When the Fascists rose to power in Europe, they did so by demonizing their opponents. In Spain, they were against intellectuals educating the peasants as it was anti-Catholic. In Germany, they worked on centuries of bigotry by promoting the International Jewish Conspiracy. Mussolini did things differently. His fascism welded bigotry and anti-intellectualism to progressive ideas like a minimum wage and women’s suffrage. While the Germans and the Spanish made fascists out of their right wings, the Italians made fascists out of their left wing.
The American government propaganda machine managed to take the anti-intellectualism of Franco, the bigotry of Hitler, and the pseudo-progressive chauvinism of Mussolini and apply them to both the left and the right wing. The anti-intellectualism is promoted by conspiracy theories. The bigotry is promoted by applying conspiracy theories to different ethnic and political groups. The chauvinism comes in with both sides convincing themselves that they are the only side with the answers.
Conspiracy theory is the idea that science is lying if it does not conform to preconceived notions. For instance, conservative Christians insist that evolution is a conspiracy as it denies special creation. The Truthers insist that relativity is a conspiracy as it disproves their notion that the government rigged the towers with bombs. We are seeing anti-intellectualism at its worst on the left as well as the right.
Both sides of the political spectrum are applying conspiracy theories to different ethnic and political groups. In the case of the conservatives, the targets of hatred are Gays. They will tell you they have nothing against homosexuals (hate the sin, love the sinner, and the rest of that rot.) They will tell you that they are against the “homosexual agenda”. Thanks to conspiracy reasoning, they see the LGBT community demanding equal rights and acceptance as a direct attack on their conservative values. Gays are then demonized along with others who supports gay rights.
On the other hand, the left is scapegoating Jews. Just like their counterparts on the right, people on the left will tell you they have nothing against Jews, they are just against Zionism. These stalwart champions of human rights have no more idea of what Zionism is than Michelle Bachman knows what it is to be a lesbian. All they know is that Noam Chomsky is against it, which is good enough for them. That statement sums up what Bachman’s followers know about homosexuality. The left is as delusional as the right now that the Truthers have jumped in with their mad accusation of the Mossad and bombs in the tower.
Chauvinism is the result of both sides so wrapped up in their different conspiracies that reason becomes impossible. Elements on the left are out to protect America from the International Jewish Conspiracy, blaming Israel for everything from September 11th to Obama’s adopting Bush’s idiot wars. The right is blaming the homosexual agenda for high taxes and unemployment. Neither side can be spoken to. The result is the descendents of the same people who took control of this country in 1790 are in control of it today, and continue to rob us blind as the right tries to save us from homosexuality and the left from creeping Zionism.
The Right had their Tea Party where they promoted their anti-intellectualism and bigotry. Now the Left has their Occupation Movement where there are as many signs promoting Jew hatred as there are signs demanding the demise of Wall St. In Oakland, I have seen so many signs calling for the end of the Jewish Banking Conspiracy, I just gave up on it.
Any real revolution in this country has to do two things. The first is The Occupation has to get it’s shit together. This means that the wing-nuts have to go. The Truthers/anti-Zionists are as aggressive as Born Again Christians. They will drive out anybody who does not believe in their paranoid fantasies. I watched them do this to the peace movement. They will do the same to the Occupation. The second thing is creating a reasonable agenda that people on the right can at least discuss. I have seen this on the Las Angeles Occupation website. They have adopted an agenda that include basic rights like food, shelter, education, and Medical care. So far, Los Angeles and Berkeley are the only two Occupations supporting basic human rights. Other Occupations are being too divisive in their antisemitism and determination that the Jewish bankers be punished. Unless the other Occupations catch up to Los Angeles and Berkeley, we are going to end up like Egypt and our fundamentalist religious military will take over.
And if you don’t think this can happen here in America, think again. The military is already dominated by Born Again Christians. The Air Force is the worst, and they have access to nukes. Rick Perry, in his latest round of idiocy, is calling for an end to civilian management of the military. This is the one thing separating us from a fascist dictatorship. It doesn’t matter if Perry becomes president or not, if Wall St. wants an end to civilian management, Wall St. is going to get it. After all, Wall St. actually runs this country and its propaganda mill. Besides, a military dictatorship is the usual way an imperialist nation ends.
After long and careful consideration, I will not be supporting the Occupation Movement unless those two criteria are met. My energy is going to keeping my family and me alive for the next ten years of military rule. Unless Americans abandon conspiracies for reason, this is all we have to look forward to.
The Truthers have one solid point. We are not being told the truth about the events that occurred on Sept 11th. Let’s take a look at the event and ask a few hard questions.
On Sept 11th 2001, 19 men hijacked four airliners for the purpose of destroying preselected targets. The First thing I would like to know is why they were not stopped by airport security? They were in the airports, praying loudly and carrying on like it was their last day on earth. Yet, Security did not investigate them. If the Truthers are to be believed, this is proof of some sort of high reaching conspiracy. Unfortunately, we are not going to know why security did not intervene until there is an actual investigation. I cannot believe the Truther contradictory claim that Security was ordered to leave them alone. Personally, I think it was the American taboo against disrespecting religion. The hijackers were praying, and security did not want to look like a bunch of bigots by disturbing them.
