Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
HOW DID ABORTION RIGHTS COME TO THIS?  — Carol Hanisch charts how the right to an abortion began to erode shortly after the Roe v. Wade decision; Uber vs. the Cabbies: Ben Terrall reports on the threats posed by private car services; Remembering August 1914: Binoy Kampmark on the enduring legacy of World War I; Medical Marijuana: a Personal Odyssey: Doug Valentine goes in search of medicinal pot and a good vaporizer; Nostalgia for Socialism: Lee Ballinger surveys the longing in eastern Europe for the material guarantees of socialism. PLUS: Paul Krassner on his Six Dumbest Decisions; Kristin Kolb on the Cancer Ward; Jeffrey St. Clair on the Making of the First Un-War; Chris Floyd on the Children of Lies and Mike Whitney on why the war on ISIS is really a war on Syria.
Ironically, it was Herr Schickelgruber who stated it most succinctly: "the bigger the lie, the more they believe" (and follow). And follow they did, through a path laden with death, destruction and repression. Just re-watched the excellent film "A Civil Action" for the third time (as usual, the book was even better). Go see it […]

Lie, Rob and Steal

by Philip Farruggio

Ironically, it was Herr Schickelgruber who stated it most succinctly: "the bigger the lie, the more they believe" (and follow). And follow they did, through a path laden with death, destruction and repression.

Just re-watched the excellent film "A Civil Action" for the third time (as usual, the book was even better). Go see it –go read it! Talk about "big lies"! This is the poster child for what corporations have been getting away with for centuries. These "big lies" wind up killing tens of thousands of Americans (and millions overseas), through diseases and injuries that could easily have been averted if not for the need for higher and higher profits, and lower and lower accountability.

With the man General Patton referred to as "that paperchangin son of a bitch" still in memory, check out Charles Higham’s book "Trading With The Enemy". Talk about corporate greed and national shame! As the cream of America’s youth were being blown to pieces, and the relatives of our American Jews were being either gassed or worked to death, Higham lists the American corporations who were trading ("traitoring") and profiting from our very enemy. How come those facts are not in the American history books our high schools distribute?

Our founding (step) fathers, on a more cerebral level, used a "big lie" pattern as well. They sold us on the premise that ours was to be a truly democratic Republic –and it was, if you were wealthy, owned land, and had many workers or slaves. In historian Howard Zinn’s excellent book "A People’s History of the U.S." one views America’s glass from the perspective of being "half empty". The revisionist spin has always been "half full" –pushed by our text books, mainstream media, and through the countless "talking heads". One can easily walk the latter path and see all those beautiful flowers: freedom of speech & religion, the Bill of Rights, our Constitution, the fall of slavery, woman’s suffrage, democratic electoral politics (one person, one vote), rights of assembly, and on and on.

In Zinn’s book, one looks through a different glass. Our founders, the "rich guys club", made sure how this new democratic republic would be run. If you didn’t own land, you didn’t vote, or hold office. Certainly, as a nation we have progressed these 200 some odd years. Today, anyone can hold office –that is anyone who can raise a) tens of millions to be elected into the Senate or House b) hundreds of thousands to be elected into the State legislature or large urban city council and c) tens of thousands for some small town office. Therefore, if one is a) not wealthy or b) does not have wealthy "patrons", one simply does not hold office. Sure, the talking heads will exemplify some populist "one of the people" who conquered the system through sheer determination and countless $10 and $20 donations (shades of "It’s A Wonderful Life"). This writer suggests that, in this day and age, 200+ years after the fact, certain scenarios play better in the movies!

You turn the radio dial to some local yokel talk show (usually with a host from the neo conservative perspective) and when the subject moves to forthcoming local or state elections, the talk centers on "how much is so and so raising –can so and so raise enough money to be heard?" What happened to the issues?!

Now, you can move that dial on your boob tube for all eternity –you’ll never ever see debate on probably the single most important issue facing this nation: should we eliminate the influence of money in electoral politics? Think about it for a minute, as you view your current financial portfolio (if you’re lucky enough to even afford one). Don’t you realize that the financial losses many of us are currently experiencing are directly connected to money influencing elections? What if the fat cats, the elites, couldn’t spend one thin dime on any political candidate? Do you think just maybe that we could get people in office, in power, who owed nothing to anybody –except the voters? Perhaps then politicians could vote simply on conscience? Then, as Twain stated "the purpose of government to protect us from the crooks and scoundrels" would finally start to kick in. The Enron gang and all the rest of the "private interests" would not be invited to secret government energy policy meetings (would the hen house owner invite the fox to discuss hen house security?). Perhaps these politicians would become ‘lawmakers" as opposed to "political peacemakers".

