In a nightmarish, Clockwork Orange kind of world in which the key players know no limits to violating the standards of human decency and morality, the modern-day ultra-rich — the billionaires — have cleverly created venues located in the Caribbean and remote parts of Great Britain where they can hide and launder their ill-gotten and greed-gotten gains — as pirates of yore once buried their plundered treasure on remote, uninhabited islands — often in the Caribbean. This is the sole function of secrecy jurisdictions, or ‘tax havens’: to hide and facilitate the laundering of the ultra-rich’s otherwise taxable and ill-gotten gains. However, secrecy jurisdictions are just one support of many that hold up the stage upon which what Dr. Cornell West has called “the gangsterization of the world” is being played out.
Where do these monstrously greedy people— these ‘world-class gangsters’ — come from? By what dark forces and in what kinds of diseased incubators are they grown? These are people who are so sick with greed that they can live with the fact that there are other people, just like themselves, nearby and all around the world who are malnourished, homeless, sick and in need of medical care that they cannot afford — and stuck living painful, miserable lives with no opportunity to lift themselves out of their poverty and suffering. The ultra-rich jealously cling to and withhold the resources that should be going to alleviate the poverty and suffering that is all around them. And the pièce de résistance: the people who are stuck in conditions of poverty and suffering are in those conditions because of the corrupt governmental and economic systems that the ultra-rich have fiendishly rigged up to their liking. We are living in a modern-day version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. A twenty-first-century version of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. How can this be?
The only explanation I can find for this ultra-pathological state of affairs which has been concocted and devised by the ultra-rich is that the very few ultra-rich rulers, or oligarchs, are fearful and resentful of the people they have swindled. Not everyone in modern times is suffering to some great extent, but we are all suffering to some extent because of their greed. Only people who are fearful of and resentful of others could so connive and cooperate to fleece so many of their sufficiency and some even their means of survival. I do not overstate the problem. The levels of injustice and injury occurring in U.S. society today, and in many parts of the world, are of epic proportions. They stagger the imagination — and are completely correctable.
There are now 500,000 — half a million — people in the United States, the richest nation in all of human history, who do not have a place to live. They do not have shelter or access to basic facilities that most of us take for granted. It would not seem possible that there would be such great numbers of homeless people outside of a catastrophic economic depression. These are people who are living lives equivalent to those of refugees after some cataclysmic act of nature. One would not believe this possible in such normal times as we are living in. But there it is! The homelessness crisis started during the Clinton administration, which ushered in the neoliberal period. The Clintons worked hard to get the so-called Welfare Reform Act passed by Congress, kicking hundreds of thousands of the poorest Americans — people who were periodically, chronically, or permanently unemployed or underemployed — off of their much needed, meager financial and housing assistance.
The Clintons, who gave the impression of being liberal, progressive, and on the side of the people, were also able to get the so-called Landmark Crime Bill passed, which mandated stiff prison sentences for petty drug crimes that the poor and minorities were likely to commit, and which allocated the taxpayer funds for the massive expansion of U.S. prisons and the correspondingly massive increase in the number of incarcerated Americans. All of this worked to deprive mostly young, poor, minority men of their freedom, decimating their populations in their communities and further destroying the family unit in those communities, and further exacerbating the homelessness crisis.
During the Clinton administration, there was also the gutting of the Glass-Steagall Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1932 after the great banking crash of 1929 and during the Great Depression to prevent a repeat of the kind of recklessness and fraud on the part of bankers and investment bankers. It was the repeal of several key provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act which led to the Great Recession — and was another neoliberal jewel in the crown of the Clinton administration. Further down the road, the Great Recession came like clockwork in our nightmarish, neoliberal, Clockwork Orange society, sending yet more hundreds of thousands of people into the brutal condition of homelessness. In the modern era, each of the administrations that followed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has played their part in setting up the stage for that likeable and seemingly compassionate Clinton couple to come on and play their part in getting the ultra-rich’s neoliberal agenda enacted — and so have the political actors of the following administrations.
