Noam Chomsky: US Scandalous Healthcare symptomatic of populations’ failure to defend Democracy | Choice of disenfranchised masses to have blind faith in ruling elite

As the title suggests, in this interview and article by C.J. Polychroniou, Noam Chomsky unveils his expansive view of the United States.

truthout

truthout

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/39064-noam-chomsky-the-us-health-system-is-an-international-scandal-and-aca-repeal-will-make-it-worse?tsk=adminpreview#disqus_thread

Chomsky claims that the rejection of healthcare and lack of a real labor presence is symbolic of the much larger issue in the United States > that people do not participate or defend democracy, but are willing puppets of a political realm ruled by a wealthy few, to whom the population simply does not oppose, but subjugate their passions and dreams to agree to the system dictated by a ruling class – who the population could overpower with their force, if they simply wished to stand up for their rights to represent and govern themselves.

I’ve basically excerpted the article, juggling it around a bit to put the most poignant parts from the conclusion – at the beginning – for those who have no time to read. Hence it’s a sort of ‘cliff notes’ version of the article.

And as I posted on Facebook regarding this Truthout article, thank you so much Noam Chomsky for being the expansive and insightful person whom you are!

Noam Chomsky-information website

Noam Chomsky-information website

“The US health care system has long been an international scandal, with about twice the per capita expenses of other wealthy (OECD) countries and relatively poor outcomes. The ACA did, however, bring improvements, including insurance for tens of millions of people who lacked it, banning of refusal of insurance for people with prior disabilities, and other gains — and also, it appears to have led to a reduction in the increase of health care costs, though that is hard to determine precisely.

Returning to your question, it raises a crucial question about American democracy: why isn’t the population “demanding” what it strongly prefers? Why is it allowing concentrated private capital to undermine necessities of life in the interests of profit and power?

….The question directs our attention to a profound democratic deficit in an atomized society, lacking the kind of popular associations and organizations that enable the public to participate in a meaningful way in determining the course of political, social and economic affairs. These would crucially include a strong and participatory labor movement and actual political parties growing from public deliberation and participation instead of the elite-run candidate-producing groups that pass for political parties. What remains is a depoliticized society in which a majority of voters (barely half the population even in the super-hyped presidential elections, much less in others) are literally disenfranchised, in that their representatives disregard their preferences while effective decision-making lies largely in the hands of tiny concentrations of wealth and corporate power…

Turning finally to your question again, a rather general answer, which applies in its specific way to contemporary western democracies, was provided by David Hume over 250 years ago, in his classic study of the First Principles of Government. Hume found “nothing more surprising than to see the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and to observe the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about, we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. `Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.”

Implicit submission is not imposed by laws of nature or political theory. It is a choice, at least in societies such as ours, which enjoys the legacy provided by the struggles of those who came before us. Here power is indeed “on the side of the governed,” if they organize and act to gain and exercise it. That holds for health care and for much else.”

The House of Representatives, dominated by Republicans (with a minority of voters), has voted over 50 times in the past six years to repeal or weaken Obamacare, but they have yet to come up with anything like a coherent alternative.

Comparison of the attitude toward elementary rights of labor and extraordinary rights of private power tells us a good deal about the nature of American society.

The expulsion or mass killing of Indigenous nations cleared the ground for the invading settlers, who had enormous resources and ample fertile lands at their disposal, and extraordinary security for reasons of geography and power. That led to the rise of a society of individual farmers, and also, thanks to slavery, substantial control of the product that fueled the industrial revolution: cotton, the foundation of manufacturing, banking, commerce, retail for both the US and Britain, and less directly, other European societies. Also relevant is the fact that the country has actually been at war for 500 years with little respite, a history that has created “the richest, most powerful¸ and ultimately most militarized nation in world history,” as scholar Walter Hixson has documented.

Administrative costs are far greater in the private component of the health care system than in Medicare, which itself suffers by having to work through the private system.

Comparisons with other countries reveal much more bureaucracy and higher administrative costs in the US privatized system than elsewhere. One study of the US and Canada a decade ago, by medical researcher Steffie Woolhandler and associates, found enormous disparities, and concluded that “Reducing U.S. administrative costs to Canadian levels would save at least $209 billion annually, enough to fund universal coverage.

