Tony Robinson explores the major uprising across large parts of England in 1381, its origins, motives and aftermath.
Tony Robinson explores the major uprising across large parts of England in 1381, its origins, motives and aftermath.
Photo Credit: By g-stockstudio / Shutterstock.com
Is it time to bring a monarchy to the United States? Or is it time to end one?
The New York Times recently ran a fascinating article by Leslie Wayne putting forth arguments from the International Monarchist League. Summarizing them, Wayne wrote, “Their core arguments: Countries with monarchies are better off because royal families act as a unifying force and a powerful symbol; monarchies rise above politics; and nations with royalty are generally richer and more stable.”
What the author misses is that we already have an aristocracy here in the United States: rule by the rich. In fact, much of American history is the story of the battle between the interests of the “general welfare” of our citizens, and the interests of the #MorbidlyRich.
Here’s where we are right now:
It’s been this way before in American history, though not in our lifetimes. The last time the morbidly rich had this much power in American politics was the 1920s, when an orgy of tax-cutting and deregulation of banking led to the Republican Great Depression.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt stepped up to challenge those he called the Economic Royalists, explicitly calling them out. In 1936, FDR said:
“For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital—all undreamed of by the Fathers—the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.
“There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit…
“It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself.
“They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property.
“And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.”
Roosevelt, then the president of the United States, even explicitly called for the “overthrow of this kind of power”:
“These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power.
“Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power.
“In vain they seek to hide behind the Flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the Flag and the Constitution stand for.
“Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.”
The American people overwhelmingly agreed with FDR, particularly after they’d seen how badly “dictatorship by the over-privileged” worked out for us in 1929. The result was that from 1932 until 1980 American politicians knew how important it was for government, representing the best interests of both our nation and all of its people, to hold back the political power that the morbidly rich could marshal with their great wealth.
This was such conventional wisdom in both parties that Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote to his brother Edgar in 1956:
“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.
“There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”
And business knew it, too. Big corporations and wealthy businesspeople largely stayed away from politics from the 1930s onward, not wanting to draw the ire of the American people.
Until 1971. In August of that year, Lewis Powell, a lawyer who largely defended tobacco and the interests of the Virginia’s upper classes, wrote an apocalyptic memo to his neighbor and friend who was the head of the US Chamber of Commerce. In it, he suggested that America itself was under attack from “leftists” and people on “college campuses.”
The solution, Powell proposed, was for a small group of very, very wealthy people to reshape American public opinion through think tanks, funding of universities and schools, and an all-out assault on the media. Take over the courts and at least one of the political parties, he suggested, and wrest control of our economy away from government regulation.
As I noted in The Crash of 2016:
Powell’s most indelible mark on the nation was not to be his fifteen-year tenure as a Supreme Court Justice, but instead that memo, which served as a declaration of war—a war by the Economic Royalists against both democracy and what they saw as an overgrown middle class. It would be a final war, a bellum omnium contra omnes, against everything the New Deal and the Great Society had accomplished.
It wasn’t until September 1972, 10 months after the Senate confirmed Powell to the Supreme Court, that the public first found out about the Powell Memo (the actual written document had the word “Confidential” stamped on it—a sign that Powell himself hoped it would never see daylight outside of the rarified circles of his rich friends). Although by then, however, it had already found its way to the desks of CEOs all across the nation and was, with millions in corporate and billionaire money, already being turned into real actions, policies, and institutions.
During its investigation into Powell as part of the nomination process, the FBI never found the memo, but investigative journalist Jack Anderson did, and he exposed it in a September 28th, 1972, column titled, “Powell’s Lesson to Business Aired.”
Anderson wrote, “Shortly before his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. urged business leaders in a confidential memo to use the courts as a ‘social, economic, and political’ instrument.”
Pointing out that how the memo wasn’t discovered until after Powell was confirmed by the Senate, Anderson wrote, “Senators…never got a chance to ask Powell whether he might use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into practice and to influence the court in behalf of business interests.”
This was an explosive charge being leveled at the nation’s rookie Supreme Court Justice, a man entrusted with interpreting the nation’s laws with complete impartiality.
But Jack Anderson was no stranger to taking on American authority, and no stranger to the consequences of his journalism. He’d exposed scandals from the Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, and later the Reagan administrations. He was a true investigative journalist.
In his report on the memo, Anderson wrote, “[Powell] recommended a militant political action program, ranging from the courts to the campuses.”
Back in 1936, Franklin Roosevelt had declared war on his generation’s Economic Royalists and booted the worst of them out of the nation’s political, economic, and cultural institutions. But now, two generations later, Lewis Powell was speaking of another war.
Powell’s memo was both a direct response to Roosevelt’s battle cry decades earlier, and a response to the tumult of the 1960’s.
He wrote, “No thoughtful person can question that the American economic system is under broad attack.”
When Sydnor and the Chamber received the Powell Memo, corporations were growing tired of their second-class status in America.
Even though the previous 40 years had been a time of great growth and strength for the American economy and America’s middle- class workers – and a time of sure and steady growth and increases of profits for corporations – CEOs felt something was missing.
If only they could find a way to wiggle back into the people’s minds (who were just beginning to forget the Royalists’ previous exploits of the 1920s), then they could get their tax cuts back; they could trash the “burdensome” regulations that were keeping the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat safe; and the banksters among them could inflate another massive economic bubble to make themselves all mind-bogglingly rich. It could, if done right, be a return to the “Roaring 20s.”
But how could they do this? How could they convince Americans to take another shot at what was widely considered a dangerous free-market ideology and economic framework and that Americans once knew preceded each Great Crash and war?
