Accumulation by dispossession

Lockdown, a brutal control measure in American prisons, is touted  as a merciful choice between contagion and starvation. Thanks to the New York Times we learn this policy was inspired by the school project of 14 -year-old Laura Glass. And then used by ‘concerned health experts’ to persuade a reluctant president to do the right thing and shut- down the economy in an election year.

Some time in the summer of 2005,  so the story goes, George Bush read a book about the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. He began to worry about a string of new infectious outbreaks for which there was no vaccine. Part of the problem, the  NYT  notes only in passing, was that forcibly limiting public assembly or movement was legally and ethically questionable, especially in the absence of any scientific evidence to show the efficacy of such a response.

The Bush administration enlisted Dr Richard Hatchett and Dr Carter Mecher to develop a strategy for containment. They connected with Robert J. Glass a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

Dr. Glass’s daughter Laura, then 14, had done a class project in which she built a model of social networks at her Albuquerque high school, and when Dr. Glass looked at it, he was intrigued. Students are so closely tied together — in social networks and on school buses and in classrooms — that they were a near-perfect vehicle for a contagious disease to spread…“My God, we could use the same results she has and work from there,” Dr. Glass recalled thinking. He took their preliminary data and built on it by running it through the supercomputers at Sandia, more typically used to engineer nuclear weapons.

Over hamburgers and beer, Hatchett and Mecher sold the ‘social distancing’ template – developed with additional help – to Dr Lisa Koonin of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In February 2007, the C.D.C. made their approach — bureaucratically called Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions, or NPIs — official U.S. policy. Following a five-year review by the Obama administration, the strategy was updated in a document published in 2017. And after long delays in which President Trump played down the threat from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and failed to heed warnings about it from inside his own government, it was used to encourage the states to lock down.

The last link reveals Dr Mecher was a key voice in the “Red Dawn” email chain of health experts who saved the nation by courageously pressurising President Trump into using the CDC’s guidelines to inflict ‘social distancing’ on the wealthy and misery on the poor.

Thierry Meyssan at the Voltaire Network explains why the NYT  and corporate media are relentlessly selling lockdown to the natives. He traces the subversion of civil liberties to The Project for A New American Century which heralded 9/11 and the ‘war on terror’.

No epidemiology book in the world has discussed, let alone advocated, ‘mandatory generalized containment’ to fight an epidemic… Regardless of whether the Covid-19 epidemic is natural or has been provoked, it offers an opportunity for a transnational group to suddenly impose its political project without discussion or even exposure…Compulsory generalized containment” had been conceived fifteen years earlier, within the Bush administration, not as a public health tool, but to militarize US society in the event of a bioterrorist attack. And it is indeed this project that is applied today in Europe. The initial plan, conceived more than 20 years ago around the head of the pharmaceutical laboratory Gilead Science, Donald Rumsfeld, planned to adapt the United States to the global financialisation of the economy. It was a question of reorganising the planet by dividing the tasks of each person geographically. Areas not yet integrated into the global economy would be deprived of a state and become mere reservoirs of raw materials; developed areas (including the European Union, Russia and China) would be responsible for production; and the United States alone would provide the world’s arms and police industry.

Meyssan names Hatchett as the visible element of a new group which will impose these plans on the EU and justify a war on China. “In the new world being prepared for EU Europeans, the big media will no longer be financed by the oil industry, but by Big Pharma. They will convince us that all the measures taken have been the right ones. ”

In summary plans to impose lockdown, for military rather than health objectives, were hatched long before the arrival of a disease scarcely more virulent than the seasonal flu. The coronavirus allegedly responsible for infection has yet to be identified.

Meanwhile, the outbreak provides cover for plugging a financial crisis on Wall Street that began four months before the pandemic. The most comprehensive coverage comes from Wall Street on Parade.

The reason that it’s critically important for Americans to understand that Wall Street is getting another massive bailout from the Fed for a crisis it started before COVID-19 was on our shores is because the structure of Wall Street, with trading casinos allowed to own our largest commercial banks, is far more deadly to the future of America than COVID-19.

This time the objective is not just to rescue the banks but to ensure that the filthy rich will never have to worry about losing money again.The collapse of small businesses and the unemployment of millions is of little consequence. The priority is to prop up every credit and equity market in America. WSOP calculates this will leave taxpayers on the hook for $6.85 trillion. The scam involves monetary regime change.

