SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


THE 400
By David G. Hanger


June 02, 2011
Thursday PM


According to CNN reports on February 20, 2011, four hundred individuals in this country now earn more than the combined earnings of half the people.   In other words 400 self-proclaimed living ‘gods’ earn more than 160 million Americans combined.  A few tens of thousands earn much of the rest.  ‘Earning’ is a relative term in this respect, for much of what is being “earned” is via deceit, graft, and corruption.  

The cat slipped out of the bag here not long ago when in an interview session one of the super rich dropped the bombshell that in 30 years or less the United States will no longer exist, to be replaced by city states, nodules of hereditary wealth, none of which include any room for you.  In other words the concept of the nation state, itself a concept not more than a few centuries old superimposed upon the older concepts of empire or kingdom, is obsolete; and is already in process of being replaced by a world monarchical order controlled by multi-national corporations. 

Economic servitude is the slavery of despair.  There will be no real opportunity in this future world; no social mobility whatsoever.  The dictatorship of money is hereditary in its attributes and its attitudes; the kingdoms, the dukedoms, the earldoms, are already defined.  Between New York and Chicago the “Koch Brothers Concentration Camp;” between Chicago and Silicon Valley “the Pasturage.”  Whether you live or die will be contingent on what you can provide them.  Most of you will die, or be killed; like a cattle pen or a pig farm, you will be managed; and for similar utilitarian purpose.

Already it begins.  Historically, a totalitarian takeover is formulaic:  Kill the officers; kill the intellectuals, the teachers, and the students; kill all union and political leaders, and then kill or co-opt the public servants; in short, destroy the cue-giving and the executive agents of the middle class.  The rest follow like sheep.  With everyone wandering about with a walk-around camera in a walk-around phone, such gore porn the audience, while substantial, would find rather disconcerting.  The victims would all look too familiar. 

But historically, totalitarian takeovers were conducted by individuals or organizations with limited financial means.  “Power comes from the barrel of a gun,” is certainly one way of accomplishing a purpose, but with money there are so many additional ways of projecting power.  To start with, of course, buying everything in sight, beginning with elected officials.  The re-institutionalization of the “Joe Goebbels School of Journalism” via such blatant propaganda outlets as Limbaugh and the loonies at Fox News(??) provides a basis for blather that pays for itself, but also lends itself as foundation to the far more sinister form of blarney that is presently being played out in such places as Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Jersey.  Study the method.

When did you first learn that it was all these public sector employees who are responsible for this economic meltdown we are presently experiencing?  When did you first learn that the cause and the solution of our economic mess is the conflict between the public and the private sector employee?  Hell, now that we have so many of you private sector employees accustomed to eating macaroni and bread, a little water as aperitif, now clearly is the time to bring all those public employees down to your level.  They have so much more than you do.  They have a job that pays a few benefits.

There are multiple abuses in the various civil and public services of the United States and its sundry regions and municipalities.  We have the example of certain public officials, elected and otherwise, padding their retirement accounts with government funds, and then collecting $400,000 to $700,000 in annual retirement benefits.   There are double dippers, triple dippers, quadruple dippers, and quintuple dippers, albeit five government retirements is the rarest of feats.  In the past several decades in Alaska and many other states the combined salaries and benefits of government workers have far exceeded the average salaries available to private sector workers, and benefit packages for private sector workers are frequently simply non-existent.  These income disparities have created consequential disparities in the costs for food, housing, and medical services, in particular, so there is in fact some legitimate reason for resentment.  Government workers get paid more, and they make everything cost more, kind of a double whammy for private sector workers.

So instead of elevating the private sector employees to the general level of public sector employees let’s just beat all those public sector employees down to our level; that’s both progress and equality simultaneously, don’t you think?  Then all these rich bastards who want it all anyway will have even less tax they have to worry about paying.

Wisconsin’s recently elected Governor Scott “Lame Duck” Walker amazingly and arrogantly walked into a cub reporter’s trap not long ago, a Buffalo reporter who claimed to be David Koch in a telephone call to the Wisconsin governor’s office; a call whisked directly through to “Lame Duck” Walker who then commenced to merrily chatter away for twenty minutes, fawningly pointing out how he was doing his master’s bidding.  Also discussed was the national Republican plan to destroy unions and to destroy the remaining political and economic power of the American middle class, while in the meantime putting Wisconsin’s publicly owned power plants in the hands of the Koch brothers for the sum of one dollar. 

