Death by Oligarchy - by Chris Hedges, illustration by Mr. Fish for Truthdig

Death by Oligarchy

Chris Hedges:
Privilege does strange and unpleasant things to human beings. I saw these distortions among my rich classmates as a scholarship student at prep school and at Harvard University, an institution designed, like all elite schools, to perpetuate the plutocracy. Living in privilege spawns callousness, even cruelty, to those less fortunate and feeds a bottomless greed.
All our institutions—the press, the courts, legislative bodies, the executive branch and academia—have been perverted to serve the oligarch’s narrow, selfish interests while an oppressed citizenry, struggling to survive, is seething with mounting rage and frustration.
Oligarchs, freed from outside oversight and regulation, wantonly pillage the political and economic institutions that sustain them.
Greed is bottomless. It is the disease of the rich. All societies are plagued by social inequality, but when those on the bottom and in the middle of the social pyramid lose their voice and agency, when the society exists only to serve the greed of the rich, when income inequality reaches the levels it has reached in the United States, the social fabric is torn apart and the society destroys itself.

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Tanah Lot temple from still existing Pan Pacific hotel. (Photo: Andre Vltchek)

Trump Tower Tentacles Tighten around Bali and Strangle Local Communities

Paradoxically (but in a way logically by turbo-capitalist Indonesian standards), the greatest views of the temple will be ‘reserved’ for the richest of the rich, for those who will be able to afford to stay and to play at the luxury hotel and golf course owned by Mr. Trump. What is happening in Tanah Lot is indicating, brutally, although on a small scale, how the world and Indonesia will be governed from Washington, in the upcoming years.

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Reign of Idiots - Trump

Reign of Idiots

This moment in history marks the end of a long, sad tale of greed and murder by the white races. It is inevitable that for the final show we vomited a grotesque figure like Trump. Europeans and Americans have spent five centuries conquering, plundering, exploiting and polluting the earth in the name of human progress. They used their technological superiority to create the most efficient killing machines on the planet, directed against anyone and anything, especially indigenous cultures, that stood in their way. They stole and hoarded the planet’s wealth and resources. They believed that this orgy of blood and gold would never end, and they still believe it. They do not understand that the dark ethic of ceaseless capitalist and imperialist expansion is dooming the exploiters as well as the exploited.

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Silicon Valley in 2000. Photographer: David McNew/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

American Corporations Are Winning Their War On Capitalism (Part 2 of The Myth of Capitalism)

Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have bought more than 500 companies in the past decade. These giants are looking for the younger fast growers.
Today firms find it is more profitable to restrict production than to invest in growing. Think of airlines that don’t want more capacity, beer companies that don’t expand plants, and cable companies that don’t upgrade infrastructure.
Instead, firms take their high profits and plow them into share buybacks. The money goes to wealthy shareholders who spend less relative to their income than poor people. And so low investment and low consumption are tied together.

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Bezos’ Decision to Raise Wages is Largely a Machiavellian Distraction

For the many low wage Amazon workers — both full time and temporary — set to receive a raise thanks to the just announced boost in minimum pay to $15/hour, the news is certainly a big plus. It should also be noted that had Amazon not been subject to intense scrutiny and criticism from the likes of Bernie Sanders and others, Jeff Bezos never would have responded with such an aggressive move. That said, if you think a little beyond the surface level about why he’s doing this now and what his real motives are, it becomes clear nobody should take this move at face value.

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