The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Quotes from George Orwell ( 1903 - 1950 )

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.

War against a foreign country only happens when the moneyed classes think they are going to profit from it.

The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.

September 3, 2014 OpEdNews

The American Delusion: Distracted, Diverted and Insulated from the Grim Reality of the Police State
By John Whitehead

So much has happened in the year since Edward Snowden first appeared on the national scene that it's understandable if the average American has a hard time keeping up with all of the "events," manufactured or otherwise, which keep us distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from the reality of the American police state.

Caught up in the uproar over this year's latest hullabaloo--militarized police in Ferguson, tanks on Main Street and ISIS--Americans have not only largely forgotten last year's hullabaloo over the NSA and government surveillance but are generally foggy about everything that has happened in between.

Then again, so much has happened in the year since Edward Snowden first appeared on the national scene that it's understandable if the average American has a hard time keeping up with all of the "events," manufactured or otherwise, which keep us distracted, deluded, amused, and insulated from the reality of the American police state.
This is not to say that many of these events are not critical or important. However, when we're being bombarded with wall-to-wall news coverage and news cycles that change every few days, it's difficult to stay focused on one thing--namely, holding the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law--and the powers-that-be understand this.

In fact, Professor Jacques Ellul studied this phenomenon of overwhelming news, short memories and the use of propaganda to advance hidden agendas. "One thought drives away another; old facts are chased by new ones," wrote Ellul. "Under these conditions there can be no thought. And, in fact, modern man does not think about current problems; he feels them. He reacts, but he does not understand them any more than he takes responsibility for them. He is even less capable of spotting any inconsistency between successive facts; man's capacity to forget is unlimited. This is one of the most important and useful points for the propagandists, who can always be sure that a particular propaganda theme, statement, or event will be forgotten within a few weeks."

Consider if you will the regularly scheduled trivia and/or distractions that have kept us tuned into the various breaking news headlines and entertainment spectacles and tuned out to the government's steady encroachments on our freedoms:

In late August / early September, we were treated to James Foley's carefully staged beheading, Robin Williams' unfortunate suicide, the riots in Ferguson over the police shooting of an unarmed black man, growing threats from ISIS, and the ALS ice bucket challenge sensation.
That was preceded by reports of immigrant children flooding over the border, Israel and Hamas' on-again, off-again fighting, Germany's victory in the World Cup, Ebola breakouts in West Africa, the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crash in Ukraine, and the exchange by the U.S. of five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
Before that, there was the shooting at the Fort Hood Army base, the uproar over Donald Sterling's racist remarks, the Veterans Administration's failure to provide timely care to vets, the tug of war over control of Crimea, the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines flight, the 2014 Winter Olympics, and Gov. Chris Christie's role in the George Washington Bridge lane closings scandal.
No less traumatic and distracting were the preceding months' newsworthy events, which included a devastating typhoon in the Philippines, France and Germany's displeasure over NSA spying, the U.S. government's 16-day shutdown over Obamacare, public opposition to President Obama's plans to take military action against Syria, another shooting--this time at the Washington Navy Yard, Russia's granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning's announcement that he is in fact Chelsea Manning, which came a day after he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for leaking classified documents, George Zimmerman's acquittal of murdering Trayvon Martin, and Edward Snowden's leaking the first of what would turn into a more-than-yearlong series of revelations about the government's illegal surveillance programs.

As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this sleight-of-hand distraction and diversion is how you control a population, either inadvertently or intentionally, advancing your agenda without much opposition from the citizenry. But what exactly has the government been doing while we've been so cooperatively fixated on whatever current sensation happens to be monopolizing the mainstream "news" shows?
If properly disclosed and consistently reported on, the sheer volume of the government's activities, which undermine the Constitution and dance close to the edge of outright illegality, would inevitably give rise to a sea change in how business is conducted in our seats of power.
Surely Americans would be outraged over the government's plan to turn our most casual statements into hate crimes using Truthy, a $1 million online database being created to track "misinformation" and hate speech on Twitter, as well as "detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution." Or that the Pentagon is spending millions to find ways to put down social unrest, starting with lawful First Amendment free speech protests.
Parents would be livid if they had any inkling about the school-to-prison pipeline, namely, how the public schools are being transformed from institutions of learning to prison-like factories, complete with armed police and surveillance cameras, aimed at churning out compliant test-takers rather than independent-minded citizens.
Taxpayers would be up in arms over the government's end-run tactics to avoid abiding by the rule of law, whether by outsourcing illegal surveillance activities to defense contractors or outsourcing inhumane torture to foreign countries.
And one would hope American citizens would be incensed about being treated like prisoners in an electronic concentration camp, their every movement monitored, tracked and recorded by a growing government surveillance network that runs the gamut from traffic cameras and police body cameras to facial recognition software and the armed surveillance drones that will soon blanket American skies.