I would also like to know what were our government was doing while the 19 hijackers were bound for glory? According to the newspapers, the FBI and the CIA were trying to warn President Bush and Condileeza Rice that it was going to happen. According to one intern, Bush refused to hear an FBI report regarding the hijacking. Daniel Ellsberg reported that Rice had CIA director Tenent tossed out of her office. French Security, the KCIA, Britain, Switzerland, and even the Mossad tried to warn our government that something big and bad was heading for us. It all fell on deaf ears.
Any legitimate inquiry on Sept 11th needs to ask why did the Bush Administration ignored their own security services as well as the security services of other countries. It could be that Sept 11th was allowed to happen. Bush and his cronies wanted the war in Afghanistan. They knew about all the oil and mineral wealth there even if the rest of us forgot the reasons behind the Russian occupation. Allowing the attack to occur would be the perfect excuse to send in the troops to secure the oil. A government that allows outsourcing of jobs and homelessness is perfectly capable of allowing the murder of Afghan citizens.
On the other hand, The Bush administration and everybody connected to it is as dumb as a sack full of hammers. September 11th could have happened out of pure stupidity. Being themselves the ultimate ugly Americans, they were too arrogant to believe that a bunch of Arabs could actually hurt the United States. The Afghanistan war could be the result of a carefully orchestrated conspiracy or it could be the panicked reaction of an utter moron. Only a real commission will bring the truth to light. This commission will not happen as long as the public keeps asking stupid questions.
Ironically, I think that the 9/11 Truth Movement is the government conspiracy. I also think that the same Public Relations firms that orchestrate the Intelligent Design movement orchestrate the Truthers. The M.O is identical. Intelligent Design denies evolution by concentrating on specific branches of science while ignoring others. They will harp on the gaps in the fossil record and ignore the genetic evidence. The Truthers concentrate on Newtonian physics while ignoring Einstein. I think the government is hiding the reasons why the hijackers did it. Don’t try telling me it was because they were promised 72 virgins. That’s pure propaganda. The hijackers killed themselves for political reasons. If we are going to prevent more tragedies and loss of lives, we are going to have to find out why they did it and address it.
Any sane commission on Sept 11th is going to have to concentrate on US Middle Eastern policy. They are going to have to look at how American based oil companies treat oil field workers. What roles do mercenary companies like Xe play in the Saudi and Syrian regimes? If we learn why the hijackers did it, we will know everything we need to know about Sept 11th. The Truthers are the number one reason these important questions are not being asked.
In the next post we will take a look at the blatant ugly antisemitism in the Truth movement and how it got there. Then in the last part we will look at how the media and how the government uses it to encourage conspiracy theories.
People who know me will be shocked that I have rejoined the Green Party. I had major personal problems with some of the early organizers. They are no longer with the Greens, and the party has grown beyond them. I have grown up a little bit too. For many years I have supported the DSA, but the DSA will not give up the idea that the Democrats can be radicalized. Since it hasn’t happened after 30 years of trying, we run into Einstein’s definition of insanity. We keep doing the same things the same way and expect different results. There are many other parties I can join or support, but none of them have the national network that the Greens built in under 30 years. The Green Party is America’s best chance to end Corporate control of our government. I would be a fool to hold onto a twenty five year old grudge.
During the last twenty five years, the Democrats silently supported everything the Republicans wanted. If you check the Project Vote Smart web site you can see that the Democrats voted for all the financial reforms that led to our economic collapse. It was Bill Clinton who allowed outsourcing when he had a Democratic majority in Congress. Under Bush the Democrats supported both illegal wars, Homeland Security, and illegal wiretapping. Under Obama, the Democrats have allowed the illegal existence of Guantanamo and continue to toss gay rights under a bus.
Obama could not have expanded the illegal Afghanistan war into Pakistan if he did not have the support of the Democrat majority. I am appalled at the Democratic voters who embraced both illegal wars after Obama took office. The wars are no more legal under Obama and it is still murder when a Democrat gives the orders. Despite all the cheering from Democratic pundits, our tax money is going to pay for the mercenaries holding Iraq.
To add insult onto injury, there is the passage of the so called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, which is more properly called the “Screw Over the Disabled and Elderly for Fun and Corporate Profits Act”. The Democratic pundits and true believers tout this as a leftist victory. In reality, this piece of crap legislation reduces the quality of Medicare. It allows economic discrimination, and it does not do anything to make care affordable. True, the insurance companies have to accept people with preexisting conditions, but there is no limit to premiums.
You cannot fool all of the people all of the time, and this is true for the people who voted Democrat last election. Poor people have caught wise to the health care reform. Environmentalists are appalled that he protected BP instead of prosecuting them. Anti-war activists call him “The Obamanation” for his drone tactics. The Democrats have lost their core supporters. Few are going to vote third party this coming election and most are staying home.
