Darkness Is It’s Own Reward

Which way to the reward?

Which way to the reward?

*edit, February 21, 2014 – Someone viewed this blog post recently and so I had a look at it myself. I’ve written many and can’t remember everything I’ve written. I’m curious about what I said that someone else thought was worth reading. As often happens, links have changed. Sometimes I find my links being changed to take people to nasty places where Black Hat exploits await. I removed a link, below, to Laura Flanders’s old website. The video I wanted to direct readers to isn’t there, for one thing. Also, with that link a Black Hat exploit – it’s nasty, but I can’t tell you exactly why – awaited the reader. The sentence is the same. I simply deleted the link attached to the phrase Laura Flanders’s website.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Is there no alternative to this tale of two nations? – Yasmin Alibhai-Brown – Commentators – The Independent.

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

*****************
The Olympic flame is on its way to fantabulous London and the Queen’s Jubilee should get us all jiving in parks and eating lots of iced cake. Visitors and the loaded, devoted Royalists, sports fans and privileged politicos are just so, so excited. They can’t wait. I come to spoil the party…

Last week I had lunch with a wealthy, intriguing, sensitive Tory in a packed, upmarket fish restaurant where the recession was further than the farthest, unseen orb. The very same day I went to a small flat where people lived in fouler conditions than I ever saw in Uganda, my birthplace. Earlier in the month I spent half a day with the phenomenal Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company, a multidisciplinary charity trying to save thousands of children from going under. They see severe psychological and emotional problems and kids with simple physical needs, like breakfast.

Politicians of all shades have brought us to this. Reaganomics and Thatcherism instigated the shift away from social cohesion to individualism. New Labour proudly continued that ideology and the Coalition fanatically pushes it further still. In the Queen’s speech, they promised they would make it easier for bosses to sack workers without all that bother of tribunals. Their benefits rearrangements are cutting down the most disadvantaged. A disabled woman, Merry Cross, whom I met last year, emails to describe the iniquities of the work-capability assessments which are often so ruthless and senseless you imagine assessors must have been ordered to impose cuts without due care. Suicides among the disabled, she tells me, are rising fast.

We have become like divided Victorians again but without the conscience.
******************

My typo-corrected online response to the above linked-to article follows:

******** ******** ********
Well, When I read around (geographically as well as numerically), I find the same darkness and hate everywhere. I’m in Toronto, Canada. Boy has Canada gone downhill! The daily I mostly read is the Toronto Star, denounced (automatically) by rightwingers as being socialist. It’s actually rightwing in it’s editorial board and ownership, a few decent writers notwithstanding. Also, It does tell me what is going on in my city.

Check out the comments attached to articles and you’ll see not only rampant illiteracy, but rightwing vitriol of the sort I see here. Who’s afraid of God? – on the surface anyway. High ups in the Star (like Kathy English) don’t like the democracy that the Star feels compelled to embrace to some extent. If some there had their way, there’d be no commenting allowed. That truly is the capitalist attitude. The model is: ‘dominate, dictate and take’. The motto is: ‘Take what you get whether you like it or not and even if it hurts you’. How else to explain capitalists’ love of (liveable) planet-destroying [global] warming?

I should say that that is the neoliberal’s attitude and approach. Strictly speaking, Conservatives no longer exist. You are now confronted with fascists. Or neoliberals. Or corporatists. Those are interchangeable terms.

Ripe, or neoliberal capitalism, is with us. Social safety nets have shredded as liberty (financial and ‘police’ state and trade) [for capitalist special interests] has ramped up. Which makes perfect sense when you consider that the whole system, by design, is based on exploitation and oppression. If you can’t pay, slave or die. Obviously, When elites and those who choose to follow their bullying ways, choose to become prosperous by taking their means of survival from foolish, law and order-inclined sheep (the 99%), by breaking agreements and rules, written and unwritten, it can’t hurt that those who they are pushing around, and worse, are deserving. And so, rather than being fellow citizens, or brothers and sisters, or neighbors or what have you, the exploited are terrorists, radical nationalists, communists, socialists (which is hilarious, since no one does socialism as well as law-breaking bankers) or enemies of the state or nation.

