Category Archives: Staying in power – Struggle for control

This section considers the second of two fundamental ways in which a social system where harm is important differs from a productive one: maintaining control. It is a much more substantial problem for such societies. Threats come from two sources, those who would replace them, while maintaining harm, and those who would reduce harm.  This control takes place in the political, economic and social spheres; in the consideration here, the emphasis is on the political.

I have included three subcategories to bring out important aspects of maintaining control. Harming People – Keeping People Oppressed  brings out the often brutal oppression of people by those who control productive + harmful economic systems.

Opposing oppression and injustice illustrates how people have fought against oppression and injustice. This section is perhaps an inadequate appreciation on my part for the struggle that they have waged, but it is something.

Conflict.  This is included because I think conflict is an important part of harm which has not received the attention that it deserves from this point of view.  It is thought of as “national defense” in the pursuit of “strategic self-interest” with some “collateral damage” which minimizes its role as harm.

Oppression and Exploitation News May 21 – May 26

Struggle for control – Staying in power 2020

Democrats open investigation into Trump’s replacement of acting Transportation Department inspector general Ian Duncan and Michael Laris Washington Post May 19, 2020

Trump removes State Dept. Inspector General Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman New York Times May 16, 2020
A top Democrat in Congress described the move as “an outrageous act,” and said that the inspector general, Steve Linick, had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Oppression and Exploitation News May 7 – May 13

Struggle for control – Staying in power 2020

Young leader vowed change in El Salvador but wields same heavy hand Natalie Kitroeff New York Times May 5, 2020
Elected as a transformative leader who would propel the country forward, Nayib Bukele is now reminding critics of the country’s past autocrats, with his reliance on the military.

Harm through the government 2020

Private equity, lobbying the U.S. for help, Is mostly hearing ‘No’ Kate Kelly and Peter Eavis New York Times May 5, 2020
Many U.S. firms have used profits and the large corporate income tax reduction of 2018, not for investment, nor building up financial reserves, but for stock buybacks and other payouts to stockholders and corporate executives, in a process known as value extraction. Although many firms that practiced value extraction, such as the airlines, are eligible for Federal Reserve support funds, one group that has not, for the moment at least, has been the largest private equity firms with their holdings–Harmful Economics

Oppression and Exploitation News April 23 – 29

Harm through the government 2020

Large, troubled companies got bailout money in small-business loan program Jessica Silver-Greenberg, David Enrich, Jesse Drucker and Stacy Cowley New York Times
This article describes how companies which would be thought not qualified for a small-business loan program did in fact receive one. Of the $349 billion in low-interest loans for small businesses more than 200 publicly traded companies have disclosed receiving a total of more than $750 million in bailout loans.

The tax-break bonanza inside the economic rescue package Jesse Drucker New York Times April 24, 2020
As small businesses and individuals struggle to obtain federal aid, the wealthiest are poised to reap tens of billions of dollars in tax savings.

Banks gave richest clients ‘concierge treatment’ for pandemic aid Emily Flitter and Stacy Cowley New York Times April 22, 2020
Some businesses seeking coronavirus loans got to avoid flaky online portals or backed-up queues. Many other small businesses couldn’t get their loan requests submitted before the money dried up.

Struggle for control – staying in power 2020

Health department official says doubts on hydroxychloroquine led to his ouster Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman New York Times April 22, 2020 Rick Bright was abruptly dismissed this week as the director of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The official who led the federal agency involved in developing a coronavirus vaccine said on Wednesday that he was removed from his post after he pressed for rigorous vetting of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug embraced by President Trump as a coronavirus treatment, and that the administration had put “politics and cronyism ahead of science.”

Oppression and Exploitation News April 16 – 22

Harm through the market 2020

How private equity firms squeeze hospital patients for profits Sheelah Kolhatkar New Yorker April 9, 2020

America can afford a world class health care system. Why don’t we have one? Anne Case and Angus Deaton New York Times April 14, 2020
Our system takes from the poor and working class to generate wealth for the already wealthy.

Struggle for control – staying in power 2020

New study says Trump has ‘dangerously undermined truth’ with attacks on news media Paul Farhi Washington Post April 16, 2010
See full report from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Crime 2020

The coming crime wars Robert Muggah and John P. Sullivan Foreign Policy September 21, 2018
Future conflicts will mostly be waged by drug cartels, mafia groups, gangs, and terrorists. It is time to rethink our rules of engagement.

Oppression and Exploitation News March 26 – April 1

Harming people – keeping people oppressed 2020

Amazon fires New York worker who led strike over coronavirus concerns Kenya Evelyn The Guardian March 31, 2020

After exposing corruption in Russian courts, he’s now in jail himself Ivan Nechepurenko New York Times March 27, 2020
Pretending to be a senior official, Sergei Davydov induced judges to fix cases, then revealed the conversations. Then the system struck back.

Discrimination 2020

Asian Americans report over 650 racist acts over last week, new data says Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil NBC News March 26, 2020
“The deliberate use of terms like ‘Chinese virus’ has definitely fanned the flames of racism toward Asian Americans in this country,” one nonprofit leader said.

Control of land and natural resources 2020

Massacre in the Amazon Jesse Hyde Vanity Fair April 20, 2020
Jane de Oliveira set out to protect the world’s largest rain forest from the corporate interests that are burning it to the ground. Then the armed men showed up.

Struggle for control – staying in power 2020

Trump to Governors: I’d like you to do us a favor, though Michelle Goldberg New York Times March 30, 2020 (opinion)
Once again, the president is using aid to extort re-election help.

Harm through government 2020

Inspector General fired by Trump urges whistle-blowers ‘to bravely speak up’ Charlie Savage New York Times April 6, 2020
Michael Atkinson, who President Trump made clear was dismissed in reprisal for his role in revealing the Ukraine matter, broke his silence.

Iran says U.S. sanctions are taking lives. U.S. officials disagree. Farnaz Fassihi New York Times April 1, 2020
Iran, devastated by the coronavirus, is asking the U.S. to lift sanctions on humanitarian grounds. U.S. officials say sanctions aren’t to blame; Iran is.

Harm through the market 2020

Trump calls new fuel economy rule a boon. Some experts see steep costs. Coral Davenport New York Times March 31, 2020