Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Mobutuization Of America (Senator Hollings Has No Trouble Exposing 40-Year Old Secret Deal) THEY'RE ALL AGAINST JOBS!

Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina proves that there are still more than a few honorable people in the South (reminding me once again why I don't want anything to do with the Clintons) as he lets us in on the secret of the decade (if not the century) - Mobutuization (h/t to Danny Schechter for his genius) - and that They're All Against Jobs. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.) (And the Existentialist Cowboy has outdone himself with the documentation.) (Sorry, Lisa, this is way too long but chockful of interesting info.)

(As a final salute to a fabulous celebration of Zappadan 2009, please refer to our good friends at Urantian Sojourn (the poet), Fried Green Al-Qaedas (the jester) and DarkBlack (the mysterious music magician). They rock too. (See and hear Frank's amazing interview when he was very sick with prostate cancer on CBS and watch Steve Allen ask him "how long he's been playing bike" (and yes, I tried to play my bike after seeing this).) "Give a guy a big nose and some weird hair and he's capable of anything!")

They're All Against Jobs

Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC)

Who is against jobs in the United States?

The big banks, Wall Street, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Business Roundtable, the United States Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation, Corporate America, the President of the United States, Congress of the United States. Everyone is crying for jobs, but no one seems to understand why there aren't any. And the reason for those opposing jobs is money.

Beginning in 1973, big banks made most of their profit outside of the United States. Industries off-shoring, investing, banks financing the investments, transfer fees, fees and interest on the loans made for bigger profits. Long since, the big banks under the leadership of David Rockefeller have led the way to off-shore and make a bigger profit. Goldman Sachs, AIG, Citicorp and Wall Street, conspiring for a bailout and now using it for bonuses, make more money from the off-shored operations.

The Council on Foreign Relations ought to be renamed the Council on Making Money. A recent PEW poll reported fully 85% of Americans said that protecting United States jobs should be a top foreign policy priority. But only 21% of the Council on Foreign Relations agrees. Financial interests organized the Business Roundtable to continue off-shore investment and profit. The local Chamber is for Main Street America, but Tom Donahue and the United States Chamber have sold out to the financial interests and oppose jobs and producing in the United States. Thirty years ago, hundreds of thousands of Arrow shirts produced in China were a best seller in the United States. But at Christmastime, the Chinese supply ran short and the retail stores had to order the same shirt from New Jersey. They made 20% less profit on the New Jersey shirt. Retailers are all for profit from imports and against domestic production and jobs in America.

Corporate America would fight any initiative by the President, the Congress, or the government to create jobs in the United States. That is, production that faces competition offshore. In globalization, U. S. production can't make a profit, can't survive. Its competition will off-shore the same article for a lesser price, putting you out of business. Moreover, Corporate America doesn't have to bother with labor in China. The China government controls labor and you don't have to worry about a work stoppage or minimum wage. All they have is a maximum wage.

And Corporate America doesn't have to worry with clean air and clean water or the environment in China. Nor does it have to worry with OSHA and all of its safety rules. Many times the factory building is furnished and you don't have to worry with capital costs. If you make a profit, you can just reinvest it in an additional operation and not have to pay any U. S. income tax. If the operation fails, walk away with no legacy costs. Corporate America bitterly opposes its government protecting and strengthening the U. S. economy because producing again in America will put the executives back to work. They can send a Jaycee to China to watch the quality control daily and sit on the 32nd floor on Sixth Avenue with the internet, keeping check, and, leaving early for a massage and drinks. With production in China they don't have to work.

As Commander-in-Chief, the President dithered for months over the number of troops. But he can't equip the troops except for the favor of a foreign country. The War Production Act of 1950 requires the President to make sure that we can produce in-country those articles necessary for our national defense. Enforcing this law would limit the campaign contributions. Under Section 201 of the trade laws, the President is supposed to take action, like impose tariffs or quotas, when a certain production is endangered. Not only endangered, our automobile production has been bankrupted. But all the President does is give Detroit bailout welfare. The President doesn't want to limit the campaign contributions.

