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Conspiracy theories aside, there is something fishy about the Great Reset

Conspiracy theories aside, there is something fishy about the Great Reset

It’s a corporate takeover of global governance that affects our food, our data and our vaccines

Last year’s WEF summit had the theme ’the Great Reset’
EThamPhoto / Alamy Stock Photo

‘The Great Reset’ conspiracy theories don’t seem to want to die. The theories were triggered by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) summit last year, which had the theme ‘The Great Reset’ and argued that the COVID crisis was an opportunity to address the burning issues facing the world. According to the BBC, the term ‘Great Reset’ has received more than eight million interactions on Facebook and has been shared almost two million times on Twitter since the WEF initiative was launched.

The set of conspiracy theories around the Great Reset are nebulous and hard to pin down, but piecing them together gives us something like this: the Great Reset is the global elite’s plan to instate a communist world order by abolishing private property while using COVID-19 to solve overpopulation and enslaving what remains of humanity with vaccines.

Intrigued by the palaver around last year’s summit, I decided to find out what the WEF’s Great Reset plan was really about. At the heart of conspiracy theories are supposed secret agendas and malicious intent. While these may be absent from the WEF’s Great Reset initiative, what I found was something almost as sinister hiding in plain sight. In fact, more sinister because it’s real and it’s happening now. And it involves things as fundamental as our food, our data and our vaccines.

The real Great Reset

The magic words are ‘stakeholder capitalism’, a concept that WEF chairman Klaus Schwab has been hammering for decades and which occupies pride of place in the WEF’s Great Reset plan from June 2020…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why the Global Economy Is Unraveling

Why the Global Economy Is Unraveling

Global supply chain logjams and global credit/financial crises aren’t bugs, they’re intrinsic features of Neoliberalism’s fully financialized global economy.

To understand why the global economy is unraveling, we have to look past the headlines to the primary dynamic of globalization: Neoliberalism, the ideological orthodoxy which holds that introducing market dynamics to sectors that were closed to global markets generates prosperity for all.

This is known as Neoliberalism, as liberalizing markets means opening up sectors that had previously been restricted. Neoliberalism holds that global market forces introduce efficiencies and opportunities that then pave the way for growth. Global market forces include not just new buyers and sellers of goods and services but the introduction of vast new markets for credit and risk that far exceed what was available in local marketplaces.

So far so good: opening markets creates efficiencies and prosperity, blah blah blah. But the real dynamic behind this happy-story shuck-and-jive is unprecedented prosperity for those with access to low-cost credit generated out of thin air by central banks.

In other words, introducing market forces leads to the dominance of those who control those forces –banks and corporations. Once a local economy is exposed to global capital, those with the most expansive access to the lowest-cost credit can outbid local buyers, snapping up the most productive assets and dominating the local economy to their own benefit.

Since the core mechanism of Neoliberalism is access to low-cost credit, Neoliberalism concentrates financial power and risk in a handful of financial nodes which every market participant unknowingly becomes dependent on. When a developing-nation village was largely self-sustaining and not exposed to global markets, it was largely unaffected by global financial crises.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tyranny, Inc.

Tyranny, Inc.

What government wants to do but cannot, it can require corporations to do for it

If you’ve read the Parable of the Seasteader, you’ll already know that at sufficient scale the public/private distinction collapses — a private entity of sufficient size can have all the power of a public entity. It is certainly arguable that Facebook and Google have reached such size. Here, however, I want to discuss a different dilemma – government’s use of private entities to regulate freedoms it cannot directly abridge.

We’re going to look at one specific right (the right to free speech) and one specific set of Federal regulations (§ 1604.11) but the pattern I’m describing here has become ubiquitous in our country. Nowadays, almost anything government is forbidden to regulate, it can require corporations to regulate for it. The government has outsourced tyranny. Let’s see how this black magic is performed.

Expression of Viewpoints is Guaranteed to be Free from Government Abridgement, Even if the Viewpoints are Hateful…

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a remarkable provision that has, for centuries, protected Americans from the abridgment of their freedom of speech by their government. Even so-called “hate speech” is protected.

The relevant provision states that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” As written, the guarantee of free speech originally applied only to the federal government. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Gitlow v. New York that the guarantee had been “incorporated” in the Fourteenth Amendment and the guarantee is now applied to all state and local governments as well.

