Monday, April 16, 2018

`Walk With Me For Many Miles' lyrics

A protest folk song and love song from early 1980s that describes what U.S. working-class people observed, experienced and felt in that decade of rust belt de-industrialization (lyrics)
Walk with me for many miles and share the scenes I pass through And watch with me the many trials and rest with me beneath the moon. And see the mad in uniform and hear the lies assault your brain And listen to the people's songs and notice all the rage and pain. Walk with me past tent cities and factories now all shut down Through towns where workers once could sing, past rebels beaten to the ground. And see the runners all alone and hear the selfish words spoken And listen to the people's poems and notice all the strong women. Walk with me near prison walls and outside courts with no mercy And hear the oppressed call and march with those who are not free. And see the wast and big machines and mansions and brutality And listen to the people sing in anger at the mindless greed. Walk with me and share our love and fill the air with your beauty And watch the aimless spirits hug, so unaware of those in need. And see the inequality and hear all the hypocrisy And listen for the workers' deeds and fight on for democracy. Walk with me through forests green and share our thoughts and deep feelings And kiss me in the evening breeze and love me 'till the new world rings.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

In The Pay of Foundations: How U.S. power elite foundations fund a `parallel left' media network--Part 13

Approved $300,000 for Democracy Now! in 1998-2004 period

In The Pay of Foundations—Part 13

How U.S. power elite and liberal establishment foundations fund a “parallel left” media network of left media journalists and gatekeepers.
After the U.S. power elite's Ford Foundation began to provide funding for the parallel left Democracy Now! daily news show in 1998, the total and net revenues of the tax-exemt, "non-profit" Democracy Now! Productions media firm and the annual total compensation received by Democracy Now! host-producer Goodman increased. Between December 2003 and December 2006, for example, Democracy Now! Productions’ total annual revenues increased from over $2.2 million to  over $3.9 million, according to its Form 990 financial filings for 2003 and 2006; and the amount that the “non-profit” media firm’s total annual revenues exceeded its total annual expense increased from over $900,000 to over $1 million during the same period. In addition, between December 2003 and December 2006, Goodman’s annual total compensation for her alternative media work increased from $58,204 to $61,137 [equal to over $75,000 in 2018].

In a 2000 interview with Philanthropy Magazine, Trilateral Commission member and then-Ford Foundation president Susan Berresford gave the official version of how the Ford Foundation, which helped fund the Democracy Now! show with $300,000 in grant money between 1998 and 2004, operated during that period:

We have a senior management team that meets every Monday morning in my office...I approve all grants over $100,000. Grants up to $100,000 can be made by staff at various levels. We budget on a two-year basis, and we work with our board...Every grantmaker writes what we call a program office memo. That is ultimately approved by his or her immediate supervisor and then by someone at a vice-presidential program level. Then, all grants that they make under $100,000 pursuant to that memo, they and their immediate supervisors approve. And anything over that needs my approval. We meet every other week for an entire morning; and all the grants over $100,000 that have been recommended in the prior two-week period are on a list and we talk about them.

“I get a write-up on every single grant. There may be 50 on the list, or ten on the list. I read them all, think about them all, and we discuss some of them...The meeting is really a group discussion. I lead it, and I have to put my signature on the grant in the end, but all the officers of the foundation are there, and any program officer or any staff member who wants to attend can attend and participate.

“...We make grants of $1,000 and we make $50 million grants. We make endowment grants and project grants and general support grants...”

Besides approving “all grants over $100,000” (including the
$150,000 grant given to Democracy Now! Productions Inc. in 2004) in early 21st-century, former Ford Foundation president Berresford was a former member of the board of directors of Chase Manhattan Bank and a member of the North American Committee of David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission--sitting next to other U.S. Establishment figures, such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and Madeline Albright. In addition, Berresford  was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, to which the Ford Foundation gave a grant of $100,000 "for the development of a Council Task Force on Terrorism" in 2002. And featured on the Council on Foreign Relations web site at on 9/26/02 was an advertisement for "a New Council book," which stated "Invasion Is the Only Realistic Option to Head off the Threat from Iraq, Argues Kenneth Pollack in The Threatening Storm."

