Wednesday, October 17, 2012

There Is A Staggering Amount Of Feces In Our Food

Most Americans are eating significant amounts of feces on a regular basis without even realizing it.  You might not mind this, but most people out there would not willingly eat feces if they could avoid it.  Not only is it disgusting, but feces is also a breeding ground for all kinds of dangerous diseases.  Unfortunately, as a result of the never ending quest to cut prices even lower more of our food is being imported from overseas than ever before.  Many of those countries do not have the same health standards that we do in the United States.  In fact, many farmers in those countries actually feed feces to their fish and to their animals since it is so inexpensive.  If you are eating seafood that was imported from Asia, there is a very good chance that it was raised on pig feces.  Not only that, the truth is that a lot of the poultry that comes from Southeast Asia is also raised on pig feces.  The FDA has rejected thousands of food shipments from Asia in recent years due to fecal contamination, but the FDA inspects less than 3 percent of all imported food.  So what are we to conclude about the other 97 percent of all food imports that the FDA did not inspect? A recent Bloomberg article entitled "Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers" explained that much of the seafood that is imported to the United States from Asia is actually raised on pig feces.

A lot of people were grossed out by that article, but there have been no calls for a congressional investigation.  There have been no calls to cut off food imports from Asia.  Most people will forget about all of this in a few weeks and will continue to consume large amounts of imported crap.

The Bloomberg article also talked about the fact that less than 3 percent of all imported food is inspected by the FDA...

About 27 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from China -- and the shipments that the FDA checks are frequently contaminated, the FDA has found. The agency inspects only about 2.7 percent of imported food. Of that, FDA inspectors have rejected 1,380 loads of seafood from Vietnam since 2007 for filth and salmonella, including 81 from Ngoc Sinh, agency records show. The FDA has rejected 820 Chinese seafood shipments since 2007, including 187 that contained tilapia.
If the FDA has found such widespread contamination in seafood coming from Asia in recent years, shouldn't something be done about it?

If nothing is done, Asian seafood companies will continue to send us boatloads of seafood contaminated with feces knowing that there is more than a 97 percent chance that a particular shipment will not be inspected.

According to Michael Doyle, a microbiologist from the University of Georgia, using feces to feed fish and shrimp is quite common in Asia.  Many fish and shrimp that we eat spend their entire lives swimming around in a disgusting pool of animal feces...

It said most of the cases of contamination involving imported food in the U.S. are related to exposure to fecal matter. The group cited how, in Thailand, chicken coops with as many as 20,000 birds are often suspended in rows above ponds used for farming shrimp and fish. The sea life feeds on the chicken waste that falls in the water.

In an interview, Doyle said food producers in China regularly use untreated human and animal waste for feeding farmed fish meant for eating and for fertilizing land to grow produce.

"(Feces) is the primary nutrient for growing the tilapia (in China)," he said.
Sounds yummy, eh?

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, pig manure is also often fed to poultry and sheep in Southeast Asia as well...

Pig manure is important in the pig-vegetable-fish-duck chain that is common in Southeast Asia. The integrated system has long profitably used by Chinese farmers (ref. 306). 

Swine manure contains over 20% crude protein. Because of this high content of crude protein, dried fresh swine manure has been used in experimental work as poultry feed with no adverse effects on either meat or eggs. The same product has been used to advantage in pig finishing rations at the 15% level. It has also been included in sheep rations at the level of 40% (in pellets) with good results.
They say that you are what you eat.

Do you really want to eat something that has been constantly feeding on pig poop?

But feces is not just a problem in imported food.

According to the FDA, food producers in the United States are allowed to have an average of 9 mg or less of "rodent excreta pellets" in the wheat they produce per kilogram.  So, for example, 8 mg of "rodent excreta" per kilogram is perfectly fine.

And there are many other ways that our food becomes contaminated with feces.  The following is from an article that describes other ways that feces may be getting into the meat that we eat...

Slaughterhouse workers or more often machines take the hides off cattle. If workers cut the hides off by hand, they can spread feces to the meat if their knives touch the hides or tails and aren’t sanitized before touching the exposed meat again. Hide—removing machines may fling feces off the hides and onto exposed meat.

If workers accidentally break an animal’s gastrointestinal tract while removing it, feces or vomit may contaminate the meat. In beef and pork, each end of the tract needs to be sealed off with plastic to keep the contents from leaking out. Workers or tools can accidentally contaminate meat during this process.

After chickens are slaughtered, the birds are often chilled in cold water rather than in refrigerators. Feces and the pathogens in them can spread from bird to bird through the water.
Are you getting hungry yet?

But not all farmers feed poop to their animals.  Others feed them candy, sugar snacks and expired food.  The following is from a recent article by Ethan A. Huff....

The Vancouver Sun reports via Reuters that a whole new “alternative” feed market is emerging out of the ongoing crop crunch, as farmers all across the U.S. are running out of common feed options for their herds. Because corn-based feeds are now too expensive or simply unavailable, feedlot operators in Indiana, North Dakota, and elsewhere are buying leftover candy scraps, pastries, extruded cereals, gummy snacks, and even food waste to feed to their cows, which end up directly fueling the production of conventional meat and dairy products sold nationwide to American consumers.
No wonder so many Americans are deciding that it is worth it to pay more for organic food these days.

Even if you avoid all meat completely that does not mean that you are safe from fecal contamination either.  For example, according to CNN one study found that nearly half of all soda fountain machines in one area of Virginia were contaminated by fecal material...

It fizzes. It quenches. And it could also contain fecal bacteria.

Nearly half of the 90 beverages from soda fountain machines in one area in Virginia tested positive for coliform bacteria -- which could indicate possible fecal contamination, according to a study published in the January issue of International Journal of Food Microbiology.

Researchers also detected antibiotic-resistant microbes and E.coli in the soda samples.
So will the day eventually come when they will try to directly feed us feces?

Unfortunately, that day may be closer than you may think.  In Japan, they are already working on a method to create "meat" out of human feces.

Yes, I know that this is hard to believe.  The following comes from an article posted on DailyTech.com...

The Tokyo Sewage service in Japan serves over 13 million people over approximately a 2,200 square kilometer area.  It approached Mitsuyuki Ikeda, a researcher from the Okayama Laboratory, with an unusual problem -- it had too much "sewer mud" (also known as human excrement).

It turns out human excrement is a breeding ground for scores of bacteria.  So Mr. Ikeda cooked up an unusual solution -- make food [video] out of the feces.

The first step is to cook the bacteria, killing them, and to extract their proteins via separation techniques according to Yahoo News.  Soy protein is added to enhance the flavor.  The meat mixture travels to a "reaction enhancer" (likely a chemical reactor of some sort) where it turns into a textured "meat" and is then extrude through an "exploder".