Lewis Powell had an answer, and he reached out to the Chamber of Commerce—the hub of corporate power in America—to lay out a strategy to reclaim their power with a strategy.
As Powell wrote, “Strength lies in organization, in careful long-range planning and implementation, in consistency of action over an indefinite period of years, in the scale of financing available only through joint effort, and in the political power available only through united action and national organizations.” Thus, Powell said, “The role of the National Chamber of Commerce is therefore vital.”
In the nearly-6000-word memo, Powell called on corporate leaders to launch an economic and ideological assault on college and high school campuses, the media, the courts, and Capitol Hill.
The objective was simple: The revival of a Royalist-controlled so-called “free market” system.
Or, as Powell put it, using Royalist rhetoric, “[T]he ultimate issue…[is the] survival of what we call the free enterprise system, and all that this means for the strength and prosperity of America and the freedom of our people.”
The first area of attack Powell encouraged the Chamber to focus on was the education system. “[A] priority task of business—and organizations such as the Chamber—is to address the campus origin of this hostility [to big business],” Powell wrote.
What worried Powell was the new generation of young Americans growing up to resent corporate culture. He believed colleges were filled with “Marxist professors,” and that the pro-business agenda of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover had fallen into disrepute since the Great Depression. He knew that winning this war of economic ideology in America required spoon-feeding the next generation of leaders the doctrines of a free-market theology, from high school all the way through graduate and business school.
At the time, college campuses were rallying points for the progressive activism sweeping the nation, as young people demonstrated against poverty, the Vietnam War, and in support of Civil Rights.
So Powell put forward a laundry list of ways the Chamber could re-retake the higher-education system. First, create an army of corporate-friendly think tanks that could influence education. “The Chamber should consider establishing a staff of highly qualified scholars in the social sciences who do believe in the system,” he wrote.
Then, go after the textbooks. “The staff of scholars,” Powell wrote, “should evaluate social science textbooks, especially in economics, political science and sociology…This would include assurance of fair and factual treatment of our system of government and our enterprise system, its accomplishments, its basic relationship to individual rights and freedoms, and comparisons with the systems of socialism, fascism and communism.”
Powell argued that the Civil Rights movement and the Labor movement were already in the process of re-rewriting textbooks.
“We have seen the civil rights movement insist on re-writing many of the textbooks in our universities and schools. The labor unions likewise insist that textbooks be fair to the viewpoints of organized labor.” Powell was concerned the Chamber of Commerce was not doing enough to stop this growing progressive influence and replace it with a pro-plutocratic perspective.
“Perhaps the most fundamental problem is the imbalance of many faculties,” Powell pointed out. “Correcting this is indeed a long-range and difficult project. Yet, it should be undertaken as a part of an overall program. This would mean the urging of the need for faculty balance upon university administrators and boards of trustees.” As in, the Chamber needs to infiltrate university boards in charge of hiring faculty to make sure only corporate-friendly professors are hired.
But Powell’s recommendations weren’t exclusive to college campuses; he targeted high schools as well.
“While the first priority should be at the college level, the trends mentioned above are increasingly evidenced in the high schools. Action programs, tailored to the high schools and similar to those mentioned, should be considered,” he urged.
Next, Powell turned the corporate dogs on the media. As Powell instructed, “Reaching the campus and the secondary schools is vital for the long-term. Reaching the public generally may be more important for the shorter term.”
Powell added, “It will…be essential to have staff personnel who are thoroughly familiar with the media, and how most effectively to communicate with the public.”
He then went on to advocate that same system used for the monitoring of college textbooks be applied to television and radio networks. “This applies not merely to so-called educational programs…but to the daily ‘news analysis’ which so often includes the most insidious type of criticism of the enterprise system.”
This was not, of course, the first time that American oligarchs and their supplicants plotted to subvert American democracy in favor of a harsh capitalist-controlled “free enterprise” system that handed virtually all the spoils of business over to a wealthy few.
In the early 1880s, railroad barons funded six major attempts at the US Supreme Court to create, from the 14th Amendment, a “right of corporate personhood.” In 1886, although the Court rejected their theory for the last and final time, the Clerk of the Court, John Chandler Bancroft Davis, inserted into the not-legally-binding headnote of the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case that the Chief Justice had, offhandedly, certified corporate personhood.
Reacting to that and the general rise of the men then called robber barons, Democratic President Grover Cleveland, in his 1888 State of the Union address, said:
“The gulf between employers and the employed is constantly widening, and classes are rapidly forming, one comprising the very rich and powerful, while in another are found the toiling poor.
“As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel.
“Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”
From President Cleveland’s comments, you can draw a straight line to the trust busting and inheritance tax of progressive Republican Teddy Roosevelt in the first decade of the 20th century.
But the oligarchs fought back and, in the election of 1920, regained the power to cut taxes and regulations sufficiently that the rich got explosively richer, while the entire economy was set up for the Great Crash. (Warren Harding ran for president with two slogans – “More business in government, less government in business” [privatize and deregulate], and cutting the top tax rate from 90% to 25%…both of which he did.)
And Lewis Powell’s contribution to today’s problems is easily found in the 1976 Buckley v Valeo decision, which struck down many of the campaign finance laws that had been passed in the wake of the Nixon scandals. Money transferred from billionaires to politicians, he and his conservative friends on the court ruled, wasn’t “money” – instead, it was Constitutionally-protected First Amendment Free Speech.
Just in time for the Reagan Revolution, the morbidly rich could again own individual politicians, and with the 2013 McCutcheon case, the Court ruled that morbidly rich individuals could own a virtually unlimited number of politicians. Citizens United, in 2010, radically expanded corporate personhood and the rights of billionaires and corporations to influence politics.
