October 19, 2016

The Reason: Health Insurance Reform


We come to what is, for me, the most pure, emblematic example of the depravity of liberals and the fact that voters are liars. Without further ado…
If everyone who claimed to want a health care system that provides much better and less expensive care were to refuse to vote for anyone who supports the private health insurance sector, a purely wasteful and destructive evil, America would have single payer.
The reason the US government instead bailed out the health insurance racket and now imposes a poll tax on its behalf while continuing to preside over an ever-worsening, ever more expensive system, is not because of those who openly support the insurance sector. It’s primarily because almost all who claim to want a better health care system are frauds who really oppose this. Their vote proves it.
Indeed, it was during the controversy over the Obama/Heritage Foundation insurance bailout that some senator uttered one of the most perfect and true lines ever, which ever since I’ve used constantly to describe crooks in all sorts of contexts: “The reason I can’t support single payer is because people like me aren’t supporting single payer.”
“People like me”, that is, those who oppose single payer and any kind of better health system because they exalt the health insurance racket. Like anyone who supported the health racket bailout.
See here for all my posts on this way back when.
Meanwhile those who voted for the health racket bailout also vote for war, corporate agriculture, Wall Street, and to escalate the climate crisis.

March 7, 2015

The TTIP and Corporate Rule


1. The name “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” expresses what the globalization process sees as the only real sovereign group and political constituency – corporate “investors”. (Under the term “stakeholders”, these are explicitly considered to be the only legitimate citizens of the corporate-dominated society envisioned by the TTIP and similar pacts. These pacts comprise a new Corporate Constitution to effectively crush existing human constitutions and institutions.) Meanwhile the term “trade” is purely Orwellian, since globalization is not about legitimate demand-based trade, but the extreme opposite: Forcing supply upon markets which don’t demand it at all, or don’t demand it in the form corporatism wants to supply it.
The system takes it for granted that the goal of the TTIP and of all globalization policy (and government policy as such) is “market liberalization”, i.e. a command economy based on overproduction, corporate welfare, dumping, coerced markets, and the total gutting of all public interest regulation. Note well that only public interest regulation and demand-side policy like local buying requirements are targeted for “equivalence” and “coordination”. Corporate welfare, such as Big Ag crop insurance, is not considered a “regulation” which needs to be “equalized” among the parties to the compact.
We need rigorous discipline regarding the propaganda term “free trade”. We should never let this term pass unnoticed in our thoughts and words. We must reject in thought and words any concession to the Big Lie that globalization has anything to do with legitimate trade. Globalization is all about maximizing the imperatives and prerogatives of supply-driven corporate “markets”, toward the corporate concentration of all economic and political power. Real trade is demand-based and develops naturally and organically from human economies. Globalization, so-called “free trade”, is a top-down planned economy based on intentional overproduction and the subsequent forced creation of “markets” for this overproduction. To be anti-globalization is therefore to be pro-trade in the real economic sense, and vice versa.
Europe proves that the supply-driven export dictatorship which globalization pacts seek to impose aren’t necessary for the general prosperity. For example, Europe’s overwhelmingly conventional agriculture is superior in every way, quantitatively and qualitatively, to the GMO-based agriculture dominant in the US and Canada. This proves at least that a fully modern Western society is better off without GMOs. But one of the core goals of the TTIP is to impose the US GMO model upon Europe, thus eradicating Europe’s great qualitative advantage, for the domestic economy and for trade.
This leads us to the specific case of GMOs and their structural importance. Obviously the US government and the GMO cartel see Europe as a massive, relatively untapped market. But beyond this, they have a structural imperative to force all economies to come under GMO domination. They also loathe the current state of European agriculture as a real world alternative which has proven superior in every way to GMO domination. Europe proves every day that even given the parameters of industrial agriculture, GMOs are unnecessary and inferior. Europe proves every day that conventional agriculture performs better and less expensively without them. This is an ongoing embarrassment and affront to US corporatism. The US corporate system tries to deny this in the same way that during the Cold War the US and USSR would deny the very existence of ways in which one outperformed the other.
They would have destroyed these embarrassing facts if they could. Today the US government is trying to use the TTIP to wipe out the embarrassing fact of Europe’s superior agriculture and its far healthier food system. The EC bureaucracy is coordinated with this goal, since by its nature it sees things in terms of corporate one-world government rather than as a power struggle with the US-corporatist bloc.
2. The explicit goal of the TTIP is to coordinate all regulation which has anything to do with “any planned and existing trade”. That means all regulation, law, court decisions, etc. It’s the same principle as with the totalitarian expansion of the commerce clause in US constitutional jurisprudence, since it can encompass literally anything power wants it to. The coordination is also to be extended by whatever means necessary to EU member countries and US states. Sector-specific provisions will supersede “cross-cutting horizontal” coordination, which sets a floor. Corporate-dictated “commerce” assaults and supply-driven “trade” are already taken in the US to encompass all production/consumption activity including the informal economy, including production purely for personal use and including even pure inertness. That is, the imposition of corporate poll taxes is said by the system to be part of the Commerce power. The TTIP will enforce this for Europe as well, and far more intensely for both zones. Note well that as usual this only goes one way. Domestic economic activity, the informal economy, production for personal use, and any other kind of activity which doesn’t formally seek profit across national borders will not have access to the World Bank tribunals or to any court to litigate any harm arising out of this “trade” aggression. As always with this criminal system, it’s heads the elites win, tails the people lose.
The process gives oligopoly corporations based in any country which is party to a compact special privileges over the rights of the people or of any legitimate business within any country which is also a party. It exalts the “right” to corporate profit and supply-driven “trade” as the supreme imperatives of society, lofting these far above all other values, rights, goals of policy and law. This includes the suppression of domestic economic activity, since the supply-driven export imperative favors the big corporations, the oligopoly sectors. NAFTA’s Chapter 11, upon which the TTIP and TPP ISDS provisions are modeled, lets corporations complain about any policy, law, regulation, court decision, which in any way allegedly infringes on any hypothetical profit the corporations can conceive. This has nothing to do with uneven treatment between foreign and domestic businesses. Even where the provision applies equally to all, it’s held to strict liability as far as how it impacts any corporation’s alleged ability to profit.
This is proof that globalization compacts are not about trade, but about power. If they were about trade, then a law which applied to everyone equally wouldn’t be a problem.
Profit, meanwhile, is purely a measure of power, indeed an artifice of the mysticism of power. Especially in the time of quantitative easing and mark-to-make believe accounting for the finance sector and “austerity” for humanity, corporate “profit” is self-evidently a reflection not of actual productivity and wealth but on the contrary of destruction and robbery.
3. In being formally totalitarian, dedicated only to profit in principle, corporate bureaucracies are explicitly established as the direct exercise and rule of power (Might Makes Right), mediated only by government regulatory action. Strictly speaking, corporations are not supposed to be restrained directly by law. On the contrary, part of the purpose of the corporate form is to place legal barriers between the actions of corporate cadres and those actions’ having any actionable legal character, civil or criminal. The purpose is to legalize crimes when committed by representatives of “the corporation”.
Government bureaucracy, meanwhile, is supposed to be restrained by law and by respect for democracy. But here too individuals are often formally absolved of personal responsibility for actions. This kind of absolution goes to the core of the evil of any such hierarchies, since nothing is so firmly proven as that if you give individuals power and freedom from consequences for their actions, they’ll take their actions to bad extremes. That’s why humans should never allow power to concentrate, and should never grant individuals a blank check, and most of all should never combine the two. Meanwhile it’s laughable to expect any bureaucrat to respect democracy. By its nature bureaucracy respects only administrative power and process, and despises law and democracy. (Meanwhile, the “Law and Economics” ideology and jurisprudence seeks to impose radical responsibility upon regular workers for their actions, even where coerced by bosses into dangerous or illegal actions. There’s the Heads I Win Tails You Lose again.)
