Friday, April 30, 2010

Minutemen- King of the Hill and History Lesson Part II





Dr. Bowman and Alex Jones speak with soldiers: staged crises and troops







Finance Capital's Agenda of Serfdom For Their "Human Capital"

In recent years we have seen a windfall of corporate crime and esurience. Along with the current Depression there have been banking failures, a collapse in the auto industry, bailouts of companies like AIG who awarded executives exotic junkets and large bonuses, ad infinitum. Through this crisis, the inner workings of the global financial system have been stripped of all raiment and the fraudulent nature of the entire economy exposed. From Ponzi schemes to rackets, banksters, politicians and corporate executives have abused crony-capitalism and in net-effect hijacked the structural machinations of civilization. Meanwhile, a steady diet of entertainment and the subtle inculcations that comes packaged therewith leaves a great number of what once were citizens of democratically represented republics in the West, now more aptly termed subjects, incapable of analyzing and thinking for themselves. The economy is understood as an autonomous blanket on which influence is democratically impinged by persons. The truth, however unfortunate, is that the amount of influence exercised by a stunningly tiny minority gives them a sort of reign over the entire globe, thanks largely to traditional military imperialism and the more recent advent of economic warfare spearheaded by the IMF and World Bank. These finance capital and political generalists, who theorize about how best to use their volume or influence, scrutinize in the context of decades, and have effectively used the centralizing motif of civilization, so blatantly obvious in this day and age it has a palatable name in globalization, to further an agenda of power accumulation by dispossesion of peoples. The political, financial and power elites at the top of the global deference pyramid heed Machiavelli’s advice still to this day: “Knowingly…adopt the beat.”

Gross inequalities exist in the U.S.:

Top 1% own 38.1%
Top 96-99% own 21.3%
Top 90-95% own 11.5%
Bottom 40% of population has 0.2% of all wealth.

In the language of the founding fathers, citizens “owned” property, which implies one was not indebted to a creditor.1 But, such stark inequality, which effectively undermines the ability of markets to function at equilibrium, has to a great extent been normalized in the minds of many — a system in which modern indentured servitude is seen as the path to prosperity, despite that over the past thirty years, as Americans have had to take out loans to make up the difference for falling wages, the standard of living in the US has fallen dramatically. The distribution of wealth represents a system in which rent is owed by the people to finance capital. Recently, a Goldman Sachs International adviser argued in favor of the finance industry’s extravagant compensation and his company’s plans for a near-record year in pay. He argues the spending will boost the economy.

“We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all,” said Brian Griffiths, formerly a special adviser to then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, at a panel discussion in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. Discussed was the question, “What is the place of morality in the marketplace?”

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., based in New York, put aside $16.7 billion for compensation and benefits in the first nine months of 2009, an increase of 46 percent when compared with a year earlier. This total is enough to pay each worker $527,192 for the period in question. In many states, the nation is suffering from Depression level unemployment, whilst government figures drastically understate true levels by half. 100,000 teachers, also, have been laid off, and class sizes have exploded to more than 40 students per class. Over one million US students are homeless. Foreclosures are at a record high.2

The bailout programs were designed in such a way, that the destination of the money cannot be accounted for, according to Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor who oversaw the bailout for Congress. Instead of taking the saner approach of the taxpayer purchase of all major US banks, since total market capitalization of all major US banks was less than $300 billion or less than a tenth of the amount given away, we’ve insured the major financial institutions at the cost of stability for the taxpayer. Now, should there be any future volatility in the markets, the taxpayer owns shares in the companies.

Instead of a corporate bailout, the banks should have been forced to write-down the value of the mortgages they, according to the FBI, illegally filed, and negotiated a new loan at a lesser price for the homeowners. The power of monetary policy ought to be shifted to the Treasury for the payment of public goods and services and the cost of credit for people should be minimized.

The federal budget deficit is $1.4 trillion, and the federal debt $12 trillion with annual interest rate payments of $450 billion each year. No coherent debate about how to alleviate these problems has been brought to the public. The US debt altogether is $70 trillion.

Since last October the taxpayer has bore witness to the largest transfer of wealth in, perhaps, the history of man, with potentially $23.7 trillion going to banks and financial institutions after the socialization of their risk on illegal sub-prime mortgages and credit default swaps. The FBI concluded that 80% of all sub-prime criminal fraud began with the lenders.3 There is an old proverb: “The creditor becomes the lenders slave.”

Carrol Quigley, a mentor of former President Bill Clinton, had this to say about finance-capital’s motives:

The Power of financial capitalism [has a] far reaching plan, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.

This system was to be controlled in a feudalistic fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences.

The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks, which were themselves private corporations.

Each central bank sought to dominate its government by its ability to control treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence co-operative politicians by subsequent rewards in the business world.4

In short, the motives of these firms were and are to expand market share and make profits for the shareholders.

Due to the breakdown in trade, pointedly demonstrated by a ghost fleet larger than the US and British fleets combined anchored east of Singapore, also the largest group of ships in the history of maritime travel without crew, no cargo and no destination, the concept of deglobalization has been floated around. Whereas the definition offered by Quigley points towards a collection of impotent localities unable to exercise sovereignty, other more positive definitions exist, such as that offered by Walden Bello.5

He envisages deglobalization as a process that enables production for domestic markets to become central to the economy rather than production where labor is cheap for export markets. Subsidies should be encouraged for projects at the level of the city-state, state and at the national level if this can be done at a reasonable economic and environmental cost with an agenda of preserving community and creating abundant, inelastic resources. Trade policy including quotas and tariffs should protect local economies from predatory corporate-subsidized commodities and their artificially low prices. Equitable income distribution and urban land reform creating a vibrant internal market would kickstart parts of the economy and make available capital for local financial resources for investment. Investment should emphasize not growth, but, rather the quality of life. Environmentally congenial technology in both agriculture and industry would be a massive, New Deal style endeavor, and funds for such projects should be diffused equitably, as opposed only to the energy cartel. Economic decision-making ought not be left to technocrats, but instead to Congress and the Treasury — in other words, those agencies accountable to the public. Questions include what industries to develop or phase out, what proportion of the government budget to devote to agriculture, etc. Markets should refer to a mixed economy of community cooperatives, private enterprise, state enterprise, and no transnational corporations. To replace the transnational corporation, networks of free associations with demarcations or firewalls between local associations may develop.

Despite an unresponsive Washington, overextended budget and rampant corruption which seems hopeless, there are still ways in which our economic problems can be stabilized indefinitely. During the Civil War, for example, English bankers exercised an astonishing amount of influence over Lincoln’s government, just as Wall Street determines Congresses policies today. The North needed money to fund the war, and the bankers lent them money at impossible-to-repay interest rates of 24 to 26 percent. Lincoln noted that this would bankrupt the North and requested that Colonel Dick Taylor of Illinois search for a solution. Taylor informed the President that under the Constitution the US had the power to solve its financing problem by printing its money as a sovereign government. Taylor said:

Just get Congress to pass a bill authorizing the printing of full legal tender treasury notes … and pay your soldiers with them and go ahead and win your war with them also. If you make them full legal tender … they will have the full sanction of the government and be just as good as any money; as Congress is given that express right by the Constitution.6

And so Lincoln funded the war by printing paper notes supported by the credit of the government. These legal-tender U.S. Notes, otherwise known as “Greenbacks,” represented receipts for labor and goods sold to the United States. Soldiers and suppliers received them as pay and they were tradable for goods and services of a value equivalent to their service to the community. The period of the Greenback was also one of large-scale economic expansion. During this period, the steel industry was launched and the continental railroad system was initiated; farm machinery and cheap tools were bankrolled, free higher education was offered, government support was provided to the sciences, the Bureau of Mines was organized, and labor productivity was increased by 50 to 75 percent.

The Greenback was not the lone currency used to bankroll these projects, but it was key to the process. Such growth, moreover, would not have been achieved by money borrowed at the rates London was demanding.

Lincoln’s presidency represents an era in which the government recognized its power to issue a national currency, despite being opposed by powerful special interests. Believed to have been published in the London Times in 1865, the following report sums of the establishment spirit of times in regard to the monetary issue:

If that mischievous financial policy which had its origin in the North American Republic during the late war in that country, should become indurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off its debts and be without debt. It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of the civilized governments of the world. The brains and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.

Eventually a private institution was put in charge of the technocratic printing of money within the country. The Federal Reserve is a privately-owned central bank bequeathed the power in 1913 to print Federal Reserve Notes or dollar bills and lend them to the government. Since that date, the government has suffered an increase in debt which today stands at $11 trillion.

About this system, Henry Ford noted: “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

California’s current economic woes portend a fate that awaits the rest of the country. The Golden State is currently attempting to solve its $26 billion budget deficit through massive cuts in public funding. California’s residents, making up the world’s eighth largest economy, have refused further tax hikes, and Democratic leaders have refused further cuts in services or auctioning of public assets. California should not pay for the crisis with increased taxes or decreased services or public parks.7

In the meanwhile, the state has begun paying the State’s bills with IOU’s.

Such was the idea, in fact, that helped the colonies emerge from under a pile of British debt back in the 18th century, a time during which they lacked the silver and gold used in the Old World for conducting trade. The Massachusetts Assembly then proposed a different kind of paper money, a “bill of credit” representing the government’s “bond”; in other words, an IOU. The new fiat currency was backed by no more than “full faith and credit” of the government.