Alas, our founders lied to us. They simply did not trust "the rabble" so they lied to us. Called this a democratic Republic and it really was not. It was 5% of the populace deciding what the other 95% had to do. FDR, some 150+ years later, saw the proverbial "handwriting on the wall". He made bold and innovative moves because the only alternative was an "insurrection of the hungry and homeless" millions whose numbers grew each day. FDR, simply put, saved capitalism for the capitalists. Think about it. Who profited from the Depression? Who remained wealthy enough to go in and buy back stocks at a fraction of their old price? Who owned the companies that were hired by FDR’s new "Big government" to get our nation on recovery road? As a tradeoff, the elites, the "5%", allowed FDR to push through Social Security and labor protection bills, etc. –in lieu of riots and bloody, bloody strikes (which occurred rather often anyway). Instead of Marie’s "Let them eat cake" these men were astute enough to say "lets give them some bread but just enough to get by". And they called FDR a communist, a socialist. Without him, today we’d either all be wearing brownshirts or red armbands.

Yet, what if, during those terrible economic times (for the 95%, mind you), what if we already had taken money totally out of politics? I dare say, in that scenario a) we would never have had a depression anywhere near that scale b) if things did get rough, we could have passed enough new laws so that no person would ever be able to control that much wealth, and no person would ever have to work so hard for so little. Communism? No. Socialism? A bit here and there, but not really enough to threaten true capitalist ideals. Rather, a free enterprise system that would yield to community control over energy, health care, transportation, security. That’s what eliminating money from electoral politics could would and should accomplish. And that’s why those who "pull the strings" will do their upmost to a) keep the public ignorant and b) keep their bought and paid for people in office to never let it occur.

The time for big lies and little lies must end. We all must think and act so ever diligently, following that wise man’s adage: "The truth shall set you free!" And it will.

Philip Farruggio, son of a longshoreman, is "Blue Collar Brooklyn" born, raised and educated (Brooklyn College, Class of ’74). A former progressive talk show host, Philip runs a mfg. rep. business and writes for many publications. He lives in Port Orange, FL. You can contact Mr. Farruggio at e-mail: brooklynphilly@aol.com.

Ironically, it was Herr Schickelgruber who stated it most succinctly: "the bigger the lie, the more they believe" (and follow). And follow they did, through a path laden with death, destruction and repression. Just re-watched the excellent film "A Civil Action" for the third time (as usual, the book was even better). Go see it […]

Lie, Rob and Steal

by Philip Farruggio

Ironically, it was Herr Schickelgruber who stated it most succinctly: "the bigger the lie, the more they believe" (and follow). And follow they did, through a path laden with death, destruction and repression.

Just re-watched the excellent film "A Civil Action" for the third time (as usual, the book was even better). Go see it –go read it! Talk about "big lies"! This is the poster child for what corporations have been getting away with for centuries. These "big lies" wind up killing tens of thousands of Americans (and millions overseas), through diseases and injuries that could easily have been averted if not for the need for higher and higher profits, and lower and lower accountability.

With the man General Patton referred to as "that paperchangin son of a bitch" still in memory, check out Charles Higham’s book "Trading With The Enemy". Talk about corporate greed and national shame! As the cream of America’s youth were being blown to pieces, and the relatives of our American Jews were being either gassed or worked to death, Higham lists the American corporations who were trading ("traitoring") and profiting from our very enemy. How come those facts are not in the American history books our high schools distribute?

Our founding (step) fathers, on a more cerebral level, used a "big lie" pattern as well. They sold us on the premise that ours was to be a truly democratic Republic –and it was, if you were wealthy, owned land, and had many workers or slaves. In historian Howard Zinn’s excellent book "A People’s History of the U.S." one views America’s glass from the perspective of being "half empty". The revisionist spin has always been "half full" –pushed by our text books, mainstream media, and through the countless "talking heads". One can easily walk the latter path and see all those beautiful flowers: freedom of speech & religion, the Bill of Rights, our Constitution, the fall of slavery, woman’s suffrage, democratic electoral politics (one person, one vote), rights of assembly, and on and on.

