The crisis of capitalism has not been resolved; it’s simply been papered over.
First, a disclaimer: this is an interpretive discussion of some aspects of Marx’s analysis (which was based on the capitalism he observed in the late 19th century) applied to present-day cartel-state capitalism. It is not a scholarly or academic presentation.
The discussion covers a lot of ground, though, so please refill your beverage container and strap in….
That Marx’s prescription for a socialist/Communist alternative to capitalism failed does not necessarily negate his critique of capitalism. Marx spent hundreds of pages analyzing capital and capitalism and relatively few sketching out a pie-in-the-sky alternative that was not grounded in historical examples or working models.
So it is no surprise that his prescriptive work is an occasionally risible historical curiosity while his critique stands as a systemic analysis.
Marx got a number of things right, one of which appears to be playing out on a global scale. You probably know that Marx expected capitalism to experience a series of ever-larger boom-bust cycles that would eventually precipitate revolution and overthrow of the existing financial-political order.
One driver of these cycles was the interplay of increasing production and declining labor costs. In broad-brush, Marx recognized that industrial capital (as opposed to finance capital) could only increase profits and accumulate more capital by raising production and/or establishing a price-fixing cartel or monopoly.
Mechanization characterized industrial capitalism in the late 19th century, and Marx observed that as mechanization increased productivity, the marginal value of labor decreased on a per unit basis.
Here is a real-world example: When I first visited China in 2000, there was a massive glut of television production: the capacity to manufacture TVs had expanded far beyond China’s domestic demand for TVs. To wring out a profit in a highly competitive industry, manufacturers had to ramp up production while lowering the unit cost of labor and the unit cost of each TV to undercut the competition.
If an assembly line of 100 workers could produce 1,000 TVs a day, the only way to lower the price of the TV is to either lower the wages paid to the workers or invest capital in machinery that enables the same 100 workers to produce 2,000 TVs a day.
At 2,000 TVs a day, the per unit labor cost falls in half. For example, at 1,000 TVs a day, the labor cost per TV might be $40. At 2,000 TVs per day assembled by the same 100 workers, the labor cost per unit drops to $20.
The key point here is that labor’s share of the total production cost declines. If workers had taken home $1 million in pay to make 100,000 TVs at the old production rate of 1,000 TVs/day, they now take home $500,000 to make 100,000 TVs at the new production rate.
In other words, labor’s share of value creation constantly declines as mechanization boosts productivity. Marx described the impact of another factor: oversupply of labor. As rural agricultural workers flooded into cities for jobs that paid cash, there was an abundance of factory labor. Competition for jobs pushes wages lower, so workers faced a double-whammy: their share of production relentlessly declined as productivity rose, and the pressure on wages constantly rose as per unit labor costs declined.
The competition to outproduce industrial rivals with cheaper per-unit production costs and labor’s competition for jobs both generate a structural crisis in capitalism: as production of goods rises, both the cost per unit and the number of workers earning enough to buy the goods declines.
Keep reading ‘What Marx Got Right’ from Charles Hugh Smith after the jump…
Charles Koch, the ultra conservative billionaire has discovered the Orwellian Bizarro World secret to getting poor people back on their feet again: Do away with the minimum wage!
I mean, why do we need it, right, isn’t the minimum wage one of the major roadblocks holding back the US economy from competing in a global marketplace? At least this is what this obscenely wealthy son-of-a-bitch (net worth $25 billion) wants people—gullible people, the kind of people who tend to believe anything if they hear it enough times—to think.
Yesterday, Koch told the Wichita Eagle why he’s against the minimum wage:
We want to do a better job of raising up the disadvantaged and the poorest in this country, rather than saying ‘Oh, we’re just fine now.’ We’re not saying that at all. What we’re saying is, we need to analyze all these additional policies, these subsidies, this cronyism, this avalanche of regulations, all these things that are creating a culture of dependency. And like permitting, to start a business, in many cities, to drive a taxicab, to become a hairdresser. Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.
Reduces the mobility of labor? And here I always thought it was shit like like lack of affordable healthcare that reduced all that fucking mobility Koch seems to want to grease up for us with these, er, penetrating insights…
But it gets even better! As Rebecca Leber writes on Think Progress, Koch’s political foundation is starting to run an ad in Kansas that aims to “start a conversation” about America’s future:
The Kansas ad does not specifically mention the minimum wage, but it does claim that Americans earning $34,000 a year should count themselves as lucky, because that puts them in the top 1 percent of the world. “That is the power of economic freedom,” the ad concluded. Meanwhile, Charles and David Koch are the ones comfortably in the 1 percent, with a net worth of about 1 million times that figure.