With this Gleichschaltung plan, a more complete formalization and rationalization of government bureaucracy’s subordination to corporate bureaucracy, the nominally “legal” bureaucracy is to be subsumed under the direct power bureaucracy. The government regulators are then to use their nominal fig leaf of legality, not as a restraint on power, but as propaganda on power’s behalf (and, where appropriate, as a weapon against rivals). This is the most institutionalized and rationalized form of the neoliberal scam.
So EC bureaucrats and similar bureaucracies (e.g. the EPA, FDA, and USDA) exemplify the mindset and role of the bureaucrat, which is to carry out the dictates of power in an automated way. As corporate power increases, these government bureaucracies will naturally become more inherently pro-corporate. This is according to their basic inertia, what they inherently are, rather than “capture” or “corruption”. These latter do exist, but are epiphenomenal. To emphasize those is to reinforce the lie that corporations and regulators have any kind of inherently adversarial relationship. On the contrary, where corporations hold the power, bureaucrats naturally see them as their true constituency. All this is also naturally pleasing to the inherent elitism and anti-democratic tendencies of bureaucrat types.
4. Where there’s any conflict between the corporate domination imperative and any other value, it’s taken for granted there can be no compromise. The non-corporate value must submit, if necessary to the point of its own extinction. As the historical record makes clear, this is true of all human values – health, happiness, prosperity, culture, tradition, religion, morality, simple human decency and fairness. None of these can coexist with corporations. In the long run these must all go extinct, if corporatism continues to exist.
This is borne out by the analysis of globalization as an economic and anti-political offensive being carried out by corporatism toward the goal of total domination. By economic and anti-political I mean that the goal is total domination through total economic domination, while all real manifestations of politics are to be suppressed completely. The neoliberal phony semblance of “politics” – sham elections, nominal constitutional rights and so on – may continue for some time. Actual power will be exercised at the command of corporate oligopoly sectors, by executive government bureaucracies and extranational globalization tribunals, and increasingly, directly by the corporations themselves.
5. This is not a new kind of corporate behavior. Privateering, the formal charter to commit crimes, goes back to the 16th century, the dawn of the corporate form. Corporations were envisioned in the first place to help enable “violent crime grafted onto trade”, as Ted Nace put it. The very term “free trade” originally referred directly to freedom from the law. Or as Hannah Arendt wrote in Origins of Totalitarianism, legalized gangsters sought to use politics to regulate their bloodshed. The British East India Company’s violent lawlessness is exactly mirrored today in the form every sort of corporate thuggery and the way corporate crimes are generally considered above and outside the law. Blackwater, explicitly declared above the law and granted a charter to literally perpetrate massacres, is merely the distillation of the way every large corporation is empowered to act, and the way they usually do act. Indeed, in principle this is the way they are required to act according to the core principle that profit-seeking is the only acceptable value. (What kind of sick society would ever have enshrined such a sociopathic form in the first place? The very existence of profit-seeking corporations reflects a self-loathing and self-destructiveness on the part of civilization itself.)
Today’s “free trade” has exactly the same criminal nature, but the term has been sanitized to refer to an economic theory rather than a legal concept of chartered outlawry.
Today it’s true in a precise sense that corporations are formally legalized criminal organizations. Take for example the repeal of the bucket laws, which used to recognize gambling as gambling whether done over dice in a back alley or stocks on an exchange. A bank couldn’t ask the state to enforce a wager any more than could a two-bit hood. But these sane laws started being repealed in the 1980s. The process culminated in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA; recognize a similarity to the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (FSMA)? the similarity isn’t just terminological). Now what was naturally unproductive antisocial gambling was legalized as a “contract”. The result was massively bloated bank profits and hideous distortions of the economy, climaxing in Wall Street’s intentional crash of the real economy in 2008. The crash was then used as the pretext for the Bailout and austerity. The Wall Street bailout was a massive payout on bets gone bust. This entire process was premeditated and had its origin in the legalization of what are naturally outlawed acts. Acts of reckless gambling by the banks, indistinguishable from a bunch of drunks at a bar betting on a football game, have come to comprise legal contracts. Of course, when a solitary bum bets his children’s lunch money at the track and loses, it’s terrible for that family. When the government lets the banksters do the same thing with trillions and then pays off these bets with taxpayer money, millions of children must go hungry.
The massive collusion, dating back to the 1990s, to fraudulently induce mortgages was helped along by this original legalization. And the rest of the crimes were piggybacked on these, leading up to the finance sector’s intentional crash of the global economy in 2008. Today where ISDS is in force we see the most extreme form of this kind of government protection. Here the corporate gambler doesn’t even need to make the bet, but only to say it could exist in theory, in order to get paid.
This is the most extremely destructive and the most typical of the legalized forms of organized crime which are bound up in the corporate form. While many of the subsequent crimes may still technically be illegal, they were enabled by the underlying legalization of gambling. And once the government has been corrupted enough, even existing laws are no longer enforced, as we see every day. This is simply the de facto legalization of corporate crime.
6. Corporatism is the process by which the 1% seeks to shift decision-making power and control from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations. In US constitutional parlance, the system is transferring this power asset from the three branches of government enshrined in the written constitution to the extra-constitutional Fourth Branch, the corporations. In this way, power and control are shifted from nominally accountable “representative democracy” to power structures which are totally unaccountable even in principle. The nominal government remains as corporate welfare bagman and police thug, and to maintain the fraudulent facade of elections and other trappings of representative democracy. I call this the bagman-thug model of government. This process is also called neoliberalism, since it seeks to maintain the semblance of classical liberalism and pseudo-democracy even as it institutes most of the substance of fascism.
This is part of the 1%’s general secession trend. The government abdicates its power to corporations at home, to globalization cadres abroad. It imports the alien power of the globalization cadres to domestic affairs. Throughout, government abdicates all public policy, privatizes all public property, but maximizes its absolute size, only now as corporate welfare bagman and thug.
Accounting 101 for corporate rule: The entity is Government. Power is its asset. Democratic accountability and financial risk are among its liabilities. Government’s creation and support for corporations is an organizational shell game. The goal is to transfer the power asset to the “private” corporate entity while leaving all liabilities with the taxpayer-liable “public” entity.
To sum up, here’s the basic tenets of corporate ideology:
A. Governments should create corporations. (Corporations are in fact extensions of government. They’re meant to reorganize central government power, removing it from even the theoretical jurisdiction of “representative government”. It’s a kind of organizational shell game, transferring an asset from one entity to another. Meanwhile any liabilities remain with the original entity.)
B. Corporations should be enshrined as entities that have infinite rights and zero responsibilities. They should have their profits guaranteed by the government, while all their risks are assumed by the government (i.e. the taxpayers, society) and the environment.
C. The main purpose of government is to provide corporate welfare and thug services for corporations.
D. Government should seek to liquidate all aspects of itself which are not directly toward B and C.
E. Government (including in the form of globalization cadres like the WTO and IMF) should always get bigger and more aggressive, but only in ways that are directly toward B and C.
F. The purpose of humanity and the earth are to serve as resource mines and waste dumps for corporations. Society, civilization, etc., are to be maintained only insofar as they help organize and pacify these slaves and victims. Otherwise these are to be liquidated.