Another anomalous feature of the US system is the law banning the government from negotiating drug prices, which leads to highly inflated prices in the US as compared with other countries. That effect is magnified considerably by the extreme patent rights accorded to the pharmaceutical industry in “trade agreements,” enabling monopoly profits. In a profit-driven system, there are also incentives for expensive treatments rather than preventive care, as strikingly in Cuba, with remarkably efficient and effective health care.”

Carol Keiter, the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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Biggest Threat to Renewable Energy: Politics of Oil Industry Greed | Your Voice Against Monopolies | Ecological Transitions2

Basically it’s like this. The earth has been warming due to increasing concentrations of (CO2) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which serves like a blanket, containing the molecules and thus increasing the temperature. There are various man-made components affecting this, most of it due to industrialized processes; oil, gas and coal extraction among the biggest culprits, with industrialized agriculture trends also contributing to a nefarious impact.

EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, CO2

EPA Environmental Protection Agency on CO2

As the EPA site of the United States government describes, “The main human activity that emits CO2 is the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation, although certain industrial processes and land-use changes also emit CO2.”

There have been scatterings of renewable energy projects around for years and new ones emerging, despite the intention of stock-holders in petroleum industries from keeping them from floating.

A huge project is underway in Morocco which is the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, powered by the Saharan sun, set to help renewables provide almost half the country’s energy by 2020.

12 meter high parabolic mirrors in launch of mega solar project in Morocco

12 meter high parabolic mirrors in launch of mega solar project in Morocco

Here’s a clever very short video animation “Can the Sun Cool Down the Earth?” that is so informative, on the benevolence of solar power.

Can the Sun Cool Down the Earth, Keep It In the Ground

Can the Sun Cool Down the Earth? – Keep It -OIL- In the Ground

It’s contained within an article “Morocco Poised to become a Solar Superpower with launch of Desert Mega-Project

Keep it (Oil) in the Ground

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/video/2015/jul/22/sun-cool-down-earth-video?CMP=share_btn_fb

It’s from this article Morocco Poised to become a Solar Superpower with launch of Desert Mega-Project

The project, the biggest of its kind in Europe, will have a total installed peak capacity of 6.3 megawatts, and should generate enough energy to power 1,800 homes in its first year.
In an article in his blog Rigging the Market, George Monbiot mentions that the oil industry actually had done their own studies of the impacts of their actions on the environment decades ago, and proceeded to conceal their findings of the malevolent effects. He mentions, “But some renewables firms are being tanked by the same forces: just as natural gas prices plunge, governments like the UK’s are stripping them of their subsidies.”

“Already, according to the IMF, more money is spent, directly and indirectly, on subsidizing fossil fuels than on funding health services. The G20 countries alone spend over three times as much public money on oil, gas and coal than the whole world does on renewable energy. In 2014, subsidies for fossil fuel production in the UK reached £5 billion. Enough? Oh no. While essential public services are being massacred through want of funds, last year the government announced a further £1.3 billion in tax breaks for oil companies in the North Sea. Much of this money went to companies based overseas. They must think we’re mad.” However, Ramsay Dunning in this article “COP21: Co-operative voice is being heard in the EU” mentions that Co-operative Energy has been active over the last 12 months in both REScoop and Co-operatives Europe’s Energy Working Group, recognizing that as one door closes in the UK, another one may open in Europe. “Cooperatives Europe is part of an EU project on renewable energy cooperatives together with cooperatives from across Europe to promote and develop them.”

Monbiot discusses the politics of money in the oil industry and how much this in itself impedes progress in all of the renewable industries – wind, solar, wave, biomass, etc – which would actually reduce these rising temperatures; from the dirty activities of the petrochemical industries (oil, gas and coal extraction) that have been denigrating the environment, polluting air and water and by virtue of rising temperatures alone, corrupting and dismantling the balance of the biosphere. Humans are presently witnessing far more severe weather patterns due to unprecedented draughts and flooding, and epic storms. Yet human habitat can to a degree be rebuilt after the fires and landslides and floods. However it’s a different story for other inhabitants of the earth; from coral reef bleaching to animals dying off that are very small on the bio chain, these then affect larger marine and land mammals. Not to mention the chemical wastes and biohazards that are put into the water and atmosphere due to human industrial farming, resulting in other die-offs of species; i.e. bees and other pollinators. It appears that the smallest creatures are affected the most, which subsequently directly affect human communities; with disease epidemics that are exacerbated with rising global temperatures.

