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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/9/19

The Capitalists Are Afraid

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Capitalists seek to maximize profits and reduce the cost of labor. This sums up capitalism at its core. It is defined by these immutable objectives. It is not about democracy. It is not, as has been claimed, about wealth creation for the working class. It has nothing to do with freedom. Those capitalists, especially in corporations, who are not able to increase profits and decrease the cost of labor, through layoffs, cutting wages, destroying unions, offshoring, outsourcing or automating jobs, are replaced. Personal ethics are irrelevant. Capitalists are about acquisition and exploitation.

Capitalists go to absurd lengths to lie about capitalism's true nature. It is why Business Roundtable's most recent version of its Principles of Corporate Governance, signed by 181 major CEOs -- including the heads of Amazon, General Motors and Chevron, all three of which paid no federal income tax in 2018 -- rivals the doublespeak of the worst totalitarian regimes of the 20th century.

If maximizing profit means turning the oceans into dead zones, filling the atmosphere with carbon emissions and toxins that render the climate unfit for humans, pumping chemicals and waste into the soil, water, air and food supply that ensure that cancer is an epidemic, buying off elected officials and judges to serve the exclusive interests of capital and privatizing social services, including health care, transportation, education and public utilities, to gouge the public, that is the price of business.

If reducing the cost of labor means forcing workers to remain unorganized and abolishing work, health and safety regulations, if it means moving industry overseas where foreign workers toil like 19th-century serfs, if it means suppressing wages at home to force an impoverished population into debt peonage, that is the price of business.

It is not accidental that the United States now has the worst income inequality since the 1920s. This was engineered by the capitalist class. But what Business Roundtable's Aug. 19 statement reveals is that the capitalists are frightened they have been found out. Capitalism free of external restraints and with no internal restraints will pillage and exploit a captive population until it rises up in fury. It is such an eruption that today's capitalists worry is on the horizon.

Capitalism, because it is such a socially destructive force, saturates the media landscape with advertising to misinform and manipulate the public. It uses its vast wealth to buy up the press, domesticate universities, nonprofits and think tanks and demonize and muzzle its critics. It funds pseudo-intellectuals and pseudo-economists who tirelessly propagate the ideology of neoliberalism, the belief that transferring wealth upward into the hands of the ruling oligarchs is beneficial to society. It forms global monopolies that prey on the public. It wages endless wars in its quest for profit. It equates anti-capitalist agitation with terrorism, meaning, for example, that anyone in the U.S. who attempts to photograph or film the savagery and cruelty of industrial agriculture -- one of the primary causes of carbon emissions -- can be charged under terrorism acts. And when its pyramid schemes, frauds and financial bubbles collapse, it loots the national treasury and leaves taxpayers with the bill. (In the U.S. economic crisis of 2008, corporations gobbled up $4.6 trillion in public money.)

Capitalism, as Karl Marx understood, if unregulated and unfettered, is a revolutionary force. It first creates a mafia economy, as Karl Polanyi wrote, and then a mafia government. It was the greed of the capitalist class that turned our cities in decaying hulks and impoverished more than half the country. It was the greed of the capitalist class that set us on a course of ecocide. It was the greed of the capitalist class that created the mechanisms of internal repression, including police that function as rogue paramilitary units in our internal colonies, wholesale surveillance of the public, a vastly expanded system of mass incarceration and the agencies, including the National Security Agency, Homeland Security and the FBI, that spy on the public to thwart resistance. It was the greed of the capitalist class that dismantled the democratic institutions of the United States. It was the greed of the capitalist class that gave us Donald Trump. This disdain for the common good and democracy makes these capitalists traitors.

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase and chairman of Business Roundtable, conceded in the press release containing the "Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation" that "the American dream is alive, but fraying." He assured us, however, that "major employers are investing in their workers and communities because they know it is the only way to be successful over the long term. These modernized principles reflect the business community's unwavering commitment to continue to push for an economy that serves all Americans."