Unfortunately, while much of this information can be discovered through a focused study of alternative media reports, it does require quite a bit of digging and even more determination on the part of the citizenry to take an active role in their governance--which, of course, is the key to maintaining freedom.
So where does that leave us?

As legendary television journalist Edward R. Murrow warned, "Unless we get up off our fat surpluses and recognize that television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse, and insulate us, then television and those who finance it, those who look at it, and those who work at it, may see a totally different picture too late."

Submitters Bio:

John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead’s aggressive, pioneering approach to civil liberties has earned him numerous accolades and accomplishments, including the Hungarian Medal of Freedom. His concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in 1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties and human rights organization in Charlottesville, Va. Whitehead serves as the Institute’s president and spokesperson. His thought-provoking commentaries call people to action and address a wide range of contemporary issues from faith to politics and television to constitutional rights. He is also a frequent commentator on a variety of issues in the national media, as well as the editor of the award-winning pop culture magazine, Gadfly. Whitehead's book A Government of Wolves will be published in June 2013. Please visit On Target to view Whitehead's weekly video commentaries. He also blogs daily about the emerging police state at

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

September 3, 2014, OpEdNews

The Perverse Roots of the Mentality of More
By Derryl Hermanutz

Why do we always need more? Why is economic growth the single-minded goal of economists and government policy? Is there some perverse motive deep within our nature that drives the rat-wheel of human society? Or is there some more mundane mechanism driving our pursuit of more?

Last week Rob Kall published an OpEd News article, "More versus Enough-- time to re-set our values". Rob argued that our mindless pursuit of "more" has become like a mental illness, an inability to impose rational healthy constraints on a self-destructive mindset of infinite materialism at the expense of all other human values. Some commenters noted the similarity of this unlimited growth mentality with cancer that grows until it kills its host, and itself.

Many years ago I talked to the "amazing fat man" at a circus. He said he should actually be called "giant" man because he had a condition known as gigantism where his body doesn't stop growing. At about 1000 pounds, all he could do was sit there and display himself as a freak. He saw his condition as a disease that grossly restricted his life options, not as a benefit that made him "bigger and better". Unlimited material growth is a disease to be avoided or cured, not a value to be desired and pursued.
From fat, giant man

Industrialization has enabled humanity to become economic giants, consuming vast resources and leaving vast waste in our wake. We are killing our host planet, and we seem incapable of changing the values system that drives us to mindlessly pursue more as individuals and as a civilization. In a comment to Rob's article I pointed out that there is a perverse monetary phenomenon that makes endless growth an arithmetic necessity of our bank-issued money system, and our capitalist production and distribution system.

***{At least one commenter didn't believe that commercial banks issue our money supply, so I will try to clearly explain the basic facts of our money and banking system in a separate article, "Why most people can't believe the truth about money"}

Our Bank-Issued Money System

Banks create virtually all of the money supply by making loans of newly created bank deposits, at interest. Money is created and loaned by banks, then the new money is spent/invested into the economy by borrowers. Money that one person spends is money that is simultaneously earned by people who sell stuff (labor, services, land, resources, goods, etc.) to the spender/investor. Money that is earned can be saved, invested, or spent, by the earner. But that money is still owed as a bank loan repayment by the original borrower/spender of the new money.

One person cannot have earnings and savings unless some other person has unpaid debt owed to a bank. Banks do not lend out their depositors' savings. Every bank loan is the creation of new bank deposits: new money ... and new debt. Money that is saved is removed from circulation in the economy. Unless the saved money is spent by the savers, the people who originally borrowed (from banks) and spent that money into the economy, cannot earn their money back out of the economy and use it to repay their bank loans. Unless earners spend their earnings, debtors cannot earn the money back to repay their debts.

