Purity of arms

The Dahiya strategy Israel finally realizes that Arabs should be accountable for their leaders’ acts Yaron London Published: 10.06.08, 11:04 The “Dahiya strategy” is a term that will become entrenched in our security discourse. Dahiya is the Shiite quarter in … Continue reading

The Dahiya strategy

Israel finally realizes that Arabs should be accountable for their leaders’ acts

Yaron London

Published: 10.06.08, 11:04

The “Dahiya strategy” is a term that will become entrenched in our security discourse. Dahiya is the Shiite quarter in Beirut that our pilots turned into rubble during the Second Lebanon War.

 

In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth Friday, IDF Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot uttered clear words that essentially mean the following: In the next clash with Hizbullah we won’t bother to hunt for tens of thousands of rocket launchers and we won’t spill our soldiers’ blood in attempts to overtake fortified Hizbullah positions. Rather, we shall destroy Lebanonand won’t be deterred by the protests of the “world.”


The Second Battle of Gaza: Israel’s Undermining Of International Law

February 23, 2010

The Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008/January 2009 was not merely a military assault on a primarily civilian population, impoverished and the victim of occupation and besiegement these past 42 years. It was also part of an ongoing assault on international humanitarian law by a highly coordinated team of Israeli lawyers, military officers, PR people and politicians, led by (no less) a philosopher of ethics. It is an effort coordinated as well with other governments whose political and military leaders are looking for ways to pursue “asymmetrical warfare” against peoples resisting domination and the plundering of their resources and labor without the encumbrances of human rights and current international law. It is a campaign that is making progress and had better be taken seriously by us all.

The code of purity of arms (Hebrew: ???? ?????, Tohar HaNeshek) is one of the values stated in the Israel Defense Force’s official doctrine of ethics, The Spirit of the IDF.
Despite doubts when confronted by indiscriminate terrorism, purity of arms remains the guiding rule for the Israeli forces.

According to Norman Solomon, the concepts of Havlaga and purity of arms arise out of the ethical and moral values stemming from the tradition of Israel, extrapolation from the Jewish Halakha, and the desire for moral approval and hence political support from the world community.

These foundations have elicited a fair degree of consensus among Jews, both religious and secular, and are incorporated in the official Doctrine Statement of the Israel Defense Forces.

The extremities of acceptance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purity_of_arms

http://thehasbarabuster.blogspot.com/2009/07/purity-of-arms-impurity-of-claims.html

http://bureauofcounterpropaganda.blogspot.com/2009/01/have-your-cake.html

http://bureauofcounterpropaganda.blogspot.com/2009/05/on-front-lines.html
http://bureauofcounterpropaganda.blogspot.com/2007/04/purity-of-arms.html
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/21478

Purity of arms

The Dahiya strategy Israel finally realizes that Arabs should be accountable for their leaders’ acts Yaron London Published: 10.06.08, 11:04 The “Dahiya strategy” is a term that will become entrenched in our security discourse. Dahiya is the Shiite quarter in … Continue reading

The Dahiya strategy

Israel finally realizes that Arabs should be accountable for their leaders’ acts

Yaron London

Published: 10.06.08, 11:04

The “Dahiya strategy” is a term that will become entrenched in our security discourse. Dahiya is the Shiite quarter in Beirut that our pilots turned into rubble during the Second Lebanon War.

 

In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth Friday, IDF Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot uttered clear words that essentially mean the following: In the next clash with Hizbullah we won’t bother to hunt for tens of thousands of rocket launchers and we won’t spill our soldiers’ blood in attempts to overtake fortified Hizbullah positions. Rather, we shall destroy Lebanonand won’t be deterred by the protests of the “world.”


The Second Battle of Gaza: Israel’s Undermining Of International Law

February 23, 2010

The Israeli attack on Gaza in December 2008/January 2009 was not merely a military assault on a primarily civilian population, impoverished and the victim of occupation and besiegement these past 42 years. It was also part of an ongoing assault on international humanitarian law by a highly coordinated team of Israeli lawyers, military officers, PR people and politicians, led by (no less) a philosopher of ethics. It is an effort coordinated as well with other governments whose political and military leaders are looking for ways to pursue “asymmetrical warfare” against peoples resisting domination and the plundering of their resources and labor without the encumbrances of human rights and current international law. It is a campaign that is making progress and had better be taken seriously by us all.

The code of purity of arms (Hebrew: ???? ?????, Tohar HaNeshek) is one of the values stated in the Israel Defense Force’s official doctrine of ethics, The Spirit of the IDF.
Despite doubts when confronted by indiscriminate terrorism, purity of arms remains the guiding rule for the Israeli forces.

According to Norman Solomon, the concepts of Havlaga and purity of arms arise out of the ethical and moral values stemming from the tradition of Israel, extrapolation from the Jewish Halakha, and the desire for moral approval and hence political support from the world community.

These foundations have elicited a fair degree of consensus among Jews, both religious and secular, and are incorporated in the official Doctrine Statement of the Israel Defense Forces.

The extremities of acceptance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purity_of_arms

http://thehasbarabuster.blogspot.com/2009/07/purity-of-arms-impurity-of-claims.html

http://bureauofcounterpropaganda.blogspot.com/2009/01/have-your-cake.html

http://bureauofcounterpropaganda.blogspot.com/2009/05/on-front-lines.html
http://bureauofcounterpropaganda.blogspot.com/2007/04/purity-of-arms.html
http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/viewArticle/21478

Levels of Formality Around the World

Heather R Morgan from LinkedIn Levels of Formality in Business Emails Around the World Because German and Japanese have many rules dictating the formalities of the language itself, writing emails to people from these countries is formal and somewhat formulaic. … Continue reading

from LinkedIn

Levels of Formality in Business Emails Around the World

Because German and Japanese have many rules dictating the formalities of the language itself, writing emails to people from these countries is formal and somewhat formulaic. There are strict conventions how to begin, structure, and end emails, so including personal messages and informal language is seen as strange and impolite. Anything outside the box, such as saying “Best regards from California” instead of “Mit freundlichen Grüßen” (“with friendly greetings”) at the end of every cold email is considered very rude in a business email.

When emailing with Germans, the first sentence in the email after the salutation is not capitalized. Here’s an example of this capitalization rule:

“Dear Ms. Morgan,

in regards to your previous email…”

If you think that’s hard to remember, Japanese has a special language for extreme humbleness called “keigo.” When using keigo, verbs and other common phrases change dramatically to their “honorific” form, which has different levels of formality based on the occasion and level of seniority of the person you are addressing. At least you don’t have to worry about writing your next business email in keigo.

Conversely, when sending emails in many parts of Africa and South America, personal anecdotes are almost expected. If you’ve met a Brazilian business contact’s wife, it’s considered polite to ask how she’s doing in the email before you inquire about business matters like price. It’s also not uncommon for Brazilians to send hugs or kisses( “beijos”) instead of using “regards,” even for some mass emails.

What’s In a Name: When Titles Matter in Business Emails

Unlike the more informal addresses you see in America or Brazil, when addressing business contacts in the Emirates, status is crucial. You must know if they’re a “highness” or “excellency,”and if they are, you must address them as “your highness” or “your excellency” throughout the email.

Other countries such as Japan, Turkey, and Germany have specific formal titles you must use for addressing people. In Japan, you must address the reader by their last name using the title “san,” so Takeshi Yamada becomes “Yamada-san.” In German people are addressed by writing “Sehr geehrter Herr” (Dear honored Sir) for men and “Sehr geehrter Frau” for women (Dear honored Madam). In Turkey you must use “Bey” (Mr) or “Hanim” (Ms) after the first name, like “Mustafa Bey” or “Reyhan Hanim.”

Choosing Direct or Indirect Communication Styles

When writing emails to Europeans, avoid using flowery excessive language and get straight to the point. Where Americans might say that someone is “uniquely qualified” for a project, or a product is “great,” Europeans get annoyed by excessive statements. Germans are especially known for their directness.

Other cultures prefer much less direct communications because they are much more relationship oriented. This is true for much of Asia and France. While it is okay to be blunt in the United States, it is rude to ask for something too quickly in Asia or France without building a relationship with a person.

As was the case in the Clinton Global Initiative, smart Western firms often hire copywriters to modify US documents to be softer and more indirect when addressing Asian audiences. To be effective, you must use a “soft opening” and supply some background information leading to the outcome you desire from the written correspondence. Successful business development in Asia requires long-term relationship building, so if your first attempts don’t work, you must be patient and careful not to burn your bridges.

Cultural Time Differences Aren’t Just About Timezones

Email response time varies country to country. Whereas Americans expect quick turnarounds for email, Europeans often take much longer to respond to emails. Instead of next day response, they might not get back to you for a week or two. Those who have worked in emerging markets and have experienced phenomenons such as “Egyptian” or “Brazilian” time understand that much of the world doesn’t operate as fast as the US.

Paying Attention to Sensitive Cultural Issues

You should always do some research when communicating with someone from a cultural that’s unfamiliar to you to avoid faux pas. Where it’s common to list “4 points” in the United States, the number 4 (“shi”) sounds very close to the word “shin,” which means death in Japan and most of Asia (which have similar root words), and is considered an “unlucky number,” much like “13” in the West. So make sure you don’t give presents to your Japanese colleague or exchange student in sets of 4, as it may be taken as a bad omen.

