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Tue Jan 26, 2016, 12:50 PM

C. Wright Mills: Sociological Imagination and the Power Elite

Info about a guy who doesn't get mentioned on tee vee or in the Texas history book, but should be.

The short version from an online program by Bethany Johnson:

Knowledge and Power

C. Wright Mills was a sociologist who believed that knowledge was the crucial element to social change. He was a hugely influential, radical social theorist. One example of his works, which supports this distinction, is his legendary book on social power. In 1964, the Society for the Study of Social Problems established the C. Wright Mills Award. This award is given to the individual whose work 'best exemplifies outstanding social science research and a great understanding of the individual and society in the tradition of the distinguished sociologist, C. Wright Mills.'

He felt society needed to change - and that change would come through those who had knowledge and used it properly. He felt that critical thinking was the means of obtaining this crucial knowledge and, thus, used this thinking to create what he called the sociological imagination.

The Power Elite

C. Wright Mills was a social-conflict theorist who argued that a simple few individuals within the political, military and corporate realms actually held the majority of power within the United States and that these few individuals made decisions that resounded throughout all American lives. To look at an example of the hierarchy of power, imagine a triangle with the executive branch, military leaders and corporate leaders at the top; interest group leaders, legislators and local political leaders in the middle; and, then, the common masses (the everyday people) at the bottom.

Mills wrote The Power Elite, identifying certain individuals as the 'national upper class' that own most of the country's wealth, run its banks and corporations, are in control of the universities and mass media and staff some of the highest ranking positions within government and courts.

Mills further explained that these elites often move fluidly between positions within the three controlling realms. For example, Hillary Clinton moved from the position of first lady to that of senator to secretary of state. Mitt Romney moved from the corporate world to governor and even presidential candidate. Mills noted that these power elite usually were people who interacted with each other regularly and typically held the same political and economic views or agendas.

Many power elite theorists actually argue that there is not such a thing as a true democracy because these few individuals have so much power that the wishes of the average people cannot be heard. These theorists believe that those at the top are so distant from the average people and that they are so powerful that there isn't any true competition for them. Thus, they usually tend to get what they want.



DETAILS ON MILLS: http://www.cwrightmills.org/

I learned about Dr. Mills through DU. His ideas are important for us -- not just for understanding how we got to this point, but for figuring out how to get to a better place -- and build a better nation and future.

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Reply C. Wright Mills: Sociological Imagination and the Power Elite (Original post)
Octafish Jan 2016 OP
leveymg Jan 2016 #1
Octafish Jan 2016 #2
leveymg Jan 2016 #5
Octafish Jan 2016 #8
librechik Jan 2016 #33
antigop Jan 2016 #3
Octafish Jan 2016 #4
clarice Jan 2016 #6
Octafish Jan 2016 #13
clarice Jan 2016 #26
Octafish Jan 2016 #29
librechik Jan 2016 #34
Odin2005 Jan 2016 #7
uriel1972 Jan 2016 #11
Octafish Jan 2016 #14
Eleanors38 Jan 2016 #31
groovedaddy Jan 2016 #9
Octafish Jan 2016 #15
Eleanors38 Jan 2016 #32
malaise Jan 2016 #10
Octafish Jan 2016 #16
hifiguy Jan 2016 #18
Octafish Jan 2016 #19
hifiguy Jan 2016 #21
amborin Jan 2016 #12
Octafish Jan 2016 #23
hifiguy Jan 2016 #17
Octafish Jan 2016 #27
hifiguy Jan 2016 #37
Dont call me Shirley Jan 2016 #20
Octafish Jan 2016 #28
Dont call me Shirley Jan 2016 #35
jwirr Jan 2016 #22
KoKo Jan 2016 #25
raouldukelives Jan 2016 #24
Eleanors38 Jan 2016 #30
KoKo Jan 2016 #36
Octafish Jan 2016 #38
KoKo Jan 2016 #39

Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 01:02 PM

1. First read Mills assigned by my PoliSc prof Howard Zinn

Only Howard always gently asked that we do the reading and never ordered us to do anything.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 01:08 PM

2. That must have been one heck of a class.

C. Wright Mills, in his book of the fifties, The Power Elite, counted the military as part of the top elite, along with politicians and corporations. These elements were more and more intertwined. A Senate report showed that the one hundred largest defense contractors, who held 67.4 percent of the military contracts, employed more than two thousand former high-ranking officers of the military.
-- Howard Zinn

Do you still have your notes?

