N e o – E l i t i s m

Deconstructing the Ruling Class for the Masses

Reality Asserts Itself: The Chris Hedges Interviews

In this seven part series, Paul Jay of The Real News Network  interviews author, journalist, and activist Chris Hedges. Full videos and transcripts with comment sections are available at the links below;

Pt 1 – Chris Hedges: Urban Poverty in America Made Me Question Everything http://ow.ly/nddGR

Pt 2 – Chris Hedges: Journalism Should Be About Truth, Not Career http://ow.ly/nddSK

Pt 3 – Chris Hedges: We Must Grasp Reality to Build Effective Resistance http://ow.ly/nddYw

Pt 4 – Chris Hedges: “America is a Tinderbox” http://ow.ly/nde2R

Pt 5 – Chris Hedges: The Liberal Elite has Betrayed the People They Claim to Defend http://ow.ly/nde7V

Pt 6 – Chris Hedges: As a Socialist, I Have No Voice in the Mainstream http://ow.ly/nhXmR

Pt 7 – Chris Hedges Answers Questions from Viewers http://ow.ly/nml9Q

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radicals & the 99%: Righteous Few or Moral Majority?

Radicals & the 99%: Righteous Few or Moral Majority?.

November 7, 2011 Posted by | Organizing | Leave a comment

Prosecute the Wall Street Mafia! Bill Black, Dylan Ratigan & David DeGraw on the Destruction of the Rule of Law

Dylan Ratigan Discussing Occupy Wall Street and prosecution of banking fraud with William K. Black and David DeGraw.

When it comes to prosecuting the lead players involved in the fraudulent financial activities that have led to the destruction of our economy, the Obama Administration, loaded with Wall Street campaign contributions and led by major financial firm operatives such as Tim Geithner and Bill Daley, has delivered empty rhetoric and minimal action. In the absence of leadership on this critical issue, it may come down to a new proposed OccupyWallStreet Department of Justice Working Group to restore the rule of law. The proposed group will feature members such as Bill Black, a man who has a strong track record of successfully prosecuting and jailing bankers during the S&L crisis.

In this video, David DeGraw joins Bill Black on the Dylan Ratigan Show to discuss the “epidemic of fraud” and the people who need to be held personally responsible for the destruction of our economic system.

October 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Thom Hartmann & Tom Linzey – Fighting back against Citizens United one community at a time

September 12, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the American Dream Still Alive? – Wealth Inequality Compared Among Nations

Last week – Canadian Members of Parliament brought up in important issue in their House of Commons…wealth inequality. A motion was agreed upon across Party lines that read: “This House notes the findings…that societies with smaller income differences between rich and poor have fewer health and social problems, such as teenage births, violence, mental illness and drug abuse; further notes that such societies have higher levels of trust between citizens and more social mobility; and therefore encourages the Government to promote policies that reduce income inequality.” In other words – they’re going to do something about the richer getting richer and the poor getting poorer. So isn’t it about time we do the same?

July 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Disadvantages of an Elite Education

Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers.

By William Deresiewicz

It didn’t dawn on me that there might be a few holes in my education until I was about 35. I’d just bought a house, the pipes needed fixing, and the plumber was standing in my kitchen. There he was, a short, beefy guy with a goatee and a Red Sox cap and a thick Boston accent, and I suddenly learned that I didn’t have the slightest idea what to say to someone like him. So alien was his experience to me, so unguessable his values, so mysterious his very language, that I couldn’t succeed in engaging him in a few minutes of small talk before he got down to work. Fourteen years of higher education and a handful of Ivy League degrees, and there I was, stiff and stupid, struck dumb by my own dumbness. “Ivy retardation,” a friend of mine calls this. I could carry on conversations with people from other countries, in other languages, but I couldn’t talk to the man who was standing in my own house.

