Pandora Papers is not the entire Pandora’s Box; but a part of it only. The full picture is yet to emerge, in one sense, and in another sense, the whole is already perceptible.
The way the rich have their wealth, the way they accumulate, the way they hide, the way they deceive, the way they deprive, the way they lie are in the Pandora Papers. It’s not a tale of only a king, of a few powerful and a few politicians – a section of seemingly magicians. The Papers, as like their earlier friend, Panama Papers, convey a single fact: Exploitation, an exploitative system, the system’s power.
If that wealth of the rich is compared with the “wealth” the poor of the world own, if that power is compared with the “power” the poor of the world “wield”, the inequality’s brutality stands under sun – open, stark, it’s barbaric. The lie, the deception are two of the sharpest, most effective and functional weapons the rich employ against the people, the working people – the social force that produces the wealth at societal level but stolen by the rich.
Whose hands are behind the exposure – is not the only question related to the exposure. The exposure explains itself – the exposure is a part of factional fight among the wealthy at world level. But, the question that should also be in agenda is the system itself – what and how is the system that gives birth to such richness, such theft, such deception, such lie? The question that should also be in agenda is the “wealth” and “power”, if any, and even, if non-existent, of people, the poor, especially the working persons producing wealth and being deceived by the wealthy. The question that should also be in agenda is the relations between such wealth and power, essentially political power, used to do misdoings – theft, lie, deception. This is the question of inequality of political power – the question missed most of the time by most of the mainstream economists discussing inequality. An amazing business it’s!
There’s law, a gamut of law; and the purpose pronounced powerfully and forcefully behind enacting the gamut of law is execution of justice, execution of equity, kick out theft and deception. All the business the Pandora Papers show is an execution of law – the way it’s executed. No enactment could prohibit the deception. Whatever was done by the rich – floating of companies, transfer of money or capital, etc. – was by faithfully following all laws. The system of law, so, can’t escape the very question: what were you doing Sir when such a great business with such a great amount of money was transacted? Are you ineffective or a party to it? A sleeping partner, are you? Has this been enacted only to hoodwink the ordinary tax payers, the person begging on a street in Karachi, the mother with her hungry children in Lebanon, the person searching for medical treatment in a dysfunctional health care system in a capitalist economy that accumulates profit from the health care system it has elaborately set up?
There are executioners of law enacted to stop theft and “flying away” of capital. There’s supervisory authority keeping eyes open so that all laws related to theft and deception are executed properly. What were these executioners and supervisory authority doing while the theft, the deception – dodging taxes – were carried on by the rich with smile in their faces? Are they, the executioners and the supervisory authority, thus, party to this great job? They are part of the system of taxation and ensuring proper implementation of taxation, revenue, etc.; and thus, haven’t they made the system party to the lie, deception, dodging of tax, loss of revenue? Who the criminals will be, then?
Politics was obviously there behind these thefts, deceptions. Without political clout this system couldn’t have operated, couldn’t have operated for months and years, and thefts, the dodging of taxes, weren’t done in a day, weren’t done once, weren’t done by a single person.
These are difficult questions – difficult to the powerful, the owners of the system that creates and sustains with loopholes to lie, to deceive, that sustains with unequal political power sharing between the exploiter and the exploited.
These are questions unknown to the unaware, to the disorganized, to the political-powerless millions – the masses struggling with hunger in Afghanistan, struggling with poverty in Brazil, struggling with inequality in Nigeria.
But, these questions, instead of superficial and trivial issues, should reach them. But, these questions, in most cases, don’t reach them. The facts are hidden from them – the millions whose labor is stolen by a few.
Thanks to the exposure or the factional fight, whatever that’s. It has provided some facts – facts to understand the system, not only loot, not only theft – dodge tax. The Papers has opened up the powerful’s Pandora’s Box – a system full with theft, deception, lies, and inequality.
Loot – appropriation and expropriation – the exploiters continue with, tricks they follow and lies they propagate to hide their loot, agents they employ to keep people demobilized, to make people fail perceiving the loot-facts and sources and relations of the facts get exposed everyday if the exploiters’ acts and pronouncements are closely observed.
To keep the power of loot intact, the exploiters’ first tact is to wipe out the question of appropriation and expropriation from discussion, and stuff whole agenda with whatever rubbish they produce and collect. This move distracts the exploited, the part of society falling prey to the exploiters, keeps the exploited busy with issues not related to the existence of the exploited, serve the exploiters’ interests, make the exploited get busy with the agenda helpful to the exploiters. The question of loot withers away, thus.
The question of loot is connected to the question of the exploiters’ economic interests – dominance of exploitative system. The question of loot is connected to the question of the relations the exploiters establish – exploitative relations with private property – in the sphere of economy. Private property – capital, made by reproduction of surplus value as a result of exploitation of wage labor, “not a thing, but rather a definite social production relation, belonging to a definite historical formation of society, which is manifested in a thing and lends this thing a specific social character.” (Marx, Capital, vol. III) – is part of the economy. The question doesn’t move without politics – politics of the exploiters. The entire question withers away when these aspects don’t find place in agenda.
It’s regularly, thus, observed in most lands: these questions, essential and urgent to people, regularly go without discussion while questions related to people – of economy and politics – are discussed. Non-essential questions, questions related to the exploiters interests, questions serving the exploiters are discussed in a manner and with such force that push back questions related to people’s interests.
Here are the tricks the exploiters employ: overwhelm the exploited with problems, so that people don’t get respite – the space required to summarize the hostile situation; make non-questions questions, engage adventurers with the task of raising fiery slogans instead of proper analyses and well-thought out ideas – a task that subverts people’s initiatives for having well-composed ideas and getting organized. A tricky job it’s. The adventurers turn “friends” and “well-wishers”, theoreticians advocating measures that torpedo people’s initiatives, and at the same time, camouflage self-face.
There are persons subverting organizations people have or whatever initiative people take to claim space while the persons pose as friends of people. Engaging such persons is one of capital’s tasks to counter people. The engaged persons hide self-identity, in the payroll of masters, and spread lies, misinterpret and create confusion.
The question is: What should people do in this perspective? History presents lessons: Get aware, get organized, have organization, have leadership, foil attempts subverting people’s initiatives.
Homes are flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, La., on Tuesday. (Gerald Herbert/The Associated Press)
Most of us fall into our daily routines fairly easily with little thought. We rise in the morning drink our coffee eat a little breakfast and head off to work. Pulling out of our particular driveways we navigate well-lit and organized streets that efficiently (for the most part) take us to our destination and return us home in the evening. After work we engage in a multitude of various events, hobbies, and sports etc. till our days wind down to a restful or restless sleep.
This same or similar middle class existence is the goal of a large segment of American society. Though we clamor on the Right and Left with varying degrees of political outrage over a multitude of issues we seem to take comfort in the predictability of our day to day existence. When we flip on the light switch, we expect illumination.
Here, along the Gulf Coast, there were similar expectations going in to the last days of August this year. Whether the Native American fisherman headed into the bayous for the days catch or the business executive who organizes his world at a downtown New Orleans office plaza the expectation of normalcy was understood. Unfortunately, for many the area’s residents, the month of August would come to a close in the dark.
August 29th is a date seared into the conscience of most south Louisianans. In 2005 hurricane Katrina rolled ashore creating undue havoc, becoming the poster child for climate catastrophe and government ineptitude. For those who lived through that time of disruption and dislocation, a nagging sense of déjà vu would come with the dawn of August 29th, 2021.
Hurricane Ida by any metric was a monster of a tropical cyclone. With wind speeds teetering on the edge of category 5, she swept ashore like some mythological behemoth crushing almost everything that stood in her path. For hours on end, battering community after community, she did not lose her hurricane designation before crossing the Louisiana-Mississippi border.
In the wake of such catastrophes there is always a sense of dislocation and confusion. When the winds die down and the water recede you make your way back home or out of hiding often to find your world turned upside down. Chances are if you find a light switch that is still intact, turning it on will bring no illumination or order to the darkness that you find yourself enveloped by.
For those unfamiliar with hurricane recovery and restoration the news accounts of the aftermath of hurricane Ida will give some idea of the scope of the ordeal survivor’s face. Massive destruction over a huge swath of south Louisiana coupled with an unprecedented failure of the region’s utility infrastructure produced a literal wasteland of damaged or destroyed homes. Stretching from the fishing villages of the coast to the suburban settlements in and around New Orleans, Ida’s zone of desolation encompassed the heart of Louisiana’s bayou country.
For far too many, the long days since the storms landfall have brought little in the way of recovery in restoration. Poor families without access to high dollar insurance policies and ignored or marginalized by FEMA find themselves living in tents or in their vehicles. Their homes made uninhabitable by Ida with no direct assistance manifesting itself in the short term, they face an uncertain future with a slim hope based on substantial government intervention.
A step above living in the rough are those who have livable homes with no power relying on portable generators but burning up their few resources in fuel and in the hectic search for available assistance from relief agencies, NGOs, and church groups. As imported linemen struggle to re-energize Entergy’s fractured grid these families look forward to power by the kilowatt hour rather than power by the gallon.
The scale rises steeply from this point as we travel “up the bayou” and up the income ladder. The day after landfall, a local news channel highlighted a well-to-do New Orleans neighborhood that was well on their way to clean up and repair in a matter of hours. No mention was made of the fact that it was a neighborhood comprised of upper six figure homes inhabited by resource rich families. There were no references made to the economic inequities that actually dictate the parameters and speed of recovery.
It is in the wake of such catastrophes that we can, if we choose to look, see the fragility of the societal structure that we rely on. Rich or poor, we have a shared confidence that we can turn the lights on, but in times such as these we see clearly that economic status can dictate how long they will remain off. With local stores closed, it becomes a matter of personal means that dictates how far we can reach beyond our own community to find cold milk or fresh bread or how long we can remain in line to buy gas.
Climate change is for many still just a concept or talking point but for more and more of the world population it is becoming a lived reality. In some mid-west suburb we may be able to pretend that nothing can threaten the ordered existence of the American dream, but for those families in the path of western wildfires or Atlantic hurricanes the illusion is shattered. The buffers are disappearing, and we are faced with the actual fragility of the lifestyles we once expected to continue unabated. The choices we make individually and as a society must be made in the light of the chaos that is the true foundation of life on this planet.
In the wake of hurricane Ida, we here in south Louisiana are afforded again lessons in what can truly be termed the “cost of living.” When we pay our electric bill with the push of a button on our cell phone or laptop we are not afforded the perspective that we gain when we have to wait in a gas line for two hours to buy fuel for our generator. It is times like these, in the silence of demolished communities, when we can most clearly see and hear.
You just can’t make this stuff up as a fiction writer (also, see below, at the end of this piece**). Demonic, but sturdy. Boring actuarial folk, or in this guy’s case, making loot illegally in the legal channel that is Illegal Wall Street:
Thomas Peterffy became one of the world’s richest people by mastering risk on Wall Street. Building his Mediterranean-style mansion seven years ago on a vulnerable stretch of Florida’s Palm Beach Island was a matter of seeing the odds clearly once again. The consequences of climate change will play out over decades, and Peterffy is 76 years old.