Going by what you know off the top of your head, leveymg, whatever you learned took root.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 06:41 PM

5. A class project -- organizing student protests@ '81 Reagan Inaugur - earned me an A and an FBI File.

I know about the FBI part because my stepfather was a federal Supergrade employee and he received several courtesy calls from the Boston FBI Office about my college activities. Apparently Agent Mike believed that I was somehow under my step-father's influence. I was already cut-off, emotionally as well as financially.

But, back to the Zinn class project. I and some others ended up filling half a dozen buses with demonstrators that rolled from Boston down to DC. When we arrived, it was a beautiful, warm Spring-like morning. I'll never forget Vice President G.H.W. Bush popping up out of the top of his limo as he passed the designated protest area. We lined the sidewalk (where else) in the shadow of the J. Edgard Hoover FBI Building. Bush jabbed his thumbs vigorously into the air at us as he rolled past. It wasn't an approving gesture. His sons learned that characteristic smirk from him.

My dissertation, books, and notes went up in a housefire in Santa Cruz, CA shortly after I left Boston. Not related, I'm sure.

Howard did leave a lasting impression on me. I've never actually FOIAed my Bureau file, but what's left of Zinn's FBI files (according to the Index at Volume 4, the Bureau destroyed most of the Indexed contents) is here: https://vault.fbi.gov/Howard%20Zinn

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Response to leveymg (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 07:34 PM

8. ''We have more will than wallet.'' -- George Herbert Walker Bush inaugural address

Then the guy found the vision thing long enough to pull a trillion bucks from Congress to bail out the Savings & Loan looted by his kin and cronies.

In Detroit, at HateFest 1980 GOP nominating convention:

After the election, the one-up one-down in the relationship really changed:

George Bush Takes Charge

The Uses of "Counter-Terrorism"

By Christopher Simpson
Covert Action Quarterly 58

A paper trail of declassified documents from the Reagan‑Bush era yields valuable information on how counter‑terrorism provided a powerful mechanism for solidifying Bush's power base and launching a broad range of national security initiatives.

During the Reagan years, George Bush used "crisis management" and "counter‑terrorism" as vehicles for running key parts of the clandestine side of the US government.

Bush proved especially adept at plausible denial. Some measure of his skill in avoiding responsibility can be taken from the fact that even after the Iran‑Contra affair blew the Reagan administration apart, Bush went on to become the "foreign policy president," while CIA Director William Casey, by then conveniently dead, took most of the blame for a number of covert foreign policy debacles that Bush had set in motion.

The trail of National Security Decision Directives (NSDDS) left by the Reagan administration begins to tell the story. True, much remains classified, and still more was never committed to paper in the first place. Even so, the main picture is clear: As vice president, George Bush was at the center of secret wars, political murders, and America's convoluted oil politics in the Middle East.


Reagan and the NSC also used NSDDs to settle conflicts among security agencies over bureaucratic turf and lines of command. It is through that prism that we see the first glimmers of Vice President Bush's role in clandestine operations during the 1980s.


More details from Professor Simpson:



The Reagan administration's commitment to significantly expand covert operations had been clear since before the 1980 election. How such operations were actually to be managed from day to day, however, was considerably less certain. The management problem became particularly knotty owing to legal requirements to notify congressional intelligence oversight committees of covert operations, on the one hand, and the tacitly accepted presidential mandate to deceive those same committees concerning sensitive operations such as the Contra war in Nicaragua, on the other.

The solution attempted in NSDD 159 was to establish a small coordinating committee headed by Vice President George Bush through which all information concerning US covert operations was to be funneled. The order also established a category of top secret information known as Veil, to be used exclusively for managing records pertaining to covert operations.

[font color="green"]The system was designed to keep circulation of written records to an absolute minimum while at the same time ensuring that the vice president retained the ability to coordinate US covert operations with the administration's overt diplomacy and propaganda.

Only eight copies of NSDD 159 were created. The existence of the vice president's committee was itself highly classified.
[/font color] The directive became public as a result of the criminal prosecutions of Oliver North, John Poindexter, and others involved in the Iran‑Contra affair, hence the designation "Exhibit A" running up the left side of the document.


CovertAction Quarterly no 58 Fall 1996 pp31-40.

This all used to be online, easily found via the GOOGLE. It's gone now, for some strange reason.