Following such a model, the Federal Reserve’s current Quantitative Easing Program could potentially represent the correct monetary policy in a time of high unemployment and threat of inflation or deflation. Historically, Quantitative Easing has resulted in hyperinflation and currency devaluation, but this does not necessarily need to lead to a doomsday scenario. According to Paul Krugman, a weaker dollar might serve as benefit for the U.S.:

Although there has been a lot of doom saying about the falling dollar, that decline is actually both natural and desirable. America needs a weaker dollar to help reduce its trade deficit, and it’s getting that weaker dollar as nervous investors, who flocked into the presumed safety of U.S. debt at the peak of the crisis, have started putting their money to work elsewhere. But China has been keeping its currency pegged to the dollar — which means that a country with a huge trade surplus and a rapidly recovering economy, a country whose currency should be rising in value, is in effect engineering a large devaluation instead. And that’s a particularly bad thing to do at a time when the world economy remains deeply depressed due to inadequate overall demand.8

One reason why China has yet to let their currency rise against a weakening dollar is due to their being more concerned about sustaining consistent demand than weaknesses with the greenback.

According to the Economist:

The simplest explanation for the currency’s decline is based on risk aversion. On the days when risky assets fall, the dollar tends to go up. When risky assets rise, the dollar falls. The dollar has fallen fairly steadily since March, a period which has seen stockmarkets enjoy a phenomenal rally. Domestic American investors may be driving the relationship, repatriating funds in 2008 when they were nervous about the state of financial markets and sending the money abroad again this summer because of a perception that the global economy is reviving.9

Many concern themselves with record deficits, creating headwinds for more stimulus, which might be useful were it printed through Congress or another public entity within the government concerned with the well-being of citizens. Japan, however, has deficits twice the size of GDP and bond yields hovering below 2 percent. The Japanese are staving off deflation. On the other hand, US deficits represent 12 percent of GDP. The dollar does not need to be crushed by deficits even much greater than this. Nonetheless, as soon as the government stops spending money and running up the deficit, unemployment will soar, banks and business already tottering on the brink will default, foreclosures will go up, and the economy will slip further into Depression. Important to note, is that the US economy, unlike Japan, is nearly 50 percent based in the financial and service sector. It also boasts the world’s reserve currency.10

Currently, to be sure, consumer credit is decreasing at a year-over-year rate of 5 percent, whilst savings are up and spending is down. Unemployment sits at U6 20 percent. The nation is suffering record foreclosures, delinquencies, bankruptcies, and defaults are sucking credit from the system. Should the Federal Reserve terminate Quantitative Easing, there would be no way to increase jobs or spending.

This line of reasoning suggests that the debate about the fall of the dollar is misdirected, and that the jugular of the issue lies in wage growth and full employment. One way in which these two issues can be resolved is by printing up the two trillion in another stimulus, which, regrettably, would amount to another bailout, unless, of course, the public money creation model was followed.

The nation’s only state-owned bank, the Bank of North Carolina, was created 90 years ago, in 1919, as a result of a populist movement across the northern plains. The movement, led by the Nonpartisan league, created an industrial program, out of which both the Bank of North Dakota and a state-owned mill were created. The funding and deposit model is what truly makes the bank unique, for the bank functions as the depository for all state collections and fees, has a captive deposit base, and pays a competitive rate to the state treasurer. From those funds the banks then pays those deposits back to North Dakota as loans. Therefore, it invests back into the state in economic development type of activities.

The bank employs certain programs designed to spur growth in certain sectors of the economy, be it agricultural or economic development programs useful in the state or energy, as well as education in the form of student loan financing. Certain loan programs with low interest rates promote activity along certain lines. The bank even promotes the movement of cash to disaster loan programs meant to aid businesses, enabling the state to act quickly should it need.

The bank all on its own, however, is not the sole reason the state has avoided such the hardships of other states. Rather, the bank’s choice to stay away from subprime lending and inability to get into the derivatives markets and put on swaps and callers and caps and credit default swaps. The bank also provides a dividend back to the state: approximately half of what it makes goes to the state general fund. Over the last 12 years, the bank has contributed a third of a billion dollars to this general fund to alleviate taxes or to aid in funding public sector type of needs. This in a state of 650,000 people.

And how has the current crisis affected the state of North Dakota? According to bank president Eric Hardmeyer:

“The State of North Dakota does not have any funding issues at all. We in fact are dealing with the largest surplus we’ve ever had. So our concern is how do we spend it wisely and make sure we save it for the future.”11

Corruption in New York City and Washington DC amounts to a collusion between the political and corporate centers of power; in a word, corporatism. Representatives of finance capital are funded in elections, and quite often money talks to get certain cronies elected. When the numbers are considered, this is surely the case in the last presidential election. The expansion of Bush’s militarist and economic policies on the part of Obama is an argument in favor of the idea that the US political system is composed of one party with two factions, whose policies overlap on issues important for the aforementioned top 1-10 percent. There is very little debate carried out in the public forum and a general trajectory of centralized power continues.

The Federal Reserve enables money to be printed at near-zero interest. Along with the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve controls the purse strings of the US. Taxation and Debt have reached such crippling levels that the majority of citizens are dispirited, hopeless, and exhausted. We should all take a breather: debts that can’t be repaid, won’t. The system of taxation and debt is an old one and has been effective in keeping people in line.

The world’s economic and financial superstructure is, at present, very weak. Policies in Washington and the movement of volume for volatility on behalf of the major financial institutions hint that this is desired by the movers of money. Thankfully, through the internet many more people today are aware that crises, more often than not, do not arise by mysterious and trans-human social forces, but from insatiable greed.

HR1207 and SB604, bills in Congress to audit and investigate the Federal Reserve, have helped to further inform people of the heretofore secretive nature of policy making in these two institutions. In democratic and open societies, nothing less than total transparency are deserved by the people. The job of monetary policy belongs to the Treasury under the Constitution. A firewall between Wall Street and Washington is the next step.

The credit crisis and the breakdown of our economic and financial institutional infrastructure began two years ago. The system of so much fraud and corruption has been kept functioning through cheap money and interest rates, as well as bailouts and stimulus packages. A majority of citizens in the US do not comprehend the problems we all face. The Uberclass, as Griffith’s comment at the top of this article reflects, exist outside the realm of traditional morals and laws and maintain a malfunctioning system or status quo.

Meanwhile, the US is held captive by its creditors, while the state, due to deindustrialization and financialization, stark inequality, a minor tax revolt, and lavish spending will experience inability to pay its debts to foreign creditors and respond to future crises at home or abroad.

But some of the solutions above remind us that there is still a world of hope out there.

What is desirable is a centrifugal system in which the exchange of goods and services follows a decentralizing or peripheral trajectory. Under the current system, centripetal forces attract goods, services and therefore wealth and power to the center, in this case not Marx’s industry, but instead creditors’s industry.

U.S. Wealth Distribution: 10% of US Citizens own 70.9% of all US Assets. Daily Paul, October 18. [↩]
Caroline Binham. Goldman Sachs’s Griffiths Say Inequality Helps All, October 21. Bloomberg. [↩]
Carl Herman. 2009 US Economy: largest transfer of wealth to financial/political elite in global history, October 20. Examiner. [↩]
Carrol Quigley. Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time. The Macmillan Company. [↩]
Waldon Bello. The Virtues of Deglobalization. Global Research, October 25. [↩]
Ellen Brown. Revive Lincoln’s Monetary Policy: An Open Letter to President Obama. April 8, 2009. [↩]
Ellen Brown. California Dreamin’: How the State Can Beat It’s Budget Woes, July 8 2009. [↩]
Paul Krugman, “The Chinese Disconnect,” New York Times. [↩]
“Down with the Dollar,” The Economist, Oct, 2009. [↩]
Mike Whitney, Dollar Collapse Update: “Obama Demands Pay in Euros.” Global Research, October 25. [↩]
Josh Harkinson. How the Nation’s Only State-Owned Bank Became the Envy of Wall Street. Mother Jones, March 27. [↩]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Social Engineering from a Social Engineer

Pavement Video: "Shady Lane"

And Oh-So Austere: globalization coming into view

The globalization of cultural symbols and concepts has left the world in between two ages, a temporal space where persons and their generations find it hard to find themselves. Thanks to technological developments, the ability for culture to be diffused to distant regions of globe—from, say, a European or American cosmopolitan center to less influential nations and cities—is vastly expanded. Still, despite this intermixing in a global melting pot, with populations fleeing far westward or eastward for reprieve, promotional worlds are built up around users hunched over computers and laptops, where advertisements are personally tailored for them, divorcing them from their cluster of friends.

Whilst most of the literature on the topic of globalization argues that, as fewer and fewer transnational corporations compete to expand market share, once diverse cultures have fallen victim to a homogenization process, some research sees the reality differently. By arguing the case for blowback or resistance to trends of global cultural standardization, these analysts seemingly borrow from laws of physics that state for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

This reaction from below is newfangled nationalisms in nations that perceive a whittling away of their national sovereignty by the vector of global governance, business, and sociality as anti-republican traditions, totally devoid of respect for common law.