The people – who aren’t automatically righteous just because they are victims – bear some, but not all, responsibility for this widespread fall into fascism. We bought the propaganda that capitalism is the true religion and one must show one’s devotion to it by spending. And if one doesn’t have the money to spend, then one needs another job. John Edgerton would approve. The former president of the National Association of Manufacturers (US) would approve (http://bit.ly/xMf9Mw). Advanced capitalist countries (which are becoming more and more unequal – and [unhealthy], as Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks explain in “The Trouble With Billionaires”) are the scenes of slaughter, with the working classes prostrate and their defenders, unions, weak and sometimes corrupt. We work too much for too little, burdened by rules while capitalists enjoy escape from them (pg 33 of William Greider in “One World, Ready Or Not”). At the end of the day, Are people, especially parents, going to use any free time they have to become politically active and prepared, thereby, to fight back against this deep darkness?

We – and OWS – are seriously outgunned. Even so, We must care. Or at least that’s my belief.
********* ********* *********

Do the haters in the comments section attached to the top of post article seem out of their minds to you? Clearly, They are full of hate, rage and darkness. Did they start off that way?

Yasmin recounts her walk through a neighborhood where she was terrorized by strangers, young people, who had become feral. (Call it evolution if you wish to.) Or did they just find Yasmin to be hot and figure that she might respond favorably to their overtures? There are cultures in which males seem to enjoy getting sex mainly through violence. Instead of seeing rape for what it is, people who have no intention of admitting that it’s wrong, that they’re wrong, who have no intention of changing their behavior or suggesting that other rapists change their thinking and behavior, cravenly create a moral code of honor to rationalize and justify such dispicable criminality. How many today who have been steeped in that barbarism think that it’s normal and that those who disagree are bedarkened? That’s what this godless world looks like. Girls getting raped in places where that code of honor is in place are seen as the criminals and are punished accordingly. When violence is good, you can’t have enough of it. Especially when it comes with orgasms. Notice that it’s always the strong attacking the weak?

Yasmin’s initial reaction to the animals in human form was the same as anyone’s reaction would be if caught in similar circumstances. Consider:

“Even more outrageous is the way the dispossessed are blamed and hated by those in their localities. Many of those we demean and exclude then do turn feral and beastly. The other day, walking in a tough district, teens started spitting and racially abusing me and threw some scary missiles. I hated them at that moment, but no child is born that way. We must remember that and compel our elected representatives to understand we don’t want economic apartheid.”

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown | photo by Murdo Macleod w The Guardian

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown | photo by Murdo Macleod w The Guardian

I am not sure that I believe there is any excuse for teenagers who terrorize a female stranger, doing nothing but going about her own business, walking near them. I received zero guidance from my parents growing up. They were simply missing in action. And I come from, and remain in, poverty. (I’m doing better than many who are poor, but then I don’t choose to add to my problems by attacking strangers and acting like an animal.) They split up and my mother, who is uneducated, had no idea how to raise me and my brothers and sisters beyond feeding and sheltering us. I was unhappy in school and in a simplistic way I thought if I quit school, then I’d be happy. I didn’t get any guidance on that. I was given no incentive to tough it out. So I quit school. I now have no useful formal education. I do menial (security guard) work for too little pay and I’ll have to do that until I die. I’m 56 and not ambitious, which doesn’t help. But if I could go back in time, ambitious or not, I’d get busy. I don’t have a partner and so it would be fairly hard for me to catch up on my education and look after myself at the same time. But I know that others in my situation have pulled it off. I’m just not that strong. Okay, I would also have a hard time putting my research and blogging aside. I enjoy it and yes, I do think it’s important. I don’t get a zillion hits, but I do feel like this is productive.