When you saw him, Poppy had already been running the show that matters for almost 8 years. Claiming national security, they've been able to hide their unconstitutionality, criminality and untold treason from the American people. All we can see are the wars without end and that the rich have gotten richer than ever and all we get is the "more will than wallet" of Austerity.

Thank you for sharing that personal history, leveymg. These crumb bums running the police state really are low.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #8)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 01:25 PM

33. I've been wondering about Poppy Bush. By many accounts his IQ is/was

under 100. Bush Sr seems a simple, amiable, and blank-page kinda guy, IMO. Maybe even moronic.

Who was running him? He must have had a CIA/FBI handler or handlers. Who was directing this agent of chaos?

Almost finished reading The Devil's Chessboard. The end is the most shocking of all the vile, unbelievable previous tales. Can barely put it down-can barely continue.

Cheers and thanks again!

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 01:17 PM

3. "knowledge was the crucial element to social change"

That's why they don't want us to have decent public education.

That's why the MSM is the way it is.

THEY don't want people to know what's going on.

Thanks, Octafish.

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Response to antigop (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 01:26 PM

4. Exactly. Thus all the propaganda instead of knowledge.

Maria Gilardin reports the people of the US have been subjected to the most costly, unparalleled, 3/4 century propaganda effort by corporations in order to expand corporate rights, limit democracy and destroy the unions. Her webcast covers the history from WWI to Reagan. It centers on Alex Carey: Corporations and Propaganda. When Noam Chomsky dedicated his book "Manufacturing Consent" to the memory of Alex Carey, he said that the Australian sociologist would have written the definitive history of propaganda in the US, had he lived to complete his work. The 20th century, Carey says, is marked by three historic developments: the growth of democracy via the expansion of the franchise, the growth of corporations, and the growth of propaganda to protect corporations from democracy.

Alex Carey: Corporations and Propaganda

The Attack on Democracy

The 20th century, said Carey, is marked by three historic developments: the growth of democracy via the expansion of the franchise, the growth of corporations, and the growth of propaganda to protect corporations from democracy. Carey wrote that the people of the US have been subjected to an unparalleled, expensive, 3/4 century long propaganda effort designed to expand corporate rights by undermining democracy and destroying the unions. And, in his manuscript, unpublished during his life time, he described that history, going back to World War I and ending with the Reagan era. Carey covers the little known role of the US Chamber of Commerce in the McCarthy witch hunts of post WWII and shows how the continued campaign against "Big Government" plays an important role in bringing Reagan to power.

John Pilger called Carey "a second Orwell", Noam Chomsky dedicated his book, Manufacturing Consent, to him. And even though TUC Radio runs our documentary based on Carey's manuscript at least every two years and draws a huge response each time, Alex Carey is still unknown.

Given today's spotlight on corporations that may change. It is not only the Occupy movement that inspired me to present this program again at this time. By an amazing historic coincidence Bill Moyers and Charlie Cray of Greenpeace have just added the missing chapter to Carey's analysis. Carey's manuscript ends in 1988 when he committed suicide. Moyers and Cray begin with 1971 and bring the corporate propaganda project up to date.

This is a fairly complex production with many voices, historic sound clips, and source material. The program has been used by writers and students of history and propaganda. Alex Carey: Taking the Risk out of Democracy, Corporate Propaganda VS Freedom and Liberty with a foreword by Noam Chomsky was published by the University of Illinois Press in 1995.

SOURCE: http://tucradio.org/new.html

Here's the first part (scroll down at the link for the second part) on Carey:


You are most welcome, antigop. Thank you for grokking.

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” ― Frederick Douglass

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 06:56 PM

6. Octa...just got through reading The Power Elite....


ummmmm IMHO....it could have been sub-titled...."Hey...gimme some money"

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Response to clarice (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:02 PM

13. One thing I know: Mills wrote about the Military Industrial Complex before there was such a term.

The Power Elite was published in 1956. Ike warned us in 1961.

The Tyranny of Defense Inc.

In 1961, Dwight Eisenhower famously identified the military-industrial complex, warning that the growing fusion between corporations and the armed forces posed a threat to democracy. Judged 50 years later, Ike’s frightening prophecy actually understates the scope of our modern system—and the dangers of the perpetual march to war it has put us on.



This national-security state derived its raison d’être from—and vigorously promoted a belief in—the existence of looming national peril. On one point, most politicians, uniformed military leaders, and so-called defense intellectuals agreed: the dangers facing the United States were omnipresent and unprecedented. Keeping those dangers at bay demanded vigi­lance, preparedness, and a willingness to act quickly and even ruthlessly. Urgency had become the order of the day.