Now, in practice, there are laws regulating speech (you cannot shout “fire” in a crowded theater, and so on), but such regulations are generally “time, place, and manner” restrictions. Our Courts have universally frowned on what is called viewpoint discrimination:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

India’s One-Day General Strike Largest in History

India’s One-Day General Strike Largest in History

If those who struck on Nov. 26 formed a country, it would be the fifth largest in the world after China, India, the United States and Indonesia, writes Vijay Prashad.

India’s general strike on Nov. 26, 2020. (IndustriALL Global Union, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Farmers and agricultural workers from northern India marched along various national highways toward India’s capital of New Delhi as part of the general strike on Nov. 26.

They carried placards with slogans against the anti-farmer, pro-corporate laws that were passed by India’s Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) in September, and then pushed through the Rajya Sabha (upper house) with only a voice vote.

The striking agricultural workers and farmers carried flags that indicated their affiliation with a range of organizations, from the communist movement to a broad front of farmers’ organizations. They marched against the privatization of agriculture, which they argue undermines India’s food sovereignty and erodes their ability to remain agriculturalists.

Roughly two-thirds of India’s workforce derives its income from agriculture, which contributes to roughly 18 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP). The three anti-farmer bills passed in September undermine the minimum support price buying schemes of the government, put 85 percent of the farmers who own less than 2 hectares of land at the mercy of bargaining with monopoly wholesalers, and will lead to the destruction of a system that has till now maintained agricultural production despite erratic prices for food produce.

One hundred and fifty farmer organizations came together for their march on New Delhi. They pledge to stay in the city indefinitely.

India’s general strike on Nov. 26, 2020. (IndustriALL Global Union, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Global Elite Have Far More Control Over Us Than Most People Would Dare To Imagine

The Global Elite Have Far More Control Over Us Than Most People Would Dare To Imagine

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, you probably agree that the global elite have too much power and influence.  It has been said that “money is power”, and today that seems to be more true than ever.  Those at the very, very top of the pyramid dictate the rules of the game for the rest of us, and there isn’t too much that the rest of us can do about it.  When we talk about how the global elite dominate our lives, the focus tends to be on how they influence national governments, but the truth is that is one of the areas where the global elite have the least control.  I know that may sound strange, but I believe that things will become clearer by the end of this article.

I would submit that corporations are the primary vehicle that the elite use to control our lives.  In fact, many global corporations are now larger and more powerful than most national governments, and collectively the network of global corporations that dominates the planet is far larger and far more powerful than any single national government.

A number of years ago, a remarkable study was conducted that closely examined the interconnecting relationships of major corporations all over the world.  That study discovered that a network of 1,318 enormous companies dominated the global economy, and it also found that 147 colossal corporations at the core of that web formed a “super-entity” that controlled 40 percent of the entire network…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Crisis Means the Ruling Class has Failed. Can the Working Class Inherit the Earth?

Climate Crisis Means the Ruling Class has Failed. Can the Working Class Inherit the Earth?

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

The climate crisis is proof positive that the ruling class is an utter failure — but it will not fall on its own. Can the working class rise to the challenge? It sure will help if we understand that our class interests are not merely the economic needs of working people — no matter how important that is — but the universal interests of a healthy planet for all the people. Let’s start acting like it.

The corporate solutions to the climate crisis must dodge the causes of the crisis. The ruling class uses deception and secrecy to limit public debate. When the facts become obvious and overwhelming corporate politicians simply refuse to debate it. Gag rules are back in fashion. When the people demand a Green New Deal the same politicians water it down and disarm it.

Power For Profit is Still the Prime Directive

Meanwhile, the Corporate State pursues the only agenda it has ever known: power and profit. If we accept corporate empire as normal, natural or eternal there is nothing left but better management, technical fixes, adaptation, and illusions of endless growth.

Since corporate capitalism is a “grow or die” system, it cannot consider limits even at a time when planetary limits are on display for all to see and verified by our best science. For example, there is no place in corporate plans for the conservation of energy despite the fact that energy not used is the truest form of clean energy. Instead of keeping in the ground, it’s always more and more.

Former Trump Secretary of State and former Exxon-Mobile CEO, Rex Tillerson repeats the managerial view.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Corporate Share Buybacks Increasing at Alarming Rate… Again

corporate buybacks


Photo by Mike Kalasnik | CC BY | Photoshopped from original

Corporate Share Buybacks Increasing at Alarming Rate…Again

Corporations have been using buybacks to “rob Peter to pay Paul” since the Reagan administration created laws that allow it.