The delicious "steak" is even finished with red food color to give it a comforting hue.  Mr. Ikeda claims that in initial testing people found the feces steak to taste somewhat like beef.
So would you mind eating a feces "steak"?

Education Profiteering: Wall Street's Next Big Thing?

Wall Street's involvement in the charter school movement is presented as an act of philanthropy, but it's really about greed.

The end of the Chicago teachers' strike was but a temporary regional truce in the civil war that plagues the nation's public schools. There is no end in sight, in part because -- as often happens in wartime -- the conflict is increasingly being driven by profiteers.

The familiar media narrative tells us that this is a fight over how to improve our schools. On the one side are the self-styled reformers, who argue that the central problem with American K-12 education is low-quality teachers protected by their unions. Their solution is privatization, with its most common form being the privately run but publicly financed charter school. Because charter schools are mostly unregulated, nonunion and compete for students, their promoters claim they will, ipso facto, perform better than public schools.

On the other side are teachers and their unions who are cast as villains. The conventional plot line is that they resist change, blame poverty for their schools' failings and protect their jobs and turf.

It is well known, although rarely acknowledged in the press, that the reform movement has been financed and led by the corporate class. For over twenty years large business oriented foundations, such as Gates (Microsoft), Walton (Wal-Mart) and Broad (Sun Life) have poured billions into charter school start-ups, sympathetic academics and pundits, media campaigns (including Hollywood movies) and sophisticated nurturing of the careers of privatization promoters who now dominate the education policy debate from local school boards to the US Department of Education.

In recent years, hedge fund operators, leverage-buy-out artists and investment bankers have joined the crusade. They finance schools, sit on the boards of their associations and the management companies that run them, and -- most important -- have made support of charter schools one of the criteria for campaign giving in the post-Citizens United era. Since most Republicans are already on board for privatization, the political pressure has been mostly directed at Democrats.

Thus, for example, when Andrew Cuomo wanted to get the support of hedge fund managers for his run for governor of New York, he was told to talk to Joe Williams, director of Democrats for Education Reform, a group set up to lobby liberals on privatization. Cuomo is now a champion of charter schools. As Joanne Barkan noted in a Dissent Magazine report, privatizers are even targeting school board elections, in one case spending over $630,000 to elect two members in a local school board race last year in Colorado.

Wall Street's involvement in the charter school movement -- when the media acknowledges it -- is presented as an act of philanthropy. Perhaps, as critics claim, hedge funders are meddling in an area they know nothing about. But their motives are worthy. Indeed, since they send their own children to the best private schools, their concern for other people's children seems remarkably altruistic. "Wall Street has always put its money where its interests of beliefs lie," observed this New York Times article, "But it is far less common that so many financial heavyweights would adopt a social cause like charter schools and advance it with a laser like focus in the political realm."

Yet, with the wide variety of social causes and charitable needs -- poverty, health, housing, global warming, the arts, etc. -- why would so many Wall Streeters focus laser-like on this particular issue? The Times suggest two answers. One is that the money managers are hard-nosed, data-driven investors "drawn to the business-like way in which many charter schools are run; their focus on results primarily measured by test scores."

Twenty years ago, one might have reasonably believed that the private charter schools, which are managed to produce the numbers, would produce better outcomes -- as measured by the numbers. But the overwhelming evidence is that they do not. The single most comprehensive study, by researchers at Stanford University, found that 17 percent of charter school students performed better than their public school counterparts, 46 percent no better and 37 percent worse. Stanford's conclusions have been reinforced by virtually all of the serious research, including those at the University of California, the Economic Policy Institute and the policy research firm Mathematica.

Nor do charter schools seem more efficient. Those promoted as the most successful examples have been heavily subsidized by foundations and Wall Street donors. The film, Waiting for Superman that portrays a heroic charter school organizer fighting a selfish teachers union was widely hyped in the media -- including popular TV shows like Oprah Winfrey's. Yet, as Diane Ravitch, an assistant secretary of education under George H.W. Bush and a former charter school supporter turned critic, noted, the film neglected to report that the hero educator kicked out the entire first class of the school because their test scores were too low, that the school was heavily subsidized by the pro-reform foundations and that the hero took an annual salary of four hundred thousand dollars.

Neither do the data on international comparisons support either privatization in general or charter schools in particular. The foreign education systems that out score America's are government-run, unionized, monopolies. Ravitch asks: "I look around the world and I don't see any country doing this but us. Why is that?"

Good question. Although the data do not support the supposedly data-driven privatizers' claims, their enthusiasm is undiminished. In response to an op-ed by Bill Gates that crudely misrepresented the statistics on school performance, education policy analyst Richard Rothstein observed: "It is remarkable that someone associated with technology and progress should have such a careless disregard for accuracy when it comes to the education policy in which he is now so deeply involved."

The Times' other guess about Wall Street's motives was that hedge funders are attracted to the anti-union character of the charter schools. This is undoubtedly true; the attack on the pubic schools is clearly a part of the broad conservative campaign to discredit government.

Wall Street has always loathed the labor movement. And in the last decade it has had even more of a reason since corporate profits now depend more on cost cutting and less on the creation of new products. The Chief Finance Officer of JP Morgan reports that some 75% of the net increase in corporate profits between 2000 and 2007 -- before the financial crash -- was a result of cuts in workers' wages and benefits. Given that unions are the only serious vehicles for resistance to the corporate low-wage strategy, Wall Street's antipathy has become even stronger.

But today unions represent less than seven percent of private sector workers. And the influence of public sector unions on the bargaining position of workers in profit-making corporations is, certainly in the short run, negligible. So while hostility to unions plays a role, is it is not quite credible to believe that Wall Street profit maximizers would be spending so much of their time and money simply to beat up on a proxy for the private sector unions that they have already so beaten back.

As usual, when looking for what motivates capitalists in a market system, the answer is likely to have something to do with making money.

Having been rescued from the consequences of its own folly by the Bush/Obama bailouts with its de-regulated privileges intact, Wall Street is once more on the prowl for the new "big thing" -- a new source of potential profits upon which to build the next lucrative asset bubble.

The landscape of the coming decade is not promising. Most forecasters see a near term future of slow growth, sluggish consumer spending and government retrenchment. Despite the Federal Reserve's commitment to low interest rates there is little demand for equities, indicating widespread investor pessimism about the future. As Bill Gross, the founder of global investment giant Pimco, wrote in August, "Boomers can't take risk. Gen X and Y believe in Facebook but not its stock. Gen Z has no money."