In his 1956 book, The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills, a professor of sociology at Columbia, dubbed this perspective “military metaphysics,” which he characterized as “the cast of mind that defines international reality as basically military.” Those embracing this mind-set no longer considered genuine, lasting peace to be plausible. Rather, peace was at best a transitory condition, “a prelude to war or an interlude between wars.”

Perhaps nothing illustrates military metaphysics more vividly than the exponential growth of the U.S. nuclear stockpile that occurred during Eisenhower’s presi­dency. In 1952, when Ike was elected, that stockpile numbered some 1,000 warheads. By the time he passed the reins to John F. Kennedy in 1961, it consisted of more than 24,000 warheads, and it rapidly ascended later that decade to a peak of 31,000.



Military Metaphysics still rules. Pretzeldent George w Bush said: "Money trumps peace" at a White House press conference and the press corpse blinked and moved on to the next question.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 10:45 AM

26. Yes, he was prescient in that respect.nt


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Response to clarice (Reply #26)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 12:37 PM

29. These days we get to enjoy the politico-economic wisdom of Tyler Cowen.

Scholar. Sage. Pro-business. Big ideas of how to make a killing. Heh heh heh.

The Pitfalls of Peace

The Lack of Major Wars May Be Hurting Economic Growth

Tyler Cowen
The New York Times, JUNE 13, 2014

The continuing slowness of economic growth in high-income economies has prompted soul-searching among economists. They have looked to weak demand, rising inequality, Chinese competition, over-regulation, inadequate infrastructure and an exhaustion of new technological ideas as possible culprits.

An additional explanation of slow growth is now receiving attention, however. It is the persistence and expectation of peace.

The world just hasn’t had that much warfare lately, at least not by historical standards. Some of the recent headlines about Iraq or South Sudan make our world sound like a very bloody place, but today’s casualties pale in light of the tens of millions of people killed in the two world wars in the first half of the 20th century. Even the Vietnam War had many more deaths than any recent war involving an affluent country.

Counterintuitive though it may sound, the greater peacefulness of the world may make the attainment of higher rates of economic growth less urgent and thus less likely. This view does not claim that fighting wars improves economies, as of course the actual conflict brings death and destruction. The claim is also distinct from the Keynesian argument that preparing for war lifts government spending and puts people to work. Rather, the very possibility of war focuses the attention of governments on getting some basic decisions right — whether investing in science or simply liberalizing the economy. Such focus ends up improving a nation’s longer-run prospects.

It may seem repugnant to find a positive side to war in this regard, but a look at American history suggests we cannot dismiss the idea so easily. Fundamental innovations such as nuclear power, the computer and the modern aircraft were all pushed along by an American government eager to defeat the Axis powers or, later, to win the Cold War. The Internet was initially designed to help this country withstand a nuclear exchange, and Silicon Valley had its origins with military contracting, not today’s entrepreneurial social media start-ups. The Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite spurred American interest in science and technology, to the benefit of later economic growth.

War brings an urgency that governments otherwise fail to summon. For instance, the Manhattan Project took six years to produce a working atomic bomb, starting from virtually nothing, and at its peak consumed 0.4 percent of American economic output. It is hard to imagine a comparably speedy and decisive achievement these days.


Living in a largely peaceful world with 2 percent G.D.P. growth has some big advantages that you don’t get with 4 percent growth and many more war deaths. Economic stasis may not feel very impressive, but it’s something our ancestors never quite managed to pull off. The real questions are whether we can do any better, and whether the recent prevalence of peace is a mere temporary bubble just waiting to be burst.

Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/14/upshot/the-lack-of-major-wars-may-be-hurting-economic-growth.html?_r=0

The guy seems to specialize in Big Ticket themes:

Just when I thought, maybe, we had reached bottom and were ready to bounce up -- I discovered there may be no bottom -- for me and the large part of the 99-percent.

Economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason University has seen the future and it looks bleak for most of us. Thankfully, those at the top, though, are in for some more good times. He spoke about his findings with NPR's Steve Inskeep. I almost dropped my smartphone into my coffee while texting during rush hour, listening to the report this morning, I was so steamed.

Tired Of Inequality? One Economist Says It'll Only Get Worse

September 12, 2013 3:05 AM

Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:

"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."