If all of the massive suffering of the poor in the United States has been caused by calculated, neoliberal policies that were designed and mandated by the ultra-rich oligarchs, who stand behind the curtain of our governments, then the question arises: Why? Why would they dream of causing so much misery and hardship? Most would not wish such misery on even their worst enemies. It would appear this is a case for psychologists. It has been proven that anger and resentment stem from fear. But this brings up the question: what are the billionaire oligarchs afraid of? I would suggest that from the time the ultra-rich determined that they would pursue the path of predatory gain — in which they preyed on their fellows to procure much, much more than their fair share of the common wealth — they put themselves in the position of always having to watch their backs out of fear of retaliation. This kind of fear — the need for constant vigilance — is very potent. Watching one’s back at all times against the righteous rage of thousands or even millions of people one has harmed — egregiously — can be extremely exhausting, and nerve-wracking. No “Do Not Disturb” sign hung on the door of a mansion or corporate headquarters can keep this kind of outrage and rage out. No, this requires pulling out the big guns.
Having put people in the position where you are threatening to take away, or have taken away, their property and means of survival, they are going to want to fight you with everything they’ve got to recover it. This is only natural. All human beings have the instinct to survive, and a sense of justice — and people will do most anything to survive, and to make things right — and it doesn’t matter how big or powerful the baddies are. People will always search out and find ways to vanquish the rogue predators among them. If it were otherwise, human civilization would have gone the way of the dinosaurs. This is why the ultra-rich oligarchs must constantly be on the qui vive? — a sentry’s question: “Who goes there?”
This is why the ultra-rich work so hard to justify their predatory, and at times even genocidal, policies and directives. And this is why they spend untold billions to hire people to find ways to try to justify their behavior. This is why they have spent untold billions to gain complete ownership of and control over the U.S. — and most if not all of Europe’s —mass media outlets. They also had to manipulate our ‘democratically’ elected officials to get around certain constitutional issues of anti-trust law and the First Amendment mandate of Freedom of the Press.
Why is it surprising that the Clinton administration was responsible for getting the so-called Telecommunications Act passed by the U.S. Congress, which gave the billionaires the green light to swallow up our mainstream media — our formerly free press — through acquisitions and mergers? These are still going on today. If they continue, we will end up in the state the former Soviet Union and Communist China were in where the news outlets were basically monolithic, government-run news agencies. Does anyone recall the former Soviet news agency TASS? This strategy of monopolizing the media outlets was put into play during the Reagan administration, though it was most likely planned much earlier. A photogenic, likeable, “trustworthy” team of politicians like the Clintons was needed to complete the project. The harsh, Republican, ex-CIA Director George H.W. Bush, had no chance of getting it done, let alone getting the free trade agreement with China, or NAFTA, passed. He was so obviously authoritarian. He actually delivered a speech in which he espoused the New World Order. Not exactly a slick P.R. job! Enter the down-to-earth, little known, prior governor of Arkansas and his lovely, charming wife. They were real hand-shaking, baby-kissing ‘people-persons.’
It is due to the now suffocated, formerly much more free press that we don’t hear much from the mainstream media — from which 90% of Americans get their news — about the plight of the poor, the homeless, or even the hardships of the working class, though these are the stories that are most important to and most people. What we do get is that the economy is booming and unemployment is at a record low and the stock market is strong — and Starbucks advertising, yada, yada, yada. Nonetheless, most people are aware of the injustice and brutality of the ultra-rich toward them.
Therefore, it is the palpable outrage of their victims that the predators of today’s world fear most. And it is this fear that fuels their anger and hatred toward their victims. You can almost hear them moaning, “Why can’t they just accept that we are stronger, smarter, and better than them, and be good subjects?” The ultra-wealthy are actually irritated that the victims of their rapacious plundering are not agreeable to being stripped of their property, and fundamental rights — and in some cases, their means of survival. Further, these modern-day pirates have illegitimately plundered so much wealth — wealth that the poor desperately need to restore livable conditions in society, and which the working class need to restore conditions in society in which they will be able to thrive — that they could never make use of it in any meaningful, personal sense in a thousand lifetimes. But there it is!