In 2008, the Democrats attracted liberal and progressive voters with vague promises of hope and change. We are not even getting that during the 2010 midterms. We are being threatened with the Tea Party instead. What will happen if the Tea Party wins? Will the Tea Party start killing innocent women and children with drones? Maybe they will go to court to reinstate DADT? Should we be afraid that they might put more people in Guantanamo? Wait, the Democrats have already done this. Unless you are afraid that Christine O’Donnell is going to cast a spell on you, I see no reason to be afraid of the Tea Party. They will vote according to Wall Street just like the Democrats.
When pushed into a corner, the Democrats will say that we only have two choices, them or the Republicans. If this is true, why was Green gubernatorial candidate Lauren Wells arrested at the California debate last week? It’s because both parties are afraid of the Green Party. The Greens have made tremendous progress on the local level. Richmond and Fairfax California are just two of the cities with a Green majority on their city councils. Greens can be found amongst aldermen, school board members, and there are even a few Green mayors. There are Greens in state legislatures. The Democrats are telling still another lie when they say there are only two choices. If the Greens can be elected in local and state governments, they can be elected to national offices as well.
The Commercial Bubble will burst any day now. With the banks and Wall St. teetering on the edge of collapse there will never be a better time to support a truly progressive party. Don’t let Democratic lies depress you into staying home this coming election day. Don’t let Tea Party Paranoia scare you into voting for the corporatist Democrats. Please join me in voting Green this election. It will shock the hell out of Wall Street, and it will be a first step in creating a better future.
I find myself looking at America’s founders much differently since I read William Hogeland’s book on the Whiskey Rebellion. Like most other Americans, I believed that thought and planning went into the Constitution. Having been educated in the American public schools, I was taught that there was nobility and self sacrifice amongst the founders of this once-great nation. Hogeland could not have busted those myths more thoroughly if he used C-4.
Sadly, the events between 1780 to 1789 looks more like the recent coup in Honduras than the establishment of a nation based on laws. France supported the new United States as a means of weakening their rivals in England. The British crown waited in the wings for a chance to take the colonies back. The Iroquois nations were still British allies, and they waited on America’s western borders for Britain’s order to attack. Other European nations saw the American Revolution as a chance to grab their own piece of the continent.
At the same time rivalry amongst the states created the very situation Europe was waiting for. Maryland and Virginia were at war over borders. While that madness was going on, New Jersey and New York were fighting over access to New York Harbor. The Confederate government was too weak to stop the fighting or to enforce trade agreements. The Continental Congress was funded by voluntary donations by the thirteen states, and nobody was sending money. All thirteen states were ignoring the authority of the Congress to enter and enforce trade agreements with Europe. The states also ignored Congress’s orders to stop fighting.
The only thing that could save America from becoming a colony again was a strong central government. The Constitutional Convention was called specifically to create a national government that could levy taxes, command the armed forces, establish trade regulations between the states, and enter into treaties with foreign governments. A handful of wealthy men exploited the situation to grab power for themselves. These Federalists were not interested in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They were out for themselves. John Adams and John Jay were both unabashed royalists out to create the same sort government the wealthy enjoyed in England. Alexander Hamilton was a financier whose influence gave Wall Street the power it enjoys today.
Regulators, abolitionists, farmers, and small artisans watched in horror as the United States turned into a monstrous caricature of England. The final straw was when Washington and Hamilton used the army to put down the Whiskey Rebellion. As the new American dictators were protected by an army of over 13,000, the angry populace turned to Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr as their saviors. After Burr shot Hamilton (to the delight of the Pennsylvania farmers) there was only Jefferson.
According to libertarian propagandists, the founders were a band of drinking buddies who slept with each others’ wives and were cool with it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Federalists and Democratic Republicans were at each others throats. Burr shot Hamilton over their political differences. Burr was lucky that Jefferson was president. Burr was a stone cold murderer and he finished his term as vice-president. If Hamilton won, I wonder if Jefferson would have been as lenient?
My questions about Jefferson began when I did my sophomore thesis on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was then that I discovered that most of the nastiest stereotypes of African-Americans came directly from Thomas Jefferson. As president he ended the practice of importing slaves from Africa. As president he owned 117 slaves, and the domestic slave markets still did a brisk trade. He fathered several children with a slave named Sally Hemmings. He owned those children like they were cattle. This is strange behavior for a man who has become “Liberty’s Poster Boy”.
All too many people are willing to rationalize bigotry. This is especially true when it comes to the American Founders. Hamilton, Washington, Adams, Burr, and Jefferson, all owned slaves. Many historians are all too willing to pass this off as the customs of the time, and ignore the growing abolitionist movement. At the same time, Jefferson also ignored all the other populist movements and demands, such as a progressive tax of wealth, the end of land speculation and absentee landlords, as well as full civil rights for people of African descent and First Nation People.