Of course I’m not saying there’s some secret master council while consciously deliberates all this. I’m describing the behavior and inertia of a socioeconomic and political force, in the same way I’d describe how the ocean organizes itself and moves.
7. Today we confront the ultimate totalitarian manifestation of this ideology and the institutions based upon it, globalization. This reached a new level of aggressiveness in the post-war time, and especially since the end of the Cold War. The “free trade” treaties starting with NAFTA, “the law of the land” according to the Constitution, comprise a global anti-constitution. Their only content enshrines corporate license and prerogative at a level far above national governments and laws. Democracy and civil society have no place at all in this system. The “treaties”, written by multinational corporations, peddled by corrupted bagman/goon governments, and forced upon all other countries, are nothing but laundry lists of anti-sovereign usurpation and incitements to governments to set up administrative “free trade zones”, designed to obliterate all rule of law after the example of the Nazi General Government of Poland (as Richard Rubenstein pointed out, legalistically speaking no crimes were committed at Auschwitz), whose secession from law and civil society are then to be extended to encompass the entire “country”. At that point sovereignty would be completely obliterated and replaced by direct corporate rule.
The provisions are set up to encourage corporations or their goon government proxies to file lawsuits against any manifestation of sovereignty or democracy anywhere which could hinder the profit-seeking imperative, which is the only one recognized by the globalization structure. (The same imperative which is the only one recognized by the “legal personality” regime.) The suits are heard by unelected, unaccountable secret tribunals staffed, as are the globalization cadres themselves, by corporate lawyers who come in through the revolving door. Suits have been filed against the US, Canada, Mexico, and many other governments. The very threat of such suits has a stifling effect on democracy and public health.
While the WTO is relatively backward in having governments sue other governments on behalf of corporations, lateral agreements like NAFTA are more advanced in having the corporation directly sue the offending democracy. If it was deranged to allow domestic corporations to sue for rights against the government that created them, how anti-sovereign is it to allow alien corporations to sue a government? Perhaps the most telling fact is that under NAFTA and similar “treaties”, an alien corporation actually has more rights against a sovereign people than a purely domestic one not involved in global commerce and therefore not eligible for the powers of the Treaty.
This perversion of sovereignty is the terminal manifestation of how so-called foreign policy has always been the mechanism by which anti-democracy and subversion has been innovated “elsewhere” and then brought home to impose domestic tyranny.
8. The policies business wants encoded in the TTIP and TPP and enforced by governments and World Bank tribunals provide a clear picture of what these persons are. They’re nominally “businessmen” seeking “profit”. They’re really political and economic totalitarians seeking total power and control. They seek this under the rubric of business ideology, and using the corporation as their basic mode of organization. But any large corporation is not really trying to provide a good/service and make a profit, but is rather a power-seeking organization using its particular economic sector as its base of operations. It seeks to attain total power within that sector and use that economic base to assert political domination as extensively as possible.
I was about to say, “just because it’s not overtly political, the way a de jure political party or political pressure group is, doesn’t make it any less the same kind of organization.” But in fact anyone who pays attention to corporate actions knows they’re every bit as openly political as any non-profit, de jure political group. Corporations and their trade groups describe and disseminate political principles, devise political strategies and carry them out, lobby nominal politicians and regulators. There’s really no such thing as a lobbyist-politician dichotomy, but only two political activists talking to one another. In every way corporations are organizations which seek political power. The only difference is that under representative democracy a de jure “party” is the kind of organization which runs someone called a “candidate” for a particular type of political office, while corporations are bureaucracies, identical in a de facto way to nominal government bureaucracies like the USDA or FDA.
The twin bureaucratic structures, corporate and regulatory, understand their mission well. Today the TTIP and the TPP propose to expand the NAFTA model from North America across both oceans to encompass Europe and the Pacific Rim under a single corporate umbrella, turn the Atlantic and Pacific into ponds upon one big corporate park, use this power position to overawe Latin America and ruthlessly subjugate Africa, and to crush what’s left of the substance of democracy and economic self-determination in every country encompassed, including America and the EU. The corporations see total power within their grasp. Today they’re gearing up to reach for it. The coupled mechanisms of the globalization compacts through which they intend to attain the totalitarian goal are “investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) and “regulatory coherence”. The former is a direct assault on democracy, civil society, and politics as such, as well as being a massive corporate welfare conveyor. The latter is a formula for total bureaucratic Gleichschaltung (coordination). More specifically, it’s a plan to fully and formally institutionalize the subservience of government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy, and to fully rationalize the processes of this subservience.
Take for example the European Commission. The existing EU system is not pleasing to it. The EC, like any bureaucracy, despises democracy and accountability, and politics as such, and seeks to maximize its own power as such without any necessary reference to what its nominal job is supposed to be.
To its ongoing frustration, the EC hasn’t been able to persuade Europeans to relinquish political power, nor has economic coordination gone as far as the Commission wants, which is always the maximum conceivable. Although the EC has vast power to propose and decree “legislation” (what really are administrative decrees for the most part), it’s subject to some checks and balances from the European Council of national ministers and, to a lesser extent, the elected Parliament. Both of these latter bodies are subject to considerable bottom-up pressure from the people, and in turn put pressure on the EC. A good example of how the EC has been hamstrung is how relatively few GMO applications it has approved for cultivation, even though in theory it could have decreed the approval of far more. Of course a more practical obstacle is that few European countries want to cultivate them.
So in the EU there’s mostly administrative rule in theory, but to its disgust the EC has to jump through lots of political hoops. It looks to the TTIP to solve this problem of residual democracy. That’s why the EC is so ardent to embrace a compact which will turn it into a flunkey of the US government and mostly US-based corporations. The EC would rather hold a lower position in a fully rationalized, coordinated hierarchy of administrative rule, than be at the top of what it sees as a mishmash.
The TTIP is meant to override European democracy and European politics in general. Globalization is inherently anti-political. Corporatism sees politics as such to be an atavism. Globalization is meant to impose a bureaucratic, anti-political solution to this atavism.
To sum up. Regulatory coordination as enshrined under the TTIP and TPP will seek to:
*Formally coordinate all regulators under the goal of serving corporate power. It will formally subordinate government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy. Bureaucracy will go to war against democracy, politics and whatever’s left of law, while sham law will be enlisted to serve corporate power. All real government power (i.e. the power of violence) will be put under corporate control.
*A race to the bottom among all governments in all regulatory sectors.
*The direct access of corporations to regulators. Corporations shall directly write regulations.
*Regulators shall always be proactive on behalf of the corporations and at their command.
*Regulators shall always inform the corporations of any threat and help them to fight it.
*Regulators are to be required to respond to any corporate demands.
*All this is to be always in motion, always accelerating, always seeking the next way to further amplify corporate profit, power, control, domination.
Real power is inertially in the hands of the bureaucracies, “public” and “private”. But of course bureaucracies don’t just passively receive and use the power which economic structures deliver to them. On the contrary, globalization is a planned economy. It’s been planned by those same bureaucrats toward the goal of permanently increasing and expanding their power. Going back to the rise of imperialist ideology and corporate lobbying in the 19th century, corporatism has relentlessly and with ever greater self-consciousness and intentional focus sought to build this command economy.
The corporate manifesto I analyzed in my post on corporate-government bureaucratic coordination was issued by the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. Its provisions are typical of the consensus among all corporate “trade” groups and the various sector and industry groups.