It's a radical change from the America of 40 or 50 years ago. Cowen believes the wealthy will become more numerous, and even more powerful. The elderly will hold on to their benefits ... the young, not so much. Millions of people who might have expected a middle class existence may have to aspire to something else.


Some people, he predicts, may just have to find a new definition of happiness that costs less money. Cowen says this widening is the result of a shifting economy. Computers will play a larger role and people who can work with computers can make a lot. He also predicts that everyone will be ruthlessly graded — every slice of their lives, monitored, tracked and recorded.

CONTINUED with link to the audio...


For some reason, the interview with Steve Inskeep didn't bring up the subject of the GOVERNMENT DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT LIKE IN THE NEW DEAL so I thought I'd bring it up. Older DUers may recall the Democratic Party once actually did do stuff for the average American, from school and work to housing and justice. But, we can't afford that now, obviously.

Oh, the good news is the 1-percent may swell to a 15-percent "upper middle class" while the rest of the middle class goes the other way. Gee. That sounds eerily familiar. Oh..."Commercial interests are very powerful interests" uttered same press conference where Smirko said, "Money trumps peace." Pretty much always the on-message 24/7/366 for most of the last century.

I hope I'm not being prescient, clarice, when I post: Tyler Cowen, man of the Final Hours.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #29)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 01:33 PM

34. Conservatives went to war against The New Deal. And they won.

Truman couldn't even put a national health service into place, after we had done so in many other countries as part of world war 2 reconstruction.

Big Bank Cheap Labor Conservatives prospered during the war and weren't about to give that up. They won right away, and Eisenhower belatedly recognized their entrenchment. Now I defy anybody to undo these intolerable political conditions. Please.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 06:56 PM

7. It was exactly the same in the ancient Roman Republic.

And we all know what happened to Rome in the 1st Century BC...

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Response to Odin2005 (Reply #7)

Response to Odin2005 (Reply #7)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:27 PM

14. The elites murdered Caesar, overthrew the Republic, and did themselves in for greed.

The late author of "Sorrows of Empire" discusses where we were in 2005...

Interview with Chalmers Johnson

Part 1. An Empire of More Than 725 Military Bases

Discussing the books "The Sorrows of Empire" and "Blowback"
Cardiff, California


The Posse Comitatus Act

(Chalmers Johnson):

We also have General Franks, recently retired CENTCOM commander, saying that with another terrorist incident comparable to 9/11 in America, “We’ll probably have to take over.” And that’s what happened to the Roman Republic, the world’s first great experiment in institutionalized democracy, and an enormous source of precedence for the authors of the American constitution.

Beyond our own Rubicon

In Motion Magazine: Franks actually said this?

Chalmers Johnson: Yes. It was published in the December 2003 issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine. He said in so many words that the military might have to assume emergency powers. There is a distinct possibility that we are beyond our own Rubicon, and that there’s no way back.

Am I being alarmist? Yes, of course I am. I am alarmed.

But by the same token, if I am wrong you are going to forgive me you are going to be so pleased I was wrong. But I myself do not see how any president -- George Bush, John Kerry, or any other person -- can stand up to the Pentagon, the secret intelligence agencies, and the military-industrial complex today, if for no other reason than that 40% of the defense budget is secret and all of the intelligence agencies’ budgets are secret. This makes it impossible for a member of Congress to get the necessary information to do oversight even if he or she wanted to.



All the money in the world for nukes, wall-to-wall domestic surveillance, bases, planes, ships, missiles, bombs, tanks, bullets, etc. and whatever else Money Trumps Peace needs and it's AUSTERITY for democracy.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 12:57 PM

31. The Comitatus Act was briefly repealed during the Katrina aftermath...


...but the repeal was itself canned by Congress than a year later. The Act prevents fed power from interrupting the normal lawful functions of state and local law enforcement. Repeal was sought by the "Unitary Presidency" ideologs who wanted the president to have authority to intervene for ANY reason he saw fit. Good review of this aborted attempt at repeal in Wiki.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 07:51 PM

9. Power Elite was assigned reading in my poli sci days. Read this from Robert Reich:

"A study published in the fall of 2014 by Princeton professor Martin Gilens and Northwestern’s Benjamin Page reveals the scale of the challenge.

Gilens and Page analyzed 1,799 policy issues in detail, determining the relative influence on them of economic elites, business groups, mass-based interest groups, and average citizens.