Thus, here we are again.
We have a billionaire oligarch in the White House.
We have a man as VP who’s such a toady to oligarchs he actually promoted the idea in 2000 that tobacco doesn’t cause cancer, and today denies climate science on behalf of the petrobillionaires who have funded much of his political career.
We have an entire Republican Party that’s been captured by toxic-emissions corporations, petro-billionaires, and others among the morbidly rich. On the left, thanks to the DLC and its heirs, substantial parts of the Democratic Party are beholden to the banking, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries (although the Congressional Progressive Caucus is working to change this).
The Washington Post recently ran an article about how the very institutions of America are beginning to break down under the sustained assault of the oligarchs (although the Post doesn’t use that word). The main point of the article is that Donald Trump actually believes that both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, committed major crimes, and that the attorney general and others in the Department of Justice covered up those crimes.
Where did Trump get such a wild idea? It seems certain that he got it from billionaire oligarch Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News. And because he actually believes that previous presidents got away with committing major crimes both to win elections and to stay in office, he apparently thinks he should be able to as well.
It’s perhaps amusing to well-informed Americans when their friends and relatives spout the billionaire-enabling propaganda that Fox dishes out every day. But there’s nothing amusing about a president of the United States believing, based on what he learns in right-wing media, that he can easily get away with breaking the law. This is the result of the billionaire capture of our public spaces, driving a “profits over democracy” mentality.
To save our republic, we must acknowledge that the American aristocracy of the morbidly rich is destroying our country. And then overturn (via constitutional amendment) the twin policies of right-wingers on our Supreme Court that say that billionaires can own their own personal politicians, and that corporations are “persons” with human rights.
Once we reject America’s new self-appointed royalty, with their billionaire and corporate money fouling our system, our elected officials can restore protections for working people – and we can once again see our wages begin to rise like they did for 40 straight years before the advent of Reaganism.
Only then can we bring back rules to keep the oligarch’s poisonous money out of our political system, and begin to break up their control of American business and media so that small- and medium-sized businesses, unions, and local media can once again thrive. And, with them, we can return to something resembling a democracy.
The first time when it became clear to me that I live in a dictatorship was in 2014 when reading, prior to its publication, the landmark (and still the only) scientific empirical study to address the question as to whether or not the United States federal Government is, authentically, a democracy — or, whether, alternatively, it’s instead more of a dictatorship, than a democracy. This study documented conclusively that America’s Government is the latter.
So, on 14 April 2014, I headlined “US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy, Says Scientific Study”. Subsequently, my editor linked it to the published article at the Journal where the study was published, Perspectives on Politics, from the American Political Science Association, and the full study can be read there.
On 30 April 2014, was posted at youtube the video that remains, to this day, the best and clearest ordinary-language summary of what that badly-written academic study proved. See its explanation here:
That summary’s title is also better than the title of my article was; this excellent video headlines “Corruption is Legal in America”, which is another accurate conclusion from that study. Every American citizen should know what this 6-minute video says and shows from the academic study, because it explains how the super-rich, as a class, steal from everyone else (everyone who isn’t super-rich): They do it through corruption.
Then, that same person who created the video did another presentation of it, but this time with text accompanying the video, and this article was titled “One graph shows how the rich control American politics”, and it indeed showed how. The super-rich carry out their control via corruption, which is legal in America and which can be done vastly more by rich people than by poor people — poor people simply can’t buy the Government, and any who would even attempt to do so would be using only the illegal means, which the US Supreme Court says constitutes the only illegal means, and that’s blatant bribery, which is lower-class corruption, not the far more lucrative type of corruption that super-wealthy individuals have access to. Only the forms of corruption which are available only to the super-rich are legal in America. That’s the reason why the super-rich keep getting still-richer, while the rest of the population are lucky if they don’t become poorer.
On 28 July 2015, former US President Jimmy Carter was frank about this situation; as a caller at a progressive radio show, he said this about America’s soaring top-level corruption:
It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and US Senators and congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. … At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.”
Three days later, Huffington Post published my article about that statement, which was headlined “Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the US Is No Longer a Democracy,” and it had over 60,000 likes on Facebook (here the article is shown a bit earlier, when it had 56,000) but HuffPo reduced that number down to its currently shown number, 18,000; and this article turned out to have been the last submission of the 100+ that they accepted from me. They’ve rejected all of my submissions after it. No explanation was ever given, and I never heard anything from them again.
The scientific article about America’s Government had reviewed 1,779 pieces of proposed legislation during the period from 1981 to 2002, and it found that only what the super-rich wanted to become law did become law: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy,” they said. That’s certainly not a democracy.
There has been speculation as to how far back historically America’s government-by-the-aristocracy (or, simply, America’s being an aristocracy — a rule over the public by the few super-rich, an “oligarchy”) has been in effect. Prior to Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, going back to the time when FDR died in office in 1945 as the President, the distribution of income and of wealth was much more equal in America than it started to become as soon as Reagan entered the White House and began the subsequent dominance of supply-side economics, which is based upon the supply-push belief that wealth trickles down from the few rich, instead of (as FDR believed) in a demand-pull way, that it percolates up from the many poor. FDR believed that what drives an economy is needs, not the products and services to fill needs. Reagan believed in the opposite, Say’s law, which says that whatever is produced will fill needs (or at least desires) — that production is what drives an economy, and that needs (and desires) just take care of themselves. So, FDR focused on “the common man” and especially the poor, but Reagan focused on “entrepreneurs” or the owners of businesses. (The middle class isn’t an issue here, but is simply the richer portion of the poor. Historically that has been the case. For example, America’s middle class has declined while the poor have mushroomed, but the top 5% are getting all of the gains; and most of that is going to the top 1% or even less. So: “poor” here includes the middle-class; and, to refer to “middle-class America” is now like referring to a dying breed — but it’s a breed of poor, not of rich.)