The proposal is clearly not just any proposal. On both sides, many other cross-sector business groups explicitly support the proposal or suggest a similar approach in their contributions to the official consultations on TTIP, including BDI (German Industry Association), Confederation of British Industry, Coalitions of Services Industries, British American Business, National Foreign Trade Council, Roundtable on Trade and Competition, Transatlantic Business Council, National Association of Manufacturers, Eurometaux and the United States Council for International Business. Some, notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute, take a step further and demand that businesses are able to choose freely which set of standards and regulations they will apply.

On top of this, 30 business associations, including most of the aforementioned, have written a common letter to the US Trade Representative and to Commissioner de Gucht’s department to stress the importance of a system of “regulatory cooperation”. They include sectoral lobby groups from the chemicals industry, car industry, the financial sector, biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry and many more. They point to the existing structures on regulatory dialogue, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and assert that they “can be made much more effective and should include enhanced opportunities for dialogue with stakeholders”.

This is explicit confirmation from the corporations themselves that their goal is total economic control and domination, to be leveraged into total political control and domination. This confirms everything I’ve written about corporate totalitarianism and that humanity’s great need is to completely abolish the de jure corporate mode of organization. We have to abolish the corporations completely.
9. Today we’ve reached the terminal stage of this devolution. The neofeudal elites wish to undertake the final enclosure of all real assets – land, natural resources, physical space itself, buildings, infrastructure, and all the products of the mind. At the same time they want to cut all ties with human beings other than the ties of exploitation. They want to eradicate all semblance of government, law, and civil society, except insofar as these are weapons of domination or of pacification. They want to take totalitarian control of the Earth itself, enjoy a total license to do anything they wish and have this license enshrined as their “right”, while being absolved of literally ALL social or legal responsibility. These sociopaths, these willful outlaws, want to actually secede from civilization. They want to steal all the benefit of human interaction but incur zero reciprocal responsibility or obligation. They want to burn off all relationships between human and human, distilling them to the primal confrontation of master and slave in the dead of a wasteland. Since neither slaver nor slave can be human, these corporate fundamentalists wish to completely eradicate civilization and humanity itself. They are in fact post-civilizational barbarians.
The TTIP (and TPP) as a whole is an assault on freedom, democracy, economic prosperity, and human happiness. It’s to be a major escalation of corporate tyranny, a major step toward corporate domination. As we should have abundant experience by now, all of its promises are lies, and none of its promised benefits will come true. It’ll only accelerate the corporate destruction of the real economy and what’s left of democratic politics, leaving behind only austerity, serfdom, hunger, disease, and an ever more severe police state.
The rise of corporate rule has been a counterrevolution within the revolutionary age of fossil fuels, industrialism, capitalism, and democracy. Just as those, including the birth of the democratic consciousness, were features of the Oil Age, so was corporate rule a necessary countermeasure if the crypto-feudal parasites were to carry their prerogatives through the dangerous age.
Now all of those except one must decline and perish. In prospect we perceive the feudal core now rising again in the form of post-capitalist corporate domination, and we experience whatever’s left of the democratic consciousness which is the one shining legacy of the fossil fuel age, the greatest lesson humanity has ever learned, the most marvelous gift we bestowed upon ourselves out of the seemingly endless and pointless travails of history. It’s now up to us to either embrace this democratic heritage and go forward boldly living it, or reject it and adhere to the noxious residue as eternal slaves in the darkness.
Here’s my earlier TTIP posts. If you don’t read anything else, I strongly recommend reading at least part one about the coordination plan and the ISDS post.









July 12, 2014

Hobby Lobby and the Corporate Liberals

Filed under: Corporatism, Health Racket Bailout, Sovereignty and Constitution — Tags: — Russ @ 8:44 am


Hobby Lobby, Wheaton shariah, Eden Farms
I deplore it, but I’m not getting worked up about it. This all follows logically from corporatism, and is further proof that nothing short of the complete abolition of corporations will suffice if what you want is human freedom and well-being.
Meanwhile I’ll leave it to those who claim to want human institutions, but who in practice support corporatism, to whine about these developments. This is the way they wanted it to go. In 2009/2010 the liberals had the power to institute Medicare For All at will, and the one and only reason they didn’t do so is because they didn’t want to. They wanted to do their “reform” this way, rendering the system far more complex, irrational, dysfunctional, expensive, and greatly increasing corporate power.
The liberals wanted to do it this way because liberals are, first and foremost, corporatists. They therefore don’t want human well-being, but corporate domination. Let anyone deny this, and we need only ask in reply why they did what they did with health care, or with Wall Street, or with agriculture and food, or with everything else they did when they had the power to do whatever they wanted.
It’s liberals who want health care to be at the mercy of employment and, implicitly, under the control of employers. It’s also they who, however much some of them may sometimes whine about it, want to maximize corporate “rights” and corporate power. So I really can’t imagine why they’d be surprised or upset by this development, theocracy-via-corporatism. It follows logically from the corporatist premise. The corporate form is designed to maximize the power and control and unaccountability of those who run these organizations, and to let them commit crimes with impunity.
This is no “abuse” on the part of the SCOTUS*, but a perfectly logical, mainstream extension of corporatist doctrine. This is an inherently totalitarian doctrine, and there’s no logical limit to it.
There are two possible coherent positions: Coordinated corporatism, or abolitionism.
(Conservatives are just as foolish, but in different ways. In this case it’s liberals who are suddenly appalled at the same dynamic they normally applaud.)
*They also acknowledge the alleged legitimacy and authority of this absurd institution, nine mediocre priests of the “law” cult whose word is to have autocratic power. Nor is there any humanist dissent among these nine. As usual, these are unanimous decisions exalting corporate “rights”, which no one rejects or even questions. The alleged split is merely over the technical forms of law, which can’t withstand the corporate inertia and aren’t designed to. So again, what are the liberals whining about?


March 29, 2014

The Community Rights, Anti-Corporate Movement, and its Liberal Pro-Corporate Detractors