As one Wisconsin senator put it, “This is a hostile corporate takeover,” in this case of the state of Wisconsin.  Not an exaggeration in any sense.  This is not an argument of Democrats or Republicans; this is blatant class warfare. 

But it is much more than that.  These folks are moving now, not waiting for 30 years, with the specific intent of destroying this country.  Rich is no longer good enough; they want it all, and their reach is international.  “A power beyond nations” is in fact a more precise description of the phenomenon; full-fledged, and madly arrogant.  Think Charlie Sheen times ten to the ninth power. 

Please tell me when in the history of the world an investment firm like Goldman Sachs was so fundamentally responsible for simultaneous, multiple political revolutions?  The food prices that set off these revolutions in the Middle East result from Goldman Sachs speculations, as much as anything.  Ethanol is a factor by converting wheat land into corn for fuel, to which Russia responded by eliminating wheat exports altogether; but ultimately it is the profiteer’s speculations that have caused these revolutions.  Last year Goldman Sachs was at the very center of the financial meltdowns in Greece, Portugal, and Ireland; they already have the ability to destroy any nation on this planet, or any combination of nations on this planet, at their whim.  If it is profitable for them, clearly they will not hesitate. 

Do not forget it was Goldman Sachs employee Hank Paulsen cloaked in his disguise as the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury who bailed out Wall Street with your money way back in 2008.  Had he not bailed out all his buddies and fellow employees, the U.S. economy would indeed have completely collapsed; the destruction of this country well on its way then.  But so, too, would they have been destroyed, exposing then what will be exposed soon in considerably magnified form, that their business plan and their business method is rotten with corruption and double dealing, and does not have a snowball chance in hell of leading to any chance of real economic growth.  Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, et. al, invented something, then developed their products and sold them; manufactured goods.  Wall Street and our investment bankers are playing a game of smoke and mirrors, roulette wheels and monopoly boards; and much of what they are doing is artificial churning for the purpose of lining their pockets with commissions.  Their purpose is anything but democratic.

You are already financing their private armies.  The lack of a draft in this country while we are pretending to fight two wars (really just two big rake-off scams) leaves us with a military that cannot even feed itself; some high-priced, outsourced contractor is required to do that.  Our Army is far from the greatest army in the history of the world; it in fact is a bloated, obese piece of junk; somewhat reflective of the society it represents.  Its primary purpose is to divert your money into the hands of outsource profiteers.  In Vietnam only 14% of Americans deployed were civilian contractors; in these two messes more than 50%.  The primary purpose of these two extended deployments is to steal your money, not protect you.  

I am not terribly comfortable with the fact that it is governments that declare and conduct wars, but in a representative democracy it is the elected representatives, people we hire and fire, who declare and/or finance wars.  There is considerable societal constraint on any such declaration or action, but when a handful of super rich private sector individuals and corporations decide on war or peace contingent only on their profit margins and balance sheets, we are dealing with a phenomenon that has no parallel in history.  Certainly there were colonial wars started by mercantile interests, primarily European, from the 16th through the 19th century, but these were all small scale, local actions fought for economic primacy of a region or a city.  Now we have the example of investment speculations causing revolutions in multiple countries simultaneously, a lot of blood in the streets already; and multiple western nations including Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and numerous others that have experienced everything from major financial disaster to complete financial meltdown; all the consequence of investment speculation by a small group of greed heads led by Goldman Sachs. 

Duly note that these are the people that want smaller, weaker government.  They are not satisfied with owning the one we have (lock, stock, and barrel); their obsession requires a much more blatant approach; they want it all.  In the classic business mantra, “The purpose of management is to maximize the wealth of the shareholders,” resides the kernel of the “new racism.”  In form more a modernized version of “social Darwinism” or “eugenics” (see Wikipedia), Charlie Sheen typifies the insanely egocentric vanity of these people.  They actually believe they have “tiger blood,” and the rest of us are just “untermensch,” an inconvenience in the way; cattle to be herded. 