Here’s the ad the Koch brothers hope will convince people who ride public transportation to fast food jobs to let folks like them kick the last slats of social support out from underneath them… for their own good and the good of the nation! The Charles Koch Foundation’s YouTube channel describes the one-minute spot like so:
How do we measure human happiness, well-being, and progress? There may be no more important question than how we strive for human progress and how we measure our path along the way. This video sparks a conversation about the conditions that can best create opportunities for earned success as well as compassion for the vulnerable. We hope you join the dialogue.
Many folks, as you might imagine, have joined the dialogue on YouTube, nearly all of it falling into the “fuck you and the vile propaganda your billions pay for, you loathsome piece of shit. When the revolution comes you’re gonna get yours,” etcetera, etcetera…
Won’t you join the dialogue, yourself and let Chuck know what you think?
It cannot be said that the citizens of Wisconsin didn’t truly get what they asked for when they had a chance to shitcan Republican Governor Scott Walker, but for some inexplicable reason, opted not to oust the lickspittle Koch whore. Nope, Wisconsin voted this toady to the rich and powerful in twice and well, that clearly wasn’t an accident, now was it? By any metric, Gov. Walker’s tenure in the statehouse has been a disastrous and divisive few years for Wisconsin, near the bottom in job creation and with a host of other problems the Charlie Brown-ish Walker has done little to solve and much to exacerbate.
But now Wisconsinites are getting a bite from a brand new flavor of shit sandwich that results from having a Republican-controlled legislature: Masked mercenaries with semi-automatic weapons are guarding the site of a controversial mining project that is being established near Lake Superior and understandably, people are freaking out about it.
Although there were serious environmental concerns about the mine, in March the GOP legislature pushed it through anyway. Since then there have been steady events protesting the mine, which will be owned and operated by a company called Gogebic Taconite. Over the July 4th weekend, however, masked security guards wearing camouflaged uniforms and carrying multiple semi-automatic weapons started patrolling the future mine’s site. Forget about the firepower for a moment, why do these dudes require masks to do their jobs???
Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall did a little digging into the background of Bulletproof Securities the rent-a-cop on steroids firm—or as they put it, the “No Compromise Security Force”—that is minding the mine:
Here’s the Bulletproof website which lists all sorts of security/paramilitary type services. They even have their own ‘border security force’, which is something I thought the federal government took care of. But apparently not without occasional help from Bulletproof.
Indeed, as the site notes, “BPS has at its disposal the latest cache of specialized equipment for border security operations, not typically found in the private sector. As example, BPS owns heavily armored Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV’s), Tactical All Terrain Vehicles (T-ATV’s), FLIR (mobile thermal systems), mast equipment (eye in the sky), and many other state-of-the-art assets … The presence of BPS will prevent criminal organizations from posing a threat to your personnel or your mission.”
If your needs are different, Bulletproof can also provide “a QRF (quick reaction force) tactical unit to secure a manufacturing plant during a heated worker strike.”
And they’ll do it all while wearing fucking masks!
Welcome to late period capitalism, baby! Which side of the fork do you reckon you’ll be on?
Worth mentioning that the Republicans who voted to push through the mine over community objections promised that Gogebic Taconite would be creating local jobs. So of course, the first thing, the very first thing that G-Tac did was import their paramilitary mercenaries from Scottsdale, AZ…
Something else worth mentioning? The land is actually open to the public and Bulletproof’s militarized rental cops do not even have the legal right in Wisconsin to actually use the weaponry that they are openly carrying around for the purpose of protecting property. And again, this is property that they do not own!.
Here’s a news report on this highly disturbing development from WISC-TV:
“Goldman Sachs 2020 Slave Labor Camp International” by Lee Harvey
Considering the appalling number of Americans these days who are paid as little as their bosses can possibly get away with paying them, you would think that citing opposition to the notion that hard work should, you know, pay a living wage and provide for some level of human dignity in the world’s richest country, would be perceived as a toxic issue by the elders of the Republican Party. Something you wouldn’t want to touch with a ten foot pole…
But you would be wrong.
During a hearing on raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, Sen. Bernie Sanders got Lamar Alexander, the ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee to admit that he wants to abolish the minimum wage.