The financial bubble of the 1990s was driven by new business start-ups exploiting technologies whose development had been subsidized by the taxpayers. The bubble of the 2000's was built on the boom in subprime mortgages organized and subsidized by Federal housing programs. But with a virtual Washington consensus on cutting back public spending, investors have little expectation of new government money being poured into some dormant economic sector on a scale sufficient to generate widespread speculative excitement.

Education privatization would not, per se, create a net new stimulus for the economy. But by diverting large existing flows of money from the public to the private sector it would create new profit-making ventures that could be capitalized and transformed into stocks, derivatives and leveraged securities. The pot has been sweetened by a 39 percent federal tax credit for financing charter school construction that can double an investor's return in seven years. The prospect of new speculative opportunities could well recharge the animal spirits upon which Wall Street depends.

Some "liberal" privatization promoters claim that charter schools should not be considered private. But that's an argument the management companies that run the schools only use when they are asking for more government funding. At the same time they argue in courts and to legislatures that as private enterprises they should not be subject to government audits, labor laws and other restrictions.

These companies rent, buy, and sell buildings; make contracts for consulting, accounting and legal services, food concessions, and transportation; and pay their managers far more than public school principals earn. In cases where city governments have given land to charter schools, for profit real estate companies have ended up owning the subsidized land and buildings. In states where charter schools are required to be nonprofit, profit-making companies can still set them up and then organize a board of neighborhood residents who will give them the right to manage the school with little or no interference.

In 2008 Dennis Bakke, CEO of Imagine Schools, a private company that managed 71 schools in eleven states, sent an email to the firm's senior staff. It reminded his managers not to give school boards the "misconception" that they were "responsible for making decisions about budget matters, school policies, hiring of the principal, and dozens of other matters." The memo suggested that the community board members be required to sign undated letters of resignation. "It is our school, our money, and our risk," he wrote, "not theirs."

The potential for private profits from publicly funded education is not limited to K-12. Profit-making universities and vocational schools -- increasingly substituting remote internet learning for classroom teachers -- are among the fastest growing businesses in the country. The sector is rife with high-pressure sales tactics and shoddy training, which leaves students - many of them low-income -- deeply in debt and no further up the job ladder. Most of their growth is financed by Federal aid and Federally guaranteed student loans.

"You start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up," Rob Lytle, an business consultant earlier this year told a meeting of private equity investors interested in for-profit education companies. According to Stephanie Simon of Reuters, who reported on the event, investment in for profit education has already jumped from $13 million in 2005 to $389 million in 2011. Among others, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase have created multimillion-dollar funds for education investments.

These "data-driven" investors are not so much interested in students' scores, as in the opportunities to cut costs by using online technology. Ironically, while reformers insist their goal is to develop more skilled teachers, a goal of their financier allies is to get rid of them. The central question, says education entrepreneur John Katzman is "How do we use technology so that we require fewer qualified teachers?"

According to none other that Rupert Murdoch, the U.S. education industry represents a five hundred billion dollar opportunity for investors. In 2010, he hired prominent reformer Joel Klein from his post as chancellor of the New York City Department of Education to run Murdoch's education technology company. A few months later the firm received a $2.7 million contract from the city.

Charter schools, for profit on-line universities and other forms of privatization may not in the end fulfill all the dreams of its Wall Street promoters. But there is clearly money to be made here. And where there is money to be made, we can be sure that there will be money to finance political campaigns, to support career ladders that move between government and business and to bribe the media into ignoring the data. So the war on public education will continue. All of course "for the sake of the children."

How Dumb Does Washington Think We Are?

While much of the country is focused on the presidential race, the Wall Street gang is waging a different battle: they are preparing an assault on Social Security and Medicare. This attack is not exactly secret. There have been a number of pieces on this corporate-backed campaign in the media over the last few months, but the drive is nonetheless taking place behind closed doors. The corporate honchos are not expecting to convince the public that we should support cuts to Social Security and Medicare. They know this is a hopeless task. Huge majorities of people across the political spectrum strongly support these programs.

Instead, they hope that they can use their power of persuasion, coupled with the power of campaign contributions and the power of high-paying jobs for defeated members of Congress, to get Congress to approve large cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other key programs. This is the plan for a grand bargain that the corporate chieftains hope can be struck in the lame-duck Congress.

Most of the media have been happy to cooperate with the corporate chieftains in this plan. There are two main ways in which they have abandoned objectivity to support the plan for cutting Social Security and Medicare.

First, they continually run stories about how the deficit and debt are the biggest problems facing the country. They routinely use phrases like "crisis" and other hyperboles to scare their audience about the risks that the debt poses to the country.

The whole notion of a "fiscal cliff" is an invention that implies an urgency that does not exist. There is almost no consequence to not having a deal in place by the end of 2012. The dire projections of recession and rising unemployment assume that we don't ever get a deal on the budget.

The fixation on the debt certainly cannot be justified by any objective standard. Clearly the most pressing economic problem facing the country is that tens of millions of people are unemployed or underemployed as result of the collapse of the housing bubble. These people and their families are seeing their lives ruined due to a monumental failure by policymakers.

Furthermore, it is easy to show that the large budget deficits of recent years are entirely the result of the economic collapse. If the economy were back near full employment, the deficits would be relatively small, as was the case before the collapse. Yet, it is the deficits and debt that dominate news reporting and debate questions, not the overall state of the economy.

The other way in which the media have been pushing the agenda of the corporate honchos is by refusing to press candidates on their support for the cuts to Social Security that are a likely part of a grand bargain. Does President Obama support reducing Social Security benefits by 3 percent by cutting the annual cost-of-living adjustment? Does he support raising the age of Medicare eligibility to 67? How about your candidates for the Senate or the House?

It's unlikely that many people know the answers to these questions, because the reporters have not been asking them. Yet, these policies and other cuts that would likely be part of a grand bargain would have a much more direct impact on most people's lives that the tax proposals being touted by President Obama and Governor Romney.

To be specific, the reduction in Social Security benefits from the cut in the cost-of-living adjustment that is being pushed as part of a grand bargain would have more impact on most future retirees' living standards than ending the Bush tax cuts on the richest 2 percent would have on their living standards. While the media have done endless pieces on the impact of this possible tax increase on the wealthy, they have done almost nothing on the impact on retirees' living standards if the cost-of-living adjustment is cut.

This, of course, fits the needs of the corporate honchos who are pushing the agenda for cutting Social Security and Medicare. They don't want these cuts to become an issue before the election because it will make it harder for members of Congress to vote for them.

This is why the reporters covering this election deserve nothing but contempt from the public. It is their job to highlight the issues that will matter to people's lives, not to help push the agenda of corporate America. But clearly they have decided to do the latter.