{This is where many people's minds balk at recognizing the perverse truth of our bank-debt money system. People believe that saving their earned money is "good", and they do not understand fallacies of composition so they cannot believe that doing what is good individually can have "bad" effects on the money system or the economy as a whole (this contradiction is one of the core perversities of our money system). So rather than believe the truth that banks create the money they lend, many choose to believe that banks lend out people's savings to recirculate the money in the economy, where debtors can earn that money back to repay their bank loans. But banks do not function as financial intermediaries who take deposits of previously existing money and lend the money out to investors. Banks function as the original issuers of our money. Bank creation of bank deposits to fund loans and to purchase government bonds is where the money supply "comes from" in the first place.}

"Money" is created, loaned, borrowed, spent, and earned, in the amount of loan principal. "Debt" (which is owed to the bank that created and loaned the money, not owed "to each other") is simultaneously created in the amount of principal plus interest.

The banking system, which is the economy's and the government's money-issuing system, creates principal amount of money, at the same time as it creates principal plus interest amount of debt. If money is positive $numbers and debt is negative $numbers, you can see that a system that issues all of the money supply as loans at interest is a negative sum system that systematically creates more negative numbers than positive numbers. Within this system, the only way to get additional money into circulation is by more bank lending at interest, which makes the total negative sum equation even worse, not better. If the government is borrowing and spending money, public debt increases and taxpayers are on the hook. If the private sector is borrowing and spending money, private debt increases and businesses and households are on the hook.

Even if earners spent all their earnings back into the economy and debtors earned all that money and used it to repay their bank debts, the bank-issued money system creates exactly enough money for all borrowers to repay all of their loan principal, with zero money left over to pay the interest. The interest amount remains as an unpayable "debt" that is owed to the banking system, even though no money exists to pay it. Or if some borrowers manage to pay both their principal plus interest, other borrowers will find themselves unable even to earn money to pay their loan principal. So, ultimately, they default en masse, rendering the banking system first illiquid due to a shortage of loan payments coming in, then insolvent when there is no longer enough demand money to liquidate the banks' collateral assets at credit-bubble inflated prices.

Our money-issuing system systematically issues more debt (owed to the banking system) than it issues money to pay the debt. So unless a continuous supply of new money is created, loaned/borrowed, and spent or invested into circulation where previous debtors can earn the new money to pay their old bank loans, the Ponzi arithmetic of the credit/debt money system collapses and we get mass defaults and banking system failure and "financial crisis" like 1929 and 2008.

The present US$ money system has been in operation since 1913. WWI was the system's first large scale government debt runup to finance the war effort, followed by the short sharp financial collapse of 1920-21, then the Roaring Twenties private sector debt and asset inflation bubble, then the 1929 financial collapse and Depression, then the truly massive government credit/debt expansion to finance WWII. Because the money is issued by banks as loans that are "debts" to the borrower/spender, money supply growth requires total debt growth. Debt reduction involves reduction in the money supply, which depresses assets and goods prices, which bankrupts banks and depresses production, buying and selling in the real economy.
If you look at a chart of total US$ debt growth since 1946 you will see a nice long exponential curve that starts its vertical rise during the 2000s real estate credit bubble and ends with the 2007-2008 collapse. We are still in the Depression of that collapse. Last time we were in this boat the brain trust decided a massive increase in government debt to finance a world war would be a good solution to the money problem.

But this time is different because now we all know that governments can issue their own debt-free money to solve the negative sum arithmetic of the bank-issued debt-money system, right? War is inflationary, because governments invest prodigious amounts of newly created money to produce war materials that are shipped abroad and blown to smithereens. That invested money is earned by contributors to war production, but no consumer or investor goods (except war bonds) are produced to absorb the earned money. So besides enabling income-earners to repay their bank debts, the additional income money inflates the price of the available supply of consumer and investor goods (unless there are prices controls). So if there's going to be inflation anyway by creating/investing money to produce things that are not going to be sold, why not invest the money in rebuilding the public infrastructure, rather than invest it in building stuff that is designed to blow up and slaughter humanity? Are our dear and glorious leaders really that evil and/or stupid?

Banks lend credit to governments against the government's future tax receipts. When governments can't pay, the creditors take ownership of the nation's public infrastructure as their "collateral". Economic hitmen deliberately design unpayable national debts for just this purpose. Ownership of the Earth is being "privatized", by bankers and plutocrats.

Banks lend credit to the private sector against collateral assets like commodities, businesses and houses. For banks to create and lend an ever-increasing total amount of credit-money into the system (to prevent the money system's Ponzi arithmetic from collapsing), evermore real assets have to be built to secure the loans. More industrial and civil infrastructure, more houses and commercial real estate, more cars, more home furnishings, more exotic vacations, all paid for with more credit-money that is freshly created by banks and spent into the monetary maw by borrowers/debtors. The perverse logic of MORE is built into the perverse arithmetic of our privately owned money-issuing system, where all the money is issued as debt that must be secured by assets and repaid (to the bank) with interest.