It was remarkably easy—he wasn’t even trying—for Sanders to provoke a remarkable reaction to this statement:
“There are certain conservatives who do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage. The concept of the minimum wage. In other words, if the economy as such, and I offer you three dollars an hour.”
Alexander took the bait, interrupting Sanders (“Let me jump in. I do not believe in it” he says) and offering his two unsolicited cents:
Sanders: So you do not believe in the concept of the minimum wage?
Alexander: That’s correct.
Sanders: You would abolish the minimum wage?
Sanders: If someone had to work for two bucks an hour, they would work for two bucks an hour?
Senator Alexander is not a stupid man. He’s a graduate of Vanderbilt University and NYU’s law school. He’s been in government since the Nixon administration, he was the 45th Governor of Tennessee from 1979 to 1987 and he served as George H. W. Bush’s Secretary of Education. He’s run for president twice.
Alexander was not caught off guard and this was not exactly a trick question that Senator Sanders posed to him, either. He volunteered this information: Alexander really means this shit.
Oy vey. When will these Republicans ever learn?
The exchange between Sanders and Alexander starts (after Sanders lays the groundwork discussing the situation that fast food workers find themselves in making $7 bucks an hour) at the 5:48 mark. At the end of it, the asshole from the conservative Heritage Foundation asserts that the minimum wage hurts “the beneficiaries”!
Festively decorated surveillance camera in Utrecht, Netherlands on Tuesday in honor of George Orwell’s birthday
Yesterday the Dutch city of Utrecht celebrated George Orwell’s 110th birthday by placing colorful party hats on surveillance cameras in the city center. Orwell’s novel 1984, published in 1949, describes a futuristic world in which the all-powerful government, Big Brother, keeps its citizens under close surveillance in public and in their homes.
Though most people seem to be dimly aware of the fact that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was not technically an employee of NSA or the US Federal Government, I don’t see anyone raising the kind of stink that this pertinent little fact truly merits. And combine that with the “anything goes” environment that was clearly in operation while Snowden was peering into pretty much whatever he wanted, and the implications are pretty fucking serious indeed.
Let’s start with one of Snowden’s comments to Glenn Greenwald and the UK’s Guardian newspaper:
But I sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a Federal judge to even the President if I had a personal e-mail.”
Say what? So I’m not allowed to even know this program exists, but a high school dropout working in a lowly cubical in Booz Allen Hamilton can listen in to everything I say on the telephone or write in an email or post on the Internet? What the fuck? Doesn’t anyone see how screwy that is?
Maybe we’ve just stopped giving a shit and are hoping to ride out the last years of Empire in blissful ignorance, chatting about cute cats on Facebook and watching our favorite shows on TV (The Mad Men season finale was just superb, wasn’t it?) OK, I get that. But let’s at least think about what it is we’re tuning out because, who knows? It could cause the US death-spiral to come around far sooner than anticipated, and that would be a serious buzz kill.
So let’s break it down, shall we? What’s the biggest secret exposed by Snowden so far? That the NSA engages in ubiquitous surveillance on pretty much all forms of communication in the US, of both domestic as well as internationally-bound traffic? Well, we kinda knew that already. Back in 2005 AT&T Telecom engineer Mark Klein blew the whistle on the NSA’s “secret room” in the Folsom Street CO (Central Office). Any kind of analysis of that setup (and Klein even included the connection diagrams) would give you a decent idea of what was going on. So no, ubiquitous surveillance wasn’t much of a surprise, not if you were paying careful attention.
What IS a surprise was just how fucked up and sloppy the whole NSA operation is. In fact, during his live chat via The Guardian’s website on June 17th, Snowden said this:
Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications.
In other words, the National Security Agency just let a bunch of freelance contractors more or less run wild with unlimited access to the most sensitive conceivable data of any and every US citizen along with a goodly portion of communications of non-US residents as well.
Monitoring? Controls? Audits? Are you shittin’ me? But how can we be absolutely sure, you might ask, that Snowden was telling the truth? Precisely because even a low-level contractor was able to access and download highly classified PowerPoint presentations and a whole smorgasbord of super secret spy stuff and then leak it to the world! (In modern computer networks this is trivial to control.)