In her 2000 interview with Philanthropy Magazine, Berresford also indicated that the Ford Foundations’ board of trustees was “a policy-making board” that “set foundation policy” and “set the budget level and broad allocations,” during the 1998 to 2004 period when the foundation helped fund the parallel left Democracy Now! show.

In the 1990s and early 21st-century the Ford Foundation board of trustees included two former CEOs and former board chairmen of the Xerox Corporation, the CEO and board chairman of ALCOA, an executive vice-president and general counsel of Coca Cola Company, the chairman and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., the chairman of Reuters Holdings, PLC, the senior partner of the Akin, Gump,Straus Hauser and Feld lobbying firm, and the president of Vassar College. Other corporations with directors who sat on the Ford Foundation board of trustees in the late 1990s or after 2000 included Time Warner, Chase Manhattan Bank, Ryder Systems, CBS, AT & T, Adolph Coors Company, Dayton-Hudson, the Bank of England, J.P. Morgan, Marine Midland Bank, Southern California Edison, KRCX Radio, the Central Gas and Electric Corp. DuPont, Citicorp and the New York Stock Exchange.

The Ford Foundation's Board of Trustees' Education, Media, Arts and Culture Committee in the late 1990s, for example, included the president of Vassar College, the chairman of Reuters Holdings PLC, the former chairman and CEO of Xerox and Bill and Hillary Clinton crony Vernon Jordan--also a director of Revlon, American Express, J.C. Penney, Sara Lee, Xerox, Bankers Trust, Dow Jones, Union Carbide and Ryder Systems. Jordan also was the chair of the Ford Foundation Board of Trustee's Audit and Management Committee in the late 1990s.

In 2002, the wife of the Bush II White House's presidential historian (Michael Beschloss] sat on the Ford Foundation board of trustees. Ford Foundation Trustee Afsaneh Mashayetkhi Beschloss, a former World Bank managing officer, also was the CEO/president of the Carlyle Asset Management Group. President Bush II's father George Herbert Walker Bush, former Secretary of Defense and former Deputy CIA Director Frank Carlucci, former Secretary of State James Baker and Billionaire Speculator George Soros were also involved in the Carlyle Group that Ford Foundation Trustee Mashayetkhi Beschloss managed. The Ford Foundation board-linked Carlyle Group received $1.3 billion in Pentagon war contracts in 1999, was the 11th-largest recipient of Pentagon war contracts in 2000 and invested heavily in war stock. In addition, former Texaco vice-president/general counsel, former Coca-Cola executive vice-president/general counsel and former Democratic Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who joined the Bain Capital private equity investment/stock speculation firm that former GOP Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney founded, as its Double Impact business managing director, in 2015, sat on the Ford Foundation board of trustees in early 21st century.

In her 2000 interview with Philanthropy Magazine, then-Ford Foundation president Berresford also indicated where some of the Ford Foundation grant money was coming from when it helped fund Democracy Now! in the early 21st-century:

“We set our budget at 5.8 percent of a three-year rolling average of our portfolio value. Then, depending on our judgment about the stock market and other things, we may move around a little bit from that...Linda Strumpf is the vice president for investment [in 2000] at the foundation. We have an investment committee of the board. They are in touch regularly and Linda and I talk frequently. We all think hard about asset allocation and the broad investment choices we make...In recent years, we have put a significant amount of money into venture capital and a lot of that in technology, and have done very, very well with those investments....We do not, other than in a very few cases, screen investments…”

Besides managing the Ford Foundation's multi-billion dollar unscreened investment portfolio and the rest of the Ford Foundation's $10.7 billion in assets in 2000, then-Ford Foundation Vice-President for Investments Strumpf was also a member of the investment committee of the Ford Foundation-funded Ms. Foundation for Women. In addition, the then-Ford Foundation Vice-President for Investments was also a member of the investment committee of Penn State University—which received over $58 million in war research contracts from the Pentagon in 1999. And in 1999, the "non-profit," tax-exempt Ford Foundation paid its then white female vice-president for investments an annual salary of $852,911 [equal to over $1.2 million in 2018].