The most startling thing, is that the human condition which has tended in the last decades to be more focused on material displays of wealth and economic gain over actually using our brain power and hearts towards a real spiritual transformation that is possible, has been stuck in a fixation with making short-term profit gains, without having the sensitivity or empathy to give a hoot about anyone or any creature whose lives are affected by their actions.

And in the increasing symptom of monopolization of power, which was already taking place as the New World was beginning to make its entrance on the global platform, this trend has basically snow-balled. Though monopolies may have had their place contributing to better organization to do large-scale public works, “Monopoly is the extreme case in capitalism. It is characterized by a lack of competition, which can mean higher prices and inferior products.”

Those with money who invest it well, often stealthily, gain power and more leverage. And as this game evolves, the equation of intelligence and leadership with political sovereignty has been replaced with who has the most money to buy the election. There have been so many actions taking place behind closed doors, with people placated with entertainment and distracted by being so busy and feeling powerless to change the system, that people – by not voting and not caring – have let democracy become a hollow symbol.

It’s been a trend for a decade or three, the continued gobbling up of companies by a larger one who opts to buy up the competition, rather than allowing it to survive. I guess it seems enticing to have the money dangled in front of you. Like the farmers fields that I have seen disappearing in the town where I grew up in central Pennsylvania, but the trend is everywhere. Developers buy the land, contractors establish new housing communities that appear pretty quickly, which have these euphemistic names like ‘Greener Pastures’ or ‘Sunny side Meadows blah blah blah.

In addition to big money affecting politics from corporate bastions, individuals with enormous wealth and investment in petroleum industry and its bi-products also corrupts, such as the Koch Brothers.

Illustration by Victor Juhasz the Koch Brothers' Dirty War on Solar Power

In the Rolling Stone magazine, Tim Dickinson writes in The Koch Brothers’ Dirty War on Solar Power “But the birth of Big Solar poses a grave threat to those who profit from burning fossil fuels. And investor-owned utilities, together with Koch-brothers-funded front groups like American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are mounting a fierce, rear-guard resistance at the state level – pushing rate hikes and punishing fees for homeowners who turn to solar power…Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s narrow 2014 re-election was financed by more than $1.1 million in contributions from the IOUs – investor-owned utilities.

In another article, Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire Dickinson writes, “The enormity of the Koch fortune is no mystery. Brothers Charles and David are each worth more than $40 billion. The electoral influence of the Koch brothers is similarly well-chronicled. The Kochs are our homegrown oligarchs; they’ve cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP…The toxic history of Koch Industries is not limited to physical pollution. It also extends to the company’s business practices, which have been the target of numerous federal investigations, resulting in several indictments and convictions, as well as a whole host of fines and penalties.”

Recently driving across the country, I encountered just a few renewable energy projects, although I drove through southern states along flat areas with plenty of wind and as the desert approached, plenty of sun. As I heard more and more Christian leaning radio stations driving an automobile, I didn’t really see many projects taking hold that were utilizing these resources. However, entering California and approaching Los Angeles from the East, I was delighted to see this windy plain used extensively with one farm of windmills.

23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV), Walton-on-Thames

23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels will be floated on the reservoir near Walton-on-Thames

Thames Water announced work on a huge floating solar array, equivalent to eight Wembley football pitches, begun in London this week. Just over 23,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels will be floated on the reservoir near Walton-on-Thames.

windmill, southern California, desert

windmill farm on the southern California desert / photo by Carol Keiter

windmill farm, southern California desert, approaching Los Angeles

windmill farm on the southern California desert approaching Los Angeles / photo by Carol Keiter

Phil Noble, California’s First Offshore Wind Power Project, Offshore Wind Farm, Irish Sea

This photo by Phil Noble for article California’s First Offshore Wind Power Project features an Offshore Wind Farm in the Irish Sea

This article “California’s First Offshore Wind Power Project Faces Environmental Headwinds” describes that again, funding is something to navigate. “Pollution-free, renewable energy for some 300,000 homes could arrive on the California coast in the next decade if a new wind farm plan can navigate the contentious climate that thus far has derailed all offshore power projects in the state since 1969.” Margaret Bruder of the University of Michigan and Western Michigan University commented on this article: “Have you ever seen a strip coal mining operation? have you ever lived near a coal power plant. If you think wind turbines are an eye sore take a close look at these too dirty eye sores. The only difference is they are not in your backyard. And as for nuclear power–they might be “clean” energy but we have no idea what is going to happen to the spent fuel rods that have a half life of thousands of years. Do you want to live near their storage tanks when the concrete cracks and crumbles which we all know is likely ot happen in Michigan climate.”