At first blush it would appear that the main thing NSA has been doing with their impenetrable cloak of secrecy is to completely goof off and unaccountably run wild with their very special powers with the only “control” in place being the fear that any leakers would experience the Bradley Manning treatment. If it weren’t for the NSA cone of silence, this would be heralded universally as laughably and unbelievably incompetent. On the other hand, perhaps this isn’t simply complete negligence. Perhaps it’s the symptom of something far darker…
Consider what YOU would do with that level of access. After you got into work, grabbed coffee, and read TMZ, you might spend half an hour or so checking out red-tagged conversations of, say, members of Mosques in Brooklyn, or say, groups of Muslim girls gathering to watch Jon Stewart (yeah, that’s a real thing), or maybe even listen in on the methed-out ravings of some hillbilly militia scaring each other into buying yet more guns in preparation of the UN’s inevitable communist takeover of bumfuck Idaho. But all of that “real work” would get boring fast. So maybe you daydream a bit and then, all of a sudden, it hits you: What if you could, say, listen in on the CEOs, CFOs and whatever other Os there are of some mega-corporation. Hell, you could probably use a special software “agent” to automatically scan huge wads of traffic and send you anything with the phrases, “Bankruptcy announcement to the press tomorrow”, or “Earnings shortfall” or “Hostile takeover.” Knowing as you do that no one’s monitoring what you access on those super-secret NSA pipes, you realize it would be both trivially easy and unbelievably lucrative to act on an early tip before it was announced to Wall Street. In fact, you could possibly make millions.
But then another thought hits you. Maybe, just maybe, you aren’t the first person to think of this. In fact, Booz Allen Hamilton has been growing their government consulting business to National Security agencies by leaps and bounds, and their financial consulting arm has been doing pretty good too:
Booz Allen provides support to all federal finance and treasury organizations charged with the collection, management, and protection of the nation’s financial system. Such agencies include the US Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Board and Banks, Securities Exchange Commission, and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
So doesn’t this strike you as somewhat “funny”? Isn’t this some major league conflict of interest? On the one hand, BAH has been clearly given carte blanche to listen in on anything and everything, and they also happen to be in the financial “consulting” business. Would BAH ever take a significant financial position based on, oh let’s say, very privileged information? Though they may or may not do this under their own name, they clearly have the financial chops to create a vast maze of shell companies. Or maybe BAH as an organization doesn’t do this, but bigshots within it do.
Perhaps this sounds paranoid or like completely baseless speculation, but after the LIBOR and REIT scandals, it’s obvious that there are no government checks in place to detect such activities. Moreover, even if this hasn’t actually happened yet, given the sloppiness of the controls and unlimited access to surveillance data, it’s absolutely obvious that this is going to happen sooner or later. Indeed, perhaps that sloppiness in protecting confidential data is precisely because someone’s dipping into this data goldmine and is making out like a bandit.
From here it’s easy to imagine all sorts of ugly scenarios: A giant, über-secret private company that is ultimately answerable to no one but that has access to anything you might say or post on the Internet (ie, including what you might do to try to stop it), while also being able to capitalize on their access to literally priceless financial secrets via their consulting and access to the markets. Once such a monstrosity sunk its claws in deep enough it would be very difficult to pull that thing off…ever. Then again, isn’t this what the Koch Brothers and their stooges the Tea Party wanted all along? They want to kill the state and Federal agencies so that a small keiretsu of giant companies can step in and take over. This “state corporatism” had a name which was called, hold on a minute while I remember…oh yeah, that’s right, Fascism.
Am I saying there’s some gigantic fascist conspiracy out there ready to take over the world? Nah. Well, probably not. But the point is that there doesn’t need to be an actual conspiracy in order for our true liberties to be under attack by the large corporations: Remember, Nestlé‘s CEO wants to privatize your water supply and sell your water back to you; Bush, Cheney and the cartoonishly malevolent Dr Strangelove Donald Rumsfeld privatized war and Mike McConnell of Booz Allen Hamilton has long been a (successful) advocate of privatizing US national security (and he was previously director of National Security under Bush).
Where’s all this headed? I don’t know, but I DO know it ain’t headed for more security, more freedom and better access to water in the world! These fuckers have a vested interest in keeping things nice and turbulent while making you think that there are legions of Muslims, communists and homosexuals out there just waiting to steal your freedoms, give away all your hard-earned stuff and sodomize your children. Meanwhile, of course, they and the Congress they have bought and paid for keep defunding essential Federal programs to the point where they can no longer function properly, so the public concludes, “Well, these government agencies can’t do anything so we might as well just get rid of them. And let’s privatize prisons and schools while we’re at it.”
