Saturday, August 20, 2005

Interesting Times?

No, These Times Are Too Extraordinary And Improbable To Be Believed
by The Old Hippie Because Even As A Realist, I Find These Times Incredible, at best

Time To But It All Together

It wasn't so much conspiracy, even though there was/is some of that involved, but rather more of an opportunistic manipulation of events, not only by "the ends justify the means" ideologues, but also by "the ends justify the means" uber-profiting corporations, and also by the opportunistic alignment of "better to rule in hell, than serve in heaven" sociopathic sycophants, that has brought all of us to this time that is "too extraordinary and improbable to be believed," which is the definition of the word. . . incredible.

So, no, we don't live in interesting times, we live in incredible times.

The following is a simple historical timeline of the complex events, and the resultant opportunities, manipulations, reactions, and realities that have brought us to this incredulous time. . .

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = 

[ Note: All listed "events" are linked to unbiased sources of information concerning the events, (or least as unbiased as I could find, not always easy to do.)  I start this timeline in 1886, with the Supreme Court case of "Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company."  There are, of course, earlier events of significance, but this one event set the course that has lead us to this incredible time of the reality of global corporate rule. ]

1886 - "Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company"

One of the points made and discussed at length in the brief of counsel for defendants in error was that "Corporations are persons within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States." Before argument. . .

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE said:  "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations.  We are all of opinion that it does."

"There was no history, logic or reason given to support that view," U. S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas was to write 60 years later.  But it was done anyway.  By applying the 14th Amendment to corporations, the court struck down hundreds of local, state and federal laws that were enacted to protect people from corporate harm.

1892 through 1933 - "The Great Depression"

Speculation in the 1920s caused many people to by stocks with loaned money and they used these stocks as collateral for buying more stocks.  Broker's loans went from under $5 million in mid 1928 to $850 million in September of 1929.  The stock market boom was very unsteady, because it was based on borrowed money and false optimism.  When investors lost confidence, the stock market collapsed, taking them along with it.

1910 - "The New Nationalism"

The old nationalism, he claimed, [Theodore Roosevelt] had been used by sinister, special interests.  He now proposed a New Nationalism of dynamic democracy that would recognize the inevitability of economic concentration; to counter the power of the giant corporations, Roosevelt proposed bringing them under complete federal control, so as to protect the interests of the laboring man and the consumer.

The importance of the speech lies less in its immediate campaign connotation than in the fact that it contains the political and intellectual kernel of the modern American welfare state.

morally treasonal

1933 through 1938 - "The New Deal"

The president [FDR] called a special session of Congress on March 9 [1933].  Immediately he began to submit reform and recovery measures for congressional validation.  Virtually all the important bills he proposed were enacted by Congress.  The 99-day (March 9-June 16) session came to be known as the "Hundred Days."

On March 12, 1933, Roosevelt broadcast the first of 30 "fireside chats" over the radio to the American people.  The opening topic was the Bank Crisis.  Primarily, he spoke on a variety of topics to inform Americans and exhort them to support his domestic agenda, and later, the war effort.  During Roosevelt's first year as president, Congress passed laws to protect stock and bond investors.

1939 through 1945 - "World War II"

Without a doubt, a key player in the cause of World War 2 was the powerful Adolf Hitler.  But the major source of Hitler's power came from a chemical cartel called I.G. Farben, (the name is an abbreviation of the complete name: Interssen Gemeinschaft Farben.)  The importance of I.G. Farben's support for the Socialist movement was pointed out in a book about the cartel, in which it is stated:  "without I.G.'s immense production facilities, its far reaching research, varied technical experience and overall concentration of economic power, Germany would not have been in a position to start its aggressive war in September, 1939."

1942 - "Doing Business With The Enemy"

After the seizures in late 1942 of five U.S. enterprises he managed on behalf of Nazi industrialist Fritz Thyssen, Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President George W. Bush, failed to divest himself of more than a dozen "enemy national" relationships that continued until as late as 1951. . .