Effects on the Real Economy Production and Distribution System

The same perverse arithmetic applies to the money and price system that produces goods for sale and pays out incomes to contributors as the "cost price" of production*. The national income is paid out (by producers, to contributors) as the total cost price of national production. Producers then markup the cost price to sell their goods at profitable prices. But the national income is equal only to the cost price of all the goods the nation produced, so the nation has insufficient income to buy all the goods it produces at prices that enable producers to earn profits. So more bank lending of more consumer credit-money (and/or more bond-debt financed government deficit spending) is needed just to enable the nation to purchase what it produces, at prices above the cost of production.

*{This is the basic "money and price system" insight that led CH Douglas to devise, in the 1920s, his "social credit" system of government money issuance, with its National Dividends to all citizens, as an arithmetically stable alternative to the periodically collapsing Ponzi arithmetic of privately issued money: Douglas wanted to reform the money system so the for-profit production system could work sustainably}

Or, in the good old days of mercantilism, English producers tried to export their goods so French incomes would purchase England's surplus and provide English sales and profits, at the expense of the French producers who had paid out those French incomes as their costs of production of France's national output. French incomes purchased English imports, rather than purchasing French goods. Goods moved from English producers to French consumers, and money moved from French consumers to English producers. Or rather, money moved from the pockets of French capitalists (whose investments in domestic production had paid out the French national income) into the pockets of English capitalists.

On our narrow planet, mercantilism robs France to pay England, or robs the US to pay China. We can't all be "net exporters" any more than we can all be "above average," Lake Wobegone notwithstanding. For one nation to be a net exporter, some other nation must be a net importer. "Trade" implies me trading my goods for your goods. If you have no goods to trade for my goods, we don't trade, so there can be no net importers and net exporters, only balanced trade.
But in a money economy that's not how it works. Goods are bought and sold for money, not traded for other goods. Money moves from buyers to sellers; goods move from sellers to buyers. And producers do not create the money by producing food and cars. Banks create the money by making loans. So producers can't produce more "money" by producing more goods. You get more money by "selling" your goods, for money. You can build a billion cars, but unless you sell one of them, you will not earn any money for all your productive efforts.

Mercantilists are capitalists who want to get richer in money. Mercantilists do not share the interests of their workers and the unemployed masses who would like to consumer the goods that the nation produces, rather than export and sell the goods so capitalists can get richer in money.
The zero sum monetary arithmetic of international buying and selling, the beggar thy neighbor money arithmetic of mercantilism, is not difficult to understand, is it? "Our" capitalists want to get the money that was invested by "their" capitalists, so our capitalists can be richer in money. Our consumers are poorer in goods, because our capitalists exported those goods that we produced, in order to get more money for themselves. Adam Smith harshly critiqued this process in his 1776 book, "The Wealth of Nations", Book IV, Chapter XIII: Conclusion of the Mercantilist System. This is not new knowledge.

Profit is necessary to life. Profit is not inherently evil. A caveman who invests 3000 calories hunting must earn a return of 6000 calories in meat, in order to feed his family and feed himself so he can hunt again tomorrow. We all need to "profit" from our work.
Profit is not the problem. Giving private bankers an exclusive monopoly over money-issuance is the problem. Insisting that income that is "earned" by contributing to production (income that is thus part of some producer's cost price of production) is the only "legitimate" way people can get money to buy what the nation produces, is the problem.

Already by 1848 both Marx/Engels (The Communist Manifesto) and John Stuart Mill (Principles of Political Economy) recognized that in a post-agrarian industrial economy where everything is produced by paying out money, and bought and sold for money, some system to supplement "earned income" had to be implemented for getting purchasing power into the hands of consumers, so nations could "afford" to consume what they produced. Industrialism permanently replaces workers with machines*, and only pays out earned incomes to people who contribute to production. Industrial workers can produce far more than they can consume, so how will the surplus be distributed to all the people who want and need to consume, but whose work is not needed to contribute to production?