I left home early and started looking after myself, and, while I have always been responsible and looked after myself, That didn’t get me anywhere. That’s because just being a law abiding, responsible, tax paying worker isn’t the way you avoid being used and abused in this mafia, vampire capitalist system (happily presided over by hypocrites like Barack Obama). – In 2005, Senator Obama voted for the Class Action Fairness Act that gave more protection to corporations facing class action lawsuits, a legal tool that recent victims of subprime, predatory lending (persons of color and the poor were the majority of victims, as Pam Martens explains in “Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion,” edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank) would have been able to use to better effect in seeking redress for crimes committed against them by an industry that is beholden to Obama. He has not re-regulated it since the global economy it damaged started to blow up in 2008 or thereabouts, nor has his government seriously sought to bring perpetrators of that crime to justice. It’s called quid pro quo. You give me something (like campaign donations) and I’ll give you something (lots of freedom to pillage).

“The number one industry supporting the Obama presidential bid, by the start of Friday – the crucial time in primary season – according to the widely respected, nonpartisan Center For Responsive Politics, was “lawyers/law firms” (most on Wall Street’s payroll), giving a total of $11,246,596. This presents three unique credibility problems for the yes-we-can-little-choo-choo-that-could campaign: (1) these are not just “lawyers/law firms”; the vast majority of these law firms are also registered lobbyists at the Federal level; (2) Senator Obama has made it a core tenet of his campaign platform that the way he is going to bring the country hope and change is not taking money from federal lobbyists; and (3) with the past seven ignoble years of lies and distortions fresh in the minds of voters, building a candidacy based on half-truths is not a sustainable strategy to secure the west wing from the right wing. Yes, the other leading presidential candidates are taking money from lawyers/law firms/lobbyists, but Senator Obama is the only one rallying with the populist cry that he isn’t…” -page 19 of “Hopeless – Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion,” edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank (pub 2012) Pam Martens wrote that piece in May of 2008.

Paradoxically, Being responsible, working and paying my own way – which was enough for me – meant that slowly but surely the damage to my situation that I was investing in (unintentionally) would bring me a nasty return. Bosses don’t have to pull their weight and so they don’t. Year after year, I experienced less freedom – because in a money system, money means life. (I’m now told straight up “no” when I enquire about raises.) But because it didn’t happen dramatically and all at once, I sort of didn’t notice it the way I would have had it been all at once. So I could daydream (and read my books to escape) and imagine that one day I’d get a break and things would be really nice.

In the meantime, I wasn’t suffering. But, like the frog in cold water that is slowly brought to a boil… Now, although I work full time, I go to payday lenders every month. As for freedom, I am not dodging bullits or saying hello to Obama’s killer drones, and I haven’t yet been thrown into jail for objecting to fascism, but I don’t get much done nor do I go far physically, for all those things require money that I don’t have. I can’t even visit dying relatives.

Inflation, and too free bosses, meant that eventually I couldn’t survive even working full time and having no bad habits (tobacco, drugs, drinking, clubs). Law abiding citizens, especially vulnerable ones, don’t have any protection from the predations of capitalist exploiters and a shredded social safety net courtesy of law and order governments that yammer on about national security and the need for more power for their police state and less opportunity for criminal-minded citizens (dissenters who are compelled to dissent because bosses, backed up by traitorous political leaders, squeeze them until it’s unbearable) to commit crimes (protest).

In my online response to the top of post linked-to article, I mentioned John Edgerton’s comment about the need to keep workers busy and duped. I found that statement, with much difficulty, on a webpage that is part of a discussion by, it seems, progressives with an understanding of economics. I knew about John Edgerton’s views from watching an amazing documentary titled “Psywar,” which I link to in my ‘Documentaries I liked’ section on my blog. Doing a simple Google search for the same information was useless. (When you do enough research, you’ll find that Google isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And, while I’m at it, Wikipedia, which I love, has it’s limitations as well. It’s too easily sabotaged by unprincipled special interests. On the subject of Google, see my previous post titled “Personalization May Be Cute, But…”)

** John E Edgerton, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, typified their response when he declared: “I am for everything that will make work happier but against everything that will further subordinate its importance. The emphasis should be put on work – more work and better work.” “Nothing”, he claimed, “breeds radicalism more than unhappiness unless it is leisure”.