Alex Gorsky, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson and chair of the Business Roundtable Corporate Governance Committee, added that the statement "affirms the essential role corporations can play in improving our society."

Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, called the statement "tremendous news" and said it would "result in shared prosperity and sustainability for both business and society."

The sententious and self-congratulatory passages in the statement can be summed up by the opening paragraphs:

"Americans deserve an economy that allows each person to succeed through hard work and creativity and to lead a life of meaning and dignity. We believe the free-market system is the best means of generating good jobs, a strong and sustainable economy, innovation, a healthy environment and economic opportunity for all.

"Businesses play a vital role in the economy by creating jobs, fostering innovation and providing essential goods and services. Businesses make and sell consumer products; manufacture equipment and vehicles; support the national defense; grow and produce food; provide health care; generate and deliver energy; and offer financial, communications and other services that underpin economic growth."

Capitalists such as Dimon (net worth $1.4 billion), whose company has paid more in regulatory fines than any other in America, and Gorsky, whose corporation was charged with helping fuel Oklahoma's opioid crisis and then ordered by a court to pay $572 million in restitution in that state, would, in a functioning democracy, be in prison. Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, Pfizer and McKesson together are responsible for the deaths of many thousands of Americans -- more than 130 people died every day in the U.S. from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016 and 2017, according to the federal government.

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19 people are discussing this page, with 38 comments  Post Comment


shad williams

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I like the ferocity. During the course of reading this article I added a few F bombs and mofos for flavor.

It is truly extraordinary to hear members of this crew congratulate themselves about the great good that they are doing.

Have they no cognitive dissonance?

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 12:40:05 PM

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

I hear you, Shad. My disappointment is in seeing F35 Sanders and Green Bomb War-neverENding mentioned with Tulsi and Marianne NOT mentioned--the very two who would direct our resources properly.

MW advocates capitalism, has been on the NYT bestseller list many times, but adds one word that is usually ignored: Capitalism "with a Conscience."

Even Adam Smith had that underlying concept down.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 2:42:50 PM

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Reply to Daniel Geery:   New Content

I agree with you that Sanders and Warren are frauds. But it's revealing that even two phony lefties are unacceptable to the capitalist class. That's how extreme they are.

I don't think there is such a thing as long term compassionate capitalism. Eco-socialism as advocated by the Green Party is a more workable system if there is to be any future for humanity at all. No Democrat will advocate for that.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 4:02:15 PM

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Daniel Geery

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Reply to Lois Gagnon:   New Content

I agree with you more than myself. đŸ˜³

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 5:57:55 PM

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Reply to Lois Gagnon:   New Content

I think there's some common confusion in terms here. Capitalism is an economic system, one that allows private individuals to acquire and spend capital according to their needs and wishes. We've all benefited from this ability and would surely chafe at a centrally managed economic system that placed strong constraints on those abilities. In implementing managed economies, Communist governments have caused great hardship to their populace; China has introduced a tailored form of capitalism intended to reduce that hardship while keeping the Party in control.

The Green Party does seem to lean socialist, but here in Canada they're not overtly advocating socialism. They have, however, worked themselves into a frenzy over the notion that we're facing a climate crisis. But seriously, I wish the deep gloomsters would get real and get over the weird delusion that we're facing imminent extinction. Such extremism is an impediment to clear thinking.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 16, 2019 at 4:45:27 AM

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Ah yes! We Greens just came up with the notion that there is a climate crisis. Don't let the facts being reported by respected scientists stop you from creating a fiction that we are "deep gloomsters" with a "weird delusion", because "clear thinking" demands ignoring facts. Excuse me, but I am foaming at the mouth righty now!

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019 at 3:37:33 PM

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Dan, please think twice about MW. She has demonstrated over and over that she substitutes her new age brand of emotional righteousness over disciplined political analysis leading to statements like "The US withdrawing troops from Afghanistan without ensuring the rights and protection of women is is unacceptable" (as if that's even possible). This is the new humanitarian slippery slope the neocons have laid out for harebraned liberals who will follow the prattle of party collaborationists like Samantha Power - and now MW - until they fall into a cage at the bottom.

