“American Collapse Theory” Gaining Ground in China

The China Money Report has the article “American Collapse Theory” Gaining Ground in China.

Since 1979 the United States failed to prevent the Chinese industrialization reform movement and China’s rise is almost complete. At the same time, the American’s turned their economy over to the financial sector. The problems since 2008 are only the tip of the iceberg.

It’s amazing what we have been able to do to ourselves over the last 40 years.

The Century of the Self – Part 1: “Happiness Machines”

YouTube has the video The Century of the Self – Part 1: “Happiness Machines”.

The story of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and his American nephew, Edward Bernays. Bernays invented the public relations profession in the 1920s and was the first person to take Freud’s ideas to manipulate the masses. He showed American corporations how they could make people want things they didn’t need by systematically linking mass-produced goods to their unconscious desires.

Bernays was one of the main architects of the modern techniques of mass-consumer persuasion, using every trick in the book, from celebrity endorsement and outrageous PR stunts, to eroticising the motorcar.

His most notorious coup was breaking the taboo on women smoking by persuading them that cigarettes were a symbol of independence and freedom. But Bernays was convinced that this was more than just a way of selling consumer goods. It was a new political idea of how to control the masses. By satisfying the inner irrational desires that his uncle had identified, people could be made happy and thus docile.

It was the start of the all-consuming self which has come to dominate today’s world.

Originally broadcast on 29th April 2002.

I have read that these propaganda techniques had started in the run up to World War I. This video puts many details to what I could remember of my past readings. In fact I found mention of this idea in a previous post Chris Hedges Interviews Noam Chomsky (1/3).

Thanks to Sep Ebrahimzadeh for posting the video as a Facebook comment on one of my posts.

I now better understand the context of what I alluded to above and can recommend some resources for anyone else who might be curious:

There’s a book titled Propaganda by Edward Bernays (Freud’s nephew) including its excellent introduction by Miller. In this book Bernays described how and why he saw the populous as irrational and easily manipulated.

This 4 hour BBC documentary starts from shortly before Bernays and Freud’s time and connects the dots all the way to Raegan/Tatcher and Clinton/Blair’s era (which is largely where we are now)

The fourth part of the series describes how the “left” parties in America and England abandoned their principles and adopted the business-marketing style of governance in an effort to win votes and get reelected. Robert Reich’s short speech at the end sums up the problem succinctly:

The issue is a difference of idealogy between today’s corporate Democrats who have a Freudian view of their voters and the Democratic Socialist view of rational involved citizenry.

September 11, 2018

I have now seen all four episodes of “The Century of the Self”. Somewhere along about episode three it lost its way. I don’t feel that episode showed any understandinng of how to improve the political situation for progressives. I was singularly unimpressed with Robert Reich’s opinions at the end of the fourth episode.

Remember that this documentary was first aired in 2002. I think I have learned a lot more about reality than I knew in 2002.

With the economic collapse of 2008/2009, I am now much more educated on what the “free market” has managed to do with all that freedom. The economy has been financialized. More profit is made by charging for moving money around than is made by manufacturing to satisfy consumer wants and needs. The “free market” doesn’t care about providing consumers with enough income to buy stuff. The free market only wants to squeeze consumers by getting them to borrow more money. This way, the rich can profit more from interest payments on the borrowed money than they can make by selling actual goods. Whatever goods need to be made can be made by cheap foreign labor to which the corporations have outsourced the work. Why should corporations bother to pay USA workers higher wages, when you can keep all that money for themselves? If the workers don’t have the money to buy stuff, just shrink the size of the corporation to meet the size of the market. This shrinkage has the tendency to raise the value of the corporation that is left concentrated in the hands of the 1%

The rich have found that corporations can make more money per share of stock and raise the prices of shares of their stock, by using corporate assets to buy back the corporations shares. The companies make less total money, but with fewer shares outstanding, the people who own those remaining shares get a bigger share of the shrinking economy. Imaginary measurements are enough to dupe the uninitiated into thinking the economy is growing. These uninitiated just cannot understand why they aren’t getting their share of the supposedly growing economy.