In Zinn’s book, one looks through a different glass. Our founders, the "rich guys club", made sure how this new democratic republic would be run. If you didn’t own land, you didn’t vote, or hold office. Certainly, as a nation we have progressed these 200 some odd years. Today, anyone can hold office –that is anyone who can raise a) tens of millions to be elected into the Senate or House b) hundreds of thousands to be elected into the State legislature or large urban city council and c) tens of thousands for some small town office. Therefore, if one is a) not wealthy or b) does not have wealthy "patrons", one simply does not hold office. Sure, the talking heads will exemplify some populist "one of the people" who conquered the system through sheer determination and countless $10 and $20 donations (shades of "It’s A Wonderful Life"). This writer suggests that, in this day and age, 200+ years after the fact, certain scenarios play better in the movies!

You turn the radio dial to some local yokel talk show (usually with a host from the neo conservative perspective) and when the subject moves to forthcoming local or state elections, the talk centers on "how much is so and so raising –can so and so raise enough money to be heard?" What happened to the issues?!

Now, you can move that dial on your boob tube for all eternity –you’ll never ever see debate on probably the single most important issue facing this nation: should we eliminate the influence of money in electoral politics? Think about it for a minute, as you view your current financial portfolio (if you’re lucky enough to even afford one). Don’t you realize that the financial losses many of us are currently experiencing are directly connected to money influencing elections? What if the fat cats, the elites, couldn’t spend one thin dime on any political candidate? Do you think just maybe that we could get people in office, in power, who owed nothing to anybody –except the voters? Perhaps then politicians could vote simply on conscience? Then, as Twain stated "the purpose of government to protect us from the crooks and scoundrels" would finally start to kick in. The Enron gang and all the rest of the "private interests" would not be invited to secret government energy policy meetings (would the hen house owner invite the fox to discuss hen house security?). Perhaps these politicians would become ‘lawmakers" as opposed to "political peacemakers".

Alas, our founders lied to us. They simply did not trust "the rabble" so they lied to us. Called this a democratic Republic and it really was not. It was 5% of the populace deciding what the other 95% had to do. FDR, some 150+ years later, saw the proverbial "handwriting on the wall". He made bold and innovative moves because the only alternative was an "insurrection of the hungry and homeless" millions whose numbers grew each day. FDR, simply put, saved capitalism for the capitalists. Think about it. Who profited from the Depression? Who remained wealthy enough to go in and buy back stocks at a fraction of their old price? Who owned the companies that were hired by FDR’s new "Big government" to get our nation on recovery road? As a tradeoff, the elites, the "5%", allowed FDR to push through Social Security and labor protection bills, etc. –in lieu of riots and bloody, bloody strikes (which occurred rather often anyway). Instead of Marie’s "Let them eat cake" these men were astute enough to say "lets give them some bread but just enough to get by". And they called FDR a communist, a socialist. Without him, today we’d either all be wearing brownshirts or red armbands.

Yet, what if, during those terrible economic times (for the 95%, mind you), what if we already had taken money totally out of politics? I dare say, in that scenario a) we would never have had a depression anywhere near that scale b) if things did get rough, we could have passed enough new laws so that no person would ever be able to control that much wealth, and no person would ever have to work so hard for so little. Communism? No. Socialism? A bit here and there, but not really enough to threaten true capitalist ideals. Rather, a free enterprise system that would yield to community control over energy, health care, transportation, security. That’s what eliminating money from electoral politics could would and should accomplish. And that’s why those who "pull the strings" will do their upmost to a) keep the public ignorant and b) keep their bought and paid for people in office to never let it occur.

The time for big lies and little lies must end. We all must think and act so ever diligently, following that wise man’s adage: "The truth shall set you free!" And it will.

Philip Farruggio, son of a longshoreman, is "Blue Collar Brooklyn" born, raised and educated (Brooklyn College, Class of ’74). A former progressive talk show host, Philip runs a mfg. rep. business and writes for many publications. He lives in Port Orange, FL. You can contact Mr. Farruggio at e-mail: brooklynphilly@aol.com.