As the community rights and anti-corporate movement gathers momentum, it will increasingly strike fear in mercenary minds, and in the minds of all who remain stagnated in the obsolete ideologies of “left” and “right”, “liberal” and “conservative”, let alone the cretins who remain partisans of either the Democrat or Republican halves of the one-party corporatist state we now have.
At a website which claims to stand for a “participatory society”, and which likes to affect some radical-chic vibes, some members recently outed themselves as just another gang of masked liberals with an ethically and intellectually challenged hatchet job on the CELDF movement. Evidently when they say they want participation they don’t really mean participation, heavens no. How silly of us to misunderstand that word and think it means we the people politically and economically rule ourselves.
The fact is that this entire critique is from the point of view of statist, corporatist, pro-Democrat liberalism. It’s therefore irrelevant in principle, since the community rights movement cherishes participatory democracy and economic self-determination and rejects the legitimacy and authority of corporations and centralized states. The piece is also forced to lie at every practical point, since nothing has been more completely proven to be an historical failure than representative liberalism, insofar as it ever actually wanted to improve the lives of regular people and prevent concentrated power from preying upon the people. Of course, if it ever did want to do any such thing, it has long since ceased from any such intention and become a pro-corporate scam.
I’ll just make a few general replies to the piece.
1. It engages in bourgeois quibbling about what is and isn’t “constitutional”, what does and doesn’t derive from the Declaration of Independence in some sense a duly certified law professor would agree with, etc.
But citizens of a democracy care nothing about any piece of paper, except insofar as it expresses and helps realize political and economic democracy and freedom. Today we must care only about what’s effective toward anti-corporate abolitionism. The fact is that none of these documents has any eternal meaning at all, except to antiquarians talking about what they meant at a particular time in a particular context hundreds of years ago. Anyone who claims to think the Declaration of Independence, for example, has any ineffable “nature” other than what the people of a time are willing to fight to make it mean is a liar or is being completely ahistorical. (I’m not sure which of those a system academic is more likely to be.) But the only way these documents matter to modern abolitionists is in how they can help attain the abolitionist mission.
Of course, these liberal scribblers agree with me. Throughout the piece they repeatedly assert that what’s “constitutional” isn’t anything stable, anything based on principle, but is merely whatever the bourgeois courts say it is. The constitution is nothing but what Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas says it is. This is one of their core points.
Let’s correct a few historical facts obfuscated and falsified in the piece. In reality, the Declaration of Independence was not an affirmative statement of synthesized laws, but a rejection of illegitimate, usurped, and therefore tyrannical “law”. Therefore when we reject the legitimacy of the “laws” and rule of corporations, globalization tribunals, and the centralized governments who serve them, we are taking exactly the same stance as the signers of the Declaration. And when we cite it as precedent, we are using it in exactly the same way its original promulgators did. The dispute here is over whether the rule of Monsanto, the CAFOs, the frackers, Wall Street, is legitimate. We say it is not. The authors of this piece and their ideological ilk say it is. So it’s clear that there’s no common ground here, and that these scribblers are simply perpetrating a fraud when they claim to be arguing from some common principle, and that therefore people should listen to them and turn away from the anti-corporate struggle. But to be for or against corporate domination is the only meaningful demarcation today, which cuts across all other issues and gives them their true character, as opposed to the false divisions which system ideologues and partisans struggle to keep in place.
Similarly, the notion of constitutionalism propounded here, that “the constitution” is whatever is written and called a constitution, of course as interpreted by a handful of elite legal priests, is historically false and tendentious. On the contrary, one of the fiercely contested political controversies of the era leading up to the first stage of the American Revolution was the question of whether or not there’s an underlying sovereign constitution, of which even a written constitution is only a provisional expression, its legitimacy contingent on the institutions it establishes continuing to act in accord with the underlying people’s sovereignty. The gradually-adopted decision of the rebels that this sovereign constitution precedes any written one became a basic principle of this first stage of the Revolution. But this philosophical development was also an extension of the long evolution of the logic of political thought. When today a US liberal takes up the old British/Loyalist position, that the constitution is whatever a piece of paper (and really a handful of corporatist judges) says it is, and pretends this is “the” position, he’s simply trying to lie this controversy and this history out of existence. He’s probably totally ignorant of this history anyway.
So there’s our basic conflict over what is or isn’t constitutional: We say that this can only be decided through political struggle. They say it’s a purely elitist determination and decree. And there we see the basic difference between democratic philosophy and liberalism, which is inherently hierarchical, authoritarian, elitist. According to them, the courts and by extension the government are legitimate, the people are not. This is the basic liberal elitism. We see the basic contempt for a community-based organization daring to lay claim to constitutional interpretation, filthy peasants having the temerity to contradict Our Betters in the courts, academia, and of course among the professional liberal NGOs. 
2. They seem to have basically liberal-reformist objections to a more anarchistic philosophy. That’s irrelevant since the anti-corporate movement is, of necessity, both ideologically and on a practical level, anti-liberal. That’s because liberalism is inherently pro-corporate and pro-centralization, and also because it’s a proven failure at everything except helping to increase corporate power.
They also engaged in smear tactics, fraudulently seeking to conflate explicitly anti-corporate movements with, for example, racist “states’ rights” movements. This demonstrates their bad faith and their conceptual idiocy, since “states’ rights” makes no sense as a concept, while community sovereignty obviously does. It comes much closer to humanity’s natural and rational political and economic state, as well as being in much closer accord with the principle, paid lip service to even by today’s statist/corporatist tyrannies, that sovereignty can repose only in the people themselves, and that political power can only be conditionally delegated to any kind of hierarchy.
By now we know that these hierarchies, and the political philosophies which sought to justify them, including liberalism, were always frauds which have not improved the happiness, prosperity, and freedom of the people. At most they were able to use the age of cheap oil to build mass middle classes in the West. Here isn’t the place to debate whether or not this Western middle class existence is the highest utopia humanity can aspire to, the way liberals would have it. (I’d say the record shows that middle class existence, even where it was temporarily stable, didn’t seem to make people happier, and in many ways left them less content.) But I will stress the fact that as we reach the end of the Oil Age, this middle class is being ruthlessly liquidated, and the system is clearly headed back, as fast as it thinks it can politically get away with, to some pre-fossil fuel form of economic tyranny: Some kind of feudalism or debt slave society which will be much worse than even the medieval variety.
There’s no disputing this basic trend toward increasing corporate domination and the destruction of the economic middle class as well as the destruction of the Bill of Rights-based system of civil rights/liberties. All this is inherent to the system. Today liberalism, as an ideology and as a set of political prescriptions, is a massive scam meant to help this corporate domination plan along. That’s the basic aspect of the term “neoliberalism”: Liberal terms, concepts, forms like representative government, etc., have been completely harnessed to the goal of shifting all real power and control to corporate bureaucracies while maintaining nominal government as corporate welfare bagman, thug, and the impresario of circus “elections” and “representation”. I defy anyone to give me an example of any significant government initiative of recent decades which transcends those three basic categories.
(Obamacare, for example, is really a corporate bailout and a poll tax. It has no public weal character, but is a combination of corporate welfare conveyance (its main proximate goal was to bail out the financially beleaguered health insurance sector; from there it’s simply meant to keep this worthless corporate sector in profitable existence), political circus (it poses as a big public-interest program), with a thug element as well (the poll tax is meant to help force people who are trying to break free of the corporate cash economy back into it). Anyone who had really wanted a government program to provide better health care to the people would have demanded Single Payer, which would have been vastly less expensive for the people and would actually have helped people. But that’s not what government does any more, and that’s not what today’s liberal and conservative supporters of big government want to do. They want nothing but to aggrandize corporate power.) 
3. According to the comment thread, they’re the types who accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a “troll”. But as I said in points (1) and (2), they themselves are technically trolls in that they’re pretending to be making a critique of participatory democracy and natural real economies, based on some alleged common ground, when really there is no common ground between anarchism/mutualism/positive democracy and centralizing corporatist bourgeois liberalism. There’s no substantive common ground, just some vague alleged affinity of ideals. But as we’ve seen, liberalism has been nothing but the ongoing betrayal of these ideals, and is a definitively proven failure and/or treachery.
I will agree with one strategic point. My understanding of the CELDF strategy is that it seeks to use the concepts and rhetorical forms of constitutionalism and of the first stage of the American Revolution in an innovative and tactically effective way, to help organize modern anti-corporatism and rational economic tendencies toward building a coherent movement. But so far it seems pretty vague on what the next steps are, once organizations dedicated to fighting for these ordinances have been brought into existence.
But the hatchet job I critiqued here clearly has no goal other than as typical liberal gatekeeping. They’re trying to distract attention from the complete failure of their own scam and discourage people from taking up new ideas and new forms of activism and organization.
I especially like their horror at the prospect of communities fighting to resist interstate highways or fracking pipelines. And you always gotta love when so-called “leftists” take up the canned Frank Luntz term “patchwork”. Bush consultant Luntz called this one of his “words that work”, and we see how this term has indeed worked, to the point that it’s now a staple of alleged “left” discourse as well, wherever our pseudo-radicals are opposing the people where the people are trying to fight back at the community level, which is after all the natural level of human existence. Because liberals and authoritarian leftists have no such human basis for their existence, but are only synthetic products of mass society, they could never understand this kind of humanism.
(“Conservatism” is another part of the overall corporate propaganda scam, but in this case we’re concerned with a liberal and/or radical chicist attack, so I focused on that.)
In the end, the only meaningful diagnosis is that corporations are the overwhelmingly dominant form of economic and, increasingly, political tyranny today. Corporations are totalitarian, and are the radical enemy of all human values, as well as of our physical basis for existence. It follows that the only meaningful prescription is to commit to the clear goal of the total abolition of the corporate form.
This is not only the only meaningful analysis and goal, but has the virtue of presenting a clear goal, unlike the vapid “anti-“s of reformism and pseudo-radicalism. These clearly just want to talk and do nothing, which is why they intentionally claim to be for high-flown principles but offer only the most vague objections to “capitalism” or whatever in place of a clear prescriptive goal.
The community rights movement doesn’t have all the answers yet, but it does understand three basic facts which no one else seems to understand: The people and only the people are sovereign, corporations by definition are illegitimate and have no right to exist, and corporations are actively destructive of all human values and needs, and must therefore be fought to the end with all means at hand.


October 9, 2013

There Is No Government Shutdown


It’s nothing but a political charade. I’ll start with a quick review of how government money works, and how the central government wants to use it.
A government sovereign in its own currency has no debt issues as long as it spends constructively and its spending doesn’t grossly exceed the productive capacity of the economy. That’s the basic premise of greenbackerism, including its current version, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).
What we have today, however, are lies about alleged debt constraints. This is the deficit scare-mongering which is meant to conjure the right political environment for “austerity”. To the credit of the people, they haven’t let themselves be stampeded by this propaganda. The people consistently consider the deficit and debt to be lesser issues, compared to the quality of government spending. I.e., that it should be on programs which benefit the people as a whole, rather than which benefits corporations. We see how the Washington class and their corporate media simply impose this deficit-terror program against the will of the people.
Which leads to the second point, that US government spending is almost all corporate welfare, and simply goes down a destructive rathole. The only exceptions are pre-existing programs like Social Security, which the elites, including both Washington parties, want to gut.
I’m writing about this today to highlight again how the government’s ploys are all simply setting us up for further austerity assaults, when in fact there’s zero reason why the quantity of the deficit or debt, as opposed to its quality, ought to be an issue at all.
The so-called “government shutdown” needs to be seen in this light.
Every word that politicians, economists, and media pundits say about any alleged legal or “constitutional” restraints on spending is a lie. In general, we see how the system believes it has infinite money for corporate welfare, wars, weaponry, and the police state, and only starts claiming “budget constraints” where it comes to spending which might actually help some people.
In the same way, during this alleged “shutdown”, the government feels free to keep spending on those same malign and destructive things, but only claims its legal inability to spend where it comes to spending which might help anyone.
It’s a total fraud, intended, as I said, to further the “austerity” assault. Many of the programs now “shut down” are intended never to come back online again. Meanwhile, the two phony sides are wrangling toward their shared real goal, gutting Social Security and Medicare, which Obama will try to present as a Grand Compromise, while Republicans will put all the blame on Democrats. (But as usual it’ll be the Dems left making the affirmative claim, that some monstrosity is somehow a “good” thing. So it was with the health insurance bailout, AKA the right wing Heritage Foundation plan, AKA Obamacare.)
As always, the government does exactly what it wants to do and feels it can get away with, nothing more, nothing less. And why is the imperial executive so imperial and lawless where it comes to wars of aggression, assassinations, murder of US citizens without trial, GMO approvals, etc., but suddenly claims it can’t spend money because of the same Congress it otherwise ignores at its convenience?
There is no “government shutdown”. It’s pure theater.