In his essay, Learning to be local in Belize, Richard Wilk puts his hand on this transpiration in Belize, where a mere two decades ago, at a time when foreign cultural influence was scarcely so pervasive as now, most Belizeans denied that such a thing as ‘Belizean culture’ existed at all. They did, after all, live where the United States considered backyard. For example, in the realm of cuisine, the honored guest from the north, Wilk, was usually treated to something from a can.

Such observations by Wilk turn his paper not into further proffering of the “progressive penetration of global commodities into every crevice of daily life,” but, instead, as an account of local diversification amid global standardization. To be sure, the global standardization remains, but there is community blossoming and counter-trends taking part that is very much important to the makeup of the dominant culture. In other words, Belizean absorption into international markets and contests has resulted in the people of the country flexing their distinctiveness and diversity apart from other nations. This process represents their entering into, what Wilk terms, the “structure of common difference.” (Wilk 1995)

This Belizean expression of difference positions itself contrary to the ideologies of nonpareil professional marketing managers, who attempt to invoke a transformation in consciousness, in terms of consumer behavior, from an episteme that holds for truth the existence of a universal rationality based on the western model. Put succinctly, a basic premise of their marketing techniques holds that consumers, markets and competitors around the world will behave the same; that, when put in environments more similar than different, the differences in people will tend to blur, to fade with time. This managerial rationality is an “undisputed instrument of knowledge.”

For instance, the field of neuro-marketing helps to make a science of predicting—more to the point, dictating—global consumer habits. The foundational study that gave rise to this field analyzed how, in test subjects shown products with which they identified and, therefore, enjoyed, blood rushed to a small location at the front of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, an area of the brain responsible for self-identification and the formation of personality. Such knowledge of human behavior can help to globalize a certain type of commoditization, a professional marketing manager might reason. (Lone 2009)

For some, globalization is an ideology, a fact of life. It certainly is a reality in every person on the plants life. Moreover, its process is a political one. As George Orwell told, everything is politics. Policies of deregulation and philosophies of free trade—a euphemism for corporate expansion—abet globalization and justify not just the macroeconomic axiom of comparative advantage, but, also, the microeconomic foundations of neuro-economics in the neo-classical economic model—including therein basic assumptions of inherent maximizing inclination of ‘Homo-economicus’ in an environment of scarcity. For historically powerful global elite financiers, internationalists and their national bureaucrats, globalization serves as a rationale for the recent history’s restructuring of states and economies; “a historically specific project of global economic management.” It is, for such entrenched power interests, “a view of ordering the world.”


Managers and experts of transnational corporations are particularly strong advocates of globalization because they view it as offering opportunities of boundless proportions; the concept by which to judge quality, mere efficiency. For them, globalization represents the possibility of doing business without restriction; that, de facto, supply and demand does not do autonomous market making and eradication, they can and do. And will continue doing so, in their “view of ordering the world.” They ensure this progression persists.

Such a worldview stands in contraposition to the free market capitalist ideology, by its mainstream definition. The vision of TNC managers, consultants and management academics is a global one. In fact, they are referred to by many as “globalist,” with “globalist” occasionally being prefaced with the qualifier “demise-of-the-state,” meaning, essentially, they hold no allegiances to any nation-state or its culture. TNC marketers built a worldview upon the maxim of globalization, thereby forming theories about consumers and competitive strategies. Although a complex abstraction, globalization daily becomes increasingly the true superstructure of our daily lives. (Applbaum 2002)




1.Wilk, Richard. (1995) Learning to be local in Belize: global systems of common difference,

2.Frank, Lone. “How the Brain Reveals Why we Buy.” Scientific American, 2 November 2009.
Accessed at:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=neuromarketing-brain

3.Applbaum, Kalman. (May 2000). Crossing Borders: Globalization as Myth and Charter in American Transnational Consumer Marketing, American Ethnologist, Vol. 27, No.2, pp. 257-282.

Town and Country Unedited: Chapter 2 or Partaking in a Hunch

The following day, Sunday, while so many fraternized in their churches, Danny and Landon met. As they had planned, they drank before golf in the Seraville cantina next to the pool. The sun splashed the vast island of concrete on which Los Angeles was situated. Its earliest rays were warm on this day, as if to inspire the young birds to stumble early onto new songs. Considering today’s ripe warmth, Danny and Landon felt less guilty about their orders, many Corona’s and limes. The two played golf together on a monthly basis. Danny dominated, incontestably, the score sheet. Landon didn’t mind.

“Excellent morning for golf, eh?” asked Landon in the form of a greeting.

“Definitely,” said Danny, taking a sip of his beer. “Did you participate in any shenanigans last night?”

“Sure. I met up with a couple friends of mine, hung around and did the usual, but I slumbered early—I need to beat you someday.”

“Well, today might be your day. After last night I drank a coffee mug of wine, listened to Led Zeppelin and smoked my hookah with weed in it. I by no means feel athletic or capable, but you know what they say: Golf is 90% mental and just 50% physical,” Danny philosophized comedy with a smile smeared across his face.

“Didn’t Yogi Berra say that about baseball?”

“Last night, Landon, I looked up pot in the dictionary.” Danny suddenly said and a silence fell upon their table.

“You looked pot up in the thesaurus?”

“Yes.”

Without segue, Landon reverted back to the earlier topic: Anyway, I think Yogi Berra had a point. He had his own logic. Good for him. Logic is little more than the standardization of thought within an individual.

“I know not to question the logic passed down from our forefathers, Landon. It paved the way for someone as successful as I, did it not?”

“Weren’t you deemed clinically insane a couple years ago? Remember, that nervous breakdown you had where you…?”

“Nervous breakdown? Psh!” Danny interrupted in a deep voice. “Was that really a nervous breakdown? I didn’t know they could last the better part of a decade. I thought I had just lost it.”

“Lost what?”

“Lost, you know, it. Don’t they teach you anything at the University?”

“What, how to be sane? Are you crazy? Society is made up of belief processes that birth action institutionalized, Danny, which behave like and are viewed as persons. Religious, political, academic, monetary, ecclesiastical, all of which play some role in the order of shit and the shit has been hitting the roof for the better part 6,000 years; it just so happens that these days University serves the purpose of indebting the better-to-do classes while they’re horny and young. It’s the modern vehicle of indentured servitude parading under the moniker of knowledge and enlightenment.”

“Oh, Landon, how would you get a good job without the good education?” a half-hearted Danny said before he took a gulp of his now half-finished beer.

“At University, you learn from an authority, who learned from an authority, who learned from an authority. The titles people wear and the mythology of borders are in minds, just like the rules that give this lawn of eighteen holes a form and a meaning. The President showers naked, but in $3,000 suit nobody can imagine he’s spent a moment of his life vulnerable and unsure.”

“Hmm,” Danny replied, and then called over the morning bartender and paid the tab, where after the two made their way to the first hole. They did not use caddies for their highly scripted sojourn along the golf course, for privacy liberated themselves to each other. On the way to their tee off they walked in silence, save for a few quick quips regarding the outmoded attire of others. Their tee-time was scheduled for 9:15 AM. It was now 9:22, rather punctual for these two. “What’s your favorite Led Zeppelin album?” Landon asked. “I’m not sure, Lando, but that’s a good question. Led Zeppelin was a premonition. They gave rock n’ roll balls. Most people don’t associate punk and Led Zeppelin, but was Led Zeppelin not punk as fuck?”

“I’m probably not old enough to tell, but when I think of punk in the seventies I think of Strummer and the Clash, and try not to think of the Sex Pistols. Strummer nailed down the motifs of the counter culture: Vietnam, bankers, what have you.”

“Or what have you not. All right Lando, point taken. But, I’ll go on thinking Led Zeppelin was punk.”

Danny then took a step back from the ball he had placed upon the tee and looked in the direction of the hole ahead. He scrunched his eyes, positioned himself and took some practice swings before taking a step forward, aligning himself with the tee. Then, after peering once more with scrunched eyes at the offing, he took a shot—a solid one, indeed.

“I thought you had stayed up all night.”

“Yeah, it doesn’t matter. I got game.”

Then Landon went through his personal routine, faring well with his shot; in fact, better than Danny. The two departed from the tee of the first hole, opening up further a landscape between them and the club lobby which stood adjacent to a walking path behind the first hole. On their left-hand side was the chosen hill which carried the Country Club like a tray upon a servers palm. The landscape wore cactuses, whose pyrogenic seeds cracked while besieged by past conflagrations, and was dotted by an array of shrubs covering the land—like a pimple rising to the surface of skin. During the sunlit hours, hawks and crows surveyed the sand and dirt for snakes and rodents, killing time until they bestowed the day unto owls and orchestral crickets. Danny took a three-iron out of his bag and rounded his ball.

“You mentioned something about institutions earlier. Do you disbelieve in them? And believe that if all institutions were abolished, humanity would evolve complementary and become beneficial to all,” asked Danny.

“That is probably a gross oversimplification of what I think.”

“Probably?”

“The institutions are to the social environment what erratic rocks from the Ice Age are to the environment’s biology: archaic and mammoth boulders difficult to move, but prone, nonetheless, to the violent and displacing seizures of Nature.” Landon said. “Our institutions obfuscate the myriad ways in which they hail from failed times, simply because they helped gives rise to ourselves,” Landon said, more or less wondering out loud.

“Thus, we fail cumulatively.”