“I don’t have a care about it at all,” he said over lunch at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, just down the street from his home. “If something needs to be done to save it,” he added, “it’s not going to be my problem.” The founder of Interactive Brokers Group has a fortune of more than $21 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Thomas Peterffy with Lynne Wheat in Palm Beach in 2017 (Nick Mele/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)
Nice guy, uh? And even younger ones, in the billionaire class, they whisper that, though they do have bullshit smoke and mirrors philanthropies and foundations to, well, shelter taxes and corrupt the world more with their sociopathy. In the old days, it would have been, “Eat the Rich,” “Kill the Rich,” “Banish the Rich.” Now, though, since they have created a vampire class of millionaires and media mental midgets with millions stashed away, the Rich Are a Protected Class. Until we get daily reminders of the collective insanity of Western culture, Western capitalism, Western cults. This is the rich, giving a damn about the future, or, spending millions and billions on their vaults and prison garden homes. Then, there are 10,000 in Del Rio, Texass:
The temporary camp has grown six-fold since Monday and more migrants are expected in the coming days. Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano made a disaster declaration Friday. “I had thought that the alarm was sent on Monday. This is setting the nuclear bomb alarm that this is no longer sustainable or acceptable,” he said. Congressman Tony Gonzales, a Texas Republican, is calling on the Biden administration to come up with a solution for the chaos. “Please get engaged, get involved, do something. This is unsustainable. This is not America. This is not the way things should be,” he said. “Folks are coming over and across as if there is no border.” Also Friday, CBP closed the Del Rio Port of Entry and re-routed traffic.
I have years of writing about and researching urban planning, regional planning, all the gold, silver, platinum of LEED/Sustainability/New Urbanism building. It is a mighty thing to have a few degrees from elite schools (my schools, they are not elite), and then getting placed into the star chambers of planning, architecture and design. To the point of, the Eichmanns are deep into this lie, and there is really, the way they want smart cities and internet of bodies for the future, no global warming, no global climate chaos, no collapsing systems, water shortages, deaths in the millions annually just from air pollutants. No deaths in the hundreds of thousands because of higher and higher bulb temperatures. No reality about water shortages, failing sewage treatment, endless fires, pests-poisons-pestilence vis-a-vis profits at any cost, at costs to anyone or anything, albeit, not against the elite and star chamber folk. The reality is if you believe in capitalism, in all for one, or that technology is going to get us out of the muck, then, you are a denier. The worse kind!
If this doesn’t tell it all, here we are, the great profession (sic) of planners (misshapers, building and real estate protection racketeers) having yet another fake event, virtually. Imagine that, so planners are supposed to be on the land, in the muck, in neighborhoods, looking at systems, ecosystems, people, communities, towns and mega-cities, and, here the gutless wonders are, well, hiding again, in underwear and Snoopy slippers. This was a group I was sort of a member of when I was getting my graduate degree in , well, urban and regional planning:
Save the Date: 2021 OAPA/APA WA Virtual Joint Planning Conference
The 2021 conference continues with the theme of Growing Together Virtually, recognizing the importance and challenges of planning for evolving communities, large and small, in these challenging and polarizing times. The conference will offer more sessions than last year, allowing for greater variety in session content.
Oh, in polite company, we can’t call this a bunch of fucking shit, no? All the communities now within communities, the so-called subcommunities, struggling with forced jabs, forced passports, forced scrutiny, forced surveillance, facial recognition just to enter a football game or concert. Work, sure, servicing those maskless wonders with masks on, but not enough cash to pay the rent, or, all the cash for the rent. No health care, nothing of those safety nets that the RICH have, and do not get goofy on me to profess that the rich do not have entire lobbies upon lobbies in their sophisticated protection racket. The planners — many of them looking for sustainability and gardens and walkability and healthy small downsized living — in the end buckle under the weight of bureaucracy and the rich and powerful controlling the narrative and their own money stream. Look, I understand that every arena I have entered into since, oh, age 13, those places are sacred to liberals, lights, conservative, lights, and that I would also be an outlier or outcast anywhere, or the enemy in some regard, but now, it is way beyond “enemy” or “persona non grata” I represent. It is a matter of outcasting, men, an untouchable, while the APA-WA branch, peddles more lies, meaningless doublespeak:
“What is Planning? Planning is a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities. Professional planners make great communities happen by working with civic leaders, businesses, and citizens to envision new possibilities and solutions to community problems.”
I wonder what the planners might do around those Haitians, all those cities that are in disrepair, all the rough sleepers, the homeless-in-vehicles, the sheltered-in-basements/garages/hotels. How to plan, man, those smart cities, those hipster places, those virtual venues, the Zoom Rooms, the isolation chambers, the places of mediocrity sold as cutting edge Musk-Apple joints. Imagine, maybe in a year, the Planners can hook into the Bezos Ejaculatory Space Suit Freaks, and have a live feed with Bezos and ask him what’s next in planning cities around his Gestapo-Gulag-Retail-Surveillance-Cloud world. In so many ways, I found the planning profession to be vapid, dead of creativity, and certainly no rabble rousers or deep thinkers in the bunch. They talk a good talk, but in the end, their jobs are the work of the real estate, developer, building and construction lobbies, and the planners I know would never speak up at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. They are the epitome of Eichmann, updated and retrofitted for Cancel Culture and Oh So Hip Stylists.
How about his Salem group, Salem for Refugees? You think planners would want to create grants for people like me to study the dynamics of community building-engagement-employment around these newest immigrants?
With the unfolding situation in Afghanistan, thousands of people are fleeing their home and looking for protection in the US. We have been preparing for refugees and SIV cases. Now we are preparing to also provide resettlement services for individuals who have been identified as special risk (journalists, NGO workers, humanitarian workers, political activists, etc.). Due to the rapid nature of the situation, this group of individuals will have a special Parolee status which will allow for immediate work authorization but limited access to State social services or Medicaid benefits. We need your help in bridging this gap and providing for the needs of these people. In an effort to bring Afghan Evacuees to Salem, the State Department has given us an early approval as an affiliate of World Relief and we are now an official Resettlement Agency! We will begin receiving cases through the Afghanistan Placement Assistance Program and in January for all other refugees through the Reception and Placement program!
The good old days when we truly hated the rich:
In 1920, Wall Street reporter Edwin Lefèvre derided “some wretchedly rich people” in a Post article called “The Annoyances of Being Rich Today.” Without naming names, Lefèvre detailed conversations with bankers and heirs about their gripes with imperfect service and ungrateful butlers. One rich man told the author that he feared a revolution was afoot after he asked a waiter for bread and — instead of silent obedience — the response came: “Sure thing!” Others complained about accusations of vanity or the prospect of their service staff seeking higher wages.
Lefèvre sums up the groans of the plutocrats by casting wealth as a sort of illness:
I am convinced that there is a definite social disease which we may call gold poisoning. When a man has too much gold, some of it gets into the system; through the pores, it almost seems. It causes deafness and affects the sight. These ailments, gold deafness and gold blindness, are responsible for most of the annoyances of which the stricken rich so bitterly complain today. Instead of seeing or hearing, they are merely aware of a rumbling sound—the tread of their fellow men marching toward them, armed with bombs, bitterness, and taxes.
John Stuart Mill called the rich, “the unearned excrement.” Oh, what a day it would be to see that again, lifted up high, daily, in the media, but this is a world of valorizing the rich, listening to the liars and grifters — the thespians — and all the handlers, the hangers-on the rich-super rich employ to massage their messages.
Larry Glickman, a professor of history at Cornell University, says he has used this clip in one of his classes to illustrate the criticism of so-called robber barons of the late nineteenth century: “In the Gilded Age, ‘capitalist’ was really a term given by its enemies to people who had earned wealth in an unfair, immoral way, so a lot of small business men said something similar to what Hickenlooper said.” Glickman says the distrust of robber barons (or capitalists) comes back to the question of hard work. “There was this idea that you had labor producing things, and that accumulating wealth through honest production was a good thing,” he says, “but there was a new class of people called capitalists getting their wealth through unproductive, exploitative ways.” (Saturday Evening Post).
** So, Bloomberg the Billionaire with Billionaire Bloomberg News, has the answer for inequities, which in any other language is, well, wage theft, tax fraud, tax evasion, thievery of a general nature, war profiteering, penury, slave/sweatshop economy. The news just continues with these abhorrent items:
Amazon’s massive new distribution centers, soon to be surrounded by infrastructure built to serve workers, are being compared to Gilded Age company towns. While many are aghast at the idea, fellow billionaires are praising it.
The e-commerce empire founded by Jeff Bezos will offer the American working class a better option than scraping to get by in increasingly expensive cities, investment adviser Conor Sen wrote in a Friday oped for Bloomberg, the financial news outlet whose namesake is billionaire former New York mayor and failed presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg.
“Let’s call them ‘factory towns,’” Sen suggests, apparently in an effort to avoid the baggage that accompanies the concept of “company towns.” Popular in the late 19th century among the new breed of mega-corporations – railroads, steel mills, and the like – many of these dormitory communities held workers as veritable prisoners, paying them in scrip that was only redeemable at the company-run store and retaining groups of thuggish Pinkerton “detectives” to stamp out any attempts to unionize. (source)
Yet, Bezos is a joke with the power of deflection, the power of the rich to believe his own dirty secrets of domination. No number of jokes piled on by the millionaire comedian class or insightful (sic) commentaries by the millionaire presstitutes can buckle the Amazon formula. Here, the sweatshops of Amazon, providing slaves with, well, boxes of time out:
Law schools should have courses on the expanding immunities of government and corporate officials from criminal prosecution and punishment. Guest lecturers, speaking from their experience, could be Donald J. Trump, George W. Bush (criminal destruction of Iraq), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, the Sackler Family of opioid infamy, and the top officials at Boeing, led by its CEO Dennis Muilenburg, for the 346 homicides in their deadly 737 MAX aircraft.
They should all be charged in varying degrees with manslaughter. Note how the definition fits the facts on the ground:
Reckless homicide is a crime in which the perpetrators were aware that their act (or failure to act when there is a legal duty to act) creates significant risk of death or grievous bodily harm in the victim, but ignores the risk and continues to act (or fail to act), and a human death results.
Trump violated willfully and repeatedly so many laws, including obstruction of justice, that it would take a large well-staffed special prosecutor’s office to handle his offenses. (Biden’s Attorney General, Merrick Garland, has decided to immunize Trump by doing nothing). (See, Letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, June 17, 2021).
War criminal George W. Bush violated the Constitution by invading Iraq without a Congressional declaration of war, lying about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, killing over one million Iraqis, in addition to causing injuries, sicknesses, and devastation of critical public infrastructure. During this process of torture and mayhem, Bush violated federal statutes, international treaties, and returned to Texas immunized in fact, though not in law. He and former Vice President Dick Cheney could still be prosecuted.
New York lawyer and former homicide prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Robert C. Gottlieb, called for the prosecution of Trump over willful, disastrous actions and inactions concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, under the presidential duties to act, which led to many tens of thousands of preventable losses of life. Trump began dismissing the dangers of the fast multiplying virus as soon as it entered the U.S. from China.
Gottlieb gives examples of when the average citizen could not be able to escape criminal prosecution, citing the conviction of the owner (and two others) of a New York City residential and commercial building of homicide. Reckless drivers resulting in the deaths of innocents are often convicted of manslaughter and jailed.
Governor Ron DeSantis, confronting overwhelmed hospitals, and 25,000 new Covid-19 cases just in one day, still is brazenly advocating the maskless, crowd-together-if-you-choose-behavior of ‘live free and die.’ Somehow, he got through Harvard Law School uneducated to become a perilous promoter of opposing mask mandates in schools and hospitals, opposing required vaccinations for hospital workers (though he favors vaccinations generally), and is described politely by contagious disease specialists as being “in a state of denial.” Gritting his teeth, DeSantis, a fervent Trump supplicant, says again and again, “People are going to be free to choose to make their own decisions.” What? Free to infect others with a lethal disease? Does he not know of past public health campaigns against tuberculosis, smallpox, and the 1919 influenza epidemic?
Some Florida school districts, mandating masks to protect their children, have disregarded his ideological orders. Had DeSantis lost the last election, many more Floridians would be living today.
The same situation exists under Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The Dallas, Houston, and Austin school districts are defying his homicidal executive order prohibiting mandates for masks by complying with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) standards. The Dallas County officials sued Abbott, declaring that the governor’s ban violates Texas law.