The same with Congress. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota long ago tried to allocate the tax incentive for foreign jobs and production to domestic jobs and production. The Business Roundtable and the U. S. Chamber fought it like a tiger and killed it.

As the President said in his West Point talk, there is fierce competition in international trade and globalization. All countries move to protect and build their economies while the United States goes out of business. The one advantage that the U.S. has is its richest market in the world. It is fast becoming the poorest market and the U.S. is losing any clout to maintain a strong economy.

The economy is in the hands of Summers, Bernanke and Geithner. Campaign contributions are in the hands of David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel. The poor President is smart, diligent and working his head off campaigning. But he is inexperienced and not governing, and the Congress is in a Mexican standoff over an archaic filibuster rule that reveres democracy by the minority.

Of course, the media, which knows this and keeps it top secret, is owned by big business.

If I don't meet you in the breadline, my children will.

Merry Christmas!

If you've been following the situation(s) in Africa at all, you're familiar with the term Mobutuization. How do you like the Mobutuization of the USA? Think about it. It's about the aptest metaphor that I've seen yet to describe what has happened to us (US) under the dark of state secrets. (Thank you, Danny Schechter!) (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Corruption There, Corruption Here: The Mobutuization Of America

How Financial Crimes Tolerated in other Countries Have Come Home To Roost

Congo’s Former Ruler Joseph Mobutu Pioneered Frauds That Wall Street Perfected

(Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo) When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence for these not always united states, he added the phrase, “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind,” as one of our national commitments. He understood that our country could not ignore or snub the thoughts of others.

Yet, do we hear their voices at all? Do we truly show respect, or for that matter, try to understand what the larger world is saying and hoping, or what has our national mission has been from the early days of “Manifest Destiny” to try to reshape the world in our image, to impose conditions in the name of our “values.”

We use pressure, financial clout and our superpower status as levers to insist that it is our way or the highway. As our Banksters took charge, as Congo’s debt grew, the interest became suffocating. Congo’s political “independence” turned into economic dependence. Their money was soon financing the West, not the other way around.

To use the phrase coined by the late Walter Rodney of Guyana, the West actually "underdeveloped” Africa, not the other way around.

In the name of “helping,” we are really helping ourselves to another country’s resources.

Most Americans are oblivious to the imperial arrogance that has been our signature internationally up until the present day, in conservative Republican administrations and “liberal” Democratic ones, alike.

Our media is also complicit, largely uninformative, parochial, partisan and inward looking. When I asked the very cool, LA based 20’s-something, production manager of a film I making in Congo what he knew about Africa before he took the job, he formed his fingers into a big zero. And he wasn’t hesitant to admit it.

Perhaps because he knew he wasn’t alone.

Sometime when you look outside our borders, you can learn a lot about what is and isn’t going on right here. You can also begin to see that the process of influence goes two ways and that our policies have had profound unanticipated consequences in terms of “blowing back” into our own culture.

As we have supported dictators abroad, we have become more dictatorial ourselves as the logic of force and repression infiltrates into our own policies. Perhaps its always been there.

I grew up during the Cold War when were told how the big bad Commies used torture and abuse, violating the rights of citizens. Our hypocrisy was later unmasked for all to see in the practices we ourselves practiced in Vietnam, in Guantanamo Bay, and recently at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. (For more examples, look at how so many of our own prisons are run.)

Many of our most zealous neo-cons started out exposing Bolsheviks only to mimic their Stalinist methodology to become Busheviks.

Here in Congo, the US supported, some say created, the Mobutu Regime that ruled through violence and intimidation for 32 years. In many years, it won the unofficial Third World “Strong Man sweepstakes” by stealing more than even the Belgian colonialists. Mobutu had scores of homes in Europe while his own people starved. There was nothing he wouldn’t sell, and none one he wouldn’t buy. The son of the slain Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba (to which he was complicit) told me he even tried to co-opt him with money.

His regime became known as a “Kleptocracy,” rule by theft. Corruption was pervasive. It was a land where what you knew mattered less than who you know. The President took his cut on all the transactions, even ripping off his American and European patrons. The West sneered at the blatant bribe giving and taking that is pervasive in Africa.

Oh, how we felt superior.