However, the extreme corruption at the top in this country is showing up more sharply than ever in recently declassified US Government documents about the JFK assassination — showing up as having begun much earlier than had generally been suspected, begun at least by the time when President Kennedy came into office on 20 January 1961. Kennedy found himself surrounded by the military-industrial complex that his predecessor, Eisenhower, had cultivated while he was in the White House and that “Ike” hypocritically warned the American public against, on his way out of office, only on 17 January 1961 — three days before Kennedy’s inauguration. Some of these corrupt people were ones whom Kennedy himself had brought in. Not all of them were Ike’s holdovers. But Kennedy was apparently shocked, nonetheless.
The beginnings of this profound corruption might be traced still farther back to moles in the Government (such as the Dulles brothers, Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush) who had built their careers after World War I by means of plying and mastering the revolving door between the Government’s foreign-policy Establishment and Wall Street. Starting at the very end of WW II, in 1945, agents of these moles ended FDR’s Office of Strategic Services and started Truman’s CIA. Right from the get-go, the CIA was deeply corrupt, as the following 2.5-hour BBC documentary from 1992 makes clear:
Operation Gladio – Full 1992 documentary BBC
It documents from testimony of former CIA operatives in Europe, that the CIA had been hiring European aristocrats and committed fascists and even ‘former’ Nazis, to set up terrorist incidents in Europe rigged so as to be blamed by the public against communists and against any entities that were favorable in any way toward the Soviet Union. Numberless Europeans were injured and killed in terrorist incidents that were set up by the CIA to be, basically, anti-communist propaganda. This CIA operation was called “Gladio,” and it continues to this day, even though communism itself is gone.
Subsequently, a video was done that’s far briefer, 50 minutes, and which starts with interviews of some of the survivors of these CIA-NATO operations, so that it’s far more from the victims’ perspective than was the BBC’s lengthier documentary:
NATO’s Secret Armies (2009)
When Kennedy became President, he found himself surrounded by advisors who were urging him such as, on 22 March 1962, John Kennedy’s own brother and US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy did, when RFK held a meeting to discuss “the possibility of US manufacture or acquisition of Soviet aircraft” because:
“There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations in order to provide an excuse for US intervention. If the planes were to be used in such covert operations, it would seem preferable to manufacture them in the United States.”
“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized. Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of a Cuban agent and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.”
Even JFK’s own brother RFK, and Secretary of ‘Defense’ Robert McNamara, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk — plus lots of holdovers from the Eisenhower Administration — thought that this sort of thing would be worth the President of the United States considering. Fortunately, JFK didn’t.
Michael Ellison had gotten to see a bit of the 12 April 1962 document decades earlier and he reported it on 2 May 2001 in Britain’s Guardian under the headline “Memos disclose US cold-war plot to frame Castro”. Ellison wrote that “The idea was an element in a wider scheme that ‘may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US government’, asserts James Bamford.” Since Bamford is perhaps the world’s leading journalist and historian who has written about the NSA (books such as his 1983 The Puzzle Palace), for even him to have expressed surprise in 2001 that the US Government, at its top level, was predominantly staffed by people who were racking their brains to figure out ways to fake Soviet terrorism and attacks so as for the US and NATO to have a pretext to invade the Soviet Union, indicates how much more cynical we all have become after George W. Bush’s lies about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ as pretexts for the US and its collaborators to invade and destroy Iraq in 2003. Not only was John Kennedy surprised to discover it in 1962, but James Bamford was surprised to discover it even as late as 2001. Bamford in 2001 might not have said what he said there if he had seen that 1992 BBC documentary, which showed that the top level of the CIA had been like this from the time when the CIA started in 1947. But with so much history behind us now and which had still been classified information, and thus non-public, until 2001 when Bamford said that the 12 April 1962 document described “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US Government,” we today are hardly surprised at all to discover it. The corruption at the top of the US Government has long since overflowed its banks, out into the public’s consciousness. Not all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can put the myth of US Government decency together again.
Stupid British people glorify these parasites while their children suffer hunger pains.
Gibbins, who earned £80,000 ($105,000) per year as head of global estates at the charity, which promotes Britain’s image worldwide, was sacked for gross misconduct following her “distasteful and personal attack” on the future heir to the throne.
The Labour Party member and republican took the British Council to an employment tribunal, claiming unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, and “belief discrimination.”
But the tribunal ruled the British Council, of which the Queen is patron, was right to fire Gibbins for her “reckless lack of judgment, inexcusable in someone in a senior position,” despite her claims that she had a “slip of judgement.”
The case relates to a picture of Prince George originally posted by the band Dub Pistols with the caption: “I know he’s only two years old, but Prince George looks like a f***ing d***head.”
The meme sparked a debate in the comments section, in which Gibbins chipped in saying: “White privilege. That cheeky grin is the (already locked-in) innate knowledge that he’s Royal, rich, advantaged and will never know any difficulties or hardships in life.
“Let’s find photos of 3yo Syrian refugee children and see if they look alike, eh?”
She posted a further comment: “I’m sound in my socialist, atheist and republican opinions.
“I don’t believe the royal family have any place in a modern democracy, least of all when they live on public money. That’s privilege and it needs to end.”
In a written ruling, the judge said: “The Tribunal agrees ‘reckless lack of judgment’ which had caused disrepute is sufficient for gross misconduct.
