A Message From The American Corporate Plutocracy

February 05, 2008 By Paul Street

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I could swear this happened last night (I am writing on the morning of Thursday, January 31st), but it may be my addled, anxious, and overworked mind playing tricks on me.

I was watching “American Idol” and trying to balance my checkbook.

I was thinking I should try out for “Idol.” I was also thinking about the gap between my income and my irreducible life expenditures.

A commercial for a drug that promised to make me happy and relaxed flashed across the television. I reached for the clicker to hit “mute.”

But before I could turn off the sound, the ad was interrupted by the image of a sixty-something businessmen sitting behind a giant desk in a plush corporate office.

A message ran across the bottom of the screen. It said: “A Message from the American Corporate Plutocracy.”

The businessman was wearing a pinstripe suit. Behind him hung pictures of J.P. Morgan, Ronald Reagan, Bill Gates, and Bill Clinton.

He looked very serious. He read the following speech:

“American subjects, we are interrupting this important pharmaceutical advertisement to tell you of the special satisfaction we feel at learning that John Edwards has dropped out of the Democratic presidential campaign.”

“Edwards was on the cover of Newsweek a little more than a month ago. He was charismatic, handsome, and very effective on the campaign trail and in debates. He had star quality and many millions of dollars.”

“In the last big match-up survey taken before the Iowa Caucus, he polled as the most electable candidate in the presidential race. He was the only Democratic contender who defeated all of the likely Republican presidential candidates – even John McCain, who defeated Hillary Clinton and tied Barack Obama.”

“Democratic Party primaries have been held in just four small states and he’s already done.”

“We are very pleased to hear of his early surrender, in which we played our usual quiet but powerful role. It is we who made sure that Edwards’ more explicitly corporate and centrist opponents could outspend him by a wide margin.”

“It is we who pushed him to the margins of the all-powerful media system we own and manage in your interest – and ours.”

“We’ve already voted John Edwards off the presidential version of ‘American Idol'” – so you don’t have to.

“We’ve winnowed the presidential field to four (4) officially elect-able and corporate-friendly candidates and the election is more than ten months away!”

“It’s all about he hidden primary of the rich and powerful operating behind the scenes, in the hidden corridors of power under the benevolent reign of Empire and Inequality, Inc. We are the Simon Cowells of American presidential politics. We love it and you should too.”

“We do it for you, to save you the effort and heartbreak of ‘democracy,’ for which you lack the time, skill, energy, and resources.”

“Take note, would-be critics of our caring rule! The spectrum of permissible debate grows narrower with each quadrennial election extravaganza we stage.”

“Do not misunderstand us, American subjects. John Edwards was no radical threat to the corporate system we have crafted in response to our need for spectacular wealth and your inability to construct a better social order. Edwards said repeatedly that be believed in what he called ‘a market economy’ – what we and you should understand as a heavily state-managed system of private profit and class rule.”

“He followed our counsel when he wrapped his call for universal health insurance in a plan that continued – beneath all his anti-corporate bluster – to protect the very insurance and pharmaceutical companies that have done so much to create your health care crisis.”

“He made it clear again and again that he supported the broader global framework of the splendid imperial order and the related military-industrial complex we have built for the good of the world – and our own profit”.

“He agreed to never to mention the overseas victims of our clumsy oaf George W. Bush’s foreign policies, including the 1 million Iraqis killed by ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ – an action that continues to generate considerable profits for us.”

“He remains ridiculously wealthy (like us) and never really challenged the core inequalities inherent in the workings of the ‘market economy.’ ”

“He stood to the right of those malevolent radical mischief-makers Ralph Nader and – to mention another presidential candidate we recently liquidated – Dennis Kucinich.”

“But that’s all part of what makes Edwards’ early defeat all the more delightful and rewarding for us. The magnificent march of our munificent reign has progressed so far that even John Edwards is defined as too radical to make a serious run at the White House.”

“He may not have fundamentally questioned the corporate-imperial system that all of us enjoy, but he did develop some very nasty habits that displeased us. He spoke insistently about and against endemic U.S. poverty and related it to oppressive economic inequality and the supposedly ‘exorbitant’ wealth of the ‘privileged few.’ He won Nader’s approval by speaking against our ‘plutocratic’ control of government and politics as if that rule isn’t a good and necessary thing!”

“He insisted on praising the labor movement, which he repeatedly referred to as ‘the single greatest anti-poverty program in American history.'”