May 14, 2013

The Monsanto Court and Corporatism


Sorry for the light posting for awhile. Lots of things to do, and lots of things on my mind.
I don’t have anything new to say right now about the “supreme” court’s anointment of Monsanto, but I’ll refer to what I already said.
One thing which occurs to me, as I read some stuff on this and see the confusion of liberals and radical-chicists, as well as those ostensibly concerned with food freedom, is that it’s another example of how no viewpoint other than total anti-corporatism is sufficient to understand the political world.
Thus, readers of this blog know that I predicted a unanimous pro-Monsanto decision. Similarly, almost everyone predicted wrongly that the corporate court would strike down Obama’s “health insurance” poll tax. But true anti-corporatists understood how essential it was to the corporate imperative that the commerce clause be extended in this totalitarian direction.
My point is that anti-corporatism demonstrates its superior predictive value, which in turn is evidence for its fundamental truth. It’s hard to see which competing world view, other than corporatism itself, accurately describes the state of civilization.


March 19, 2013

What To Do – First Principles


Here’s another try at clarifying first principles, something I think still has not been done except on a purely individual basis, and rarely even there.
I take it as empirically proven, and as common sense in the first place, that a fundamentally criminal system cannot be reformed. If it’s a car, you can’t make it act like a boat or a plane. We’ve seen the results of driving this car into a lake, or off a cliff, over and over and over. To insist we keep on trying, the way liberals insist, with things like the Food Control Act or GMO “co-existence” (any version) or Obama’s health insurance poll tax, can no longer be called ignorance or naivete. It’s intentional misdirection on behalf of evil.
So by now I take it for granted that “reformism” is impractical, inexpedient, and wicked. Again, it was common sense from the start (how can you get anything but psychopathic behavior from a thing, a “corporation”, which has been formally enshrined as a mercenary psychopath in principle, from the start? it’s not a plane, it’s a car), and has been proven by the evidence record beyond any shadow of a doubt, let alone a reasonable doubt.
Then why do liberals still exist in the West in such large numbers? Because they lie when they claim to oppose the evils of empire and corporate domination. Just as much as their conservative twin, they support organized crime because they’re still getting some of the crumbs, and because they enjoy the pathetic vicarious sadism of feeling like they have a piece of the power and violence, although they really have no power at all. The only difference between liberals and conservatives is one of temperament – a conservative is more conscious, more “honest”, about supporting organized crime, a liberal is more of a hypocrite, has more of a lingering fake “conscience” he needs to assuage by mouthing anti-criminal platitudes. But he supports the exact same array of criminal policies the conservative does.
This has always been true, although the seamless continuity from the criminal Bush regime to the identically criminal Obama regime has been the most extreme manifestation yet. It looks like Obama’s real significance has been to encourage more and more liberals to dump even the fake vestige of conscience, the “compliment vice pays to virtue”, as La Rouchefoucauld called hypocrisy, and openly avow their support for aggressive war, the police state, and a corporatist command economy. This wipes out the last meager shred of difference between liberals and conservatives. I think we can call the case closed, and from here on use those terms merely to denote the tribal supporters of the identical Democrat and Republican parties.
In that case, what can a decent human being, advocate of democracy, enemy of the toxification of our food and environment, do? One thing she cannot do is still be a “liberal”, still be a “reformist”. These are evil in their essence, and will continue to try to suck nascent idealism into the corporate maw. I hope there won’t be many who decide in that case to give up and seek some private garden to tend. That’s a kind of desertion, and it won’t work – no matter how much you try to keep your head down and mind your own business, the enemy will still be coming for you eventually. That’s what totalitarianism does, and why it’s called by that name.
I think the only course open is to recognize the need for the abolition of empire, of corporatism, of globalization, of all top-down, supply-based organization; to abolish these, and replace them with purely bottom-up, demand-based organization. (Perhaps this distinction shall be more acceptable to those who still consider “hierarchy” as such to be too vague a term. Although I’d say that by definition hierarchy usurps power upward, concentrates it, and then imposes it in a top-down, supply-based way.)
To need this, to want it, to will it, and to fight for it, first by propagating the ideas of this fight, getting them into the public consciousness by whatever means possible; and by organizing a movement which intends to accomplish these goals, and which can sustain itself during the times of trial while the system is still strong.
In that case, here’s a few hypothetical questions people can ask themselves, to help clarify this first principle.
1. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you could press a button and abolish all supply-based modes of organization, the corporate form, centralized government, and all things which are leeches upon these. Let’s say pressing the button would somehow accomplish this painlessly, except for whatever “pain” would then be involved in communities having to live within their natural means and not by stealing from others. Would you press that button? It seems that most Western “liberals” would not, because that would mean they could no longer live off the fruits of imperial crime. Many of their kinds of “jobs” would cease to exist, since all the phony “work” of maintaining corporatism would no longer exist. Only the real economy would still exist.
2. What if pressing the button would guarantee humanity’s victory, but it would also guarantee that the criminals would force lots of unpleasantness along the way. Would you still press it? This question is meant to distinguish between those who really want to abolish organized crime, which of course will use any means to try to preserve itself, and those who are really just radical-chic liberals who talk the radical talk but would run home to momma the moment things actually got rough.
3. What if there was no guarantee at all, other than that humanity will try to free itself from empire and create real democracy. Would you join that fight? This question is meant to get people to think about their endurance, their morale, their discipline and belly for a long fight.
I think time is running out for mere ad hoc contemplation. If the people are going to organize real anti-corporate movements in the West, now is the time to start doing it. That would mean agreeing on the basic principles, the basic will to renounce Western empire, deciding on a list of operational goals and necessary tasks toward those goals, and then getting to work on those tasks in a systematic, disciplined way.