Who knows? Will we soon enter the time where private contractors raised on “Call of Duty” operate domestic drones and have kill quotas that earn them cash incentives? Fuck, I read the kill list wrong, one might say, Can you ask your buddy to change the name on my list to whoever it was I just nailed? Thanks, pal. Beers are on me tonight.
What’s the solution? I don’t know, but let’s apply a nice, hot blowtorch to Booz Allen Hamilton’s filthy snout and push them the hell out of that giant government feeding trough filled to the brim with our tax dollars: They’re clearly incompetent, negligent, and have allowed documents of National Security to be accessed, downloaded and then leaked. (And don’t misunderstand: Snowden is a hero for exposing all of what’s been going on, but that still doesn’t mean BAH wasn’t negligent.) We also need to take baseball bat to the giant, heavy-lidded porcine head of the NSA as it gobbles down the information you and I own.
Let’s just not miss what is arguably an even greater danger, the privatization and outsourcing of tyranny itself to the big mega-corporates.
I think you’ll agree, dear discerning Dangerous Minds readers, that this would be difficult to top… either in the near term, or decades from now.
Wow, where to start with this one? Or should I even try? Just hit play, but be SURE to watch it all the way to the end, because it just keeps ramping up and up in the insanity department until the genius ending. It’s laugh out loud funny, but when it’s over your jaw will be on the ground, and trust me, it will stay there.
This is every flavor of wrong and then some.
It will probably not come as a surprise that this well-adjusted young lady also happens to be employed at Dennis Hof’s World Famous Bunny Ranch in Nevada. I wonder if he still gets a cut of that as her “manager”?
“The purpose of my writing is to expose and arrest Nova Criminals.”
― William S. Burroughs, Nova Express
In the mid-1970s, William Burroughs wrote a monthly column for the rock magazine Crawdaddy called “Time of the Assassins” (which he got from a line of Rimbaud’s “Voici le temps des Assassins”).
Evocative, isn’t it? The “Time of the Assassins.” It has such a nice ring to it.
That we may soon be (or already are) living in an age that would require assassins struck me last week as I was watching the controversial statements made by former Nestlé CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (today he is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nestlé S.A.) who said that water should be valued like any other commodity. Brabek’s comments were made in a 2005 documentary, We Feed the World, and are today, eight years later, being scrutinized in horror and exchanged feverishly by lefties on social media. As a result, Brabek’s been on the receiving end of quite a lot of stick on Facebook and Twitter, and not without some justification, if you ask me.
Brabeck’s flawed “free market” remarks betray such a peculiarly evil “logic” that only an extremely wealthy man, far, far removed from the rest of humanity, could have conceived of it:
My name is Peter Brabeck. I’m from Villach in Carinthia. And for the past 7-years I’ve been head of the Nestlé Group, the largest foodstuff corporation in the world, with a turnover of around 90 billion Swiss francs or around $65 billion, and with around 275,000 employees working directly for us. So, it’s quite a large ship. We’re the twenty-seventh largest company in the world.
Today, people believe that everything that comes from Nature is good. That represents a huge change because until recently, we always learnt that Nature could be pitiless. Man is now in the position of being able to provide some balance to Nature, but in spite of this, we have something approaching a shibboleth that everything that comes from Nature is good. A very good example is the organic movement. Organic is now best. But organic is not best.
After 15-years of eating GM food products in the USA, not one single case of illness has occurred from eating them to date. And in spite of this, we’re all so uneasy about it in Europe that something might happen to us. It’s hypocrisy more than anything else.
Ah yes, if you overlook what that benevolent gangsta Monsanto is doing to the soil and the water in much of the country and the fact that our vegetables have mere fractions of the nutrients they used to (like apples and spinach), then, yeah, I see his point. LOL.
There’s that lovely old Austrian folk song: “The dear cattle need water, hollera, holleri,” if you remember. Water is of course the most important raw material we have today in the world. It’s a question of whether we should privatize the normal water supply for the population. And there are two different opinions on the matter.
The one opinion which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution.
It’s an extreme position to expect… water? Wait, wait, come on, let’s let the man who is the Chairman of the world’s largest multinational manufacturer of bottled water define his terms, before we lay into him, shall we:
And the other view says that water is a foodstuff like any other and like any other foodstuff it should have a market value. Personally, I believe it’s better to give foodstuff a value, so that we’re all aware that it has a price, and then that one should take specific measures for the part of the population that has no access to this water and there are many different possibilities there.