The headline in Wednesday’s New York Times tells the story: “Texas Hospitals Are Already Overloaded. Doctors Are ‘Frightened by What is Coming.’” The more contagious Delta variant has spread everywhere, to which Abbott replied, “We must rely on personal responsibility, not government mandates.” Has he spoken to the deadlier Delta variant lately about his delusions?
When it comes to the crimes of large corporations and their bosses, immunity or impunity is what they expect. When, once in a while, they’re caught in the act, the company pays the dollar penalties and the company’s rulers and backers get off with no “personal responsibility.”
In one of the biggest corporate marketing/promotional crimes – over 500,000 opioid deaths so far and accelerating, the Sackler’s company, Purdue Pharma, escaped into bankruptcy while the Sacklers escaped any criminal prosecution. As a part of the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy the Sacklers negotiated for personal immunity from further civil suits, and the wrongdoers only had to fork over $4.5 billion, (spread out over years no less!) of their immense fortune. Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to three felony charges in 2020, but under the settlement with the Justice Department, the Sacklers agreed to pay $225 million but made no admissions of wrongdoing. I once recall a person stealing a donkey in Colorado going to jail for 15 years.
Then there are the criminal Boeing bosses who committed the manslaughter of 346 passengers and crew members in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Boeing’s stealth cockpit software, not provided to the pilots, the airlines, and deceptively conveyed to the FAA, took away control of the two ascending 737 MAX planes from the pilots and drove the aircraft into the sea and ground in 2018 and 2019.
The Trump Justice Department sweetheart-settled a criminal case against Boeing, with the prosecutor subsequently quitting and joining Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm for Boeing. There was no trial or jail for any Boeing bosses, just a modest $2.5 billion exaction, mostly going to the airlines and the government with the rest to the grieving families. The civil tort suits will come under Boeing’s insurance with the rest being mostly deductible against the few federal income taxes Boeing pays.
Next time you hear any prominent person announce that “Nobody is above the law,” you can ask: “Really, with all the corporate and government lawbreaking we read about, tell us just how many of these big-time crooks are in orange suits serving time?”
William Tell with a crossbow, is forced to hit the apple placed on top of his son’s head, according to the legend, on November 18, 1307. Colored woodcut, XVI century. Source: (Photo by Fototeca Gilardi/Getty Images)
The legend has it that Switzerland was celebrating her 730th Anniversary on 1 August 2021. That’s the legend about the creation of an independent, neutral and sovereign nation. It’s a legend that has taken hold in every Swiss citizen’s heart and mind. It’s a legend that has made Switzerland around the world what it still is in reputation and sometimes even in appearance: a neutral, ethical country in the heart of Europe.
When we look closer, this legend was largely born from the pen of a German author who had never set foot in Switzerland. When Friedrich Schiller wrote the play “Willhelm Tell” in 1804, the basis for the heroic, unique and neutral Switzerland, he had never visited Switzerland. However, the legend has become reality, even though it was born 513 years after the alleged event took place.
This little detail is unimportant. What counts is the background to the story, namely that the territory that gradually became Switzerland was originally inhabited by the Helvetians, or Helvetic Celts. As was much of Europe, they were largely dominated by the Habsburg Dynasty until the early 19th Century.
However, the Helvetians rebelled on or around the late 13th Century when, according to the Friedrich Schiller legend, called “Wilhelm Tell” – name of one of the legend’s principal liberating heroes – the Governors of the three original cantons, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, got together on a mountain called Rütli, facing the Lake of Lucerne.
With an oath, a promise to God, the three governors united their lands in an act to defend themselves sovereignly against any aggressor, meaning, in particular, the rulers of the Habsburg Empire. According to the legend this happened on 1 August 1291 – 730 years ago. Thus, was the Confederatio Hevetica (Swiss Confederation) born. This is what the Oath said, roughly translated:
We want to be a single People of brethren,
Never to part in danger nor distress.
We want to be free, as our fathers were,
And rather die than live in slavery.
We want to trust in the one highest God
And never be afraid of human power.
From that date forward the alliance of cantons against the Habsburg dynasty grew, though only in 1848, when a new Constitution was adopted, was the present federal republic formed. Today The Swiss Confederation, or the modern Switzerland, consists of 26 fairly autonomous cantons.
Having been oppressed for centuries as Helvetians, the new Switzerland pledged to become a neutral Confederation. This noble principle of neutrality was also enshrined in the Swiss Constitution. Thus, the Friedrich Schiller legend on which much of the origins of the 730 years of Swiss history is based, as well as the belief and pride for the heroic liberation from oppression, is still part of the Swiss characteristic.
By and large, the Friedrich Schiller “Wilhelm Tell” legend – and the noble belief of rebellion for freedom and of a sovereign but federal nation, benefitted many countries with ideas of their own constitutional and geopolitical structure.
Only few, though, have achieved a true federalism, where regions, provinces or districts remained largely autonomous in budget as well as decision- and law-making. Much of the staunch Swiss federalism may be outdated in modern times, as it seems ludicrous that a small nation of only 8.4 million people has 26 different education schemes, and 27 different tax systems, the 27th being the National Federal Tax. Education is in the process of being harmonized; taxes not yet. This is small fry, as compared to geopolitics, practiced then and what it has become today.
Although de facto Switzerland has always taken the side of the West, her constitutional neutrality has and still benefits Switzerland greatly. A truly neutral country would have been free from taking positions for or against Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela and the list could go on.
A truly neutral country would have been free from taking positions for or against the colonial powers of the past centuries. However, while never a colonial power, Switzerland has often participated, even with soldiers, in colonial wars in favor of European colonialists and has royally benefitted from colonialism.
Throughout their modern history the Swiss usually took the side of the colonizers rather than the colonized. It is true that Switzerland as a nation-state did not engage in imperialism, and conquered no colonial territories. Attempts to found great economic empires like the East India Company failed.
But it was part and parcel of colonialism to believe that the peoples in colonized lands were inferior to white Europeans. And in 19th-century Switzerland this was definitely part of the prevailing framework of assumptions about the world.
Generations of Swiss grew up with tales of “half-witted negroes”, travelers’ accounts of naïve, child-like savages, and advertising where the colonized were at best a decorative backdrop for colonial products. This thinking affects the country even today.
SwissInfo continues revealing Swiss soldiers fighting in the colonies:
The problem of Switzerland’s historical involvement in colonialism goes beyond controversies about derogatory names or statues. At times the Swiss were actually fighting as soldiers in the colonies.
In 1800, when black slaves in present-day Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, rose in revolt against their French colonial masters, Napoleon sent 600 Swiss troops to fight them. France was able to draw on these mercenaries thanks to an agreement with the Helvetic Republic. This was by no means an exception; even after the modern federal republic was founded in 1848, Swiss defied the law to fight for colonial powers as mercenaries. They could look forward to considerable earnings as long as they didn’t die of tropical diseases.
And on slavery:
However, the big money from the colonies did not go to the mercenaries, who mostly came from impoverished families and saw it as a great adventure to enlist in Dutch or French service. Instead, trade was the moneymaker, be it in goods or human beings from the colonies.
One of the worst kinds of Swiss involvement with colonialism was that of the slave trade. Swiss individuals and companies made money out of slavery as investors and traders, organizing slave-hunting expeditions, buying and selling people as slaves, and, as slave owners, running great plantations which they often proudly called “colonies”.
As a result, quite a few famous Swiss names have started to look bad in recent years. The family of Alfred Escher, a major figure in the development of modern Switzerland, came under a cloud when it became known that it had a plantation run with slave labor. In Sacramento, California, demonstrators pulled down a statue of General John Sutter. The Swiss native son, who hailed from the Basel area, at one time ranked as a hero of the Wild West until historians revealed that he had dealt in child slavery.”
Enough. That’s the past. But fast forward. Is the present so much different?
Take the covid plandemic the entire world – all 193 UN member countries, have been subjugated to this higher order of – let’s call it – a satanic cult. Its aims are multiple. The key and all overarching goal consists of a massive population reduction, a mass-genocide – eugenics at its worst. Another objective is digitization of everything including the human brain, transforming humans into “transhumans”.
Klaus Schwab, founder and CEO for life of the World Economic Forum – WEF, in a 2016 interview with Swiss-French Radio/TV – SRG, divulges the plan to make from surviving humans “transhumans” – see this 2-min. video interview.
Transhumans will react and obey to 5G/6G-powered electromagnetic-directed Artificial Intelligence (AI); and finally, the last but not least of the three key objectives is transferring the assets of which the lower- and middle-class owners and industries were destroyed by the covid plandemic – to an “upper-class”, insanely rich small elite. This is already happening – and, of course, hardly reported in the mainstream media. While poverty has increased exponentially in the Global South, the dozen richest individuals have added hundreds of billions to their fortunes.
The fact that Switzerland hosts not only annually the WEF Davos Forum, a club of corporate and banking billionaires that has gradually taken over the reins of the world, doesn’t bode well with the Swiss neutrality, the Swiss modesty and the Swiss heroic image of defender of sovereign human rights and justice — the substance of the legendary oath of the Ruetli in 1291. The WEF itself is registered as an NGO in a small, lush suburb of Geneva.
Today this NGO is more powerful than the United Nations. It dictates the rules of the game to the UN. Of course, in many subtle ways, for example, by carefully choosing the people who run the UN and its sub-organization like WHO and others – and by letting money flow and talk, where need be. Money is never an issue for the rulers of the universe. And if money fails, there are other, less subtle ways.
Switzerland remains proud host of the WEF despite worldwide protests against the WEF and the WEF’s machinations and plans for a One World Order (OWO). The WEF’s ideology is closer to the Swiss heart – if there is such a thing as a Swiss heart – than pledged Swiss neutrality, as anchored in the Constitution.
Aside from the WEF – which is a clear sign in which direction neutral Switzerland is leaning – Switzerland is also host to the corporate pharma-directed World Health Organization (WHO), as well as GAVI – the Bill Gates created Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, or short, the Vaccine Alliance. GAVI is physically housed just next door to WHO.
As we know, WHO is calling the controversial and most often contradictory shots on the measures to be imposed by governments with regard to the covid plandemic – and we also know who calls the shots on WHO.
We also know that the WHO recommended mRNA-experimental genetic therapy injections, not vaccines, are causing more deaths than covid does. Here is an insider assessment of WHO and its harmful measures imposed on the world. Dr. Astrid Stueckelberger speaks from the United Nations Plaza in Geneva:
Neutral Switzerland is aligned with pharma-corrupted WHO and GAVI, following the UN-agency’s deadly guidance and dictate. Why?
On yet another score that goes in the direction of global control and population reduction through long-term misery and famine – weaponized man-made weather – what we are experiencing for the last few months almost everywhere on Mother Earth’s “hot spots”, Switzerland appears to be a lead initiator of applied HAARP technologies, as this 5 min video and pertaining text of 4 March 2019 show. See this:
HAARP stands for High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program. It was initiated as an ionospheric research program jointly funded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a semi-secret Pentagon think tank.
The pretext and official reason, as usual, for weather manipulation is to stem against climate change and fight for greenhouse gas reduction. When the agenda is a different one, as we live through this northern summer, with never-seen-before floods and droughts, with Siberian heat in the plus 40-degrees C, torrential floods in Saudi Arabia, and around the Three Gorges Dam in China; and with the western US and Canada, all the way up to Alaska extremely hot and burning.
Why would neutral Switzerland be a key instigator of geo-engineered weather that destroys vital infrastructure, harvests – and lives?
As if this was not enough, Switzerland subsidizes her mainstream media by – listen to this! – the equivalent of about US$ 1.9 billion per year. That is about US$ 226 million per capita of the 8.4 million Swiss population.
This must be worldwide the highest media subsidy. It assures that the lies and fears the government wants to instill in the population stick, that the media do not transgress and deviate from their role.
