Via a Facebook link I came across a smashing discussion among Rob Kall, Noam Chomsky and Paul Craig Roberts. It’s quite long, but highly informative. Here’s the first paragraph, just to give you some flavor of Chomsky, who as an octogenarian is still sharp as can be:
The three go on to discuss our current corporate-socialist structure, with CEO’s writing national policy via their ownership of the Treasury, so that all of the thrust of the Obama Administration these last six years has been to preserve five defunct and corrupt institutions: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Chase, Citibank, and Bank of America. The CEO’s of these companies have also been in charge of the Treasury, no coincidence, and so also no coincidence that at the expense of the rest of us, policy is made to preserve their sorry legacies.
Kall: So the first question, just to get things started, what’s the future of the US economy and capitalism?Chomsky: : Well the first point to mention is that we’re very far from a capitalist economy and have never been one — it’s a state capitalist economy with substantial state intervention that, in many respects from basic research and development to manipulating interest rates to determining the laws that administer regulations that permit CEOs to pick their own boards and hence to enhance their salaries, and thousands of other ways. What’s the future of it? That depends on how the public will respond to the circumstances in which there are. I mean, there is an institutional logic which will perpetuate things in a certain direction, but it is not graven in stone. It has been in the past, and can be in the future, influenced, modified, even radically changed by public engagement and action. And there’s no way to predict that — those are matters for action not for speculation.
Here’s Roberts on our current predicament:
Well, nothing in [the US economy] is substantial. All of the markets are rigged, they’re bubbles. The bond market is rigged — it’s a bubble. The interest rate is rigged. The price of gold and silver is rigged. So as not to cause suspicion about the dollar, the dollar is rigged because it’s supported in various ways. The stock market is rigged. The major purchases of stocks in recent years have been the companies buying back their own shares. So everybody is…’Oh, the stock market is up…’ But it’s not up because the economy is doing good or profits. You know retail sales have gone nowhere. The latest report from the government on wealth and poverty says that the real median family income in the United States has declined and is now back at the level of 1994…and is actually below levels in the late 1960s and early 1970s. So if people don’t have any money, how is the economy doing anything?
Indeed. These are critical discussions that we need to be having, but right now we have two major distractions that prevent us from having them: Football, and elections. Both have an identical path, to a contest that will generate huge attention all over the globe, and mean nothing – the Superbowl, and Election Day.The three men also delve into the current situation in Europe and the Middle East, with the US essentially following a maniacal policy that seems determined to sink everyone in war. Via Ukraine, they are deliberately pushing their subordinates in Western Europe into confrontation with Russia, and driving Russia into alliance with the Chinese. In the Mideast it appears to be a policy of war for the sake of war, but Roberts makes a critical point:
…why does Washington take the risk with its European empire, of pushing them so hard against their own interests that they might actually rebel. And I notice that in the bombing that we’ve undertaken of ISIS, NATO is not participating. We’ve got Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Now, that’s some kind of cover so it doesn’t look like naked American aggression, but that is not a coalition of the willing, it’s not NATO, even the British aren’t in it — which is surprising because you have to remember when we were prepared to invade Syria, having set up Assad with a false charge of using chemical weapons, Cameron was all for it and the British Parliament said no.
So it could well be that we keep pushing people against their interest, I mean other countries, that we’ll break up our own empire.
I have learned over the years never to sell US planners short, that they hold many cards and can play them at that time when their prospects seem darkest. When it appeared the US was defeated in its attempts to overthrow the Syrian regime via an attack staged as an internal rebellion, US merely regrouped, formed ISIS, and renewed the attack. I do not sell them short. The other shoe[s] will fall soon, some other plan hatched to catch us all unaware.
What exactly? I wish I knew.
In the meantime, enjoy football, enjoy election contests, as each is but a passing seasonal storm of no importance.