Climate change blame and liability

I can sincerely say this is the most important petition we’ve ever done.
 
 
Sorry for the language, but one top scientist just warned that we are all “f*cked” if global warming releases gigantic amounts of methane gas from the arctic tundra. The UN knows this, and is bringing world leaders to New York for an emergency summit.
 
 
Hundreds of thousands of us will take to the streets for the People’s Climate March just before the summit. Let’s make sure that on that day we deliver the largest Avaaz petition ever, for the only solution: mobilize the world to shift to 100% clean energy. Add your voice, and forward this widely:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

Whether it’s the ‘arctic methane bomb’, the rapid acidification of our oceans, or apocalyptic flooding, climate change is the biggest threat humanity is facing, and we need the biggest petition ever to meet it. The number of us who sign will be read out to all leaders at the summit, published in hundreds of media articles, and be delivered by our marches worldwide.
 
 
100% clean energy is a realistic goal. Already, 20% of the world’s electricity comes from clean energy, and solar power is cheaper than coal in many countries! We just need to get our leaders to agree to put our foot on the accelerator.
We’re gearing up for the largest climate mobilization in history on September 21. Already hundreds of events are organised and hundreds of thousands of people signed up. But the events are designed to deliver our petition to decision makers. Let’s make it the largest call to action ever. Join now and tell everyone:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

We’re all different, and beautifully diverse. But whoever and wherever we are, climate change threatens everything we love, and brings all of us together. Let’s come together now.
 
 
With hope,

Ricken, Danny, Lisa, Judy, Alex, Iain, and the rest of the Avaaz team
PS – Every signature really does count! Add your voice here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756 

MORE INFORMATION: 

Climate scientist drops the F-bomb (Salon)
http://www.salon.com/2014/08/06/climate_scientist_drops_the_f_bomb_after_startling_arctic_discovery/

EU to beat 2020 climate targets, split over 2030 ones (Reuters)
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/05/14/eu-carbon-idUKL6N0O06BG20140514 

The most influential climate change paper today remains unknown to most people (Inside Climate News)
http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20140213/climate-change-science-carbon-budget-nature-global-warming-2-degrees-bill-mckibben-fossil-fuels-keystone-xl-oil?page=show



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Newly leaked documents have revealed how U.S. negotiators at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw are opposing efforts to help developing countries adapt to climate change. According to an internal U.S. briefing memo seen by Democracy Now!, the U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will “focus increasingly on blame and liability” and that poor nations will be “seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts.”


Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600,
Washington, DC 20009
(800) 684-3322

The images brought tears to my eyes. A chill fell over me, and goosebumps raised along my arms. I stared at the video footage in disbelief, and was suddenly so grateful that each of my family members—all in my beloved home state of New Jersey or in New York City—were safe. They were living without power or heat, but they were luckier than so many others.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, my work—and the work of my EDF colleagues—has never felt so personally meaningful.

And it’s never been more clear: climate change is increasing the devastating effects of extreme weather—and it is time to do something about it.

The EPA is stepping up, and has proposed a groundbreaking new proposal that would—for the first time ever—nationally limit carbon pollution from new power plants. This is a historic first step in the President’s Climate Action Plan, and could be America’s first national effort at fighting back against climate change.

And you have a chance to be a part of it, to raise your voice, and to stand strong in favor of climate action.

Not just for my home—but for yours, and for everyone who has watched the places and people they love fall victim to these new, more powerful storms.

Because I’m not the only one with an extreme weather story. From devastating droughts to disastrous wildfires and calamitous floods, extreme weather is affecting more than just the East Coast. With one click, you can do something about it.

Take Action: Support EPA’s national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.

I can sincerely say this is the most important petition we’ve ever done.
 
 
Sorry for the language, but one top scientist just warned that we are all “f*cked” if global warming releases gigantic amounts of methane gas from the arctic tundra. The UN knows this, and is bringing world leaders to New York for an emergency summit.
 
 
Hundreds of thousands of us will take to the streets for the People’s Climate March just before the summit. Let’s make sure that on that day we deliver the largest Avaaz petition ever, for the only solution: mobilize the world to shift to 100% clean energy. Add your voice, and forward this widely:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

Whether it’s the ‘arctic methane bomb’, the rapid acidification of our oceans, or apocalyptic flooding, climate change is the biggest threat humanity is facing, and we need the biggest petition ever to meet it. The number of us who sign will be read out to all leaders at the summit, published in hundreds of media articles, and be delivered by our marches worldwide.
 
 
100% clean energy is a realistic goal. Already, 20% of the world’s electricity comes from clean energy, and solar power is cheaper than coal in many countries! We just need to get our leaders to agree to put our foot on the accelerator.
We’re gearing up for the largest climate mobilization in history on September 21. Already hundreds of events are organised and hundreds of thousands of people signed up. But the events are designed to deliver our petition to decision makers. Let’s make it the largest call to action ever. Join now and tell everyone:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756

We’re all different, and beautifully diverse. But whoever and wherever we are, climate change threatens everything we love, and brings all of us together. Let’s come together now.
 
 
With hope,

Ricken, Danny, Lisa, Judy, Alex, Iain, and the rest of the Avaaz team
PS – Every signature really does count! Add your voice here: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/100_clean_78/?bnJLaib&v=44756 


MORE INFORMATION: 

Climate scientist drops the F-bomb (Salon)
http://www.salon.com/2014/08/06/climate_scientist_drops_the_f_bomb_after_startling_arctic_discovery/

EU to beat 2020 climate targets, split over 2030 ones (Reuters)
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/05/14/eu-carbon-idUKL6N0O06BG20140514 

The most influential climate change paper today remains unknown to most people (Inside Climate News)
http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20140213/climate-change-science-carbon-budget-nature-global-warming-2-degrees-bill-mckibben-fossil-fuels-keystone-xl-oil?page=show



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Newly leaked documents have revealed how U.S. negotiators at the U.N. climate summit in Warsaw are opposing efforts to help developing countries adapt to climate change. According to an internal U.S. briefing memo seen by Democracy Now!, the U.S. delegation is worried the talks in Warsaw will “focus increasingly on blame and liability” and that poor nations will be “seeking redress for climate damages from sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts.”


Environmental Defense Fund
1875 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 600,
Washington, DC 20009
(800) 684-3322

The images brought tears to my eyes. A chill fell over me, and goosebumps raised along my arms. I stared at the video footage in disbelief, and was suddenly so grateful that each of my family members—all in my beloved home state of New Jersey or in New York City—were safe. They were living without power or heat, but they were luckier than so many others.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, my work—and the work of my EDF colleagues—has never felt so personally meaningful.

And it’s never been more clear: climate change is increasing the devastating effects of extreme weather—and it is time to do something about it.

The EPA is stepping up, and has proposed a groundbreaking new proposal that would—for the first time ever—nationally limit carbon pollution from new power plants. This is a historic first step in the President’s Climate Action Plan, and could be America’s first national effort at fighting back against climate change.

And you have a chance to be a part of it, to raise your voice, and to stand strong in favor of climate action.

Not just for my home—but for yours, and for everyone who has watched the places and people they love fall victim to these new, more powerful storms.

Because I’m not the only one with an extreme weather story. From devastating droughts to disastrous wildfires and calamitous floods, extreme weather is affecting more than just the East Coast. With one click, you can do something about it.

Take Action: Support EPA’s national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants.

Man

Published on Dec 21, 2012 Animation created in Flash and After Effects looking at mans relationship with the natural world. Music: In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. facebook.com/SteveCuttsArt twitter.com/#!/Steve_Cutts http://www.stevecutts.com Copyright © 2012 http://www.stevecutts.com

Published on Dec 21, 2012

Animation created in Flash and After Effects looking at mans relationship with the natural world.

Music: In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg.

facebook.com/SteveCuttsArt
twitter.com/#!/Steve_Cutts
http://www.stevecutts.com

Copyright © 2012 http://www.stevecutts.com


The Power Elite

One thing one have to acknowledge is that what we have is systemic corruption, rather than individual incidental corruption. Sure Obama is a corrupt egocentric cynic. But he is no closet communist, or a foreigner, or a worshiper of the malignant. He does no evil for evil sake. What he does is the bidding of power groups because that´s how he got to be President, and because it is the path of least resistance. Obama is no different in essence form, say, Bush. The Power elite gets its way because they are organized, concentrate Power and Money, and control the Media. The common man can resist by being informed, understand the issues, and look at policies on their own merits. Most of the public agenda is a charade of false topics to entertain the public and brand the two wings of the Business Party. It is hard to do but one must start from objective understanding: Who´s behind? Why? What are the implications?

Published on Jul 17, 2012

Nobel Prize winning economis, author and lecturer, Joseph Stiglitz, talks about his latest book, THE PRICE OF INEQUALITY: HOW TODAY’S DIVIDED SOCIETY ENDANGERS OUR FUTURE. Joseph Stiglitz spoke at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s Bookstore in Beaverton, Oregon, on June 14th, 2012. To find out more about the author, please visit his website at josephstiglitz.com. This program was produced by pdxjustice Media Productions of Portland, Oregon. To find out more about the work of pdxjustice, please visit our website at pdxjustice.org.

How so?