*{Even David Ricardo, that great capitalist advocate of international trade to exploit comparative advantage, admitted that the Luddites were right: capitalists' adoption of machinery harms the condition of the working class. See Chapter XXXI, On Machinery, in his 1817 book, "Principles of Political Economy and Taxation".}

The for-profit production system systematically adds more prices of goods for sale (cost plus markup) into the economy than it adds incomes (cost price) to purchase those goods. Some argue that investment adds the necessary income money, but capital investment must be recaptured in the prices of future goods for sale, so lengthening the term of the negative sum arithmetic equation does not solve the negative sum arithmetic problem. Producers need to earn profits, but as long as the earned incomes that producers pay out are the only non-debt income money in the system, the negative sum arithmetic of producer profit (and bank issued money-at-interest) cannot be solved.
19th century political economists like JS Mill dreamed of industrial age freedom from the curse of Adam, as machines replaced the need for human labor. Imagining a coming age of leisure, they talked about development of our human attributes, made possible by our freedom from lives of heavy labor. But human freedom and development of our "higher nature" was not to be allowed.
A combination of deification of enormous personal wealth (plutocratic Mammon-worship), and Puritan worship of endless toil to keep idle hands out of the devil's playground, has prevented reasonable public discourse on the topic of structural industrial era unemployment and systematic supplements to the earned income system. These prejudices run very deep in the US. Many Americans are morally outraged at the very idea of people getting something for nothing, even if there is plenty of extra stuff to go around, nobody with money to buy it, and there is literally nothing "productive" for tens of millions of Americans to do. Even though machines have freed most people from lives of physical labor, people's minds have not been freed from the belief that humanity was born to work, not play.

So work we must, even if that means scarifying the planet to keep producing evermore junk that we don't need and wouldn't even want were it not for pervasive psychologically sophisticated advertising and the built-in obsolescence of what used to be called consumer "durables".
"Money" should be the elastic factor in the economic production and distribution equation, because money is simply accounting numbers, and numbers can be pulled out of nowhere and added into equations to make the arithmetic work. We don't have to take $numbers from some people to give them to others (redistributive taxation), if our government exercises its constitutional imperative to provide the nation with an adequate supply of money.

The bankers' private for-profit monopoly of money issuance is the root of the problem. Until the money system is modified to enable governments to issue, not borrow, the money that they deficit spend, the only solution to the profit problem (and the bank loan interest problem: interest is the bank's income and profit) will be MORE asset production to secure MORE loans of bank-issued credit money which is MORE total debt to government and private sector borrowers. "More" (and war) is baked into the arithmetic of our present money system.

If you try to have "less", without first making the needed reforms to the money system, the whole money-based economy collapses and stops producing and delivering food and goods for sale. If no money changes hands, no goods change hands, and unless we are peasant farmers we need money to buy food and our daily necessities of life.

"Less" material production and consumption is good. "None at all" is death.
Government-issued debt-free money, distributed in equal monthly amounts to everyone with a SS number (including Bill Gates, you, and the crack dealer on the corner), is what a real solution would look like. Public banking to finance infrastructure investment is probably the most politically feasible beginning of a solution to the money problem, given that all previous efforts to relax the bankers' monopoly of money-issuance have utterly failed.

Submitters Bio:

I spent my working life as an independent small business owner/operator. My academic background is in philosophy and political economy. I began studying monetary systems and monetary history after the 1982 banking crash that was precipitated by the Mexican default and rendered 7 of America's 8 biggest banks, and 4 of Canada's Big 5, technically insolvent. They were quietly bailed out then as they are being loudly bailed out now. After the 2008 banking crash I started blogging about monetary system reform, in the tradition of Irving Fisher and CH Douglas who were prominent voices for reform during our last systemic collapse in the 1930s. I also write about the wide divergence between perception and reality in matters of public opinion, and the central role of mass media propaganda in moulding perception and manufacturing consent, a role identified by Walter Lippman and perfected by Edward Bernays and Madison Avenue. Financial, industrial, and military-industrial corporatism is increasingly usurping the functions of government in America, Europe and elsewhere, replacing elected republican and democratic forms of government with unaccountable plutocracies mascarading as "free enterprise". Plutocracy is a neofeudal tyranny of lawless power, serving the interests of wealth rather than democratic justice. Responsible government with the power to legislate and enforce laws and control its own monetary system is our only bulwark against concentrated corporate power, which is why plutocrats are intent on destroying the credibility and power of elected governments leaving the new feudal masters free to abuse and plunder the masses of serfs at their leisure. The money issuing function is a most fundamental feature of government sovereignty, and America's government transferred that power to private bankers in 1913, placing the effective government of the nation in the hands of the money power. It may not be possible for the people to take back control of their government from the plutocrats. But it is some consolation to be able to read and write about the truth of what is currently happening to our once free countries.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Jalaluddin Rumi

