November 05, 2011

Government and Big Business: Crime Does Pay

I like bats much better than bureaucrats. I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of Admin. The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid dens of crime that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business concern. -- C.S. Lewis

Though the comic strip detective of yesteryear Dick Tracy often quipped that "Crime does not pay", his was a 'cut-and-dried' world of make-believe where villains always end up behind bars, unable to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. In the real world the lines are often quite blurred, so that Dick would have a hard time telling who the real bad guys are. The mafia dons of today operate openly out of high-rise buildings flying corporate banners and state flags - their victims are you, me and the rest of society.

Crime Does Pay

November 2, 2011
Making crime pay is literally true in America nowadays. Not just token work like making cons stamp out license plates or pick up trash along the Interstate. There’s not much money in that.
But there’s a fortune to be made when government “partners” with (cough) private business to tag team the public – as in the case of photo enforcement of traffic violations.
The profits can sail into the million annually in a major metro area such as Washington, D.C. (which has cameras everywhere) and the profits – yes, profits – are typically split evenly between the two.
Now, ordinarily, profits are a good thing. They are the result of having produced something of value that people not only want but but are willing to pay for. No one wants a traffic ticket – and few of us pay them willingly. We pay only because of the implied threat of violence that accompanies each such notice if we dare not to pay.
Profits are properly the realm of voluntary free exchange – not government force.
It is right and proper for the state to compel restitution, say – as when a criminal is required to make his victims whole. But there is something unnatural and vile about using the frightening power of organized state violence to make a buck. To point guns at people in order to funnel money – lots of money – to a “vendor,” that is, to a privately owned business, so that its owners can get rich off the misery of the citizenry, with government providing Mafia-style thugs to help him collect.
This is in fact the defining essence of fascism – and it is exactly the sort of system we’ve allowed to be erected under our noses. Often, with a good number of us cheering it on.
And we have allowed it because we’ve (that is, most people) been taught quite deliberately to misunderstand what fascism is. Our schools impart images of Hitler and his Nazis, of jackbooted stormtroopers and Nuremburg rallies – and most especially, of jew-baiting and racism. But those are incidentals. The essence of fascism is not racialism. It is corporatism. The marriage of Big Business and Big Government.
It is about for-profit government – at bayonet point.
And it’s much more than merely traffic tickets, though that has become an enormous problem – especially since many of these cons are almost entirely automated, without even a nod to due process. There’s no facing one’s accuser, no day in court. Just a ticket in the mail along with the private contractor’s affirmation of your guilt, unchallenged and taken as given (it being up to you to demonstrate otherwise, upending a basic principle that goes all the way back to Magna Carta) along with an order to pay up.

I’ve written before about mandatory insurance – first car, soon health and bet your bippie more to come (such as coercive life and perhaps home insurance) too. Once again, we have the essentially fascist practice of (so-called) private businesses enlisting the violence business of the state to enlarge their “customer” base by force. It is no accident, incidentally, that DMVs and other organs of the state began calling their unwilling victims just that – “customers” – beginning in the late 1980s, when fascism, American-stytle really began to pick up speed. But it also goes back a lot farther, to the 1930s – when FDR took a whole book full of ideas (including word torture such as calling compulsory taxes paid into the government Ponzi scheme called Social Security “contributions”) from his Italian mentor, Il Duce – the man who articulated the concept of fascism and made it state policy in Italy was widely admired by the West many years before that funny little man in Germany who ripped-off some of his ideas and symbols was anything more than a shabby beer-hall bully.
American schoolchildren have been educated in government schools, so of course they are largely ignorant of these things – of things like the National Recovery Act and its spread-winged adler mascot, cousin of another and very similar adler mascot across the sea. Il Duce went down in flames – actually, was hung up by his ankles – because of his association with German racialism. But fascism lives on in the very “Homeland” that once sent troops across that same ocean, ostensibly to stamp it out.
We – the average American dumbo, ignorant and propagandized as he is, attentive only to football and Dancing With the Stars  – believes we can’t possibly have fascism here because America is diverse and doesn’t mistreat its minorities (A-rabs excepted, of course) as state policy.
But that’s just exactly what we do in fact have – and are getting more of every day. “Conservatives” have for years yarbled about the threat of communism and socialism, while the real threat ran right between their legs and set up shop behind them.
The “people” own nothing in this country – but large combines with political muscle control nearly everything. And make a handsome profit besides.
We may not have billboard ads for Der Sturmer along the highways. But we’ve got everything else that matters – from internal security checkpoints to “contributions” at gunpoint from unwilling “customers” for the profit of (cough) private “businesses” whose business is fundamentally about coercion, about enriching the small elite that runs the operation, all of it marketed as being in the National Interest and necessary for Public Safety.
Only we’re taught not to notice it – or call it by its rightful name – precisely because there aren’t cartoonish pictures of Der Jude (or der A-rab) all over the front pages of the New York Times.
The genius of latter-day fascism lies in its America-style reincarnation – wrapped in the the flag and family values and heterogenous “diversity” – but exactly the same program under the skin.
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Throw it in the Woods?