Are these people mad? Economic growth and job creation at all costs? Is he aware how much of current “production” is outright JUNK&WEAPONS meant only to justify “economic” process? We should discourage automation so that people could keep slaving meaninglessly?


Uploaded on Dec 5, 2011

The gap between rich and poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over 30 years, and governments must act quickly to tackle inequality, according to a new OECD report, “Divided We Stand”.

For more information, visit: www.oecd.org/els/social/inequality


Published on Apr 3, 2013
The richest 300 people in the world are more wealthy than the poorest 3 billion combined, and every year rich countries take over 10 times more money from poor countries than they give in aid. Find out more by watching the video or visiting our website http://www.therules.org

-Production Company: Grain Media (grainmedia.co.uk)
-Motion Graphics Artist: Nick Pittom (nickpittom.com)
-Music: Sup Doodle and Apple Juice Kid (AppleJuiceKid.com)
-References: http://www.therules.org/inequality-vi…
-Accompanying article in Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opin…


Published on Nov 20, 2012
Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

References:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2…
http://danariely.com/2010/09/30/wealt…
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011…
http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/19/news/…


C. Wright Mills 1956

The Power Elite


Source: The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills, Oxford University Press, 1956;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

12. The Power Elite

EXCEPT for the unsuccessful Civil War, changes in the power system of the United States have not involved important challenges to its basic legitimations. Even when they have been decisive enough to be called ‘revolutions,’ they have not involved the ‘resort to the guns of a cruiser, the dispersal of an elected assembly by bayonets, or the mechanisms of a police state.’ [1] Nor have they involved, in any decisive way, any ideological struggle to control masses. Changes in the American structure of power have generally come about by institutional shifts in the relative positions of the political, the economic, and the military orders. From this point of view, and broadly speaking, the American power elite has gone through four epochs, and is now well into a fifth.

1

I. During the first — roughly from the Revolution through the administration of John Adams — the social and economic, the political and the military institutions were more or less unified in a simple and direct way: the individual men of these several elites moved easily from one role to another at the top of each of the major institutional orders. Many of them were many-sided men who could take the part of legislator and merchant, frontiersman and soldier, scholar and surveyor.[2]

Until the downfall of the Congressional caucus of 1824, political institutions seemed quite central; political decisions, of great importance; many politicians, considered national statesmen of note. ‘Society, as I first remember it,’ Henry Cabot Lodge once said, speaking of the Boston of his early boyhood, ‘was based on the old families; Doctor Holmes defines them in the “Autocrat” as the families which had held high position in the colony, the province and during the Revolution and the early decades of the United States. They represented several generations of education and standing in the community … They had ancestors who had filled the pulpits, sat upon the bench, and taken part in the government under the crown; who had fought in the Revolution, helped to make the State and National constitutions and served in the army or navy; who had been member’s of the House or Senate in the early days of the Republic, and who had won success as merchants, manufacturers, lawyers, or men of letters.’[3]
Such men of affairs, who — as I have noted — were the backbone of Mrs. John Jay’s social list of 1787, definitely included political figures of note. The important fact about these early days is that social life, economic institutions, military establishment, and political order coincided, and men who were high politicians also played key roles in the economy and, with their families, were among those of the reputable who made up local society. In fact, this first period is marked by the leadership of men whose status does not rest exclusively upon their political position, although their political activities are important and the prestige of politicians high. And this prestige seems attached to the men who occupy Congressional position as well as the cabinet. The elite are political men of education and of administrative experience, and, as Lord Bryce noted, possess a certain largeness of view and dignity of character.’[4]

II. During the early nineteenth century — which followed Jefferson’s political philosophy, but, in due course, Hamilton’s economic principles — the economic and political and military orders fitted loosely into the great scatter of the American social structure. The broadening of the economic order which came to be seated in the individual property owner was dramatized by Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory and by the formation of the Democratic-Republican party as successor to the Federalists.

In this society, the ‘elite’ became a plurality of top groups, each in turn quite loosely made up. They overlapped to be sure, but again quite loosely so. One definite key to the period, and certainly to our images of it, is the fact that the Jacksonian Revolution was much more of a status revolution than either an economic or a political one. The metropolitan 400 could not truly flourish in the face of the status tides of Jacksonian democracy; alongside it was a political elite in charge of the new party system. No set of men controlled centralized means of power; no small clique dominated economic, much less political, affairs. The economic order was ascendant over both social status and political power; within the ,economic order, a quite sizable proportion of all the economic men were among those who decided. For this was the period — roughly from Jefferson to Lincoln — when the elite was at most a loose coalition. The period ended, of course, with the decisive split of southern and northern types.
Official commentators like to contrast the ascendancy in totalitarian countries of a tightly organized clique with the American .system of power. Such comments, however, are easier to sustain if one compares mid-twentieth-century Russia with mid-nineteenth-century America, which is what is often done by Tocqueville-quoting Americans making the contrast. But that was an America of a century ago, and in the century that has passed, the American elite have not remained as patrioteer essayists have described them to us. The ‘loose cliques’ now head institutions of a scale and power not then existing and, especially since World War I, the loose cliques have tightened up. We are well beyond the era of romantic pluralism.

III. The supremacy of corporate economic power began, in a formal way, with the Congressional elections of 1866, and was consolidated by the Supreme Court decision of 1886 which declared that the Fourteenth Amendment protected the corporation. That period witnessed the transfer of the center of initiative from government to corporation. Until the First World War (which gave us an advanced showing of certain features of our own period) this was an age of raids on the government by the economic elite, an age of simple corruption, when Senators and judges were simply bought up. Here, once upon a time, in the era of McKinley and Morgan, far removed from the undocumented complexities of our own time, many now believe, was the golden era of the American ruling class.[5]

The military order of this period, as in the second, was subordinate to the political, which in turn was subordinate to the economic. The military was thus off to the side of the main driving forces of United States history. Political institutions in the United States have never formed a centralized and autonomous domain of power; they have been enlarged and centralized only reluctantly in slow response to the public consequence of the corporate economy.
In the post-Civil-War era, that economy was the dynamic; the ‘trusts’ — as policies and events make amply clear — could readily use the relatively weak governmental apparatus for their own ends. That both state and federal governments were decisively limited in their power to regulate, in fact meant that they were themselves regulatable by the larger moneyed interests. Their powers were scattered and unorganized; the powers of the industrial and financial corporations concentrated and interlocked. The Morgan interests alone held 341 directorships in 112 corporations with an aggregate capitalization of over $22 billion — over three times the assessed value of all real and personal property in New England.[6] With revenues greater and employees more numerous than those of many states, corporations controlled parties, bought laws, and kept Congressmen of the ‘neutral’ state. And as private economic power overshadowed public political power, so the economic elite overshadowed the political.
Yet even between 1896 and 1919, events of importance tended to assume a political form, foreshadowing the shape of power which after the partial boom of the ‘twenties was to prevail in the New Deal. Perhaps there has never been any period in American history so politically transparent as the Progressive era of President-makers and Muckrakers.

IV. The New Deal did not reverse the political and economic relations of the third era, but it did create within the political arena, as well as in the corporate world itself, competing centers of power that challenged those of the corporate directors. As the New Deal directorate gained political power, the economic elite, which in the third period had fought against the growth of ‘government’ while raiding it for crafty privileges, belatedly attempted to join it on the higher levels. When they did so they found themselves confronting other interests and men, for the places of decision were crowded. In due course, they did come to control and to use for their own purposes the New Deal institutions whose creation they had so bitterly denounced.

But during the ‘thirties’ the political order was still an instrument of small propertied farmers and businessmen, although they were weakened, having lost their last chance for real ascendancy in the Progressive era. The struggle between big and small property flared up again, however, in the political realm of the New Deal era, and to this struggle there was added, as we have seen, the new struggle of organized labor and the unorganized unemployed, This new force flourished under political tutelage, but nevertheless, for the first time in United States history, social legislation and lower-class issues became important features of the reform movement.
In the decade of the ‘thirties, a set of shifting balances involving newly instituted farm measures and newly organized labor unions — along with big business — made up the political and administrative drama of power. These farm, labor, and business groups, moreover, were more or less contained within the framework of an enlarging governmental structure, whose political directorship made decisions in a definitely political manner. These groups pressured, and in pressuring against one another and against the governmental and party system, they helped to shape it. But it, could not be said that any of them for any considerable length of time used that government unilaterally as their instrument. That is why the ‘thirties was a political decade: the power of business was not replaced, but it was contested and supplemented: it became one major power within a structure of power that was chiefly run by political men, and not by economic or military men turned political.
The earlier and middle Roosevelt administrations can best be understood as a desperate search for ways and means, within the existing capitalist system, of reducing the staggering and ominous xis army of the unemployed. In these years, the New Deal as a system of power was essentially a balance of pressure groups and interest blocs. The political top adjusted many conflicts, gave way to this demand, sidetracked that one, was the unilateral servant of none, and so evened it all out into such going policy line as prevailed from one minor crisis to another. Policies were the result of a political act of balance at the top. Of course, the balancing act that Roosevelt performed did not affect the fundamental institutions of capitalism as a type of economy. By his policies, he subsidized the defaults of the capitalist economy, which had simply broken down; and by his rhetoric, he balanced its political disgrace, putting ‘economic royalists’ in the political doghouse.
The ‘welfare state,’ created to sustain the balance and to carry out the subsidy, differed from the ‘laissez-faire’ state: ‘If the state was believed neutral in the days of T.R. because its leaders claimed to sanction favors for no one,’ Richard Hofstadter has remarked, ‘the state under F.D.R. could be called neutral only in the sense that it offered favors to everyone.’ [7] The new state of the corporate commissars differs from the old welfare state. In fact, the later Roosevelt years — beginning with the entrance of the United States into overt acts of war and preparations for World War II cannot be understood entirely in terms of an adroit equipoise of political power.