July 12, 2012

Under No Circumstances


Under no circumstances should anyone ever accept any “capitalism for me, anarchism for you” setup.
For example, governments and corporations are not “patriotic”. They regard the jobs and wealth of “their” people as infinitely offshorable. They have zero loyalty to any such notions. So why would anyone ever accept such propaganda from the system? And if you truly believe in patriotism, don’t you need to regard all the elites of the corporate state system as being traitors to the country?
Or the way system propaganda, like in the corporate media or with NGO front groups, tries to implant notions that the 99% could ever “owe” any morality to the system. But corporations are sociopathic in principle. They openly declare that their one and only imperative is profit. So why would anyone for a second entertain any notion that any of us could “owe” something like a “debt” to a corporation, as a matter of “morals”? Why would anyone ever reciprocate with anything other than the corporate Hobbesian mindset?
The fact is that it’s the elites of politics, economy, culture who made the conscious choice to completely destroy society and humanity itself, replacing it with a scorched earth free-fire zone of organized crime and psychopathic profiteering, with the formerly human victims slated to cannibalize themselves in a cesspool of cutthroat “competition”. It’s the elites who declared war on humanity. It’s the elites who want to turn the Earth itself into a cesspool of viciousness.
While we must strive with all our resurgent humanity to rebuild community among ourselves, toward those who would treat us as something less than human, toward the system and all who seek to ape it, we must reciprocate fully. We can start be rejecting in principle all morality, all authority, all legitimacy, where it comes to any system institution or meme.
Here’s one example: the “supreme court”, as a thing and as a meme. (In our context this overwrought term is appropriate, because the notion that something like a supreme court has any legitimacy, that its decisions have any objective existence and power, is indeed something injected into our psychology, like a physical pathogen, and intended to replicate itself through both contagion and heredity.) I see everywhere people who are generally skeptical of the system who are still prone to invest this court with some kind of objective existence and power. I saw one discussion about “when did the 90s end?”, with one commenter suggesting “Bush v. Gore”. He didn’t sound like he meant this symbolically. Rather, he seemed to think that a handful of scumbags calling itself a “supreme court” and issuing a proclamation intended to help a handful of thugs steal an election, somehow actually has more “legitimacy” than the same proclamation issued by a handful of scumbags on a street corner.
The truth, of course, is that just like Andy Jackson said, the SCOTUS has zero power to enforce anything, and depends completely on the executive’s thug arm. It’s nothing but a propaganda front for that might-makes-right arm. In the case of the 2000 election, to roll over and give up was 100% the unforced, voluntary choice of Gore and his sniveling supporters and voters. They made the infinitely shameful choice to surrender. No one but themselves is responsible even the slightest bit.
The same is true of any other decision. The SCOTUS does what its masters want it to do. Citizens United merely “legally” enshrined and intensified the existing vector of One Dollar = One Vote. It’s incoherent to accept the existing electoral regime but whine about CU as some kind of abuse. CU is perfectly mainstream jurisprudence and policy, agreed upon by liberals and conservatives. If you want to reject CU, you’d better start by rejecting Bellotti and Buckley, and the whole program of “elections” among contending factions of the 1%. But how typical of liberals to accept all that but whine about a trivial detail.
Similarly, the recent decision upholding the Obama Poll Tax is a perfectly consistent, normal decision, just as Obama’s tax is consistent, normal policy. (In both cases “normal” is referring to the corporate system’s vector.) How typical of the same conservatives who support the orgy of corporate welfare and corporate mandates everywhere else (how is the 10% ethanol mandate not a tax as well?) to cherry-pick an example like this and whine about what an abuse it is. How can you want the corporate state system, including a “health care” system based on private insurance monopolies, but not want the government to act as aggressively as necessary to force participation in that system (once such participation becomes necessary in order to maintain the system at all)?
The fact is that liberals and conservatives are both the same inertial coward and leech who is afraid of corporate power but also wants to free ride on it (thus the long since proven Big Lie of “trickle-down” is now the fundamental secular religion of both groups, along with electoralism itself). There’s also some intellectual laziness involved, a disinclination to even try to think beyond system brainwashing. The result is this craven, stupid acceptance of the “legitimacy” of the 1%, to the point that even those who want to reject its power tend to acknowledge its alleged authority. The cult of the “supreme court”, certainly the most obviously fraudulent “branch” of government by any objective measure (since it can’t even partake of the gutter legitimacy of Might Makes Right, which unfortunately is a legitimacy criterion to many), is a clear example of this.
One measure of our self-liberation shall be the extent to which we liberate our minds from the oppressor and casually think and talk of the fact that the SCOTUS has no legitimacy. This acceptance, once it becomes second nature, can then be expanded to encompass the rest of the corporate/state system.


July 2, 2012

Tax Farming – Mandates and Monsanto


The US continues its descent into neo-feudal barbarism, now resuscitating old-style tax farming with the open “constitutional” imprimatur of the SCOTUS. We see yet another parallel between today’s regime and the decrepit Ancien Regimes. The government can now, as a pseudo-constitutional matter, enforce any corporate mandate with its own thug “taxation” backup. Needless to say, this merely reveals the mandate itself as a tax which has been farmed out to corporations, and provides further evidence for the fact that corporations are extensions of government. It also provides a stark example of how taxation is not really a fiscal policy, but a policy of social and economic control and domination.
Meanwhile the courts of Brazil are trying to turn the corner, ruling that Monsanto’s extortion of a 2% tax on soy production (through its coerced GM soy contracts) is illegal. A provincial court has already ruled against Monsanto. While this ruling is on appeal to the highest provincial court, the supreme court has ruled (in rejecting a Monsanto petition) that any provincial ruling will apply to the entire country.
If the current ruling – that this is an illegal tax, that any seed patent is valid only for the first sale, and that the patent on Roundup Ready soy already expired in 2004 anyway – stands, Monsanto will have to pay at least $2 billion and possibly as much as $7.5 billion in restitution to Brazilian farmers, and its whole feudal/gangster regime in that country will lie in ruins.
This, coupled with the SCOTUS ruling here, highlights what I’ve warned many times – if the Obama Stamp tax/poll tax can be enforced, then there’s no theoretical limit to the corporate mandates/taxes which can be imposed. Monsanto will certainly start directly extorting taxes, and the US government will mandate GMOs, as soon as these seem politically doable. (I.e., as soon as the return-on-investment of such an assault looks good.)
While we can’t look to courts anywhere for our salvation, it’s nice to see a rare example of courts actually applying the legendary “rule of law” and trying to act in the public interest and against criminals. In the US, meanwhile, it’s clear that the courts, starting with the supremely corrupt corporate court, are nothing but flunkeys of corporate power, and have no legitimacy whatsoever.


June 29, 2012

The Obama Poll Tax (Part 2)


Margaret Thatcher, like her counterpart in the US, spent the 80s enshrining the neoliberal assault as the new standard for all political and economic policy. It has dominated all government policy since.
But toward the end of her reign Thatcher overreached, and this overreach helped bring on her downfall. This was her attempt to impose a Thatcher poll tax, what their euphemism called a “Community Charge”*, on the people of the UK. Since both Reagan and Thatcher agreed that government could borrow all the money it desires, and since they experienced few barriers to cutting taxes on the rich, this poll tax can be explained only as an assault on the non-rich. Like all taxes by now, its purpose is control, not revenue.
In one of the few bright episodes of recent decades, Thatcher’s poll tax was defeated by a campaign of mass civil disobedience, and the result was her ouster by her own party. So there we have the precedent which gives modern proof of concept: Refusal to pay an odious tax can achieve the same effect it did in 1765.
Today we confront the same thing. Americans remember the “poll tax” mostly as a device to enforce Jim Crow, a nasty disenfranchisement mechanism buried once and for all by the 24th Amendment (and a subsequent SCOTUS decision). But it has a much older, more comprehensive history, as a primary weapon of economic and from there political control.
One example is the French taille. Tocqueville describes in his Ancien Regime and the French Revolution (in Book 2, Chapter 12 and elsewhere) how the French nobility steadily shook off or evaded most of the taxes to which they were theoretically subject, while in direct proportion the monarchy came to rely more and more on this head tax, which fell overwhelmingly on the bourgeoisie and peasantry. By the 18th century it and some new variations were the primary tax. This was one of the grievances which exploded into Revolution.
That example at least did have an actual revenue motive, though we can say its real purpose was to absolve the rich from having to contribute to that revenue. (It also provides another revolutionary precendent.) But in the case of colonial poll taxes, often called “hut taxes”, there’s no doubt about the primary intent being to force an economic transformation for the imperial benefit.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, European colonial annexation in the late nineteenth century molded the multitude of different agrarian, pastoralist, and occasionally even hunter-gatherer groups into peasant producers largely through the imposition of residential hut and poll taxes. This forced rural producers to earn cash for tax payment, generating the foundations for the continent’s agricultural export economy based on the beverage crops of coffee, cocoa, and tea and several food and fiber crops including peanuts, cashew nuts, tobacco, sugar, and cotton……….

The historical motive of acquiring control over tropical biodiversity was a major driver of colonial subjugation of other nations by the Western Europeans. By setting up slavery — and later indentured labor-based plantation systems — a steady stream of tropical goods and raw materials was obtained, both to diversify European diets and clothing, and provide the raw material for new industries.

Moreover most of this swelling flow of valuable goods was not actually paid for since the very same taxes extracted by colonial rulers from local peasants and artisans were used to buy these export goods from them, thus converting a cash tax into a goods tax, while the foreign exchange earnings from selling these export goods to the world were not permitted to flow back to the colony.