1950 through 1953 - "The Korean War"

Perlman itself is a diversity case in the Second Circuit under Indiana law.  The facts took place during the Korean War.  At time, especially during war, wage and price controls are imposed by the federal government, and the Korean War was one of those times.  When those controls are imposed, you get startling results concerning the exemptions.  In both World War II and the Korean War, employee fringe benefits such as pension and profit sharing plans as well as Blue Cross/Blue Shield were exempt from wage and price controls.  Furthermore, government contractors making those payment were allowed to recoup them as cost from the federal government.  The federal government treated those costs as legitimate.  Out of these wars sprouted employer-paid Blue Cross/Blue Shield and pension/profit-sharing plans because during both periods companies needed every able-bodied worker they could find and they could not raise the wage level to attract more workers.  They couldn’t raise wages, but they could pay fringe benefits.

1950 Through 1957 - "The McCarthy Era"

McCarthy was originally a supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.  However, after failing to become the Democratic Party candidate for district attorney, he switched parties and became the Republican Party candidate in an election to become a circuit court judge. - - - McCarthy's first years in the Senate were unimpressive.  People also started coming forward claiming that he had lied about his war record.  Another problem for McCarthy was that he was being investigated for tax offences and for taking bribes from the Pepsi-Cola Company.  In May, 1950, afraid that he would be defeated in the next election, McCarthy held a meeting with some of his closest advisers and asked for suggestions on how he could retain his seat.  Edmund Walsh, a Roman Catholics priest, came up with the idea that he should begin a campaign against communist subversives working in the Democratic administration.

McCarthy thought this was a great idea. . .

1961 through 1963- "America'a 1st Involvement In The Vietnam War (1945-1975)"

In November 1960, the young Massachusetts senator John F. Kennedy was elected U.S. president.  When he took office in January 1961, his administration portrayed itself as a break from the older traditions and as the “best and brightest,” with former Rhodes Scholar Dean Rusk as secretary of state, renowned businessman Robert S. McNamara as secretary of defense, and academic McGeorge Bundy as national security advisor.  The president also appointed his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, as attorney general.  This group would remain Kennedy’s key advisors, especially in matters relating to Vietnam, throughout his entire time in office.

1960 through mid-1970s - "The Civil Rights, Free-Speech, and Antiwar Movements"

During the 1960s era, many movements arose due to the active voices of young adults in colleges and universities. They acknowledged the need for social reform, and aggressively fought for civil rights. Their activities were able to encourage communities to become involved and many movements intermixed with their agenda. Included were the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s’ that aspired to gain racial equality for people, the Free Speech movement that sought to gain political activist rights on college campuses, and also the Anti-Vietnam War Movement which favored peace over war. The radical impulse of activist students led to an era of many social movements, which was pivotal due to its extensive effect.

1963 - "The Assassination Of John F. Kennedy"

During his electoral battle tour in the south of the States, John F. Kennedy visited Dallas (Texas) on November 22, 1963.

May 22, 1964 - "Lyndon B. Johnson's 'Great Society' Speech"

The Great Society was a set of domestic programs enacted in the United States on the initiative of President Lyndon B. Johnson. - - - Johnson summarized his goals in a speech at Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1964, basing it loosely on the largely successful New Deal instituted by Franklin Roosevelt.  A main focus of the Great Society social reforms an "end to poverty and racial injustice".  One component that transformed American politics was the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Another Johnson success was the establishment of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

August 4, 1964 - "To Start A War: The Tonkin Gulf Incident"

on August 4, the USS Maddox and another ship, the USS Turner Joy reentered the gulf, near where the Maddox had its "confrontation" just two days earlier.  But in the middle of tropical storm both ships experienced massive electronic malfunction. The captains of both ships 'assumed' they were being fired upon and began a counter attack, even though no evidence can prove they were in any way attacked.  This incident was taken by the United States government as provocation to enter the war, which had been strongly backed by the US Military for some time.

