The power and danger of complexity and secrecy

3/9/2015 – Corporations and the wealthy use complexity and secrecy combined to operate under the radar. This is a big deal– an approach and system that was a real shock to me. Imagine– a bank with thousands of subsidiary operations. I’m not talking about branch outlets for the public. I’m talking about subsidiaries created to hide what is being done by whom and what.

That is the current state of capitalism. It is designed for evading, skirting and totally breaking the law and avoiding paying taxes and externality costs. it is a system that should not exist.

Chris Taggart, of Opencorporates.com, presenting at personaldemocracyforum.com, gave a talk describing how complexity and secrecy are used by corporations. He said, “this complexity is really great if you want to avoid detection, if you don’t want to be supervised, if you don’t want people to know what you are doing. One of the groups that really loves this is criminals…. it also provides powerful incentives to do bad behavior.”

Taggart says, “The complexity of these things is absolutely mind-blowing. Lehman brothers, just before it went to the wall, it’s last filings with SEC filing had something like 300 subsidiaries in its filing disclosed. But the bank of international settlements subsequently did an audit of it and found 2985 legal entities… ”

The opencorporates.com site is a powerful tool. I don’t expect most readers to dive in and build something with their API (application programming interface– Opednews using numerous APIs in different parts of the custom designed Populum content management system.) But my hope is that when you see the name of a big company, you start thinking of it as a web or network of hundreds, if not thousands of veiled subsidiaries operating with multiple levels of complexity and secrecy.

Think about how these companies and their billionaire owners are doing all they can to sabotage, weaken and hamstring government watchdog organizations so as to prevent them from even tracking their existence. This is the current state of capitalism. Many say that there is no alternative better than capitalism. I would argue that there are many different manifestations and kinds of capitalism. it is possible to create models that require openness, transparency and simplicity. We need to start electing and supporting people who walk the talk. (Obama gave the talk but has not walked it.)

….Imagine an organism with two eyes. Now imagine an massive organism with sensors that reach out, like cilia, or moth antennae, sensing in thousands of ways from thousands of miles away, sensing almost every manifestation of your being. That’s what is possible with all of these subsidiaries– and you can be sure that agencies like the CIA and other intelligence and homeland security operations use the same strategies, setting up corporations and then subsidiaries of them to work in ways that they want to keep hidden….

By Rob Kall – OpEdNews.com –

General Douglas MacArthur’s Prophetic Warning to the American People

“The fundamental and ultimate issue at stake is liberty, itself—liberty verses the creeping socialization in every domestic field. Freedom to live under the minimum of restraint! A least common denominator of mediocrity against the proven progress of pioneering individualism! The free enterprise system or the cult of conformity! The result will determine the future of civilization. It will be felt on every human life. It will be etched in blazing rainbow colors on the very arch of the sky.” – General Douglas MacArthur –

Love him or hate him, the indomitable General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), an indelible military genius, was a great American—perhaps one of the greatest. He was a patriot, a warrior, a statesman, a rebel, a leader, a brilliant commander, and a poet who never minced words nor failed to accomplish the mission at hand. He excelled at everything he put his hand to, and set the bar high and lofty for all men and women who are desirous to be actively engaged in the animating contest of Freedom. MacArthur lived in tumultuous times and presided over great struggles and battles fought for reasons up to and including the preservation of Liberty in every clime and place.

“You couldn’t shrug your shoulders at Douglas MacArthur,” observed historian David McCullough. “There was nothing bland about him, nothing passive about him, nothing dull about him. There’s no question about his patriotism, there’s no question about his courage, and there’s no question, it seems to me, about his importance as one of the protagonists of the 20th century.”

Once again, our nation and world finds ourselves on the brink of regional and global war and conflict which defined MacArthur’s time—the pre-staging of a third global conflagration with its preceding economic sanctions, currency wars and monetary realignments. With that in mind, the words in his farewell memoir could have been written today, because if you study the cycles of human nature, sociology, economics, weather, solar activity, civil unrest and war, history not only repeats itself, but also rhymes.