Ultimately, the strength of the USA depends on the productive capacity of the economy. We can keep that strength by overspending on military power for a while, but eventually their won’t be enough of a domestic economy to support the military spending. The USA empire is approaching its ultimate collapse (which might not be so bad for the rest of the world). However, we don’t need to overdo that collapse.

The documentary focused all its attention on what people could be sold in terms of consumers goods and political ideas, and too little analysis of the economic consequences of the decisions people are being fooled into making.

Walter Mondale showed how foolish it was to sell a political program based on raising people’s taxes. Robert Reich isn’t going to have any more success in selling a program that way. We have to focus on the economic destruction of our society that is going on with the current policies. The economy has changed enough since Barack Obama got elected for people to see the harm they suffer from too much corporate power. It’s not so much that government power is so good as it is how damaging corporate power is when it has no controls over it.

The 99% don’t need their taxes to be raised, but the 1% certainly do. It is less about their paying their fair share as it is about transferring great wealth from the 99% to the 1%. This gives the 1% great powers over the country that they should not have, as evidenced by what they have done with all the power they have accumulated.

We need a better understanding of the damage that occurs when functions that the government should be doing are privatized so that even more resources can be taken from the 99% and given to the 1%. Progressives need to recognize the harm that can occur from too much government power, but they need to explain how much worse it is to turn that power over to the corporations. Maybe there needs to be more focus on the damage that occurs when too much power is concentrated in the hands of any single group.

Democrats Are Engaging in ‘Kabuki Theater’ in the Kavanaugh Hearings

The Real News Network has the interview Democrats Are Engaging in ‘Kabuki Theater’ in the Kavanaugh Hearings.

In the hearings to confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a new Supreme Court justice, Democrats are mostly focusing on hypothetical questions instead of questioning him on his record and releasing his documents. This is an inflection point in US democracy, says law Prof. Francis Boyle.

I learned more about the Kavanaugh hearings from this interview than any story I have seen or read elsewhere. I must admit that I have decided not to waste my time on listening to the proceedings because I suspected they would be full of the games that Prof. Boyle describes. Listening to this interview was exactly what I wanted that cut to the heart of the matter without wasting my time on the frustrating games.

Asking hypothetical questions that the Democrats knew Kavanaugh would not answer was exactly the frustration I decided I could easily live without. Prof. Boyle talks about the class of questions they should have asked that would have derailed the nomination rather than the hypothetical questions that were designed to just get some votes for Democratic politicians.

Nancy Pelosi Promises That Democrats Will Handcuff the Democratic Agenda If They Retake the House

The Intercept has the article Nancy Pelosi Promises That Democrats Will Handcuff the Democratic Agenda If They Retake the House.

A new vanguard of economists in Washington, including former Bernie Sanders staffer Stephanie Kelton, has argued that under modern monetary theory, public spending is only constrained when the economy is running at full capacity and inflation starts to rise — which is not remotely the case today.

In a statement, Kelton said that “pay-go is a self-imposed, economically illiterate approach to budgeting.” Republicans, she said, know this, which is why “they have unabashedly used their power to expand deficits and, hence, deliver windfall gains for big corporations and the already well-to-do.”

She continued, “Instead of vowing budget chastity, Democrats should be articulating an agenda that excites voters so that they can unleash the full power of the public purse on their behalf.”

This is why if the Democrats take back the House and they elect Nancy Pelosi as the speaker, all will be lost. I’d rather the Democratic majority waits until the Democrats wake up.

Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning

Greg Maybury has posted a brief review of the book Losing Military Supremacy: The Myopia of American Strategic Planning by Andrei Martyanov.

In ways that many of today’s MSM pundits and self-confessed experts do not and never will, the author’s former Soviet military background enables deep insight into the fundamental issues of warfare and military power as a function of national power―assessed correctly, not through the lens of Wall Street “economic” indices but through the numbers of enclosed technological cycles and culture, much of which has been shaped in Russia by continental warfare and which is practically absent in the US.

According to the review, this should be a very informative book to read. I post it here on my blog to remind me about the book.

U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question

The Texas Tribune has the Washington Post story U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question.

His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.

But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.

As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown on their citizenship.