In response, the industrial elite represented by NAM, including General Motors, the big steel companies, General Foods, DuPont, and others, decided to create their own propaganda. An internal NAM memo called for “re-selling all of the individual Joe Doakes on the advantages and benefits he enjoys under a competitive economy”. NAM launched a massive public relations campaign it called the “American Way”. As the minutes of a NAM meeting described it, the purpose of the campaign was to link “free enterprise in the public consciousness with free speech, free press and free religion as integral parts of democracy”. **

I also recently stumbled upon a Grit TV video by (an angry) Laura Flanders looking at the women who Jeffrey Sachs et al would have us believe are more of a cause of poverty than is the propaganda about capitalism which helps prop up both consumerism and the capitalists devouring natural resources in order to produce more crap, much of it with built-in obsolescence so that we don’t buy just once and impoverish the greedy, planet-destroying, macho, government-stealing vampire capitalists. Then there’s that propaganda’s attendant, destructive ideology (or darkness) embracing inequality. See my post titled “Serial Killers,” looking at Jeffrey Sachs’s slick propagandizing for the corporatocracy.

Laura Flanders:

** In a March 1 op-ed in the Washington Post Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs made his pitch to be the next president of the World Bank promising to “lead the bank into a new era of problem-solving.” John Cavanaugh and Robin Broad have laid out a raft of righteous concerns about Sachs’s candidacy. The “solutions” Sachs proposes to poverty, they point out, can be summed up in the not very-new words: “aid” and “trade.” As if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s Sachs’s other favorite problem solver: population control. That’s taking us to a new era, alright: right back to the nineteenth century of Thomas Malthus…

Given the options, Sachs’s same-old pro-privatization development policies will be greeted as enlightened, none so more than his position on “reducing fertility.” He’s not promoting mandatory sterilization, after all, and he’s in tune with a growing crowd that’s recycling old population myths for the new save-the-planet context. But while growing population in poor countries certainly has its environmental impacts, globally, high level consumption lifestyles in rich countries are doing much more damage. The average consumer worldwide eats up 22kg of resources each day. The average African consumes less than half that while the average American consumers almost ten times the global standard. Bill McKibben’s called first world consumerism not third world population growth enemy number one. The problem is denial and Jeff Sachs’ approach won’t help.

At the Reith lectures, Sachs made clear that he won’t be proposing problem solving that affects his own ilk’s consumption habits. Quizzed about Western greed, he shot back: “I do not believe that the solution to this problem is a massive cutback of our consumption levels or our living standards. “ So it’s back to poor women and their kids.

Around the world, high-level women leaders including former presidents Michelle Bachelet (of Chile) and Mary Robinson (of Ireland) have launched an initiative to focus global attention on women’s expertise and leadership as regards Climate Change and development. Sachs’s focus on women as the “problem” takes us in exactly the opposite direction. **

The above YouTube video carries a different title than the same videos on the Grit TV website and on The Nation website. Maybe Sachs’s and/or his corporatocracy friends threatened Laura over this. The above YouTube video is titled “Women Say Climate Bad, Corporate Pillage Worse.” The videos on Laura’s website and on The Nation’s website carry the title “Jeffrey Sachs: Population controller?”

I had my first good look at Jeffrey Sachs when I read Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine – The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism.” She may have been too kind in her assessment. She notes that Sachs was impressed with the thinking of (progressive) John Maynard Keynes, the bane of neoliberal capitalists everywhere, but also impressed, and more inclined toward, the thinking of Milton Friedman, friend of dictators, capitalists and economic shock therapy rather than democracy. “Sachs had been heavily influenced by Keynes’s writings on the connection between hyperinflation and the spread of fascism in Germany after the First World War.” -page 170 of “The Shock Doctrine.” Sachs, who knew nothing about development economics, drew up a nasty, Friedman inspired economic plan for Bolivia’s presidential contender, Hugo Banzer, in Bolivia’s “historic 1985 national elections.”