2

We study history, it has been said, to rid ourselves of it, and the history of the power elite is a clear case for which this maxim is correct. Like the tempo of American life in general, the long term trends of the power structure have been greatly speeded up since World War II, and certain newer trends within and between the dominant institutions have also set the shape of the power elite and given historically specific meaning to its fifth epoch:
I. In so far as the structural clue to the power elite today lies in the political order, that clue is the decline of politics as genuine and public debate of alternative decisions — with nationally responsible and policy-coherent parties and with autonomous organizations connecting the lower and middle levels of power with the top levels of decision. America is now in considerable part more a formal political democracy than a democratic social structure, and even the formal political mechanics are weak.

The long-time tendency of business and government to become more intricately and deeply involved with each either has, in the fifth epoch, reached a new point of explicitness. The two cannot now be seen clearly as two distinct worlds. It is in terms of the executive agencies of the state that the rapprochement has proceeded most decisively. The growth of the executive branch of the government, with its agencies that patrol the complex economy, does not mean merely the ‘enlargement of government’ as some sort of autonomous bureaucracy: it has meant the ascendancy of the corporation’s man as a political eminence.
During the New Deal the corporate chieftains joined the political directorate; as of World War II they have come to dominate it. Long interlocked with government, now they have moved into quite full direction of the economy of the war effort and of the postwar era. This shift of the corporation executives into the political directorate has accelerated the long-term relegation of the professional politicians in the Congress to the middle levels of power.

II. In so far as the structural clue to the power elite today lies in the enlarged and military state, that clue becomes evident in the military ascendancy. The warlords have gained decisive Political relevance, and the military structure of America is now in considerable part a political structure. The seemingly permanent military threat places a premium on the military and upon their control of men, materiel, money, and power; virtually all political and economic actions are now judged in terms of military definitions of reality: the higher warlords have ascended to a firm position within the power elite of the fifth epoch.

In part at least this has resulted from one simple historical fact, pivotal for the years since 1939: the focus of elite attention has been shifted from domestic problems, centered in the ‘thirties around slump, to international problems, centered in the ‘forties and ‘fifties around war. Since the governing apparatus of the United States has by long historic usage been adapted to and shaped by domestic clash and balance, it has not, from any angle, had suitable agencies and traditions for the handling of international problems. Such formal democratic mechanics as had arisen in the century and a half of national development prior to 1941, had not been extended to the American handling of international affairs. It is, in considerable part, in this vacuum that the power elite has grown.
III. In so far as the structural clue to the power elite today lies in the economic order, that clue is the fact that the economy is at once a permanent-war economy and a private-corporation economy. American capitalism is now in considerable part a military capitalism, and the most important relation of the big corporation to the state rests on the coincidence of interests between military and corporate needs, as defined by warlords and corporate rich. Within the elite as a whole, this coincidence of interest between the high military and the corporate chieftains strengthens both of them and further subordinates the role of the merely political men. Not politicians, but corporate executives, sit with the military and plan the organization of war effort.
The shape and meaning of the power elite today can be understood only when these three sets of structural trends are seen at their point of coincidence: the military capitalism of private corporations exists in a weakened and formal democratic system containing a military order already quite political in outlook and demeanor. Accordingly, at the top of this structure, the power elite has been shaped by the coincidence of interest between those who control the major means of production and those who control the newly enlarged means of violence; from the decline of the professional politician and the rise to explicit political command of the corporate chieftains and the professional warlords; from the absence of any genuine civil service of skill and integrity, independent of vested interests.
The power elite is composed of political, economic, and military men, but this instituted elite is frequently in some tension: it comes together only on certain coinciding points and only on certain occasions of ‘crisis.’ In the long peace of the nineteenth century, the military were not in the high councils of state, not of the political directorate, and neither were the economic men — they made raids upon the state but they did not join its directorate. During the ‘thirties, the political man was ascendant. Now the military and the corporate men are in top positions.
Of the three types of circle that compose the power elite today, it is the military that has benefited the most in its enhanced power, although the corporate circles have also become more explicitly intrenched in the more public decision-making circles. It is the professional politician that has lost the most, so much that in examining the events and decisions, one is tempted to speak of a political vacuum in which the corporate rich and the high warlord, in their coinciding interests, rule.
It should not be said that the three ‘take turns’ in carrying the initiative, for the mechanics of the power elite are not often as deliberate as that would imply. At times, of course, it is — as when ‘political men’ thinking they can borrow the prestige of generals, find that they must pay for it, or, as when during big slumps, economic men feel the need of a politician at once safe and possessing vote appeal. Today all three are involved in virtually all widely ramifying decisions. Which of the three types seems to lead depends upon ‘the tasks of the period’ as they, the elite, define them. Just now, these tasks center upon ‘defense’ and international affairs. Accordingly, as we have seen, the military are ascendant in two senses: as personnel and as justifying ideology. That is why, just now, we can most easily specify the unity and the shape of the power elite in terms of the military ascendancy.
But we must always be historically specific and open to complexities. The simple Marxian view makes the big economic man the real holder of power; the simple liberal view makes the big Political man the chief of the power system; and there are some who would view the warlords as virtual dictators. Each of these is an oversimplified view. It is to avoid them that we use the term ,power elite, rather than, for example, ‘ruling class.’
[‘Ruling class’ is a badly loaded phrase. ‘Class’ is an economic term; ‘rule’ a political one. The phrase, ‘ruling class,’ thus contains the theory that an economic class rules politically. That short-cut theory may or may not at times be true, but we do not want to carry that one rather simple theory about in the terms that we use to define our problems; we wish to state the theories explicitly, using terms of more precise and unilateral meaning. Specifically, the phrase ‘ruling class,’ in its common political connotations, does not allow enough autonomy to the political order and its agents, and it says nothing about the military as such. It should be clear to the reader by now that we do not accept as adequate the simple view that high economic men unilaterally make all decisions of national consequence. We hold that such a simple view of ‘economic determinism’ must be elaborated by ‘political determinism’ and ‘military determinism’; that the higher agents of each of these three domains now often have a noticeable degree of autonomy; and that only in the often intricate ways of coalition do they make up and carry through the most important decisions. Those are the major reasons we prefer ‘power elite’ to ‘ruling class’ as a characterizing phrase for the higher circles when we consider them in terms of power.]
In so far as the power elite has come to wide public attention, it has done so in terms of the ‘military clique.’ The power elite does, in fact, take its current shape from the decisive entrance into it of the military. Their presence and their ideology are its major legitimations, whenever the power elite feels the need to provide any. But what is called the ‘Washington military clique’ is not composed merely of military men, and it does not prevail merely in Washington. Its members exist all over the country, and it is a coalition of generals in the roles of corporation executives, of politicians masquerading as admirals, of corporation executives acting like politicians, of civil servants who become majors, of vice-admirals who are also the assistants to a cabinet officer, who is himself, by the way, really a member of the managerial elite.
Neither the idea of a ‘ruling class’ nor of a simple monolithic rise of ‘bureaucratic politicians’ nor of a ‘military clique’ is adequate. The power elite today involves the often uneasy coincidence of economic, military, and political power.