The impulse on the part of the ultra-rich to be always acquiring more leads to a vicious cycle. The ultra-rich accumulate greater amounts of wealth relative to others, often in unethical ways. They then use their greater wealth to rig the system — the laws and regulations — so that they can accumulate even more wealth in even bigger and more unethical ways. In doing so, they inflame the people whom they are exploiting, and in reality, now stealing from. As a result, the ultra-wealthy become fearful and resentful of their victims — oddly enough, as it makes no sense, because honest, normal human beings would have to admit that they were being unfair, and that it was not right to accumulate wealth by cheating and making others suffer. But there it is!
Finally there is the endgame, which develops out of the increasingly twisted and sociopathic character of the ultra-rich. Their sense of superiority and entitlement increases as their vast wealth and power increase. They must tell themselves and others bigger and bigger lies to justify the greater and greater wrongs they are committing against the other people who inhabit the society with them — ironically, people whose ancestors most likely got along very well with their ancestors. People who they are actually related to in many different ways.
The greed of the ultra-rich does not stop at material wealth. Their ultimate goal becomes to attain and exercise absolute power over the rest of the people. Problem is, the rest of the people don’t want them to have that power. The people recognize that their overlords don’t have any right to that power, and it wouldn’t serve any useful purpose to allow them to have it. In fact, the ultra-rich have, by this phase, proven themselves to be unfair, dishonest, and dangerous. They are the enemy. In conclusion, there is plenty of good reason for the ultra-rich oligarchs to be fearful of the people. A great percentage of the people are on to their unfairness, dishonesty, and malevolence, and their designs for absolute power.
People intelligently behave like a herd. When one of the herd sees or hears any sign of danger, they put out signals to the rest of the herd — and these signals are passed on quickly and travel fast throughout the herd. In the age of the Internet, the signals are passed on literally at lightning speed. Those of us in the herd who have heard and seen the signals have started to rebel, but it isn’t practical to attack the oligarchy straight on in a military way.
What we are engaged in at this time is a Cold Class-War, very much like the Cold War we fought against the Soviet Union after WWII and up until the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse and disintegration of the Soviet Union. In that situation, it would have been counterproductive to attack the Soviet Union with our military, not to mention catastrophic and possibly apocalyptic. We did the strategically logical thing: we resisted them and fought against them in nonviolent ways, such as in political and economic ways. We fought a Cold War of competing to win the hearts and minds of the millions of people the Soviet Union was oppressing.
Things have changed a lot since the end of WWII when the Cold War started. The ultra-rich in Russia, and China, are now also frenetically exploiting and fleecing the rest of the people in those countries — and according to the findings of the investigative journalists who have studied the Panama Papers, the oligarchs of those countries are also stashing scandalous amounts of ill-gotten gains in secrecy jurisdictions. The reality is that a large proportion of people in the countries we are being told are our enemies are also fighting cold class-wars against those in power.
It would be wise to disregard most of what you have heard from the mainstream media. The ultra-rich oligarchs started buying off our ‘democratically elected’ officials decades ago, and ‘our’ elected officials — the same ones who take an oath to uphold and support the Constitution — have been doing their dirty work ever since. The oligarchs have directed them to nominate and confirm judges and Supreme Court justices who would eventually hold that corporations were actually people, and could contribute as much as they wished to political campaigns and candidates, because their political contributions were actually one and the same as free speech — a, shall we say, ‘favor’ the ultra-wealthy have been trying to pry from the Supreme Court for over 100 years. And it was a favor, as it was as unconstitutional as the day is long. Thus, they handed over to the ultra-wealthy — the billionaires — our elections, and our elected officials … our government, and with it, our economy and society. It would appear that the ultra-rich have been at this Cold Class-War a lot longer than the people have. But isn’t that always the way?