Okay, folks, I’ve heard enough, go ahead get your knives out for this bastard.
And if that wasn’t bad enough already, then he really goes off into the stratosphere:
I’m still of the opinion that the biggest social responsibility of any CEO is to maintain and ensure the successful and profitable future of his enterprise. For only if we can ensure our continued long term existence will we be in the position to actively participate in the solution of the problems that exist in the world.
What.The.Fuck.Is.This.Guy.Talking.About? The obesity or diabetes epidemics he’s done his part for, perchance? Brabeck-Letmathe helmed goddamned Nestlé for seven years! It’s the largest foodstuff corporation in the entire world and just look at what their over-packaged, corn syrup-heavy product lines consist of! Nestlé, the corporation that ran a massive advertising campaign in Africa discouraging breast feeding and then sold African mothers powdered milk, which they diluted with dirty water resulting in the deaths of literally millions of infants? (The UN had to get involved!) Nestlé the corporation that turns a blind eye to child labor practices… That Nestlé?
I’d trust Peter Brabeck—who started working for the corporation in 1968 and was the 2007 recipient of a “Black Planet” award given for destroying the environment, monopolizing water resources and tolerating child labor—and Nestlé‘s shareholders with the water supply of a Third World nation like I’d trust a fuckin’ coyote to keep an eye on my Chihuahua. A Russian hacker with all my online banking passwords. A famished shark with my good luck ham.... (Sorry, I think I got carried away there).
First it will be some country we’ve never heard of and will never visit in our lives. Next thing you know, a Republican governor will be proposing to privatize the water supply in a southern state… because, you know, the freemarket is more efficient than the private sector or perhaps just because a Swiss multinational food company donated a shit-ton of money to his campaign ....
We’re in the position of being able to create jobs: 275,000 here, 1.2 million who are directly dependent on us in principle. That makes around 4.5 million people in total—because behind each of our employees are another 3 people, so we have at least 4.5 million people who are directly dependent on us.
Because the world needs moar Kit-Kats! The idea that the notoriously predatory Nestlé is somehow “a part” of the solution to poverty at this advanced stage of capitalism’s life cycle is surrealism at its best. Brabek’s like a caricature of a crazed Bilderberger. I half-expect him to goosestep around wearing a paper Burger King crown and tissue boxes on his feet in his private moments. He is Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, incarnate. Ah Pook is here!
The part of the video clip that has nothing to do with privatizing water is actually the best bit, in terms of the off-the-scale absurdity of this privileged man’s blinkered 1% vantage point.. on the “little people”:
If you want to create work, you have to work yourself, not as it was in the past, where existing work was distributed. If you remember the main argument for the 35-hour-week was that there would be a certain amount of work and it would be better if we worked less and distributed the work amongst more people. That has proved quite clearly to be wrong. If you want to create more work you have to work more yourself. And with that we’ve got to create a positive image of the world for people, and I see absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be positive about the future. We’ve never had it so good, we’ve never had so much money, we’ve never been so healthy, we’ve never lived as long as we do today. We have everything we want, and still we go around as if we were in mourning for something.
The Japanese. You can see how modern those factories are; highly robotized, almost no people.
(Shakes head) You get the picture. I present to you, solely on the basis that he spoke these words (which he ostensibly seems to believe), that the man is a criminally insane psychopathic wanker. He has the worldview of a sociopath top executive of a large multinational, which of course, he is. If Peter Brabek were willing to share his nine million euros a year salary with some of Nestlé‘s rank and file workers in Bangladesh, I’ll bet they’d be JUST FINE with with cutting back their work week and spending more quality time with their kids instead of slaving in sub-human working conditions to make Hot Pockets that’ll be bought on a credit card at Wal-Mart by a morbidly obese couch potato living in Georgia… Just sayin’...
Naturally, seeing the consternation his words have unleashed, Brabeck tried to back-peddle furiously, limiting the damage that his 2005 remarks have caused in an essay that he (or more than likely a PR flunky at Nestlé) wrote for Huffington Post (Whose side are they on, anyway? Brabeck or humanity’s?)
At its heart, though, is still the kernel of the idea that it’s a good idea to put a price tag on water:
I do need to correct a misconception that has fueled a lot of the criticism on Facebook and elsewhere.
