Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Can Capitalist systems be reformed?

Two buttocks in same pant: Democrat and Republican?

Do Democrat and Republican elites and mass media bosses cover one another back in times of “emergency”? Like mass upheaval and crimes against humanity…, in order to defend an immunity that they might one day need themselves?

This is an excerpt of  published on Nov. 1, under “America’s Elites Look Out for Each Other

“Given the clarity of this law [Article 2 of the Convention Against Torture] and its multiple reiterations, what can explain the resolve of the political and media class to ignore it?

Why do ostensibly adverse factions leap to one another’s defense even in cases of egregious criminality, with Democrats shielding Republicans, media figures demanding no transparency or accountability for political officials, self-proclaimed populist politicians devoting themselves to the protection of Wall Street?

One easy answer is that those factions are not really adversaries, at least not in any way that counts.

All their members belong to the same class — the powerful and the elite — and thus are motivated to defend an immunity that they might one day need themselves.

But the unanimous support for Bush-era war criminals is motivated by more than just shared self-interest: it has at least as much to do with shared guilt.

Bush officials did not commit their crimes by themselves. Virtually, the entire Washington establishment supported or at least enabled the lawbreaking.

Leading members of the Democratic Party were implicated in various ways.

In July 2008, the reporter Jane Mayer was asked in a Harper’s interview why there was so little push by Democrats — the “opposition party” — for investigations into Bush programs of torture, warrantless eavesdropping, and the like. She pointed out that one “complicating factor is that key members of Congress sanctioned [these activities], so many of those who might ordinarily be counted on to lead the charge are themselves compromised.”

Indeed, key congressional Democrats were contemporaneously briefed on what the Bush administration was doing, albeit often in vague and unspecific ways. The fact that they did nothing to stop the illegal plans, and often explicitly approved of them, obviously gives leading Democratic officials an incentive to block any investigations or judicial proceedings.

In December 2007, the Washington Post reported that, back in 2002, the CIA had briefed a bipartisan group of Congress people on its use of waterboarding and other torture tactics. That group included the ranking members of both the Senate and House intelligence committees: Jay Rockefeller and Nancy Pelosi.

Yet, reported the Post, “no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder.”

Similarly, several leading Democrats, including Rockefeller and Representative Jane Harman, were told that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. Rockefeller did nothing to stop it, and Harman actually became the administration’s leading defender.

After the illegal program was revealed by the New York Times, Jane Harman publicly stated that the wiretapping was “both necessary and legal.”

Two years after reporter Eric Lichtblau coauthored the story revealing the Bush NSA program, he revealed that Harman had attempted to convince him not to write about the program on the ground that it was so vital. Appearing on MSNBC in June 2008, the law professor Jonathan Turley pointed out the logical result of this bipartisan support for the crimes.

There’s no question in my mind that there is an obvious level of collusion here. We now know that the Democratic leadership knew about the illegal surveillance program almost from its inception. Even when they were campaigning about fighting for civil liberties, they were aware of an unlawful surveillance program as well as a torture program. And ever since that came out, the Democrats have been silently trying to kill any effort to hold anyone accountable because that list could very well include some of their own members.

As Mayer put it, “Figures in both parties would find it very hard at this point to point the finger at the White House, without also implicating themselves.”

The opinion-making elites were similarly implicated. Very few media figures with any significant platform can point to anything they did or said to oppose the lawbreaking — and they know that.

Indeed, some of the nation’s most prominent “liberal commentators” vocally supported Bush’s policies.

It was Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter who became the first establishment media figure to openly advocate torturing prisoners.  Jonathan Alter, in his November 4, 2001, Newsweek column (headlined “Time to Think About Torture”), began by proclaiming that “in this autumn of anger, even a liberal can find his thoughts turning to … torture” and went on to suggest “transferring some suspects to our less squeamish allies.”

It was Alan Dershowitz who argued for the creation of “torture warrants,” proposing for cases such as the proverbial “ticking time bomb” that “judicially monitored physical measures designed to cause excruciating pain” should be made “part of our legal system.”