Even more abundant than sun or wind, are wave energy.

Pelamis Wave Power technology

Pelamis Wave Power technology

Wave Power Could Supply Half the U.S. With Cheap Electricity—Here’s Why It Doesn’t” The technology works, but surviving harsh ocean conditions and securing funding has proved tough.

On this note, check this out, Défis Transitions2 calling for the bringing together of the digital and ecological transition, to expedite the process and imbue this transition with a direction.

Défis Transitions2, Digital, Ecological

Connecting the Digital and the Ecological Transitions

transition écologique ecological, objectif,imperative!

transition écologique ecological est notre objectif, our imperative!

Agir Local, Act Local

Agir Local / Act Local

mobilités actives

mobilités actives

Respire ta Ville, Breathe your City

Respire ta Ville /
Breathe your City

Ecology by Design

Ecology by Design

Open Models for Sustainability

Open Models for Sustainability

Digital Transition

the 7 Leverages of Digital Transition

the Vectors of the Ecological Transition

the Vectors of the Ecological Transition

carol keiter, blogger, arizona, wwoof

Carol the blogger in her Moose-themed residence at her first WWOOF experience in Arizona

 

Here’s a pic of me, the blogger in my ‘moose lake lodge’ residence in the Sonoran desert where I’m participating in my first WWOOF experience on the Veteran’s Ranch, a means of avoiding homelessness while at the same time being very interested in learning about farming techniques from the pros – the people who run the farms and ranches – and I absolutely love and adore animals of every type.

And I’ve started to take videos of the animals, with the incentive to capture the sounds, to then weave into some new music (sounds on the ranch 🙂

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz ~ As an avid blogger who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook to complete it and and beginning again to compose music, I ask you rather unambiguously and unabashedly to please donate, if you are able. !-))

PayPal Donate Button

In addition to the fact that donations are always welcome and appreciated, I just discovered to day February 20th, 2016 patreon, which I am very happy to join and am about to create an artist profile. It is a very similar concept to something I conjectured a month or so ago: wishing there was an artist residency somewhere where the artists can collaborate if they choose, yet which is based on earning money for what they create. They are paid, as they commit to producing work. Well, patron is not a residency, yet it does offer capital, and I’m pretty stoked to have discovered it. Certainly it will act as a motivator for all artists, lighting a fire to keep them producing new work!!! I’ll sign on to patreon as a blogger/photographer/illustrator/author creating a profile tomorrow, and will be de light ed to find some patrons encouraging me to keep on producing work!

Systemic Failure of Consumer-driven Corporate Capitalism births a New Economy

“This economic revolution isn’t being consciously driven, yet, however it’s an option that could prevail”, says Gar Alperovitz. It is spawning and evolving from the discontent and pains that our current system and its failures and lack of alternatives, is giving birth to. We’re at the pre-history, of something quite historic!

earth_digital_flow copy

I sat among the choir. A note about Annie Leonard speaking in Baltimore, an environmental activist whose Story of Stuff first sparked my attention, arrived in my inbox. We attended the “People and Planet First” IPS conference to educate ourselves, exchange information and spread the word. It was hosted at the University of Baltimore, September 19th, 2015. The final session was moderated by ‘Institute for Policy Studies’ Director, John Cavanagh.

The conference looked at our current challenges from a wider perspective; seeing the various systemic problems ensuing from our current corporate capitalism model, as quite interdependent. The environmental problems of mass extinction, pollution and rising carbon dioxide levels along with the social problems of inequality and injustice, are all tied to the current economic model; which maintains and concentrates its wealth by funneling it back to the source (the 1%), instead of redistributing wealth and power (and empowerment) among the citizens and the community. And spoke of an emerging business model from community gardens, composting, water run-off and waste management to setting up local business alliances, local banks, farmer cooperatives and student civic actions that join the local alliances to promote investments in local businesses.

Annie Leonard, US Greenpeace director of ‘Story of Stuff’ fame, presented her more recent informational video “Story of Solutions”. It points to the fact that we need to completely step out of what is driving the capitalism machine of quantity, to an entirely different game which seeks quality of life – equality and freedom for people and quality of life for all creation. A model beyond merely consumption.

Historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz presented his ideas amassed in the preparation for his latest book, “What Then Must We Do by Gar Alperovitz?”, talking of alternatives to Corporate Capitalism and Socialism, as clearly the American empire is in decay. On almost every indicator, there’s a deeper trend over the past decades which reveals that there’s a systemic crisis in the United States. The systemic design that we’ve lived with for a long time, in which corporations control the capital, reveal that the surplus is not being returned to benefit the communities and the people, but siphoned off to make the 1% who are the owners, more and more wealthy. This trend of increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, of increasing inequality, increasing sickness within populations due to pollutants, decreasing prosperity among the 99%.

Corporate Capitalism and the American Empire as we know it, is giving birth to something new, which innovative Americans are creating all over the country. Gar Alperovitz mentions that this certainly isn’t anything the media is covering. In fact, many don’t believe that alternatives exist, until they see examples of what other groups and communities have accomplished. “Often we don’t know what our neighbors are doing”, says Gar. “Systems typically revolve around ‘who has control of the wealth’. The rule of royalty in the feudalism of the middle ages, in the present day manifests itself as ‘Corporate Capitalism’, of which the extreme is fascism, control by authoritarian rule.”

Sometimes noisily, but often times quietly, communities around the country – of which Maryland is an example of being ahead of the wave – are transforming our culture by decentralizing ownership. By democratizing the wealth through becoming owners of their own goods and services, they are able to maintain a number of things; circulating surplus back into their own operations and communities (rather than it being syphoned off to the 1%), empowering themselves, making conscious decisions to ensure that all aspects of operations have the lightest ecological footprint possible and generating freedom through participation in ownership and production and wealth.

We currently have a system of enormous waste, in which we continue to manufacture and create more stuff, because that is a NEED embedded in capitalism. Capitalism must produce more, to ensure profit.

Examples of alternatives are in cooperative enterprises, worker-owned companies, credit unions, 25% of American electricity is socialist in structure, social enterprise like CREDO (using profits for social and political purposes), neighborhood corporations, land-trusts that are socialized (to control land inflation and gentrification).

Following examples of success such as Mondragón in the Basque region of Spain. Mondragon Corporation networked democratized ownership where capital is being decentralized to empower and enrich the communities by circulating surplus back into local communities. Consciously making decisions to connect to all other suppliers and parts connected to the whole system, with conscientious efforts to localize and work within a ‘green’ system. It is just the beginning.

I apologize for any grammatical errors or gaps in information, however I must now leave to hitch to Washington D.C. to attend the People for Climate Justice Climate Rally in Washington D.C., coinciding with Pope Francis’ delivering his tenets of wisdom to the White House.

Elizabeth Warren’s Exposé of Citigroup

The ABC’s of Elizabeth Warren’s speech on the Senate floor: “Articulate & Bold, Citigroup Unclothed” That’s exactly what Democratic Senator of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren’s speech was: eloquent and courageous. The disclosure was of Citigroup; leaving them naked and revealing their dark secrets, in intimate detail.

citibank, privileged, touching, untouchables

citibank for the privileged, touching the untouchables

Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, U.S. Senate,exposing Citigroup

Elizabeth Warren D-Massachusetts speech to U.S. Senate exposing Citigroup

Her speech on the U.S. Senate floor delineated Citigroup’s infiltration into the Federal Government. Their actions, far from transparent, are why they have such enormous political and economic power.

Let’s pass Something / Anything, that will help break up these giant banks. We need to open up this issue to ‘get tougher’, to prevent more bail-out opportunities. Open it up so that we END ‘too big to fail’, which becomes the taxpayers’ burden.

citibank Hong Kong

citibank Hong Kong

citibank New York

citibank New York

 

Warren mentions that a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt was the giant ‘Trust Buster’. He broke up a lot of trusts and monopolies that were too big, because they had too much economic and political power.

Teddy Roosevelt said,

“We should break them up because all that concentrated power threatens the very foundations of our democratic system.”

Warren alerts us to the fact that presently, congress passes yet another provision, which was written by lobbyists for the biggest recipient of bail-out money in the history of the country. It is attached to a bill that NEEDS to pass, or else the entire Federal Government will grind to a halt.

