A mere couple of Typical Items from 14th May 2008:

Britain's rich get richer even as recession begins to bite


The choice of headline to mark 20th aniversary of the Sunday Times Rich List will hardly have given the newspaper’s editor sleepness nights: “Rich Get Richer under New Labour.” The same headline would suffice for each of the past 10 years.
But this time the uninterupted growth of wealth amongst the already super-rich takes place amidst a period of extreme economic turbulence, during which the living standards of working people have fallen sharply. As Sunday Times journalist Philip Beresford’s opening gambit illustrates: “Even as the storm clouds gather, Britiain’s super-rich have never been richer.”
Not only are the super-rich utterly impervious to the extortionate recent rises in the cost of living, but their wealth grows whether economic conditions are favourable or not.

Australian Labor's budget delivers for business and the wealthy


Handing down the Rudd Labor government’s first annual financial budget last night, Treasurer Wayne Swan claimed that its centrepiece was a “support package” for “working families” worth $55 billion over three years. Sections of the media have likewise portrayed it as a “Robin Hood” exercise, taking from the rich to give to the poor.
The reality is that the first Labor budget in 13 years hands the largest tax cuts to the wealthy, while slashing health, education and other social spending and diverting billions into the military and police.


















































































































































'The Power Elite'

'Families and churches and schools adapt to modern life; governments and armies and corporations shape it; and, as they do so, they turn these lesser institutions into means for their ends.'

So writes American sociologist C. Wright Mills on page 6 of his impressive book 'THE POWER ELITE' (1956). It is a book that is as highly regarded now as when it was written, perhaps moreso. Mills goes on in the same paragraph:

'Religious institutions provide chaplains to the armed forces where they are used as a means of increasing the effectiveness of its morale to kill. Schools select and train men for their jobs in corporations and their specialised tasks in the armed forces. The extended family has, of course, long been broken up by the industrial revolution, and now the son and the father are removed from the family, by compulsion if need be, whenever the army of the state sends out the call.

And the symbols of all these lesser institutions are used to legitimate the power and the decisions of the big three.'

The next paragraph begins:

'The life-fate of the modern individual depends not only upon the family into which he was born or which he enters by marriage, but increasingly upon the corporation in which he spends the most alert hours of his best years...'

Leaving aside the unfortunate gender bias (characteristic of the pre-1960s), Mills has homed in on perhaps the most terrible truth of our lives: the largely unchallenged fact that we, the masses, are ruled over by a small self-perpetuating elite. If this was all, we might find some mitigating slant on our predicament. But the reality is worse: serving the whims and catering to the needs of this elite is not merely the status quo, but (so far as the elite are concerned) our sole reason for existing. Attempts to lift ourselves from this rut - by means other than 'playing the capitalist game' and becoming ever more entrapped - is outlawed by this elite: it is either thwarted or crushed. So, however one looks at it, we, the masses, are both expendable pawns in a diabolic game, and unwitting victims of an ongoing injustice on a breathtaking scale. (For the evolutionary/psychological causes of this phenomenon see: FROMM - which nowadays can offer no justification, any more than primitive traits can be elicited to justify rape).

There does remain, of course, a few havens of freedom. But essentially there is no escape. And if those havens increased, the elite would destroy them all - since agents of the elite are everywhere, and they control or oversee the top echelons of virtuially every aspect of human life. The extent of their indifference to human suffering , their greed, their arrogance, their unrestrained brutality and sheer recklessnesss knows no limits.

Mills observes first of all that the elite predominately control Government, the Military and the Corporations (ie, Business). These institutions sustain everything we in the west call 'civilisation' - just as the sun sustains life.

In the US, the military has long been a cultural tradition: following WW2, and into the 50s, a right-wing (some would say paranoid) administration began funding the development of a vast military machine. The CIA was formed in the late 40s by John Foster Dulles who lost no time in recruiting like-minded Fascists and ex-Nazis. And during the anti-communist witch-hunts of the McCarthy period, when psycholpath Hoover ran the FBI - and when, discordantly, the UK was ending conscription - the US military only strengthened.

Despite the activities, as later came to light, of the infamous 'communist' spys - ie, Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt et al - the UK establishment was in no mood, after the devastation from WW2, to become pointlessly embroiled in witch-hunts or any of the kind of wild tangents the US were pursuing just to rein in a mere handful of supposed insubordinates. So for the UK, Government and Business prevailed; though a much smaller military culture poised not far behind - as was shown in the 70s when an absurdly misinformed Power Elite planned a coup to rescue itself from anticipated attempts by PM Harold Wilson to undermine them. Although less brash and - on the face of it - less brutal than in the US, these three dominant institutions are overwhelmingly powerful in the UK even so. And no reduction in their power is in sight; in fact, I'd say: the contrary.

Bleak as this is, it is the position today in March 2008.

Someone in the media recently asked: what was the purpose for invading Iraq. Were they joking, I wondered, or genuinely ignorant? Who hasn't heard the cynic's refrain: 'Follow the money.' or 'Follow the power.' (same thing)? Above all: Iraq's (meagre) support of Palestine that so infuriated Israel and (so logic suggests) inspired Mossad to set-up the 9/11 attacks to establish a pretext for invasion.