The 2012 US Presidential "Non-election": Which Brand of "Fascism" this Time?

No matter who “wins”, humanity loses.


Every four years, the deck chairs of the political Titanic that is the American empire get rearranged in the choreographed spectacle of another presidential “election”. The 2012 charade is particularly disgusting; the lies more blatant and shrill, as the world continues to burn.

It is critical to focus on the cold, ugly reality facing the world with either prospective White House occupant.
On one side, the Obama administration, and the traditional brand of neoliberal imperialism and international consensus, and false domestic populism. On the other side with Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, militant right-wing extremism, an apocalyptic war agenda and the politics of sadism at home.
The interests of the elite (Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberger, etc.) is dutifully served with either Obama or Romney in the White House. The question for the elite is purely over style and execution.
Obama has been a servile facilitator and protector of the political establishment; an insidious capitulator and “consensus man”. For Wall Street’s billionaires, the Pentagon’s warmongers, and Washington’s most shamelessly corrupt, there has been no greater gift than Obama and his presidency. But with Romney and Ryan, the agenda simply speeds up and destroys faster, more violently, with true theocratic maniacal fervor.
The final choice will not be made by voters (who will be disenfranchised again, via electronic vote fraud and other manipulations), but by the criminal elements who seize final control of the apparatus over the final month of the “contest”.
The “children” are being allowed to fight it out amongst themselves. The side with ultimate command of the corporate media propaganda, the most effective back door deals, and the most effective dirty tricks and election night shenanigans, will prevail, the pre-determined result promptly encrypted into the software of controlled Diebold voting machines.
The Debate Charade
 
It is tempting but futile to dissect the theatrics of the debates, which are based on entirely on false premises to begin with. Not one exhaustively argued “talking point” addresses realities.
The carefully pre-selected issues assume a host of falsehoods, from the legitimacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the destabilizations of Iran and Syria, to the need for fiscal austerity.
These are rhetorical dog-and-pony shows without real differences, beyond timing, style, and method, by which they will execute similar agendas.
Both sides largely agree on foreign policy. Both sides proudly trumpet how best to inflict crippling economic warfare on “nuclear Iran”, and topple Syria. The only argument is whether the sequential multinational stranglehold (“diplomacy”) led by the Obama administration continues apace, or, if Romney/Ryan and the right will get what they really want: an all-out war with Iran.
Both sides agree on the same falsehoods regarding the national debt (without mentioning that the world war that they enthusiastically wage is the main expenditure) and the US financial crisis (ignoring the fact that the financial “crisis” and “bailout” was a manipulation that centralized the power for Wall Street constituents, the big banks, who support both sides equally, at the expense of US taxpayers). In terms of social programs (that will be cut in any case in order to pay for more war), the Romney/Ryan contingent calls for an immediate destruction of the entire social structure of the US—a swift draconian end to social programs such as Medicare and Social Security—while the Obama administration takes a more gradual approach.
Essentially, the candidates have already admitted that they do not serve the interests of most of humanity.
The media “analysis” of the election has been stomach-turning— nothing more than insanity heaped atop insanity. The chattering of talking heads over infantile nonsense, such as “who looks presidential”, who got more “gotchas” and “zingers”. A dumbed-down spectacle for a dumbed-down, manipulated populace.
Was Libya a Right-wing October Surprise?
One genuine point of friction between the Obama and Romney/Ryan camps is the Libyan terror attack of 9/11/12.
The attack, including the assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens was carried out by the Al-Qaeda “freedom fighters” that helped the US overthrow the regime of Muammar Qaddafi. These assets are closely linked to American neoconservatives, including a large contingent of figures behind the Bush/Cheney apparatus
There is little doubt that it was a false flag operation. The question remains, what high ranking Washington figures were involved. Who benefits?
Was it an October Surprise on the part of the right wing to humiliate the Obama administration, and steal the election, or an incident that was part of a larger bipartisan consensus agenda?
New reports from Salon of the coordinated activities of the American criminal right-wing and the Romney/Ryan camp, including gloating and “chortling” by high ranking Republicans that the attacks have turned Obama “into Jimmy Carter”: GOP’s October Surprise.
The timing of the attack and the Obama administration’s flummoxed reactions also suggest that they were caught off guard. Although it is true that the “war on terrorism” gets a boost in any case (there will be ramped up “anti-terrorism” in the wake of the incident), the Obama camp does not benefit politically from appearing to be vulnerable, disorganized and “weak”, ahead of an election. But the Romney/Ryan camp, which will do anything to gain power, very clearly benefits.
The right-wing (exemplified by the such criminals as the malodorous and corrupt Mitch McConnell) has treasonously sabotaged the Obama administration from the minute Obama took the oath.
Romney and Ryan are certainly playing Libya it to the hilt, noisily igniting scandal. They seek to ride the momentum of their attacks, all the way to a victory, with the help of vicious right-wing elements in Congress.
Who is investigating the right-wingers who were “chortling” about it?
It must be remembered that such October Surprises have occurred before. Right-wing Republicans have always been the culprits.
Bottom line: a terror attack, the murder of a US diplomat, and an international flashpoint are being exploited for political gain in Washington.
Romney/Ryan: Bush/Cheney on Steroids
To know what a Romney/Ryan presidency promises, simply consider some of the dangerous ultra-hawk war criminals and unsavory individuals who are advising the ticket.
Its team of foreign policy advisers is a wall to wall cast of Bush/Cheney war criminals:
Dan Senor- former leader of the Iraq provisional authority
Cofer Black-former CIA official, vice chairman of Blackwater USA
John Bolton- former Bush/Cheney US ambassador
Eliot Cohen- Project for New American Century (PNAC), Dick Cheney aide
Walid Phares- “scholar” on “anti-terrorism”; Lebanese Christian with ties to violent Lebanese militia
Michael Hayden- Bush/Cheney CIA and NSA director
Max Boot- senior CFR fellow, PNAC
Eric Edelman- former Dick Cheney aide
The ticket’s economic advisers are led by the Paul Ryan himself, “Lyin’ Ryan” the destroyer, along with the following leftovers from Bush/Cheney:
Glenn Hubbard- Bush/Cheney council of economic advisors
Gregory Mankiw- Bush/Cheney council of economic advisors
Vin Weber- lobbyist, former Republican member of Congress
Jim Talent- lobbyist connected to Jack Abramoff
Kevin Hassett- former aide to Bush/Cheney
This list speaks for itself, as does “Etch-a-Sketch” Romney’s background as a Wall Street manipulator and “Lyin” Ryan’s fanaticism. Expect saber-rattling, violent rhetoric, rabid attacks against nations from those in the Arab world to China and Russia, and irrational behavior to blossom in the weeks ahead.
Media Cheerleading
Judging from the narrative that is being created out of the presidential and vice presidential debates so far, it is clear which side the establishment favors more. The right-wing elements dominate American society and its media. There is no “liberal media”. The right-wing also controls the voting machines.
 