Here we’re coming closer to the economic control aspect of the health racket mandate. As the corporatist system continues its attempted feudal conversion, economic relocalization is the only alternative we have to total impoverishment and debt enslavement. Post-Peak Oil, there are two possibilities: The full restoration of feudalism under far worse than medieval conditions, in which case the whole democratic movement will be proven to have been a mere accessory of cheap oil. Or, we can choose to take the final step in democracy’s logic and cast off the last authoritarian superstition, “representative” pseudo-democracy. We can relocalize on the basis of sustainable, cooperative and usufruct agriculture. This would be the culmination of human wisdom, all we’ve fought and bled so hard to learn and win. It would render the travails of the Oil Age birth pangs, and render history logical. But neoliberalism intends to confirm the opposite – that the age of cheap oil and cheaper democracy was an ahistorical blip, and all the manic-depressive ups and downs of the Oil Age were meant to simultaneously soften us and soften us up, for the final triumph of the ancient slave system, which will then be proven correct in the end, after all.
Taking our destiny in our hands will require a broad disengagement from the corporate economy. All the economic trend lines for the non-rich already point toward greater reliance on the informal economy. Relocalized production, growing our own food, barter – these are all things the Depression will be forcing us to do anyway. Whether we turn them into an affirmative way of life and the basis of a healthy, vigorous, joyful democratic renewal is our choice.
Today, as the criminals systematically seek to string barbed wire around us, we need to fear this older, broader use of a poll tax. Just as foreign imperialism used it for economic Gleichschaltung of farmers who were outside the imperial commodity crop system, so today’s domestic imperialism will try to use mechanisms like forced purchase of the health insurance Stamp to keep us confined in the dollar-based cash economy. This is likely to be the case with the expensive and odious registration requirements of the Food Tyranny bill and any mandates the goon FDA chooses to inflict. That’s a critical battlefront, but we can look around for examples and see them everywhere. For example, the very provision of finance “reform” which allegedly sought to rein in predatory credit practices threatens also to deny credit to workers in the informal economy even where married to cash earners. It seems someone up there wants to quash familial attempts to transition from cash/debt slavery to self-reliance.
Looked at in this perspective, we can see how the health racket bailout is also imposing a kind of head tax. How would someone immersed in a cooperative economy pay for it? (I leave aside for the moment the related question of how the government might seek to legally assault coop arrangements by calling them taxable barter. But that’ll be a subject for future posts. For now I’ll point out the common system goal – everyone must earn cash. Everyone must participate in the corporatized economy.)
I wrote earlier about how the Stamp mandate entrenches corporate tyranny, how health insurance can never work in practice and makes no sense even as a concept, how it’s unconstitutional, and how it’s a regressive tax and a reactionary policy. Now I conclude by arguing that it’s also a poll tax. As such it’s an intended weapon of socioeconomic control. This also brings us back full circle to how it’s an entrenchment of tyranny.
I don’t agree with economic “libertarian”, i.e. tyrannical propertarian, Murray Rothbard on much**. But his commentary here, directed specifically at Thatcher’s poll tax, is right on:

Not only that: but a poll tax is a charge levied on a person’s very existence, and the person must often be hunted down at great expense to be forced to pay the tax. Charging a man for his very existence seems to imply that the government owns all of its subjects, body and soul.

And how was Thatcher’s poll tax defeated? Through a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience:

The Anti-Poll Tax Unions, as mentioned earlier, called for mass non-payment of the tax. As the amount of the poll tax began to rise and the inefficiency of local councils in collection of the tax became apparent, large numbers of people refused to pay the tax. Local councils tried to respond with enforcement measures, but these were largely ineffective against such huge numbers of non-payers – up to 30% of former ratepayers in some areas refused to pay, according to the BBC.

A Labour MP, and Militant Tendency supporter, Terry Fields, was jailed for 60 days for refusing to pay his poll tax. For this he was expelled from the Labour Party in December 1991. The Labour party refused to support the non-payment campaign, especially amongst MPs – “Law makers must not be law breakers” was Neil Kinnock’s response.

The strategy was threefold. Firstly, non-payers were encouraged not to register. Secondly, they were encouraged to go to court and contest the Local Council’s attempt to gain liability orders and, by doing so, clog up the courts. After a liability order was granted, non-compliance was the next step, refusal of admission to bailiffs, etc. If this led to another court hearing – the first one at which the non-payer could be jailed – the non-payer usually did not turn up. Because of the huge number of non-payers, usual enforcement measures like liability order, bailiffs and even arrest warrants and committal hearings proved useless – there were not enough bailiffs, courts or prison cells to implement any of the orders granted. For example, in November 1990 South Yorkshire police said they were planning to refuse to arrest poll tax defaulters even when instructed to by the courts because it would be “physically impossible for the police because of the large number of defaulters.” The second year of the poll tax saw an increase in non-payment as people who had been wavering decided to join the non-payment campaign.

So Thatcher can be our model here. Where it comes to the Stamp mandate, the basic action is clear. If you can’t afford a “good” policy, then refuse to buy the worthless Stamp. I’ll grant that one significant difference is that whereas the Thatcher Stamp was to be collected by local “councils”, Obama and his insurance racketeer masters have deputized the more dangerous IRS as their goon. But the principle is the same. (Note also how the “opposition” Labor Party was a willing and eager Thatcher thug where it came to trying to extort the tax. Labor angrily opposed the grassroots campaign, which succeeded only in spite of it. So there’s another parallel for today. Anyone who hasn’t absolutely renounced the Democratic Party is still unfit for the struggle. Such people still understand nothing about our circumstance.)
The goal of the Stamp mandate is flatly to steal as much as possible, and also to try to forestall the very recourse to the informal economy which is also the solution to our predicament, the only alternative to mass resistance. If they really try to use the IRS as this medieval-style goon, then mass resistance may be the only way to accomplish this recourse at all.
People talk more and more about revolutionary situations. One ingredient which is usually part of the mix is that the system tries to collect a new tax the targets find odious. I mentioned above the Ancien Regime’s increasingly onerous imposition of the taille. We’re all familiar with the Stamp Act. Today, the American people should view this looming gangster mandate as something odious far beyond the Stamp Act. It’ll be far more onerous and have absolutely zero justification (even the Stamp Act did have a “pro” argument, albeit a weak one). Since Obama has chosen to overtly politicize this even in the courts, calling his own mandate a “tax” (after he angrily denied it was a tax, during the political fight), and since this is clearly a political scam anyway, let’s meet that challenge. This is a political fight. Call it the Stamp Tax, the Obama Tax, or whatever’s most powerful.
Thoreau went to jail rather than pay an odious poll tax. This was the wellspring for his great essay, Civil Disobedience, a subsequent inspiration to Gandhi, King, and so many others. This is part of the lineage of today’s struggle. Direct resistance to kleptocracy coincides so well with the broader relocalization imperative. This broader imperative is both indirect resistance and the transformation toward the post-debt, post-fossil fuel economy we must reach in the end anyway. In both cases we must rely far more on the informal economy. So for example: Growing our own food is affirmative and creative in itself, and in itself is also an indirect struggle against corporatism. But we must also be prepared to directly struggle against government thuggery on behalf of Big Ag. The same elements are present in every sector.
When we look at Stamp resistance in that epochal context, how it would harmonize, how it would take support from existing trends and in turn reinforce them, the case doesn’t look so hopeless.
On the other hand, there’s the dismal fact that we’ll increasingly lack access to system health care. But that’s the process they’re already imposing. The whole debacle of this bill proves it. The system, the rackets, both kleptocratic parties, intend to enclose health care so that only the rich have access to it, while the rest of us only pay and pay and pay. That state of affairs won’t change so long as this system exists.
So burning our ships at the shoreline of the informal economy would really be only a symbolic act, since the criminals already stole the sails.
Health care itself will have to be relocalized for the post-oil age. But our one chance of regaining control over any aspect of the health care system as we’ve known it is successful struggle against kleptocracy.
So however one looks at it, we have to resist and reject the Stamp.
*I’m all for communities supporting themselves. Which is precisely why we want parasitic central governments, big corporations, and their taxation out of our lives. How exactly was Thatcher’s centralized poll tax a relocalization measure? Of course, it was no such thing. As always, the central government does nothing but steal, at best then trickling some of the loot back down to privileged recipients only. If the community from whom the tax was extracted ever sees anything but detriment from the transaction, that’s a rare accident.
**I’m ready to agree with some of these people on another point. Not long ago I wrote, No Taxes on the Non-Rich. Reading the Rothbard passage linked above helped convince me once and for all of the conclusion I’ve been heading toward: No Tax, period. Let’s demand zero taxation. Not necessarily in principle, but let’s either oppose or remain silent on all taxes. I say we should happily accept a flat rate as long as the rate is ZERO. Let the central government borrow every cent for its malevolent spending. As Bernanke himself admits, they just print however much they want anyway. They’re all closet MMTers.


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