Modern mega-fortunes began in the 19th century with interchangeable parts and mass production techniques, constrained somewhat by Teddy Roosevelt’s, a Republican, trust busting at the beginning of the 20th century; but these ventures in fact created a mere handful of Morgans, Rockefellers, and Carnegies.  Thus it was left to actors and entertainers to create the mass-produced products that led to the next wave of substantial, but generally lesser, fortunes; so Charlie Sheen as example is really not too far off the mark.  Sheen himself is an insecure actor sufficiently competent that when without a stage he is quite capable of creating one, but he styles himself and thinks of himself as a “super human,” something completely beyond the rest of us.  He in fact is the product of hereditary wealth, piggybacking on his father’s success, and gained entry to the Hollywood world by that means alone.  His talent level is marginal, so breaking through from the outside would have been extremely unlikely. 

With an actor this is all meaningless nonsense for the focus is on art in relation to mass consumption, a comparative based on viewing or audience share relative to other art forms or performers; the perpetual insecurity results from the obtuseness of the comparative basis. 

With a financier with political inclinations such arrogance manifests itself in a completely different and clearly more dangerous form.  These people consider themselves beyond constraint, and operate accordingly.  They are not concerned about audience share; they are concerned about power for the sake of power. 

In 1980 the top one-tenth of one percent in this country, 300,000 people, had average earnings of $1.4 million.  Thirty years later that figure is more than $6 million, while in the meantime 300+ million Americans have seen their wages remain flat or even decline, and the buying power of the dollar since that time has been reduced by a factor of four to five.  They earn more, and they make everything cost more.  They also devalue everything you own, or ever will own, at their whim.  These are the folks that are routinely and consistently doing that to you, and with an intentional vengeance; again they want it all.  These superior beings have “tiger blood,” and you don’t. 

These are the people who gain advantage by pitting private sector employees against public sector employees, and convincing you to get into a pissing contest with your neighbors.  The public sector is affected by the fact that tax revenues are insufficient to cover the cost of state and local government in this melted down economy in which Wall Street, et. al, continue to get rich as filth and pay next to nothing in taxes.  Main Street is out of business, and has no revenue on which to pay taxes.  The rich, in short, are destroying the government by starving it to death.  If they destroy the country short of their 30-year schedule, what the hell?  They have no interest in a strong country or a strong middle class.  They want goons, stooges, and field hands. 



THE 400
By David G. Hanger


What began with an irate baseball player, Curt Flood, has really gotten weird fast in the past several years.  In 1962 Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris held out together for the whopping salary of $100,000 each.  A couple years later pitchers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale did the same thing for comparative amounts.  In 1961 John Wayne was paid $250,000 for his appearance in “The Longest Day.”  Every other actor on the film’s marquee’ was paid $25,000, and this list included Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Sal Mineo, George Segal, Wolfgang Preiss, Fabian, the list goes on and on. 

ABC TV liked the American Football League.  As the junior of the three networks at that time they were last in line for the broadcasting of major sports programs, thus with Paul Cristman and Curt Gowdy doing arguably the best tandem game coverage on TV, Sunday AFL games were not just a bird flipped in the air; they were stealing market share.  The TV contracts of the mid-sixties reflected that, and in 1965 Joe Namath’s signing by the AFL’s New York Jets with a $400,000 signing bonus commenced the first big-money “bonus war” in professional sports, and in the American economy.  A year later Green Bay signed Donnie Anderson; no Jim Taylor, but he did have his moment in the Ice Bowl; with a signing bonus of $650,000.

The merger of the NFL and the AFL was the owner’s response to the “bonus war.”  By merging the two, player salaries were brought under control, and bonuses reduced or eliminated altogether.

Curt Flood was an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals who had considerable talent.  Unsatisfied with the contract amount he was offered by the Cardinals, he wanted to quit them and sign on with another team for more money.  But, basically the Cardinals owned him, as the system worked at that time, and he was not allowed to sign with another team.  So he sued; wrecked his career, shortened his life; and years later he won. 

Too late for him, he opened the door for every professional athlete since to market his or her skill in an open market for the highest price possible.  In 1976 pitcher Andy Messersmith signed the first substantial free agent contract in major league baseball for a reported $600,000.  In 1975 James Garner in “The Rockford Files” was earning $60,000 per episode on the number one show on TV.   A decade later, “dumb jocks” were routinely earning more than other entertainment groups. 

By 1980 the veterans of World War II were 55 to 65 years old or older; nearing retirement, if not retired already.  These were men and women from the factories to the front line, from private to general, seaman to admiral, whose major life experience was as members of a team.  From top to bottom, and from bottom to top, the hierarchy was imbued and embedded with the concept of working together as a team, for the team.  And then they all retired and died.