Their conclusion: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically nonsignificant impact upon public policy.”

Instead, lawmakers respond to the moneyed interests – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets to bankroll campaigns."

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Response to groovedaddy (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:30 PM

15. Reich reminds us Princeton study looked at US political scene before Citizens United.

It’s sobering that Gilens and Page’s data come from the period 1981 to 2002, before the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to big money in its “Citizens United” and “McCutcheon” decisions. Their study also predated the advent of super PACs and “dark money,” and even the Wall Street bailout.

If average Americans had a “near-zero” impact on public policy then, their impact is now zero.

-- Robert Reich http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/01/26/volcanic-core-fueling-2016-election

Just happened to be reading that at Common Dreams today, groovedaddy! Important article -- one that gives me hope for 2017.

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Response to groovedaddy (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 12:58 PM

32. Yep. Me too at U of F, but not at U of T.


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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 08:18 PM

10. Studied him as an undergrauate

My favorite was Michael Parenti - Democracy for the Few is a classic - he was and is way ahead of other political scientists.


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Response to malaise (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:37 PM

16. Love the guy.

"Move on! And let the Trickle Down begin!"

Democracy and the Pathology of Wealth -- Michael Parenti

"Most of the world is capitalist. And most of the world is poor."

TUC Radio has a Parenti Archive. The guy's lectures are eye opening and give direction for future work, especially in solving that darn historic re-run where the Have-Mores end up with meet everything.

Great audio: http://www.tucradio.org/parenti.html

TUC: Time of Useful Consciousness...aviation term that refers to the short seconds a pilot has after the cabin depressurizes at altitude before blacking out. Apt metaphor for our Age.

Michael Parenti is profound. What's more, unlike most of those who pass for intellectuals these days, Parenti has INTEGRITY.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:42 PM

18. The first political science book I was assigned in college back in 1981


was Parenti's "Democracy For The Few." It made, let us say, a powerful and lasting impression.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:49 PM

19. Have you found Parenti's theses to be confirmed by events over the past 35 years, hifiguy?

Rhetorical/Not Rhetorical question.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:58 PM

21. To quote Austin Powers,


"Yeah, baby!!!"

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 08:36 PM

12. yes, the triangle of power, the illusion of democracy, and the inactionary masses, nt

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Response to amborin (Reply #12)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 12:28 AM

23. Now the gangsters have nukes.

Last edited Wed Jan 27, 2016, 09:03 AM - Edit history (1)

And they've privatized the profits forever.


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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:41 PM

17. Mills was decades ahead of his time.


Brilliant man with razor-sharp understanding of the US class structure.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 12:09 PM

27. That explains why his story is seldom told any more, as JFK, who also addressed class and power...

JFK tapes offer lesson in income inequality


DURING THE last days of his presidency, John F. Kennedy had a number of concerns on his mind. In tapes being released today by the Kennedy Library, we hear, for example, the president focus on his reelection and issues of economic inequality. [font color="blue"]What can we do, he asks his political advisers, to make voters “decide that they want to vote for us, Democrats? What is it we have to sell ’em? We hope we have to sell them prosperity, but for the average guy the prosperity is nil. He’s not unprosperous, but he’s not very prosperous. He’s not . . . very well-off. And the people who really are well-off hate our guts.’’[/font color] As questions about growing social inequity increasingly dominate our current political dialogue, it may be instructive to look back at how these issues played out a half century ago.

Having witnessed the country survive the Great Depression and World War II, JFK understood the economic and military vulnerabilities of democratic capitalism. Though insulated by his family’s wealth, JFK was affected by the poverty he witnessed on the 1960 campaign trail. One of the memorable lines from his inaugural address [font color="blue"]“if a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich’’ helps explain his first executive order: increasing surplus food allotments to poor communities across the nation.[/font color]

Once in power, his economic policies were ideologically balanced, combining, for example, a proposed tax cut to stimulate the economy with efforts to raise the minimum wage and expand unemployment benefits. Like the current incumbent, JFK’s legislative efforts - especially those designed to help the poor and advance civil rights - were often stymied by members of Congress. During his 1962 State of the Union address he reminded his congressional colleagues: [font color="blue"]“The Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress. . . It is my task to report the State of the Union - to improve it is the task of us all.’’[/font color]

In terms of his administration’s relationship with the “really well-off,’’ his most famous confrontation came during the steel crisis in 1962. Having helped to negotiate a non-inflationary wage settlement with the United Steelworkers Union, Kennedy thought he had an agreement with industry executives that, in exchange, they would not raise the price of steel that year.