Jefferson is also the darling of the New Atheists for taking his oath of office on a law book. I wonder about the true significance of that. Could it be that he was sending a message to the religious populists of his day? Could he have been telling them that there would be civil rights for freed slaves and a progressive tax on wealth over his dead body? The Jefferson administration was not significantly different from the Adams administration. Many historians feel that Jefferson had more in common with Adams than he did with his friend Thomas Paine. Jefferson repealed the Whiskey Tax but did nothing to break the monopoly on whiskey production. While he opposed the Aliens and Sedition Act, he did nothing to remove it from common law, where it still exists as a valid precedent. John Yoo used it in his infamous torture memos.
In the end, Jefferson and John Adams ended their careers and lives as the closest of friends. This in itself makes me doubt that the Aliens and Sedition Act was specifically aimed against Jefferson. It was more likely to have been aimed at the populists, or as both Adams and Jefferson called them, the “White Savages”. I cannot see how Jefferson the slave owning plantation farmer and absentee landlord could have truly been a champion of freedom. Like Washington and Adams, he was a champion of his own class. He and Adams’ only real disagreement was how their class was to rule over the working classes. After all, slaves, white savages, and natives were not capable of running a nation. That was for men of wealth and culture.
Sixteen protesters and 25 cops showed up at the John Yoo Torture Memos protest on Feb 11th. There were only sixteen protesters. It took 25 cops to protect Yoo from us. One of us was using a wheel chair. Another of us was 76 years old. I have a bad back and my wife and I both have arthritis. That effectively left 12 potential rioters against 25 armed peace officers. I suppose it was worth the taxpayer’s money so John Yoo would feel safe from us. Wait, I’m wrong. One of my wife’s friends from her Code Pink group is also disabled and sat in a camp chair. Another was wearing a fifty pound John Yoo bobble head. So there were effectively 10 potential rioters against 25 armed cops. It’s a good thing that some of them were from the SWAT team.
To the officers’ credit, they were the most professional police force on earth. They took their job damned seriously. If there was going to be an actual attempt to harm Yoo, they were ready. They were also smart enough to know that we constituted no danger. Also to their credit, they stood up for our First Amendment rights. They did not force us to disperse. They did not force us into a “Free Speech Zone” two miles away. Traffic flow and liability were their main concerns. They saw to it that traffic flowed smoothly and that John Yoo would have to go past us in order to leave.
It doesn’t look good for Dr. Yoo. Britain is giving its infamous MI5 security agency a public reaming for the torture of British citizens in Guantanamo. Yes, Virginia, there are people named Mohamad who are British Citizens, and England is pissed. It looks as if secret documents are going to be made public as MI5 agents are tried for not informing their government.
Meanwhile Dick Cheney is working his motormouth on television. Cheney confirmed that Yoo co-wrote the Torture Memos to rationalize the use of torture. Cheney wanted torture so Yoo told him what he wanted to hear. What’s worse, what is the absolute bitter end, is that Cheney also admitted to ordering three people tortured.
He ordered three people tortured? Who was he to order three people tortured? Hell, since when can the vice president order anything except a pizza? What happened to the days when one brother goes to sea while his other brother becomes vice-president, and nobody ever hears from either of them again? Since when does the vice president order anybody tortured? Not only is Big Mouth Cheney admitting to torturing people, but he’s admitting that the executive office ignores the constitution. The vice presidency is traditionally the golden road to political obscurity. I wonder if it was John Yoo who told Cheney he had the right to order people tortured?
So Yoo must know that the jig is up. He knows that he can run and cannot hide. If he had a brain in his head he would be fleeing to Argentina about now. He is being sued by somebody who was wrongfully tortured in Guantanamo. MI5 is being placed on public trial for allowing British Citizens to be tortured. Now his former boss is spilling the beans to the press. Even Holder’s gutless Justice Department is saying he showed “poor judgment.” The weasel is completely and totally screwed, and now he is just wiggling around trying to justify his actions.
I hoped to post a link to his book tour, so people could find out where he is going to be speaking, and stage their own protests. Guess what? He didn’t publish his itinerary. John Yoo is conducting the country’s first clandestine book signing tour. He has become a man of mystery. Nobody knows where he will show up next. Today a country club in Taos New Mexico. Tomorrow a luncheon with the Young Republicans in Chicago. Each time he strikes, he leaves his autograph in a few of his books, which justifies torture by rationalizing the high handed presidents of the past. Like Waldo, it takes highly developed powers of observation to find him. If you do find him and are going to hold a protest, I will be glad to send you the songs and chants Code Pink has been using. It’ll make him feel at home.
Yoo complains that all this protesting is intimidating him. Why? Is he afraid we’re going to waterboard him? Is he afraid that we are going to pull him off the street and hide him in an undisclosed location? Of course not. Unlike Yoo, we believe in rule by law. We are demanding due process for Yoo, which is more than the people he is responsible for torturing get. This is why UC Berkeley will not disclose where he is lecturing. This is why his book tour is being treated like a ninja assault. This is why he hid on his way out of the Poplar Creek Golf Club.
I was standing at a funny angle so I saw him when he left the golf club. He got into a green SUV with tinted windows. A blond woman was at the wheel. Before they reached the exit, he hunkered down in the front seat so we could not see him. I knew he was in that vehicle, so I shouted “John Yoo is a wuss!”