The Biggest Tax Scam Ever: How Corporate America Parks Profits Overseas, Avoiding Billions in Taxes ( )

As Burger King heads north for Canada’s lower corporate tax rate, we speak to Rolling Stone contributing editor Tim Dickinson about his new article, "The Biggest Tax Scam Ever." Dickinson reports on how top U.S. companies are avoiding hundreds of billions of dollars by parking their profits abroad — and still receiving more congressionally approved incentives. Dickinson writes: "Top offenders include giants from high-tech (Microsoft, $76 billion); Big Pharma (Pfizer, $69 billion); Big Oil (Exxon­Mobil, $47 billion); investment banks (Goldman Sachs, $22 billion); Big Tobacco (Philip Morris, $20 billion); discount retailers (Wal-Mart, $19 billion); fast-food chains (McDonald’s, $16 billion) – even heavy machinery (Caterpillar, $17 billion). General Electric has $110 billion stashed offshore, and enjoys an effective tax rate of 4 percent – 31 points lower than its statutory obligation to the IRS."

Monday, September 01, 2014


Kali Ma

OpEdNews Op Eds

Labor's Demise Is America's Demise

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Cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts

Thoughts for Labor Day
From Labor Day's violent beginnings - The bloody Pullman strike in 1894 spurred the national holiday that recognizes American workers.
Labor Day's violent beginnings - The bloody Pullman strike in 1894 spurred the national holiday that recognizes American workers.
(image by YouTube)

Labor Day is a holiday that has outlived its time. Like Christmas, Labor Day has become a time-out period. As Christmas has become a shopping spree, Labor Day has become the last summer holiday.
The holiday originated in 1887 to celebrate the contribution made by American workers to the strength and prosperity of the United States. The first Monday in September was chosen by President Grover Cleveland to avoid a May date that would keep alive the memory of the previous year's Haymarket Massacre in which workers striking for an eight-hour day suffered casualties from the Chicago police.

As time passed union leadership became a career rather than a movement in behalf of a cause, but the labor movement in its initial years was reformist. It brought safer working conditions into industry and manufacturing. Unions served as a countervailing power and constrained the exploitative power of capital. An industrial or manufacturing job was a ladder of upward mobility that made the US an opportunity society and stabilized the socio-political system with a large middle class. A large and thriving industrial and manufacturing sector provided many white collar middle class jobs for managers, engineers, researchers and designers, and American universities flourished as did their graduates.

The labor unions provided the Democratic Party with a financial base in labor that served as a countervailing power to the Republican base in manufacturing and finance. Whether it was a plot or unintended consequence, jobs offshoring wrecked the industrial and manufacturing unions and destroyed the Democrats' independent financial base. The two-party system that had maintained a reasonable balance was transformed into a one-party system in which both parties were dependent on the same monied interests and thus answered to the same masters.

The consequence was the demise of the middle class and rise of the One Percent. Today the US has the most unequally distributed income and wealth of all developed economies and one of the worst in the entire world. Few Americans other than the One Percent have a stake in the American economic and political system.

The imbalance in the distribution of income and wealth cannot be corrected through the tax system. The imbalance is due largely to the loss of the jobs that provided the economic basis for the middle class. Correction requires a retreat from globalism and the return to a largely self-sufficient economy, which the US economy was during its glory decades. Globalism is a scheme for impoverishing First World labor and taking power and influence from the hands of the many and putting them in the hands of the few. The champions of globalism are the champions of America's destruction.
Today the Republicans are demolishing the public sector unions. These jobs can't be outsourced, but public schools can be replaced with charter schools, prisons can be privatized, and many public services can be contracted out to private businesses.

Public sector unions never had as strong a case for their existence as manufacturing and industrial unions. Moreover, strikes by firemen, police forces, school teachers, and trash collectors undermined public support for public sector unions as did many unpleasant experiences with the licensing bureaucracies of state and local government departments. Nevertheless, public sector unions could serve as a check on ambitious executive and legislative power.

Whether one has a favorable or unfavorable opinion of unions, their demise is also the demise of countervailing power. A system in which there is no countervailing power is a tyranny in which power is unconstrained and unaccountable.

The American people have been subdued and turned into a flock of sheep. Will they ever rise again?

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book, How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.


Sunday, August 31, 2014