial regimes - the countries are just “client states” of the transnationals.

    Trying to put the world back to what it was before we arrived at the state we are now in would be almost impossible.

    One place to start would be to ban all public officials from being members of secret societies. We got in to this pickle by elites clubbing together in to secret societies that closed off communication to “we the people.”

    In order to right some of the wrongs we need a fresh, open and honest dialogue - - to do that we need assurances that there are no hidden agendas.

    BAN SECRET SOCIETIES.

    Cheers Rich

  20. Jason M February 24, 2006 8:44 am

    Michael:

    Thank you for responding to my comment. I especially appreciate your careful and considerate tone.

    Here are a few responses to your comments.

    I find it surprising that you would choose one miscalculation by John Kerry as a reason to write off his entire candidacy. The number of miscalculations by George Bush is truly mind-boggling. The whole “flip-flop” label which was pinned to John Kerry was a typical Bush-Rove strategem: call your opponent what you yourself are. After all, George Bush said that we should invade Iraq because we had good intelligence that they had WMDs. Then, he said it wasn’t his fault because of bad intelligence. That’s a gigantic flip flop. He also said we’d hunt down Osama Bin Laden dead or alive. He later said he wasn’t that concerned about Bin Laden. Another gigantic flip flop. During Bush’s 2004 campaign, he said one day that the war in Iraq wasn’t winnable in the usual sense, and then reversed himself the next day and said it was.

    Regarding the deficit and Bill Clinton. I did not realize that there was an accounting change during his administration, and if that is the case I stand corrected. But there is still a difference in philosophy at work. Whether funds are labeled as a budget surplus or payment into the trust fund is semantics. Clinton wanted people to feel good about the idea of Social Security and of keeping it solvent. He said surplus money should “Save Social Security first.” On the other hand, you have Bush, who wants people to feel bad and hopless about Social Security so that he can privatize it and eventually dismantle it. Why else would he call United States T-Bills “worthless IOUs”?

    I don’t mean to get into a tit for tat with you about Bush vs. the democrats. My point is that there IS a qualitative difference between them (or even between candidates of the same party), and to argue to the contrary is not, in my humble opinion, productive.

    I think the greater question is whether this mess was inevitable. Our country has gone through multiple cycles of boom and bust. And we are heading for another depression. Is it human nature that great achievement will always be followed by great folly? That the lessons of the past will be forgotten and repeated? And if so, do we unwittingly choose those men who will hasten our descent into the muck?

    On that count, I suspect our opinions might not be too different.

    Thanks, as always, for this valuable site.

    Jason

  21. Doug February 25, 2006 12:38 pm

    The larger issue is how to bring the people who determine corporate behavior under closer scrutiny and how do WE THE PEOPLE who are the USA stop them from destroying the country in the search for more money and power? We seem to be in the middle of a devolution of the ordinary citizen at the expense of a small group-those moneyed elite who seem to be controlling everything at our expense. While we can, as individuals control our level of consumption and ignore the “government” at a local level, it doesn’t do anything to stop this runaway freight train of inflation and abuses of power.At some point WE have to stand up and say ENOUGH! Impeachment would certainly be a beginning, but we’d better oust the whole lot of them in government at the same time AND change our system of government back to it’s beginnings.First and foremost we need our government to REALLY be OF, BY and FOR THE PEOPLE!Then,Elimenate favoritism for corporations-put them in their place as servants of people.
    Unfortunately , the process is the problem, Thanks Doug

  22. Breck Breckenridge February 25, 2006 9:21 pm

    Reading the lists of those contributors (above) in which they focus upon the big problems this nation is facing, I didn’t see a single one that addressed the issue of black box voting systems. Somehow, following the 2000 election, the voting process in this country got hijacked by a handful of corporations who make electronic “voting” machines. These machines are easily hacked, have already demonstrated their flaws, have probably been involved in vote fraud, and the makers arrogantly refuse to divulge the code of their programs to We The People. Folks, unless we have fair elections all the other stuff is just secondary, as important as all those other concerns are.