Unfortunately, there is little left of legendary heroic, neutral, sovereign human rights defending Confederatio Helvetica of 730 years ago, of the Gruetli Oath – a noble Oath to God to respect life and to fight for equality and liberty.
The fourth of John Talbott’s criteria is the need for cultural sustainability: Satisfying our need as human beings to be creative and expressive; to learn, grow, teach and be; to have a diverse, interesting, stimulating and exciting social environment and range of experiences available.
― Christine Connelly, Sustainable Communities: Lessons from Aspiring Eco-Villages
And, we can take what Connelly states in her book to the level of — There is relatively little sharing of facilities, faculties, things, social capital, land, farming, cooperative everything, largely due to the dispersement of collective action capitalism has welded to the capitalist consumer, err, citizen. In one sense, many people in this Western society like the idea of big familial situations, and dispersing extra “things” and extra “time” in a cooperative sense, but the systems of oppression, the systems of dog-eat-dog, the systems of malformed educations and coocoo histories, all of that and the retail mentality AND the psychological fears (real, imagined, post-hypnotically suggested through a debt society) of losing home, health, humanity with the wrong throw of the mortgage and employment dice, we have now mostly a society that is not a sharing society, not a sharing economy, not a cadre of millions who believe in a genuine progress index as a marker of a democracy’s overall health.
But to allude to the title, specifically, I am looking at more and more systems of shutting out the ground-view of things versus the global view, or the international view. I am seeing more and more web sites forgetting the lynch-pin of humanity — the family, the community around a family, and the attempt to create tribes and communities of similar purposes and communities of place. Leftist websites spend countless miles of digital ink repeating what the take is on Imperial power, what the take is on the perversities of the American Chaotic diseases, what the world is in those white nations (sic) of more and more poverty, fencing out solutions and global bullshit tied to hobbling literally China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and any country where a social contract with the people and the land is emerging. Important, sure, but some of us are Marxists because we look at the ground as a way toward the larger truths.
Keeping it Local for Global Perspectives
The reality is that, like Thoreau, most do not have to travel far geographically or scholastically to understand systems from one example or a limited set of examples. If a community, or town or county can’t stop job-killing, physiology-killing, ecological-killing things/ideologies/processes coming into said community, such as, say, aerial sprays of mountains and valleys and hills that have been razed by industry, then, what sort of hope do people hold out in the larger view that your country will do the right thing with say, oh, Cuba. You know, stopping the plague of economic and financial and shipping sanctions/blockades. You can see in plain view the results of stealing countries’ bank accounts or stopping the shipping of valuable life saving “stuffs.”
So, how can that Lincoln County, OR, attempt to go to the State Supreme Court to lobby these shyster judges to do the right thing — stop the spraying of neurological and gut killing sprays to inhibit the unnatural grown and profusion of noxious weeds and opportunist shrubs and bushes on a part of mother earth that once was a dynamic forest with dynamic species, with shaded creeks, with ground food for subsoil, terrestrial and avian creatures.
I get why web sites that carry leftist news and reports go for the international gut wrenching or elitist view, but we need balance. We need proof of life and hope and action at the human level. We need writers like me to take one example of humanity doing humanity right, and giving it to the world.
That is the world here, for a moment — less than 72 hours on a plot of forest land I happen to own with my sister. Nothing fancy, just 20 acres of white pine and cedar and Douglas fir. Turkeys and bears, and the amazing skies. It is near Pahto, or Mount Adams. What should be wet soil is something like I’d find in Colorado near Durango. Snow for the season, more than one fifth the average snowfall. And there has been no rain since June 17.
We are talking Oregon, in the viewshed of Pahto and Wy’east (Adams and Hood). Things on those 20 acres and my neighbors’ adjoining 75 acres are not right. Fire, as one of the brothers told me, will be — unless climate models change 180 degrees — a bigger and bigger part of the land. The landscape. The people’s trial and tribulations. Throughout the west. Throughout the globe.
As we are in a 24-7 loop of being entertained (distracted) to death with sports, Trump Beatification Syndrome/Trump Derangement Syndrome, the politics of perversity, Corona Crisis Number 999, and all the junk that occupies the brains of Homo Retailopethicus.
I’ve been coming to this property for going on 30 years. Not regularly since I have lived and worked in such places as El Paso, Spokane, Seattle, Portland, Gladstone, Beaverton, Estacada, Vancouver, and down here on the coast. It is a three and three-quarters of an hour trip from our house on the Pacific (Central Coast) to the place eight miles north of a town called White Salmon.
I met the neighbor landowners, let’s call them Rita and Ron, before they had put down the concrete footings to their house. Now, some 30 years later, they have a garden, tapped into water, have a nice modern house, lots of out buildings, a Cat for grading, and other things to make life in the woods pretty nice. Ron’s got a degree from U of Washington in geography. He is from Seattle. His brother (we’ll call him JW) put in 30 years at Boeing, and he spends time up on some acres he owns next to my property. A motor home that is nothing fancy, a SUV and he has juice, water and a septic system. There is a lot to do, and not a lot to do. He has a condo in Scottsdale, and he has kids in Spokane and Florida. He is living the good life, and it isn’t a huge ecological footprint. He’s a dyed in the wool democrat.
There are robust and real discussions with these two guys and Ron’s wife Rita. She has been married three times, has childhood trauma, had major drug addictions and she is a big time worker, gets things done, and is in recovery. Her gigs include not just taking care of rich people’s linens, scrubbing and cooking. She’s done this sort of work so long that she gets requests from really sick spouses, or individuals. She is there as caretaker, first responder, nutritional coach, travel agent, companion on some of those trips, and navigator for finances, health care concerns, family issues, and more.
Heavy things taking care of people who once were robust, skiers, surfers, outdoors folk, who are now bed-ridden and stroke paralyzed. There are plenty of issues tied to family members of the people she cares for wanting their cut of the goods, and those who want to outright steal from their moms and dads, grannies and papas.
This is a job we call “caring for people” angels. While Rita doesn’t buy into any heaven/hell theme, she jokes about being both an angel of mercy and of death. Many have died on her watch due to advanced stages of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and the like.
I worked as a union organizer in Seattle, for part-time college faculty, but my union, SEIU, was and is all about health care workers. I spent time with women and men in Seattle and surrounding communities who were the licensed caregivers — the care home owners and the care home workers. Those workers are many times employed by the state to work the low paying, hard hours jobs of assisting people, old or young, who are incapable of thriving on their own without help with any number of things. Many of the people I represented in the union did the bathing and the feeding.
What I learned in those microcosms (again, the big picture stuff was always at the forefront in the union, with them beating the drum to support Obama-2 and Insley for WA governor) was again ramifying how mixed up Capitalism is under Democrats or the Demons of Republicanism. In Seattle, post-Occupy where I got to teach a few times in those famous street teach-ins, all of the Trayvon Martin protests, and those against Amazon, the fabric of that disjointed concept of those who have and those who do not have was in plain sight.
The levels of inequity were in plain sight in that backyard of mine. And, those people from African nations, those Latinx, working as personal care support, or CNAs, and those managing houses where the old, tired, sick would end up, now that was yet another lesson, and all the world is a stage was there as the underlying theme in that Diaspora of people from poverty-stricken post (sic) colonial lands, where war and murder by despots were daily concerns. These humble people were/are the caregivers, the end-of-life shepherds for “our” people — citizens.
In so many cases, the people who come from poor countries, they were the only people in the lives of these American citizens who were languishing in their sadness as their families had abandoned them in many instances. Some woman from Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, there she was, bathing, soothing, singing to and holding the lives of white people who were stuck in a room, slowly or rapidly dying.
Caregivers, and SEIU represented them as a unit. All the training these caregivers have to undergo, at the state and county levels. Black women and men, and those of Muslim faith, in the Seattle area, tending to the lives of the dying, or the developmentally disabled, that is the reality of capitalism as throwaway society. Capitalism of the impersonal, Capitalism of the scam after scam. Each layer of Capitalism is like a tree riddled with termites and beetles and all manner of disease eating it from the inside out.
That’s the real world stage — what a society does to assist the old, young, vulnerable, failing, too weak to move. What a society does to collectively build safety nets, to look at the “all the world as a stage” perspective from a macro lens, in order to widen the scope to the county, regional, national, global level. Rita taking care of super vulnerable people who do not worry about how they are paying for her private services. Aging in place — in these big homes overlooking the Columbia Gorge. Aging at home before all things go south.
In some cases, Rita is their only confidant, their only set of ears and eyes. Twice weekly visits are the only human touch they receive in their lives. Her job is that multiplicity of jobs in a patriarchal disaster capitalism society — nurse, PT provider, social worker, psychologist, taxi service, health navigator, nutritionist, legal consultant, errand person, cook, mover, travel consultant, companion, financial planner, and more. to end up as a symbolic friend and quasi-daughter or sister.
Rita and Ron live a good life out in the woods, with turkeys jumping into the trees, deer coming to the great garden they have, and the seasonal bear pushing over stumps to look for grubs. A riot of hummingbirds. Snakes and lizards. Butterflies we don’t see in suburban areas anymore. And those trees.
Ron works the land, tends to the canopies, looks for crowded trees, or dying ones, and has learned how to shepherd the land so the trees on the property thrive. Canopies where the crowns don’t touch. A better than park-like feel to the land. And now, with the changing precipitation, the nighttime temperatures last week in the nineties, all that desiccating climate heating, we have yet another “world is a stage” with the poor management of the land, the lack of state resources, the lack of collective will to mitigate fire suppression, and how to bring these forests into some manageable fire dampening state.
Yes, Ron is 68, still capable of logging and stacking trees, but his shoulder a few years ago was operated on, and a knee replaced this year. And, just a week ago, a reminder that the other knee will be chopped out with a titanium replacement to come.
Rita and Ron save money, use the Washington state Medicaid system, they are not consumers — Ron saves the old Ford sedan, cannibalize parts from old washers and dryers, and he knows how to tune up chainsaws, and how to build. His degree in geography and his deep regard for American history keep him sane. He likes golf, he plays dozens of types of cards, including Texas Hold’em, and he does Scrabble. He knows the native names of the two mountains in his geographic area.
This is the small fry of America, and a hidden gem. I know for a fact that old aging in place infirm people, or chronically unhoused folk, or people on the more untenable end of the Autism Spectrum, as well as people who do not fit in, who have intellectual disabilities, or those with complex or simple PTSD, would thrive here.
Again, setting up communities that are multi-generational, with residents possessing multiple avocations and occupations, people with varying skills, those who want community big time, and those who need community in their lives to do some checks and balances. Horse therapy, or dogs. Healthcare and PTSD recovery through gardening. Skills of building a tiny home from logs to end product. Designing microhomes that are in kits, packages that a couple could put together. Imagine that, housing people, and getting abandoned farms or degraded farms into the hands of intentional and healing communities.
So, that one 72 hours on the land, my land shared in title with my sister (it’s really never OUR land, now is it), the small things of just regular people spark, again, from this socialist, Marxist, communist, the deep well of experience and deep learning to a much higher ground, something worthy. But imagine, a thousand, or ten thousand farming centered healing communities, with Native American elders/wisdom, with that wounded veteran to farmer ethos, with all the markings of communitarian outposts of real healing and body-mind-spirit functioning. You know, all those yellow buses that are no longer road worthy. Think of them in the millions, taken to some of these places to be stripped, insulated, interior designed, made into HOMES, with amazing artistic touches, in a big circle, like a sunflower, with a community gathering place in the center, commercial kitchen and food processing center, healing center, and arts center. Imagine that, Bezos and Gates and all the other Financial Stormtroopers who have gutted communities from the bottom, up.