“You know that in hunter and gatherer societies the people are the masters of their institutions, not the other way around; when some practice or ritual needs revision, the community tends to do the revising. Their institutions bend to the will of the people: One not attached to form, need not be reformed—advice we ought, perhaps, to heed.” With that said, Danny drove the ball to the green, setting himself up for one final putt.

Landon exhaled a bit, not out of panic, but instead to tune his focus. Seemingly free from the consideration of taking a practice shot or two, he drove the ball directly into a rough patch nudged up against the underbelly of the graded green. Face down, he got his bag and they walked toward their lies.


“Do you have any idea what you’d like to do, Landon? You have just a year left in a college career you started late, your earning power is in this day and age, well, dust like in terms of the global economy, and there’s no need to mention your golf game.”

“Dust like, eh? That’s good enough for me. I was thinking sort of atom like. Anyway, in the survival of those who fit in best, I don’t matter. I’ve got plenty to offer, despite, and so I think you should invest in me.”

“Thank you Landon, but there’s no need for that—I invest in gold bullion.”

Landon reeled his facial features inwards and scrunched his eyes, shooting Danny a terse look that was met with a grin and a glare smeared by design like sophisticated finger painting. The two smiled and Danny made his putt. So too did Landon, albeit by way of a nice shot from the rough. Meanwhile, whilst walking along the path next to the Club’s Lobby, Mr. Avery spoke to a new employee, Sutekh Skorzeny, who was but one part of the torrent of changes rolling over the club.

“What sort of safety system do you have in mind, Mr. Avery?” the new Director of Safety inquired.

“Well, I plan on throwing a healthy sum of money at this project. I don’t want it to be obsolete in two weeks time, you know.”

“Of course, sir, of course. Might I then suggest—since the land sits on a 150 acre swathe—say, 200 cameras for now; the businesses in the mall, as private enterprise, will already be required to install their own.”

“Yes, and the way in which the land was used makes for wide open spaces, just the terrain on which a lion hunts for cattle.

“Sure—we’ll begin there,” Mr. Skorzeny replied hesitatingly, thrown of by the symbolism. “I imagine coordination with the mall will lead to new ideas.” He looked his counterpart up and down for good measure.

Mr. Avery and Mr. Skorzeny strolled past George, the head gardener at Seraville, while he trimmed back a bushel of blueberry plants growing parallel to the walkway separating the lobby from the first hole. George spoke with a lisp and walked with a limp. He never did well at school and was once told by a seventh grade teacher that his penmanship resembled that of Helen Keller. George carried that remark with him through all these years. Thankfully, he thought it a compliment. Helen Keller wrote beautiful prose, hadn’t she? And with that thought he was exactly correct, but few others saw the merit in his line of reasoning.

And now, tending the clean cut acreage, he mumbled to himself various non-sequiturs. Clouds scrolled across the sky, and a dose of sun aided him in his task. The Los Angeles sky was a foray of sounds as the birds and the insects lived incessantly to outdo one another, both gaining and losing, all an attempt merely to strike a balance. Although the natural was suppressed by the cacophony of the city, the city had no pity. On the course that day, also, was Charles Huntington, known as Chuckie while he was a young child, and these days, simply, Chuck. He seldom humored George with drivel, even less often with dialogue of inter-essence, but decided to do so now—that momentaneous certain uncertainty.

“George, how do ya do?”

“Howdy sir, I’m doing well, sir. How about you, sir?” George shifted from one foot to the other and stared at the hefty sheers in his hands.

“Oh, I’m doing just fine, thanks. Enjoying a day on the course. You do a great job with the upkeep of the place. Do you know that, George?”

“Thank you sir, that really does mean a lot. People mention it from time to time, but I tend to just take it as a manners thing.” His lisp forced an f at the beginning of ‘thing.’

“Well, it’s not just that George, we mean it—if you ever want anything, you can ask a good number of us for uh favor.”

“Thanks, Mr. Huntington. Enjoy the back half of your game.”

“And you enjoy the rest of your day.” Mr. Huntington turned from George and headed back towards his gear, where his golfing partners and two club caddies were left in waiting. They continued their game and George continued his work. George felt well after his encounter with Chuck, once Chuckie, and officially Charles. From the offing reverberated hip-hop, seductively taming molecules of air and easing George’s attention, as he liked the rhythm for the orgy of emotions it conjured within. In Mr. Avery’s second storey office above the lobby, the obsessive-compulsive conversation between him and Sutekh lingered on.

“Now, Mr. Skorzeny, I want to think big. There is a lot of flux in the markets right now, and I don’t want to be elbowed out. We’ve got to give our members a stake in the sort of moral club we’d like to see.”

“Well, how big are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking as big as we can; for instance, ways of making our members mentally and physically prepared for their lives—electromagnetic frequencies pushing out a certain amount of hertz, those frequencies known to affect human biological and mental functioning for the better.” Sutekh cocked his head to the side and he wondered what sort of insanity he had gotten himself into by accepting the job. He should have stayed with his Intelligence job, he thought. He suppressed the thought deep inside himself, nodding his head and forcing a smile. But seriously, he thought—still to himself—what sent Avery off the deep-end?

“Yeah okay, I guess I’ve heard of such things,” In science-fiction, he thought to himself.

“We’ll look into it. Let’s ask some of our members connected with companies involved in such operations.”

“Oh, I’m sure we can get into touch with the military directly, living in Southern California and all. We are a well known club, been around since the days of the sons of the railroad tycoons, since the days when the California bight was scarcely populated. It should be no problem, Mr. Skorzeny.”

“I’m on it, Mr. Avery.” He pushed back his chair and straightened his knees. With a wink and a nod, he left the office. Avery took a cigar from his desk drawer and lit it. He leaned back in his recliner.

The yoke which knitted skies, seas and continents made feelers, shapers, introducers of novelty, ears and eyes out of creatures great and small. The club—crude in its relative youth—was but a vault swinging finitely amidst this infinite orb. While its collectivity was a pendulum, and the roles the members played their guides, interchange spawned the refashioning in blinks of time enclaved in geologic seizures and yawns. Addicted to the tyranny of belonging, their selves were increasingly subjugated to a carapace that let them be among such a felicitous crowd as this. This carapace, upon removal from one setting to another, was swiftly shed for a total change in conversation, opinion, and idea—new skin: each was one, but plural too. Yet, without trees of assorted shapes and sizes—and the advices and ancient secrets each timber acquired from its own interactions with expression—there can be no forest erupting in choral diversity.

The club would, as all things, one day wither and fade under the stress of monotony. Saliva swapped in the affair of existence and furthered the raveling and unraveling of all there is, and a subsequent creativity festooned the details. Windy kisses swirled around the club and the city, wrapping themselves around the trees and the buildings and the people. Much as the people gave to the city its character, the people meshed with the animals. Once students in the ways of the hunt, curiously studying the leopard, the jaguar, the eagle, wolf, and bear, and now attired in furs and imitations of other species, their human persistence was not solely of their own accord. Flora and Fauna, reptiles and mammals are vestiges in the forgetful minds of humans, overlooked by people in ivory towers in the city centers.

Club members and city dwellers surrendered what they saw to what the others had already and will have seen; the multitude of the past and the multitude of the future. Borrowing ghostly memories from our ancestors and partaking in a hunch that passes for reality, they themselves were the only learning devices they would ever need. They sacrificed this ultimately finite, but combinatorial infinite, knowledge in order to suffer silently alone, rarely discovering suffering alone they were not and never had. With Avery’s speech the club had been born anew, and accumulation of experiences fresh with the scent of change lied ahead.

Danny squared himself up to the last drive of the day, when a great break in calm moments erupted as an earthquake. He looked forward, towards Landon, whose eyes were hard-boiled eggs in sockets. Mouth agape, he uttered the obvious: “That’s an earthquake!”

On the golf course, everyone stood still. Elsewhere, in the buildings of the club and in the city, sequestered persons scattered about, stripped of the illusion of safety. The drinks before the game had made Landon’s and Danny’s stomachs uneasy. As they stood in the tide of seismic ripples, they slowly turned blue. As the quake began, Danny and Landon had made eye contact with the players around them, but now their concentration collapsed in on itself and converted all of its energy towards remaining composed. The shaking did not stop, however, for what seemed to be a very long time. Their needle vision was a laser piercing through all distraction as they tried to focus.

Danny opened his mouth and held his breath, and started to heave. He began to vomit. Landon turned to avoid the sight, but the movement itself was too much and he followed suit. The slimy yellow-red liquid turned the grass below from a dark green to a cocktail of primary colors. The shaking subsided. Hands on their knees, Danny and Landon stood ass-to-ass. Huntington and his partners looked on.

“You two okay over there?” he asked.

“Yes, sir!” Landon yelled, hands on knees, hoping this incident was not to get him fired.

“That just took us a little bit by surprise,” Danny said.
“Mmhmm,” Mr. Huntington responded. “Have a late night last night?”

“An early morning,” Danny replied.

“Shut up, Danny! I work here,” Landon whispered angrily.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rihanna's "hard" macht Nazi Proganda aus den USA



Just look at 23 seconds in! That is a "heil Hitler." What irony, to think such "coincidences" have penetrated musical space where Public Enemy taught "Fight the Power."

It's also oh-so Wagnerian.

Chalk one up for Freud while you're at it. Damn Rihanna looks sexy on that tank.

a great website for analysis on pop culture is Vigilant Citizen. They point out the mickey mouse hat refers to mind control. Didn't Walt Disney have Nazi proclivities?