Thank you, everybody who has worked to bring John Yoo to justice. For those of you who are unaware of what has been going on, John Yoo is the author of the so-called “Torture Memos”. Yoo was a special council to the White House, and his torture memos were the excuse that the Bush Misadministration used to justify torturing prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo. In other words, according to John Yoo, sexual humiliation, beatings, water boarding, starvation, and sleep deprivation are neither cruel nor unusual.
What’s that you say? The Constitution protects us from cruel and unusual punishment? To this I ask you, what the hell constitutes cruel and unusual punishment? What is the definition of the word cruel as used in the Constitution? What is the constitutional definition of the word unusual? How are those words to be defined in court? According to John Yoo, water boarding is neither cruel nor is it unusual. So what is to keep the county jail from water boarding a suspect into admitting he sold a quarter ounce of pot?
The Constitution was never a planned document. The Founders of this nation envisioned a confederacy. When the confederacy broke down in under ten years, the delegates to the Constitutional convention had little time to create a central government with the powers to enact and enforce treaties as well as the power to levy taxes. This is why there are so many loopholes in the document. This is why cruel and unusual or reasonable were never defined. One delegate would say something, we need protections from unreasonable search and seizure. Another delegate would ask what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Then a third delegate would say, let the courts worry about it later. We need to start raising taxes so we can pay off France.
Thus was born the most confusing and expensive legal system that was ever invented. The Constitution contains language as vague as the I-Ching, and holds as many contradictions as the New Testament. John Yoo presented an opinion that specific acts of torture were not cruel and unusual. This opinion is not unconstitutional because the terms cruel and unusual are not defined. Yoo’s opinion has the force of law until such time as it is challenged by the courts. Lynndie England’s court martial adds sexual humiliation to the definition of cruel and unusual, but water boarding is still perfectly legal.
That’s right, torture is legal and will remain legal until the Supreme Court says otherwise. Torture can remain legal as long as the Supreme Court ignores the situation. After all, the Supreme Court can pick and choose which cases it wants to hear. The Court ignored Jim Crow laws until public opinion became so outraged that the court had no choice but to overrule them.
Public outrage is the only way we are going to stop the United States from committing torture. Protests at UC Berkeley and in front of Yoo’s home forced the attorney general to order an investigation of Yoo and the Torture Memos. Holder has proven himself as loyal a neocon as Alberto Gonzales. The results of this investigation were recently leaked to Newsweek Magazine, and the results were that John Yoo exercised poor judgment but did not commit any wrong doing.
Yoo’s “bad judgment” resulted in the torture of hundreds, if not thousands, of human beings. John Yoo opened the door to the worst barbarisms of the Bush Misadministration. For those of you who value money over human rights, torture has produced no usable information. The question we should be asking the government is, why are we still torturing people? If John Yoo exercised poor judgment, why is Obama still following his advice?
If John Yoo exercised “poor judgment,” then why is he still teaching at UC Berkeley Boalt Hall, the most prestigious law school in California? How competent a teacher can he be if his opinions sparked an investigation that accused him of “poor judgment”? For that matter, why are the regents treating this semi-competent shyster like a rock star? They protect him by keeping his lecture locations a secret. His students find out where he is teaching by secure email. Yoo didn’t even lecture this semester. While protesters and students alike were waiting for his first lecture, Yoo was out promoting that sack of neocon bullshit he calls a book. At the same time, he is still drawing a salary from the California tax payer.
John Yoo is certainly not behaving like somebody accused of poor judgment. He’s out promoting the imperial presidency like it was a fact. As far as I’m concerned he’s the biggest nut since Torquemada. Just as the head inquisitor believed in the ultimate authority of the Pope, Yoo believes in the ultimate authority of the president. That ass-kisser needs to be stopped.
Public outrage forced an investigation and conclusion of “Poor Judgment”. This is not a defeat. We forced the Attorney General’s office to admit that torture was a bad idea. This can be built on, but we have to crank up the volume. We need more and louder protests. We need to send petitions to the UC regents telling them to fire the bastard. We need to get so outrageous that the Supreme Court will have no choice but to ban torture just as they banned Jim Crow. Poor judgment is just the beginning. We won that much, we can win more.
Torquemada Yoo will be doing a book signing in San Mateo, California tomorrow, Thursday, Feb, 12 at Poplar Creek Golf Course from noon to one thirty PM. Code Pink is sponsoring a protest. Be there, be loud, and be angry. Let the Department of Justice know that we don’t want Yoo’s poor judgment to be government policy, and let the UC regents know that anyone who’s judgment is so poor has no place in our university system.
Tea baggers across the country have this bumper sticker on their gas guzzling SUVs. It asks who is John Galt? Being literate, we know that John Galt is the mysterious stranger of Ayn Rand’s epic piece of capitalist drivel, Atlas Shrugged. Rand, a Soviet refugee, brought PTSD to new heights when she declared that anybody who did not smoke is a communist, and accused tobacco researchers of treason. Despite this obviously Stalinist line of reasoning, Rand continues to be the darling of the libertarian right. Just who is John Galt?