It’s called “Going Direct.” That’s the financial bailout plan designed and authored by former central bankers now on the payroll at BlackRock, an  investment manager of $7 trillion in stock and bond funds. The plan was rolled out in August 2019 at the G7 summit of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – months before the public was aware of any financial crisis. One month later, on September 17, 2019, the U.S. Federal Reserve would begin an emergency repo loan bailout program, making hundreds of billions of dollars a week in loans by “going direct” to the trading houses on Wall Street. The BlackRock plan calls for blurring the lines between government fiscal policy and central bank monetary policy.

The separation of  monetary and fiscal policy used to be a canon of modern economics. Ceding powers of government to Blackrock to implement the bailout is a capitalist coup.

We now understand why, for the first time in history, the U.S. Congress handed over $454 billion of taxpayers’ money to the Fed, without any meaningful debate, to eat losses on toxic assets produced by the Wall Street banks it supervises. The Fed plans to leverage the $454 billion into a $4.54 trillion bailout plan, “going direct” with bailouts to the commercial paper market, money market funds, and a host of other markets.

In an open letter to Fed Chair Jerome Powell some 30 campaigning organisations set-out their concerns. It is unlikely to make any difference, not least because ‘progressives’ have bought into the deficit myth that printing money can make America great again.

BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink “may now be the most powerful man in the world, overseeing not just the Fed’s new (potentially $4.5 trillion) corporate slush-fund, but also managing $27 trillion of the global economy (even before the March appointment).”  It’s fair to speculate on how fortuitous the coronavirus crisis has been for those intent on restructuring society and ‘re-setting’ capitalism.

The Rockeller Foundation provides an inkling of the trajectory. Its National Covid-19 Testing Action Plan – devised with the help of  America’s most prestigious universities is ostensibly about how best to “reopen our workplaces and communities”.  In reality, says Manlio Dinucci, it prefigures a militarised, hierarchical model of future society.

  • At the top, the Pandemic Testing Board -akin to the War Production Board of World War 11-  consisting of business leaders, finance ministers and academics. This Supreme Council would decide on the production of goods and services with a similar authority to that conferred on the President in wartime by the Defence Production Act.
  • Three million US citizens to be tested weekly, rising to 30 million per week in six months and 30 million per day within a year and paid for a market rates.
  • The Foundation and its financial partners will arrange the procurement of drugs and medical equipment.
  • The “Pandemic Control Council” is authorized to create a “Pandemic Response Corps” with a staff of 100 to 300 thousand operatives paid an average of $40,000 annually. Their task is to control the population using military tactics and tracking, identification and surveillance technology available at Apple, Google and Facebook.
  • Information on individuals will be managed by the State and private companies. Decisions on which areas should be locked down and for how long will be based on data from the Pandemic Control Council.
  • In the Rockefeller Foundation Plan the virus is used as a real weapon, more dangerous than Covid-19 itself.

Here’s another clue about what to expect.

According to a startling Pentagon video obtained by The Intercept, the future of global cities will be an amalgam of the settings of “Escape from New York” and “Robocop” — with dashes of the “Warriors” and “Divergent” thrown in. It will be a world of Robert Kaplan-esque urban hellscapes — brutal and anarchic supercities filled with gangs of youth-gone-wild, a restive underclass, criminal syndicates, and bands of malicious hackers…”This is the world of the future. It is one we are not prepared to effectively operate within and it is unavoidable. The threat is clear. Our direction remains to be defined. The future is urban. “

America’s history of psychological warfare against its citizens runs deep. Surreal, mind-bending fodder for military consumption fits a pattern of seeding useful narratives. Meanwhile on both sides of the Atlantic the embedded media have spent the last four years promoting an official, fact-free narrative that Trump – and his supporters-  are the font of US racism. CJ Hopkins writes:

And now the propaganda is paying off. The protesting and rioting that typically follows the murder of an unarmed Black person by the cops has mushroomed into “an international uprising” cheered on by the corporate media, corporations, and the liberal establishment, who don’t normally tend to support such uprisings, but they’ve all had a sudden change of heart, or spiritual or political awakening, and are down for some serious property damage, and looting, and preventative self-defense, if that’s what it takes to bring about justice, and to restore America to the peaceful, prosperous, non-white-supremacist paradise it was until the Russians put Donald Trump in office…

Liberals have enabled western governments to exploit the vulnerable at home and to ravage the Third World abroad. Their acceptance of medical martial law is more of the same, and will be, as David William Pear points out, their final capitulation.