“We concluded that it was not the expression of republican belief that was the reason for concluding that the claimant had lacked judgment and thereby brought the respondent into disrepute.
“It was that she had associated herself with a distasteful and personal attack on a small child.”
Rebecca Walton, the British Council’s EU regional director, who oversaw the disciplinary hearing, told the tribunal: “My concern would have been the same whoever our Patron was, whether from the Royal Family or not.
“I believe there is a recklessness that comes into play when you choose to comment under a picture of a three-year-old child about that three-year-old,” she added.
The progressive former Democratic US Senator Ted Kaufman wrote at Forbes, on 22 July 2014:
Another year has passed with no one from a Wall Street bank going to jail for the criminal behavior everyone knows helped cause the financial crisis. Fines against Wall Street banks are reaching $100 billion, but all will be paid by stockholders. Bank CEOs and managers pay no fines and face no prison.
There has been no reform — zilch, nada — of the credit-rating agencies. They are right back rating securities from issuers who pay them for their ratings.
If you still can’t trust the credit-rating on a bond, and if Wall Street’s bigs still stand immune from the law even after the 2008 crash they had played a huge role to cause, then in what way can the US Government itself be called a ‘democracy’?
Kaufman tries to get the American public interested in overcoming the US Government’s profound top-level corruption, but few US politicians join with him on that, because only few American voters understand that a corrupt government (especially one that’s corrupt at the very top) cannot even possibly be a democratic government.
However, America’s aristocracy are even more corrupt than Wall Street itself is, and they control Wall Street, behind the scenes. And their ‘news’media are under strict control to portray America as being still a democratic country that somehow lives up to its anti-aristocratic and anti-imperialistic Founders’ intentions and Constitution. Maybe all that remains of those Founders’ intentions today is that Britain’s aristocracy no longer rules America — but America’s aristocracy now does, instead. And, this isn’t much, if any, of an improvement.
Although the US aristocracy — America’s billionaires and centi-millionaires — are the principals, and Wall Street are only their financial representatives (rather than the aristocracy itself), Wall Street was blamed by liberals for the 2008 economic crash; and, of course, Wall Street did do lots of dirty work deceiving outside investors and many home buyers and others in order to extract from the public (including those much smaller investors) the hundreds of billions of dollars that the US aristocracy and its big-finance agents drew in pay and bonuses and other ways, from these economic extractions. But the aristocrats themselves emerged unscathed, even in their reputations, and were mainly financially enriched by the scams, which had been set-up by Wall Street in order to enrich the investment-insiders (the aristocrats themselves) at the expense of investment-outsiders, and of the public-at-large. Conservatives blamed the Government for the crash (as if the Government didn’t represent only the aristocracy, but instead represented the American public). However, liberals blamed Wall Street (the financial agents of America’s aristocracy). And, nobody blamed the aristocracy itself.
America’s entire political system, the liberal and the conservative politicians and press, thus hid, from the public, the role that the principals, the aristocrats themselves, had played, demanding these crimes from and by their agents. In other words: the top people who had caused the 2008 crash, didn’t only — and all of them did — avoid prison entirely, but the worst that some of them suffered, was only that the financial firms that some of them had headed, became hit by wrist-slap fines, and that some of their lower-level employees who had actually executed or carried out the scams are being prosecuted and might someday be fined or even sent to prison. But neither the aristocrats nor their financial agents who run Wall Street were punished, either by the law, nor by their personal reputations. They still are treated in their ‘news’media as sages and ‘philanthropists’, instead of as the nation’s most-successful organized gangsters.
US President Barack Obama himself protected the top Wall Street people, but, because he was a liberal — i.e., a conservative who is hypocritical enough to damn conservatism in public; or, in other words, a conservative who misrepresents what he is — he publicly condemned, in vague terms, “the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis”, even while he had his Administration prosecute none of them, and even while he assured Wall Street’s top people privately “I’m protecting you.” Obama had told the Wall Street bigs, near the start of his regime, on 27 March 2009, in private, inside the White House: “My administration is the only thing between you and the pitchforks. … I’m not out there to go after you. I’m protecting you. … I’m going to shield you.” And that’s what he did. To him, the public were just “pitchforks,” like the KKK bigots who had chased Blacks with pitchforks and lynched them during the early 20th Century were. The heads of Wall Street firms that were being bailed-out by US taxpayers were persecuted victims of the public, in that US President’s eyes. To them, the public are merely a mob.
And, on 20 September 2016, Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America’s Future, headlined “Banks Used Low Wages, Job Insecurity To Force Employees To Commit Fraud”; so, there was no way that the employees could keep their jobs except to do the crimes that they were being virtually forced by their bosses to do. The criminality was actually at the very top — even above where Obama had promised “I’m protecting you,” which was directed instead only to the Wall Street bigs, and not to the billionaires they served. And even those people mainly weren’t billionaires at all; they were mainly just top financial agents for the billionaires, grasping to join the aristocracy. Obama, like they, represented the billionaires, though as a politician; and, so, he talked publicly against some of these agents, basically against Republican ones, in order to keep the votes of Democrats — he just kept suckering the liberals, the Democratic Party of the US aristocracy’s voters.
The aristocracy’s ‘news’media present the storyline that the billionaires and centi-millionaires were merely among the many victims of the scams that had produced the 2008 crash; but there is a problem with that storyline: the Government bailed-out those giant investors, because those were overwhelmingly the investors in “Strategically Important Financial Institutions” — not in medium and small-sized ones, not in merely community banks, but in the giant banks and insurers.
These mega-investors were the controlling interests in America’s international corporations. They consequently controlled US Government politics and political fundraising.