During the 6 years that the Ford Foundation helped fund Democracy Now!, the show may not have provided its listeners and viewers with much information about which transnational corporations the Ford Foundation invested in historically or currently. Yet In the December 1988 issue of Multinational Monitor, Jim Donahue reported, in an article entitled "The Foundations of Apartheid and The Nuclear Industry," that in 1988, during the apartheid era, the Ford Foundation had $1.32 billion invested in companies doing business in South Africa, accounting for 43 percent of its total investment value at that time.

Multinational Monitor also observed in 1988 that "Nuclear Weapons-Linked Investment Corporations that receive government contracts to build components for nuclear weapons are popular among leading foundations" and "the Ford account for 16 percent of Ford's total investment value, or $496 million, with the largest holding being in nuclear-contract-linked IBM and General Electric."

In 2001, one of the years in which the Ford Foundation helped fund Democracy Now!, over $4 billion of the Ford Foundation's $10.7 billion in assets was invested in U.S. corporate stock and over $1.3 billion in foreign corporate stock. And from its billions of dollars in corporate stockholdings in 2001, the "non-profit" Ford Foundation received $343 million in dividends and interest income and earned an additional capital gains income of $992 million. Yet on its 2001 annual income, the "non-profit" Ford Foundation only paid a 1% excise tax.

But despite the great power that control over such excess wealth gives to Establishment foundations like the Ford Foundation to influence world history and manage social change on behalf of Ultra-Rich power elite interests, the parallel left Democracy Now! show rarely reported critically on the world of Big Foundations. Yet without an understanding of the political economic and cultural role that Big Foundations play in global politics, one can't really understand how the System operates or how world history is determined. And one's political and intellectual consciousness and analysis is going to remain incomplete and partial, in a significant way.

In an article, entitled "Getting Behind the Media: What are the subtle tradeoffs of foundation support for journalists?", Rick Edmunds characterized the ethical issues that develops when journalists--even alternative media journalists--begin to rely on subsidies from the Big Foundation to fund their alternative media work:

“In research the Poynter Institute on the rising number, scope, and dollar amounts of foundation grants for journalism, I found that media recipients are becoming ever more comfortable--and perhaps less reflective--about taking the money...When they show up with much-needed funding for an investigative series or pay the freight for a reporter working on an underreported beat, foundations don't receive the same due-diligence scrutiny for hidden subtext that journalists apply to a corporate press release or a politician's statement. The effect that foundation money may have on the news business is subtle but real, and increasingly troubling on the ethical front...

“...The lack of overt editorial should not blind us to the more subtle, one might say cultural, ties that bind these news organizations to their funders. There are, for example, any number of opportunities for grant makers to shape the editorial product as it is developed...If the foundations' and recipients' goals have been properly `aligned' not much more may be needed to see that the intent is carried out...

“Lost in the benevolent fog that surrounds most foundations is the notion that they may have more of an agenda, not less, than a sponsoring corporation...Cultural affinity can sometimes make it difficult for editors and journalists to draw the distinction between accepting a grant and accepting a funder's point of view...”  (end of part 13)

Monday, April 2, 2018

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's March 25, 2018 letter

The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge--who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group's newsletter.
March 25, 2018

Dear Comrades,

I am sitting down nutting out what to write when most sensible people are going to the footie or watching sport on the telly, or going to the mind-numbing Grand Prix, or maybe trotting off to the flower show, which is as it should be, while out in the nasty world, we’re going down the toilet.

I wish more Australians would fight back harder against all the rorts, the lies, the attacks on workers and the manipulated climate of hysteria being deliberately whipped up. We’re all supposed to believe the bullshit surrounding the ‘spy poisoning’ in London, with provocations multiplying to the point where they are becoming dangerous triggers for war, made more frighteningly real with the recent appointment of unhinged thug John Bolton as Trump’s new National Security Adviser.