- "From Heresy to Dogma: An Institutional History of Corporate Environmentalism" -

Rated one of the top 10 books on business and the environment by TOMORROW magazine, December 1998.  Few contemporary movements illustrate the dynamics of institutional change quite as dramatically as that of corporate environmentalism.  'From Heresy to Dogma' takes an in-depth look at the evolution of corporate environmentalism for a unique perspective: that of industry itself.  Here is an analysis of corporate change in the U. S. chemical and petroleum industry drawn not from law or economics, but rather from the realm of organizational behavior, an area of academic research all too absent from the debate over this socially important issue. Scholarly, accessible, and engaging, ' From Heresy to Dogma' provides the type of rigorous academic analysis critical in an era when 'political correctness' can cloud the logic of rational discourse.  More important, it draws from that analysis to present a compelling--and sometimes controversial--prognosis for the future of corporate environmentalism.  This is history as only an accomplished organizational theorist could present it, filled with provocative new insights into the collective psyche of corporate America.

1965 - "President Johnson Signs Medicare Into law:"

Between assignations, President John F. Kennedy in 1963 sends a bill to Congress to create Medicare, a medical-hospital insurance plan financed through Social Security.  First envisioned by President Harry S. Truman, the plan provides for low-cost hospitalization and medical insurance for the elderly.  It isn't passed till the middle of 1965, when it becomes a pillar of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.  By 1998, Medicare would cover 37 million people and spend over $200 billion annually, providing one-fifth of all the money spent on U.S. health care.

1966 - "Ronald Reagan Elected Governor of California"

As president of the Screen Actors Guild, Reagan became embroiled in disputes over the issue of Communism in the film industry; his political views shifted from liberal to conservative.  He toured the country as a television host, becoming a spokesman for conservatism.

April 4, 1968 - "The Assassination Of Martin Luthur King"

A small-time thief named James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King from the bathroom of the flophouse across from where King was staying.  Allegedly, Ray balanced on the edge of a bathtub, rested his rifle on the window sill, and fired a single shot that with trained-sniper perfection entered King in the head.  No witness saw Ray shoot, although one claimed he saw a man leaving the bathroom around that time.  A bag was found in front of a store near the rooming house, and the bag had a rifle sticking out of it.  The rifle bore James Earl Ray's fingerprints.

June 5, 1968 - "The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy"

Coverage of the shooting and its aftermath continued to be broadcast until the early evening of 5 June, when networks began switching back to programs "already in progress."  ABC opted not to broadcast a professional baseball game and instead had a special report on "The Shooting of RFK."  Other networks informed viewers that regular programming would be interrupted occasionally to provide updated reports of Kennedy's condition.  Early on the morning of 6 June, a news conference was held to announce Kennedy's death.  His funeral was televised on 7 June, and highlights were televised on 8 June.

1970 - "Ronald Reagan Re-Elected Governor of California"

During the People's Park protests, he sent 2,200 National Guard troops onto the Berkeley campus of the University of California.  Reagan made it clear that the policies of his administration would not be influenced by student agitation, saying "if it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with, no more appeasement."  When left-wing SLA terrorists kidnapped Patty Hearst in Berkeley and gave a list of demands that included free distribution of food to the poor, Reagan suggested that it would be a good time for an outbreak of botulism.  After the media caught wind of the comment, he apologized.

The 1970's - "A Time Of Incredible Change For America"

The chaotic events of the 60's, including war and social change, seemed destined to continue in the 70's.  Major trends included a growing disillusionment of government, advances in civil rights, increased influence of the women's movement, a heightened concern for the environment, and increased space exploration.  Many of the "radical" ideas of the 60's gained wider acceptance in the new decade, and were mainstreamed into American life and culture.  Amid war, social realignment and presidential impeachment proceedings, American culture flourished.  Indeed, the events of the times were reflected in and became the inspiration for much of the music, literature, entertainment, and even fashion of the decade.

During the 1970's the United States underwent some profound changes.  First a Vice President and then a President resigned under threat of impeachment.  The Vietnam War continued to divide the country even after the Paris Peace Accords in January 1974 put an end to U.S. military participation in the war.  Roe v. Wade legalized abortion.  Crime increased despite Nixon's pledge to make law and order a top priority of his presidency.  Increased immigration followed passage of the Immigration Act of 1965, which reformed an earlier policy that favored western Europeans.  People from Third World countries came to this country in search of economic betterment or to escape political repression.  Women, minorities, and gays increasingly demanded full legal equality and privileges in society.  Women expanded their involvement in politics.  The proportion of women in state legislatures tripled.  Women surpassed men in college enrollment in 1979.  However, the rising divorce rate left an increasing number of women as sole breadwinners and forced more and more of them into poverty.  African-Americans also made their presence felt as the number of black members in Congress increased, and cities such as Los Angeles, Detroit, and Atlanta elected their first African-American mayors.  Affirmative action became a controversial policy as minorities and women asserted their rights to jobs and quality education.  Native Americans began to demand attention to their plight.  In 1975 the Indian Self-Determination Act encouraged Indians to take control of their own education and promote their tribal customs.