It’s not surprising that it took me so long to discover the extent of my miseducation, because the last thing an elite education will teach you is its own inadequacy. As two dozen years at Yale and Columbia have shown me, elite colleges relentlessly encourage their students to flatter themselves for being there, and for what being there can do for them. The advantages of an elite education are indeed undeniable. You learn to think, at least in certain ways, and you make the contacts needed to launch yourself into a life rich in all of society’s most cherished rewards. To consider that while some opportunities are being created, others are being cancelled and that while some abilities are being developed, others are being crippled is, within this context, not only outrageous, but inconceivable.

I’m not talking about curricula or the culture wars, the closing or opening of the American mind, political correctness, canon formation, or what have you. I’m talking about the whole system in which these skirmishes play out. Not just the Ivy League and its peer institutions, but also the mechanisms that get you there in the first place: the private and affluent public “feeder” schools, the ever-growing parastructure of tutors and test-prep courses and enrichment programs, the whole admissions frenzy and everything that leads up to and away from it. The message, as always, is the medium. Before, after, and around the elite college classroom, a constellation of values is ceaselessly inculcated. As globalization sharpens economic insecurity, we are increasingly committing ourselves—as students, as parents, as a society—to a vast apparatus of educational advantage. With so many resources devoted to the business of elite academics and so many people scrambling for the limited space at the top of the ladder, it is worth asking what exactly it is you get in the end—what it is we all get, because the elite students of today, as their institutions never tire of reminding them, are the leaders of tomorrow.

Cont’ …

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Elitism | , , | Leave a comment

To Regulate or Not to Regulate: That is the Question

I have been thinking a lot about the ineffectiveness of regulatory systems, and the relationship to Ecologist Garrett Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons concept for understanding how we come to be at the brink of numerous environmental [and economic] catastrophes. In 2011 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the Eastern Mountain Lion extinct, exemplifying a precarious system at best, and showing that impotent laws cannot prevent total destruction. Some small scale regulatory models are effective, such as issuing fishing licenses to ensure a recreational lake remains fully stocked, for example –where anyone can get a fishing license, and catch a limit of fish during a certain time period. Regulating works at the smaller municipal level because the economic laws of substitution and demand have limited externalities. We can effectively regulate, and self-manage commonly-held resources without the interference of powerful monied interests, only if there is minimal commerce to gain from its exploitation. Most people in the fishing community example may not even want to fish, but the people that do might be forced to fish elsewhere if an increase in demand makes it difficult to get a license -even if the fees remain unchanged. Greater demand, or an increase in fees, can force people to substitute the activity altogether, but through effective regulatory management the ecosystem of the lake remains intact for future citizens along with its related economy.

On a larger scale, since our government does not ‘physically’ catch or redistribute fish that others have caught, it tries to regulate the supply to protect a sustainable industry and dependent economies. It is not a good thing for anyone –especially for people with modest means– if ineffective regulating causes a downward spiral in supply and consequent increases in price, but it is much worse if the Tragedy of the Commons becomes reality, and we are left without a species or related industries altogether.

Problems like corruption and global consensus complicate matters when we turn regulatory models to economies of scale. Large companies swell with ranks of employees that help to aggregate great sums of corporate wealth and power. Becoming too big to fail through a codependent rapacious relationship is almost guaranteed by design, thus the reliant parties are held hostage; threatened with the prospect of widespread unemployment, economic loss and suffering. Government becomes a revolving door for these large companies to place people in positions of power, corrupting our highest officials with large reciprocal donations, and lobbying our lawmakers to rewrite legislation favoring the interests of the few. Powerful companies and business alliances inevitably end up in control of regulatory bodies, thus perpetuating the Tragedy of Commons by one company or shadow cartel, and ironically in the name of free-market supply and prosperity for all. Globally we are all in the same lake, so to speak, and supply-side nations with weak or nonexistent enforcement (prearranged by neoliberal policies of globalization) add to a global Tragedy of the Commons, as do consuming first-world nations that drive the excessive worldwide demand.