Rand gets really cute in the name she gives her character. His first name is the most common in the English speaking world. That represents his populist roots. His last name Galt, sounds like a Anglo-Saxon surname, but it is also the alias used by the God Odin when he walked amongst humans. Odin was in the habit of handing doomed swords out to unsuspecting vikings, and when asked, Odin would say he was Galt. At that point the viking would know that he was completely and totally screwed. If he followed the course of common sense, dropped the sword, and ran like hell, he would earn the wrath of Odin. If he kept the sword, he would be led to a particularly tragic and heroic doom. So Galt is God Almighty, but a particularly sadistic and untrustworthy God who has no use for free will.
Now, what captains of industry do we know who are in the habit of giving out cursed gifts? I can think of two right off the top of my head: Henry Ford and Prescott Bush. Their support of Hitler and the Third Reich resulted in death, devastation, destruction, and the systematic murder of 10 million human beings. It ended in the deaths of many Nazi leaders; most dramatically in Joseph Goebbel’s murder of his innocent daughters. I think it is safe to assume that John Galt is somebody who thinks he’s God Almighty, and does not shrink at murder as a means to an end. As a God, Odin was a great fan of war and destruction, we can say that John Galt is a warmonger.
To understand why John Galt is such a bloodthirsty bastard, we need to look at the Odin myth a little more closely. Why did Odin, reputably the wisest of the Gods, have this compulsion to create death, destruction, and misery amongst the mortal population? He was serving a higher purpose, and one that only he in his wisdom could truly understand. The other gods had a partial understanding of that purpose, and mere humans could receive glimpses of that purpose. Only Odin could see the whole purpose, and he gave up an eye to do it. Like Odin, John Galt is the one eyed man in the land of the blind. The world depends on his vision so that it can keep on turning. This is why the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same rights as human beings. Captains of industry, CEOs, Chairmen of the board are all ubermench. It is only right that they have more power than us lesser mortals who are too humble to share in their great vision.
Next, you may ask, what is this great vision Galt cannot share with the rest of us mere mortals? Simply that there is a war coming up between the good guys and the bad guys. It will be the war to end all wars and humanity needs to be ready for it. Odin keep humanity in training by stirring up wars, and choosing the best of the slain to be his warriors when the final conflict happens. Our captains of industry, our John Galts, also see a great war coming, but instead of the Frost Giants, we’ll be fighting godless communists. No, that was two generations back. Instead of the Frost Giants, we’ll be fighting the drug cartels in South America. That really didn’t work out that well. This time, we will be fighting the Jihadists. True, they are a handful of extremists whom our forces chase around the Himalayas like it was a Keystone Kops movie, but they are the enemy that will destroy our way of life! We better get them before they get us.
Ultimately who is John Galt? He is a war mongering bastard who does not care how many people he has to have killed to achieve his goals. He is a captain of industry who knows better than the rest of us as to how we should run our lives. He is a man with such power that governments declares anybody who opposes him as the powers of darkness. John Galt is a man who kings and presidents listen to because in Galt’s mind he is always right. What historic figure fits this mold? There is only one, Joseph Stalin.
Stalin began as a peasant and worked himself up to the head of the Soviet Union through his own talents for murder and lack of ethics. Stalin was responsible for the deaths of millions, and used the needs of the state justification. Stalin was a strong man who commanded the resources of all of Mother Russia and a good chunk of Eastern Europe to boot. On top of everything else, the crazy bastard thought he was God. To this day, there are Russians who still support and apologize for Joe Stalin.
Ayn Rand took the Stalinist qualities that so scarred her as a child and deified them into her character of John Galt. Let’s bring things back to reality here. Who is John Galt? John Galt is a parasite who grew up in a privileged class and accepts these privileges as part of his due. You can also look at John Galt as Bill Cosby, a man who feels that he owes nobody anything because he paid his own way into the upper class. John Galt can be seen as National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who does not want the world to think that she got her job through affirmative action. After all, her grandfather paid blood to bring his family into the ruling class. George W. Bush is also John Galt. We all know that the draft was created for poor people, and not the son of the EXXON heir. John Galt is every politician in Washington who denies the majority of Americans jobs and health care.
John Galt is useless, because if John Galt was really all that talented, he could make it to the top in any economic system or society. This makes Galt just another one of Timmy Geithner’s Wall St. cronies, stealing money from honest tax payers. That’s who John Galt really is. Stop and remember, Stalin made it to the top by robbing banks.
I was very surprised to discover an article about Rand on Alternet today. (Okay, I admit it, my wife discovered it for me.) In this chilling article, we see that Rand was a serial killer groupie, and that her heroes was based on a sicko who strangled and dismembered a little girl. What does this say about the people who take her nonsense seriously. What’s worse, is that Alan Greenspan was one of her buddies.
