CAPITALISM WORKS GREAT–EXCEPT WHEN IT DOESN’T

By Arlen Grossman

Published at OpEd News, October 5, 2019

 

Democracy, if we ever truly had it, is rapidly disappearing in America today. If most people want background checks for guns, universal health care, a higher minimum wage, action to limit climate change, and higher taxes for the wealthy, which they do, the government will not allow these to happen. Same for most other important issues, both locally and nationally.

The reason is because our favored political system, capitalism, and its inevitable corollary, greed, has increasingly devoured what we used to call democracy (or republic, if you prefer). As everyone knows, money is power, as well as being the symbol of success in our consumer culture.

America's Value System
                                                            America’s Value System

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Here’s a challenge: name an important problem in America today that is not caused or exasperated by capitalistic greed. I maintain it will be very hard to do. That is because those who control our country, big corporations and billionaires, dominate Congress and other decision-making institutions in the United States. They make the rules.

Let me make clear that capitalism, also called free enterprise or the free market, the basis of our economic system, is not inherently bad. In fact, there is no other economic system that has proven to be more innovative, creative, and productive than capitalism. But without the necessary checks and balances, unrestricted capitalism becomes out-of-control capitalism, which has led us to where we are today, an America that has lost its bearing and is floundering in a sea of debt, poverty, injustice, and fear.

Think about it. Climate change, poor health care, mass shootings, environmental destruction, computer breaches and hacking, easily available pornography, election fraud, financial crimes, poverty, and of course, nuclear weapons and wars, can be instigated or worsened by greed. There may be a few problems and issues unrelated to money and greed, but not many.

Being essentially amoral, and human nature being what it is, an unregulated free market will invariably fall prey to the forces of greed. It will inevitably spin out of control and turn into a voracious monster, plundering everything in its path. That is what is happening right now in this country, with a few powerful corporations and billionaires accumulating an unprecedented and disproportionate share of this great country’s wealth, leaving the rest of us scrambling to pick up what few crumbs we can find.

All the little stuff, the outrage of the week, the big news story of the day, the latest screw-up by a famous politician or celebrity, it’s all a distraction (don’t forget, the major media is owned by a few big corporations). If we don’t fix the systemic problems, our slide into the junk heap of history is inevitable.

More than just our smaller paychecks, failing schools, bloated military, and the other results of the Darwinian drift of our economy, the worse damage out-of-control capitalism has done has been to our psyche. It has eviscerated our collective soul, purging Americans of our most decent instincts and values. We have been left with a country that is no longer offering the promise of the Great American Dream, and is no longer a beacon of hope and possibility for the rest of the world. Instead, America is all about greed, materialism, and the accumulation of wealth.

Where once Americans cared about each other, we now distrust one another. Where once we strived to erase poverty, we now ignore or disdain it. Where once peace was a priority, we now unquestioningly accept perpetual war. Where once we were concerned for civil liberties, we now look the other way as our privacy and rights disappear. Where once we valued truth and facts, we now ignore them in favor of winning an argument or scoring a political win. Where once we cared about improving lives, we now give priority to accumulating money and cutting taxes.

Can this be changed? I wish there were an easy answer. Unfortunately, the billionaires and big corporations seem to have already won. They have the most power and influence in our country and, because of lobbying and legalized bribery in government, control the media and the politicians who can effect change.

A major overhaul of our political and economic systems is desperately needed. Where it will come from is, at this time, unclear. But if we don’t rein in the excesses of capitalism, we will become like the Romans, just one more failed empire for future students to read about in history books.

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Scary Word

Socialism

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CLEAN SWEEP NEEDED

UkraineBy Thom Hartmann/ ThomHartmann.com/ September 24, 2019

Trump’s Ukrainian extortion scandal is metastasizing across his administration. It’s now apparent that his Chief of Staff played a role in stopping the money that Congress had appropriated for Ukraine to defend itself, and that Mike Pence communicated part of the implied threat, to the Ukrainian president. If impeachment goes forward, it should not be limited to Trump.