But Bolton’s no ordinary neo-con hawk, he’s a full-on war-maker with a track record going back to George Bush Senior. Obsessed for years with plans to destroy the Islamic Republic, he has repeatedly called for the obliteration of Iran during his regular appearances on Fox News and was the major player in persuading Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. In a sane society, people like Bolton wouldn’t be allowed on television, much less put in charge of American security. They’d be locked up.

For the record, Iran has never had a nuclear weapons program nor the opportunity to develop them. It has no heavy water reactor, only a small number of centrifuges and destroyed its stockpile of uranium for its medical reactor. Iran is also being actively inspected and no country under active UN arms inspections has ever developed a bomb.

But truth is missing from the current dirty propaganda campaign because big corporations like wars. Wars mean they can manufacture more shiny weapons and bombs, the ultimate in planned obsolescence. They’ve made another killing after a recent visit with Trump by Saudi’s Crown Prince, 2nd in command to one of the world’s most repressive dictators. A $12.5bn arms sale bonanza.

Next week marks the 3rd anniversary of Saudi’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war where US warplanes flown by US-trained pilots drop US-made bombs that have killed thousands of innocent civilians. So you can see where all the claptrap about Russian spy poisoners is leading us, with apparently not the slightest understanding or concern about the horrific consequences. A variation of the ‘weapons of mass deception’ lie all over again that was used to justify the calamitous war and invasion of Iraq that killed more than a million people and left a dysfunctional and corrupt occupied battlefield. According to peace activist Medea Benjamin the ‘million’ minimizes the enormity of the tragedy. Using the best information available (the US military refused to keep a tally) she estimates that 2.4 million Iraqis have died since the 2003 invasion, along with the obliteration of its history and culture. But no-one has been held accountable.

Russian spies and poisons are a ploy by Washington and its allies to conceal the fact that the West’s cant about ‘promoting democracy’ and ‘defeating terrorism’ is just hollow doublespeak to conceal the reality that the Pentagon is the nerve centre for a huge killing juggernaut that operates for the benefit of US capitalism, an out-of-control monster that is destroying our world. Trump is already lining up a ‘war cabinet’ of madmen and has deployed warships in the Red Sea, the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf, ready to launch 400 long-range Tomahawks.

On March 17, the Russian General Staff warned about an imminent attack on Syria and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that the US, Britain, France and others had special forces operating in Syria that were directly engaging the Syrian Army. ‘US instructors’ are training militants to stage false flag chemical attacks in southern Syria, said to be pretexts for air strikes on Syrian government troops and infrastructure, planned provocations that you can bet your bottom dollar will be widely covered in our media. But, and it’s a big but, Russia’s new suite of hypersonic weapons gives it an edge over would-be enemies and we can only hope that it might make the US and its NATO buddies think carefully before going to war.

As Tim Anderson writes in his excellent book The Dirty War on Syria: ‘Although every war makes ample use of lies and deception, the dirty war on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. British/Australian journalist Philip Knightley pointed out that war propaganda typically involves a depressingly predictable pattern of demonizing the enemy leader, then demonizing the enemy people through atrocity stories, real or imagined. Accordingly, a mild-mannered eye doctor called Bashar as Assad became the new evil in the world and according to consistent western media reports, the Syrian Army did nothing but kill civilians for more than four years. To this day, many imagine the Syrian conflict is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or some sort of internal sectarian conflict. These myths are, in many respects, a substantial achievement for the big powers which have driven a series of ‘regime change’ operations in the Middle East region, all on false pretexts, over the past 15 years.’

Russia’s intrusion into the conflict in 2015 with its vast air power has turned the tide, which is why America’s wheels are coming off and why Russophobia has peaked. It is prudent to predict that the way America approaches war there will be a sensible technological response to Russia in the foreseeable future. Its track record over the past decades is a record of military and humanitarian disasters.

Finally, a quirky poem from Leunig:

I was radicalised by the butterflies
And later by a tree.
And then a word from a passing bird
Put radical thoughts in me.
And I am on the watch-list now
With the fish and pixies too,
Who call to me with a note of glee
‘Just do what you can do’
Joan Coxsedge