In memory of the birthday of the late great Dolores O'Riordan, we all need to remember that without diligence agaist this type of soft propaganda we are all Zombies. Click here and let's make it a BILLION! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ejga4kJUts

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 10:13:42 PM

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shad williams

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950,359,600+1

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 5:13:07 PM

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I have not read MW in depth..she makes me nervous, which is an unfair assessment. So does Tulsi with the military skill promotion. I am beginning to think that bottom up could work, if we start drawing teams together. Sanders, Warren, Tulsi, MW could be on the same team so long as we keep their hands out the elites pockets. The real work has to be done by us.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 5:42:57 AM

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Shad, except Gabbard who pledged not to take MIC money, they are all on the take from MIC...especially Warren and Sanders whose misplaced pledge to raise taxes on the billionaires (which in reality means the middle class, as their money is untouchable) will allow MIC to once again raise their budget in 2021.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 5:48:00 PM

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shad, thanks for the article. I think what we are seeing is manipulation as in gas lighting (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity (ours) for their protection from the abused horde (us) who they have separated from their stolen hoard from us. There is no conscience (morality) in their actions past or present. It is time to separate them from their stolen hoard and any participation in the affairs of societies and their economies.

I do not think there is such a thing described by Daniel as Capitalism "with a Conscience." Capitalism by design is a predatory construct, not a practice nor a vehicle for a more perfect union by any stretch.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 4:22:44 PM

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nelswight

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Reply to George King:   New Content

Agreed, George, ....with a conscience only works in la-la-land.


If there were such a thing, it might work.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 7:46:38 PM

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Reply to George King:   New Content

Maybe so, but take a look when you have time at the video link I posted below.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 9:49:41 PM

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shad williams

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Reply to George King:   New Content

I agree with everything you wrote.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 5:56:25 AM

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Chuck Nafziger

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I like Hedges' take on capitalism but I resist the despair and helplessness that he implies is our part in it. We can build community. We can smile, laugh and sing. Join the Wobblies. Participate at a community center. Do volunteer work with some organization. Shop intelligently, resist tech fads, ask yourself if the new gadget/scarf/garden toxin is something that will get one "outside with friends" where the smiles come easy. Life is meant to be good and, even in these days, it can be very good. If it is not, turn off your cell phone and look to "outside" and "friends" for relief.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 5:43:48 PM

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Here is some other food for thought, from one of the people I've long considered one of the brightest on the planet click here. Just happen to cross my cell phone not long after I wrote the above.

It's an older video, that advocates what many attack, but when Lovins speaks, I say he's worth listening to (more on the man himself click here, written by the son of the genius who made me aware of Lovins back in the seventies).

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 9:43:38 PM

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This is timely Chris...

People need to wake up to the grim reality. Capitalism is a system that takes economic gain to be the most important ideal. So in that sense; it is not ethical. I attended a moving sermon, a few years back, where the minister took on the question of how Capitalism fares as a model of Ethics, and it is very interesting that he found some positive value to it, in terms of its potential to improve the world, but he concluded that, by and large, it is harsh, cruel and uncaring in how it treats people.

Corporations enjoy all the benefits of personhood today, and indeed they behave like they are a single entity, while they are not. And yet they are subjected to few of the penalties a person might garner for wrongdoing. The Roundtable statement hearkens back to the ideas of Watson with IBM, that if you treat the employees and community like gold, they are an inexhaustible resource that will keep your company afloat. But the way it is worded seems more like PR for the value of a free-market system, which should be unregulated because the corporations can be trusted, or are benevolent.

We know that's bull.

Keep up the good writing,

Jonathan

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 7:45:02 PM

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I suppose "the grim reality" is that we're all immersed in lies and other misinformation that make it hard to discern truth. But I think you're quite mistaken about the core of capitalism, which merely allows private individuals to acquire and spend capital according to their needs and wishes. There's nothing inherently ethical or unethical in that, and surely only a minority of people living with that economic system consider economic gain to be the most important ideal.

