PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Reign of Idiots” / Chris Hedges ☮

The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors, “experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot entertainers and producers create lurid spectacles of sex, gore and fantasy.

There is a familiar checklist for extinction. We are ticking off every item on it.

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PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Defying Donald Trump’s Kleptocracy” / truthdig / Chris Hedges / 01.01.2017 ☮

President-elect Donald Trump, left, applauds as his pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, right, speaks during a rally at DeltaPlex Arena, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President-elect Donald Trump, left, applauds as his pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, right, speaks during a rally at DeltaPlex Arena, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The final stages of capitalism, Karl Marx predicted, would be marked by global capital being unable to expand and generate profits at former levels. Capitalists would begin to consume the government along with the physical and social structures that sustained them. Democracy, social welfare, electoral participation, the common good and investment in public transportation, roads, bridges, utilities, industry, education, ecosystem protection and health care would be sacrificed to feed the mania for short-term profit. These assaults would destroy the host. This is the stage of late capitalism that Donald Trump represents.

Trump plans to oversee the last great campaign of corporate pillaging of America. It will be as crass and brazen as the fleecing of the desperate people, hoping for a miracle in the face of dead-end jobs and ruinous personal debt, who visited his casinos or shelled out thousands of dollars for the sham of Trump University. He will attempt to unleash a kleptocracy—the word comes from the Greek klépto, meaning thieves, and kratos, meaning rule, so it is literally “rule by thieves”—one that will rival the kleptocracies carried out by Suharto in Indonesia and Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. It is not that Trump and his family will use the influence of government to increase their wealth, although this will certainly take place on a massive scale; it is that hundreds of billions of federal dollars will be diverted into the hands of cronies, sleazy bankers, unethical financial firms and scabrous hedge fund managers. The pillars of the liberal state will be obliterated.

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RACISM AND CAPITALISM: “Richard Pryor 40 Years Ago: Promoting Racism is Part of Capitalism” / truthdig ☮

Late great comedic prophet Richard Pryor speaks to Bill Boggs about the real issues that continue to plague societies throughout the globe. Crony capitalism and the bank bailout, socialism for the rich.

h/t: truthdig

MUST READ: “Capitalists of the World, Unite!” / truthdig / Mike Krauss ☮

CAPITALISM

The other night I watched The Greatest Cable News Program That Absolutely Ever Was. The host was extolling the virtues of capitalism, repeating the claims you can read in The Economist or Wall Street Journal; that capitalism has lifted many millions out of poverty worldwide.

The same broadcast also reported that most Americans “could not lay their hands on $1,000” in an emergency. That figure may be on the high side. Other published reports put it at $400, including what may be available on a credit card.

The program host missed the contradiction. You can’t be a capitalist without capital. The overwhelming majority of Americans don’t have any, and are completely excluded from the “benefits” of the capitalist system he extolled.

Capitalism is not a form of government. It is a system of wealth management. It does not create wealth, but only allocates it. It is indifferent to the welfare of people. It has no social purpose. Private profit is everything.

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