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Government and Big Business: The False Dichotomy

Dees Illustration
J.G. Vibes

What is a false dichotomy? It is a situation where there seems to be a narrow field of two options to choose from, when there is actually a larger set of possibilities beyond those guidelines.  In other words, you are asked to choose between black and white, leaving you to think that the only colors in existence are black, white and maybe gray, when in reality there is a whole palette of different shades and tints that were left completely out of the discussion.

The statement, “If you’re not with us, then your against us” is a classic false dichotomy, because it presents two options -- both of which amount to violence -- while completely neglecting the option of remaining neutral.  Likewise, the traditional two-party political system in the West is a striking example of the false dichotomy.  The Democrats and Republicans may have some small insignificant differences that play on people’s emotions, but when it comes to all the important things that effect everyday life for average people there is a “bipartisan consensus” to protect Anglo-American business interests, regardless of public opinion. This bipartisan alliance against the average citizens results in a one-party system that gives the illusion of being a two-party system.  This leaves no choice for the majority of the country who just want to live honest lives without being subject to the policies that either of those two parties are seeking to enact.

After watching identical policies transpire under Bush and Obama, most Americans have come to understand that both parties are one and the same.

However, there are many deeper false dichotomies in our civilization which can also hinder our ability to see the big picture.

The most pervasive example would be that of big business and government; Wall Street and Washington.

It’s no secret that big business works so closely with the government that they are arguably the same entity; this fact is highlighted by the revolving door that exists between these two different factions of the state. Most people who find themselves in high-level political positions were once CEO’s of fortune 100 companies, and those who aren’t will likely become a well-connected lobbyist upon leaving office.

Dick Cheney, vice president and top executive at Halliburton, or Goldman Sachs CEO turned treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, would be among the most obvious examples of this revolving door. Both of the crooks in question undoubtedly used their position to influence events in such a way that would greatly benefit their respective businesses -- this is commonplace in Washington. It is even more typical for those involved in business to develop quiet and cooperative relationships with people who already have political power, which allows them to direct national policy from behind the scenes by simply befriending or bribing decision makers.

The relationships between the world’s most powerful people are blurred in the public, but behind the scenes many of them work very closely together, went to the same colleges, go to the same social clubs, attend the same meetings, and send their children to the same schools.  What this tells us is that beyond political parties and campaign rhetoric there are many connections and relationships which are rarely discussed in the public.

Taking this a step further, the government has been able to develop a forced monopoly on education, while big business has been able to develop an equally damaging monopoly over the media.  Since big business and government both represent different arms of the same ruling class we can say that together through their control of various social institutions, such as the media and education system, they are able to direct public opinion away from their crimes and establish a nationalistic folklore in the public consciousness which is favorable to them and their worldview.  Washington and Wall Street is on the same team, working toward the same goals, and in many cases are represented by the very same people.

On paper it may seem like these two interests would be at odds, because it is technically the government’s job to regulate industry.  Unfortunately, this is where things start to get dangerous, because the big corporations that are committing fraud and really need to be put in check are the ones that remain above the law and always seem to get off the hook. Sometimes they even get bonuses in the form of tax funded bailouts!

Meanwhile, the small business owners and entrepreneurs find it harder and harder stay open because they don’t have a direct line to Washington, or the extra income to spend on lobbyists.  There is nothing that Fortune 100 companies love more than to see more taxation and regulation.  They have the ability to pull political favors to get subsidies, tax breaks and other special treatment, all the while knowing that the measures they just avoided will make their competition that much weaker.  The legal measures that are initially enacted to punish the ruling class are ultimately used in their favor because they have total control of the political and legislative systems.

A politician will rarely do something that will have a negative impact on his business ventures, or those of his colleagues.  In fact, one could argue that politics itself, and the very institution of government, has been specifically designed as a means by which the ruling class can coercively maintain their corporate monopolies and legitimize their many social aggressions.  Expecting the government to watch over big business is along the same lines as expecting Fox News to do a hit piece on Rupert Murdoch -- it’s just not going to happen.

Experience has shown us that we can’t trust the government to honestly investigate organizations that they themselves are closely tied to, and quite often profiting from.  To prevent this kind of corruption we must first identify the elephant in the room: Washington and Wall Street are simply two different headquarters, which serve separate functions for the same ruling class.

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