The former dictator, who was sure election victory was his, hired Jeffrey Sachs who he wanted to help draw up an anti-inflationary plan. Banzer lost, but, with the very rightwing Goni (Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada) on the new president’s team, and with Goni’s admiration for the same plan Sachs drew up for Banzer, Victor Paz Estensorro would soon be overseeing serious society-destroying economic shock therapy that actually ended up dismantling the state-centered economic system he set up decades earlier. And no one knew Estensorro had done a backroom deal with Sachs and his opposition to implement a plan to impose shock therapy on Bolivians.

Never have unconditional heroes. They so often end up becoming the enemy. A good lesson in the folly of having unconditional heroes would be that presented by Obmamamania. I’m now reading through “Barack Obama And The Politics Of Illusion,” which I quoted above. Noam Chomsky says about it: “Those who feel that like lemmings they have been led over a cliff would be well-advised not to read this book. They may discover that they are right.”

I was also pleased to find references to Tory PM Benjamin Disraeli in Yasmin’s piece. I no doubt have seen the name before. But only recently did I have the chance to know about the person behind the name. In a recent blog post I did, I quoted Rick Salutin (Canadian author and journalist) who, in his Rabble piece commemorating Dalton Camp, a Progressive Conservative of the sort we don’t find anymore (I will confess that, being as radical in my views when I was reading Dalton’s Toronto Star articles, as I am now, I had a hard time appreciating Progressive Conservatives – the idea and their existence. Maybe I sensed what was coming?), explained the difference between yesterday’s and today’s conservatives. I don’t read fiction, but I am intrigued by this Benjamin Disraeli. If I don’t discover something non fiction that will tell me more about him, then perhaps I will one day order one of his novels.

“The most alarming aspect of how globalization degrades law is in the conditions for work. The new information technology has been popularized as the dawn of a “postindustrial age,” but that blithe vision ignores what is actually happening to industrial workers. In the primitive legal climate of poorer nations, industry has found it can revive the worst forms of nineteenth-century exploitation, abuses outlawed long ago in the advanced economies, including extreme physical dangers to workers and the use of children as expendable cheap labor. Indeed, the powerfu strands of the global market also undermine legal protections for workers in some advanced economies. Sweatshops are back in the United States, visible from Los Angeles to New York and across the rural South.” -page 34 of “One World, Ready Or Not – The Manic Logic Of Global Capitalism,” by William Greider (pub 1997).

Globalization, whose form is mostly determined by the corporatocracy, is not doing anything for the 99%. We continue to be exploited. Disaster capitalism is now upon us and with all the natural and manufactured crises happening, fascism ramps up. That is exactly how fascism appears. People don’t ask to have their democracy taken away. But they can be deceived by people like Jeffrey Sachs into consenting to being robbed – if they are unwary. When the old order breaks down, for whatever reason (suicidal economic policies are in fashion right now: “Noam Chomsky on America’s Economic Suicide”), the fake heroes, with giddy privatizers and the whole coterie of status quo elite vampires egging them on, come out of the woodwork with solutions and the standard line that the old rules clearly didn’t work, but they’ve got a new plan that will fix everything. Each time the fascists come along and rescue the shocked and disorganized victims, they take a little (or a lot) more of our democracy, since their intention is to get rid of laws that we all agreed to (and which we were all supposed to benefit from) and replace them with laws that we are told are going to protect us (by protecting ‘national security’) but which we have no say in formulating.

To the extent that we see clearly that those laws are not good for us, and speak out about it, the beefed up police state punishes us until we are silent. See my recent post titled “Fascist America: Have We Finally Turned The Corner?” And they make money in the process. And then they take their money, and ours, and run from the monstrous economic system that they’ve unleashed on us, for it will devour any who find themselves in front of it.