They demanded a society of laws. But, instead of edifying countries like the old Zaire, we ended up becoming more like it. Its way of “doing business” became our own.

There has been a “Mobutuization” of America. How else to explain the way our financial elite has looted the country with fraudulent financial practices on every front? Mobutu would have shaken his head at the recent disappearance of trillions, not mere billions.

Had he lived, Mobutu might have even left his marble palace to become an investment banker because the more avaricious global “take” is in the bonuses, compensation and criminal schemes which Wall Street has perfected to to enrich themselves. Who knows? Maybe Mobutu would have built a statue to salute Bernard Madoff who made his own “diversions of resources” look picayune.

Perhaps if he had been a little less ostentatious and blatant, and willing to update his MO, he could have kept going in an even more predatory manner.

Mobutu used the power of his government position to steal. Wall Street went a step further, using its money and power to neuter government controls so they could do the same.

The critique of Mobutu was that he engineered a society where only the super rich prevailed. True, It was bad. He was feared and also hated. But what we have today is worse in some ways because at least the people here knew then who their enemy was. The poorest uneducated Congolese peasant knew he was stealing from them.

In the US, our Mobutu’s tend to be invisible, sometimes even admired, as inequality in the country mounts with poverty, hunger, foreclosures and joblessness growing. It is a stealth crime, not one carried out in the open.

As a term, kleptocracy doesn’t do justice to all the plunder and pillage taking place by special interests, not just government. Last week, in the Congolese parliament, there was a national conference to discuss ways to fight corruption. We have yet to have a conference like that in our own Congress.

Congo also has an institution we might also emulate. It’s called “The Standing Parliament.” It meets every day in the street in Kinshasa, where on various street corners, people stand around looking down, reading the front pages of newspapers many can’t even afford to buy spread on the sidewalk. They read headlines and discuss the politics of their country.

Perhaps that’s why all over the world, leaders fear “The Street” where the people express their outrage on the crimes being committed in their names and against their interests. In the US, “the street” is all too often a highway with no pedestrians. Only a few seem to have time to track what is being taken.

In signing off before the holidays, I would like to ensure that you have the chance to read Paul Craig Roberts' Americans Are Hell-Bent on Tyranny because they are. (Emphasis marks added - Ed.) Happy XMAS!

Obama’s dwindling band of true believers has taken heart that their man has finally delivered on one of his many promises - the closing of the Guantanamo prison. But the prison is not being closed. It is being moved to Illinois, if the Republicans permit. In truth, Obama has handed his supporters another defeat.

Closing Guantanamo meant ceasing to hold people in violation of our legal principles of habeas corpus and due process and ceasing to torture them in violation of US and international laws. All Obama would be doing would be moving 100 people, against whom the US government is unable to bring a case, from the prison in Guantanamo to a prison in Thomson, Illinois. Are the residents of Thomson despondent that the US government has chosen their town as the site on which to continue its blatant violation of US legal principles? No, the residents are happy. It means jobs. The hapless prisoners had a better chance of obtaining release from Guantanamo. Now the prisoners are up against two US senators, a US representative, a mayor, and a state governor who have a vested interest in the prisoners’ permanent detention in order to protect the new prison jobs in the hamlet devastated by unemployment.

Neither the public nor the media have ever shown any interest in how the detainees came to be incarcerated. Most of the detainees were unprotected people who were captured by Afghan war lords and sold to the Americans as “terrorists” in order to collect a proffered bounty. It was enough for the public and the media that the Defense Secretary at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, declared the Guantanamo detainees to be the “780 most dangerous people on earth.”

The vast majority have been released after years of abuse. The 100 who are slated to be removed to Illinois have apparently been so badly abused that the US government is afraid to release them because of the testimony the prisoners could give to human rights organizations and foreign media about their mistreatment.

Our British allies are showing more moral conscience than Americans are able to muster. Former PM Tony Blair, who provided cover for President Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq, is being damned for his crimes by UK officialdom testifying before the Chilcot Inquiry. The London Times on December 14 summed up the case against Blair in a headline: “Intoxicated by Power, Blair Tricked Us Into War.”