“Think about that kind of power”, she goes on,

“if a financial institution has become so big and powerful that it can hold the entire country hostage, that alone, is reason to break them up.”

…..elegant artifices displaying the unequal distribution of wealth and privilege….

citibank Toronto¡   B a s t a    |    E n o u g h   is    E n o u g h                             |  G e n u g        |     S u f f i t  enough Japanese  |     S u f i c i e n t e       !

citibank Perth

citibank Perth

 ‘nuf said

Enough of Wall Street insiders getting key positions…

enough of Washington being well-oiled and working well for billionaires, large corporations & banks, lawyers and lobbyists.

We’d like Washington to represent us, the people, not for example, ‘Citizen’s United’ a direct reproach of what the name stands for.

citibank Seoul, South Korea

citibank Seoul, South Korea

citibank Paris

citibank Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to moveon.org for transmitting the video into my inbox. It’s worth every second of the 9 minute delivery.

 

 

Carol Keiter, blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

 

 

Carol Keiter    aka nomadbeatz – As an avid writer of blogs, who is presently picking up where I left off with my eBook as well as illustrating and composing music….

I ask you rather unambiguously to please donate !-))     PayPal Donate Button

 

Citizens United is anything but…what it claims

The Christian Science Monitor released an article in January “Four years ago today, the Supreme Court ushered US democracy into a new age of big money and pay-to-play politics. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court ruled in favor of unlimited independent political spending by corporations and other outside groups, which ultimately led to the creation of “super political-action committees,” or super PACs. The consequences were immediate and clear: Outside campaign spending exploded, making politicians more beholden than ever to their biggest donors, and creating an appearance of political corruption that threatens to further undermine voters’ trust in US democracy.

Although overturning the Citizens United decision would be the most direct path to undoing big donors’ newest power to secure special treatment, that is unlikely without a shift in the court’s membership.”
Public Integrity explains in an article

Public Integrity explanation of Citizens United

Public Integrity explanation of Citizens United

What's Worth Fightin For

Elizabeth Warren’s book “A Fighting Chance”

progressive political manifesto is coming out: “A Fighting Chance“. It’s one of the most important books of the year, which lays it all out there: how Wall Street continues to rip off the 99% and how corporations are using Citizens United to buy our democracy—as well as Elizabeth’s own story of how she rose from being the daughter of an Oklahoma City maintenance man to becoming a U.S. senator.
Demonstrator before Barclays Bank in central Lodon dressed as banker throwing away paper money bills.

Demonstrator before Barclays Bank in central Lodon dressed as banker throwing away paper money bills.

Annie Leonard who originally did an educational environmental awareness project explaining to the public about the waste built into a materialistic capitalistic society called http://storyofstuff.org/ As this link demonstrates, the original educational video has become a movement.

Here they embrace the same subject matter as Elizabeth Warren was moved to deal with, the hypocrisy of the United States government calling themselves a Democracy, when in fact, the high-bidders are now hiding behind a third party agency that floats political leaders, without disclosing the source of their financial backing. http://storyofstuff.org/movies/story-of-citizens-united-v-fec/

An article in the Christian Science Monitor

Hilarious Pharma ads | Corpocrisy posing as Democracy

Speaking of comedy. Here in the USA, pharmaceutical commercials have in the last 5 to 10 years surpassed those of the automobile industry in terms of bombarding the public airwaves. Saturday Night Live or some comedy act should do a spoof on these. The commercials are hilarious, without intending to be satirical. The first 5 seconds of the advertisement talks about this or that wonder drug and what ailment it conquers, followed with a voice talking as fast as humanly possibly (as if reading the fine print) packing all of the warnings of the drug into the remainder of the 60 second spot. There are so many potential hazards and risks of the drug that they can barely squeeze all of these ‘warnings’ into the ad. Hilarious! Then there’s always an authoritative voice recommending that you ‘consult your physician’ which is basically through ‘power of suggestion’. My family would laugh at these ads, as my father WAS a physician, and the big pharma were turning the scenario upside-down. Instead of a patient consulting their doctor to examine their condition and give advice, the pharma’s are suggesting what their verdict for treating this or that condition is, without having a clue about an individual person’s situation or the overall context of what may be causing these symptoms to occur. The pharma’s suggest that you should be running to ask your doctor to prescribe this or that, while they are at the same time wooing the doctor’s with conferences in exotic places and practically throwing gifts at them, luring them in to suggesting these drugs to their patients, the more the merrier. It’s a joke. A dangerous joke. And since all drugs are distilled from some sort of plant or substance that is organic – which occurs in nature – it’s important to maintain a healthy planet where things can grow. Most dis ease can be prevented; through healthy diet, drinking lots of water (replenishing that which already makes up 75% of our body), having a healthy attitude, alleviating stress. Balancing healthy amounts of exercise and physical movement with having a very sanctimonious relationship to the act and art of eating; cooking and eating is fun, delicious, and something that can bring people together. Meals can be cherished, rather than rushed.

