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HOW MODERN MONEY WORKS — Economist Alan Nasser presents a slashing indictment of the vicious nature of finance capitalism; The Bio-Social Facts of American Capitalism: David Price excavates the racist anthropology of Earnest Hooten and his government allies; Is Zero-Tolerance Policing Worth More Chokehold Deaths? Martha Rosenberg and Robert Wilbur assay the deadly legacy of the Broken Windows theory of criminology; Gaming the White Man’s Money: Louis Proyect offers a short history of tribal casinos; Death by Incarceration: Troy Thomas reports from inside prison on the cruelty of life without parole sentences. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on how the murder of Michael Brown got lost in the media coverage; JoAnn Wypijewski on class warfare from Martinsburg to Ferguson; Mike Whitney on the coming stock market crash; Chris Floyd on DC’s Insane Clown Posse; Lee Ballinger on the warped nostalgia for the Alamo; and Nathaniel St. Clair on “Boyhood.”
CounterPunch Diary

Brave New World, Brave New Majority

by ALEXANDER COCKBURN

The news is in. White births are no longer a majority in the United States. The Bureau of the Census confirms that non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 of all births  in the year ending July,  2011, while minorities including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent.

I felt lonely and went out on the porch and hollered for my neighbor, a white German-American.  Nothing stirred. I went back to my computer. At least someone is thinking constructively. The World Wildlife Fund says we need two planets.  The rationale is that we create too much waste for one, but the roots of American environmentalism were always nourished by dislike of  “those of mixed race”, and some over there at WWF has got their thinking cap on.

Is whitey ready for a fresh start? Face it, we may be a minority, but we got the firepower.

Where did we go wrong? Too much atonal music, maybe. Richard Pryor probably put his finger on it. Pryor to a white audience:

“What the matter, y’all stop fuckin’?  There will be no shortage of niggers.  Niggers is fuckin’.”

I began to sort things out for the big move to Planet 2.  What a mess whitey had made of things! One horrible move after another. What will we Americans handing on to the new majority?  The news is not good.  At almost exactly the moment we yielded majority status, we – not the people to be sure – but our president and our Congress were putting the finishing touches to our modern system of government, known as fascism.

The mobs who flooded into the streets to revel in the execution of Osama bin Laden were not exulting in America, land of the free and of constitutional propriety. They were lauding brute, lawless, lethal force. In this year of political conventions we’ll be hearing a lot of tub-thumping about American freedoms, but if there’s any nation in the world that is well on the way to meriting the admittedly vague label of “fascist,” surely it’s the United States.

Fascism, among other things, is a system of extreme, methodical state repression, violent in contour and threat, buttressed by ultra-nationalist mythology, a militarist culture and imperial ambition. In the 1980s America started locking up its poor people. Seven million adults were under correctional supervision in 2009.

A fascist system uses constant harassment. Last year there were more than 600,000 stop-and-frisks in New York City, overwhelmingly of blacks and Hispanics.

Historically, fascist regimes have been particularly cruel toward what is deemed to be sexual deviancy. US sex offender registries doom three-quarters of a million people—many of them convicted on trumpery charges—to pale simulacra of real life. Others endure castration and open-ended incarceration.

Fascist regimes, ultimately the expression of corporate power, repress labor in all efforts to organize. The onslaught here began with Taft-Hartley in 1947 and continued with methodical ferocity during the Reagan and Clinton years. Obama reneged on pledges to make organizing easier, froze the wages of federal workers and advanced free trade across the globe. Attacks on collective bargaining are pervasive. Big money’s grip on both parties ensures corporate control no matter who’s nominally in charge. Fascist regimes show open contempt for democracy while deifying a leader who embodies the national spirit. We salute democracy while suppressing it.

A fascist regime is the sworn foe of the right to assembly, “unauthorized” marches and encampments. We see this now more signs of this around the NATO summit and will endure more of it at the national conventions. America is a network of SWAT teams and kindred state-employed thugs on permanent red alert.

A fascist regime spies obsessively on its citizens. Study US laws on secret surveillance since the Patriot Act and you will find procedures that would have been the envy of the East Germans.