It was the writers of the Washington Post editorial page who hailed the Military Commissions Act — the single most repressive law enacted during the Bush era, crucial parts of which the Supreme Court ultimately struck down as unconstitutional — as a “remarkably good bill” that “balances profound and difficult interests thoughtfully and with considerable respect both for the uniqueness of the current conflict and for the American tradition of fair trials and due process.”

When it comes to media figures who cheered on Bush’s lawlessness and then self-serve demanded that there be no investigations, the Washington Post’s David Broder is a particularly illustrative case. In April 2009, he wrote a column dramatically denouncing the Bush presidency as “one of the darkest chapters of American history, when certain terrorist suspects were whisked off to secret prisons and subjected to waterboarding and other forms of painful coercion in hopes of extracting information about threats to the United States.”

Despite this acknowledgment, Broder in the same column opposed any criminal investigations of the Bush torture regime, proclaiming Obama “right to declare that there should be no prosecution of those who carried out what had been the policy of the United States government.”

Given Broder’s acknowledgment of how horrific Bush’s presidency had been, what explains his simultaneous opposition to investigations? Like most of his journalistic colleagues, the dean of the Washington press corps never sounded the alarm while this lawlessness was taking place, when it mattered. He did the opposite, repeatedly mocking those who warned of how radical and dangerous the Bush administration was.

As torture went on, David Broder continuously defended what Bush officials were doing as perfectly normal and well within the bounds of legitimate policy.

After the 2004 election, Broder dismissed those who were arguing that Bush and Cheney had succeeded in entrenching presidential lawlessness. “Checks and balances are still there,” he insisted. “The nation does not face ‘another dark age,’ unless you consider politics with all its tradeoffs and bargaining a black art.

In 2006, he derided those who warned that the “war on terror” had ushered in an era of extreme lawlessness by sarcastically proclaiming, “I’d like to assure you that Washington is calm and quiet this morning, and democracy still lives here,” and Broder denounced Bush critics “who get carried away by their own rhetoric.”

Broder’s 2009 recognition that the Bush presidency was “one of the darkest chapters of American history” came, of course, with no acknowledgment of his 2004 declaration that “the nation does not face ‘another dark age.’”

So when these media and political elites are defending Bush officials, minimizing their crimes, and arguing that no one should be held accountable, they’re actually defending themselves as well. Just as Jane Harman and Jay Rockefeller can’t possibly demand investigations for actions in which they were complicit, media stars can’t possibly condemn acts that they supported or toward which, at the very best, they turned a blissfully blind eye.

Bush officials must be exonerated, or at least have their crimes forgotten — look to the future and ignore the past, the journalists all chime in unison — so that their own involvement might also be overlooked.

In this world, it is perfectly fine to say that a president is inept or even somewhat corrupt. A titillating, tawdry sex scandal, such as the Bill Clinton brouhaha, can be fun, even desirable as a way of keeping entertainment levels high.

Such revelations are all just part of the political cycle. But to acknowledge that our highest political officials are felons (which is what people are, by definition, who break our laws) or war criminals (which is what people are, by definition, who violate the laws of war) is to threaten the system of power, and that is unthinkable.

Above all else, media figures are desperate to maintain the current power structure, as it is their role within it that provides them with prominence, wealth, and self-esteem. Their prime mandate then becomes protecting and defending Washington, which means attacking anyone who would dare suggest that the government has been criminal at its core.

The members of the political and media establishment do not join forces against the investigations and prosecutions because they believe that nothing bad was done. On the contrary, they resist accountability precisely because they know there was serious wrongdoing — and they know they bear part of the culpability for it.

The consensus mantra that the only thing that matters is to “make sure it never happens again” is simply the standard cry of every criminal desperate for escape: “I promise not to do it again if you don’t punish me this time“.

And the Beltway battle cry of “look to the future, not the past!” is what all political power systems tell their subjects to do when they want to flush their own crimes down the memory hole.

In the long run, immunity from legal accountability ensures that criminality and corruption will continue. Vesting the powerful with license to break the law guarantees high-level lawbreaking. Indeed, it encourages such behavior. One need only look at what’s happened in the United States over the last decade to see the proof.” End of the excerpt.