It’s the unintended hilarity of the pharmaceutical ads that reminds me of how upside-down and hypocritical the America political system functions. The country is not even remotely a ‘democracy’, but a plutocracy. It is wealth that lubricates people’s entry into the political arena. The rise of politicians has little to do with a person’s credentials or leadership qualities. Excellence seems to have been eclipsed by BIG MONEY. Now private companies funnel money to the party, discretely, so that its source can not be determined or traced. Democracy, no longer. Transparency? Far from it. Corpocrisy i.e. corpocrazy, is the standard. No longer individuals consulting their politicians to represent what they believe is ‘healthy’ and their ‘rights’, but the BIG MONEY dictating what they prescribe; which often loops into more money coming right back to their source.

Understanding history | Tom Dispatch | Lewis Lapham “The Rule of Money”

I sense that this is one of the most important sources of information I have come upon. Therefore, I’m putting it out there, a reprint of a reprint. Realizing that there is much to learn and re member from history, and my previous blog mentioning Franklin D. Roosevelt as an example of an American leader when those with honesty and integrity still existed. This reading should be mandatory!

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175595/95/

“Good intentions, like mother’s milk, are a perishable commodity. As wealth accumulates, men decay, and sooner or later an aristocracy that once might have aspired to an ideal of wisdom and virtue goes rancid in the sun, becomes an oligarchy distinguished by a character that Aristotle likened to that of “the prosperous fool” — its members so besotted by their faith in money that “they therefore imagine there is nothing that it cannot buy.
……..
What Paine had meant by the community of common interest found voice and form in Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, in the fighting of World War II by a citizen army willing and able to perform what Machiavelli would have recognized as acts of public conscience.
….
During the middle years of the twentieth century, America at times showed itself deserving of what Albert Camus named as a place “where the single word liberty makes hearts beat faster,” the emotion present and accounted for in the passage of the Social Security Act, in the mounting of the anti-Vietnam War and civil rights movements, in the promise of LBJ’s Great Society. But that was long ago and in another country, and instead of making hearts beat faster, the word liberty in America’s currently reactionary scheme of things slows the pulse and chills the blood.

Ronald Reagan’s new Morning in America brought with it in the early 1980s the second coming of a gilded age more swinish than the first, and as the country continues to divide ever more obviously into a nation of the rich and a nation of the poor, the fictions of unity and democratic intent lose their capacity to command belief. If by the time Bill Clinton had settled comfortably into the White House it was no longer possible to pretend that everybody was as equal as everybody else, it was clear that all things bright and beautiful were to be associated with the word private, terminal squalor and toxic waste with the word public.

The shaping of the will of Congress and the choosing of the American president has become a privilege reserved to the country’s equestrian classes, a.k.a. the 20% of the population that holds 93% of the wealth, the happy few who run the corporations and the banks, own and operate the news and entertainment media, compose the laws and govern the universities, control the philanthropic foundations, the policy institutes, the casinos, and the sports arenas. Their anxious and spendthrift company bears the mark of oligarchy ridden with the disease diagnosed by the ancient Greeks as pleonexia, the appetite for more of everything — more McMansions, more defense contracts, more beachfront, more tax subsidy, more prosperous fools.
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A Government That Sets Itself Above the Law

The hostile intent has been conscientiously sustained over the last 30 years, no matter which party is in control of Congress or the White House, and no matter what the issue immediately at hand — the environment or the debt, defense spending or campaign-finance reform. The concentrations of wealth and power express their fear and suspicion of the American people with a concerted effort to restrict their liberties, letting fall into disrepair nearly all of the infrastructure — roads, water systems, schools, power plants, bridges, hospitals — that provides the country with the foundation of its common enterprise.”