Town and Country Unedited: Chapter 1 or "With a wrinkled brow and his head cocked to the side"

Seraville Country Club sat atop a hill not only in physical space, but also in the minds of those who mingled there. To them it was a kingdom on a hill not just in somewhere, but nearer to the heavens, where those made up of the most meaningful matters fit in. The continents of fantasy which gave form to pallid thought were oft made to be real in that all-encompassing, open-ended conglomeration of spacetime. Seraville was no exception, and all of this was made possible in that place plush with uncertainty, otherwise known as “now.” If there was one thing that was certain to the Country Club membership, it was that playing there was a privilege. Politicians, lauded business men, clergymen, judges, media anchors, bank owners, the sons of bank owners, and one closet drug-handler spent their days together discussing the weather and the things to which their money was connected. Of temporal course, deference was no stranger at Seraville, for it had a hologram hierarchy broadcast by minds.

The peak of the Roman Catholic pyramid is occupied by what amounts to few officials. There are one Pope, 55 cardinals, 22 apostolic delegates, 256 vicars apostolic, 245 archbishops, 1, 578 bishops. And so, they hang around tables eating and musing about how comfy they live underneath the heaven’s floorboards. In the Soviet Union, the Communist party had its pointy heavenward end in the Political Committee of only nine or ten members. They didn’t concern themselves much with God, but watched their own backs and feared for their lives just the same. The relatively loose structure of the United States confers considerable influence upon a Supreme Court of nine, a Presidency of one, the Congress of a few hundred congressmen, and the American Senate for 480 Senators. Deference pyramids are over time sheer and steep. Seraville, whose members—just as all Good Catholics, Comrades, Germans and Americans—thought of themselves as the center of the universe, came to a head in a 10 person Board of Governors. Democratic, one might argue, considering only a few hundred were members.

The club covered approximately 250 acres of planet Earth owned by Randolph Avery, the proud owner of Avery Real Estate, the second largest Real Estate firm in the United States. His concern for his under lords, his subjects, had no end. He made a point of reminding them this intermittently throughout the years. He knew that their dedication to the cause was pertinent to the continuity of their little abode away from the doldrums of most other people’s experiences. The club is just as much theirs as his, he would tell them, though they were his capital and not vice versa. Everyone had been contented by a decade of prosperity and a growth they envisaged as unswerving, linear and perdurable. And so Mr. Avery began his speech for the night within a room enveloped by a clear night, underneath stars punched in the fabric of space, hinting of universes without.

“Gentlemen of the Seraville Country Club, their better-halves,” the crowd chuckled robotically, as if little signs appeared above stage right and stage left:

Chuckle Appropriately

What a neat trick.
“I would like to welcome you to one of the most important banquets in this country club’s young life,” Mr. Avery carried on. Seraville’s most distinguished members were on hand this evening awaiting the formal announcement of something they already knew. Judge Finestone was there, as well as Senator Mathewson, Pastor Schroeder, Head News Anchor for BEST News, Skippy Style, and even the owner of BEST News and the myriad associated news centers, Clemens Roger. Some other people were there too. Behind Avery on stage sat a number of personages, some unfamiliar to club members. Investors and city officials celebrated the new era for Seraville, many of whom had put much at stake in the name of club progress. “In its long and colorful history, some of Los Angeles’ most prominent have called Seraville their second home. There is no denying that Seraville is one of the best Country Clubs in this great land and that you, the members of Seraville, are among the privileged elite.”

Applause

Mr. Avery’s body was hardly decrepit, in spite of its sixty years. The slicked-backed, phony black of his hair hid a plastic bag gray with the same polymers in the acrylic paints that protested the scene on the concrete walls in the city, with such slogans as:

“Is anybody out there?”

And,

“Ahhhhh”

Furthermore, Avery’s gray, two-piece suit hinted at party-line. In the last row and furthest chair on the right, Danny Tolstoy paid with attention, at a cost of wandering thoughts in five minute intervals, sometimes four or even three.

“It is a surprise that he still has to read his speeches, considering they are all the same,” said Danny to a Mervin Montague, a man who happened to be as deaf as a worm. Danny knew this; nevertheless he persisted, certain the others would notice. “His speeches are pop songs.”

Avery: “In 1896, when Seraville first opened, it was an escape for the most important people of the day—from the military and the press—and it is clear to see not much has changed. Many of your great, great grandfathers and uncles were here when my great, great grandfather presided over club affairs more than 85 years ago,” Avery went on and on, for he had the persistent vector of tradition, and only tradition, at his desperate defense. He molded it with a fierce accuracy. Knowing precisely the right time to pluck the fruit from the tree, he told the others that, they too shared the thousand-point light bright nexus.

“While I was a boy I used to help out my father as he managed the grounds, trying my darndest to learn everything he taught me about how to be a successful in real estate and otherwise courtly in my conduct. Oh, how surprised our forebears would be today to see how far the club has come. With the addition of more than 200 acres and the residential area Freedom Ridge, it is hard to counter the assertion that Seraville is truly a place for the blessed,” Mr. Avery contended, convincingly enough, thereby making some in the audience to absolve themselves from church in the morning. “Freedom Ridge, if you didn’t already know, is seventy-five enormous mansions within Seraville territory, safely gated and watched 24 hours a day by top-of-the-line security guards—so that you and your family may be safe at night.”

“Top of the line security guards? Where has this wrinkly-old, senile cracker been? I sleep for seventy-five percent of my night shifts at that gate, and then I have sex,” said Marlon, a young man of twenty-five, fresh on the force of mercenaries at Holy Security. “This asshole pays us $7.50 an hour and then calls us top of the line. Shit, if I was top of the line…”

“The minimum wage is like $8.40 an hour, that’s what we’re making, I think. But, you seriously get laid during your shifts!?” Tim, another security guard, interrupted eagerly in a whisper. “And I am always paranoid during my shifts because I am getting stoned.”

“I do that, too. How do you pass the mandatory drug tests?” Marlon quietly snapped, his curiosity piqued.

“Cranberry juice,” Tim answered in a deadened but somehow uplifting tone, as one does when reminding another. “I think I give about one-half of my paycheck to those goddamn cranberry drink companies.”

“Hope you get the shit without any high fructose corn syrup in it,” Marlon said. “I hear that shit is like in everything nowadays.”

“Yeah, so what if I do? A homie’s got to pay for his weed. Cheap cranberry drink is just that—cheap. You apparently stay away from that stuff, and you aren’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.”

Meanwhile, the speech: “In 1997 the Seraville Club Center was opened up providing you, the members and therefore the bosses of Seraville, with a gym, gourmet restaurant and gambling room.”

“We’re onboard, you had us at hello,” said the audience through their applause. “And now ladies and gentlemen, it is time to announce the most crucial point of the history of Seraville,” after which Avery exhaled and looked at the special guests sitting mannerly behind him.

In the kitchen of the ballroom, two young servers hid in a corner obstructed by an ice machine where they attempted to hastily polish off two water glasses filled halfway with vodka.

“We have to drink these fast, Avery is almost finished with his speech,” said Landon, a brown eyed, lightly skinned student with short, wavy hair.

“Oh, to hell with Avery,” snapped Landon’s corpulent colleague, Barbeque, quietly. “Without these drinks I’d never be able to look him in the face and inform him not only was his speech bullshit, but that he’s an asshole too. The way I see it, we’re doing him a favor getting wasted.”

“The way you see it got you fired from your last job, Barbeque,” Landon riposted. “You even told me so.”

Knowing perfectly well the speech was coming to a close, the two took deep breaths and let the clear, pungent liquid slide along the glasses and down their throats, filling their stomach with a hot sensation as if a stove in their stomachs had been turned on. Filling up these very moments in the ballroom, the chicanery lingered as it had: “It is time for us to hoist Seraville up on our shoulders and carry it among the most adept classes of society, where we and it belong.”

With a wrinkled brow and his head cocked a little to the side, Danny curiously glanced around the room before leaning to Merv and whispering, “You should have somebody explain that to you later. I would, but we don’t speak the same language.” “On this date, I, Randolph Avery, formally announce the consolidation of the Seraville Country Club into the proper town of Seraville, California, and name myself Mayor; effective immediately. Confusion the semi-colon conveyed was lost on the crowd, as they erupted into a rogue applause that was not to be tamed for some time. Danny curled over in laughter struggling for breath as he incontinently exhaled, and Merv was stuck in the interstitial of audio-less visuals.

Those who noticed Danny whispered deride to their neighbors, plenty familiar with his customary fracas. Mr. Avery, now finished with his speech, walked the length of stage right shaking the hands of those that presided from atop the stage over the preceding and their wives. The crowd grew tired of ovation and adulation, and dispersed, the lion’s share seeking hors d'oeuvres and alcohol. Landon and Barbeque placed the dirtied glasses in their proper places so as to not make unnecessary work for others and wore proudly the smiles stirred to veracity by the vodka.

“Let’s do this quick as we can. Just make it look nice, you know,” Landon said. As the two left the white, sterile kitchen, they were stopped by the one whose role was Manager. It crossed Barbeque’s mind that the two likely exuded the smell of alcohol, but remained calm and cool, and focused his attention patiently at the divergence in his way. Landon, aloof in thoughts whose foundation was that of arrogance, did not fear the Manager, for he had, over the years, learned to let himself be free of traditional worries. He feared only that the history found in the past, lay as well in the future.