Cheated investors, and illegally foreclosed home-owners, were nominally protected in the laws, but even the federal Government’s own studies of actual results showed that almost all of these people, the real direct victims, were simply being ignored — even while Wall Street and its mega-investors got bailed-out by taxpayers.
The entire system, both private and public, was thus controlled by the aristocracy; and, so, even now a decade after the crash, the responsible aristocrats remain at the very top, both financially and in terms of prestige, and the statutes-of-limitations on possible prosecutions of decisions they had made which had actually produced the crash, have expired, so that these individuals can’t be prosecuted, not even if an honest person were elected to the White House and were to become supported by an honest Congress. “Equal Justice Under Law” — this certainly isn’t that, nor anything close to it. In fact, America has the world’s highest percentage of its population in prison of any country, but aristocrats never end up there unless the aristocrat is a drug-kingpin, and even those are rarely prosecuted, even though their underlings are. And, how can such a nation as this, be called a “democracy”? But it’s not only a dictatorship; it is an imperial one: Obama himself said many times, such as on 28 May 2014, “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation,” which means that every other nation was “dispensable” to him; and, any foreign aristocracy — and any democracy (if such any longer exists) — will therefore be either a vassal-nation, or else “the enemy,” and thus be destroyed, at the sole discretion of America’s (and its allied) aristocracies.
For example, to George W. Bush, Saddam Hussein was “the enemy” and Iraq was “dispensable” (to use Obama’s term); and, to Obama, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad, and Viktor Yanukovych, were “enemies,” and those nations also were “dispensable.” During earlier eras, Mohammed Mosaddegh, and Jacobo Arbenz, and Salvador Allende, were “enemies,” whose governments were, in their own times, “dispensable,” and so the US aristocracy replaced them by US-Government-selected tyrants. (Assad, however, was able to stay in power, not only because he had the support of the majority of Syrians, but because Russia decided to protect Syria’s national sovereignty — to make its firm stand, there, not allow that ally, too, to fall by means of an American invasion, as Ukraine had fallen by means of an American coup in 2014.) Trump seems to think that Iran and North Korea are especially “dispensable” (again, using Obama’s term).
Trump came to power promising opposition against the US aristocracy; but, instead, he’s on the attack against Obama’s least-bad policies, while trying to out-do Obama’s worst policies (such as by his cancelling the Iran deal, and by his trying to destroy Obamacare and the Paris Climate Agreement). If Obama turned out to be a Democratic George W. Bush, then perhaps Trump will turn out to be a Republican Barack Obama, and this will be the ‘bipartisanship’ that US voters say they want. But the polls don’t show that America’s electorate actually want the type of ‘bipartisanship’ that the US aristocracy are delivering, via the nonstop neoconservatism of Bush, and then of Obama, and then (perhaps too) of Trump. The aristocracy are neoconservative (or “imperialistic,” to employ the Continental term for it); and, though the public don’t even know what that means, bipartisan neoconservatism always bring on yet more invasions and wars, which lower the welfare of the public, even while the welfare of the aristocrats goes up from it. The public just don’t know this.
A good example, recently, of how the US aristocracy deceive the US public, to accept such a barbaric Government (a neoconservative regime) is the uniform neoconservatism of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties, and of their respective ‘news’media, this uniform neoconservatism that’s being reflected by the almost simultaneous publication in the Establishment’s own Foreign Affairs (from the Council on Foreign Relations), and from the British Guardian that’s now controlled by George Soros and US and-affiliated international corporations, and also from the US military-industrial complex’s bipartisan neoconservative propaganda-organ The Atlantic, and also from the neoconservative Vox online ‘news’-site. In all of these ‘news’media, almost on the very same day, are being published articles by, and interviews of, Ms. Emma Sky, a thoroughly undistinguished and undistinguishable neoconservative “intellectual” (CFR, Yale, Harvard, Oxford, Officer of the British Empire, etc.), who, with no demonstrated outstanding abilities, but only with the hypocrisy and callousness that aristocrats tend to seek out in those whom they select to execute their dirty-work, graduated from an elite college and then (without needing to obtain any higher academic or other degree, and with no record of personal achievement at anything) went virtually straight into advising governments and serving as the US invading and occupying General David Petraeus’s (the US torture-meister’s) right-hand political advisor in Iraq, with the title of “Governorate Co-ordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003-2004”, and, then, ultimately, as “advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010,” before becoming widely published in the US empire’s various ‘news’media, with not only these hypocritical articles from her that were linked-to at those four publications, but also books, all of them being standard discreet neoconservative fare, ‘compassionately’ gung-ho on the US empire, and especially rabid against Iran, because Iranians in 1953 had voted for Mohammed Mosaddegh as Prime Minister, who promptly passed a land-reform act, and nationalized the UK aristocracy’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, after which the US CIA engineered a coup overthrowing him, grabbing Iran’s oil, and establishing in Iran the Pahlevi Shah’s brutal dictatorship with torture-chambers, which dictatorship Ms. Sky evidently wants restored in some form to Iran, perhaps as punishment to the Iranian people, for having stood up against the American invaders and occupiers, in 1953. Such people are PR agents, not really journalists or historians — of anything. But, apparently, readers find their misrepresentations to be tolerable; so, at least her propaganda isn’t amateurish. If only readers would just ask themselves the type of question that the victims of these invasions might likely ask, then the true character of such writers would become horrendously and immediately clear: “What right do you have to be invading and occupying our land?”