  23. Rich February 27, 2006 6:41 am

    Hey Breck.

    If the entire system is corrupt and only dishonest people run for government, then what good are fair elections?

    Fixing the obvious fraud within the US electoral system is important, but for now there are much bigger fish to fry.

    The money power has choked off control of the entire process, to the point that the people are living an illusion when it comes to their impression of how the government is actually run.

    Until that strangle hold is broken there will never be another fair election, or honest politician for that matter.

    From what I can tell Ron Paul is just about the only decent one of the entire bunch.

    By removing secret societies from public office you could start the process of at least identifying where the special interests are, you would flush them out in the open. That would be a start, but that’s all it would be. Eradicating this scurge from the system is a massive task, we are corrupt to the core, and we all know it, or are in denial of it.

    R

  24. Administrator February 27, 2006 8:36 am

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for continuing the discussion. I would agree that it is not productive to get into the tit-for-tat, blue vs. red discussion. I certainly agree with you that there are differences between individual candidates — I don’t think I ever said that there weren’t. Here is an interesting fact:

    Consider the President who:

    Proposed a minimum income for all Americans,
    Created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
    Created Occupational Safety and Health Administratio (OSHA),
    Created the Comsuemr Safety Product Commission

    Surely a democrat, right? Nope — it was Richard Nixon, a Republican. Hard to imagine, isn’t it, especially since current republicans seem intent on dismantling all of the above.

    Those facts come from page 69 of the book “Regime Change Begins at Home.” The idea behind it is that the politicians serve the “regime” in power.

    The current regime is dominated by corporations and wealthy fatcats. As Rich pointed out above, both the Democrats and the Republicans are in favor of the WTO, the World Bank, and the IMF. But who/what are these organizations, but non-elected elite institutions that attempt to dictate the economic policies of sovereign nations?

    Where is the party that stands up for the moral values of the working people - that they have meaningful work, and the means for a decent life? We have all been brainwashed to believe that it’s the Democratic Party, but Clinton is the one to give most-favored trade status to China and signed NAFTA. The result is the one predicted by Ross Perot - the giant sucking sound of American jobs out of the country. Today, millions of people are unemployed and underemployed because of these policies, which directly benefited rich corporations at the expense of working people. Today millions of people are really suffering because they have grown up to believe that the government is on their side, when in fact, it is not.

    The democrats have been weak on offering any kind of alternate plan for Iraq. There is, in effect, no opposition to this administration. Who will stand up to ending the war — from either party — if it means that the jobs in their state from a big weapons plant will be closed and people will lose their jobs? Both parties are beholden to the interests of money, not the interests of people. This is the essence of what I mean by there being no difference between the parties. Differences between individuals – yes, of course. Surface differences? Absolutely. But both parties put profits before people. That is just the world we live in today.

    So, how do we change it? Government is a reflection of the people. Most citizens today put materialism and profits before spirituality and people, and our government reflects that. It will take a reeducation process - we have all the material things in the world, profits coming out the ears, but what has it bought us? We have sold our souls, and when it becomes apparent to enough of us, there will be no stopping another regime change, and a shift back to people over profits.

    Take care,
    Michael

  25. Bruce T February 27, 2006 8:52 pm

    Aa a Canadian I am appalled at how gullible the American public at large is to this Fascist hijacking of power and
    corruption taking place under the US system and how congress has sold the people down the river. What a bunch of theives. Not much better up here though. In what has been happening since 9/11 I see many similarities between the fall of the Roman Empire and the more contemporary times of the Rise of Hitler and the Third Reich. Once war is on with Iran in support of the US currency..I am sure Martial Law will be next, along with conscription. God help us all.

  26. Fountain June 12, 2006 4:55 pm

    Fountain

    Next time talk about what happens after what you are describing, that would be really interesting.

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