“He also connected his obnoxious and inherently dysfunctional and dangerous ‘populist’ appeal to very specific and detailed policy issues and agendas.”

“American subjects, we are certain you found this foolish issues and policy obsession as irritating as we did! As we hope you appreciate, we kindly cater to your limited capacities and sensibilities by framing elections around trivial and childish matters of candidate image, identity, and personality.”

“We don’t want you to tax your limited and overwrought minds with difficult matters of policy and governance. We want to help you vote for the right kind of politicians you find most likeable, pleasant and fun – kind of like the ‘American Idol’ show to which you shall momentarily be returned.”

“As part of this mission, we employ an army of marketers, researchers, data-miners, publicists, and image consultants to help you understand which one of the presidential ‘Idols’ makes you feel best about yourselves and your glorious, business-run Nation State.”

“We, the surviving four ‘Idols’ – Mitt, John (McCain that is), Hillary, and Barack – and the people around them (most of which we provide) will handle all the issues and the policies. We and they will give you all the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ and ‘unity’ you need.”

“Get ready for a long and tedious exercise in delusion and identity politics that may well guarantee the White House to our favorite party – the arch-plutocratic, messianic-militarist GOP.”

“We do it all for you, America. We are here to take and keep the last risks out of your ‘democracy.’ The nation is in good hands.”

“Thank you for your attention. We return you now to your previously scheduled anti-depressant commercial and to the rest of the countless advertisements and programs on this and any of the other 154 stations we have generously created for your endless diversion, brainwashing, marketing, and indoctrination.”

“Yours in Eternal Thought Control,”

The American Corporate Plutocracy


guerrilla marketing – who’s spinning the wiki’s

Featured Participatory Project: Help Expose the Attempts to Spin Wikipedia (Week 2)

Topics: | | | | |

Source: SourceWatch Project on Tracking Attempts to Spin Wikipedia

Last week we started a new participatory project to expose the government agencies, corporations and lobbying groups that have been censoring, whitewashing or otherwise spinning Wikipedia. (See CMD Senior Researcher Diane Farsetta’s great blog post for some background on this sordid tale.) So far we’ve logged several attempts at spin into the respective SourceWatch profiles, including:

The information here is obviously very important and, thanks to SourceWatch’s high rankings in Google searches, easily accessible to citizens, journalists and policymakers checking out the record of these politically active and high social-impact organizations. There are many dastardly edits left, however, and we need your help to make sure they aren’t lost to history. There’s no need for technical expertise, just head over to the SourceWatch page for the project, where there are complete instructions, examples and an email hotline for support. If this is your first time editing on SourceWatch, you can register here, and learn more about adding information to the site here and here.

Blackwater tax evasion

Congressman: Blackwater evaded federal income taxes

  • Posted on Monday, October 22, 2007

The congressman leading an investigation into Blackwater said Monday that the embattled security company may have evaded tens of millions of dollars in federal taxes and was seeking to hide its tax practices.

Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, said that Blackwater has avoided paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment taxes by treating its armed guards as independent contractors and not employees.

The other two large private security companies in Iraq, DynCorp and Triple Canopy, classify their guards as employees and pay the federal taxes that Blackwater has not, Waxman said.

The issue came to the attention of the IRS when a Blackwater guard working in Afghanistan complained that the company had classified him as an independent contractor. The IRS said Blackwater’s classification was “without merit” and ruled in March that the man was an employee.

Blackwater agreed to pay back wages and other compensation to the man, but on condition that he not talk to any politician or public official about the company.

“THE UTMOST PROTECTION AND NONDISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION IS OF CRITICAL IMPORTANCE AND IS THE ESSENCE OF THIS AGREEMENT,” the settlement agreement stated in capital letters. Waxman released it after obtaining it by subpoena from Blackwater.

“This nondisclosure agreement is abhorrent on its face,” Waxman wrote Monday to Blackwater founder Erik Prince. “It is deplorable that a company that depends on federal tax dollars for over 90 percent of its business would even contemplate forbidding an employee to report corporate wrongdoing to Congress and federal law enforcement officials.”

Blackwater issued a statement Monday saying that Waxman was incorrect about the tax issue and that the company was appealing the IRS ruling.

The company said the U.S. Small Business Administration has determined that Blackwater security contractors are not employees.

