Published: Thursday 26 April 2012
“How is it that a trillion dollars can be spent on military weaponry, but the collective psyche of this nation continues to be gripped by nebulous fear?”

Due to the consolidation of wealth and privilege into fewer and fewer hands, thus requiring escalating amounts of officially mandated surveillance and brutality to maintain social order, the natural trajectory of unregulated capitalism tends towards hyper-authoritarian excess, even towards fascism. Moreover, by the standards of capitalist ideology, and exacerbated by the rigged nature of economic and social arrangements -- large segments of society are deemed losers, and, resultantly, will grow restive, if scapegoats aren't invented to mitigate a sense of humiliation and displace rage. Accordingly, rightist demagogic fictions can seize the psyches of large segments of the general public: immigrant interlopers wreck the economy; minority layouts suck-up public funds; gays and women, possessed of dubious morality, destroy the nation's moral fabric; lefties are driven to challenge the system, but only because of their spite, borne of jealousy.

 

The "purer" the form of capitalism the faster the rise of fascism. There is a dark and bitter grace to this: Fascism is the deranged agency that sends the capitalist machine into systemic runaway, thus the system crashes and burns -- and out of its ashes and debris…a more humane system can come into being.

 

Although the yearning for freedom is inborn, as is the case with the development of any skill or talent, one must open oneself to its promise by discipline and practice. Otherwise, attempts at exercising freedom -- free will's dance with resistant and changing circumstance -- can be an ugly sight to behold.

 

Witness the following litany of the lost evinced by us, the denizens of late-stage capitalism: The dismal air haunted and minds distracted … cluttered by the ceaseless chatter of those dim ghosts of human discourse known as text messages and tweets; the parade of preening narcissists and prattling sub-cretins that is celebrity ...

Published: Thursday 15 March 2012
“Revoke their charters, and other legal tools to hold corporations accountable to our laws.”

The last few years have seen a series of corporate catastrophes, for which the perpetrator companies have escaped any meaningful accountability. Big banks and giant Wall Street firms tricked and ripped off homeowners and investors, and crashed the national and global economy. BP’s reckless operations poisoned the Gulf of Mexico in one of the worst oil disasters in history. Massey Energy’s cost-cutting led to the Upper Big Branch coal mine collapse that killed 29 workers.

There have been virtually no criminal prosecutions for Wall Street wrongdoing related to the crash, and precious few civil actions. Criminal charges are likely to be filed against BP, but the company already has been granted new permits to drill for oil in the Gulf. Massey Energy—now owned by Alpha Natural Resources—was forced to pay $200 million in penalties but avoided any criminal prosecution.

This history notwithstanding, We the People, and our government representatives, do have the power to hold companies accountable for the wrongs they commit. The challenge is to mobilize sufficient political pressure to demand that available tools be used and new mechanisms of accountability be created.

One powerful way to hold companies accountable is through debarment—denying corporate wrongdoers the right to obtain government contracts. Almost every major company does significant business with the government, so debarment is a penalty with teeth. Similarly, federal, state, and local governments should deny other government benefits to corporate criminals and wrongdoers. Denying BP the right to drill in the Gulf is a penalty that would sting. Drug companies that can’t sell to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Department of Veterans Affairs are deprived of more than a third of their market. The Federal Communications Commission has the authority to deny broadcast licenses to media corporations that do not exhibit “good character.” Federal ...

Published: Thursday 23 February 2012
“The hour has arrived to demand an end to the destructive reign of these self-serving elites who have proven, time and time again, they care nothing about the suffering they bring to humanity nor the damage they inflict on this living planet.”

 

The concept of endless economic growth, accepted as sacrosanct by both U.S. mainstream political parties, and internalized as the dominant mode of mind by the general population of the corporate/consumer state is mirrored in the exponential mathematics of a malignancy.

 

Cancer, if given voice, would proclaim itself to be a believer in "free market values"…devoted to the principle of endless growth…until, of course, it would silence its own voice by killing its host.

 

Likewise, all life seeks limits or prematurely dooms itself.

 

The same holds true with addiction to unlimited economic expansion…the craving for incessant ascension is, in fact, a doomed Icarusian flight. 

 

In our time, politics as usual has failed to address the most pressing issues of the age: The manner by which neoliberal economic agendas exploit the masses in the service of a corrupt elite, and in so doing, decimating individual hopes and aspirations, as, all the while, the environmental dangers, endemic to the unchecked system, imperil the survival of humankind. 

 

Although, alarmingly, both political parties continue to serve the status quo: Contemporary conservatives promote--in fact, seem to outright revel in--the litanies of a gospel of global-wide destruction (in the case of religious fundamentalists even going so far as to implore the forces of heaven, with fervid prayers, to expedite doomsday's date of arrival) by means of militarist aggression and environmental carnage--while squeamish liberals are devotees of the cliché-worshipping temple of incremental change.

    

From the right flank of this disastrous cosmology of convenience, Rick Santarium insists that a literal interpretation and societal application of "The Scriptures" i.e., an ad hoc collection of the laws, legends and beliefs of Middle ...

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