Romney and Ryan, and their minions, have spouted treasonous rhetoric, and have not been stopped.
This is identical to the astounding free passes that Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush received on their way to White House power. It is happening again.
Which way to the abyss?
There have never been real elections in contemporary America, and there will be no “election” this time either. There will, as always, be no real choice: war-mongering, mass-murdering imperialist “A” or war-mongering mass-murdering imperialist “B”.
America and the world must pay attention to which brand of fascism will ultimately be chosen, if only to properly prepare for what is to come. The marginal differences in method and style have ramifications, domestically and globally.
The quelling of increasingly large swaths of humanity is more important to the elite than ever before. The next White House occupant will spearhead the likely UN and NATO regime changes for Syria and Iran, both of which have been systematically destabilized by the CIA and its affiliates, and the “reconstruction” of the American social net.
Will it be more of the fist inside the velvet glove, or the hammer directly to the skull?
No matter who “wins”, humanity loses.

Monsanto Found Guilty Of Chemical Poisoning In Landmark Case

A French farmer who can no longer perform his routine farming duties because of permanent pesticide injuries has had his day in court, literally, and the perpetrator of his injuries found guilty of chemical poisoning. The French court in Lyon ruled that Monsanto's Lasso weedkiller formula, which contains the active ingredient alachlor, caused Paul Francois to develop lifelong neurological damage that manifests as persistent memory loss, headaches, and stuttering during speech.

Reports indicate that the 47-year-old farmer sued Monsanto back in 2004 after inhaling the Lasso product while cleaning his sprayer tank equipment. Not long after, Francois began experiencing lasting symptoms that prevented him from working, which he says were directly linked to exposure to the chemical. Since Lasso's packaging did not bear adequate warnings about the dangers of exposure, Francois alleged at the time that Monsanto was essentially negligent in providing adequate protection for its customers.

To the surprise of many, the French court agreed with the claims and evidence presented before it, declaring earlier this year that "Monsanto is responsible for Paul Francois' suffering after he inhaled the Lasso product ... and must entirely compensate him." The court is said to be seeking expert opinion on how to gauge Francois' losses in order to determine precisely how much Monsanto will be required to compensate him in the case.

"It is a historic decision in so far as it is the first time that a (pesticide) maker is found guilty of such a poisoning," said Francois Lafforgue, Paul Francois' lawyer, to Reuters earlier in the year.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to alachlor can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, spleen, and eyes, and may lead to the development of anemia and even cancer. The EPA apparently views alachlor as so dangerous, in fact, that the agency has set the maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG) for alachlor to zero in order to "prevent potential health problems." (http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/basicinformation/alachlor.cfm)

In 2007, France officially banned Lasso from use in the country in accordance with a European Union (EU) directive enacted in 2006 prohibiting the chemical from further use on crops in any member countries. But despite all the evidence proving that alachlor can disrupt hormonal balance, induce reproductive or developmental problems, and cause cancer, the chemical is still being used on conventional crops throughout the U.S. to this very day. (http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_ChemReg.jsp?Rec_Id=PC35160)

"I am alive today, but part of the farming population is going to be sacrificed and is going to die because of (alachlor)," added Francois to Reuters.

21 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is About To Go To A Whole New Level

The global debt crisis has reached a dangerous new phase.  Unfortunately, most Americans are not taking notice of it yet because most of the action is taking place overseas, and because U.S. financial markets are riding high.  But just because the global economic crisis is unfolding at the pace of a "slow-motion train wreck" right now does not mean that it isn't incredibly dangerous.  As I have written about previously, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event.  Yes, there will be days when the Dow drops by more than 500 points.  Yes, there will be days when the reporters on CNBC appear to be hyperventilating.  But mostly there will be days of quiet despair as the global economic system slides even further toward oblivion.  And right now things are clearly getting worse.  Things in Greece are much worse than they were six months ago.  Things in Spain are much worse than they were six months ago.  The same thing could be said for Italy, France, Japan, Argentina and a whole bunch of other nations.  The entire global economy is slowing down, and we are entering a time period that is going to be incredibly painful for everyone.  At the moment, the U.S. is still experiencing a "sugar high" from unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, but when that "sugar high" wears off the hangover will be excruciating.  Reckless borrowing, spending and money printing has bought us a brief period of "economic stability", but our foolish financial decisions will also make our eventual collapse far worse than it might have been.  So don't think for a second that the U.S. will somehow escape the coming global economic crisis.  The truth is that before this is all over we will be seen as one of the primary causes of the crisis. The following are 21 signs that the global economic crisis is about to go to a whole new level....

#1 Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer says that the global economy is "awfully close" to recession.

#2 It was announced last week that the unemployment rate in Greece has reached an all-time high of 25.1 percent.  Unemployment among those 24 years old or younger is now more than 54 percent.  Back in April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only sitting at 11.8 percent.

#3 The IMF is warning that Greek debt may have to be "restructured" yet again.

#4 Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg says that it is "probable" that Greece will leave the euro, and that it might happen within the next six months.

#5 An angry crowd of approximately 40,000 angry Greeks recently descended on Athens to protest a visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel...

From high-school students to pensioners, tens of thousands of Greek demonstrators swarmed into Athens yesterday to show the visiting German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, their indignation at their country's continued austerity measures.

Flouting the government's ban on protests, an estimated 40,000 people – many carrying posters depicting Ms Merkel as a Nazi – descended on Syntagma Square near the parliament building. Masked youths pelted riot police with rocks as the officers responded with tear gas.

The authorities had deployed 7,000 police, water cannon and a helicopter. Snipers were placed on rooftops to ensure the German leader's safety.
#6 The debt crisis is Argentina is becoming increasingly troublesome.

#7 The government debt to GDP ratio in Italy is expected to hit 126 percent this year.  In Greece, it is expected to hit 198 percent.  In Japan, it is expected to hit a whopping 237 percent.

#8 Standard & Poor’s has slashed the credit rating on Spanish government debt to BBB-, which is just one level above junk status.

#9 Back in the year 2000, the ratio of total debt to GDP in Spain was 192 percent.  By 2011, it had reached 363 percent.

#10 Record amounts of money are being pulled out of Spanish banks, and many large Spanish banks are rapidly heading toward insolvency.

#11 Manufacturing activity in Spain has contracted for 17 months in a row.

#12 It is being projected that home prices in Spain will fall by another 15 percent by the end of 2013.

#13 The unemployment rate in France is now above 10 percent, and it has risen for 16 months in a row.