Don’t get too comfortable because you aren’t Hispanic, or were not born near the border in Texas. This is just an example of what schemes the USA government can dream up if they want to get rid of you.

You think you have rights that the U.S.A. Constitution guarantees you as a citizen? They can just deny that you are a citizen. What foreign country is going to take you as a citizen if you were actually born in the U.S.A.? If you can’t prove that you were born where you were actually born, what chance do you have of proving you were born someplace else?

From Wikipedia First they came ….

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Gov. Shutdown Of TeleSUR & “Empire Files” Explained By Abby MartinGov. Shutdown Of TeleSUR & “Empire Files” Explained By Abby Martin

YouTube has the video Government Shutdown Of TeleSUR & “Empire Files” Explained By Abby Martin.

Abby Martin and Mike Prysner lay out exactly what happened to teleSUR and Empire Files and how YOU can help.

The corporate media are trying to convince you that Google cannot skew search results to fit a political agenda. They claim people who say it can do this do not understand how Google works. The above video explains exactly what Google has done already to left wing viewpoints. Left wing media has the numbers to prove that Google can do this, and has already done this.

Let’s see if I can put this nicely. The corporate media are lying to you.

Chris Hedges: When The Ruling Ideology No Longer Has Any Credibility Then The Elites Only Have Violence Left In Order To Maintain Control

Dandeliion Salad has the interview Chris Hedges: When The Ruling Ideology No Longer Has Any Credibility Then The Elites Only Have Violence Left In Order To Maintain Control.

“In his latest book, America: The Farewell Tour, Chris Hedges shows how the effects of America’s decline and decay affects its citizenry. As America sinks further into poverty and despotism, and as corporations and the military-industrial-media complex pirate the remaining assets of a nation that has lost its industry save weapons manufacturing, human beings suffer from gambling addiction, hatred, and violence in the streets. Hedges announces a spiritual call to resist.”

At the end of the interview, Chris Hedges explains why those of us who are fighting the forces of decay keep on fighting. It is what gives life meaning.

Democracy in Chains

The Institute for New Economic Thinking has the article by Lynn Parramore, Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America.

In discussing Duke historian Nancy MacLean’s meticulously researched book, Democracy in Chains, Lynn Parramore says,

She observes, for example, that many liberals have missed the point of strategies like privatization. Efforts to “reform” public education and Social Security are not just about a preference for the private sector over the public sector, she argues. You can wrap your head around those, even if you don’t agree. Instead, MacLean contends, the goal of these strategies is to radically alter power relations, weakening pro-public forces and enhancing the lobbying power and commitment of the corporations that take over public services and resources, thus advancing the plans to dismantle democracy and make way for a return to oligarchy. The majority will be held captive so that the wealthy can finally be free to do as they please, no matter how destructive.

Maybe the economist named in this article, James Buchanan, was under the misapprehension that the oligarchs want to build something. We have seen by the hollowing out of corporations that is being done now, that the oligarchy only wants to increase their wealth while they are alive. They don’t care who gains control of what is left of our economy after they are gone.

Debunking The Aryan Invasion Myth & Discovering Scientific Achievements of Indians: Raj Vedam

The Sham Sharma Show has the video Debunking The Aryan Invasion Myth & Discovering Scientific Achievements of Indians: Raj Vedam.

Raj Vedam is an Electrical Engineer by training, and enjoys a range of intellectual pursuits. He is an amateur astronomer with an interest in the history of astronomy. Raj is a history aficionado and reads voraciously on a range on historical topics, with special interest in ancient prehistory, and the spread of knowledge, arts, culture and philosophies across cultures. He is a founder-member of Indian History Awareness and Research, and takes a keen interest in the narratives of civilizations, and the application of scientific methods in the validation of historical narratives.

I speak to him about the various empirical proofs debunking the Aryan Invasion Myth and also about the intellectual achievements of ancient Indians, and how India can reclaim that scientific and learning temper again.

Just to brag a little, I worked with Raj when we were both in Oregon. Of course, I worked with him on the electrical engineering side of his interests. We commuted to work together for a while, so I had a chance to talk to him quite a bit on his non-work related interests. I learned a lot from him, and I hope I can say he learned a thing or two from me.