“There is no present or future—only the past,” wrote Eugene O’Neill, in A Moon for the Misbegotten, (1952), “happening over and over again…” And so it is in our day likewise recurring, the age-old cycles of plenty-to-poverty, peace-to-war, of which King Solomon hinted at in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

Written in his own hand and finished only weeks before his death, General Douglas MacArthur’s memoir, Reminiscences (1964), spans more than half a century of modern history. The following excerpt is, in my opinion, the most important words he ever penned and at the same time the greatest warning he ever recorded on behalf of the benefit of the American people and our posterity regarding what he came to acknowledge as the treacherous domestic threat infiltrating our American way of life—a warning which has all but fallen on deaf ears.

I’ll let his own words speak for themselves….

By Timothy A. Pope – A Nation Beguiled –

U.N. Official Reveals Real Reason Behind Warming Scare

The alarmists keep telling us their concern about global warming is all about man’s stewardship of the environment. But we know that’s not true. A United Nations official has now confirmed this.

At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said….

The only economic model in the last 150 years that has ever worked at all is capitalism. The evidence is prima facie: From a feudal order that lasted a thousand years, produced zero growth and kept workdays long and lifespans short, the countries that have embraced free-market capitalism have enjoyed a system in which output has increased 70-fold, work days have been halved and lifespans doubled….

From the Editor – Investors Business Daily –

Corporations Taking USA Back to the 19th Century

[T]he growth of on-demand jobs like Uber making life less predictable and secure for workers unleashed a small barrage of criticism from some who contend that workers get what they’re worth in the market.

A Forbes Magazine contributor, for example, writes that jobs exist only “when both employer and employee are happy with the deal being made.” So if the new jobs are low-paying and irregular, too bad.

Much the same argument was voiced in the late 19th century over alleged “freedom of contract.” Any deal between employees and workers was assumed to be fine if both sides voluntarily agreed to it.

It was an era when many workers were “happy” to toil 12-hour days in sweat shops for lack of any better alternative.

It was also a time of great wealth for a few and squalor for many. And of corruption, as the lackeys of robber barons deposited sacks of cash on the desks of pliant legislators.

Finally, after decades of labor strife and political tumult, the 20th century brought an understanding that capitalism requires minimum standards of decency and fairness — workplace safety, a minimum wage, maximum hours (and time-and-a-half for overtime), and a ban on child labor.

We also learned that capitalism needs a fair balance of power between big corporations and workers.

We achieved that through antitrust laws that reduced the capacity of giant corporations to impose their will, and labor laws that allowed workers to organize and bargain collectively.

But now we seem to be heading back to 19th century.

Corporations are shifting full-time work onto temps, free-lancers, and contract workers who fall outside the labor protections established decades ago.

The nation’s biggest corporations and Wall Street banks are larger and more potent than ever.

And labor union membership has shrunk to fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers.

So it’s not surprising we’re once again hearing that workers are worth no more than what they can get in the market.

But as we should have learned a century ago, markets don’t exist in nature. They’re created by human beings. The real question is how they’re organized and for whose benefit.

In the late 19th century they were organized for the benefit of a few at the top.

But by the middle of the 20th century they were organized for the vast majority.

During the 30 years after the end of World War II, as the economy doubled in size, so did the wages of most Americans — along with improved hours and working conditions.

Yet since around 1980, even though the economy has doubled once again (the Great Recession notwithstanding), the wages most Americans have stagnated. And their benefits and working conditions have deteriorated.

This isn’t because most Americans are worth less. In fact, worker productivity is higher than ever.

It’s because big corporations, Wall Street, and some enormously rich individuals have gained political power to organize the market in ways that have enhanced their wealth while leaving most Americans behind….

By Robert Reich – Op Ed News –