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Response to Octafish (Reply #27)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 08:25 PM

37. The steel crisis put Jack Kennedy at or near the top of


many of the shitlists he was not already on top of (MIC/CIA).

JFK had the absolute temerity to think that being POTUS meant he was in charge and acted as such. Which is why he got the reward he did.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 09:52 PM

20. The power elite have been using all these same tricks and treasons upon us for thousands of years

They are quite adept at their deceit, fear mongering, war making, and subjugation of the masses. Religion is used to keep us honest and believing in goodness, so they have millions of followers to deceive and abuse. The majority of the masses must become aware of the elite's power games in order to change society. We must develop a "fool us once, we don't get fooled again" intelligence. So yes, knowledge is the key to ending the power elite's thousands year reign of terror.

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Response to Dont call me Shirley (Reply #20)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 12:35 PM

28. And the talking heads on tee vee wonder, ''What's the problem?''

Generation upon generation, knowing only service to power and property.

Kevin Phillips called them a ''multigenerational family of fibbers.''

The Barreling Bushes

Four generations of the dynasty have chased profits through cozy ties with Mideast leaders, spinning webs of conflicts of interest

by Kevin Phillips
Published on Sunday, January 11, 2004 by the Los Angeles Times


During these years, Bush's four sons - George W., Jeb, Neil and Marvin - were following in the family footsteps, lining up business deals with Saudi, Kuwaiti and Bahraini moneymen and cozying up to BCCI. The Middle East was becoming a convenient family money spigot.

Eldest son George W. Bush made his first Middle East connection in the late 1970s with James Bath, a Texas businessmen who served as the North American representative for two rich Saudis (and Osama bin Laden relatives) - billionaire Salem bin Laden and banker and BCCI insider Khalid bin Mahfouz. Bath put $50,000 into Bush's 1979 Arbusto oil partnership, probably using Bin Laden-Bin Mahfouz funds.

In the late 1980s, after several failed oil ventures, the future 43rd president let the ailing oil business in which he was a major stockholder and chairman be bought out by another foreign-influenced operation, Harken Energy. The Wall Street Journal commented in 1991, "The mosaic of BCCI connections surrounding Harken Energy may prove nothing more than how ubiquitous the rogue bank's ties were. But the number of BCCI-connected people who had dealings with Harken - all since George W. Bush came on board - likewise raises the question of whether they mask an effort to cozy up to a presidential son."

Other hints of cronyism came in 1990 when inexperienced Harken got a major contract to drill in the Persian Gulf for the government of Bahrain. Time magazine reporters Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne, in their book "The Outlaw Bank," concluded "that Mahfouz, or other BCCI players, must have had a hand in steering the oil-drilling contract to the president's son." The web entangling the Bush presidencies was already being spun.



The people who tried to overthrow FDR in 1933 had kids.

And they are the ones* screwing America now.

What's different today, is we don't have Smedley Butler or FDR to stop them.

Baron de Rothschild and Prescott Bush, share a moment and some information, back in the day.

* Of course, it's not just a few rich families's offspring who screw the majority today. They've hired help and built up the giant noise machine to continue their work overthrowing the progress FDR and the New Deal brought America for 80 years.

Why would the nation and world's richest people do that? Progress costs money. And they don't want to pay for it, even when they've gained more wealth than all of history put together. Instead, whey continue to work -- legally, through government and lobbyists -- to amass even more, transferring the wealth of the many to themselves.

And instead of an armed mob led by a war hero on a white horse, as planned in 1933, their weapon since Pruneface made his first payment to the Ayatollah has been "Supply Side Economics." To most Americans, that means Trickle-Down.

Rothschild and Freshfields founders’ had links to slavery, papers reveal

By Carola Hoyos
Financial Times

Two of the biggest names in the City of London had previously undisclosed links to slavery in the British colonies, documents seen by the Financial Times have revealed.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, the banking family’s 19th-century patriarch, and James William Freshfield, founder of Freshfields, the top City law firm, benefited financially from slavery, records from the National Archives show, even though both have often been portrayed as opponents of slavery.

Far from being a matter of distant history, slavery remains a highly contentious issue in the US, where Rothschild and Freshfields are both active.

Companies alleged to have links to past slave injustices have come under pressure to make restitution.