3

Even if our understanding were limited to these structural trends, we should have grounds for believing the power elite a useful, indeed indispensable, concept for the interpretation of what is going on at the topside of modem American society. But we are not, of course, so limited: our conception of the power elite do not need to rest only upon the correspondence of the institutional hierarchies involved, or upon the many points at which their shifting interests coincide. The ‘power elite’ as we conceive it, also rests upon the similarity of its personnel, and their personal and official relations with one another, upon their social and psychological affinities. In order to grasp the personal and social basis of the power elite’s unity, we have first to remind ourselves of the facts of origin, career, and style of life of each of the types of circle whose members compose the power elite.
The power elite is not an aristocracy, which is to say that it is not a political ruling group based upon a nobility of hereditary origin. It has no compact basis in a small circle of great families whose members can and do consistently occupy the top positions in the several higher circles which overlap as the power elite. But such nobility is only one possible basis of common origin. That it does not exist for the American elite does not mean that members of this elite derive socially from the full range of strata composing American society. They derive in substantial proportions from the upper classes, both new and old, of local society and the metropolitan 400. The bulk of the very rich, the corporate executives, the political outsiders, the high military, derive from, at most, the upper third of the income and occupational pyramids. Their fathers were at least of the professional and business strata, and very frequently higher than that. They are native-born Americans of native parents, primarily from urban areas, and, with the exceptions of the politicians among them, overwhelmingly from the East. They are mainly Protestants, especially Episcopalian or Presbyterian. In general, the higher the position, the greater the proportion of men within it who have derived from and who maintain connections with the upper classes. The generally similar origins of the members of the power elite are underlined and carried further by the fact of their increasingly common educational routine. Overwhelmingly college graduates substantial proportions have attended Ivy League colleges, although the education of the higher military, of course, differs from that of other members of the power elite.
But what do these apparently simple facts about the social composition of the higher circles really mean? In particular, what do they mean for any attempt to understand the degree of unity, and the direction of policy and interest that may prevail among these several circles? Perhaps it is best to put this question in a deceptively simple way: in terms of origin and career, who or what do these men at the top represent?
Of course, if they are elected politicians, they are supposed to represent those who elected them; and, if they are appointed, they are supposed to represent, indirectly, those who elected their appointers. But this is recognized as something of an abstraction, as a rhetorical formula by which all men of power in almost all systems of government nowadays justify their power of decision. M times it may be true, both in the sense of their motives and in the sense of who benefits from their decisions. Yet it would not be wise in any power system merely to assume it.
The fact that members of the power elite come from near the top of the nation’s class and status levels does not mean that they are necessarily ‘representative’ of the top levels only. And if they were, as social types, representative of a cross-section of the population, that would not mean that a balanced democracy of interest and power would automatically be the going political fact.
We cannot infer the direction of policy merely from the social origins and careers of the policy-makers. The social and economic backgrounds of the men of power do not tell us all that we need to know in order to understand the distribution of social power. For: (1) Men from high places may be ideological representatives of the poor and humble. (2) Men of humble origin, brightly self-made, may energetically serve the most vested and inherited interests. Moreover (3), not all men who effectively represent the interests of a stratum need in any way belong to it or personally benefit by policies that further its interests. Among the politicians, in short, there are sympathetic agents of given groups, conscious and unconscious, paid and unpaid. Finally (4), among the top decision-makers we find men who have been chosen for their positions because of their ‘expert knowledge.’ These are some of the obvious reasons why the social origins and careers of the power elite do not enable us to infer the class interests and policy directions of a modem system of power.
Do the high social origin and careers of the fop men mean nothing, then, about the distribution of power? By no means. They simply remind us that we must be careful of any simple and direct inference from origin and career to political character and policy, not that we must ignore them in our attempt at political understanding. They simply mean that we must analyze the political psychology and the actual decisions of the political directorate as well as its social composition. And they mean, above all, that we should control, as we have done here, any inference we make from the origin and careers of the political actors by close understanding of the institutional landscape in which they act out their drama. Otherwise we should be guilty of a rather simple-minded biographical theory of society and history.
Just as we cannot rest the notion of the power elite solely upon the institutional mechanics that lead to its formation, so we cannot rest the notion solely upon the facts of the origin and career of its personnel. We need both, and we have both — as well as other bases, among them that of the status intermingling.
But it is not only the similarities of social origin, religious affiliation, nativity, and education that are important to the psychological and social affinities of the members of the power elite. Even if their recruitment and formal training were more heterogeneous than they are, these men would still be of quite homogeneous social type. For the most important set of facts about a circle of men is the criteria of admission, of praise, of honor, of promotion that prevails among them; if these are similar within a circle, then they will tend as personalities to become similar. he circles that compose the power elite do tend to have such codes and criteria in common. The co-optation of the social types to which these common values lead is often more important than any statistics of common origin and career that we might have at hand.
There is a kind of reciprocal attraction among the fraternity of the successful — not between each and every member of the circles of the high and mighty, but between enough of them to insure a certain unity. On the slight side, it is a sort of tacit, mutual admiration; in the strongest tie-ins, it proceeds by intermarriage. And there are all grades and types of connection between these extremes. Some overlaps certainly occur by means of cliques and clubs, churches and schools.
If social origin and formal education in common tend to make the members of the power elite more readily understood and trusted by one another, their continued association further cements what they feel they have in common. Members of the several higher circles know one another as personal friends and even as neighbors; they mingle with one another on the golf course, in the gentleman’s clubs, at resorts, on transcontinental airplanes, and on ocean liners. They meet at the estates of mutual friends, face each other in front of the TV camera, or serve on the same philanthropic committee; and many are sure to cross one another’s path in the columns of newspapers, if not in the exact cafes from which many of these columns originate. As we have seen, of ‘The New 400’ of café society, one chronicler has named forty-one members of the very rich, ninety-three political leaders, and seventy-nine chief executives of corporations.
‘I did not know, I could not have dreamed,’ Whittaker Chambers has written, ‘of the immense scope and power of Hiss’ political alliances and his social connections, which cut across all party lines and ran from the Supreme Court to the Religious Society of Friends, from governors of states and instructors in college faculties to the staff members of liberal magazines. In the decade since I had last seen him’ he had used his career, and, in particular, his identification with the cause of peace through his part in organizing the United Nations, to put down roots that made him one with the matted forest floor of American upper class, enlightened middle class, liberal and official life. His roots could not be disturbed without disturbing all the roots on all sides of him.’ [8]
The sphere of status has reflected the epochs of the power elite. In the third epoch, for example, who could compete with ‘big money’? And in the fourth, with big politicians, or even the bright young men of the New Deal? And in the fifth, who can compete with the generals and the admirals and the corporate officials now so sympathetically portrayed on the stage, in the novel, and on the screen? Can one imagine Executive Suite as a successful motion picture in 1935? Or The Caine Mutiny?
The multiplicity of high-prestige organizations to which the elite usually belong is revealed by even casual examination of the obituaries of the big businessman, the high-prestige lawyer, the top general and admiral, the key senator: usually, high-prestige church, business associations, plus high-prestige clubs, and often plus military rank. In the course of their lifetimes, the university president, the New York Stock Exchange chairman, the head of the bank, the old West Pointer — mingle in the status sphere, within which they easily renew old friendships and draw upon them in an effort to understand through the experience of trusted others those contexts of power and decision in which they have not personally moved.
In these diverse contexts, prestige accumulates in each of the higher circles, and the members of each borrow status from one another. Their self-images are fed by these accumulations and these borrowings, and accordingly, however segmental a given man’s role may seem, he comes to feel himself a ‘diffuse’ or ‘generalized’ man of the higher circles. a ‘broad-gauge’ man. Perhaps such inside experience is one feature of what is meant by ‘judgment.’
The key organizations, perhaps, are the major corporations themselves, for on the boards of directors we find a heavy overlapping among the members of these several elites. On the lighter side, again in the summer and winter resorts, we find that, in an intricate series of overlapping circles; in the course of time, each meets each or knows somebody who knows somebody who knows that one.
The higher members of the military, economic, and political orders are able readily to take over one another’s point of view, always in a sympathetic way, and often in a knowledgeable way as well. They define one another as among those who count, and who, accordingly, must be taken into account. Each of them as a member of the power elite comes to incorporate into his own integrity, his own honor, his own conscience, the viewpoint, the expectations, the values of the others. If there are n o common ideals and standards among them that are based upon an explicitly aristocratic culture, that does not mean that they do not feel responsibility to one another.
All the structural coincidence of their interests as well as the intricate, psychological facts of their origins and their education, their careers and their associations make possible the psychological affinities that prevail among them, affinities that make it possible for them to say of one another: He is, of course, one of us. And all this points to the basic, psychological meaning of class consciousness. Nowhere in America is there as great a ‘class consciousness’ as among the elite; nowhere is it organized as effectively as among the power elite. For by class consciousness, as a psychological fact, one means that the individual member of a ‘class’ accepts only those accepted by his circle as among those who are significant to his own image of self.
Within the higher circles of the power elite, factions do exist; there are conflicts of policy; individual ambitions do clash. There are still enough divisions of importance within the Republican party, and even between Republicans and Democrats, to make for different methods of operation. But more powerful than these divisions are the internal discipline and the community of interests that bind the power elite together, even across the boundaries of nations at war.[9]

4

Yet we must give due weight to the other side of the case which may not question the facts but only our interpretation of them. There is a set of objections that will inevitably be made to our whole conception of the power elite, but which has essentially to do with only the psychology of its members. It might well be put by liberals or by conservatives in some such way as this:

‘To talk of a power elite — isn’t this to characterize men by their origins and associations? Isn’t such characterization both unfair and untrue? Don’t men modify themselves, especially Americans such as these, as they rise in stature to meet the demands of their jobs? Don’t they arrive at a view and a line of policy that represents, so far as they in their human weaknesses can know, the interests of the nation as a whole? Aren’t they merely honorable men who are doing their duty?’
What are we to reply to these objections?

I. We are sure that they are honorable men. But what is honor? Honor can only mean living up to a code that one believes to be honorable. There is no one code upon which we are all agreed. That is why, if we are civilized men, we do not kill off all of those with whom we disagree. The question is not: are these honorable men? The question is: what are their codes of honor? The answer to that question is that they are the codes of their circles, of those to whose opinions they defer. How could it be otherwise? That is one meaning of the important truism that all men are human and that all men are social creatures. As for sincerity, it can only be disproved, never proved.
II. To the question of their adaptability — which means their capacity to transcend the codes of conduct which, in their life’s work and experience, they have acquired — we must answer: simply no, they cannot, at least not in the handful of years most of them have left. To expect that is to assume that they are — indeed strange and expedient: such flexibility would in fact involve a violation of what we may rightly call their character and their integrity. By the way, may it not be precisely because of the lack of such character and integrity that earlier types of American politicians have not represented as great a threat as do these men of character?