According to a Goldman Sachs chart, 2018 was a record year for buybacks, which neared $800 billion for S&P 500 companies alone:

Even though these companies bought back shares, which should have spurred investment in more companies, that didn’t keep the S&P from dropping 6 percent by the end of 2018. But corporations are still getting a benefit…

“Buyback Monsters” Perform Market Illusion

This “sleight of hand” illusion allowed Apple to increase their market cap by $118 billion in 2018 on news that it would complete share buybacks in the amount of $210 billion.

They used tax incentives along with other forms of capital to complete the buyback. This move only helped Apple’s economy and their shareholders.

But they’re not the only company that has pulled off this amazing magical feat. Home Depot and “nearly 80 others”are also dipping into the “buyback gravy train.”

Home Depot is in a class of corporations I call “buyback monsters,” companies that have reduced their share count outstanding by at least 25 percent since 2010. It is by no means alone. Nearly 80 companies in the S&P 500 have reduced their share count by at least 25 percent since 2010, and more than 100 (20 percent) have reduced their share count by 20 percent or more, including some of the best-known companies in America.

Using Home Depot’s 35% share buyback as an example, a CNBC article highlighted another implication of being a member of the “buyback monster” club:

All other metrics being equal, Home Depot’s 35 percent share count reduction means that earnings appear 35 percent better, without any change in “fundamentals” like revenues, costs or taxes.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Age of Tyrannical Surveillance: We’re Being Branded, Bought and Sold for Our Data

The Age of Tyrannical Surveillance: We’re Being Branded, Bought and Sold for Our Data

“We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about… Your digital identity will live forever… because there’s no delete button.”—Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Uncle Sam wants you.

Correction: Big Brother wants you.

To be technically accurate, Big Brother—aided and abetted by his corporate partners in crime—wants your data.

That’s what we have been reduced to in the eyes of the government and Corporate America: data bits and economic units to be bought, bartered and sold to the highest bidder.

Those highest bidders include America’s political class and the politicians aspiring to get elected or re-elected. As the Los Angeles Times reports, “If you have been to a political rally, a town hall, or just fit a demographic a campaign is after, chances are good your movements are being tracked with unnerving accuracy by data vendors on the payroll of campaigns.”

Your phones, televisions and digital devices are selling you out to politicians who want your vote.

Have you shopped at Whole Foods? Tested out target practice at a gun range? Sipped coffee at Starbucks while surfing the web? Visited an abortion clinic? Watched FOX News or MSNBC? Played Candy Crush on your phone? Walked through a mall? Walked past a government building?

That’s all it takes for your data to be hoovered up, sold and used to target you.

This is the age of surveillance capitalism.

Incredibly, once you’ve been identified and tracked, data brokers can travel back in time, digitally speaking, to discover where you’ve been, who you’ve been with, what you’ve been doing, and what you’ve been reading, viewing, buying, etc.

Once you’ve been identified in this way, you can be tracked endlessly.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the “Integrity Initiative”

Is there such a plane of blissful, balanced information, deliberated and debated upon?  No.  Governments mangle; corporations distort.  Interest groups tinker.  Wars must be sold; deception must be perpetrated.  Inconsistencies must be removed.  There will be success, measured in small doses; failure, dispatched in grand servings. 

The nature of news, hollow as it is, is to fill the next segment for the next release, a promiscuous delivery, an amoral ejaculate.  The notion a complicated world can somehow be compressed into a press release, a brief, an observation, is sinister and defeating.   

The believers in an objective, balanced news platform are there.  Grants are forked out for such romantic notions as news with integrity, directed to increase “trust in news”, which is tantamount to putting your trust in an institution which has been placed on the mortician’s table.  The Trump era has seen a spike in such funding, but it belies a fundamental misconception about what news is. 

Funny, then, that the environment should now be so neatly split: the Russians (always) seen to distort from a central programme, while no one else does.  The Kremlin manipulates feeble minds; virtuous powers do not.  The most powerful nation on the planet claims to be free of this, the same country that boasts cable news networks and demagoguery on the airwaves that have a distinct allergy against anything resembling balanced reporting, many backed by vast funding mechanisms for political projects overseas.  Britain, faded yet still nostalgically imperial, remains pure with the BBC, known as the Beeb, a sort of immaculate conception of news that purportedly survives manipulation.  Other deliverers of news through state channels also worship the idol of balance – Australia’s ABC, for one, asserts that role.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Everything That Needs to Be Fixed Remains Permanently Broken

Why Everything That Needs to Be Fixed Remains Permanently Broken

Just in case you missed what’s going on in France: the status quo in Europe is doomed.