Ultimately a fascist state claims the right, currently under judicial stay by federal judge Katherine Forrest, to imprison its victims without term or hope of redress or legal representation . As the executive power, in the form of the president, it claims the right to kill its enemies, whether citizens (Awlaki) or others (Guantánamo), without judicial review. In other words, rule by decree—which is what Hitler’s Enabling Act won him in March 1933.

We live in a fascist country.  It will take a while, many decades, to prise WASP-dom’s tenacious fingers from power, but maybe the new majority won’t merely ratify evolving fascist arrangements, with caudillismo thrown in on top of everything else. Meanwhile on Planet 2 perhaps the old white majority can re-reread the constitution, excavate the jury from disuse and refresh the roots of freedom. And if for some technical reason Planet 2 is slow to dock, all forces will have to combine constructively  here, shoulder to shoulder.

Tumbril Time!

A  tumbril (n.)   a dung cart used for carrying manure, now associated with the transport of prisoners to the guillotine during the French Revolution.

In the dock is  anecdotal, long sought by the force of revolutionary vigilance. Prosecutor Fouquier-Tinville says he can do no better than read from the denunciation filed with his office by citoyen actif, Patrick Cockburn:

“A telling example of how undervaluing evidence as ‘anecdotal’ gives a free pass to misrepresentation, fraud and crime came last week in a report in Britain over unsafe breast implants. It had emerged that 47,000 British women had French manufactured implants made out of mattress gel using industrial grade silicon, never intended for medical use, that can burst and swell in the body. The ‘deliberate fraud’ by the French company was unmasked by French investigators in 2010.  In Britain, it emerged, surgeons had warned that the implants were rupturing during demonstrations as long ago as 2006, one demanding the implants no longer be used. Two other surgeons had experience of the ‘catastrophic disintegration’ of implants. But the British government medical devices watchdog, MHRA, decided to do nothing because. so the report says, the evidence was ‘anecdotal’. Furthermore the official watchdog, discounting the evidence of three surgeons, felt that to issue a warning would lead to an ‘unwanted scare which could have serious commercial implications.’”

There were lively outbursts of emotion during the unfolding of this outrage to morals and upright conduct and it was clear to “anecdotal” in the dock that  this was not its lucky day and that a rendez-vous with the fatal blade would not be long postponed.  Sentence was duly pronounced, without a single dissenting voice.

Our Latest Newsletter 

Did Mitt Romney dodge the draft with his father’s help? Sure he did, even while he was demonstrating at Stanford  in favor of the war. H. Bruce Franklin, who was teaching at Stanford at the time, lays out the unsavory saga. 

Andrew Cockburn gives CounterPunchers a compelling investigation of the rise of automated warfare and of the Drones, their vast costs and constant failures, President Obama’s obsessive enthusiasm for them. A sample of Andrew’s must –read story:

Despite their “folk hero” status with any Americans, drones have turned out to be costly and delicate instruments. Global Hawk, for example, a high altitude, very long-range reconnaissance drone costing over $200 million a copy, is out of service for repairs at least half the time.  Predators manage 20 hours in the air a month before they, too, must go back to the shop. The Air Force has lost at the very least a fifth of its drones to crashes, usually while landing – always a tricky maneuver when using remote control – or because the signal link with controllers half a world away has been interrupted.

Wei Zhang assesses the social and health costs of China’s incredible GDP growth. A sample:

The list of countries that have been more efficient than China in improving life expectancy is quite long, although none have achieved comparable economic growth. For example, in 1980, life expectancy in some countries (including, but not limited to, Albania, Czech Republic, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Slovenia) was higher than that in China, making it theoretically more difficult to improve; but, by 2008, life expectancy in these countries saw either equivalent or greater progress. There are also countries (such as Libya, Nicaragua, Peru, Tunisia, Vietnam) which had a lower life expectancy than China in 1980, but nonetheless reached equal or even higher life expectancy in 2008. 

Three exclusive, exciting investigations.  

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Alexander Cockburn can be reached at alexandercockburn@asis.com.