Alas, that’s what the small generates — the systems thinking approach to communities, which need food security, water security, direct health care, even living, aging and dying in place. This does work, will work, and should be scaled up to the thousandth degree. But in this scorched earth and scorched body capitalism, nothing can be moved unless there are a thousand lawyers, ten thousand contracts, and one hundred thousand overseers-code enforcers-middlemen/women in the mix, denigrating human agency, deconstructing the value of people and ideas, and destroying hope.
Bear, turkey, deer, on the deck sipping tequila, and the four of us talking about life, aging, the intricacies of lives so different yet here, on this plot of land, with a common humanity beyond just the intercourse of money and exchanges a la capitalism. The land, that is, the mountains and hills, all those animal trails, each tree a testament to these people, Rita and Ron, caring for the place for more than three decades.
Got a Few Million for this Real Solution?
So, the state of affairs is rotten, to the max, in every aspect of Capitalism. Sure, JC and Rita and Ron have a more middle of the row belief in this country’s exceptionalism. They are not versed in Howard Zinn, W.E.B. DuBois, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and so many others who have pried open this country’s evil roots, it’s so-called founding, and the wars, the expansionism, all of that. It’s much easier to look at the past with rose tinted glasses, and to believe that something was right, with Eisenhauer or Truman, FDR, any of them. That is the limitation of Americans, even good ones like Ron, Rita and JC. Truly, but they are in their own world, so to speak, a bubble, and yes, they get the world around them is harsh, that some (sic) of USA’s policies have kinked up the world. But to have those limits, to not see how the US has always been Murder Incorporated, or that this is Rogue Nation, a nation of chaos, a nation run by CIA-DoD and the secretive cabal of banks-industrialists-AI fuckers.
And, lo and behold, another friend, we’ll call her Betty, sent to me this other chunk of land, in Oregon, near wine country, 205 acres, up for sale, with amazing infrastructure, up for sale for 6.9 million dollars. The possibility of a developer coming into 205 acres, setting the torch for 5 acre dream (sic) homes for the rich, in a planned and gated community of millionaires, well, that is the rush she had to ask me if I had ideas.
Of course, I have ideas. Look at the list above. This place is called Laurelwood — Look at it here. Link.
Here, the low down via the realtor —
205 +/- acres zoned AF-5
Includes 49 Acre Campus with 6+ Buildings totaling approx. 130,000 SF:
Expansion Hall- Administration Building with Auditorium, Classrooms and Offices
Harmony Hall- Girl’s dorm with 67 rooms, 7 offices, lounge, chapel, commercial kitchen, dining room, bath suites, etc. and attached 3-bedroom Dean’s house
Devotion Hall- Boy’s dorm with 49 rooms (19 rooms need sheetrock finished and painted), apartment with kitchen, bath suites, rec room, lounges, etc. and attached 5-bedroom Dean’s house
Gymnasium/Music Building with Stage
Science Classroom Building with Library
Industrial Arts Building with Auto Shop, Wood Shop and Welding Shop
Extensive Updates during current ownership include:
Administration Building has newer metal roof, updated windows, new insulation, remodeled auditorium and meeting rooms, new HVAC, electrical service and lighting
New windows, high efficiency hot water system, new HVAC, new kitchen appliances and walk-in refrigerator, insulation, paint, lighting and carpeting in Harmony Hall (Girl’s dorm)
New windows, insulation in 49 rooms plus new sheetrock in 30 rooms of Devotion Hall (Boy’s dorm)
New and repaired roofs and new electrical services
Domestic water system and sewage system for campus
Includes separate 4.69 acres (Tax Lot 1301) with Spring and water rights– domestic water source for campus
Adjacent 151 +/- acres well suited for low density residential development with 30 LA water co-op certificates
Vineyard soils & Beautiful Views
South Fork Hill Creek flows through property
Rural location approximately 14 miles south of Hillsboro near Gaston
Ahh, the place is now a retreat, in retreat, as the Yoga enthusiasts are old or aging, and the place was closed due to the corona insanity/lockdown, and the people are giving up, and now it’s on the market: It is Ananda of Laurelwood. I present the basic website verbiage:
What Is Ananda?
Ananda is a global movement to help you realize the joy of your own highest Self.
Living Wisdom School
Temple & Teaching Center
Education for Life
There you have it — water, a spring, land, buildings, the potential of being not just this 205 intentional-healing-farming-tiny home building community, but a model for many others to spread across the land. I know I could get dozens of groups to come to this property for workshops, test kitchen work, growers, even wine producers, horse therapy folk, music healers, and even entomologists to create insect and pollinator fields. Students from the dozens of colleges around the Pacific Northwest, doing projects on aging, on healing, the dog and horse therapy works.
Take a look at this —
So, how do I, well trained, well educated, well versed, find the money? My proposal to Betty is to send a letter to, well, that famous ex-wife, McKenzie Bezos, now McKenzie Scott Tuttle. Billionaire who has pledged to give away half of her wealth, in the billions, tens of billions. Oh, there is Nick Hanauer, and other billionaires, so, imagine, just putting 6.9 million down, owning the property, shelling out for two or three years the monthly upkeep and insurance shit that this property would need while people like me and others build this community, pulling in all those actors, business women and men, the nonprofits, the outside the envelope people who could help design this place as a place of healing.
For me, it is a quick writing prompt, and what follows it that letter to McKenzie Scott Tuttle. First draft. You can never get this to Abigail Disney or Melinda Gates, others, including the Phil Nike Knights. That is Capitalism on steroids — lies, flimflam, propaganda, marketing us to death, layer after layer of buffering, check systems, until good ideas and a good piece of land go the way of the dodo — extinct. This project I could spark into action. I have no problem talking with McKenzie or her handlers with her there, of course. Anyone. There are 2,800 billionaires in the world. Hundreds of philanthropies. A few million angel investors. Collective action and stakeholder building. But the property needs to be held in a trust, a placeholder to allow for a group of people to design its future, to get entrepreneurs involved, to get this thing going so it can be self-sufficient. A model for thousands of other places around the USA and Canada, being scarfed up by the evil ones, the developers.
Below my letter to Scott-Tuttle, see Nick Hanauer. McKenzie Scott gets wealthier even giving away billions below that. Abigail Disney below that. Below her, the author of Dream Hoarders. Better yet, Michael Parenti on Capitalism below the hoarder talk. Below that, Michael’s son, Christian, speaking about Tropic of Chaos, his book climate chaos/heating fueling violence and war.
Here, my letter to McKenzie Scott Tuttle (Warren Buffett and Bill Gates started the Giving Pledge in 2010. It encourages those billionaires to pledge to give away 50% of their earnings to charity. By 2012, over 81 billionaires joined the Giving Pledge. That number is now over 120 billionaires, as of May 2014, according to the Giving Pledge’s official website.)
Reverence is an emotion that we can nurture in our very young children, respect is an attitude that we instill in our children as they become school-agers, and responsibility is an act that we inspire in our children as they grow through the middle years and become adolescents.
— Zoe Weil, p. 42, Above All Be Kind: Raising a Humane Child in Challenging Times
Oh, the naysayers tell me and my cohorts to not even try to break into the foundation you run, that this concept of having Mackenzie Scott Tuttle even interested in becoming a placeholder for an idea, and for this land that a group of visionaries see as an incubation collective space for dreams to become reality.
We place our hopes in your ability to read on and see the vision and plans driving this solicitation, this ask. And it is a big ask.
This is figuratively and literally putting the cart before the horse. Here we have 200 acres, and the vision is retrofitting this center that is already there, Ananda, into a truly holistic healing center, youth run, for a seven generations resiliency and look forward ethos of learning to steward the land, learning to grow the land, toward biodynamic farming, all mixed in with intergenerational wisdom growing.
We are seeing this, as stated above, as a medicine wheel. A circle of integrative thinking, education, experimentation and overlapping visions of bringing stakeholders from around the Pacific Northwest (and world) into this safe harbor. There are already facilities on this property as you can see from the real estate prospectus. There are 120 rooms in a great building. There are outbuildings, a gymnasium, barns, and spring water.
It is unfortunately up for sale, and the danger there is a developer with a keen eye to massive profits and turning a spiritual and secular place of great healing and medicine wheel potential into “dream homes” for the rich.
Good land turned into a gated community? We are asking your philanthropy to take a deep dive into helping put this property on hold from those nefarious intentions and allow our group to develop this circle of healing – education across disciplines, elder type academy mixed with youth directed programs; farming; food production; micro-home building and construction facility; trauma informed healing.
Actually, more. Think of this as a community of communities.
Young People Need Hope, a Place (many places) and Leadership and Development
So many young people are done with Industrial and Techno Capitalism. They know deep down there is more to a scoop of soil than a billion bacteria, and they want to be part of healing communities.
We are proposing the Foundation you have set up invest in this property, as a placeholder for our development plan – actually it is an anti-developer plan. This property will be scarfed up for a steal, by, land and housing developers who want McMansions out here in this incredible eco-scape. Just what we do not need in the outlying areas of Portland. Or in so many other locations across this country.
We are a small group ready to do what we can to get food growers and producers at the table to invest in intellectual and sweat and tears capital to make this 200 acres work as a living community of new farmers, people living and learning on the property, incubating ideas for, we hope, to include a micro-home building project, crops, vineyards, learning centers for farming and preserving, marketing and engaging in food healing.
We come at this with decades around food systems, learning from Via Campesina/o or Marion Nestle, Alice Waters, Winona LaDuke, Rachel Carson. We believe in biomimicry, that is, learning how nature settles scores, survives and thrives. We come at this as deeply concerned about ecological footprints, life cycle analyses, the disposable culture and the planned and marketed obsolescence.
We are also coming at this as educators – earth teachers, who know classrooms in prison like settings, with rows of desks, do not engender creative and solutionaries– young people ready to go into the world, even a small community, with engaged, creative and positive ways to deal with climate chaos and the impending shattering of safety nets, including biological and earth systems “nets” and “webs.”
This property is unique, as all of our earth is. This is firstly Kalapua land, first, and that is the Grande Ronde and Siletz, as well as the Atfalsti, too. We call it Gatson, near Hillsboro, Oregon, but the land is the essence of the spirit givers of this continent before “discovery.”
Rich, in the wine country of the new people to this region, this land is about applying our ethos and yours, Ms. Scott-Tuttle, toward a real healing, a real stewardship and real intergeneration ethos around carrying the wisdom of tribes and growers and educators to the youth. We believe women are at the center of many of the themes already listed – farming, educating, healing, human stewardship.
Think of this project as the cart before the horse because the old system, the horse, was always the money, the source of power, and with power comes strings attached. The people involved in this project are looking to have a multistoried community of farmers, learners, youth learning trades and people skills, as well as elders, both Native and new arrivals, to understand that a farm is more than that, as well as a vineyard is more than the sum of the grapes. It is about a reclaiming of the sacred – soil, air, photosynthesis in a truly sustainable fashion.
The only “green washing” we can imagine this project will carry forth is the washing of the greens, the other harvests, in tubs of clear spring water.
Some of us on this project have traveled to other parts of this continent, and spent time with coffee growers and understand that shade grown coffee and beyond fair trade are the only elements to a truly fair and equitable system. Train the people of the land, who are the true stewards, to not only grow, but to roast and market the bounty. Grow the community with water projects, irrigation, schools, and globalized sharing of people, visitors.
This project needs a placeholder, to keep the land out of the insane real estate market. We will do the rest, we solutionaires. There are so many growers and investment angels who want to be part of the Seventh Generation solution.
Clearly, the lessons for people to be in this 200 acre community, farm-soil-healing satellite, are lessons you, Ms. Scott-Tuttle, the fiction writer, know, which you capture deftly with Luther Albright. The world for young people in the Pacific Northwest is that crumbling home and crumbling dam of Albright. The healing we need is more than the structures and infrastructure. It is inside, at the heart of the soul of imagination. Some of us on this project are soliciting from your charity a placeholder purchase of the property are tied to the arts, believing STEAM is the only way forward, and that S.T.E.M. is lifeless and dangerous without the A – arts. We believe the true voice of people are those who believe in asking “what should we do” rather than what is currently on superchargers – “What Can We Do?”