#14 There are signs that Switzerland may be preparing for "major civil unrest" throughout Europe.

#15 The former top economist at the European Central Bank says that the ECB has fallen into a state of "panic" as it desperately tries to solve the European debt crisis.

#16 According to a recent IMF report, European banks may need to sell off 4.5 trillion dollars in assets over the next 14 months in order to meet strict new capital requirements.

#17 In August, U.S. exports dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since last February.

#18 Economics Professor Barry Eichengreen is very concerned about what is coming next for stocks in the United States...

"I’m worried that stock markets in the United States in particular have gotten ahead of economic growth"
#19 During the week ending October 3rd, investors pulled more than 10 billion dollars out of U.S. mutual funds.  Overall, a total of more than 100 billion dollars has been pulled out of U.S. mutual funds so far this year.

#20 As I wrote about the other day, the IMF is warning that there is an "alarmingly high" risk of a deeper global economic slowdown.

#21 When shipping companies start laying off workers, that is one of the best signs that economic activity is slowing down.  That is why it was so troubling when it was announced that FedEx is planning to get rid of "several thousand" workers over the coming months.  According to AFP, "its business is being hit by the global economic slowdown".

For even more signs that the global economy is rapidly crumbling, please see my previous article entitled "The Largest Economy In The World Is Imploding Right In Front Of Our Eyes".

So is anyone doing well right now?

Yes, it turns out that QE3 is padding the profits of the big banks in the United States and making the wealthy even wealthier just like I warned that it would.

According to the Washington Post, QE3 is helping the big banks much more than it is helping consumers.  Is this what the Fed intended all along?...

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lenders, said Friday they won’t make home loans much cheaper for consumers, even as they reported booming profits from that business.

Those bottom lines have been padded by federal initiatives to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve is spending $40 billion a month to reduce mortgage rates to encourage Americans to buy homes. Instead, its policies may be generating more benefits for banks than borrowers.
So exactly how much has QE3 helped out the big banks?  Just check out these numbers...

Revenue from mortgages was up 57 percent in the third quarter compared with the same period last year at JPMorgan and more than 50 percent up at Wells Fargo.
But should we expect anything else from the Federal Reserve?

The American people are trusting the Fed to protect our economy, and yet they cannot even protect their own shipments of money.  In fact, the Fed recently lost a large shipment of new $100 bills.

Or perhaps could letting people steal money from their own trucks be another way that the Fed is trying to "stimulate the economy"?

Stranger things have happened.

In any event, the truth is that the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system are unsustainable from any angle that you want to look at things.

We are drowning in government debt, we are drowning in consumer debt, Wall Street has been transformed into a high risk casino where our largest financial institutions are putting it all on the line on a daily basis, we are consuming far more than we are producing, there are more than 100 million Americans on welfare and we are stealing more than 100 million dollars an hour from future generations to pay for it all.

Anyone that believes that we are in "good shape" does not know the first thing about economics.

Sadly, the U.S. is not alone.  Nations all over the globe are experiencing similar problems.

The global economic crisis is just beginning and it is going to get much, much worse.

The US is Now a Gestapo Police State

Is Anarchism an Idea Whose Time Has Come?


It seems that everywhere, these days, people are talking about anarchism. Now Dmitry Orlov [3] joins the discussion with a 3-part series, “In Praise of Anarchy.” Utilizing primarily the work of the 19th century Russian anarchist, Peter Kropotkin, Orlov argues that anarchy, rather than hierarchy, is the dominant pattern in nature, that hierarchical organizations ultimately end in collapse, and that the impending collapse of the capitalist industrial system presents an opportunity for the emergence of anarchism.

Orlov,(aka kollapsnik at Club Orlov [3]), is probably best-known for his book, Reinventing Collapse [4], in which he compares the collapse of the Soviet Union with the imminent collapse of the United States. Russian-born Orlov is in a unique position to make such comparisons. He immigrated to the USA when he was twelve years old, and, as an adult, made numerous trips back to the former USSR in the years immediately following the collapse of its political and economic system.

With a wry Russian wit I find immensely attractive, Orlov describes in Reinventing Collapse how people in the USSR were better positioned than are Americans for economic collapse. For example, most Soviet citizens did not own their homes; instead they lived in state-owned dwellings. When the USSR collapsed, they simply remained where they were and nobody evicted them. Compare that with the United States, where people were seduced into signing questionable mortgage agreements for outrageously priced homes, and where, since the economic crisis of 2008, 3 million have been foreclosed upon.

Similarly, few Soviet citizens owned cars, but they could take advantage of a highly developed public transportation system. Most Americans, on the other hand, are car dependent, burdened with the expense car ownership and operation entails. In the USSR, citizens used to inefficient, centrally-planned agricultural policies were already in the habit of growing some of their own food. In recent years, some Americans have wised up to this necessity, but not nearly enough. I’m constantly amazed by the number of people I meet who can’t identify common garden vegetables by their leaves.

When, exactly, the economic and political collapse of the United States that Orlov has been predicting for five years, (convincingly, in my view), will occur, Orlov cannot say. But he believes it is not far in the future. (His specific arguments for collapse are collected in his most recent book of essays, Absolutely Positive [5].) Orlov uses the analogy of a deteriorating bridge [6] to explain how predictingwhen, something will happen is separate from predicting that it will happen:

Suppose you have an old bridge: the concrete is cracked, chunks of it are missing with rusty rebar showing through. An inspector declares it “structurally deficient.” This bridge is definitely going to collapse at some point, but on what date? That is something that nobody can tell you.
I’ve been reading Orlov for years and never really understood where he was coming from politically. Sometimes I thought I detected a note of libertarianism, but mostly I perceived him as apolitical, or sometimes even fatalistic. Certainly, he is one of the most original thinkers among the “peak oil” intelligentsia, and definitely the most entertaining. Unlike some prominent writers on the Oil Drum [7], he seems to have no interest in either defending oil companies [8] and their rapacious profits or influencing government officials to take some action or other to mitigate the effects of oil depletion. Probably that should have clued me in, but my anarchist antennae were not well-developed until recently.