It would be an insult to the effective training of the military, and to their indoctrination as well, to suppose that military officials. shed their military character and outlook upon changing from, uniform to mufti. This background is more important perhaps in the military case than in that of the corporate executives, for the training of the career is deeper and more total.
‘Lack of imagination,’ Gerald W. Johnson has noted, ‘is not to be confused with lack of principle. On the contrary, an unimaginative man is often a man of the highest principles. The trouble is that his principles conform to Cornford’s famous definition: “A principle is a rule of inaction giving valid general reasons for not doing in a specific instance what to unprincipled instinct would seem to be right.”’ [10]
Would it not be ridiculous, for example, to believe seriously that, in psychological fact, Charles Erwin Wilson represented anyone or any interest other than those of the corporate world? This is not because he is dishonest; on the contrary, it is because he is probably a man of solid integrity — as sound as a dollar. He is what he is and he cannot very well be anything else. He is a member of the professional corporation elite, just as are his colleagues, in the government and out of it; he represents the wealth of the higher corporate world; he represents its power; and he believes sincerely in his oft-quoted remark that ‘what is good for the United States is good for the General Motors Corporation and vice versa.’
The revealing point about the pitiful hearings on the confirmation of such men for political posts is not the cynicism toward the law and toward the law-makers on the middle levels of power which they display, nor their reluctance to dispose of their personal stock.” The interesting point is how impossible it is for such men to divest themselves of their engagement with the corporate world in general and with their own corporations in particular. Not only their money, but their friends, their interests, their training — their lives in short — are deeply involved in this world. The disposal of stock is, of course, merely a purifying ritual. The point is not so much financial or personal interests in a given corporation, but identification with the corporate world. To ask a man suddenly to divest himself of these interests and sensibilities is almost like asking a man to become a woman.

III. To the question of their patriotism, of their desire to serve the nation as a whole, we must answer first that, like codes of honor feelings of patriotism and views of what is to the whole nation’s good, are not ultimate facts but matters upon which there exists a great variety of opinion. Furthermore, patriotic opinions too are rooted in and die sustained by what a man has become by virtue of how and with whom he has lived. This is no simple mechanical determination of individual character by social conditions; it is an intricate process, well established in the major tradition of modern social study. One can only wonder why more social scientists do not use it systematically in speculating about politics.
IV. The elite cannot be truly thought of as men who are merely doing their duty. They are the ones who determine their duty, as well as the duties of those beneath them. They are not merely following orders: they give the orders. They are not merely ‘bureaucrats’: they command bureaucracies. They may try to disguise these facts from others and from themselves by appeals to traditions of which they imagine themselves the instruments, but there are many traditions, and they must choose which ones they will serve. They face decisions for which there simply are no traditions.

Now, to what do these several answers add up? To the fact that we cannot reason about public events and historical trends merely from knowledge about the motives and character of the men or the small groups who sit in the seats of the high and mighty. This fact, in turn, does not mean that we should be intimidated by accusations that in taking up our problem in the way we have, we are impugning the honor, the integrity, or the ability of those who are in high office. For it is not, in the first instance, a question of individual character; and if, in further instances, we find that it is, we should not hesitate to say so plainly. In the meantime, we must judge men of power by the standards of power, by what they do as decision-makers, and not by who they are or what they may do in private life. Our interest is not in that., we are interested in their policies and in the consequences of their conduct of office. .We must remember that these men of the power elite now occupy the strategic places in the structure of American society; that they command the dominant institutions of a dominant nation; that, as a set of men, they are in a position to make decisions with terrible consequences for the underlying populations of the world.

5

Despite their social similarity and psychological affinities, the members of the power elite do not constitute a club having a permanent membership with fixed and formal boundaries. It is of the nature of the power elite that within it there is a good deal of shifting about, and that it thus does not consist of one small set of the same men in the same positions in the same hierarchies. Because men know each other personally does not mean that among them there is a unity of policy; and because they do not know each other personally does not mean that among them there is a disunity. The conception of the power elite does not rest, as I have repeatedly said, primarily upon personal friendship.

As the requirements of the top places in each of the major hierarchies become similar, the types of men occupying these roles at the top — by selection and by training in the jobs — become similar. This is no mere deduction from structure to personnel. That it is a fact is revealed by the heavy traffic that has been going on between the three structures, often in very intricate patterns. The chief executives, the warlords, and selected politicians came into contact with one another in an intimate, working way during World War 11; after that war ended, they continued their associations, out of common beliefs, social congeniality, and coinciding interests. Noticeable proportions of top men from the military, the economic, and the political worlds have during the last fifteen years occupied positions in one or both of the other worlds: between these higher circles there is an interchangeability of position, based formally upon the supposed transferability of ‘executive ability,’ based in substance upon the co-optation by cliques of insiders. As members of a power elite, many of those busy in this traffic have come to look upon ‘the government’ as an umbrella under whose authority they do their work.
As the business between the big three increases in volume and importance, so does the traffic in personnel. The very criteria for selecting men who will rise come to embody this fact. The corporate commissar, dealing with the state and its military, is wiser to choose a young man who has experienced the state and its military than one who has not. The political director, often dependent for his own political success upon corporate decisions and corporations, is also wiser to choose a man with corporate experience. Thus, by virtue of the very criterion of success, the interchange of personnel and the unity of the power elite is increased.
Given the formal similarity of the three hierarchies in which the several members of the elite spend their working lives, given the ramifications of the decisions made in each upon the others, given the coincidence of interest that prevails among them at many points, and given the administrative vacuum of the American civilian state along with its enlargement of tasks — given these trends of structure, and adding to them the psychological affinities we have noted — we should indeed be surprised were we to find that men said to be skilled in administrative contacts and full of organizing ability would fail to do more than get in touch with one another. They have, of course, done much more than that: increasingly, they assume positions in one another’s domains.
The unity revealed by the interchangeability of top roles rests upon the parallel development of the top, jobs in each of the big three, domains. The interchange occurs most frequently at the points of their coinciding interest, as between regulatory agency as and the regulated industry; contracting agency and contractor. And, as we shall see, it leads to co-ordinations that are more explicit, and even formal.
The inner core of the power elite consists, first, of those who interchange commanding roles at the top of one dominant institutional order with those in another: the admiral who is also a banker and a lawyer and who heads up an important federal commission; the corporation executive whose company was one of the two or three leading war materiel producers who is now the Secretary of Defense; the wartime general who dons civilian clothes to sit on the political directorate and then becomes a member of the board of directors of a leading economic corporation.
Although the executive who becomes a general, the general who becomes a statesman, the statesman who becomes a banker, see much more than ordinary men in their ordinary environments, still the perspectives of even such men often remain tied to their dominant locales. In their very career, however, they interchange roles within the big three and thus readily transcend the particularity of interest in any one of these institutional milieux. By their very careers and activities, they lace the three types of milieux together. They are, accordingly, the core members of the power elite.
These men are not necessarily familiar with every major arena of power. We refer to one man who moves in and between perhaps two circles — say the industrial and the military — and to another man who moves in the military and the political, and to a third who .moves in the political as well as among opinion-makers. These in-between types most closely display our image of the power elite’s structure and operation, even of behind-the-scenes operations. To the extent that there is any ‘invisible elite,’ these advisory and liaison types are its core. Even if — as I believe to be very likely — many of them are, at least in the first part of their careers, ‘agents’ of the various elites rather than themselves elite, it is they who are most active in organizing the several top milieux into a structure of power and maintaining it.
The inner core of the power elite also includes men of the higher legal and financial type from the great law factories and investment firms, who are almost professional go-betweens of economic, political and military affairs, and who thus act to unify the power elite. The corporation lawyer and the investment banker perform the functions of the ‘go-between’ effectively and powerfully. By the nature of their work, they transcend the narrower milieu of any one industry, and accordingly are in a position to speak and act for the corporate world or at least sizable sectors of it. The corporation lawyer is a key link between the economic and military and political areas; the investment banker is a key organizer and unifier of the corporate world and a person well versed in spending the huge amounts of money the American military establishment now ponders. When you get a lawyer who handles the legal work of investment bankers you get a key member of the power elite.
During the Democratic era, one link between private corporate organizations and governmental institutions was the investment house of Dillon, Read. From it came such men as James Forrestal and Charles F. Detmar, Jr.; Ferdinand Eberstadt had once been a partner in it before he branched out into his own investment house from which came other men to political and military circles. Republican administrations seem to favor the investment firm of Kuhn, Loeb and the advertising firm of Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn.
Regardless of administrations, there is always the law firm of. Sullivan and Cromwell. Mid-West investment banker Cyrus Eaton has said that ‘Arthur H. Dean, a senior partner of Sullivan & Cromwell. of No. 48 Wall Street’ was one of those who assisted in the drafting of the Securities Act of 1933, the first of the series of bills passed to regulate the capital markets. He and his firm, which is reputed to be the largest in the United States, have maintained close relations with the SEC since its creation, and theirs is the dominating influence on the Commission.’ [12]
There is also the third largest bank in the United States: the Chase National Bank of New York (now Chase-Manhattan). Regardless of political administration, executives of this bank and those of the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development have changed positions: John J. McCloy, who became Chairman of the Chase National in 1953, is a former president of the World Bank; and his successor to the presidency of the World Bank was a former senior vice-president of the Chase National Bank.[13] And in 1953, the president of the Chase National Bank, Winthrop W. Aldrich, had left to become Ambassador to Great Britain.
The outermost fringes of the power elite — which change more than its core — consist of ‘those who count’ even though they may not be ‘in’ on given decisions of consequence nor in their career move between the hierarchies. Each member of the power elite need not be a man who personally decides every decision that is to be ascribed to the power elite. Each member, in the decisions that he does make, takes the others seriously into account. They not only make decisions in the several major areas of war and peace; they are the men who, in decisions in which they take no direct part, are taken into decisive account by those who are directly in charge.
On the fringes and below them, somewhat to the side of the lower echelons, the power elite fades off into the middle levels of power, into the rank and file of the Congress, the pressure groups that are not vested in the power elite itself, as well as a multiplicity of regional and state and local interests. If all the men on the middle levels are not among those who count, they sometimes must be taken into account, handled, cajoled, broken or raised to higher circles.
When the power elite find that in order to get things done they must reach below their own realms — as is the case when it is necessary to get bills passed through Congress — they themselves must exert some pressure. But among the power elite, the name for such high-level lobbying is ‘liaison work.’ There are ‘liaison’ military men with Congress, with certain wayward sections of industry with practically every important element not directly concerned with the power elite. The two men on the White House staff who are named ‘liaison’ men are both experienced in military matters; one of them is a former investment banker and lawyer as well as a general.
Not the trade associations but the higher cliques of lawyers and investment bankers are the active political heads of the corporate rich and the members of the power elite. While it is generally assumed that the national associations carry tremendous weight in formulating public opinion and directing the course of national policy, there is some evidence to indicate that interaction between associations on a formal level is not a very tight-knit affair. The general tendency within associations seems to be to stimulate activities, around the specific interests of the organization, and more effort is made to educate its members rather than to spend much time in trying to influence other associations on the issue at hand … As media for stating and re-stating the over-all value structure of the nation they (the trade associations) are important … But when issues are firmly drawn, individuals related to the larger corporate interests are called upon to exert pressure in the proper places at the strategic time The national associations may act as media for co-ordinating such pressures, but a great volume of intercommunication between members at the apex of power of the larger corporate interests seems to be the decisive factor in final policy determination.’ [14]
Conventional ‘lobbying,’ carried on by trade associations, still exists, although it usually concerns the middle levels of power — usually being targeted at Congress and, of course, its own rank and file members. The important function of the National Association of Manufacturers, for example, is less directly to influence policy than to reveal to small businessmen that their interests are the same as those of larger businesses. But there is also ‘high-level lobbying.’ All over the country the corporate leaders are drawn into the circle of the high military and political through personal friendship, trade and professional associations and their various subcommittees, prestige clubs, open political affiliation, and customer relationships. ‘There is … an awareness among these power leaders,’ one first-hand investigator of such executive cliques has asserted, ‘of many of the current major policy issues before the nation such as keeping taxes down, turning all productive operations over to private enterprises, increasing foreign trade’ keeping governmental welfare and other domestic activities to a minimum, and strengthening and maintaining the hold of the current party in power nationally.’ [15]
There are, in fact, cliques of corporate executives who are more important as informal opinion leaders in the top echelons of corporate, military, and political power than as actual participants in military and political organizations. Inside military circles and inside political circles and ‘on the sidelines’ in the economic area, these circles and cliques of corporation executives are in on most all major decisions regardless of topic. And what is important about all this high-level lobbying is that it is done within the confines of that elite.