1980 - "Ronald Reagan Elected President of the United States"

Reagan's first attempt to gain the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 was unsuccessful.  He tried again in 1976 against the incumbent Gerald Ford, but was narrowly defeated at the Republican Convention.  He finally succeeded in gaining the Republican nomination in 1980.  The campaign, led by William J. Casey, was conducted in the shadow of the Iran hostage crisis; some analysts believe President Jimmy Carter's inability to solve the hostage crisis played a large role in Reagan's victory against him in the 1980 election.  Other issues in the campaign included double-digit inflation and unemployment, lackluster economic growth, instability in the petroleum market leading to a return of gas lines, and the perceived weakness of the U.S. national defense.

In the 1970s and 1980s, many of the industrial giants in the United States, Europe, and Japan became global companies; they no longer wanted to claim allegiance to any country in the world.  By becoming global companies they could force nations to compete with each other to attract their companies to build factories in their countries.  By the 1980s, these global companies, now often called Transnational corporations (TNCs) were aggressively using this strategy of globalization to blackmail countries into reducing their costs and increasing their profits.

Reagans Economic Strategy (to aid the TNCs in their goals)
It was in this Reagan Administration that the "incoporation of America" began in ernest.  The major moves by the "Reaganomics" to aid the TNCs was as follows:

1. To cut taxes on the wealthy and large corporations

2. To reduce government regulations on the environment, worker-safety, and product-safety

3. To provide billions of dollars in tax incentives and subsidies to TNCs

4. To crush labor unions and keep the minimum wage low

5. To support massive increases in immigration to the United States

6. To support American companies in moving their factories to Mexico and China

7. To bankrupt the government by creating a massive national debt

8. To reduce government support for healthcare, children, the poor, and the disabled

9. To work closely with TNCs to create "global free trade" and weaken national governments' ability to manage their economies

10. To reduce the standard of living and quality of life of most Americans

But the larger conclusion isn't that it was President Reagan or President Bush or the Republicans that are responsible for these disastrous policies.  Clearly, both the Democrats and the Republicans have supported these policies that have caused the standard of living and the quality of life for most Americans to decline.  We can't blame Reagan or the Republicans or even Clinton and the Democrats for what both American political parties are responsible for.  As a result of these policies, as Phillips argues, the wealthy and large corporations got richer.  With this increasing wealth and success, large corporations, the wealthy, and TNCs are in an even stronger position to blackmail countries into supporting their continued success and profits at the expense of their peoples' standard of living, the health and safety of their environments, and their quality of life.

1984 - "Reagan Re-Elected President in a Record Lanside"

1984 was a banner year for corporate profits.  They were up 26% over 1983, reaching an all-time high of $286 billion.  Their share of national income fell just short of 10%, the highest level since 1978.

Despite this spectacular rebound in profitability, 1984 was yet another banner year
for corporate tax avoidance.

Last year, we released a widely-circulated study, Corporate Income Taxes in the Reagan Years, which examined the profits and federal income taxes of 250 corporations in the years 1981, 1982 and 1983.  With the addition of the 1984 data, the full story of corporate tax avoidance during President Reagan’s first term can be told.  It is a story of unparalleled corporate success at beating the federal tax collector.

The synoptic of the Reagan years are tax cuts for the wealthy, the build-up of the military, the reduction of the regulation of corporations, and his not "knowing of" the Iran-Contra events under his nose.