Most of us do seek economic gain -- but not at the expense of personal relationships and health. Your example of Thomas Watson at IBM shows that capitalism can support ethical action, respecting employees, and unethical action, providing support to Hitler.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 16, 2019 at 5:09:01 AM

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Aleksandar Sarovic

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Capitalism is unethical as much as people let it be unethical. Shorter work hours can make it a decent social system. Here is how: https://www.opednews.com/articles/Full-employment-is-a-turni-by-Aleksandar-Sarovic-Conspiracy_Economy_Employers_Exploitation-190814-944.html

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 9:30:13 PM

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shad williams

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Imagine reverse capitalism...instead of accumulation and profit, true value is recognized in returning the entirety of profit to the community as the shareholder, the biosphere as a stakeholder.

There is no planned obsolescence for example, instead there is striving for better conservation and futurity fitness in every enterprise.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 5:05:36 PM

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

I cannot imagine it:-). Also, I am not sure it would be a good idea to remove interest in advancement. I was born in a sort of socialism and I know when a legal advancement does not exist people tend to search for an illegal one. This brings corruption and problems.

The best what I came up with lies in equal human rights. This is what will bring a bright future to humankind.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 8:01:37 PM

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Joe Chiappone

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I agree with the sentiment of this article but not its premise. I don't think the PTB ARE really afraid of us at this stage . Think of it: two morally challenged clowns and widely known fraudsters i.e. Dimon & Gorsky, get to lay on some boilerplate none of 'em believe to a roomful of adoring sycophants. On its face that "believe these liars" move is so laughably hypocritical and yet gets a respectable berth in the MSM as something valuable and good. In fact world-class tool Darren Walker (Ford Foundation)gets to gush that this huge helping of nothingburger is "tremendous news." Huh?

Scared of us? I dunno. I think sometimes our gullibility slays them.

Submitted on Monday, Sep 9, 2019 at 10:37:22 PM

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Reply to Joe Chiappone:   New Content

I agree, Joe. The PTB no longer even try to tell realistic lies based on any actual reality. They just make sh*t up and say it, even though their words are directly contradicted by the evidence that we can all see with our eyes.

But in this age of "post-modernism", there is no concrete determinate reality and no objective truth. There is only our individual "perceptions" of reality. Post-modern reality is just narratives constructed to serve agendas.

Once the people's minds have been corrupted with this total bullsh*t you can tell people anything you want, and if they want to believe it, they will.

Like, after Hillary and the DNC got caught red-handed stealing the Democratic nomination from Bernie, they changed the narrative by saying Putin hacked the election, so for the past 3 years Democrats - and all the Deep State operatives who expected to coronate their man Hillary - have been trying to impeach Trump for colluding with Putin to defeat Hillary. They found no evidence because there isn't any, because they simply made up a narrative that appealed to people's political biases.

Narratives are constructed by power-serving intellectuals and preached ceaselessly by the oligarch-owned mass media, and most people still believe the narratives are "reality-based", not bullsh*t-based.

So now everybody disagrees about "the facts" of basic reality; and the political left and right assail each other with their mutually contradictory narratives; and the PTB plunder at their leisure and laugh at the silly little monkeys who assume that when the oligarchs make public pronouncements they are talking about reality. The PTB need not fear a population who believes whatever it is told.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 12:40:38 AM

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shad williams

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Reply to Derryl Hermanutz:   New Content

There seems to be a quickening.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:06:46 PM

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

Yes, not only enlightenment of the masses but also the suppression and persecution of truth tellers! I agree shad. The question remains, will it be enough to break the spell?

