fifth column

 Brain Dropping #161

 
                   Not just the Fifth Column, but The “Academic”  Fifth Column.  The term “Fifth Column” was coined by a fascist General during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s.  Generalissimo Franco’s army was advancing on Madrid in four columns and his General spoke of a “Fifth Column” of clandestine fascists living in Madrid who would rise up against the democratic Republic.  Hemingway wrote a play with that title.  I never thought calling that conflict a “Civil War” was appropriate, because Hitler and Mussolini sent arms and troops to crush the Republic, while the U.S. imposed an embargo and the rest of Europe watched with arms folded as Stuka dive bombers obliterated the Basque Village of Guernica.
                   It is my contention that we have a “Fifth Column” in the U.S.  A not so clandestine group of reactionary academics who support the agenda of the corporate oligarchs with bogus studies and presentations.  With corporate profits at an all time high, institutions of higher learning and so-called think-tanks are reaping the benefit  of multi-million dollar, tax deductible gifts with political strings attached.  From the prestigious “Ivies” of Yale, Harvard, Columbia etc. to little known southern“Christian” Colleges, we are getting a steady stream of factually and historically distorted papers and publications to support the right-wing agenda against any attempt to level the playing field.  And, of course, the corporate media, in reporting the content of these “academic studies” rarely reveal the underlying funding.
                                          A Few Exalted Members of the American Academic Fifth Column                                                  
          1-   Milton Friedman, economics guru of the University of Chicago and his “Chicago Boys” selling the idea of the “invisible hand of the free market” and the evils of regulation, is probably responsible for more deaths in the struggling, developing world than AIDS and Ebola combined.  Using the bludgeon of the IMF, Friedman’s vicious paradigm of free flowing capital, privatization and cuts in social services has driven dozens of poor countries into the mud of despair.
          2-  Arthur Laffer, of Mercer University, Georgia, is considered to be the father of supply-side economics.  In his academic study he found conclusive evidence that cutting taxes for the rich will create jobs and raise all boats – to me, mostly one hundred foot yachts.  George W. H. Bush rightly characterized Professor Laffer’s theory Voodo Economics.  But this economic zombie is still alive and kicking, not only on a national level but also here in Vermont in Governor Shumlin’s agenda.
         3-  Abigail & Stephen Thernstrom.  He a Harvard Professor of History. She a member of the reactionary Manhattan Institute.  In their book “America in Black and White” they argue against affirmative action programs and flirt with the idea that intelligence is a genetic characteristc – a wink and a nod to racism.
         4-  Moshe Adler teaches economics at Columbia University.  In his book “Economics For The Rest Of Us” Professor Adler discusses the great economists of the 18th and 19th centuries – Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jeremy Benthem, Vilfredo Pareto and – I’m not making this up – never, ever mentions Karl Marx – not a smidgeon, not a footnote. Good job Moshe!  I’m sure all the historical revisionists at Columbia applaud you.
        5-  Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography at UCLA and well-known author of popular books on the environment. In his book “Collapse” subtitled: “How Societies Choose To Fail or Succeed,”  He deals with the deforestation of Easter Island, the environmental collapse of Greenland,  the fall of the Anasazi culture of Chaco Canyon and the despoilation of the island of Hispanola, divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  The professor qualifies for this list because of his ties to the Chevron Oil plunderers – being shamelessly apologetic for big business and supporting the inane idea of the beneficent corporation.  The degree to which Prof. Diamond has  sold-out is evident in this quote from the book “Collapse.”
                   “Two years after Trujillo’s death, the democratically elected President Juan Bosch attempted to persuade loggers to spare the pine forests so that they could remain as watersheds for the planned
Yaque and Nizao dams, but the loggers instead joined with other interests to overthrow Bosch.”
   
     Do I have to tell you who “the other interests” were?  The CIA!  The fact that this part of the history of the Dominican Republic is so well documented, makes Diamond’s historical lie by omission so flagrant.  
The obfuscating words of these learned academics calls to mind the old joke: “What does PHD stand for?”  Answer: “Piled Higher and Deeper!”
                
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