“It is unfortunate that the Chairman has relied upon a one-sided description of the issue to color public perception without all the facts being presented,” the statement concluded.

Blackwater, based in Moyock, N.C., deploys about 1,000 contractors to protect the U.S. ambassador and other diplomats in Iraq. It has had federal contracts worth more than $1 billion since 2001.

Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been investigating Blackwater since 2004. The scrutiny intensified after a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad in which Blackwater contractors killed up to 17 civilians in a crowded square.

The Iraqi government has demanded that Blackwater leave Iraq and that the shooters be tried in a Baghdad court. The State Department has signaled that it will not renew Blackwater’s contract when it expires.

Blackwater has been working in Iraq since 2003. Waxman’s staff looked at the most recent State Department contract and estimated that between May 2006 and March 2007, Blackwater avoided paying $15.5 million in Social Security and Medicare taxes and $500,000 in unemployment taxes.

William Turnier, a professor of tax law at the University of North Carolina law school in Chapel Hill, said employees, by definition, are subject to the control of their employers, who decide when and how work must be done.

Independent contractors, on the other hand, provide their own tools, decide when to start and finish work, and determine how to proceed with their work. The classic example of an independent contractor is a house painter, who negotiates a price, brings his own tools and truck, and decides how to do his job each day.

Turnier was skeptical that Blackwater security guards would meet this definition.

“These guys must go out when Blackwater tells them to,” Turnier said.

“They’re following strict orders, and I don’t think they are supplying their own guns or vehicles.”

(Neff reports for the Raleigh News & Observer)

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites–oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others–work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported

R & P divided since power began

The Christianizing of Tahiti

Reacting to the stories of Tahiti, and troubled that the crew of HMS Bounty could have found life among the Tahitians preferable to life among Christians, the religious orthodoxy of England founded the London Missionary Society in 1795 (which included their own armed police force). The sole purpose of the society was to bring Tahiti under Christian rule, in effect to remove a more pleasant alternative lifestyle that threatened Christian power. Two years later the first missionaries arrived in Tahiti and were as warmly treated by the Tahitians as had been earlier visitors. But after 7 years of missionary work (children were required to recite, “For what is Jehova angry with thee? Because I am evil and do evil.” in Tahitian) there were few willing converts to Christianity.

What happened next is documented in a letter to home by one of the brethren, J.M.Orsmond. All the missionaries were at that time salting pork and distilling spirits. Pomare (the local chief) was introduced to the bottle by the missionaries. Orsmond describes the compact by which Pomare, reduced to an alcoholic, would be backed in a war against the other island chiefs on the understanding that his victory would be followed by enforced conversion (This is the same deal that Papal Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli made with Hitler, trading the Vatican’s support for Hitler’s promise to declare Catholocism Nazi Germany’s state religion).

Since Pomare was supplied with firearms to be used against his opponents’ clubs, victory was certain. “The whole nation”, Orsmond wrote, “was converted in a day.”

There followed a reign of terror. Persistent unbelievers were put to death and a penal code was drawn up by the missionaries and enforced by the mission police. it was declared illegal to adorn oneself with flowers, to sing (other than hymns), to surf or to dance. A moral code of such strictness was then enforced that a man walking with his arm round a woman at night was compelled to carry a lantern in his free hand. On the island of Raiatea a man who forecast the weather was treated as a witchdoctor and put to death.

Within a quarter of a century the process by which the native culture of Tahiti had been extinguished was exported to every corner of the Pacific, reducing the islanders to the level of the working class of Victorian England.

After their mass conversion it was hoped that the Tahitians might be induced to accept the benefits of civilization by putting them to [servile] work growing sugar cane… The enterprise failed, and Mr. Orsmond, believing that “a too bountiful nature diminishes men’s natural desire to work”, ordered all the breadfruit trees to be cut down so that the lack of a natural food supply would force the Tahitians to seek employment in the mission plantations.

Captain James Cook estimated that 200,000 people were living on Tahiti. After thirty years of missionary rule, only 6,000 remained.

Their power base firmly established in Tahiti, the missionaries moved swiftly to other islands. The methods employed were the same as before. A local chieftain would be baptized, crowned king, presented with a portrait of Queen Victoria, introduced to the bottle, and left to the work of conversion.

By 1850 the Christian conquest of the Pacific was complete.

so maybe “civilization” needs it’s slave labor force. the hungrier the better.

the above story was taken from:

Iraq For Sale