Note 1: With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful by Glenn Greenwald, published October 25th by Metropolitan Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Copyright © 2011 by Glenn Greenwald. All rights reserved.

Note 2: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/09/26/part-3-election-laws-regulations-and-procedurescan-capitalist-systems-be-reformed/

Can Capitalist systems be reformed? Part 3. Election laws, regulations, and procedures

In the previous two articles, I discussed the foundations of Capitalism, the variations in capitalist systems, communist capitalism, the ideology of private property ownership, and the reforms needed. This part will discuss the practical political and legal reforms needed if change is to be effective.  First, let me summarize the last two articles.

One:  Capitalism is based on four  foundations: Private property of means of production; free internal people movement and exchange (products, services…); open free market for commerce; and availability of a vast pool of people willing to work for salary. The main driving force is that the owner of the means of production (the bank, the partners, the shareholder, or the family)  should earn as much as the total salary that all workers receive.  Consequently, an employee is hired when the owner can generate profit, at least as equal to the total salary of the hired worker.

Two:  The foundations of capitalism have proven not to function except within strong State institutions, which are almost totally controlled by the capitalist classes.

Three:  The one foundation that all economic systems in developed States share is free global trade, which means the liberty to exploiting the developing countries in natural resources and cheap labor.  How this work:

First, the developed States are allowed to subsidize their agriculture, but the developing nations are not to do it and they cannot, even if they realize the need to do it .

Second, the developed States are to flood the markets of developing countries with affordable products with no “legal rights” for the developing nations to increasing import taxes in order to safeguarding their own means of productions.

Third, the developed States can find financial resources at low-interest rates with a phone call, but not the developing nations.

Fourth, in return for blatant exploitation, the developed States agree “voluntarily” to setting aside a small fraction of their GNP to developing the infrastructures in the poorer States.  Mainly, self-serving their interests to improving infrastructure to facilitating exploitation efficiently.

Four:  All “international” institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Commerce and Trades are dominated by the US, China, and a few European States; thus, transparency and access to timely information and intelligence are denied the developing nations.

Five:  Financial institutions (banks, insurance companies…) are the real owner of means of production in capitalist systems.  They own 30% of the total wealth of a nation and represent only 1% of the population.  This is NOT acceptable.  Fact is, financial institutions generate three times more money than the combined tax collected by the government.  This is NOT acceptable.  Any reforms should first target the level of profit that financial institutions are permitted to generate.  “Effective” interest rates should be lowered accordingly, and tougher regulations imposed of these behemoths.

Community banks with excellent transparency in decision process and lending policies should be the norm.  The current status of financial institutions is generating abnormal profit with no risks whatsoever.  The aristocratic political family class (representing 10% of the population and hoarding more than 20% of the nation’s wealth or what is called “Old Money”) is the main beneficiary of the current capitalist system dominated by the financial barons.

Six:  If capitalism needs salaried people, it must secure the fundamental right to work, a wide range of jobs that satisfy varied opportunity, access to affordable education, safe workplace, universal health coverage, caring for the elderly, and justice for people who worked most of their life for a comfortable retreat.  Has capitalism satisfied the basic needs of its workforce?

Seven:  States should start taxing according to the number of employees hired and total revenue generated:  These two criteria are the most objective representative of net profit and are easy to investigate.  This gimmick of taxing on “net profit” is an accounting fraud that is not objective or fair.

Companies relocating for cheaper workers must be taxed according to the original “national wages” of the workers.  Companies substituting workers for robots should be taxed according to the number of workers substituted.  States will then be able to subsidize unemployed people, until they find jobs and be imaginative enough to opening up newer job opportunities…

Eight:  There is a trend for owners with strong ethics and moral standards to including employees as shareholders and participating in management decisions:  These companies are doing very well and not suffering from financial crashes.  Institutions and companies for profit are amoral and do not deal in ethical conducts.  Ethics and morality are individual characteristics:  The more such individuals gather in groups to reclaiming fairness and justice in actions, the more institutions will be reminded of what is best for society.