I do not deny that clean and safe water to drink or for basic hygiene is a human right. Of course it is.
However, I do not think it is right that some people in the world do not have access to a clean, safe supply when others can use excess amounts for non-essential purposes without bearing a fairer cost for the infrastructure needed to supply it.
When we give water a value, we use it more carefully, and this does not mean privatization.
Sounds almost high-minded, don’t it? I love this part, too:
Why does a company like Nestlé care about this?
Our consumers need access to clean, safe water and decent sanitation, wherever they are in the world, as do our hundreds of thousands of employees, their families and friends. As a good global citizen, we have a responsibility to be part of the solution.
And to skim a little off the top and then eventually skim a lot off the top... Hey, that’s capitalism, baby! The first sip is free!
Which brings us full circle back to William Burroughs: In The Naked Lunch, the author laid out a nightmarish vision of an out-of-control, planet-destroying consumer culture addicted to that which will most certainly kill it, with the metaphor of a junkie hooked on, and controlled by his metabolic need for heroin.
As Burroughs wrote to Jack Kerouac:
“The title means exactly what the words say: naked lunch, a frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.”
“The little people” are what will be on the end of Nestlé‘s fork if elitist viewpoints like Peter Brabek’s hold sway over public debate. It’s an idea that should be stomped out with extreme mob violence, if you ask me. Eliminated from the conversation.
I think it’s fair to say that 100% of the human race is “addicted” to water and this is why, when I listened to what Herr Brabeck had to say, I thought of William Burroughs and wondered, if he were alive, what he would make of all this.
What chance does the human race have with enemies of Earth like this, when vast monied interests and multinationals start to have designs on our drinking water?
I fantasized about punching this guy in the face as I watched this.
“If a dirty old man in a park showed ten-year-old children the graphic images Planned Parenthood pedals as education, he would be arrested. Planned Parenthood shows this smut to children and is awarded with more taxpayer money and the ability to determine the efficacy of its sex indoctrination, so it can get even more taxpayer money. It is time to stop this madness!”
It must be really difficult for a certain type of conservative Republican to watch Arthur Miller’s classic play The Crucible without wistfully wondering if they were born in the wrong century. The timeless drama, still widely read in US high schools, is, of course, is a scathing commentary on McCarthyism and a peculiar strand of American political extremism, but this would be totally lost on today’s Tea party dum-dums who would simply be envious of all that witch burning people used to get up to in Salem, Massachusetts! Their modern day bluenose counterparts may have to miss out on all that fun “mob rule” stuff they got up to in the 17th century, but the mentality lives on.
Take for instance the new “report,” produced by the “American Life League” (ALL), a feverish, mentally-challenged clip that aims to expose “Sex Incorporated” –aka Planned Parenthood—the bad, very bad, very horribly terrible, terrible people who EDUMICATE our children ALL WRONG and turn them into PREGNANT SEX FIENDS, GAY HOMOSEXUALS or WORSE. Why wouldn’t the heathen, Marxist smart people working at The New York Times and The Washington Post take their good, clean Christian American money to run their ridiculous ad?
Of course the “American Life League” knew well in advance that the Times and Post were never going to publish the video on their website, but that wasn’t the point. The point was instead to be turned down so they could send out a press release saying boo-hoo, “we were censored” by “the Left” and spread the word that way (See how that works? Calvin Klein ads in the past have used the same modus operandi, it’s a time honored public relations tactic). Stir it up and give the reichwing blogs something to get worked into a tizzy over, then follow that up with a statement, decrying censorship from the mainstream media (being seen as a martyr is good business for conservative causes) and well, you just have to read it:
While most Americans associate Planned Parenthood with abortion, this organization is also in the business of promoting a deviate and dangerous sexual agenda that in the long run will benefit the abortion giant’s bottom line, while creating a destructive and broken society for the rest of us.
Planned Parenthood has proven that it is a sex business that self-perpetuates itself by first developing obscene sex education materials that promote indiscriminate and risky sexual behavior to our youth through America’s public schools, families and community organizations.
The second step kicks in once the organization has created an environment of sexual risk-taking behavior among youth. It then markets and promotes contraceptive products and programs that have proven to be ineffective in preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Once the ineffective contraceptives fail, Planned Parenthood completes the cycle selling abortions to the teens it has sucked into its deadly cyclone. Tax-paying Americans who work diligently to contribute to strengthening our country are unwittingly funding the absolutely pornographic and child sexual abuse agenda that Planned Parenthood pushes on our society.