Replacing them were pampered piss ants who had no concept of working as a team, but only for themselves; and the new hierarchy held that business was solely for the purposes of the top of the hierarchical chain; management and ownership; and everything and everyone else were just so many interchangeable parts, meaningless except as to function. 

I consider that the basest form of bestiality imaginable, this supplanting of the humanity of the average American with the perception that they are but animalistic functionaries serving the desires and the gluttonies of this one-tenth of one percent.  “The purpose of business management is to maximize the wealth of the shareholders.”

It seems so simple and straightforward it has to be true, but it is one of the biggest lies ever invented.  Mathematically, it leads in only one direction, a continued and denser concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands.  That cannot be the purpose of either business, or of business management.  The primary purpose of business is to provide nurture for our posterity.   When business skews itself too far from that essential purpose, the philosophy of business has to change. 

The “new CEOs” took their cue from all those dumb jocks, then multiplied it by powers of ten.  If a “dumb jock” is worth millions, then the “new CEO” has to be worth hundreds of millions at least.  The concept of “talent” completely changed beginning in the 1980s.  Somehow being a business manager became suddenly a mysterious, incredibly complicated skill, and management “talent” was suddenly worth, both in the public and the private sector, somewhere the far side of half a million dollars.  City school superintendents were being paid $600,000 to $850,000 by the mid-1990s, and the sky was the limit by that time in the private sector.  Quite frankly, a competent novelist has more “talent” in a broken fingernail than do these paper shufflers. 

After a secret meeting with the oil companies and Cheney and Bush in 2001, since 9-11 U.S. oil companies have earned more than $1 trillion in net profits, the largest corporate profits in the history of the world.  PROFITS, not sales.  This apparently is the patriotism for which many of you right wingers wave flags in your front yards.  Let’s have two perpetual wars, kill tens of thousands of people, and let’s make billionaires out of a few dozen good old boys who are permitted to gouge like hell by jacking gas prices sky high.  In the meantime the rest of us are expected to sacrifice, and to continue sacrificing, apparently until nothing is left. 

With “Citizens United” your individual vote was displaced in the representative process by dollar bills.  Essentially a corporate concept of stockholder wealth, i.e. if you own more stock, you get more votes, the last election cycle demonstrated in small form what is in store for us in the near future.  If you are a billionaire, you get a billion votes; if you make $60,000 a year, you probably get none.  Those last few dollars you need for lottery tickets.  (The fantasy that they might let you in.)

The great American experiment is about to be concluded; the wealthy don’t need it, and they know how to play enough of you for the fools that you are, that you in effect do their bidding; become their goons and stooges, and then they kick back and watch you destroy the country while waving your meaningless flags.  They have no use for you either, beyond you getting them what they want. 

Whether Democrat or Republican, pro-life or pro-choice, one way or no way, gay or straight, your neighbor is not your enemy; these rich bastards are.  Any one of your neighbors with whom you disagree so vociferously is prepared to die to protect your right to act and think that way; because only thereby do they get to do the same thing.  You can believe in your one way until hell freezes over for all any of the rest of us care, but never forget it is the rest of your neighbors in combination who give you the right to even think that. 

In Wisconsin Governor “Lame Duck” Walker and his cronies just passed into “law” union busting provisions that include the right of the governor to replace any and all elected officials of cities, towns, and counties with appointees of the governor, if the governor decides to declare an economic state of emergency.  Such provisions have also been passed or are being considered in Michigan, Maine, and Ohio, among other states.  When Sean Parnell gets that law passed here in Alaska, he can replace your mayor, your whole city council and your borough assembly with Bristol Palin; no vote required, no recourse allowed.  Welcome to American fascism, exposed.

The “Palin Peanut,” Parnell, is definitely part of this conspiracy.  From Florida to Alaska, with numerous stops in between the game has been to cut hundreds of millions in state corporate taxes immediately, then declare a state economic emergency that requires the destruction of unions, the firing of teachers, and the privatization of key government functions; the destruction of democracy and the destruction of America.  Parnell’s pimping for the oil companies, his true employers, equals or exceeds the corporate cuts of all these other states combined, calling for a reduction of two billion dollars per annum in oil taxes.  His ads on TV warn of losing PFDs, of re-instating the state income tax if the oil companies don’t once again get their way.  The largest net profits in history over a decade, while this country is at war, and this behavior is to be rewarded with a multi-billion dollar tax cut, at a time when state retirement accounts are short six or seven billion dollars, and projects are unfunded all over the state. 