The status quo has a simple fix for every crisis and systemic problem:

1. create currency out of thin air

2. give it to super-wealthy banks, financiers and corporations to boost their wealth and income.

One way these entities increase their wealth and income is to lend this nearly free money to commoners at much higher rates of interest. I borrow from central banks at 1% and lend it to you at 4.5%, 7% or even 19% or more. What’s not to like?

If a bank is insolvent, it can borrow money at 1% from central banks. If Joe Blow is insolvent, the only loan he can get is at 23%, if he can get any credit at all.

3. China has a variant fix for every financial crisis: build tens of millions of empty flats only the wealthy can afford as second or third “investment” flats. If the empty flats start dropping in price, government entities start secretly buying flats to support the market.

4. Empty malls, bridges to nowhere and ghost cities are also a standard-issue fix in China. Built it and they will come, until they don’t. But who cares, the developers and local governments (i.e. corrupt officials) already pocketed the dough.

You see the problem: making rich people richer doesn’t actually fix what’s broken, it only makes the problems worse. So why can’t we fix what’s broken?

It’s a question that deserves an answer, and the answer has six parts:

1. Any meaningful systemic reform threatens an entrenched, self-serving interest/elite which has a tremendous incentive to squash, co-opt or water down any reform that threatens their monopoly, benefits, etc.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

What do Adidas, Hilton hotels, and the World Surfing League all have in common?

They’re all climate champions, apparently.

They also have a lot of customers and fans. Much more than most climate activists – just take a look at their Twitter followings – which could explain why this year’s annual UN climate talks welcomed them with open arms.

But are the industries serious about addressing the problem, or are they simply following a greenwash playbook rolled out by the fossil fuel industry each year at the talks?

Fanbase

With its global reach, universal appeal and the power to inspire and influence millions of people around the globe, sport is uniquely placed to drive global climate action and encourage crowds to join in”, International Olympic Committee member, former Olympic bobsledder, and Prince of Monaco, Prince Albert II, told the conference.

As countries here in Katowice prepare to turn their climate commitments into reality, we stand ready to leverage the power of sport to support their efforts”, he said. Mainly through making sportspeople ambassadors for climate change, and trying to offset some of the many, many flights major athletes and clubs take.

The sports industry isn’t alone at stepping up to the plate in the former coal town of Katowice, where this year’s talks are being held.

Climate change is “a risk and challenge we take seriously”, Daniella Foster, Hilton’s senior director of Global Corporate Responsibility told a side event. That’s why the hotel chain is looking at ways to “gamify” the “guest engagement piece” of its sustainability strategy – developing an app to help users save energy when they stay. The company has also pledged to cut its environmental footprint in half by 2030.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Behind the Erosion of Civil Society?

What’s Behind the Erosion of Civil Society?

Rebuilding social capital and social connectedness is not something that can be done by governments or corporations.
As the mid-term elections are widely viewed as a referendum of sorts, let’s set aside politics and ask, what’s behind the erosion of our civil society? That civil society in the U.S. and elsewhere is fraying is self-evident. It isn’t just the rise of us-or-them confrontations and all-or-nothing ideological extremes; social bonds between people are weakening.
There are many probable causes: addictive technologies such as social media and smartphones; chronic economic stress, greater mobility and a host of more subtle factors.
One such factor is the erosion of community and its replacement with state (government) or corporate structures. One of the most insightful essays I’ve read in the past few years is a report from the Guardian (U.K.) on What Happened When Walmart Left a low-income rural community in America’s Coal Country.
One of the most tragic findings, in my view, was that Walmart was the social hub of the community: Walmart was the place to go to meet friends, people-watch, walk around to pass the time, etc.
This is a remarkable reversal of a traditional community, which is centered around communal public spaces such as churches, temples, etc., town squares, Main Street, the local marketplace, etc. Now the center of social life is a corporate-owned private space dedicated to maximizing the profits of the corporation.
This dependency on corporate spaces is paralleled by a dependency on corporations and the state for income and the organization of social life.
This leads to the another tragedy: the near-complete lack of any non-state, non-corporate social structures; the general zeitgeist was near-total dependence on the state and corporations not just for income but for the structure of everyday life, to use historian Fernand Braudel’s phrase.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

When Corporations Take Credit for Green Deeds, Their Lobbying May Tell Another Story

When Corporations Take Credit for Green Deeds, Their Lobbying May Tell Another Story

Scott Pruitt meeting with auto industry leaders

Today most large companies like Exxon Mobil, Ford and GM issue slick reports extolling their efforts to conserve resources, use renewable energy or fund clean water supplies in developing countries. This emphasis on efforts to curb environmental harm while benefiting society is called corporate sustainability.