6

The conception of the power elite and of its unity rests upon the corresponding developments and the coincidence of interests among economic, political, and military organizations. It also rests upon the similarity of origin and outlook, and the social and personal intermingling of the top circles from each of these dominant hierarchies. This conjunction of institutional and psychological forces, in turn, is revealed by the heavy personnel traffic within and between the big three institutional orders, as well as by the rise of go-betweens as in the high-level lobbying. The conception of the power elite, accordingly, does not rest upon the assumption that American history since the origins of World War II must be understood as a secret plot, or as a great and co-ordinated conspiracy of the members of this elite. The conception rests upon quite impersonal grounds.

There is, however, little doubt that the American power elite — which contains, we are told, some of ‘the greatest organizers in the world’ — has also planned and has plotted. The rise of the elite, as we have already made clear, was not and could not have been caused by a plot; and the tenability of the conception does not rest upon the existence of any secret or any publicly known organization. But, once the conjunction of structural trend and of the personal will to utilize it gave rise to the power elite, then plans and programs did occur to its members and indeed it is not possible to interpret many events and official policies of the fift

One thing one have to acknowledge is that what we have is systemic corruption, rather than individual incidental corruption. Sure Obama is a corrupt egocentric cynic. But he is no closet communist, or a foreigner, or a worshiper of the malignant. He does no evil for evil sake. What he does is the bidding of power groups because that´s how he got to be President, and because it is the path of least resistance. Obama is no different in essence form, say, Bush. The Power elite gets its way because they are organized, concentrate Power and Money, and control the Media. The common man can resist by being informed, understand the issues, and look at policies on their own merits. Most of the public agenda is a charade of false topics to entertain the public and brand the two wings of the Business Party. It is hard to do but one must start from objective understanding: Who´s behind? Why? What are the implications?

Published on Jul 17, 2012

Nobel Prize winning economis, author and lecturer, Joseph Stiglitz, talks about his latest book, THE PRICE OF INEQUALITY: HOW TODAY’S DIVIDED SOCIETY ENDANGERS OUR FUTURE. Joseph Stiglitz spoke at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s Bookstore in Beaverton, Oregon, on June 14th, 2012. To find out more about the author, please visit his website at josephstiglitz.com. This program was produced by pdxjustice Media Productions of Portland, Oregon. To find out more about the work of pdxjustice, please visit our website at pdxjustice.org.

How so?

Are these people mad? Economic growth and job creation at all costs? Is he aware how much of current “production” is outright JUNK&WEAPONS meant only to justify “economic” process? We should discourage automation so that people could keep slaving meaninglessly?


Uploaded on Dec 5, 2011

The gap between rich and poor in OECD countries has reached its highest level for over 30 years, and governments must act quickly to tackle inequality, according to a new OECD report, “Divided We Stand”.

For more information, visit: www.oecd.org/els/social/inequality


Published on Apr 3, 2013
The richest 300 people in the world are more wealthy than the poorest 3 billion combined, and every year rich countries take over 10 times more money from poor countries than they give in aid. Find out more by watching the video or visiting our website http://www.therules.org

-Production Company: Grain Media (grainmedia.co.uk)
-Motion Graphics Artist: Nick Pittom (nickpittom.com)
-Music: Sup Doodle and Apple Juice Kid (AppleJuiceKid.com)
-References: http://www.therules.org/inequality-vi…
-Accompanying article in Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opin…


Published on Nov 20, 2012
Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

References:
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2…
http://danariely.com/2010/09/30/wealt…
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011…
http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/19/news/…


C. Wright Mills 1956

The Power Elite


Source: The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills, Oxford University Press, 1956;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

12. The Power Elite

EXCEPT for the unsuccessful Civil War, changes in the power system of the United States have not involved important challenges to its basic legitimations. Even when they have been decisive enough to be called ‘revolutions,’ they have not involved the ‘resort to the guns of a cruiser, the dispersal of an elected assembly by bayonets, or the mechanisms of a police state.’ [1] Nor have they involved, in any decisive way, any ideological struggle to control masses. Changes in the American structure of power have generally come about by institutional shifts in the relative positions of the political, the economic, and the military orders. From this point of view, and broadly speaking, the American power elite has gone through four epochs, and is now well into a fifth.

1

I. During the first — roughly from the Revolution through the administration of John Adams — the social and economic, the political and the military institutions were more or less unified in a simple and direct way: the individual men of these several elites moved easily from one role to another at the top of each of the major institutional orders. Many of them were many-sided men who could take the part of legislator and merchant, frontiersman and soldier, scholar and surveyor.[2]

Until the downfall of the Congressional caucus of 1824, political institutions seemed quite central; political decisions, of great importance; many politicians, considered national statesmen of note. ‘Society, as I first remember it,’ Henry Cabot Lodge once said, speaking of the Boston of his early boyhood, ‘was based on the old families; Doctor Holmes defines them in the “Autocrat” as the families which had held high position in the colony, the province and during the Revolution and the early decades of the United States. They represented several generations of education and standing in the community … They had ancestors who had filled the pulpits, sat upon the bench, and taken part in the government under the crown; who had fought in the Revolution, helped to make the State and National constitutions and served in the army or navy; who had been member’s of the House or Senate in the early days of the Republic, and who had won success as merchants, manufacturers, lawyers, or men of letters.’[3]
Such men of affairs, who — as I have noted — were the backbone of Mrs. John Jay’s social list of 1787, definitely included political figures of note. The important fact about these early days is that social life, economic institutions, military establishment, and political order coincided, and men who were high politicians also played key roles in the economy and, with their families, were among those of the reputable who made up local society. In fact, this first period is marked by the leadership of men whose status does not rest exclusively upon their political position, although their political activities are important and the prestige of politicians high. And this prestige seems attached to the men who occupy Congressional position as well as the cabinet. The elite are political men of education and of administrative experience, and, as Lord Bryce noted, possess a certain largeness of view and dignity of character.’[4]

II. During the early nineteenth century — which followed Jefferson’s political philosophy, but, in due course, Hamilton’s economic principles — the economic and political and military orders fitted loosely into the great scatter of the American social structure. The broadening of the economic order which came to be seated in the individual property owner was dramatized by Jefferson’s purchase of the Louisiana Territory and by the formation of the Democratic-Republican party as successor to the Federalists.