Nine:  Historically, land and private property were the basis for the emergence of the “bourgeois and merchant” classes and which initiated the major leap forward into creating wealth. This system of private ownership lead to the abolition of feudalism and absolute monarchic powers, backed by the clergy. The structure of private ownership of land and properties materially weakened nobility and clergy and eventually displaced them. Private property of land should be revised…Read part #4.

Ten:  Private ownership of land and properties are not currently economically essential for capitalist system to function properly:  Enterprises can lease properties and resume their business as usual.  It is the political ideology behind private properties that is the culprit.  Private property ownership remains as a reminder that aristocracy image of power must not vanish in order to retaining political power in “democratic” political system.

Eleven:  Ownership of land and real estates must be legally abolished in order to having a serious chance for political reforms.  Land should be owned by communities and regulated by community councils. Land and real estates should only be leased for durations, and never owned by individuals and never renewed for any member of the family in order to dissuade political inheritance of images and statuses.  Inheritance of private real estates and money is the main reason for the existence of aristocratic lineage in wealth and politics.

The inheritance mentality encourages sustaining ancient beliefs that the aristocratic class is better fit to rule, guide, and lead simply because this class created the system that perpetuates its interests and egoistic power. I then offered the required necessary reforms on property ownership.  For example, enterprises may be allowed to renew the lease for specific duration as long as the nature of the business did not change or will not change after the renewal.  For example, transforming from a manufacture to real estates development.

This section of the series will develop on election processes and laws reforms.

In the current “capitalist democracy”, the judicial system obeys laws decreed by the parliaments (supposed to be representing the common people) that are dominated by the richest and political “aristocracy” classes, and the executive branch is intrinsically dominated by the highest classes, directly and indirectly.  This entire political system is called “capitalist democracy” where people have the illusion of electing their representatives for a duration.  After election, people are to behave as spectators:  Any serious disturbances are crushed in the name of Law and Order.

It is imperative that real political power in reformed election laws should  shift the odds for the middle class and lower classes to acceded to legislative and executive positions.

Private enterprises within a free internal movement and exchange of people and merchandise, and supported by a smooth flow of liquid money, as commerce increases and develop, are the basis for creating wealth.  The State should not be doing business, but regulating laws and order, and securing the well-being of  all its citizen “equal under the law of fairness to work, opportunity, and happiness.”

Thus, the sole reason for the existence for State government is doing politics.   Mainly, equalizing the odds so that all its citizens live equally in dignity.  So far, the current capitalist system appears to  running smoothly only for the survivors of the holocausts of financial crisis and degradation of normal living conditions.

Election laws and regulations reform targeting all citizens, regardless of gender, ethnic minority, and wealth status must be undertaken relentlessly and closely monitored and supervised by ethical, moral, and just citizens.

First, no fee  charges should be levied for submitting any documents to being candidates to any representative community, council, or State chambers and Houses.  This costly application favors the well-to-do.

Second, contribution to campaigning is strictly done on individual basis and having a fixed limit representing the capacity of lower classes for contribution.  Thus, flow of contribution from rich classes and enterprises are off-limit in election campaign.

Third, stiff penalties should be levied on owners, executives, and managers of enterprises (not the entity) who bribe or press upon employees to get biased toward candidates and extending bonuses at election periods.

Fourth, quota should be imposed on rich and aristocratic classes in number of candidates, commensurate to their representation of the entire population.

Fifth, the campaign should be made easy to comprehend and run, so that many citizens would be encouraged to participate.

Sixth:  All candidates should have equal air time and receive fair contribution from the State to running an equitable campaign and supporting staff.

Seventh:  Prison terms should be attached to officials in any enterprises  or interest lobbying groups who are backing candidates by fraudulent financial means.

These are sample example for fairness in election laws so that many more common people get into the legislative chambers on their own potentials, without feeling indebted to any rich baron or political aristocrat.   Either power is democratically obtained or anarchy is the end result for the state of injustices in capitalist systems.

Market cannot regulate itself for the interest of the common people.  Rich classes are not just following their interests, but also their overextended egoism to grabbing more power when left at their own volition.

Enterprises have no moral or ethical standards regulating them.  Only external pressures, for example State politics of fairness to all and justice to all, can make a difference.  Practicing democracy is hard work and it requires constant vigilance, reflection, and mass actions.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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