The most formidable and most dangerous enemy of the people of the United States is not Russia. It is not China. It is not the Muslims. It is not immigrants. It is not UFOs or aliens. We don’t have any realistic or logical reason to have any great fear of any of those countries or people — or aliens. The only real and present danger, the only really existential threat we face today, is the billionaire oligarchs. We are currently at the mercy of ‘democratically’ elected ‘representatives’ who do not listen to or care about us, the people, at all — much less ‘represent’ us, their constituents. They listen to and cater only to their ultra-rich campaign donors whom they must rely on to make it possible for them to get elected, and reelected.
However that may be, a revolution has begun. We are not that well organized — yet — but that is changing. Many people remain uninterested, apathetic, or unaware — and why shouldn’t they? The mainstream media almost never gives any coverage of the fact that our standard of living and average income have fallen drastically since the mid-1960s. But that is also changing. Independent news outlets are addressing these issues diligently and intelligently. The oligarchs are working hard to censor our Internet and tighten the controls on our freedoms of speech, expression, and assembly — but many of us are pushing back against them.
It doesn’t soothe the fears of those who are aware of the crises we face that the billionaire-owned mainstream media is incessantly singing their own praises and presenting themselves as being kind and well-intentioned, and even heroic and altruistic. Most people now see through that. In response to Jeff Bezos’ plan to spend a billion dollars to fight homelessness, journalists and editors of the independent news outlets asked, “Why doesn’t Bezos just pay his taxes? That would go a longer way toward solving the homelessness crisis.”
It doesn’t cheer those who are woke that the billionaire-owned mainstream media inundates us with DDOPE — distraction, distortion, omission, promotion, and erasure — 24/7/365. However, what is encouraging is that more and more of us can see through it. As for the woke — and our numbers are constantly growing — “They’re quite aware of what they’re going through,” as David Bowie so aptly put it. It was no mistake that Bowie singled out young people in that song. The younger the person is, the more likely it is that they are woke to what is going on. Many in the older generations are still lazing about in the fantasy that our government is democratically elected and acting in our best interest, and that We the People are determining what it does. But meanwhile, the oligarchs and the woke people have been spending vast amounts of time and resources arming themselves for and waging the Cold Class-War. Who will win? How long will it last? Will it turn into a hot war? What kind of world will we have in the next few years? In the next twenty? In the next century? These questions will be answered by and by.
Secrecy jurisdictions are but a symptom of the billionaire oligarchs’ usurpation of our democratic republic and democratic society. The ultra-wealthy — the billionaire club — are quite resourceful, having choked off most of the world’s real wealth. Though many in the world aren’t aware of what is going on at this moment in history, no one can say that this era does not merit everyone’s attention, concern, alarm, energy, and sacrifices in the fight to win the Cold Class-War.
There is so much at stake. The environment is up for grabs. If the fossil fuel industry and the oligarchs continue to rule, we are doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs — or at the very least, suffer in an ecologically devastated, overheated world. In the arena of women’s rights, the women’s rights activists and the sexists are locked in a struggle for power. We will continue to celebrate gains in women’s rights and equality, or we will be heading back to a much darker era. Our current president, #45, and many others like him have been sprucing up their ‘caves’ for the ‘weaker sex’ in hopes that 21st-century women will be arriving shortly to occupy them, barefoot, pregnant, and with straw brooms in hand. We will salvage democracy and together build a great and just and humane civilization, or we will fall upon the ash heap of the oligarchic dictatorships of human history, and be left with a cruel and oppressive government such as has not been seen since the Dark Ages — that is, if we survive the current century as a species. The enemy of our survival and way of life, of all our freedoms and rights, of our continuing progress in attaining a more desirable standard of living and continuing advances in science, technology, and the arts is none other than the ultra-rich class of oligarchs. And most of us now can clearly see that. The proofs are there.
One last word. As relates to war, and the Cold Class-War, in particular, I find the following quotation to be appropriate:
If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War