Even more challenges arise when we change the regulatory focus from conservation of natural resources, like fish, forests, water and oil, to prevention of environmental damage, like smog, or carcinogenic contamination. Regulation confers a legal right to exist, making it legal to pollute a certain amount, or a specific area. Regulating does not prevent places like cancer alley, or the ubiquity of Persistant Organic Pollutants, nor does it avert needless nuclear fall-out from the tragic disaster at Fukushima, which may be a harbinger to even worse U.S. catastrophes.

To enforce regulations, the courts issue ineffective fines, and handout deferred prosecution to big businesses, but the laws are influenced and crafted by these same big businesses and their groups, through PR firms, think tanks, lobbyists, and highly paid corporate attorneys. These battles can only be fought at the Federal or State level since local governments lack the resources to stand up to big business bullying, as seen recently with hydraulic fracturing across the nation, or the Koch brothers monied interests. Unfortunately municipalities do not have the capacity to defy the State and Federal government’s over-ruling commerce laws, which allow and legitimize the bullying. Regulating may work in simplistic economic models without competing externalities, but the answers in the real world need to be debated transparently in government, and in universities, if they are to get resolved.

What are some alternative ideas to regulating? Can nature itself be given constitutional rights? Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research writes about taxes and subsidies and the inefficiencies of cap and trade, vs. war. Is Cap and Dividend any better, or is it just another elitist neo-liberal ruse? Even success requires vigilance against the dismantling corruption of revolving door politics and the self-interests of greed. Self-interest lives in the short run, and as Keynes put it, “In the long-run we’re all dead.” Is it human nature to wish for the long term, but live in the short term? Jared Diamond speaks at a Ted conference about why societies collapse, outlining a conflict of interest between competing elites and the rest of society. Nobel Prize-winning economist Elinor Ostrom proved that people can—and do—work together to manage commonly-held resources without degrading them. These (CPR) Common Pool Resources of self management are sustainable without the interference of big business. Governments create vast national parks that currently fight to protect our natural resources, but can they also just outlaw smog, or toxins, or Fracking? It’s not the same as outlawing marijuana or cocaine, is it?

-Ice Goldberg

Here are a few choice Podcasts for your commute with Thomas Linzey Esq. and Mari Margil on Democracy Matters

  1. Regulatory Vs. Rights Based Law
  2. The New Civil Rights Movement is Growing
  3. Citizens United Discussion
  4. Democracy Matters Podcast page

Blogs and Videos

  1. Rights Fight: Local Democracy vs. Factory Farms The Entrenched Powerful Interests
  2. Linzey is creating an environmental movement Rights of Nature (VIDEO) The Pachamama and Global Alliances
  3. De Young, R. (1999) Tragedy of the Commons

March 12, 2011 Posted by | Corruption, Elitism, Globalization, Green | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Exposing Our Enemy: Meet the Economic Elite

… made up of thousands of individuals who subscribe to an ideology of exploitation and the belief that wealth and resources need to be concentrated into the fewest hands possible (theirs), at the expense of the many. That being said, there are some definite lead players in this group and it is important that we are not too vague and expose the individuals who publicly lead them. Focusing on the fundamental structure of the US economy, we have people like Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, Ben Bernanke, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Alan Greenspan, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, John Mack, Vikram Pandit, John Thain, Hank Greenberg, Ken Lewis, John J. Castellani, Edward Yingling and Tom Donohue.

From: http://ping.fm/V6m6S

March 7, 2011 Posted by | Corruption, Elitism | , , | Leave a comment

How Activists Organize

Watching these videos, and exploring the additional materials and links, is a primer for understanding how seemingly powerless activists organize and affect widespread change. One caveat is understanding elitism and the irony of democracy; that changing status quo from one ruling class to another does not necessarily improve all conditions or eliminate oppression and corruption. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, regardless of the benevolence in its humble beginnings.

From: http://ping.fm/cxQ1L

March 7, 2011 Posted by | Organizing | , , | 1 Comment

Public Service = Corporate Collusion (Revolving Door)

March 6, 2011 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , , | Leave a comment