We realize that for many young people, politics have failed them. Many youth I speak with and work with, believe this country is in the midst of an empire of chaos in steep decay. Alternatives to the decay is building communities that would fit the model here on 200 acres – agro-ecological farming; nutritional centered living; housing; long-term care assistance; youth directed entrepreneur projects; bringing in local and state businesses leaders to be part of a design from the grassroots up.
The catch for most of the youth we have engaged is — to paraphrase and level a composite point,” We are ruled by an elite class of individuals who are completely out of touch with the travails of the average American.” This simple statement is packed full of context and frightening reality for millions of students and adults who feel disconnected and neutered by both government agencies and corporate policies.
First, who wants to be “ruled” by anyone? That we have this class system of elite, middle managers, the elite’s high ranking servicers, and then, the rest of the citizens, the so-called 80 percent who have captured less than the overall 10 percent of “wealth” in this country. The very idea of an elite out of touch, or completely out of touch speaks to an ignorance that is dangerous to the world, to the 80 percent, and also speaks to a possible planned ignorance. That we have millions of amazing people, to include nonprofits, community-led organizations, educational institutions, journalists, and others, who can speak to what those “travails” are, and yet, the elites failing to grasp those challenges, or failing to even acknowledge them, this is what many believe is the decay of this society.
This may not sit well with you or your philanthropy, but we as a group have dozens of years experience working with K12, higher ed, farming groups, social services/mutual aid movements, and have systems thinking in our backgrounds, and we underscore youth and community-driven projects and designs. This medicine wheel/circle land trust we are asking you to consider with a follow up meeting, well, this is the only way to a model-driven set of safety nets to move into some challenging times for this Empire in a world that is no longer USA centric.
We are solutionaries, that is, we look for solutions by taking apart problems and then applying holism and deep experimentation in design, but using tried and proven systems that do work.
Healthy food, healthy relationships to culture, people, nature, healthy work, worthy work, with an eye always on the arts. Just as a farming and tiny home community, where biodynamic farming and food preserving and from nail to roof to complete tiny home design are part and parcel the key elements for this community to thrive under, well, there are no better classrooms and transferable skills.
Some of us have seen youth and adults learn the crafts needed to design, plan, buildings, and market tiny homes that would be used to seed communities that are, again, centered around farming, centered around healing, centered around Native American healing, and local community values. A young woman who finishes the hands-on learning of building a tiny home – with windows, skylights, plumbing, furnishings, electricity ready, all of that which a home entails – is a remarkable, valuable person. All those skills, again, like a medicine wheel, teach deeper lessons, and transferable skills.
This is what this property would also “house.”
All Tied Together – School, Outdoors, People, Action, Solving Food Insecurity and Housing
The should is an educational-farming-entrepreneur-solutions incubator on these 200 acres. Proving that this could be one of a thousand across the land. There are literally thousands of similar properties around the US, within their own cultural-community-ecological-historical milieus, but again, this project is one that Luther Albright would have thrived inside as a “New Engineer for Growing Communities,” as opposed to river-killing dam builder.
Our earthquake is here now, with all measure of tremors and aftershocks — that is the climate chaos, wildfires, food insecurity, and alas, the New/New Gilded age of deep inequities that are criminal, as you well know, Ms. Scott Tuttle.
Here, the cart (before the horse): this amazing collective piece of land and buildings with a multiversity of spiritual under girders . The horses are ready, but they need the cart, the home, the fabric of incubation. Those stallions and mares are engaged, ready, who are willing to take a leap of faith here and risk being outside the common paradigm of predatory and consumer-driven capitalism that has put many millions in a highly precarious position.
It’s amazing, the current system of philanthropy which forces more and more people to beg for less and less diverse money for fewer and fewer truly innovative ideas. Funding a project like this is a legacy ad-venture, the exact formula we need (scaled up to a 1,000 different locales) to break the chains of Disaster and Predatory Capitalism. We need that “capital,” the cart, to help those stallions and mares to break for the field of ideas and fresh streams of praxis.
There are any number of ideas for sustainability communities. Co-ops, growers groups, or mixed communities for young and old to exchange knowledge, capacity, growth, sweat equity — called intergenerational living. This is about a pretty inventive suite of concepts and practices:
learning spaces, inside and outside
buildings to develop micro home (unique, easily packaged and ready to put together) manufacturing and R & D
food systems – farming of sustainable food, herbs and those vines
learning food systems, from farm to plate
ceramics, painting, music, dance, theater and writing center
farmers, restaurateurs and harvesters with a stake in the community
Youth directed outdoor education and experiences
sustainability practicum’s for students
low income micro home housing
day care center, early learning center
How does this make any sense to a billionaire, who has devoted her life to “giving away” half of her wealth in her lifetime? Well, we see this project – this land-property – as a legacy for many of the avocations and interests (passions) you have articulated over the years. Your vision and commitment to education and women-centered projects are admirable. This is one of those projects.
There is that emotional and sappy Movie, Field of Dreams, and the statement – “if you build it, they will come.” We have found that over the years teaching in many places – Seattle, Spokane, Portland, El Paso, Auburn, Mexico – that young people and nontraditional students want mentoring, leadership and the tools to be mentors and leaders. They need the cart before the horse can herald in the new ideas, and the new way to a better future. If the classroom and master facilitator allows for open growth, unique student-led ideas and work, well, that person has BUILT the field of dreams from which to grow.
There are so many potentials with this project, and it starts with the land, holding it as a Scott-Tuttle placeholder. From an investment point of view, as long as you have people wrangling other people and professionals to get this satellite of sanity, the medicine wheel with many spokes radiating out and inward, the property increases in monetary value. Land is sacred, but just as sacred are the ideas and the potential that land might germinate and grow. It is the reality of our country – too few control too much. We see it in the infamous “Complex” – not just military, but, Big Pharma, Big Ag, Big Media, Big Business, Big Education, Big Medicine, as well as private prisons, for profit social services, AI , and Big Tech, so called Surveillance Capitalism. Who in the 80 percent has the funds to purchase a $7 million project?
Big ideas like this cooperative land medicine wheel (a first of many satellites) might be common, but the web of supportive and cohesive things tied to this property is unusual, to say the least. With the failing of small businesses throughout the area, with the food insecurity for women, children and families, with the housing insecurity, added to debt insecurity — with all those insecurities young and old face, this project could be the light at the end of many tunnels. We have connections to Oregon Tilth and Latinx Farmers, and large biodynamic vineyards. We have connections to women’s veteran groups, to aging in place experts. We have connections to trauma healers and growers and interested folk who know construction and design. Additionally, the Pacific Northwest, from Puget Sound to Gold Beach, OR, is full of innovators, and those include the dozens of colleges and universities just in these two states – Oregon and Washington. We intend to trawl for investors – farms, food purveyors, wineries, restaurants, schools and various college programmers – to put into this project. A soil plot to test perennial wheat, a al the Land Institute, to Amory Lovins, Novella Carpenter, and so many more, finding a place of integrated living, ag, permaculture and ever-evolving cultural understanding of the finite planet we are on.
We are hopeful, even under the current Sixth Extinction.
It is telling, this entomologist and educator’s perspective after three decades of teaching:
Diana Six, an entomologist for 30 years who teaches at the University of Montana, took her students to Glacier National Park on a field trip and reported the following:
Life doesn’t just deal with this. When I went up Glacier with my students a few weeks ago, the flowers were curling up. At some of the lower elevations, glacier lilies were shriveled, lupins didn’t even open. The flowers should extend for another three weeks and they’re already gone. Any insects or birds that depend upon them, like bees or hummingbirds, are in trouble, their food is gone. Bird populations have just baked… People seem to think of extinctions as some silent, painless statistic. It’s not. You look at birds that can no longer find fish because they’ve moved too far off shore. They’re emaciated; they’re starving to death. We are at the point that there’s nothing untouched.
How contradictory and illustrative that this student experience took place in a “protected national park.”
Referencing how climate change impacts life, Diana said:
Somewhere along the way, I had gone from being an ecologist to a coroner. I am no longer documenting life. I’m describing loss, decline, death.
We are hopeful that our youth can document life on this Medicine Wheel Land Satellite, and instead of describing “loss, decline, death,” this one satellite can help individuals to describe resurgence, restoration, holism, and growth. A model, like the one we propose, could be the incubator and inspiration for other similar projects throughout the land. So many empty buildings, so many abandoned farms, so much good land about to be grabbed up by McMansion developers, or those who have no vision toward a resilient and communitarian existence.
We are thinking of a medicine wheel since so many people can utilize the Farm, from horse therapists, to gardening as trauma healers; from alternative medicine experts, to restaurants with a connection to growers. This is Tierra Firma Robusta, for sure, with so much potential to integrate a suite of smart, worldly, localized and educational programs, permanent, long-term, and short in duration. This would be the linchpin of inspiration, an incubator for similar projects, and we’d make sure that the Philanthropy you head up would be in some form of limelight – imagine, a billionaire placing a property with a deep spiritual history into a land trust of perpetuity. I know another billionaire has purchased farmland and is now the largest farm land holder in the US, but this one here we propose would fit an entirely different model, having nothing to do with industrial farming, genetic engineering and monocultures. Like all good societies, the cornucopia of life and backgrounds and people and land is what makes them dynamic, healthy and resilient, as well as fair.
We propose a grand idea, but we need that field of dreams, that field, that farm, before we can engage a hundred people to be part of this medicine wheel of land healing and hope.
Please let our team discuss this further. Truly, we have both the passion and persistence to get this Medicine Wheel of Healing Farm Community to an unimaginably vibrant level. Will you be part of our field of dreams?
Women who migrated to the Wangjia community participate in local activities at the community centre in Tongren City, Guizhou Province, April 2021.
Confounding news comes from the flagship World Economic Outlookreport of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The report highlights many of the pressing issues facing our planet: disruptions in the global supply chain, rising shipping costs, shortages of intermediate goods, rising commodity prices, and inflationary pressures in many economies. Global growth rates are expected to touch 6% in 2021 and 4.9% in 2022, driven by higher global government debt. According to the report, this debt ‘reached an unprecedented level of close to 100% of the global GDP in 2020 and is projected to remain around that level in 2021 and 2022’. Developing countries’ external debt will remain high, with little expectation of relief.
Each year, IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath highlights the main themes of the report in her blog. This year, her blog has a clear headline: ‘Drawing Further Apart: Widening Gaps in the Global Recovery’. The rift runs along North-South lines, with the poorer nations unable to find an easy path out of the pandemic-induced global slowdown. A range of reasons cause this rift, such as the penalty of relying upon labour-intensive production, the overall poverty of the populations, and the long-standing problems of debt. But Gopinath focuses on one aspect: vaccine apartheid. ‘Close to 40 percent of the population in advanced economies has been fully vaccinated, compared with 11 percent in emerging market economies, and a tiny fraction in low-income developing countries’, she writes. The lack of vaccines, she argues, is the principal cause of the ‘widening gaps in the global recovery’.
Peasant workers till the land in an organic bamboo fungus company, which was established to help lift Longmenao, a village that is officially registered as poor, out of poverty in Wanshan District, Guizhou Province, April 2021.
These widening gaps have an immediate social impact. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation’s 2021 report, The State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World, notes that ‘nearly one in three people in the world (2.37 billion) did not have access to adequate food in 2020 – an increase of almost 320 million people in just one year’. Hunger is intolerable. Food riots are now in evidence, most dramatically in South Africa. ‘They are just killing us with hunger here’, said one Durban resident who was motivated to join the unrest. These protests, as well as the new data released by the IMF and UN, have put hunger back on the global agenda.