Liberals know the U.S. government is a pathological liar. The past two decades have been especially rotten. George W. Bush winning the election in 2000 was a lie. The attacks of 9/11 were lies, the invasion of Afghanistan was based on a lie, Iraq weapons of mass destruction were a lie, Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a lie, the Katrina Hurricane response was a lie, the Russian invasion of Georgia was a lie, the 2009 bailout of Wall Street was based on lies, Haiti earthquake aid was a lie, the Ukraine coup was lied about, Gaddafi’s Viagra was a lie, the well-vetted moderate rebel was a lie, the lie that Venezuela is a threat to the US is a lie, the White Helmets are a propaganda lie, Russiagate is a lie, the Douma chemical attack was a lie, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report was a lie, the torture of Chelsea Manning is lied about, the Julian Assange lie is a lie. So now liberals believe that the government authorities are telling the truth about COVID-19?

The question will probably be irrelevant quite soon. But clearly liberals have an unerring instinct for choosing the best survive and thrive options for themselves.

Robert Kuttner and Virginia Stone provide context. They compare the capture of entire legal systems by corporate America to the private fiefdoms of the Middle Ages.(The Rise of Neo-Feudalism,The American Prospect, April 2020) 

Neo-Feudalism_Web.jpgIllustrations: Robert Meganck
Elites are pursuing something aptly described as a new form of feudalism, in which entire realms of public law, public property, due process, and citizen rights revert to unaccountable control by private business.The system of finance, once supervised by bank regulatory agencies and the Securities and Exchange Commission, has been delegated to private realms of law. The financial collapse of 2008 is best understood as the seizure, corruption, and abuse of entire domains of regulation and jurisprudence. Laws to protect workers and consumers, reflecting 70 years of struggle to expand rights, are now erased by compulsory arbitration regimes. Trade law permits similar private tribunals to overturn or sidestep public regulation. Tech platform monopolies have created a proprietary regime where they can crush competitors and invade consumer privacy by means of onerous terms, often buried in online “terms of service” provisions. The unity of common scientific inquiry has been balkanized by confidentiality agreements and abuses of patents, as scientific knowledge comes to be “owned” by private entities. Companies like Monsanto, manipulating intellectual property and trade law, prevent farmers from following the ancient practice of keeping seeds for the next planting season. This is not deregulation or neoliberalism. It is legally sanctioned private jurisprudence—neo-feudalism.

The essay deserves a wider audience. It suggests an expanding precariat can only expect to be hurled into the abyss by Robocop to protect a privileged and gated community.

 In some respects, the new feudalism is even more lopsided than the original, in that historic feudalism had some forms of reciprocal obligation between lord, vassal, and serf; between king and aristocrat; Church and Crown; and between apprentice, tradesman, and master. For all of its absolutism, feudalism had aspects of what J.K. Galbraith, describing capitalism at the apex of the mixed economy, was to call “countervailing power.” Neo-feudalism is a one-way seizure of private power and law by elites.

The coronavirus pandemic is not a global health crisis. There are no medical grounds for the closure of schools, the lockdown of economies, widespread surveillance, tracking and tracing and mandatory vaccinations. According to the UN 1.6 billion people around the world are at immediate risk of losing their livelihood. An age of unimaginable horror looms.

Tangled up in green

Cannon Street

In 2018 the Tricontinental Institute for Social Research published an interview with the South African activist Z’bu Zikode. It begins with a quotation from Frantz Fanon’s ‘The Wretched of the Earth”, now equally a lifeline for the precariat of the West scrabbling for currency and survival. “Salvation lies in their own cohesion, in the true understanding of their interests, and in knowing who their enemies are.” Continue reading

Blind faith

Victory Over Blindness, Manchester Piccadilly Station.

Boris Johnson, the latest British prime minister, kissed the Queen’s hand and rushed out to fly the flag outside his new lodgings in Downing Street. “Everyone knows the values that flag represents. It stands for freedom and free speech and habeas corpus and the rule of law and above all it stands for democracy.” If, somewhere in the bowels of Belmarsh, Julian Assange muttered jack shit he would have been entirely correct. Continue reading

Chinaman

I didn’t watch England beat New Zealand and win the Cricket World Cup. For some time now I have maintained an idiosyncratic protest against neoliberal cricket, particularly the strain cultivated in India. In 1992 however in a short film for the BBC I predicted the renaissance of leg spin bowling in England. And I hope the leaders of the Commonwealth meeting in 2013 were entertained by this piece included in the official publication. Continue reading

Exit Notes – bile from the bench

There is a smug claim that camouflages a political economy of exploitation, deception, criminality, plunder and war. It goes like this. Democracy and the rule of law are fundamental to the freedom and sovereignty of the people of the US and the UK. These ideals are zealously guarded by a vigilant press which exposes skulduggery, holds power to account and enables the public to see that justice has been done. Continue reading