Writing these blog posts has been difficult. It has forced me to look at 25 years in sales and ask myself If I have been doing the right thing. Working for Aames was not the right thing to do, and I wonder why I never realized that before. The biggest wrong I committed, while working for Aames, was convincing myself that I was helping people. Any help I may have given my customers was purely short term assistance. Many of my customers who were granted lower interest rates were given three years fixed mortgages. After three years, their interest rates went variable. Very few of those loans had ceilings. The logic behind this was it gave them a chance to fix their credit so they could refinance again before their mortgage rates went through the roof. In actual fact we were being too optimistic. Between outsourcing and salary stagnation, chances were that in three years those people’s credit were in worse shape than ever. Then after three years their mortgages went through the roof.
Belief is a very strong factor in any sale. If the salesperson does not believe in the product, neither will the customer. There were just too many reps who did not believe in what they were selling. That should have warned me that something was wrong. I knew one salesperson who sold through intimidation. He specialized in single female home owners, and subtly threatened them into signing. Then he grabbed the commission check and ran to another company before the hammer came down. I knew another salesperson who specialized in single male homeowners. Her usual working clothes was a leather mini split up to the waist at the side, and a very low cut top.
Despite these signs that things were totally wrong, I continued to believe in what I was doing. Conviction is more than half of sales. An effective salesman believes in what he is selling or is a good enough actor to truly make the customer believe in what he is doing. It occurs to me that there are many more actors in sales than I originally thought.
Conviction was the difference between getting the application and credit report or not getting the application and earning the wrath of Aames. Aames had a lot of really idiotic rules, but one of the worst was their insistence on running credit reports for all customers. I had more than one customer offer to fax or email me their most recent credit report. Later, I would work for companies that were fine with customers faxing their credit reports. However to complete an application for Aames you had to run the credit report, and in order to do that you had to get the customer’s social security number.
To this day I am amazed at the amount of people who gave me their social security numbers over the phone. I always left the social security number for last. I would get the customer on the phone and we would talk a little bit and I would talk him into giving a phone application. I specialized in calling people with high interest variable loans, and they were desperate to get out from under. It was easy for me to get them to apply. The biggest objection I had to overcome were the people who had tried over and over again and kept getting turned down. I usually gave them a pep-talk. I encouraged them to take one more chance while mentioning all the people with shaky credit that Aames managed to help.
I always started with the basics. I would ask their names and addresses and get them talking about their homes and their mortgage woes. I would make appropriately sympathetic sounds as they volunteered the information I needed to put on the form. Once in a while I had to give them a little help. Older people had no idea of the market value of their homes. Generally they made me put a too low value on it. By the time I reached the end of the application, I was an old friend. That’s when I asked for the social security number.
About one in three just gave it to me. Not only did they give it to me, but called their spouses at work to get his or her social security number since I needed to pull a joint credit report About two out of three customers gave me a hard time. This is where belief comes in. I promised them that they were in no danger, their credit scores would not go down and their identities were safe. When I realized that too many credit hits would bring down a customer’s credit scores, I stopped promising that. I would estimate a safe time to pull their credit scores and schedule them for a call back at that time. You would not believe the amount of crap I had to live through when I was caught doing it. The Regional or district manager who caught me backing out on an application would lecture me mercilessly. My job was to get the application and not to worry about the state of the customer’s credit. So when I got the occasional person who was just not going to give me his social security number, I made it a point to argue with them when the brass was listening. It made me look good.
I was very careful with personal information. I would shred my notes and make sure that my copies of the applications were put safely away where nobody could get them. I was the only one. Everybody else just put their notes in the trash and old applications and notes were available for anybody to rifle through and pull out and use. These notes not only included the social security number but birthdays and addresses. Everything you needed for full scale identity theft was in that office. It only recently occurred to me that there was an entire room full of filing cabinets which was never locked and anybody could go through and pull out whatever information they wanted.
That was what I did for Aames Home Loan for a forty hour six day week. Most of my applications were rejected for various reasons. The most common was bad credit. Unlike other companies, Aames was very careful of the credit scores of the loans they accepted. That meant that most of Aames’s customers could have gotten a better deal elsewhere So the beginning of my month would see about two dozen loans in my pipeline but on a really good month, only two or three would fund. Somehow that was my fault for finding the wrong customers. In Aames Home Loan, failure was always an underling’s fault.
Whenever I state that health care and housing are human rights, I get one of three answers. The least used answer is that health care and housing do not belong in the public sector, and that nationalizing them will lead to big government. Somehow this all ties in with the war on drugs, but nobody has clearly told me how national health and housing leads to violence in Bolivia. Another answer I get is that national health and housing are socialism and a threat to the Constitution and the Capitalist way of life. Most people simply object to the expense. My reply to all three answers is that medical care and housing are considered to be human rights in Europe. Then I ask the question nobody seems to be able to answer. Why do people in Europe have more rights than people in the U.S?