Two days later the British First Post declared: “War Crime Case Against Tony Blair Now Rock-solid.” In an unguarded moment Blair let it slip that he favored a conspiracy for war regardless of the validity of the excuse [weapons of mass destruction] used to justify the invasion.The movement to bring Blair to trial as a war criminal is gathering steam. Writing in the First Post Neil Clark reported: “There is widespread contempt for a man [Blair] who has made millions [his reward from the Bush regime] while Iraqis die in their hundreds of thousands due to the havoc unleashed by the illegal invasion, and who, with breathtaking arrogance, seems to regard himself as above the rules of international law.” Clark notes that the West’s practice of shipping Serbian and African leaders off to the War Crimes Tribunal, while exempting itself, is wearing thin.

In the US, of course, there is no such attempt to hold to account Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the large number of war criminals that comprised the Bush Regime. Indeed, Obama, whom Republicans love to hate, has gone out of his way to protect the Bush cohort from being held accountable. Here in Great Moral America we only hold accountable celebrities and politicians for their sexual indiscretions.

. . . According to polls, Americans support torture, a violation of both US and international law, and Americans don’t mind that their government violates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and spies on them without obtaining warrants from a court. Apparently, the brave citizens of the “sole remaining superpower” are so afraid of terrorists that they are content to give up liberty for safety, an impossible feat.With stunning insouciance, Americans have given up the rule of law that protected their liberty. The silence of law schools and bar associations indicates that the age of liberty has passed. In short, the American people support tyranny. And that’s where they are headed.

What would or wouldn't we do to save our children? Today, nothing?

I'd like to say "Give Peace a Chance."

But I'm in the wrong country. Suzan ___________________________


TomCat said...

Thank you for helping to inform us why Christmas will be Merrier for the Wall Street grinches than for folks on Main Street.

Nevertheless, Merry Christmas to Suzan and all here.

Suzan said...

You're very welcome, Tom, except that I don't think anyone is unaware of that anymore.

Do you?

Hope you get your holiday wishes!


otis said...

My wife, Lisa, as asked me to start reading your posts. Oh, and its true what she said about the long posts. She has shushed me about 3 times while she is reading/re-reading the post.
Some of the stuff in the first article you posted I take issues with. While I agree that it is a problem that more and more American jobs are getting shipped overseas, I know that as long as another country, be it China, Mexico, Indonesia, etc., makes a cheaper product, that will be the product that sells. Period. If America makes the cheapest product, then jobs will come here. Plain and simple. This is the basis of Capitalism. No, this is neither a fair nor 'nice' system. It is, however, the one that we have, at the moment. It is the best system for making money. Pure and simple. Making money and being good have rarely, if ever, gone together. If you want to change the world, then you are going to have to change the world. You are going to have to force uprisings in China and the other countries. You are going to have to unionize those countries for higher wages and better working conditions. You are going to have to get those countries through the 100+ years of labor development that this country has already gone through. Globalization is the reality. We have already seen that decoupling is a lie. Even with all that we have been through and all that has left this country, we still have the richest middle class in the world, the largest retail sector in the world, and a bunch of other things. Am I saying that it can't be better? Oh, GOD, no. Am I saying it is going to get better? No, I am not going there either.
There are only 2 things that are effective in this country, your wallet and your vote. Your wallet moreso than your vote. You want things to change? Run for office. Period. We need people that are not millionaires, lawyers, career politicians, or whatever else we have on the Hill now. We need everyday people to run for office. You will facilitate more change from inside the system than outside the system.

Lisa G. said...

I'm with my fabulous husband on this one. He is generally never wrong, which, once again, is why I married him. We never fight, is good to me and my kids which is why it's always great to have him around. So, I'll keep him around for a while and he's pretty easy on the eyes a well! How lucky am I?
Merry Christmas!

Beach Bum said...

...US government has chosen their town as the site on which to continue its blatant violation of US legal principles? No, the residents are happy. It means jobs.

I was at work when I first heard about this and looked around trying to see if anyone else thought that statement was an insane as I did. Nope, the lemmings were just pissed that the prisoners were being brought to this country.