Parnell in the meantime has joined with other extreme right wing governors in asserting the health care bill is unconstitutional, and the state of Alaska will not participate, cutting us off from further funding that would help many in need.  Understand what this health care Supreme Court challenge is all about.  Their expectation is that by winning that they can get social security, food stamps, unemployment, aid for dependent children, and several other benefit programs outlawed overnight. 

“Jobs” is what they promised, and that is their first lie.  Even their own think tanks acknowledge that the actions of this new wave of extreme right wing “reichsfuhrers” will result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and end any possibility of sustaining this so far rather weak economic recovery.  Neither the multi-national corporations nor the investment bankers have any interest in creating jobs in this country.  Politically, they consider it to their advantage to destroy existing jobs and to create a depression, and that in fact is what they are in process of doing right now.  These people are hoarders in all instances; all they do is hoard money and wealth, another trophy to show to their neighbors.  This hoarding will not create jobs; it in fact will continually diminish them.  As has been known for decades, it is small business, Main Street in the current vernacular, that is the engine for job growth.  And it is this group that the multi-nationalists are specifically out to destroy.  Main Street has been cut off at the knees; there is no financing available for Main Street because of the gorging and the gouging of the multi-nationals and of the investment banks. 

Business, and the extreme right wing, has created a business philosophy that asserts that the citizens of this country, all 308 million+ of them, exist solely to serve the interests and the wealth obsessions of 400 people.  Their minions expect to be part of the one-tenth of one percent, about 300,000 people, who benefit but marginally compared to the 400, but whose wealth is stratospheric compared to the vast unwashed and uneducated herd.  In short, you exist for the purpose of making these 400 “living gods” even richer than they already are. 

Both this business philosophy and those who espouse it must be purged.  These corporations, in the final analysis, must exist for the benefit of the citizens of the society; of the nation.  These people already have gone so far as to convince themselves that not only the nation, but the very concept of the “nation,” is obsolete and no longer required, by them;  and they are hell bent on destroying this nation by impoverishing and destroying the American middle class.  You are in the process of being made meaningless by corporate interests whose sole meaning and concern is for themselves. 

Ah, but this is liberty; this is what being free is all about; accumulating and hoarding wealth, then accumulating and hoarding more, until they have it all.  This is not what being free is all about.  If you are so insecure that you have to have a better car, boat, job, etc. than your neighbor, then you have a psychological problem that requires serious medical attention; it is not what freedom is all about.  We live in a world of limited resources, and no 400, or 300,000, have a right to all of the resources, while 308 million+ starve. 

This blueprint for dictatorship is being forced into law by newly elected Republican governors all over the country.  They claim to be Republicans, but they are in fact the employees of the 400, bought and paid for sycophants of the super rich.  The 400 right now are in the process of destroying this country for the sake of their wallets and their fat asses.  They have learned by virtue of getting away with all they have gotten away with on Wall Street that they can get away with anything; and the dismantling of the USA for their benefit is on advanced scheduling.

Bring them to justice for their crimes.  Charge them with high treason and crimes against humanity.  Their crimes are worldwide, involve the destruction of governments, and the deaths of thousands of people already. 

Democracy cannot survive on a backbone of economic dictatorship; it is quite clear the current hoarders of wealth have no use for democracy.  One recent writer referred to it as “incumbency fever,” others have called it the “leather chair syndrome.”  However you label it, once politicians get elected, they do not want to leave; but to stay they require far more in the way of funding than their relatively paltry salaries permit.  With rare exception, therefore, our politicians become in short order pimps or whores for anyone who has enough money to support their TV ads.  Barack Obama’s number one and number two political contributors are Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, and somehow we are surprised that Wall Street is permitted to run amok?

Adding money to this fire is like pouring gasoline on it.  “Incumbency fever” and the afflicted incumbents   need to be replaced.  The effect of money on our electoral processes needs to be reduced, not expanded. 

For the 400 there is available a wonderful  symmetry.  The annual football playoffs are ten games leading to the big game.  If you hang 30 at halftime of each of the playoff games, that still leaves 100 to hang at halftime of the Super Bowl.  Certainly much more edifying halftime entertainment than we have seen recently.  High treason deserves a good public hanging, and there is no higher treason than marginalizing and destroying this great country.

David G. Hanger
Ketchikan, AK


Received June 02, 2011 - Published June 02, 2011



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