“Good smiles,” the Manager praised.
“Now, be sure the two of you make this place so clean you’d drink from the ground,” like a cat might do. A degrading remark from a superior to subordinates, although the workers were used to such maltreatment, and their obsequiousness set the stage for still further discomfiture.

“Yes, sir,” they said together, all at once. The two began their work. Landon was filled with the satiating energy of affirmation he found in the alcohol. The two hastily crowded as much dinnerware as they could onto their thin, round trays, walked into the kitchen and crowded everything around Manuel—whose duty it was at the end of the night to wash the dishes—and repeated, ever so often nattering or making offhanded remarks to each other about the soup of gobbledygook in which they wasted away.

The addressees at the banquet mostly ignored the presence and surface diligence of Landon and Barbeque. Save for now and then as someone articulated to them something they believed to be pointed, but was, in an honest reality, the defeated nudging of air molecules. In all probability, to be sure, these assorted espousals or nippy jokes or irrelevant and nosy inquiries were stabs for attention or camaraderie or something of the sort.

“Be aware not to miss a napkin or a used rum and cola glass!” shouted a lowly club member from a nearby table as Landon cleaned. Landon customarily smiled. “Come here,” the man said, gesturing with his index finger, pulling it in towards his chin.
“What’s your name?”

“Landon, what is yours, Sir?” in a contrived cheerfulness, he answered.
“And where do you go to school and church, young man?” the man said, ignoring Landon’s question.

“Well, I went to high school at San Juarez Academy. Now I am at the University. And I don’t go to church.”

“Well, perhaps that can be forgiven as you went and got yourself into an academy. You must at least have potential to earn your keep.”

“Yes sir.”

“I tell you what, here is my business card. Give me a call sometime and if you need anything, and you’re on Mr. Avery’s good side, I might just see what I can do,” said the drunken man, tripping over phonemes. Landon was prescient enough to notice that the man in the striped suit addressed him with a drunk sincerity and, also, had trouble stringing together sense. But he didn’t care enough to ask for sense to be made, or think much of it, for that matter; for he had been conditioned to associate others with balderdash.

Without having consciously tried, Danny found himself within earshot of Mr. Avery, who was placing onto his plate assorted cheeses and small slices of white bread. Danny couldn’t think of much to say worth his own while, and so he mulled over the cake provided. Antagonistically, Avery gestured in his direction, breaking his hobnob with important folk to talk to the eccentric fellow nobody much cared for. They spoke seldom, Avery and Danny, although the newly self-appointed mayor had learned to respect Danny, for his myriad talents endowed him with an air of exceptionable mystery.

“So, what do you think Danny, to be part of such a community?”
“Well, I’m honored—what else can I say? Rumor has it there’s even going to be a new shopping center? Wow, this is really something—a historic day, for sure.”

“You betcha,” Avery said. “We have just about our own little country here. Next thing you know we’ll write a constitution.”

“Well, is that so? I’m sure some of the corporations our members work for have larger GDP’s than most countries, but you and I both know that that’s par for the course these days. But a constitution? Have you thought about just opening up a PR office? I’d love to run it. I’ve always thought I’d have a knack for pulling at heart strings.”

“By golly, that’s an idea.”

“An idea indeed,” Danny rejoindered, taken aback by the mayor’s keenness for observation.

“All we’d need is a simple slogan people could latch onto. How about, ‘come join us, you rich hunk, you.’ Isn’t that the latest marketing trend: hitting on your consumer base?’” “We’ll see Danny. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to return to the members at hand.”
“Or wait, I’ve got another one,” Danny rushed to get it out before the Mayor had departed the conversation. “’Be Rich, bitch.’ What do you think?”

Mr. Avery pretended not to hear. Although Danny had known for quite some time that he was not a part of the membership in the minds of most of the members, per se—he did, all the same, enjoy being on the outside looking in—he had never anywhere else been so blatantly ostracized as he had been at the Club—not in school, not at work, not ever. He was always among the most popular. That this was not the case at Seraville did not deflate his ego. After pondering the affront, Danny made his way towards Landon, whom he’d always tipped lavishly, despite that such loyalty to a meager club worker elicited suspicion among the courtlier members.

“What’s up, Danny?” Landon inquired. \

“Not much, Landon. What do you think of all this self-indulgent frippery?”

“It’s a contumacious bunch, these shitheads. It’s pleasurable at one level, though, to watch them all lick spit-filled water out of a bowl at master’s feet. By Master I mean Mayor, of course. Not so pleasurable when you consider they have no idea they’re doing it.”

“Karma is on a round trip, right back to them in the end.”

“Karma’s not in demand.”

“Oh Landon, you’re a cynical bastard. How old are you—thirty ?”
“No, twenty-six.”
“You ought to muster up some pep and spare some of the chagrin for later on. There’ll be plenty of time for that.”

“But Danny, by then I will be a member of the club,” Landon said in a rising, expectant voice. “What more could a working class white boy ask for, but the steady climb up; you know, a little upward mobility?”

“All right, I need to get one more glass of wine for the road; when the kids are this sardonic we must be on the edge of a new dark age. I should also mingle once more so everyone’s last memory of me on this night isn’t commiserating with a modern day Karl Marx.” He started on the wend.

“I’d prefer Malcom X,” said Landon with a grin. Danny stopped moving, one foot already started in front of the other—direction wine—and looked at Landon for an extra second in blasé bewilderment.

“Yeah okay, farewell my boy—see you tomorrow for our golf game,” Danny said, palm of his hand now on Landon’s shoulder blade. Danny walked briskly to the seat in which he had sat during the newly anointed mayor’s speech, where he nodded his head forward to acknowledge Montague, and then bent at the waist to pick up his portable coffee cup.

“Not to worry Mr. Montague, the lights are prettier than the sounds,” he said, albeit without successfully luring the attention of his deaf friend. He said it again, but this time to himself: “The lights are prettier than the sounds. What does that even mean?” he wondered, and decided he ought to attempt to cut back on his dosage of pharmaceutical pills.

With a look of earnestness—so as to disguise his intent—he set off for the bottles of wine, knowing full-well it would take a smooth maneuvering of blather and stealth to pour wine into the coffee cup without alluring too much attention towards himself. He had done this before, but remained nervous in spite—nevertheless, he parted not from determination and the task. As a gist of thought made him aware that everyone had turned away, he seized the opportunity, and started over towards the table on which the wine sat. He walked over confidently and briskly, uncorked the already opened bottle of wine and then poured smoothly.

The coffee cup filled to the brim, the bottle found its way back to the table and on the bed of ice. Danny glanced around the room. The others busied each other while he made for the door. He stepped outside where his body interrupted a fragment of breeze that splashed around his body—it was neither cold nor hot nor warm for that matter: Usually, so long as vanity was excluded from the equation, one felt as at home in the air of a Los Angeles eventide as in one’s own skin.

On his way to the valet, he kept his nose to the sky and watched the wind bully, in slow motion, colluviums clouds; nudging them like marching prisoners of war herded by officers, on and on for some vague eternity. He then handed the valet a card on which a description of his car was written: A silver hybrid, the only one at Seraville. Danny felt hip in it. The valet said thanks and went off to fetch the auto. Danny turned his body in circles and wondered if an owl turning only its head had it any easier. More and more, as his eyes adjusted to the night, the scenery around him emerged out of an ebon formlessness like fresh hallucinations. The valet returned with the hybrid, Danny handed him a scrunched up twenty dollar bill—one of the better tips the young valet would receive on this night—and drove off, but not before taking a sip from his “coffee.” On the inside, Landon and Barbeque finished their duty. Although they would soon be free to carry on with their night, the bulk of the fun elsewhere—at parties and bars, etc.—waned. For, in a contrivance of work, the hour was always growing later. Still, they made haste.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Years Have Passed Since Twain Outlined, History Rhymes. The Return of the Robber Barons

So, obviously, the richest are getting much, much richer and luxuriating in a modern Gilded Age. With a cesspool of corruption as its core, a cartel of western financial institutions and the much documented military industrial complex—especially in the United States, United Kingdom and France—have formed a “black hole” alliance, out of which nothing seems to escape. Think “bailout.” Passed under the guise of stimulating a zombie economy, it seems we’ve been left with zombie banks and bankers, preying on the blood of its victim, humanity. Unemployment in the U.S. remains over 22 percent, and an economy dissembled by outsourcing—by way of agreements such as NAFTA and GATT—still wavers due to a grave lack of industrial export capacity and uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve Note as the world’s reserve currency. In the interim, a global market correction leaves domesticated populations—dependent upon the most voluminous investments made, typically, by demise-of-the-state globalists—fearful of the precarious present and future. For the global brain, the fear is cognitively and physically paralyzing.

As the economic union that, ultimately, became known as the European Union passes into its second phase—continental austerity—the world watches as guinea pig economies such as Iceland and Greece are forced to restructure their economies based on the new model, a lower and less-free standard of living. Iceland, God bless them, is putting up a fight against their banking masters. Resistance in Greece is mounting. Many other countries, such as the U.S. and Britain, are “putty in the hands of the police state,” as former assistant secretary to the treasury under Ronald Regan, Paul Craig Roberts, put it. Alongside a burgeoning multinational, coordinated police state apparatus, global institutions—such as the International Monetary Fund—take the reign of sovereign nations in the newfangled post-democratic era, directing their futures while anticipating dissent and riots.