Putting the Gitmo situation aside of the moment it boggles the term surreal to think that jobs in this country now depend on a prison. One day the whole country will be a prison.

If I don't meet you in the breadline, my children will.

Merry Christmas!

We are simply screwed, blued and tattooed. Frankly, I expect a major republican win in both 2010 and 2012 with the victory possibly even of Sarah Palin as president. Far too many forces are pushing her "reinvention" and Obama can't seem to find his ass from a hole in the ground.

And frankly the best thing for this country might eb a sweeping conservative win. I know I'm crazy but hear me out. The ground swell of discontent that changed congress in 2006 and elected Obama in 2008 was real but I don't believe the true extent of its strength was realized.

Get the trailer trash queen in office along with a congress run by her insanity and in a couple of election cycles people just could be fed up with the conservative point of view. On the other hand such a situation might lead to a full-fledged fascist state with Rovian tactics keep her kind in office.

Either way I'm keeping my expatriation options open.

Suzan said...

I am sooo with you on this, BB, but you know how I feel.

Did you know that I quoted the first piece on the "reinvention" of Sarah (which I saw immediately as a very distinct threat to the body politic)? Blue Gal even picked it up briefly but didn't follow through due to the necessity of reporting on what Mary Madness-aligning had said to the MSM at the time about the goodness inherent in slapping unruly women. As if this were news with them.

Karl Rove is still in charge with the stooopids in Congress doing his bidding with alacrity - check out the MSM on any day.

And the reporting continues as though all the citizens continue to believe that up is down, right left and black white.

And after a generation who fought against having prisons in their neighborhoods (and for prison reform and the declassification of drug user crimes), who would have predicted (rationally) that they could be sold on clamoring for more?

Take a people's ability to support themselves away and you will get ready chaos - soon. (Remember pre-WW2 Germany - set up by the Treaty of Versailles to fail?)

This will not end well. If it hasn't already.

Thanks for your comments, friend.

I'm packed.


We are simply screwed, blued and tattooed. Frankly, I expect a major republican win in both 2010 and 2012 with the victory possibly even of Sarah Palin as president.

nunya said...

Merry Christmas Suzan :) May the next year be happier and may the Banksters turn green and stay that way so they are visible to everyone, not just lovelies like you who are informed.

Suzan said...

Merry merries to you too, Nunya, and I love your thinking (as always).

Turn them green instead of us, huh?

As if we could live with the guilt of all that wrongdoing.

They can though, and they are planning much, much more for our further edification.

Hope you are doing well at this joyous season!

Did you get your heart's delight? Was it under the tree or somewhere else?



Suzan said...

Merry Christmas to you and your loverboy, Otis, Lisa!

Sorry about the length of that last one, but you gotta admit there was plenty to think about within those referenced articles. Too much, perhaps?

My position about globalization is that it was poorly done, and done poorly for most citizens of the US in order to benefit those at the top who decided 30 years ago to steal the election from Carter, install the blank, grinning cheshire cat Raygun and begin to rape the middle class as much as possible until the effects of shipping all the jobs to the cheapest venues reached its final denouement simultaneously with the ongoing deregulation that allowed the banksters to steal whatever savings these same marks (right, US) were able to put away for the very poor retirement that would be upcoming for the now tenuously employed with few benefits, if any, before finding out about the state of their much-depended-on Social Security accounts. (Nada!)(As "W" would have put it when he found out it was just "IOU's" backed by the full faith and credit of the now hijacked Treasury - remember his shocked surprise when he decided to brag about his new-found knowledge?)(And, of course, he was very familiar with what was going to happen as a result of those smart moves done under the direction of his financiers.)

There's nothing natural or organic about how capitalism has evolved; it has done so at the behest of those in power who will benefit most from this paradigm under cover of a dumbed-down, compliant media - and can be changed if millions quickly get educated and sophisticated about their political choices. But good luck with that, eh?

Thus, all of the above making it difficult for me to be too upbeat about surviving in our future even-more globalized, discombobulated workplace.

And although the bean counters will go last (with luck), they will also go, sweetheart.

So, show your courage, and as I always say: Let's ORGANIZE and throw the bastards O U T !!!

Love you both,