In late July, the United Nations’ Economic and Social Council held a high-level political forum on sustainable development. The forum’s ministerial declaration recognised that ‘the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare and exacerbated our world’s vulnerabilities and inequalities within and among countries, accentuated systemic weaknesses, challenges, and risks and threatens to halt or damage progress made in realising the Sustainable Development Goals’. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the UN member states in 2015. These goals include poverty alleviation, an end to hunger, good health, and gender equality. Before the pandemic, it was already clear that the world would not meet these goals by 2030 as projected, certainly not even the most basic goal of eradicating hunger.
During this bleak period, in late February 2021, China’s president Xi Jinping announced that – counter to this general global downturn – China had eradicated extreme poverty. What does this announcement mean? As our team at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research reported last month, it means that 850 million people had climbed out of absolute poverty (the culmination of a seven-decade-long process that began with the Chinese Revolution of 1949), that their per capita income had increased to US$10,000 (a ten-fold increase in the last twenty years), and that life expectancy had increased to 77.3 years on average (compared to 35 years in 1949). Having met the poverty reduction SDGs ten years in advance, China contributed to more than 70% of the world’s total poverty reduction. In March 2021, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres celebrated this achievement as a ‘reason for hope and inspiration to the entire community of nations’.
First Secretary Liu Yuanxue speaks with a local villager during routine home visits in the village of Danyang, Wanshan District, Guizhou Province, April 2021.
Our July study, Serve the People: The Eradication of Extreme Poverty in China, inaugurated a new series called Studies on Socialist Construction, through which we aim to study experiments in the construction of socialist practices from Cuba to Kerala, Bolivia to China. Serve the People is based on ground-level studies of poverty eradication schemes in different parts of China and on interviews with experts who participated in this long-term project. For instance, Wang Sangui, dean of the National Poverty Alleviation Research Institute of Renmin University, told us how the concept of multidimensional poverty is central to the Chinese approach. The concept became a policy through the Communist Party of China’s programme of ‘three guarantees’ (safe housing, healthcare, and education) and ‘two assurances’ (being fed and being clothed). But even here, the essence of this policy is in the details. As Wang put it in terms of drinking water:
How do you classify drinking water as safe? First, the basic requirement is that there must be no shortages in the water supply. Second, the source of water must not be too far, no more than twenty minutes round-trip for water retrieval. Last, the water quality must be safe, without any harmful substances. We require test reports that confirm the water quality is safe. Only then can we say that the standard is met.
Once a policy is crafted, the real work of implementation begins. The Communist Party (CPC) sent out 800,000 cadre to help local authorities survey households to understand the depth of poverty in the countryside. Then, the CPC delegated 3 million cadre out of the Party’s 95.1 million members to be part of 255,000 teams that spent years living in poor villages working towards the eradication of poverty and the social conditions it created. One team was assigned to a village, one cadre to each family.
The studies of poverty and the experience of the cadre resulted in five core methods for eradicating poverty: developing industry; relocating people; incentivising ecological compensation; guaranteeing free, quality, and compulsory education; and providing social assistance. The most powerful lever of these five methods was industrial development, which created capital-intensive agricultural production (including crop processing and animal breeding); restored farmlands; and grew forests as part of the ecological compensation schemes, reviving areas that had become prey to resource over-exploitation. In addition, an emphasis was placed on educating minority populations and women. As a result, by 2020, China ranked first in the world in the enrolment of women in tertiary education, according to the World Economic Forum.
Less than 10% of the people who lifted themselves out of poverty did so because of relocation, which was often the most dramatic instance of the programme. One relocated resident, Mou’se, told us about Atule’er, a village on the edge of a mountain, where he lived before relocating. ‘It took me half a day to climb down the cliff to buy a packet of salt’, he recalled. He would go down the cliff on a rattan ‘sky ladder’, which dangled perilously from the edge of the cliff. His relocation – along with the eighty-three other families who lived there – has allowed him to access better facilities and live a less precarious life.
The eradication of extreme poverty is significant, but it does not solve all problems. Social inequality in China remains a serious problem. These are not China’s problems alone but pressing problems facing humanity in our time. As we move to capital-intensive agriculture that requires fewer farmers, what kinds of habitations will we produce that are neither in rural nor urban areas? What kinds of employment can be generated for people who are no longer needed in the fields? Can we begin to think about a shorter work week, allowing more time to be civic and social?
A local food vendor and user of the Yishizhifu short video platform showcases her cooking in the village of Danyang, Wanshan District, Guizhou Province, April 2021.
Eradicating poverty is not a Chinese project. It is humanity’s goal. That is why movements and governments committed to this goal look carefully at the achievement of the Chinese people. Many of the projects in motion, however, take a dramatically different approach, seeking to address poverty by transferring income (as several South African research institutes advocate). But cash transfer schemes are not enough. Multidimensional poverty requires more than this. For example, Brazil’s Bolsa Familia programme, implemented by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, made an enormous dent in hunger in that country, but it was not designed to eradicate poverty.
Meanwhile, in the Indian state of Kerala, absolute poverty fell from 59.79% of the population in 1973-74 to 7.05% in 2011-2012 under the governance of the Left Democratic Front. The mechanisms that led to this dramatic decline were agrarian reform, establishing public health and education, creating a public distribution system for food, decentralising political authority to local self-governments, providing social security and welfare, and promoting public action (such as through the Kudumbashree cooperative projects). Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said recently that his government is committed to eradicating extreme poverty in the state. The next study in our series on socialist construction will concentrate on Kerala’s cooperative movement, focusing on its role in the eradication of poverty, hunger, and patriarchy.
From the countryside to Tongren City, Guizhou Province, April 2021.
In March, the UN Environment Programme released its Food Waste Index Report, which showed that an estimated 931 million tonnes of food went into waste bins across the world. The weight of this food roughly equals that of 23 million fully loaded 40-tonne trucks. If we let these trucks stand bumper-to-bumper at the earth’s circumference, they would make a ring long enough to circle the earth seven times, or to go deep into space, where billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson decided to go. The $5.5 billion Bezos spent on a four-minute trip into space could have fed 37.5 million people or fully funded the COVAX programme that would vaccinate two billion people.
The ambitions of Bezos and Branson are not life. Life is the abolition of the harshness of necessity.
Once upon a time a new class of people emerged. They were scholars and elitists, ‘special people,’ well ensconced in academia, politics, economics and military intelligence. They righteously demanded eradication of current norms and established ways of being. They insisted that prevailing antiquated inferior practices be replaced with new better ways of living. This required a purging of the old system by any means necessary. Accordingly, those who dissented were either re-indoctrinated, thrown in jail, exiled to other lands or done away with.
These notable visionaries pontificated a whole new outlook on life. Society will prosper! The masses will flourish! There will be no class! We are one!
Eventually, with reluctance or zeal everyone got on board with all the life affirming rhetoric. Well, except for those few unsavory stragglers who were always throwing in a wrench by daring to question the ruling thought system. To adequately manage these problematic skeptics a committee of the purest of the pure, the moral gatekeepers if you will, devised a game plan.
Appealing to the collective quest for power and belonging, the committee ventured forth with teasing out who was aligned and who deviated from partisan loyalty. Some good old fashioned spying would do the trick! Most important, they had to concoct a strategy to nullify those pesky beliefs that sullied right thinking.
To diminish ideological impurities the committee established an auxiliary sub-committee. In charge of assembling and broadcasting interesting and distracting stuff that would encourage agreement amongst the multitudes, the sub-committee culled and re-culled all sorts of stories! With unified intent they agreed that by playing to the collective instinctual need for tribal belonging and highlighting the ethos of upward mobility while simultaneously igniting fear, all-encompassing compliance would be ensured.
Harking back to unconscious reminders of the ‘primal horde’ and raising hopes and fears, proved to be a revolutionary form of thought control. The committee and sub-committee were very pleased. The campaign was so persuasive that without a hitch, it incited the common folk to evince an onslaught of aggression towards those who persisted in thinking for themselves. In fact, it was recognized as their moral and civic duty!
Indeed, this ‘us versus them’ strategy worked beautifully, but there was still more to be done to guarantee complacency. To offset the irritating concerns with the recent unavoidable interruption of economic activity, needs had to be gratified. Hence, with the sanction of Executive Order everyone in the land received monetary incentives. These social safety nets allowed folks to stay home, insulated from the dangers in the world while being entertained in the comfort of their living rooms!
Naturally just in case, a contingency plan was devised.
“Should all else fail,” the committee members concurred, “we will simply raise taxes or go to war to pillage the resources of some unsuspecting nation… for the purpose of humanitarian intervention of course!”
Hence, with the populace sufficiently dutiful and distracted, the rulers in charge got to the important work of brainstorming and changing the world.
Of course, this Kafkaesque allegory is a simplified account of historical trends. It is a repetitive reality that all forms of government irrespective of ideology, are ultimately reducible to the rule of a few global elitists. Likewise, the mass dissemination of a collectively revered ideology accompanied by the manipulation of information has always been standard procedure whenever power has been transferred from one elite class to another.
For instance, when we examine the French revolution, and the Bolshevik’s Russian revolution it’s clear how goals of reform formulated by select elites, drove the movements. These elitist intellectuals introduced a new doctrine that appealed to the people and catalyzed rebellion against the monarchy and the aristocracy.
Revisiting the onset of the French Revolution (1789), reveals the emergence of a new class which had great wealth but no political power. This new class wanted wealth and power, but the monarch class (royalty) refused to share power because of the historic notion that it was their inherent Divine right to rule. This dilemma ignited mutiny.
The monarchy was brought down and a new ruling class known as the Bourgeoisie (middle class) was established. We see a similar trajectory (1917) during the first World War when the Russian Monarch was also brought down by the elite class known as the Bolsheviks.
In both revolutions the violent seizure of power required the support, or at the very least the compliance of the citizenry. Naturally this meant that the throngs were seduced with proclamations of unbridled freedoms. Eventually however, public opinion was policed and injurious speech became a criminal offense subject to execution. Traitors were to be exposed and annihilated.
Accordingly, the Reign of Terror, under the leadership of Maximilien Robespierre, achieved their political goals through executing enemies of the revolution. Euphemistically referred to as the Committee of Public Safety, this powerful war council leveled extreme measures to protect the security of the new regime.
Similarly, the Bolshevik’s Red Terror emulated the Reign of Terror. The removal of state enemies entailed the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of suspected subversives, many who were tortured and executed. Any hint of opposition signified guilt.
Like their predecessors, contemporary elites who possess comparatively greater power and influence within institutions, organizations, and movements engineer decisive political outcomes. In this age of advanced technology, these architects of group indoctrination are members of a powerful superclass. They determine foreign policy, run the government, industry, and the worlds of finance and media. How they mobilize their influence has tremendous bearing not just on the collective mindset, but also on morality.
Charismatic leaders and celebrities are enlisted by these global elitists to promote prescriptive beliefs and agendas. Our susceptibility to aggrandizing and mythologizing of high-ranking people and eminent personalities, who by the way are no more capable than the average person of assuming a political role or declaring scientific expertise, sways us to adapt and conform.
Social psychologist Gustave Le Bon (1895 / The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind) explained how the collective group mind yields to instincts, resulting in a singular mindset. This phenomenon eradicates individual critical thought and makes ‘subordinate’ members of the group malleable to indoctrination and suggestion by powerful leaders.
Sigmund Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays, who achieved acclaim as the “father of public relations” due to his masterful understanding of the psychological workings of propaganda, expanded on Le Bon’s ideas. His writings about how collective collusion with a dominant ideology encapsulated the principle, “if you are not for us, then you must be against us.”
Le Bon and Bernays analysis of the mob mentality is evidenced in the aggressive posturing of political correctness and cancel culture. Through the daily utilization of identification with race, class, gender, religion, nationality and political ideology, special interest groups and the elite corporate media shape the group mind. Carefully crafted campaigns uphold imperialist values, state sponsored violence and incontestable lockdowns.