Planned Parenthood is like a drug pusher, don’t cha see, don’t cha see getting America’s kids into SEX—masturbation is the gateway drug—just so these PERVERTS can distribute condoms with holes in them and birth control pills that are really only SweetTarts and collect all of those PHAT ABORTION FEES! Planned Parenthood wants to turn kids into sex addicts. That’s the REAL plan of Planned Parenthood! It’s so diabolical that Satan hisself must be personally running the organization…
ANYWAY… so now cue all of the concern trolls who will write in asking me “So then why do you keep writing about these assholes? Just ignore them (and Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Louie Gohmert, etc, etc) and they’ll go way.”
You really think so, do you?
Stuff like this should be out in the open and it should be covered by the mainstream and not so mainstream outlets like this one. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said.
Personally, I think this LOL stupid video, and the group of twits behind it, deserves to have mockery heaped upon them. Seriously, watch this (NSFW) and tell me if this made you think their message was perfectly reasonable or BARKING FUCKING MAD…
This insane video does not help their cause even one tiny little bit. It would convince no one of anything except that the folks behind it are a bunch of fucking idiots. That’s all that’s being achieved by ALL with this comedy, they’re hurting their own cause in the process of spreading the word about it.
I’m quite happy to oblige them in pursuit of these goals. Enjoy!
Was it entirely predictable that Dr. Ben Carson, the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and rightwing media darling would implode this publicly and this fast?
You’d think—or at least I did—that a man intelligent enough to run a department at a prestigious medical university would be… you know… well… smarter than the average conservative. Less prone, perhaps, to making idiotic comments when there’s a live microphone around?
You’d think that, but you’d be wrong. Dr. Ben Carson is a fucking idiot, as he proved on Fox News’ Hannity program last week when he compared marriage equality with bestiality and sex with children, and as he continued to demonstrate Monday on conservative talk radio troll Mark Levin’s show. Via TPM:
Carson, who is the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, said he represents an existential threat to liberals. “They need to shut me up, they need to get rid of me,” Carson said. “They can’t find anything else to delegitimize me, so they take my words, misrepresent them and try to make it seem that I’m a bigot.”
“And you’re attacked also, in many respects, because of your race,” Levin said. “Because you’re not supposed to think like this and talk like this. A lot of white liberals just don’t like it, do they?”
“Well, you know, they’re the most racist people there are,” Carson said. “Because, you know, they put you in a little category, a little box, you have to think this way. How could you dare come off the plantation?”
Um… sorry Dr. Carson, you might see yourself that way, but it seems rather obvious, based solely on, hey, your own words, that clear-thinking people, be they white, liberal or whatever else they may be, think you’re a plank. You and ANYONE else, of any race, who would say such nasty, ignorant and petty things. In public.
Dr. Carson, this is not a black thing or a white thing, this is a stupidity thing. YOUR stupidity. To imply otherwise is preposterous!
No one needs to look any further than your own words to conclude that YOU are the bigot in this equation. It’s got everything to do with the actual words that came out of your mouth, on national television!
You say that your words were twisted? HOW?Where is the nuance in comparing civil rights for America’s LGBT population to sex with animals and children?
Quite a leap to compare the reaction to what you said to, well, you know… actual bigotry!
If you were white, Dr. Carson, not a whole lot would change—you might even still be invited to come on Fox News, for instance, if you weren’t black—but people would still still be perfectly justified to call you an idiot. Because you are one.
The students at Johns Hopkins who want you out as their commencement speaker aren’t racists, but you sir, are most certainly an asshole.
HOW DARE these liberal bigots speak the truth to you…
UPDATE: I just read the following on Huffington Post in a piece by Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert on Carson’s travails and found it quite amusing:
“You know, intelligent people tend to talk about the facts,” Carson recently said, condemning those who reduce political disagreements to the kind you find on a “third grade playground.” He urged partisans to “find some accommodation” and to “tone down the rhetoric a little bit.”
He said these things while appearing on Fox News, the cable bastion of name-calling and blind partisanship. (Emphasis added)
Here’s a link to yesterday’s Hannity, where one of the whitest men in America discusses supposed “racism” directed at black conservatives and gets his dumb ass handed to him on a platter by LA-based civil rights attorney (and talk radio host), Leo Terrell.