But why did the UK involve itself? By allowing itself to be run from the Pentagon, did the UK expect to extend its power? Either way, and regardless of the oil, the corporate estabishment has made vast $billions from the war: the defence industry, security (private mercenary armies), reconstruction industries (even though, completely predictably, they failed...) and the US military has vastly increased its base. The losers: the masses, the millions of low-paid in the US who have lost services, and likewise to a lesser extent the UK (what might they have otherwise spent the £10bn on?). And, more than anyone of course, the 1.2-million dead in Iraq, the poor sods who still live there and those millions who've been forced to flee.

Odd as it may seem now in 2008, the UK admiralty had to make persistent appeals to Thatcher before she would agree to re-take the Falklands. This, for some reason, is not general knowledge. Her advisers were either decent and sensible, which is very hard to believe, or else they'd failed to see the electoral advantage of the war. In any event, it was probably the least cost effective war of the 20th C - ie, cheaper to have made every inhabitant of those islands a millionaire several times over.

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Reading 'The Power Elite' though - for me - is like preaching to the converted. But who doesn't enjoy reading whatever confirms what they already know? Mills spells out in self evident detail that the masses' continued existence is only possible because it serves the Power Elite - ie, those at the head of Government, Military and Commerce (and those who oversee these institutions and benefit most from them).

The elite could, if they chose, build a police state and maintain even stricter control over everything - as in 30s Germany under Hitler, and Italy under Mussolini - and as is slowly happening in the US now. Much simpler is the relatively laissez-faire approach as we are still just managing to retain here in the UK - despite huge efforts from the US to influence things otherwise, to jail people without trial, to extradite without evidence, etc. But while their ends can be met as things stand, why should the elite bother to tighten its grip? At the faintest hint of trouble, though - regardless of the risk of antagonising the so easily placated 'innocuous' masses - then change there would be, rest assured!

So although the likes of me can escape the bastards’ clutches and avoid the enforced slavery we were trained for, it's clear that if enough people followed my example we'd all be hunted down and 'dealt with'. On this basis, I should consider myself lucky that most people conform. But the truth is, I don't. Even if it would create enormous upheaval and social instability, I would prefer some asserted effort by the masses to rise up, to challenge the bastards who rule (or rather: misrule) over everything, and move us into a new era of a fair society at last. A mad dream, but a worthwhile one I think.

It's puzzled me for years - certainly ever since the IRA blew-up that Brighton hotel and several of Thatcher's pernicious mob with it - why it is that so called 'terrorists' or 'freedom fighters' or 'suicide bombers' (call them what you like), don't always go for the top like that.

Because soon after that Brighton bomb the bastards in charge decided for once to deal with the problem. So now, with a more just situation in Northern Ireland, the IRA is reasonably happy and attacks have ceased. I therefore contend that if the outfits who represent those who oppose the brutal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were to send some competent assassins to exterminate a few of Blair's mob and Bush's mob who were responsible for launching the invasions, then you can bet it would be a very long time before other maniacs who gain those high positions that Blari and Bush reached - on behalf of the western elite - would launch another mad genocidal war. If the perpetrators of the Vietnam war had been hanged, then would Blair and Bush have risked invading either Iraq or Afghanistan? I'd say: definitely not!

War, though, remember, is a great benefit to the elite: loads of dosh is transfered from poor people to rich corporations and their shareholders, the military receive a boost in status, power and scale, and governments extend their power base - though if the war is lost, this last item is not realised... but who cares, the elite will reason, when we get much richer and more powerful, and our military stronger? 

So on that basis I guess the elite would find some mug or other - not very different to Bush - who would risk it for the ridiculous prestige and glamour of high office.


An alarming detail of what the US elite are currently doing (taken from Wikipedia):

The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-20, sometimes called simply "Executive Directive 51" for short), signed by United States President George W. Bush on May 4, 2007, is a Presidential Directive which specifies the procedures for continuity of the federal government in the event of a "catastrophic emergency." Such an emergency is construed as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." [1]

The directive specifies that, following such an emergency, an "Enduring Constitutional Government," comprising "a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government," coordinated by the President of the United States, will take the place of the nation's regular government, presumably without the oversight of Congress.[4]


And yet another example of the colossal ineptitude of the elite:

Each day, 820 million people in the developing world do not have enough food to eat. Food prices around the world are shooting up, sparking food riots from Mexico to Morocco. And the World Food Program warned last week that rapidly rising costs are endangering emergency food supplies for the world's worst-off.

How are the wealthiest countries responding? They're burning food!

Specifically, they're using more and more biofuels--alcohol made from plant products, used in place of petrol to fuel cars. Biofuels are billed as a way to slow down climate change. But in reality, because so much land is being cleared to grow them, most biofuels today are causing more global warming emissions than they prevent, even as they push the price of corn, wheat, and other foods out of reach for millions of people.

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