Once uncommon but now mainstream, this show of support for a greener and kinder business model might seem like a clear step forward. But many of these same companies are quietly using their political clout, often through industry trade associations, to block or reverse policies that would make the economy more sustainable. And because public policy raises the bar for entire industries, requiring that all businesses meet minimum standards, lobbying to block sound public policies can outweigh the positive impact from internal company initiatives.

This kind of corporate hypocrisy — what we call talking green while lobbying brown — is a form of greenwashing, in which companies trumpet their good deeds while hiding their efforts to block progress. As the past and present presidents of the Alliance for Research on Corporate Sustainability, we are concerned that this greenwashing may delay by years or even decades steps that might solve sustainability problems, such as slowing the pace of climate change or ending the ocean plastic pollution crisis.

Greenwashing is environmentally responsible talk without action. By Tamixes/Shutterstock.com

Sounding Good Yet Lacking Impact

We and our colleagues in the alliance have documented many business initiatives that fall short of the impact they claim. One of the best known was the chemical industry’s Responsible Care program, created after an explosion at Union Carbide’s plant in Bhopal, India, killed thousands of people in 1984. Strategy professors Andy King and Mike Lenox showed that participants actually made less progress in reducing their emissions of toxic chemicals than did nonparticipants. That prompted the industry to overhaul the program.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A New World Order: Brought to You by the Global-Industrial Deep State

“There are no nations. There are no peoples … There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business.”—Network (1976)

There are those who will tell you that any mention of a New World Order government—a power elite conspiring to rule the world—is the stuff of conspiracy theories.

I am not one of those skeptics.

What’s more, I wholeheartedly believe that one should always mistrust those in power, take alarm at the first encroachment on one’s liberties, and establish powerful constitutional checks against government mischief and abuse.

I can also attest to the fact that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I have studied enough of this country’s history—and world history—to know that governments (the U.S. government being no exception) are at times indistinguishable from the evil they claim to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug traffickingsex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

And I have lived long enough to see many so-called conspiracy theories turn into cold, hard fact.

Remember, people used to scoff at the notion of a Deep State (a.k.a. Shadow Government), doubt that fascism could ever take hold in America, and sneer at any suggestion that the United States was starting to resemble Nazi Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

We’re beginning to know better, aren’t we?

The Deep State (“a national-security apparatus that holds sway even over the elected leaders notionally in charge of it”) is real.

We are already experiencing fascism, American-style.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Chris Hedges: U.S. citizens are living in an inverted totalitarian country 

Chris Hedges: U.S. citizens are living in an inverted totalitarian country 

Chris Hedges

The mainstream media deflects attention from where power resides: corporations, not with the leaders of the free world. The arguments posed by Chris Hedges, that the U.S. is neither a democracy nor a republic but a totalitarian state that can now assassinate its citizens at will, are pertinent ones. Scary ones. Especially as consecutive governments seem equally as impotent to invoke any real change for the States. If the media won’t stand up to the marionettes who pull the strings of the conglomerates causing deep, indelible polarisation in the world abound; then so we must act. Together.

Listen to the full interview in our weekly Newsvoice Think podcast.

We were delighted to have Chris Hedges on an episode of the Newsvoice Think podcast as we seek to broadcast perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. Right, left, red, blue and purple.

In our interview with Chris, we discussed a range of topics facing the U.S. today as the Trump administration looks back at a year in power, and forward to the November ’18 midterms where Democrats will be looking to make gains. Chris was scathing of that party describing them as a “creature of Wall Street, which is choreographed and ceased to be a proper party a long time ago.”

As a columnist with Truthdig, and a big advocate of independent media. Chris Hedges was the perfect interviewee for us to draw on the benefits of crowdsourced journalism and the challenges facing sites at the mercy of Facebook, Google and Twitter algorithms.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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