JPMorgan, the investment bank, set up a $5m scholarship fund for black students studying in Louisiana after apologising in 2005 for the company’s historic links to slavery.

CONTINUED (with registration, etc) ...


Thanks for grokking, Dont call me Shirley. With such "news," Americans may not even get a chance to wonder why Wall Street gets ahead. The thought could never occur to them.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #28)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 02:01 PM

35. Thanks for your always enlightening posts, OF.

My grandfather looked (and acted) just like Nixon My parents campaigned for him.

Even as young as 3 I can remember loving JFK, being sad when he was murdered. I loved all the others they murdered, MLK, RFK. I could never understand why the big tanks (I instinctively knew they were the bullies) on tv were rolling dangerously close to the people throwing rocks. And why the guards shot the college kids. The grokking grows the older I get and the more I learn; it is an inner knowing of truth.

Peace and Love reign supreme always, OF.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Tue Jan 26, 2016, 11:14 PM

22. Okay, have read all your comments and I have not read the

books. My question - do the ordinary guys ever win? Bernie?

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Response to jwirr (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 09:05 AM

25. Not to disrupt this informative post and thread...but re: Bernie

Bernie Sanders is scheduled to meet with PBO in the oval office today. Only his second meeting with Sanders ever...according to MSNBC. Interesting timing. Bernie had 20,000 people show up (combined) in two Campaign Rallies in Minnesota yesterday.

Oh...to be a "fly on the wall."

On Edit: MSNBC just said the meeting comes "....just a few days after President Obama praised SOS Hillary Clinton." (exact quote from the reporter)

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 07:44 AM

24. A simple, few indviduals, yes. But propped up and hoisted on the shoulders of the many.

First I have heard of him. A kindred spirit and one whose works deserve far, far more notice. Today more than ever.
Thanks for the fascinating read OF, as always.

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 12:47 PM

30. When Mill tried to get his PE published at U. of Texas Press, the book was rejected....


...so some rinky-dink outfit took on the task: Oxford University.

There were some fairly wild tales of Mill cavorting with a female grad student in full view of another prof in a UT building with a higher command of Mill's. Had to do a thorough cleaning of that big seminar table!

Boy, NO ONE wants to talk about Mill, no way, no how.

Class o' 72 (M.Ed)

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Response to Octafish (Original post)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 08:17 PM

36. Octafish! This is a Great Watch to Add: "Professor Colin Samson on C. Wright Mills"

He takes Mills into our Current Times and does it in an incredible presentation. As both me and my Partner were part of the Corporate Transformation of the Mid-20th Century, this was an incredible watch and he is very entertaining and an incredible speaker in a "down to earth" presentation of WHY C Wright Mills was such a Visionary.

It's a long watch ...but isn't a waste of time, imho

Introduction to United States Sociology (C. Wright Mills): Professor Colin Samson

University of Essex

Published on Feb 22, 2013
Department of Sociology: http://www.essex.ac.uk/sociology/
Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list...

In this video, Professor Colin Samson, from our Department of Sociology discusses the life and works of american sociologist, C. Wright Mills.

This module (SC164-4-SP: Introduction to United States Sociology) can also be taken as part of our BA Liberal Arts course. To find out more about studying Liberal Arts go to: essex.ac.uk/cish
If you are interested in studying sociology, we offer a wide range of courses, covering the areas of criminology, media and sociology.

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Response to KoKo (Reply #36)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 09:12 PM

38. Thank you, KoKo!

From Prof. Samson's lecture:

"When a man sells the lies of others he is also selling himself. To sell himself is to turn himself into a commodity. A commodity does not control the market; its nominal worth is determined by what the market will offer."

C. Wright Mills (2002, 1951), White Collar: The American Middle Classes, p. 153.

As an old guy who realizes the customers aren't smiling back like they did when I was younger, I know all about the Willie Loman thing and what it really means for this society.

Prof. Samson is a real teacher. Hope you and yours are well, KoKo!

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Response to Octafish (Reply #38)

Wed Jan 27, 2016, 09:29 PM

39. As you have noticed..They aren't "Customers"..anymore....

They are PREY! And...in my neck of the woods the people smiling these days are few and far between...which is a sad thing showing how times have changed in social situations...like the grocery stores and other places where "consumers" congregate to do their daily business.

I'm fine and hope you are well also. Tough times we've all been through these past decades, though. To have survived should be considered a Great Achievement--however we managed to do it! 's

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