It’s time for a major house cleaning, and that means impeaching Pence as well., which, according to the Constitution, puts the Speaker of the House in the White House.

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LIFE OF THE POTTY–A BOOK FOR KIDS

In case you might be interested, I’ve written a silly, quirky book for middle age readers (age 8-12). For more information, click here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/827426

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The End

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Welcome, Mr. VP

PenceVP Pence came for a quickie Labor Day weekend visit to a remote area of Vermont, which happened to be down the road from my wife’s family’s summer home in Hubbardton. I felt I wanted to greet him as he drove by. I even made the local newscast (they screwed up my name):

https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Pence-to-make-return-Labor-Day-visit-558717391.html

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Russia Mischief Planned in 1997

 

I recently had an in-car conversation with my nephew about WW II. He wanted to know what possessed Hitler to attack the Soviet Union. We ended up talking a little bit about geopolitics, and the role that oil & gas reserves played in Germany’s decision to turn against its ally. The conversation was very general, because I had few concrete facts or sources to give him. I promised that I would do some research and send him some links.

Upon my return home, I fired up google and started browsing around about geopolitics. I happened upon a Wikipedia article that discussed a book written by Aleksandr Dugin called “The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia”. What I discovered was both amazing and frightening. I strongly urge you to go and read the (relatively short) article in full.

“The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia” was written in 1997. Since then, it has risen to the rank of textbook for the Russian military’s “Academy of the General Staff”. It lays out a Nationalist, Eurasianist political ideology and strategy for Russia to rebuild its influence and rise to world dominance. The strategic objectives laid out in the book are clear and systematic. The main tactics to accomplish them are not military; rather,

The textbook believes in a sophisticated program of subversion, destabilization, and disinformation spearheaded by the Russian special services. The operations should be assisted by a tough, hard-headed utilization of Russia’s gas, oil, and natural resources to bully and pressure other countries.

First off, the textbook says that the United States need to be weakened internally.

Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics”.[9]

Russia

The book also recommends:

• Isolating the United Kingdom from the rest of Europe

• Annexing Ukraine

• Dismembering Georgia

• Creating a vital alliance with Iran

• Destabilizing Turkey

 

• Minimizing the influence of China

At the end of the article is a 2017 quote from news.com.au which says the book

Reads like a to-do list for Putin’s behaviour on the world stage.

I couldn’t agree more. And now, with both the U.S. fracturing internally and the U.K. About to cut ITSELF off from the rest of Europe, I can’t help but wonder: are most of today’s major political current events simply part of a plan laid out more than 20 years ago?

As an aside, what would happen if the the book and the plan it contained was compared to current events very publicly in the media? Do you think it would hinder Russia’s ability to achieve the goals laid out in the book?

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OUR POST-TRUTH INFORMATION SYSTEM

By Charlie Warzel/ New York Times/ August 13, 2019

Even on an internet bursting at the seams with conspiracy theories and hyperpartisanship, Saturday marked a new chapter in our post-truth, choose-your-own-reality crisis story.

It began Saturday morning, when news broke that the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein had apparently hanged himself in a Manhattan jail. Mr. Epstein’s death, coming just one day after court documents from one of his accusers were unsealed, prompted immediate suspicion from journalists, politicians and the usual online fringes.

Within minutes, Trump appointees, Fox Business hosts and Twitter pundits revived a decades-old conspiracy theory, linking the Clinton family to supposedly suspicious deaths. #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily trended on Twitter. Around the same time, an opposite hashtag — #TrumpBodyCount — emerged, focused on President Trump’s decades-old ties to Mr. Epstein. Each hashtag was accompanied by GIFs and memes picturing Mr. Epstein with the Clintons or with Mr. Trump to serve as a viral accusation of foul play.

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Common Sense (You’d Think)

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History Repeats Itself

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