While the “unwashed masses” bemoan a coincidental and inevitable banking collapse and depression, more astute minds understand the true nature of the ominous and indicative era-defining downturn. Last week, it was announced, the investment bank Goldman Sachs is to face civil charges for fraud. This is but one case among many against financial institutions around the world. As the Guardian UK reports, “Big Finance in the 21st century turns out to have been Big Fraud.” The paper reports, also, that Britain—the epicenter of the world financial system at present—has, as of yet, not brought a single bank up on charges. “We have to live with the fiction that our banks and bankers are whiter than white, and any attempt to investigate them and their institutions will lead to a mass exodus to the mountains of Switzerland. The politicians of the Labour and Tory party alike are Bambis amid the wolves.” (1)

In Ireland, Sean FitzPatrick, the ex-chair of the Anglo Irish bank was arrested last month and interrogated over—more likely nicely requested to provide some fuzzy details—alleged fraud. Last week, the parliament of Iceland handed a dossier on the Icelandic banks to its public prosecution service. Lehman, a court-appointed examiner discovered, consciously manipulated its balance sheets to appear stronger than it was. UBS, in Switzerland, has had to defend itself from the U.S.’s Internal Revenue Service for allegedly running 17,000 offshore accounts to evade tax.

Deception by banks and bankers, says the Guardian, is the root of the charges. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman Sachs created financial instruments that were designed to transfer wealth to one favored client from other, less favored ones. The charge indicts Goldman’s vice-president, Fabrice Tourre, as having designed financial instruments composed of valueless sub-prime mortgages at the instruction of a hedge fund client. The exotic instrument, known by the higher echelons of Goldman Sachs to be valueless, was sold to ignorant investors. Goldman says the buyers were “among the most sophisticated investors” in the world. Goldman Sachs was the top campaign contributor to Brand Obama.

Hope and Change, Hope and Change, Hope and Change, Hope and Change.

Mark Twain’s Gilded Age doesn’t compare to todays, although many of the elite players remain the same. Robert Frank dubbed the world of this rising superclass “Richistan.” In Richistan Rolex watches are junk, akin to cheap watches worn by patrons of Wal Mart. Instead, Richistanians wear proudly $736,000 Franck Muller timepieces, and write with $700,000 Mont Blank jewel-encrusted pens, while their bodyguards carry $42,000 Louis Vuitton handbags for wives and mistresses. Their social lives take place at clubs open only to those with $100 million and more, they play golf on $650,000 gold club memberships, eat $50 hamburgers and $1,000 dollar omelettes, drink $90 bottle Bling mineral water and drink $10,000 “martinis on a rock.” Not sure what that last delicacy is? Oh, nothing other than gin or vodka poured over a diamond at New York’s Algonquin Hotel.(2)

The Richistanians are the CEOs who have outsourced their companies and exchanged American wages for $100 million bonuses for none other than themselves. They are investment bankers and hedge fund managers, the creators of subprime mortgage derivatives that threaten to collapse the economic foundation of western civilization. These proprietors—the self-proclaimed fittest, the elitists, illuminists, masters of the universe, slave owners; whatever you wish to call them—are the owners of wealth unimaginable to the average person; and their values and morals equally unimaginable to most, the inverse of the honest person.

The real wages and salaries of American workers are plummeting. Their debts are at all time highs, while the prices of their main asset—the home—falls due to overbuilding and fraud-based financed. For investment bankers, life is good. These persons let their “invisible trade” do their work for them. They collect fees for creating financing packages for debt. Many officials across the board have outright admitted that, in fact, the real values of repackaged debt instruments are unbeknownst to both buyer and seller. Most derivatives are never priced by the market. Never before in the history of the United States has an elite exercised such control over the state and, therefore, people. Without millions of dollars, ones hope of even running for public office is decimated early on.

The Gilded Age of old does offer us some perspective. Those thirty five-years, from the Civil War’s end until the end of the First World War, saw the United States race from a war torn nation to a global power broker. Not only was the U.S. recovering from a bloody war, but, also, from the loss of a divisive, but respected President in Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had foreseen what the future had in store: (3)

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

The hyper-industrialization that took place after the war emphasized the development of railroads, steel mills, and oil fields. In fact, at the turn of the twentieth century, Los Angeles was a huge oil producing region—a la Saudi Arabia—and would give rise to “car culture” at the turn of the twentieth century, in which we all drive by feel, usually solo, to our offices in the sky—or the unemployment office. (4)

Like today, the period from 1865-1900 was one of very rapid change. Efforts to circumvent the rights gained for blacks during the preceding decades were quite successful, and the country was to be segregated for another one-hundred years. Further, the Fourteenth Amendment, originally drafted to give blacks more rights, was eventually used by a paid-off Supreme Court to imbue corporations with personhood and, therefore, rights under the Constitution. This period represents the time when corporations began expanding their activities across state lines—and eventually across national borders—with the help of robber barons such as John D. Rockefeller and J.P Morgan.

As United States society figured how what to do with newly freed slaves, big business was on the rise. To many of these corporations, the Fourteenth Amendment—drafted to free slaves—offered an opportunity to expand their power. Of the 150 cases regarding the Fourteenth Amendment leading up to the end of the nineteenth century, 15 involved blacks and 135 involved firms. Blacks won only one case of those 15. Corporations, on the other hand, succeeded in utilizing the Fourteenth Amendment to shield them from governmental regulation. (5) In an 1886 tax dispute between the Southern Pacific Railroad and the state of California, Chief Justice Morrison Waite evidently advised attorneys to skip testimony regarding whether the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal-protection clause included corporations, for “we are all of the opinion that it does.” (6)

It was The Gilded Age: a booming exterior only covered the devastated undertow. The industrial and political elites in both the north and south had organized the largest streak of economic growth in human history, albeit amidst a familiar and fantastic culture of corruption. Extraordinary wealth laid in the hands of very few individuals, who drove, not only the policy of major industries and finance, but, also, politics itself. The laborers of these men came from a number of different backgrounds: black, white, Chinese, European immigrants, as well as women. Despite a laboring “masses,” no longer was human muscle the keystone of production. Rather, steam and electricity dominated, as iron replaced wood, and steel replaced iron. Between 1870 and 1910, due to new farming techniques and agricultural mechanization, the number of Americans who farmed fell by a third. Cities grew and grew up on through to the present day, when 75% of men live in the overcrowded “human habitats.” In the years between 1860 and 1914, New York’s population boomed from 850,000 to 4 million; Chicago’s from 110,000 to 2 million; Philadelphia’s from 650,000 to 1.5 million. (7)

Clearly, despite the unparalleled wealth creation, it was a costly time for workers. For each mile of railroad built, each ton of coal or iron ore mined, thousands of them died, like so many laboring ants at the mercy of child’s play. Abundant were the tricks up the sleeves of the entrenched oligarchy. The Interstate Commerce Act of 1877 was intended to regulate the railroads on behalf of consumers. But, “from a railroad point of view,” one lawyer explained, “the [Act]…is or can be made of great use to the railroads. It satisfies the popular clamor for a government supervision of railroads, at the same time that supervision is almost entirely nominal…” It is this sort of dark brilliance for which Wall Street is known.

The Central Pacific railroad started on the West Coast headed east. $200,000 dollars in bribes to Washington were needed to acquire the nine million acres of free land and $24 million in government bonds. The construction was carried out, over four years, by three thousand Irish and ten thousand Chinese. The wages were one to two dollars a day. The Union Pacific had received, for free, 12 million acres and $27 million in bonds. Both railroads were built along longer, impractical routes, in order to gain subsidies from the towns through which they passed.

The fraud of the railroads meant more control of the railroad finances by bankers. By the 1890’s, the lion’s share of the railroad was concentrated into six large organizations. Four of these were under the partial or full control of the House of Morgan, and two other by the bankers Kuhn, Loeb, and Company. J.P Morgan linked railroads to railroads, the railroads to banks, and the banks to insurance companies, creating an intertwined network under his influence as a distributor of credit. By 1900, he held 100,000 miles of railroad; that is, half of the country’s mileage.
Another baron is John D. Rockefeller. Having started as a bookkeeper in Cleveland, John D. Rockefeller accumulated money while being a merchant, and then bought his first oil refinery in 1862. By 1870, he had started Standard Oil Company of Ohio. His secret agreements with railroads allowed him to ship his oil with rebates and discounts, thusly driving competitors out of business. By 1899, The Standard Oil Company, acting as a holding company, controlled the stock of many firms, with $110 million in capital, and $45 million in profit a year. John D. Rockefeller’s fortune was estimated at $200 million.

It was not and is not an unusual tale, the one in which clever businessmen builds empires by mercilessly defeating competition, keeping prices high and wages low, and using government subsidies. At the turn of the century, American Telephone and Telegraph had a monopoly over the nation’s telephone system, and International harvester made 85 percent of all farm machinery. The banks had interests tied up in many of these monopolies. This created an interwoven network with overlapping, and powerful, corporate directors, each of whom sat on the boards of many corporations other than their own. A Senate report in the early twentieth century revealed that Morgan, at his peak of power, sat on the board of forty-eight different corporations, and Rockefeller thirty-seven corporations.