No one can understand the reality on the basis of the West’s honored ‘historians’ and ‘journalists’, because they’re propagandists for the imperial system, which used to be British but now is American. The neoconservative New York TimesSunday Book Review section published, on 12 July 2015, a review from the neoconservative Christopher Dickey, the Foreign Editor of the neoconservative The Daily Beast ‘news’-site, of the neoconservative Emma Sky’s book The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq. He presented Iran as being America’s enemy-in-chief, and presented especially “Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, the section of the Revolutionary Guards responsible for covert and overt operations in Lebanon, Syria and, above all, Iraq” as being America’s enemy; and he wrote that:
the betrayal of the Sunnis by the Baghdad government the Americans left behind has been crucial to recruiting by the self-proclaimed caliphate. Many of those who had helped crush Al Qaeda in Iraq eight years ago have concluded that no one except ISIS will protect them from Suleimani’s fighters and flunkies.
To counter Iran in Iraq and prevent the alienation that created ISIS would have required a better ambassador than Hill and a more attentive State Department than the one run by Hillary Clinton. It would have required, perhaps, a thousand Emma Skys. But there was only one of those. And it would have meant many more years of enormous involvement on the ground, but the American people had no taste for that.
Even Hillary Clinton wasn’t enough of a neocon to suit him; but Emma Sky was.
Neoconservatives support Israel, and support the Saud family who rule as absolute dictators over — they own — Saudi Arabia. And, both Israel and the Saud family have labelled Iran as an “existential threat” to themselves, without ever providing any reasonable evidence to indicate it to be that, neither against the Saud family nor against a non-apartheid Israel (though some Iranian leaders have indeed damned the existing apartheid Israel). The US aristocracy are in bed with both the Saud family and the Israeli Government, to conquer Iran — yet again, to control it, like during 1953-1979. The three aristocracies — the Sauds, America’s aristocracy, and Israel’s aristocracy — are perpetrating a Long War against not only Iran, which is the leading Shia-majority nation, but also against Shia Muslims in all countries.
One cannot understand US foreign relations without, as I titled this matter in a previous article, “Understanding the Power-Contest Between Aristocracies”. That article opened, “At the core of global power stands the conflict between the Sauds and their Sunni clergy, versus the Iranians and their Shiite clergy. One can’t understand US-Russian relations, nor much else of what is happening in the world, without knowing the relevant historical background; and the origins and nature of the Sunni war against Shia are arguably the most essential part of that.”
This is more important to the US aristocracy than is anything that concerns the welfare of the American public. And, in order to understand why we invaded Iraq in 2003, and Syria subsequently — not to mention invaded Libya in 2011, which was run by the Sunni moderate, Muammar Gaddafi, who wanted good relations with both Iran and Russia — one must understand the US-Israeli-Saudi obsession to reconquer Iran, and to wage wars against Shia everywhere. The US, and Western publics, are in the thrall of these three aristocracies; and writers such as Emma Sky and Christopher Dickey are propagandists for those masters. Only in this light do their writings actually make sense — as propaganda. Why do people pay good money to read or hear propaganda?
With permission from
Sept 23, 2017
The more people there are who ignore facts that contradict their beliefs, the likelier a dictatorship will emerge within a given country. Here is how aristocracies, throughout the Ages, have controlled the masses, by taking advantage of this widespread tendency people have, to ignore contrary facts:
What social scientists call “confirmation bias” and have repeatedly found to be rampant,* is causing the public to be easily manipulated, and has thus destroyed democracy by replacing news-reporting, by propaganda — ‘news’ that’s false — in a culture where lies which pump the agendas of the powerful (including lies pumped by the billionaire owners of top ‘news’media and of the media they own) are almost never punished (and are often not even denied to be true). Thus, lies by those powerful liars almost always succeed at enslaving the minds of the millions, to believe what the top economic-and-power class want those millions of people to believe — no matter how false it might happen actually to be.
Recently, a particularly stark example of this came to my attention. On 15 September 2017, an article that I wrote for the Strategic Culture Foundation, and which was titled by a true statement that I had only recently discovered to be true, was republished at a news-site that I consider one of the best around, “Signs of the Times” or “SOTT” for short, and a reader-comment there, simply rejected that title-statement and the entire article, because it contradicted what the person believes. This commenter entirely ignored the evidence that I had provided in the article, which proved the statement to be true.
No matter how irrefutable the evidence is, most people reject anything which contradicts their deeply entrenched false beliefs, and this reader-comment crystallized for me, this phenomenon of “confirmation bias” — the phenomenon of ignoring evidence that contradicts what one believes.
The article was titled “Liberalism doesn’t respect a nation’s sovereignty.” I never knew that fact until I researched it, but I found, after looking through (and my article quoting key documents from) the history of the matter, that it’s actually the case: that liberalism (as it’s understood and defined by the scholars of the subject, and as it’s based upon the key formative documents of the historical tradition, “liberalism”) rejects a nation’s sovereignty. This fact shocked me to discover; so, I wrote an article documenting it, and SCF accepted it, and it then became republished at a few other sites, including SOTT.
The reader-comment at SOTT which for me personified confirmation-bias, was (in its entirety): “This is a rather new twist blaming liberals for invading countries. I’ve always associated liberalism with the left wing and democratic, progressive politics. I’ve always associated conservatism with the right wing, big business, militarism and invading other countries. Trying to move the goal posts, are we?”
That person never clicked onto my article’s links documenting the case, nor even read the quotations given in the article itself from John Locke and from Adam Smith, who were key founders of “liberalism” as that tradition has come down to us. He instead ignored all of that evidence, and stated — entirely without evidence of any sort — that I (and SOTT, and SCF, for publishing it) were “Trying to move the goal posts.”