In any case, it’s exciting to see Orlov become more overtly political. In Part I [9] of his series, Orlov introduces the Russian anarchist theorist Peter Kropotkin. Born a prince in 1842, Kropotkin renounced that status and devoted his life to improving the lot of the common man through his writings and activism. Perhaps his most outstanding contribution to anarchist thought is his 1902 book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. (The entire book, written in very accessible prose, is available free online here [10].) Kropotkin, a scientist, zoologist, and geographer, argued that mutual aid, rather than competition, is the most common feature of animal behavior and is essential for the survival and evolution of a species:

[E]ven in those few spots [in Eastern Siberia and Northern Manchuria] where animal life teemed in abundance, I failed to find — although I was eagerly looking for it — that bitter struggle for the means of existence, among animals belonging to the same species, which was considered by most Darwinists (though not always by Darwin himself) as the dominant characteristic of struggle for life, and the main factor of evolution…

[W]herever I saw animal life in abundance, as, for instance, on the lakes where scores of species and millions of individuals came together to rear their progeny; in the colonies of rodents; in the migrations of birds which took place at that time on a truly American scale along the Usuri; and especially in a migration of fallow-deer which I witnessed on the Amur, and during which scores of thousands of these intelligent animals came together from an immense territory, flying before the coming deep snow, in order to cross the Amur where it is narrowest — in all these scenes of animal life which passed before my eyes, I saw Mutual Aid and Mutual Support carried on to an extent which made me suspect in it a feature of the greatest importance for the maintenance of life, the preservation of each species, and its further evolution.
In Part II [11] of his series, Orlov notes that Kropotkin

pointed out that the term “survival of the fittest” has been misinterpreted to mean that animals compete against other animals of their own species, whereas that just happens to be the shortest path to extinction…

Kropotkin provides numerous examples of what allows animal societies to survive and thrive, and it is almost always cooperation with their own species, and sometimes with other species as well, but there is almost never any overt competition.
Orlov writes that “when most people say ‘Darwinian’ it turns out that they actually mean to say ‘Hobbesian.’” It is probably more accurate to say that the commonly-held notion of social Darwinism is “Spencerian” rather than “Hobbesian,” after the 19th century English social theorist Herbert Spencer, who is credited with coining the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Spencer was a contemporary of Kropotkin and highly influential in his time. Spencer borrowed heavily from evolutionary biology to develop his social theories; for example, his notion that if government intervened in the economy to provide aid for the poor, public education, and so on, it would undermine the ability of individuals to develop adaptive traits, and thus would be a disservice to such individuals and their offspring. Kropotkin’s work on mutual aid was likely a response to these kinds of ideas.

Orlov describes [12] Kropotkin’s further observations about the nature of animal social organization:

[A]nimal societies can be quite highly and intricately organized, but their organization is anarchic, lacking any deep hierarchy: there are no privates, corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors or generals among any of the species that evolved on planet Earth with the exception of the gun-toting jackbooted baboon (whenever you see an animal wearing jackboots and carrying a rifle—run!)…

Some groups of animals do explicitly sort themselves out into an order, such as a pecking order among chickens or an eating order in a pride of lions, but these are sorting orders that do not create entire privileged classes or ranks or a chain of command.

Consequently, animal societies are egalitarian. Even the queen bee or the termite queen does not hold a position of command: she is simply the reproductive organ of the colony and neither gives orders nor follows anyone else’s.
If anarchism is the natural pattern for life on earth, as Orlov asserts, why are most contemporary human societies organized otherwise? According to Orlov:

Glimmers of anarchism could be discerned going as far back as the Reformation, in movements seeking autonomy, decentralization, and independence from central governments. But eventually virtually all of them were drowned out by socialist and communist revolutionary movements, which strove to renegotiate the social contract so as to distribute the fruits of industrial production more equitably among the working class. In all the developed countries, the working class was eventually able to secure gains such as the right to unionize, strike and bargain collectively, public education, a regulated work-week, government-guaranteed pensions and disability compensation schemes, government-provided health care and so on—all in exchange for submitting to the hierarchical control system of a centralized industrial state. Anarchist thought could gain no purchase within such a political climate, where the rewards of submitting to an official hierarchy were so compelling. But now the industrial experiment is nearing its end…
Setting aside for a moment the facts that examples of anarchist societies go back further than the Reformation, and that more recent examples (such as among indigenous people in the Americas) were damaged or destroyed by colonial and imperial powers, Orlov’s thesis is intriguing. If people are more or less willing to submit to hierarchical authority when it distributes resources a little more equitably than laissez faire capitalism, what happens when the hierarchy no longer throws a few bones our way?

Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward demonstrate in their classic text Poor People’s Movements [13] that opportunities for popular insurgencies to emerge are relatively rare and usually coincide with “profound changes in the larger society” (p7). The decline of industrial society and impending collapse of global capitalism is, and will continue to, produce social dislocation and misery, but this rupture with the past also creates the space to build something new; perhaps something more equitable? More freeing? More caring? After all, industrial society produced its own forms of misery: boredom, conformity, stifling of creativity, and alienation to name a few.

“We can only hope,” Orlov writes,"that, with the waning of the industrial age, anarchism is poised for a rebirth, gaining relevance and acceptance among those wishing to opt out of the industrial scheme ahead of time instead of finding themselves pinned down under its wreckage." I can’t wait to read what he has to say in Part III next week.

See more stories tagged with:
anarchism [14],
Links:

[1] http://www.smirkingchimp.com/

[2] http://www.alternet.org/authors/katherine-acosta

[3] http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/

[4] http://www.amazon.com/Reinventing-Collapse-Experience-American-Prospects/dp/0865716854/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350046592&sr=1-1&keywords=reinventing+collapse

[5] http://www.amazon.com/Absolutely-Positive-ebook/dp/B008047OTS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1350046653&sr=1-1&keywords=absolutely+positive

[6] http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/06/fragility-and-collapse-slowly-at-first.html#more

[7] http://www.theoildrum.com/

[8] http://undisciplinedphd.com/2011/05/09/no-crocodile-tears-for-the-oil-industry-a-response-to-nate-hagens-robert-rapier/

[9] http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/10/in-praise-of-anarchy-part-i.html

[10] http://www.calresco.org/texts/mutaid.htm

[11] http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/10/in-praise-of-anarchy-part-ii.html#more

[12] http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2012/10/in-praise-of-anarchy-part-ii.html

[13] http://www.amazon.com/Poor-Peoples-Movements-They-Succeed/dp/0394726979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350046496&sr=8-1&keywords=poor+people%27s+movements

[14] http://www.alternet.org/tags/anarchism

[15] http://www.alternet.org/tags/dmitry-orlov

[16] http://www.alternet.org/%2Bnew_src%2B

This Is What Plutocracy Looks Like


The following 1 percent wonders are doing just fine under Obama, but since their worldview is largely restricted to an obsession with their marginal tax rate, they can’t refrain from denouncing the president and thinking of new ways to thwart his re-election bid. The Romney men desperately want to see the first financier president, a man after their own cold hearts.