By championing shaming and cruelty, under the guise of moral superiority, folks submit to the will of the group. This incites boycotts, marred reputations, social ostracism and destroyed livelihoods. In the spirit of moral relativism, it’s all chalked up to ‘the greater good’.
Consequently, we are distracted by what we are instructed to align with, oblivious to the machinations of corporate interests and motives disguised as humanitarian intervention.
Attempts to think for oneself in accordance with a personal moral code, or even factual information is met with an onslaught of aggression.
Still, there will always be those few non-conformists who oppose the ruling thought system. They are the subversives, the whistle-blowers, the conspiracy theorists. (Julian Assange, Martin Luther King, Karen Silkwood, Frank Serpico, Kathryn Bolkovac, Edward Snowden, Gary Webb, Berta Cáceres. The list goes on.) As freedom of expression is restricted to the overriding popular opinion, their controversial views are squelched and the Orwellian corruption of language and thought ensues.
As Edward Snowden endeavored to reveal, the National Security Agency (NSA) in direct violation of the 4th amendment, engages in warrantless surveillance of large volumes of Americans’ phone content and e-mail messages. Agents within the National Security Agency (NSA), have anonymously told the New York Times that the spy agency monitors millions of e-mail communications and telephone calls made by Americans.
This infringement on private communication continues to take on new meaning as government officials are working directly with Facebook to limit the spread of “misinformation.” The escalation of censorship under another name (i.e., managing domestic terrorism and disinformation) appears virtuous. Even while the Biden administration recently moved to shut down the websites of 33 foreign media outlets, it was spun as security protection, not an obvious attack on the 1st amendment.
Nevertheless, being spoon fed questionable narratives through mass deception campaigns dubbed as journalism is nothing new. Instituted in the early 1950s, the Mockingbird Project revealed the CIA’s involvement with major US news media. Through bribing journalists and publishers, propaganda was peddled to the masses. Acclaimed Watergate Reporter Carl Bernstein wrote a piece in 1977 for Rolling Stone magazine, “The CIA and the Media” in which he imparted, that since the early 1950’s the CIA “secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers, both English and foreign language which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives.”
Now with six corporations controlling 90 per cent of media outlets in the U.S. (AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, News Corp and Viacom) it’s not a huge surprise that the press has acclimated to the expectations of these corporatized media giants.
In fact, a survey by the Pew Research Center and the Columbia Journalism Review in 2000 found, “Self-censorship is commonplace in the news media today…. About one-quarter of the local and national journalists say they have purposely avoided newsworthy stories, while nearly as many acknowledge they have softened the tone of stories to benefit the interests of their news organizations. Fully four in ten (41%) admit they have engaged in either or both of these practices.”
Capitalizing on survival fears the government sponsored corporatized media bans, persecutes and censors those who deviate from popular opinion. Oppositional views are vilified, in effect muzzling those who question popular narratives. Regrettably many take the bait and participate in random emotionally charged exchanges that culminate in a mob mentality and a snitch culture. Aggressive social norms quickly take hold as hateful communication infiltrates a throng of followers. Competitive rancor and righteous indignation usurps the possibility of rational discourse when group shaming is exalted as a noble feat.
Ironically the proverbial silver lining is that eventually it all self destructs. Elitists and the masses end up fighting amongst themselves, maligning each other for not measuring up to fanatical purity tests.
As Plato conveyed in The Republic, mediocrity is our hubris and our demise. It is what brings down all systems.
Plato also imparted that those who know how to govern, ‘The Philosopher Kings’, are the wise, just elders who through debating and resolving with dialogue and intellect, contribute to mankind’s evolution. They are capable of upholding George Orwell’s interpretation of liberty as “the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Indeed it is only when we have the freedom to choose and think for oneself that true morality can flourish. Until then forbidden perspectives will continue to go underground. Regrettably, that which could benefit from examination will not only remain hidden, it is destined to quietly foment into backlash and dissent waiting to erupt.
How do you make a potentially dangerous and ineffective drug appear like a miracle of modern science? You could, for instance, enrol only certain people in clinical trials and exclude others or bring the study to a close as soon as you see a spike in the data that implies evidence of effectiveness.
There are many ways to do it.
According to health practitioner and writer Craig Stellpflug in his article ‘Big Pharma: Getting away with murder’ (2012), the strategy is to get in quick, design the study to get the result you want, get out fast and make lots of money.
If a study comes up negative for your favorite drug, just don’t publish it! 68 per cent of all drug studies are swept under the carpet to keep those pesky side effects from being reported. Only 32 per cent of studies come up positive and a lot of those studies are ‘shortened’ to limit the long-term findings. Studies cut short were found to overestimate the study drug’s effectiveness and miss dangerous side effects and complications by an average of 30 per cent. This would explain the amazing 85 per cent drug study success rate in the hands of Big Pharma according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Of course, it helps to get the regulatory agencies on board and to convince the media and health officials of the need for your wonder product and its efficacy and safety. In the process, well-paid career scientists and ‘science’ effectively become shaped and led by corporate profit margins and political processes.
And what better way to make a financial killing than by making a mountain out of a molehill and calling it a ‘pandemic’?
COVID-19 vaccine concerns
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by two health professors who said politics — not science — is behind the failure of health officials and the media to fully inform the public about the potential risks associated with COVID vaccines.
The CHD notes that Dr Joseph A Ladapo, associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, and Dr Harvey A Risch, professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, wrote that while prominent scientists have raised concerns that the safety risks of Covid-19 vaccines have been underestimated, the politics of vaccination has relegated their concerns to the outskirts of scientific thinking.
The two professors noted that clinical studies do not always tell the full story about the safety of medications and that the health effects often remain unknown until the medicine is rolled out to the general public. Examples include Vioxx, a pain reliever that increased the risk of heart attack and stroke; antidepressants that appeared to increase suicide attempts among young adults; and an influenza vaccine used in the 2009-10 swine flu epidemic that was suspected of causing febrile convulsions and narcolepsy in children.
The authors added that clinical trials often enroll patients who are not representative of the general population and more is learnt about drug safety from real-world evidence. With this in mind, they said the large clustering of side effects following COVID vaccines is concerning as is the silence around these potential signals of harm.
They criticise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ignoring the reported serious COVID vaccine side effects.
The authors acknowledge the risks of COVID vaccines in certain populations, not least children, may outweigh the benefits. They also state that not a single published study has demonstrated that patients with a prior infection benefit from COVID-19 vaccination. Something which is not readily acknowledged by the CDC or Anthony Fauci, an indication, according to the authors, of how deeply entangled pandemic politics is in science.
They conclude that public health authorities are making a mistake and risking public erosion of trust by not being forthcoming about the possibility of harm from the vaccines.
Merck and Vioxx
It is revealing that the two scientists refer to Vioxx, which was once popular for treating the symptoms of arthritis. It was removed from the market in 2004 after concerns that it may have injured hundreds of thousands of patients, while possibly killing tens of thousands in the US.
Dr David Graham, whistleblower and senior FDA investigator, criticised the FDA’s approval process of Vioxx (rofecoxib), an anti-inflammatory drug administered orally. In various interviews and congressional hearings, he described the outcome of Vioxx as disastrous and unparalleled in the history of the US. He added that the saga surrounding Vioxx had constituted an unprecedented failure of the nation’s system of drug approval and oversight.
In 2004, Graham argued that the painkiller had caused 88,000 to 139,000 heart attacks in the US – 30-40 per cent of which were fatal – over the previous five years. Nevertheless, manufactured by Monsanto (a company with a proven track record of corrupt practices) and co-marketed by Merck, Vioxx became a leading drug in providing pain relief from the symptoms of various forms of arthritis.
Research presented to the FDA in early 2001 showed that patients taking Vioxx had a higher risk of heart attack compared to those taking some of the older alternatives.
However, the real game-changer came in 2004 when Dr Graham released the findings that found Vioxx increased the chance of heart attack and death from cardiac arrest significantly more than its biggest rival on the market. Dosages of Vioxx in excess of the recommended daily dose of 25 milligrams were also found to more than triple a patient’s risk compared to those who had not taken painkillers.
In September 2004, Vioxx was pulled from the market. But in 2006, more damning findings were revealed by a study that showed that some patients had likely suffered from a heart attack much sooner after starting treatment with Vioxx. Appearing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the study showed that 25 per cent of the patients who had heart attacks while taking Vioxx did so within two weeks of starting the drug. This indicated that Vioxx-related cardiovascular risks may occur much earlier than previously thought.
The FDA was criticised for its close relationship with Merck and witnesses at a senate finance committee hearing described how danger signals of Vioxx went ignored. Indeed, a 2007 article published by the National Institutes of Health alleged that even though scientists at Merck knew that the drug might adversely affect the cardiovascular system, none of the intervention studies submitted to the FDA in 1998 were designed to evaluate such risk.
Robber barons and guinea pigs
Merck reported over $11 billion in Vioxx sales during the five years the drug was on the market. To date, the company has paid nearly $6 billion in litigation settlements and criminal fines over Vioxx. Still, in hard-nosed commercial terms, it was a massive success, resulting in a $5 billion gain for the company.
In May 2021, it was reported that Covid-19 vaccines had created at least nine new billionaires. According to research by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, the new billionaires included Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer. Both CEOs were then worth around $4 billion. Senior executives from China’s CanSino Biologics and early investors in Moderna have also become billionaires.
Although the nine new billionaires are worth a combined $19.3 billion, the vaccines were largely funded by public money. For instance, according to a May 2021 report by CNN, BioNTech received €325 million from the German government for the development of the vaccine. The company made a net profit of €1.1 billion in the first three months of the year, largely thanks to its share of sales from the Covid-19 vaccine, compared with a loss of €53.4 million for the same period last year.
Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine sales reached $1.7 billion in the first three months of this year and it had its first profitable quarter ever. Moderna is expected to make $13.2 billion in Covid-19 vaccine revenue in 2021. The company received billions of dollars in funding from the US government for development of its vaccine.
There is no need to cover ground here that has been covered extensively elsewhere but it is now abundantly clear that many continue to question the overall official COVID-19 narrative, the fear propaganda, the specific data, the PCR testing protocols, the apparent conflicts of interest and vaccine efficacy.
Moreover, a group of 57 leading scientists, doctors and policy experts recently released a report calling in to question the safety and efficacy of the current Covid-19 vaccines. They are calling for an immediate end to all vaccine programmes.
There are hundreds of scientists who have questioned government and WHO strategy and who have brought attention to the extremely low risks posed by COVID to the bulk of the population as well as the destructive (ineffective) policies and decisions pertaining to lockdowns and other restrictions.
There are many other top scientists who are questioning the need for mass vaccination and who have also pointed out credible and extremely disturbing side effects (real and potential) of such a strategy, not least Dr Robert Malone, credited with developing mRNA vaccine technology, Dr Byram Bridle, a viral immunologist, and Dr Geert Vanden Bossche, a prominent virologist and vaccine expert.
Unlike Merck and Vioxx, it will be governments (the public) that foot any future indemnity costs of these experimental vaccines that have escaped proper (long-term) testing. And given the scale of the rollout, the damage caused could make the adverse effects of Vioxx seem a mere blip.
Vaccines that were brought to market via emergency authorisation use for an ‘emergency’ constructed on the basis of deaths so often wrongly attributed to COVID-19. Brought to market on the basis of flawed PCR test protocols with magnification cycles primed to create a ‘casedemic’.
To borrow from Dr David Graham: are we currently witnessing something more disastrous and unparalleled in the history of the world, let alone the US: an unprecedented failure of global drug approval and oversight?
In the meantime, while billions of vaccinated people serve as human guinea pigs, the newly crowned vaccine kings will make hay while the sun shines (and the fear continues).