The American voters drank the Reagan Kool Aid, that getting rid of government will safe guard our Constitutional rights. Many people continue to believe this despite the evidence. Deregulation does not guarantee our rights. The more government we get rid of, the stronger grip Wall St. has on us. The American government was not meant to be a rubber stamp for EXXON and Halliburton. The American government was meant as a limit between human beings and soulless corporations. Without government, the corporations can do anything they want with us, and they don’t have to worry about consequences.
Our Constitution was meant to be an instrument of the will of the people, and that is why the Founders built change into the Constitution. Capitalism is not a part of the Constitution. The Federalist Papers extolled the virtues of Capitalism. Jefferson and Jay did not have everything their own way. Regulations protecting the individual from corporations were written into the Constitution despite the Federalist Papers. We also have a series of amendments so that the Constitution can change with the times. As conditions change to make a strict adherence to capitalism nothing more than a religious affectation, the Constitution will still be just as strong as we evolve into a more practical and humane economic system. Our civil rights will be just as strong and maybe stronger, for having a government that will support the limits between government and corporations.
The people who do not want the expense of government are really the people who drank the Kool Aid. Freedom is not a free ride. There is a monetary expense in protecting and expanding our freedom. People in Europe have a strong social safety net. They have national health. They have housing. Those who work get a mandatory month’s vacation. Why, they even have the disposable income to go to other countries for their vacations. Did you ever stop to wonder why people in Europe have the disposable income to go on vacation when most families in the U.S do not? They have higher taxes, but they have much less out of pocket expenses. Their rent is subsidized. Their health care is through their taxes. Their electric bills are though their taxes. Public transportation is subsidized. The average American pays more in out of pocket bills than a European pays through taxes. This does not mean that everything is perfect and there are no slums, but it does mean a much lower crime rate. It means that everybody has a roof over their heads. It means that not everybody has private hospital rooms, but everybody has a minimum standard of health care.
We, the people of the United States, have nothing to lose and everything to gain if we restore our government. We will have to wrest the government out of the hands of the corporations. The only people who would suffer from that would be the criminals who just stole 700 billion dollars from the American people. They would be forced to obey the law and pay their fair share of taxes for the first time in decades. No, it will not be easy to force them to pay their share, but nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Ask the early heroes of the unions. We can do it if we put our minds to it.
Suppression of labor is an important part of preserving corporate power. Before the Reagan administration, unions placed employees on an equal footing with employers. Wages were agreed on through bargaining, which made employment an equal marketplace. Unions were in charge of retirement funds and benefits instead of employers. This gave employees greater freedom, security, and space to object to unsafe conditions. Outsourcing would never have happened if the unions were still there to protect the American employee.
I am amazed that the conspiracy-minded Libertarians have not made the connection with their Goldwater go-America rhetoric and the fact that we are all losing our standard of living. I suppose that seeing through the free market propaganda would mean that they would have to see past their illusions. Fascism cannot exist unless the victims identify with their oppressors. I suppose that conspiracies are part of the denial mechanism, and help Libertarians to ignore the class divisions in America.
The basis of Libertarian propaganda is the Protestant Work Ethic, where the rich are blessed by God and the the poor damned to hell. Everybody wants to be blessed by God, and nobody wants to go to hell. The original Puritans rallied around the church to prove their worth and superiority. The indentured servants, mostly Irish Catholics, converted to the Congregational Church to prove that they were saved and therefor superior to their neighbors. The Protestant Work Ethic has left us with the attitude that wealth equals superiority.
Another aspect of religion in Libertarian thought is the idea that Marketplace will somehow make everything alright. Once Marketplace is unchained by restrictive government regulations, he will smite the evil corporations with economic readjustments, and Libertarians will rise to the top through their own God given superiority. Unfettered by government regulations, corporations would soon grow into megamonopolies. This would leave our nation, our economy, and our lives subject to corporate whim. Personally, prefer to fight a future where Wall Street CEOs rule like royalty.
This is all reinforced by grade school nationalism. Free Market Capitalism is supposed to work because it was believed in by the Founders. The fact that Andrew Jackson had to support laws against monopolies is simply irrelevant to the Libertarians. This certainly works to the employer’s advantage. It is much easier and more cost effective to manage self-deluded employees than employees who will stand up and set limits. Bill Gates would have very different business practices if his employees had a union behind them to demand reasonable work environments. Perhaps Google and Yahoo! would not be helping China oppress its citizens if their workers had a union supporting human rights.
“Who are the unions to tell the corporations how rich they can get?” is a question often asked of me by Libertarians. My response is, “who are the corporations to tell me how poor I can be?” That’s what it comes down to. There are always limits to how you can make money. I assume that the average mugger feels that assault and robbery laws are very unfair. I imagine that the Nigerian scammers would like to outlaw websites exposing their crimes. Employees have forgotten that many of these so-called restrictive labor laws exist to protect them. Their parents and grandparents fought like crazy to have them established. Libertarians are only shooting themselves in the feet when they try to repeal them.
Today many of the people who originally supported Reagan and his deregulations are now either homeless or facing homelessness. The same can happen to the Libertarians. I really doubt that the Libertarians would be Libertarians if it were not for the failures in the public schools. We will look at that in the next post.