Press**Watch: factory farmed minds
Capitalism is the idea that human rights may be discarded by those who have funds to initiate economic activity. It is not the same as economic activity itself, and indeed capitalism often inhibits economic activity, as when persons involved in useful work are paid a wage rather than an open and transparent share of their productivity. Capitalists assert that they may arrogate all control of a workplace forever, that their word is law in that workplace, and that all benefit of work belongs to those who do not work. Hence we have the peculiar scene of a society run by an inheritance class which has no stake in human rights, much less human benefit.
Our corporate capitalist society insists that those who are born to wealth must rule, no matter what the effect on the ninety-nine percent. The Wal-Mart heirs are born to their billions—seventy billion each per year at last count—while the Wal-Mart workers, the people who actually create that staggering wealth day to day by presenting a clean, stocked and (apparently) alluring workplace, are famous for their poverty. This is no mistake; it is the poverty that creates the wealth. The masses work at their body-breaking pace, hour by hour, in health or in pain, whether mopping the floors or composing the artwork for the ads, and the leisure class may simply benefit in their private airliners, secure in the knowledge that their wholly owned legislators and police will forever keep the working class at bay.
This is the age of cruelty and royalty. Our wars have killed millions and displaced millions more, and we wage them with corporate-owned mercenaries by the thousands. Listen to corporate-owned coverage of the war and ask yourself whether it is clear that half of the soldiers present are mercenaries. The world knows too much about US-based mercenary warmaking—the slaughter at Nissour Square and the casual sport of auto traffic machine-gunning by Aegis mercenaries are part of their trademark now. But we are not to discuss these things.
This week thirty Republican senators voted against an amendment that would de-fund rape. Senator Al Franken proposed the amendment to take money away from contractors that cover up rape within their ranks, after it came out that a woman working for the KBR mercenaries was locked into a shipping container in Iraq, and threatened with the loss of her job, if she should complain about being gang-raped by KBR employees [http://rawstory.com/2009/10/
This system is called “freedom and democracy,” even in such instances where it more closely resembles factory farming. Have you seen the smuggled video that shows the baby chicks running away in desperation as a conveyor belt draws them inexorably into a meat grinder? That is the standard for US corporate capitalism, so long as you remember that you are the meat animal.
And you wanted health care?
Likewise, we are not to question the ongoing imperial wars, and even our supposedly long-form in-depth public radio is to proscribe debate, so that each day the question is raised, not whether we shall cease to invade and bomb Iraq and Afghanistan, but rather what is the best and most humane method to invade and bomb Iraq and Afghanistan. Want more information for a rational debate? Then don’t turn to national public radio, which today is running a story on Guantanamo, Bagram Air Base prison, and prisoners of war, because if you do listen to the NPR coverage on that subject today, you will not hear the word “torture,” “mercenary” nor the words “prisoner of war.” http://www.npr.org/templates/
That’s because in the tidy world of NPR we don’t have mercenaries torturing prisoners of war. The mercenaries are invisible and not to be discussed as policy, the torture is merely interrogation, and the POWs don’t even have the minimal human dignity of being POWs under the Geneva Conventions.
And for that matter NPR isn’t national public radio on any issue that matters to the inheritance class’ permanent state of imperial war. It’s national mind control. I’d dearly love to have a public discussion some day, with my fellow Americans, one on one at some street corner or workplace, about whether US mercenaries and those who hired them should be prosecuted in world courts for the torture of POWs. But I can’t, because even among the few who direct their attention to long-form news, the tools for discussion have been removed like so much extraneous frontal lobe tissue.
(Even Code Pink has been beaten down to the point of considering whether to support women’s rights in Afghanistan with more bombing, occupation, and torture. But it is the US which has created the conditions for worsened human rights after our withdrawal, so let us take all secularized Afghani women with us on the helicopter as we flee, and fund their resistance fully as part of our war reparations if we must—but imperial wars and occupations are not conducted for the sake of human rights.)
As of early this morning, gold was selling for around $1050 in US dollars, and one reason for the increase is said to be the revelation that countries in the Middle East and Asia are meeting to replace the dollar in oil sales. The US dollar is often referred to as the “petro-dollar” for good reason. The oil business and the dollar have been wedded since the middle of the last century. Should that change, the US population—that’s you and me—might have to pay the price for diluting the value of the currency by printing so many dollars.
By ‘printing,’ I mean the electronic creation of new money by the Fed and the Treasury this year and last, the trillions of dollars introduced to pay off the bankster class. The banksters, through their spokesmen in the Obama Administration, assure us that they can get away with effectively taxing the entire world economy through dollar dilution. The dollar is the world standard and there is no alternative, they say. But there have been rumblings for months that maybe the Russians and the Chinese don’t want to pay the price for Robert Rubin’s folly. The Guardian reported this morning:
Gold prices hit a record high of $1,040 an ounce today , as renewed speculation about the declining power of the dollar as the world's reserve currency sent investors stampeding into commodities.
Reports that secret talks had been held between China and Middle Eastern states about changing the pricing of oil from dollars to a basket of currencies and gold sent the greenback into a renewed slide on foreign exchange markets, despite denials from the governments involved. By late afternoon the euro was up by 0.7% against the dollar at $1.47. [snip]
Here’s how Robert Fisk puts it in the Independent, as posted on Alternet:
In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.
Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.
The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years. [snip]