I (a Bernie Sanders voter, and a lifelong progressive and opponent of conservatism) am “Trying to move the goal posts” — how? By pointing out the manufactured phoniness of ‘liberalism’? By pointing out a key way in which liberalism was designed by its aristocratic sponsors (in this case by the aristocrats who sponsored Locke and Smith), to be an ideology that would encourage conquest, empire, and discourage democracy (which is based upon the sanctity of national sovereignty — based upon the lack of imposition of government by or on behalf of anyone who isn’t a resident on the land). Liberalism, I show there, was designed for Empire, not for democracy. That reader simply refused to consider the evidence.
People who insist upon deceiving themselves disgust me. Anyone who blocks out the key relevant facts and persists in believing the lies they were raised with, or became fooled into believing, doesn’t harm only themselves by the lies they believe; they vote on the basis of the lies they believe, and thus these people who refuse to be open-minded destroy democracy, and invite control of the nation by the aristocracy (who sponsor the proponents of those lies). People who refuse to question their own beliefs, become increasingly putrid pools of their own false beliefs, which have been created and nurtured and sustained and become larger and larger pools of lies, by constant repetition from the media and lobbyists of the rich and powerful, so as to enable the exploiters to enslave the masses, via those constantly repeated and embellished lies.
Such self-‘justifying’ fools, who refuse to clean-up their conceptual pool that’s been increasingly polluted by lies, are enemies of democracy, no matter how much they may consider themselves to be ‘liberals’. They don’t even know the reality of what liberalism is. One thing that it definitely is not (as my article documented) is progressivism (which is utterly opposed to foreign conquest and to the entire imperial project of imposed rule, regardless whether by outright invasions or else by coups).
Thus, we have two dominant ideologies against progressivism: One is conservatism, which everyone recognizes to be against progressivism and for Empire and constant conquest, profitable war for the arms-merchants and for the ‘news’media owners who also benefit from stirring up invasion-fever, not only like William Randolph Hearst did but today like they all do. The other is liberalism, which hides that it’s actually conservative — hides this, by being ever-so-sweet toward certain ethnicities or other groups that are being oppressed domestically, and by vociferously condemning conservatives for what is actually nothing more than the blatancy of conservatism’s favoritism toward the aristocracy.
An authentic democracy cannot be based upon a “demos” (a public) that is overwhelmingly composed of suckers — manipulated fools. Only by means of the tiny aristocracy plus the huge mass of their suckers, does a democracy degenerate into a fascism. (For example, something like this can be supported overwhelmingly by the political Party that dominates the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, state capitals, state legislatures, and runs the U.S. White House, in this ‘democratic’ nation — ‘democratic’ according to the propaganda; but if this were really a democracy, then none of those politicians would be able to win public office.)
* A well-established central finding of psychological research, concerning “confirmation bias” or “motivated reasoning” (which are two phrases referring to people’s tendency to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of any contrary facts), is that individuals evaluate whatever they read or hear according to their pre-existing ideas about the given subject. Specifically, psychologists have found that people tend to pay attention to whatever confirms their existing ideas, and tend to ignore whatever contradicts those pre-established beliefs.
For examples, the following studies are available online:
“Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs,” in the July 2006 American Journal of Political Science, reported: “We find a confirmation bias – the seeking out of confirmatory evidence – when [people] are free to self-select the source of arguments they read. Both the confirmation and disconfirmation biases lead to attitude polarization … especially among those with the strongest priors [prior beliefs] and highest level of political sophistication [the highest degree of exposure to, and involvement in, the given subject-matter that the study was dealing with].” Prejudices were stronger among supposed experts than among non-“experts”: The more indoctrinated a person was, the more prejudiced. “People actively denigrate the information with which they disagree, while accepting compatible information almost at face value.” Moreover, “Those with weak and uninformed attitudes show less bias” (and this is actually one reason why the best jurors at trials are generally people who are not personally or professionally involved in any aspect of the given case – they are “non-experts”).
Sharon Begley’s article in the 25 August 2009 Newsweek titled “Lies of Mass Destruction: The same skewed thinking that supports a Saddam-9/11 link explains the power of health-care myths [such as that Obama’s health plan had ‘death panels’]” summarized the study in the May 2009 Sociological Inquiry, “‘There Must Be a Reason’: Osama, Saddam, and Inferred Justification,” which had surveyed, during October 2004, 49 conservative Republicans who admitted they believed that Saddam Hussein had caused the 9/11 attacks. This study found that 48 of these 49 extreme conservatives were utterly impervious to the overwhelming factual evidence which was provided to them by the presenters that contradicted this false belief they held.
A study concerning not political conservatism but merely resistance to new technologies is James N. Druckman’s “Framing, Motivated Reasoning, and Opinions about Emergent Technologies,” which was presented at a technological conference in 2009. He reported that, “factual information … is perceived in biased ways … (e.g., there is motivated reasoning).” “Facts have limited impact on initial opinions.” Moreover, “Individuals do not privilege the facts. … Individuals process new factual information in a biased manner. … Specifically, they view information consistent with their prior opinions as relatively stronger, and they view neutral facts as consistent with their existing” views.
“Motivated Reasoning With Stereotypes,” in the January 1999 Psychological Inquiry, found that, “When an applicable stereotype supports their desired impression of an individual, motivation can lead people to activate this stereotype, if they have not already activated it. … People pick and choose among the many stereotypes applicable to an individual, activating those that support their desired impression of this individual and inhibiting those that interfere with it.” Similarly, another research report, “The Undeserving Rich: ‘Moral Values’ and the White Working Class,” in the June 2009 Sociological Forum, found that John Kerry had probably lost the 2004 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush at least partly because white working class voters overwhelmingly believed that Bush was like themselves because he behaved like themselves, and that Kerry was not like themselves because his manner seemed “snooty.”