1988 - "The 1st 10 Worst Corporations List Published"

CORPORATE CRIME and violence is, by all indications, a far more serious problem, in terms of victimization, than all street crime combined. Yet there is no effective international police organization dealing with corporate crime. INTERPOL does not have a corporate crime data base and the United Nations does not arrest chief executives of major multinationals for reckless homicide. A "Ten Most Wanted List" for corporate criminals is needed. Police intelligence agencies could use such a list to draw attention to wrongdoers and to focus the nation's attention on the lessons of right and wrong. To get the ball rolling, Multinational Monitor presents "The 10 Worst Corporations of 1988."

1988 -"George H. W. Bush Elected President"

While at Yale, he joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was elected President.  As a Senior he was, like his son George W. Bush (1968) and his father Prescott S. Bush (1917), inducted into the Skull and Bones secret society in 1948, helping him to build friendships and political support.  Joining the Skull and Bones a year after him at Bush's request was William Sloane Coffin, a fellow classmate from the Phillips Academy.  Throughout their lives, they remained friends despite political disagreement, as Coffin became a notable anti-war activist of the political left.

He married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945.  Their marriage produced six children: George W., Pauline Robinson ("Robin") (1949–1953, died of leukemia), John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy Walker.  The family has built on Bush's political successes, and those of his father Sen. Prescott Bush, with his son George W. Bush's Governorship of Texas and subsequent election as president, and his son Jeb Bush's election as Governor of Florida.  The Bush political "dynasty" has been compared to that of John Adams and the Kennedy family.  Bush's maternal grandfather was George Herbert Walker Sr., the founder of G.H. Walker & Co.  Bush's uncle George Herbert Walker, Jr. is the current head of the company.  Bush's first cousin George Herbert Walker III is the U.S. ambassador to Hungary.

Bush ventured into the highly speculative Texas oil exploration business after World War II with considerable success.  He secured a position with Dresser Industries.  His son, Neil Mallon Bush, is named after his employer at Dresser, Neil Mallon, who became a close family friend.  Dresser Industries, decades later, merged with Halliburton, whose former CEOs include Dick Cheney, George H. W. Bush's Secretary of Defense and, as of 2005, Vice President of the United States.

1992 - "The Best Republican Produced By The DLC - Clinton Elected"

...because corporations are the richest sector of society, their greater financing overwhelms similar efforts by Democrats.

Their efforts have clearly succeeded.  By 1992, corporations formed 67 percent of all Political Action Committees (the lobbyist organizations that bribe our government), and they donated 79 percent of all campaign contributions to political parties.  (4) In two landmark elections -- 1980 and 1994 -- corporations gave heavily and one-sidedly to Republicans, turning one or both houses of Congress over to the GOP.  Democratic incumbents were shocked by the threat of being rolled completely out of power, so they quietly shifted to the right on economic issues, even though they continued a public façade of liberalism.  Corporations went ahead and donated to Democratic incumbents in all other elections, but only as long as they abandoned the interests of workers, consumers, minorities and the poor.  As expected, the new pro-corporate Congress passed laws favoring the rich: between 1975 and 1992, the amount of national household wealth owned by the richest 1 percent soared from 22 to 42 percent.

The Cold War ended in 1991, depriving conservatives of their traditional enemy, the Soviet Union.  But a new target for their hatred emerged in 1992 with the election of a Democratic president, Bill Clinton.  The right wasted little time re-aiming their antagonism from the external to the internal enemy.

December 17, 1992 - "NAFTA, and April 15, 1994 - GATT Are Signed Into Law"

...the new GATT stakes are bigger, and the dynamics of the agreement are qualitatively different, than with NAFTA for a number of important reasons.  While NAFTA only involves three nations, the Uruguay Round would involve most of the countries in the world and affects more than four- fifths of world trade.  The Uruguay Round would create a standing organization, known as the World Trade Organization (WTO ), to administer global trade rules and provide a structure for developing new rules.  The WTO would be a major new international organization with significant powers, and would maintain a legal personality like the United Nations or the World Bank.  And although the United States would be the most powerful player in the World Trade Organization, it would have a far less dominant role than it does in overseeing NAFTA.  This is due both to the larger number of member countries in GATT and the fact that the two most powerful U.S. trading powers, Japan and the European Union, will be members of the WTO.

[ More to come very soon. . . Research takes time. . . ]


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