Sun Feb 3, 2013, 08:21 AM
unhappycamper (56,352 posts)
Breaking the Corporate Trance
Breaking the Corporate Trance
By Reid Mukai
OpEdNews Op Eds 2/1/2013 at 18:39:35
According to a report released on January 21 from World Development Movement, a grassroots group addressing poverty and economic inequality, Goldman Sachs made approximately $400 million in 2012 from speculating on staple foods including corn, wheat, and soy. This is great for Goldman Sachs but disastrous for nearly a billion undernourished people around the world unable to afford food due to volatility and food-price spikes caused by speculation. Goldman Sachs is the global leader in financial speculation on foods and other commodities and has successfully challenged attempts in the US and EU to pass legislation to limit speculation. On January 22, PBS aired a Frontline report on the Obama administration's failure (or refusal) to arrest a single Wall Street Banker for systemic fraud, which led to the ongoing global financial crisis. In fact, Department of Justice officials shielded bank executives who were among Obama's top campaign contributors in 2008 (Goldman Sachs was the second largest contributor, donating just over a million dollars). While no Wall Street executives have been prosecuted, small mortgage brokers, loan appraisers, and even home buyers have been.
Shortly after the suicide of internet-freedom activist Aaron Swartz on January 11, law professor Lawrence Lessig condemned the Department of Justice in a scathing essay. Lessig noted how the architects of the financial crisis regularly dine at the White House while Swartz was dragged through 18 months of negotiations fighting DOJ efforts to label him a felon as he faced a million-dollar trial and potential life sentence while being prohibited by his judge from appealing for financial support. What was the crime? Making publicly funded academic research openly available not for personal gain but for the benefit of all. An unofficial factor that may have contributed to Swartz's disproportionately harsh treatment was his leadership role in the movement to prevent the passing of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that would have effectively given the government carte blanche authority to shut down websites. He was also on the government's radar as a potential threat to their case against Army Private Bradley Manning. Perhaps not coincidentally, on February 9, 2011, the Secret Service obtained a search warrant for Swartz's home and computers, the very same day Swartz submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Army Criminal Investigative Unit for records related to the treatment of Bradley Manning in Quantico Brig.
Bradley Manning is the soldier accused of transmitting hundreds of thousands of government documents to whistleblower site WikiLeaks, some of them documenting US war crimes. He has been confined for nearly 1000 days without conviction. While at Quantico from 2010 to 2011 he was subjected to solitary confinement and forced nudity and harassment from guards despite recommendations from psychiatric staff that he be treated less severely. On January 16, 2013, Army Colonel Denise Lind, the judge overseeing pretrial hearings, granted a government motion to preclude motive from the trial, meaning questions of conscience and good faith will not be considered relevant in the case. This strips Manning of legal protection provided by the Whistleblower Protection Act and prevents any discussion of the content of the leaked material from reaching the American public. Manning, who could be considered a hero on par with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, faces a life sentence in military prison under the Espionage Act while John Brennan, supporter of torture, drone strikes, and kill lists, was nominated on January 6 by Obama to be the next Director of the CIA.
These are just a few recent examples out of countless others of institutionalized criminality. They are symptoms not just of systemic corruption but a tyranny not unlike Orwell's "1984" where psy-op tactics such as newspeak, doublethink, and thoughtcrime control the masses. So if institutional criminality is rewarded, who gets punished (in a socio-economic as well as legal sense)? Most of us, but especially scapegoats, minorities, the impoverished and disenfranchised, activists and whistleblowers. It's no exaggeration to say that the worst criminals who do the most harm to the world and humanity are the very ones governing the system. I'm talking about large corporations, which are not equally predatory but an unfortunate outcome of global capitalist darwinism is that the most destructive and ruthless corporations have attained the highest levels of wealth and power (along with strong government/military ties). Corporations can produce useful technologies such as the ones used to critique the corporate system, for example, though they often emerge from publicly funded academic research (what Swartz tried to give the public free and open access to) before being commodified by corporations and/or weaponized by the military. And who's to say the same technologies or better ones couldn't be produced through economic systems superior to corporate capitalism had they not been repeatedly blockaded or undermined by the military/intelligence arm of the military-industrial complex. Until such alternatives arrive, as Vladimir Lenin famously said, "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." I happen to be against the death penalty, but if corporate criminals kill themselves under public pressure just as Aaron Swartz did under pressure from the DOJ, I would consider that karma but am doubtful they have enough of a conscience to do it.
1 replies, 450 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Breaking the Corporate Trance (Original post)
|mother earth||Feb 2013||#1|
Response to unhappycamper (Original post)
Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:11 AM
mother earth (4,184 posts)
1. "questions of conscience and good faith will not be considered relevant"....this is the real pledge
of allegiance. Our country is one country under corporate rule, suck it up people, profits trump life.