1. David Siegel, the Bitching Billionaire

Thanks to folks over at Gawker, we’ve gotten a look at the noxious activities of David Siegel, founder and CEO of national timeshare giant Westgate Resorts. Siegel is filthy rich and wants you to know it, building himself the largest (and possibly the tackiest) house in America. The documentary The Queen of Versailles follows Siegel and his wife Jackie in pursuit of obscene excess in the form of a 90,000-square-foot homage to bad taste, complete with a 20-car garage, a two-story wine cellar, and a 30-foot stained glass dome.

Though he brags that his company is more profitable than ever, Siegel, an avid Republican, recently sent an email to his thousands of employees suggesting that they would lose their jobs if Barack Obama is re-elected. In addition to dispensing voting advice, Siegel wallows in 1 percent self-pity:

“They want you to believe that we live in a class system where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. They label us the ‘1%’ and imply that we are somehow immune to the challenges that face our country. This could not be further from the truth. Sure, you may have heard about the big home that I'm building. I'm sure many people think that I live a privileged life.”

Three swimming pools? Privileged? Perish the thought.

In high narcissistic style, Siegel goes on to praise himself for the “hard work, discipline, and sacrifice” that built a company “which by the way, would eventually employ you.” He laments the sacrifices he has endured since the Recession for the good of his workers: “Over the past four years I have had to stop building my dream house, cut back on all of my expenses, and take my kids out of private schools simply to keep this company strong and to keep you employed.” Siegel spends most of the rest of the letter bitching that shiftless Americans expecting a “bailout” in the form of higher taxes on fatcats will drive him to the Caribbean, where he will ensconce himself under a palm tree and cease to worry about the little people.

Edward Ericson Jr., formerly a reporter for the Orlando Weekly, has a different take on how the slimy Siegel made his money, a tale of running scams and ripping off customers.

2. “Neutron” Jack Welch

The former head of General Electric and big-time Romney fan has been making quite a spectacle of himself since last Friday. Incensed by the favorable jobs report, he went on a conspiracy theory rampage, accusing the Obama administration of manipulating the report in order to secure the election. After receiving a barrage of criticism, he told MSNBC host Chris Matthews that he had no evidence to prove such claims. Then he went on to make them anyway. Why should a gazillionaire bother with evidence?

He has since left Fortune magazine in a huff -- the very publication that once named him Manager of the Century -- after managing editor Andy Serwer suggested that his claims were absurd.

Ironically, the man levying charges of cooking the books is the one who wrote the cookbook. Barry Ritholtz of the Big Picture reminds us that Welch had a nasty habit of manipulating GE's earnings while he was CEO of the company. In his article “You Don’t Know Jack,” Jonathan R. Laing describes how Welch committed epic misdeeds at GE while enjoying such perks as an $80,000-a-month New York pad, a corporate jet, payment for country-club fees, and a host of other luxuries.

A funny one to be going on about jobs, Jack Welch is a key architect of the business style focused on short-run profits, overspeculation, and obsession with stock prices, which, in addition to killing innovation and helping to blow up the world economy in 2008, has caused untold hardship for workers. Welch is a long-time champion of increasing profits by laying off employees, destroying so many jobs at GE that he earned the nickname “Neutron Jack.” When he wasn’t thinking of new ways to deliver pink slips, he was busy denying the health threats of PCBs that GE was dumping into New York’s Hudson River.

“You can't just call me old and senile,” complained Welch in the wake of the jobs report flap. Okay, that would be mean. How about crooked and despicable?

3. Casino King Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson likes to go big. He heads up possibly the largest gambling and casino operation on the planet. And he spends big-time bucks trying to manipulate the American political system.

Adelson is unhappy with President Obama's policies on Israel, and claims that's why he supports Mitt Romney for president. But according to the New York Times, his company is also under investigation by the Obama Justice Department for foreign bribery and money laundering. Could the gambling honcho be hoping a Romney victory would make the pesky investigation disappear?

Annoucing that beating President Obama "isn't everything, it's the only thing," Adelson has unleashed $70 million trying to influence the outcome of the 2012 elections -- more than any individual has spent in any U.S. election to date. He has vowed to spend up to $100 million in total by election day.

Adelson also has a special knack for helping the new class of Asian elites enjoy ridiculous luxuries, such as a drink that comes with a one-carat diamond available at his nightclub in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands casino. The drink sells for $26,000.

4. Donald Trump: Plutocratic Personality Disorder

When it comes to stratospheric greed and arrogance, it’s hard to beat the Donald. How could a man famous for the phrase, “You’re fired!” not love a man who claimed to enjoy putting people out of work? Naturally Trump just can’t say enough good things about Romney. And he fully has Mitt’s back on those repugnant remarks made at a Florida fundraiser that characterized nearly half the country as freeloading losers. Trump announced that not only should Romney not apologize, but that “what he said is probably what he means.” Much obliged for the clarification.

When Obama’s name comes up, the words “birth certificate” are never far from Trump's lips. That and frequent questions about the president’s academic credentials.

The poster child for plutocratic personality disorder, Trump is obsessed with talking about himself, naming things after himself, and surrounding himself with pictures of – you guessed it -- himself. Maybe that’s to compensate for the fact that he’s actually a pretty crappy businessman and perpetually in need of money. After spending time with Trump and discussing his various luxury properties, the New Yorker’s Mark Singer concluded that the man “had aspired to and achieved the ultimate luxury, an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.”

5. and 6. Koch Brothers, Unlimited

No list of Romney men would be complete without the billionaire brothers who made their fortune in the oil and gas industries. Over three decades, Charles and David Koch have spent more than $100 million pushing their freaky libertarian agenda, which for years they did on the QT until the Obama presidency horrified them to such a degree that they could no longer hide in the shadows. There is no tax they don’t abhor, no environmental protection they don’t wish to kill, and no safety net they don’t ardently desire to shred. Romney, who aims to shield the rich from paying their fair share of taxes and offers an energy plan tailored to the needs of the oil, coal and gas industries, is their man for Washington.

The damage that these tycoons do to our natural world, our democracy and our sense of public trust would be difficult to overestimate. Whether they’re trying to resegregate schools (they tried to do this to my very own public school district in Wake County, North Carolina), repress votes, privatize Social Security, or dump toxic waste into rivers that sicken whole communities, the Koch brothers are indefatigable in their efforts and inexhaustible in their check-writing. (Check out the documentary The Koch Brothers Exposed, featuring AlterNet’s political writer Adele Stan.)

As AlterNet executive editor Don Hazen has noted, Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan is the Koch brothers’ hand-picked darling, a perfect vehicle for their twisted, cult-of-selfishness Ayn Rand philosophy. Ryan serves his masters by repeating Koch falsehoods on Medicare, scheming to steal your retirement, denying climate change and cutting taxes on the rich and corporations.