The battle of sinners and saints, Take this hammer carry it to the Captain, Tell him I'm goin' home
Take this hammer carry it to the Captain, Tell him why I'm gone
I'm a wanted man with the Captain
I'm a wanted man in the shackles
I'm a wanted man in the shackles
I'm a wanted man

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 5:13:39 PM

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Joe Chiappone

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Reply to Derryl Hermanutz:   New Content

"and the PTB plunder at their leisure and laugh at the silly little monkeys who assume that when the oligarchs make public pronouncements they are talking about reality." I love that,brother. Well-said.

Another knee-slapper for the Deep Staters: The wide disparity in "punishment" meted out for "breaking the law." Again...obvious, but the sheeple (or silly little monkeys as you put it) still mouth proudly the "Liberty and Justice for ALL" part of a meaningless Pledge.

Oh...and howzabout all those suicides lately? Gotta be a joke(r) in there somewhere, huh?

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 6:38:47 PM

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Reply to Derryl Hermanutz:   New Content

Reality is now 'the desert of the real.' sad to say and intensifying.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 1:41:35 AM

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No More War

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 1:00:29 AM

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j dial

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"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."


Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) in Economic Sophisms



Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 2:27:31 AM

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Reply to j dial:   New Content

Pirates exist, not just in Pittsburgh ... .

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 2:23:29 PM

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shad williams

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Reply to Bud Martin:   New Content

Carnegie.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 3:33:23 PM

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gk thomas

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Chris, as usual, gives the unadulterated skinny on how capitalism takes from the poor and gives to the rich. He's one of the few jewels in the crown.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 3:51:00 AM

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Not long ago I published here an article in which I suggested that capitalism has many of the characteristics of a religion and that it had become the established religion of the United States.


It would be interesting to have some commentary on this notion from a divinity school graduate like Chris Hedges.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 9:43:37 AM

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Reply to Paul Cohen:   New Content

Emile Durkheim, described it as such "Elementary Forms of Religious Life" in the early 20th C.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 3:39:24 PM

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Reply to Paul Cohen:   New Content

Great question, I think Chris Hedges has touched on this subject before previously but lacking the time to research this at the moment I will give a quick response on this question.

There has been a lot of discussion in the last couple of years that sheds light and understanding on the techniques being used such as gas lighting, manufacturing consent and other modus operandi incorporated to herd the masses. We have seen the cracks in the dam and those paying attention and devoting the time and concern to follow and observe has brought this to the forefront for those who have eyes to see.

It's no coincidence that so many cults align themselves with mainstream religions. Like a predatory animal that has evolved to resemble something commonplace and nonthreatening, these organizations understand that the more they appear to be a branch of a familiar institution, the more easily they'll be able lure new followers into the fold.

This insidious (and often effective) tactic might be difficult to spot at first, but it can be done. How To Tell A Cult From A Religion? SARA COUGHLIN

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." --Marcus Tullius Cicero 42B.C.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 4:27:48 PM

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Reply to George King:   New Content

HOW TO SAY, GEORGE, i'LL BET WORLDBANK WOLFOWITZ couldn't deceive us in

a sheepskin jacket.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 6:02:46 PM

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"Religion is evil in the blood." Almost all conflicts have historically been the work of priests. The basic problem is education (of the masses).

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019 at 10:30:46 PM

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Hedges always stays within the parenthesis just as Sanders and Warren do. While his critique of capitalism is not inappropriate the controllers are certainly moving towards ending that system with a parallel system they are currently readying. What is the replacement for capitalism? As Brezinski stated in his book "Between Two Ages...." a socialized dictatorship is prerequisite to the implementing of a technotronic system. Brezinski meant a Technocracy when using the term technotronic. Hedges in his wide ranging knowledge knows this but for some reason is keeping mum on this while playing the ol' capitalism reform card when capitalism is finished anyway as far as the controllers are concerned. While this article pulls at the heart strings of many I find it a bit of the ol' propaganda, misdirection and obfuscation syndrome often used by alt media matrix sponsored outlets. Guess you could say I'm not a fan boy.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 12, 2019 at 2:10:46 AM

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