While the government attempted to appear neutral, its policies greatly benefited the rich, whether it was passing legislation to enable corporations to exist in multiple states at once or in the form of massive land subsidies to few corporations for the railroad. The irrelevance of the fallacious two-party system was made obvious when, in 1877, the Democrats and Republicans arranged to elect Rutherford Hayes. No matter which party was elected, national policy would not change in any significant way.
In 1844, when Grover Cleveland was elected president, he assured industrialists: “No harm shall come to any business interest as the result of administrative policy so long as I am President…a transfer of executive control from one party to another does not mean any serious disturbance in existing conditions.” Despite past subsidies to corporations, Cleveland refused to provide relief to Texas farmers to help them purchase grain during a drought. In the same year, Cleveland used his surplus of gold to pay wealthy bondholders at $28 dollars above the $100 value of each bond, representing a gift of $45 million.

In the United States, political debate of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were largely defined by the tariff. Historically, protectionism and free trade have been central to the ways in which we scrutinize possible trade policies. At present, this remains similar, as controversies over NAFTA and GATT have proven. Following the Civil War, the single most lucid issue delineating the Democratic from the Republican Party was the tariff. “The controversy was a maze of rhetoric, greed, and statecraft befogged by myth,” one historian reflects. When we examine the jugular of the issue, the tariff debate turns out to be a clever deterrent from the real issues in the economic nation. Economic nationalism functioned as a smoke screen for divergent class interests, just as it had during the American Revolution.

Underneath the apparent difference of opinion regarding the tariff, their indeed existed a deep consensus: despite the quarreling, both sides by the 1870’s agreed the nation’s economy should be an economy beneficial to elite capital interests. Both sides, moreover, agreed in hyper-industrialization—no matter the cost to workers at that time. Reviewing the debate in the Journal of American History, James L. Huston stated: (8)

“Protectionists lauded property rights as the basis of civilization, urged the lower classes to climb the ladder of success,…and deprecated any attempt of laborers to form unions….The free trade position…was not different from that of the protectionists. They too were stout supporters of capitalism, and they envisaged greater wages for the employee arising from the expansion of business.”
Muckraker journalist Mathew Josephson exposed in a 1938 expose, called The Politicos, “There were coal and iron industrialists on both sides….In the case of Henry Havemeyer of the Sugar Trust, and the Standard Oil men, the practice of making contributions to both parties was…openly reported.”

The spread of education during this period meant the proliferation of literate workers, both skilled and semiskilled. In the middle and late nineteenth century, high schools aided the industrial system. History, for example, was used to encourage patriotism. The educational and political demeanor of the teachers was controlled by loyalty oaths, teacher certification, and the requirement of citizenship. School officials, furthermore, controlled what textbooks were used— not the teachers. It is during this period when the factory like nature of the classroom revealed itself fully. Many commentators of the time noticed how unenthusiastic were the schoolchildren, and stern were the teachers. By 1939, the students would be shepherded in school buses decorated in yellow jackets and black stripes, as if an allegory for their preparation's to be obedient future worker bees.

In U.S history classes—then and now—students learn “consensus history.” We are taught of a “them vs. us” paradigm in which the Democratic and Republican parties have always been, and by assumption always will be, at odds. The role of a relatively few men in the hyper-industrialization of the United States, hailing from finance and industry, demonstrates the deferential nature of historical change and innovation systems development.

Despite the rise of education system designed to stabilize the industrial system as it evolved, large workers movements, which typically interrupted the industrial system, swept the country in the 1880’s and 1890’s, at a time when European immigrants were coming to the country at rates higher than ever. A severe depression, in 1893, caused elites to look overseas to battle the problem of under-consumption at home. A populist movement at the time tried to forge a new and independent culture for the nation's farmers.


The Farmer is a man


The farmer is the man
lives on credit till the fall
with the interest rates so high
it is a wonder he don't die
and the mortgage man's the one who gets it all.

At the height of the 1877 depression, a "farmers alliance" began on a farm in Texas. It took only a few years for it to spread across the state, and by 1886, 100,000 farmers had joined in two thousand suiballiances. They had alternatives to the old way of doing things: join the alliance and form cooperatives; buy things together and get lower prices. In order to keep up with the pace of change, farmers had to borrow money, with the hope the prices of their harvest would stay high.

What they found was rising prices in transporation, for grain, and the price of their produce going down. A poor working-man in Philadelphia wrote a book about the times. A sampling: “It is true that wealth has been greatly increased, and that the average of comfort, leisure and refinement has been raised; but these gains are not general: In them the lowest class do not share.”

Farmers were up against more than the weather, as eastern banks controlled credit; manufacturing monopolies controlled the price of machines; eastern railroad trusts picked freight prices; depression destroyed asset values. But, farmers and city workers alike reached out to one another as a means of forming new political alliances. “We meet in the midst of a nation bourght to the verge of moral, poltical, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized and the newspapers largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced.”

Many of the same dynamics are at work today. On 21 January 2009, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-to-4 split decision “that labor unions and corporations can spend unlimited amounts to influence federal elections, throwing out a ban that had been in effect for 63 years and adding an explosive new element to this year’s midterm elections.” The courts current majority, therefore, sees corporations as “associations of citizens,” and therefore reserves for them the same free-speech rights as individuals. The line of reasoning sees all disseminated information as beneficial to the national debate. The ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205, “dismayed lawmakers and public interest groups that fought for decades to limit the influence of wealth special interests in politics.” Those who favored the decision argued that the ban in stood in contraposition to the First Amendment, for it controlled free speech in election campaigns. The decision is destined to have wide scale political and practical consequences on American political ideology, as well as refashioning the way elections are carried out. (9)

According to David Million, a law professor at Washington and Lee University, “a positive way to put [constitutional rights for corporations] is that the economy is booming, American productions is leading the world and the courts want to promote that;” less apologetically, “it’s all about protecting corporate wealth” from taxes and other governmental initiatives. Later opinions worked to expand the rights of corporations, such as a 1928 court decision by which a Pennsylvania tax on transportation corporations was rejected because taxicab drivers were exempt. Corporations are afforded “the same protection and equal laws [as] natural persons.”

Anticipated popular movements and rioting have started. Legal measures have been taken to prosecute the appropriate players: those individuals with the wealth volume and information enough to crash global markets so as to enrich themselves and their cronies. These persons and their corporate associations influence a high enough percentage of the global economy that, in fact, they benefit on the way and way down. They influence the direction of economic society based on an agenda. History is a planned affair. Oftentimes, just as Rockefeller and Morgan of old, they sit on the Board of Director’s of multiple corporations, and intimately work with public servants to forward their agenda. Concerned police chiefs across the United States have recommended citizens arm themselves, for, due to cuts in public services (as a means of reallocated that wealth to private financial institutions), they do not have the resources enough to properly keep the public safe.

The pace of global change today far outpaces anything humanity has seen for the last few centuries, and the direction of this change is only minutely influenced by Democratic or Republican (based in law) traditions. Among the central motifs in the evolution of society, at present, is globalization: that complex of intertwining economic, political, cultural and social processes. It is this tool by which western leaders—the alpha males of the Uber Class—are able to influence the political and social climates in diverse nations across the globe. Influence upon the vector of globalization is, first and foremost, exercised in a top-down manner, whereby elite interests are pursued with scant public input.

When the public does go along with the agenda of technocrats and policy planners—valuable citizens in Richistan—public consensus is contrived through technology, where people tune into fictitious predictive “programming” on the television, false axiomatically newspaper reports, and movies. With the viewer’s guard down, a lifestyle insinuates itself into synaptic connections, priming them for future action in accordance with the desires of the self-declared “masters of the universe.” Despite psychological warfare campaigns on the public, according to a recent poll, four out of five American’s do not trust their government. Still, the program remains the same: crony capitalism is the rule, the power to manage a significantly decreased world population, packed into “human habitats”—overcrowded cities—the goal.

Nothing new here under the sun, and so the consensus history with which we are all indoctrinated implores us to resign: this is the way it’s always been, and, therefore, always will be. We have no agency, for we are objects—human capital—happy with a walk-on part of a background shot from a script we, in the near future, aren’t envisaged to be in.

1.Hutton, Will. Now we know the truth. The financial meltdown wasn’t a mistake—it was a con. Guardian UK, 18 April 2010.
Accessible at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/18/goldman-sachs-regulators-civil-charges
2. Robert, Craig Paul. “In Richistan: Fantastic wealth for a few; steady decline for many: The Return of the Robber Barons.” CounterPunch, 2 August 2007.
Accessible at: http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts08022007.html

3. Renehan, Edward. (2005) The Dark Genius of Wall Street. New York: Basic Books
4. Davis, Mike. (1991) City of Quartz
5. Hammerstrom, Doug. (2002) The Hijacking of the Fourteenth Amendment, Reclaim Democracy. Online

6. Bravin, Jess. Sotomayor Issues Challenge to a Century of Corporate Law. Wall Street Journal, 17 September 2009.
Accessed at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125314088285517643.html
7. Zinn, Howard. (1980) A People’s History of the United States. London: HarperCollins

8. Frank, Dana. (2003) “Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism.” Boston: Beacon Press

9. Kirkpatrick, David. Lobbyists Get Potent Weapon in Campaign Ruling, New York Times, 21 January 2010.

Accessed at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/22/us/politics/22donate.html?fta=y