Look at the lunacy of that bunch! Jeffrey Sachs never had it right. He merely endorsed the methods and plans of gangsters setting out to steal countries (Bolivia, Russia). He’s doing the same thing now, assuaging the fears of capitalists producing crap and causing destruction that they might be forced to become socially responsible and less murderous by promising that if they will let him lead international capitalism’s hit man, The World Bank, he’ll be sure to fix the global economy – by ‘encouraging’ those evil women to stop producing too many damned kids! See the CounterPunch article “Jeffrey Sachs’ Grab For The World Bank,” by Laura Flanders. This piece in The Huffington Post adds some interesting tidbits (and links): “Jeffrey Sachs Wants To Be World Bank President, And He’s Helping It Already.”

The Nation magazine has weighed in and presents a number of opinions, for and against Sach’s possible selection. Progressives have divided – needlessly. This is not rocket science. I’m so saddened to see Mark Weisbrot (of CEPR) endorse Sachs, citing as a reason Sachs’s opposition to war. That’s perverted! Sachs’s work with traitorous leaders like Hugo Banzer in Bolivia and Boris Yeltsin in Russia resulted in a great deal of bloodshed. I’m sickened! Also, Until now, I found congressman John Conyers to be one of the few American politicians with any integrity. Then again, I don’t really know that much about the man. Here he is, endorsing the bloody Sachs for World Bank president. Mind you, Sachs fits into such an organization. We aren’t going to reform it, realistically.

We can talk about anything. But if we can’t talk about real criminals and their real crimes, I don’t want to waste my time talking about dubious – as in transparently self-serving – theories about what the root cause of an absolutely broken global economic system is.

Chris Hedges has some fun things to say about all of this darkness in his article titled “How Our Demented Capitalist System Made America Insane”:

** When civilizations start to die they go insane. Let the ice sheets in the Arctic melt. Let the temperatures rise. Let the air, soil and water be poisoned. Let the forests die. Let the seas be emptied of life. Let one useless war after another be waged. Let the masses be thrust into extreme poverty and left without jobs while the elites, drunk on hedonism, accumulate vast fortunes through exploitation, speculation, fraud and theft. Reality, at the end, gets unplugged. We live in an age when news consists of Snooki’s pregnancy, Hulk Hogan’s sex tape and Kim Kardashian’s denial that she is the naked woman cooking eggs in a photo circulating on the Internet. Politicians, including presidents, appear on late night comedy shows to do gags and they campaign on issues such as creating a moon colony. “At times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Celine wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”

The quest by a bankrupt elite in the final days of empire to accumulate greater and greater wealth, as Karl Marx observed, is modern society’s version of primitive fetishism. This quest, as there is less and less to exploit, leads to mounting repression, increased human suffering, a collapse of infrastructure and, finally, collective death. It is the self-deluded, those on Wall Street or among the political elite, those who entertain and inform us, those who lack the capacity to question the lusts that will ensure our self-annihilation, who are held up as exemplars of intelligence, success and progress. The World Health Organization calculates that one in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum. **

You might choose a dark path thinking that the life you want, which is the life we all want, lies down it. And you might be clever when you make that choice, using some measure – a damaged dupe you took advantage of for example – by which you estimate that you’ve won, bringing you satisfaction. But you will eventually end up as dumb as a bag of nails. You can’t lie and know. You can’t reject reality and be connected to it. You can’t embrace darkness and be bathed in light. “You can’t slave for God and for riches.” (Matthew 6:24) You hear that Sachs?

This world’s operating principle is ‘riches for the strongest’, a contradiction in terms when we are designed not to devour each other, but to treat each other as we would like to be treated, as a family would do. Those who choose the path of darkness can mod themselves in order to more easily walk the dark path they’ve chosen and many do, But can we modify ourselves successfully? We are not God, which may be an inconvenient truth for some. But that’s how it is. We weren’t meant to be modified.

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