The Collusion of Integrity with Money | Eroding the Quality of Life for All | Distributism

A fuse was recently re-ignited in my mind, regarding the dramatic unequal distribution of wealth in so many arenas within the United States. And this capitalistic encroachment, will inevitably ripple throughout the world. I’d written about the solid values that Joe Paterno proposed; discipline, loyalty, honesty and the pursuit of excellence. http://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/joe-paternos-old-school-values-not-bought-out-by-big-money/ These are an ‘old school’ morality, which he and leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. represented, before the collusion of money with ethics.

We have watched as various real estate bubbles have risen, in the late ‘90s in San Francisco with the ‘.com’, in New York City in the last decade as properties doubled and in the recent housing crisis. Geographical territories no longer define teams, but whoever has the most money to purchase and trade the best players. Instead of values or beliefs which speak for a politician, there are a bunch of Hollywood cookie cutter images and rhetoric. It’s not those with the most credibility, but financial assets, to beguile the public with their self-promotion.

My sister has worked for years with marginalized youths who have behavioral, addiction problems; either due to chemical imbalances or damaging or non-existent family structures. Her non-profit group helps to build teamwork, communication skills, self-esteem and responsibility. The youths come on an outpatient basis to create and build a show, which they all participate in and take pride in. She mentioned recently that the kids involved in the program are more difficult, due to the fact that the kids she typically would work with are now cut out of these programs and mainstreamed, and those that typically would have been institutionalized, are now in these outpatient, less strict programs. She maintains that this is due to the trickle down effect and squeeze on available funds, resulting in a re-distribution of money that affects all programs. Those challenged youths who were typically in her program, are now without any program or guidance at all, whereas those who had required much stricter supervision, who actually benefited by being institutionalized, are now in outpatient, rather than inpatient programs. Another result of this down-sizing, is that many professionals who still have jobs, have much heavier work loads and burn-out.

There is allegedly ‘no money available’ to pay for education, health care, health and social infrastructure, housing … and yet our government has a $ Trillion plus debt, due to our involvement in serial wars all over the world.
No money, yet a baseball player signs a contract to receive $ 10 Million a year, the average NFL player has a salary of $ 1.9 million and the cost for a 30 second commercial in the Super Bowl is $ 3.5 M. Yet there’s still no affordable health care in the U.S.

There’s a bit of a discrepancy here. Instead of investing in long-term savings through health prevention and education, there’s this greed induced financial crisis because of the interest of a few to make profits on the short term. Our plutocracy and corpocrisy dictates a consensus of what is admissible. Many statistics which reveal what is unjust, don’t even appear to turn peoples heads. Corruption has become the norm. It’s a collusion of merit with money.

A politician or an athlete no longer is a representative of his or her own hard work and skill, but a commodity infused with money or steroids. We are a culture of misrepresentation and illusion, an economy that must drive forward. Honesty is no longer a player, instead illusion and stealth. Welcome to the new American values. No wonder there’s such a huge demand for pharmaceuticals and a pandemic of addictions: over-eating, porn, alcohol, shopping. It’s a nation misinformed that material wealth will somehow provide security and gain, which has nothing to do with personal excellence and the process of striving and generating something through work.

What can we do about it? What organizations or people could influence a re-distribution of wealth? What could influence people’s attitudes to value merit and honor through hard work and joy and pride through the process of development? Sigh! Are there organizations who will encourage this or that pro athlete or Hollywood star who is making multi-millions per year, to redistribute their wealth to ensure that all people have proper health care, access to education and jobs? Obama’s plan to invest in creative new technologies, renewable energy, education & health and compatible programs that ensure raising the quality of everyone’s life sounds great. Yet at the same time, divesting from dirty energy and toxic industries sounds even better.

“According to the Distributism economic ideology of Catholic social teaching, property ownership is a fundamental right, and the means of production should be spread as widely as possible, rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state socialism), a few individuals (plutocracy), or corporations (corporatocracy). Distributism, therefore, advocates a society marked by widespread property ownership. Co-operative economist Race Mathews argues that such a system is key to bringing about a just social order…Distributism has often been described in opposition to both socialism and capitalism, which distributists see as equally flawed and exploitive.”

There’s a fear-factor which is perpetuated, as long as there’s a huge disparity in wealth and opportunities between the haves and the have-nots. This would dissipate, as this gulf shrinks, and all people would genuinely be happier. We need to cure a society that has become lopsided and sick, in its denial and greed. I know we can do it!