In this society, the ‘elite’ became a plurality of top groups, each in turn quite loosely made up. They overlapped to be sure, but again quite loosely so. One definite key to the period, and certainly to our images of it, is the fact that the Jacksonian Revolution was much more of a status revolution than either an economic or a political one. The metropolitan 400 could not truly flourish in the face of the status tides of Jacksonian democracy; alongside it was a political elite in charge of the new party system. No set of men controlled centralized means of power; no small clique dominated economic, much less political, affairs. The economic order was ascendant over both social status and political power; within the ,economic order, a quite sizable proportion of all the economic men were among those who decided. For this was the period — roughly from Jefferson to Lincoln — when the elite was at most a loose coalition. The period ended, of course, with the decisive split of southern and northern types.
Official commentators like to contrast the ascendancy in totalitarian countries of a tightly organized clique with the American .system of power. Such comments, however, are easier to sustain if one compares mid-twentieth-century Russia with mid-nineteenth-century America, which is what is often done by Tocqueville-quoting Americans making the contrast. But that was an America of a century ago, and in the century that has passed, the American elite have not remained as patrioteer essayists have described them to us. The ‘loose cliques’ now head institutions of a scale and power not then existing and, especially since World War I, the loose cliques have tightened up. We are well beyond the era of romantic pluralism.

III. The supremacy of corporate economic power began, in a formal way, with the Congressional elections of 1866, and was consolidated by the Supreme Court decision of 1886 which declared that the Fourteenth Amendment protected the corporation. That period witnessed the transfer of the center of initiative from government to corporation. Until the First World War (which gave us an advanced showing of certain features of our own period) this was an age of raids on the government by the economic elite, an age of simple corruption, when Senators and judges were simply bought up. Here, once upon a time, in the era of McKinley and Morgan, far removed from the undocumented complexities of our own time, many now believe, was the golden era of the American ruling class.[5]

The military order of this period, as in the second, was subordinate to the political, which in turn was subordinate to the economic. The military was thus off to the side of the main driving forces of United States history. Political institutions in the United States have never formed a centralized and autonomous domain of power; they have been enlarged and centralized only reluctantly in slow response to the public consequence of the corporate economy.
In the post-Civil-War era, that economy was the dynamic; the ‘trusts’ — as policies and events make amply clear — could readily use the relatively weak governmental apparatus for their own ends. That both state and federal governments were decisively limited in their power to regulate, in fact meant that they were themselves regulatable by the larger moneyed interests. Their powers were scattered and unorganized; the powers of the industrial and financial corporations concentrated and interlocked. The Morgan interests alone held 341 directorships in 112 corporations with an aggregate capitalization of over $22 billion — over three times the assessed value of all real and personal property in New England.[6] With revenues greater and employees more numerous than those of many states, corporations controlled parties, bought laws, and kept Congressmen of the ‘neutral’ state. And as private economic power overshadowed public political power, so the economic elite overshadowed the political.
Yet even between 1896 and 1919, events of importance tended to assume a political form, foreshadowing the shape of power which after the partial boom of the ‘twenties was to prevail in the New Deal. Perhaps there has never been any period in American history so politically transparent as the Progressive era of President-makers and Muckrakers.

IV. The New Deal did not reverse the political and economic relations of the third era, but it did create within the political arena, as well as in the corporate world itself, competing centers of power that challenged those of the corporate directors. As the New Deal directorate gained political power, the economic elite, which in the third period had fought against the growth of ‘government’ while raiding it for crafty privileges, belatedly attempted to join it on the higher levels. When they did so they found themselves confronting other interests and men, for the places of decision were crowded. In due course, they did come to control and to use for their own purposes the New Deal institutions whose creation they had so bitterly denounced.

But during the ‘thirties’ the political order was still an instrument of small propertied farmers and businessmen, although they were weakened, having lost their last chance for real ascendancy in the Progressive era. The struggle between big and small property flared up again, however, in the political realm of the New Deal era, and to this struggle there was added, as we have seen, the new struggle of organized labor and the unorganized unemployed, This new force flourished under political tutelage, but nevertheless, for the first time in United States history, social legislation and lower-class issues became important features of the reform movement.
In the decade of the ‘thirties, a set of shifting balances involving newly instituted farm measures and newly organized labor unions — along with big business — made up the political and administrative drama of power. These farm, labor, and business groups, moreover, were more or less contained within the framework of an enlarging governmental structure, whose political directorship made decisions in a definitely political manner. These groups pressured, and in pressuring against one another and against the governmental and party system, they helped to shape it. But it, could not be said that any of them for any considerable length of time used that government unilaterally as their instrument. That is why the ‘thirties was a political decade: the power of business was not replaced, but it was contested and supplemented: it became one major power within a structure of power that was chiefly run by political men, and not by economic or military men turned political.
The earlier and middle Roosevelt administrations can best be understood as a desperate search for ways and means, within the existing capitalist system, of reducing the staggering and ominous xis army of the unemployed. In these years, the New Deal as a system of power was essentially a balance of pressure groups and interest blocs. The political top adjusted many conflicts, gave way to this demand, sidetracked that one, was the unilateral servant of none, and so evened it all out into such going policy line as prevailed from one minor crisis to another. Policies were the result of a political act of balance at the top. Of course, the balancing act that Roosevelt performed did not affect the fundamental institutions of capitalism as a type of economy. By his policies, he subsidized the defaults of the capitalist economy, which had simply broken down; and by his rhetoric, he balanced its political disgrace, putting ‘economic royalists’ in the political doghouse.
The ‘welfare state,’ created to sustain the balance and to carry out the subsidy, differed from the ‘laissez-faire’ state: ‘If the state was believed neutral in the days of T.R. because its leaders claimed to sanction favors for no one,’ Richard Hofstadter has remarked, ‘the state under F.D.R. could be called neutral only in the sense that it offered favors to everyone.’ [7] The new state of the corporate commissars differs from the old welfare state. In fact, the later Roosevelt years — beginning with the entrance of the United States into overt acts of war and preparations for World War II cannot be understood entirely in terms of an adroit equipoise of political power.

2

We study history, it has been said, to rid ourselves of it, and the history of the power elite is a clear case for which this maxim is correct. Like the tempo of American life in general, the long term trends of the power structure have been greatly speeded up since World War II, and certain newer trends within and between the dominant institutions have also set the shape of the power elite and given historically specific meaning to its fifth epoch:
I. In so far as the structural clue to the power elite today lies in the political order, that clue is the decline of politics as genuine and public debate of alternative decisions — with nationally responsible and policy-coherent parties and with autonomous organizations connecting the lower and middle levels of power with the top levels of decision. America is now in considerable part more a formal political democracy than a democratic social structure, and even the formal political mechanics are weak.

The long-time tendency of business and government to become more intricately and deeply involved with each either has, in the fifth epoch, reached a new point of explicitness. The two cannot now be seen clearly as two distinct worlds. It is in terms of the executive agencies of the state that the rapprochement has proceeded most decisively. The growth of the executive branch of the government, with its agencies that patrol the complex economy, does not mean merely the ‘enlargement of government’ as some sort of autonomous bureaucracy: it has meant the ascendancy of the corporation’s man as a political eminence.
During the New Deal the corporate chieftains joined the political directorate; as of World War II they have come to dominate it. Long interlocked with government, now they have moved into quite full direction of the economy of the war effort and of the postwar era. This shift of the corporation executives into the political directorate has accelerated the long-term relegation of the professional politicians in the Congress to the middle levels of power.

II. In so far as the structural clue to the power elite today lies in the enlarged and military state, that clue becomes evident in the military ascendancy. The warlords have gained decisive Political relevance, and the military structure of America is now in considerable part a political structure. The seemingly permanent military threat places a premium on the military and upon their control of men, materiel, money, and power; virtually all political and economic actions are now judged in terms of military definitions of reality: the higher warlords have ascended to a firm position within the power elite of the fifth epoch.

In part at least this has resulted from one simple historical fact, pivotal for the years since 1939: the focus of elite attention has been shifted from domestic problems, centered in the ‘thirties around slump, to international problems, centered in the ‘forties and ‘fifties around war. Since the governing apparatus of the United States has by long historic usage been adapted to and shaped by domestic clash and balance, it has not, from any angle, had suitable agencies and traditions for the handling of international problems. Such formal democratic mechanics as had arisen in the century and a half of national development prior to 1941, had not been extended to the American handling of international affairs. It is, in considerable part, in this vacuum that the power elite has grown.
III. In so far as the structural clue to the power elite today lies in the economic order, that clue is the fact that the economy is at once a permanent-war economy and a private-corporation economy. American capitalism is now in considerable part a military capitalism, and the most important relation of the big corporation to the state rests on the coincidence of interests between military and corporate needs, as defined by warlords and corporate rich. Within the elite as a whole, this coincidence of interest between the high military and the corporate chieftains strengthens both of them and further subordinates the role of the merely political men. Not politicians, but corporate executives, sit with the military and plan the organization of war effort.
The shape and meaning of the power elite today can be understood only when these three sets of structural trends are seen at their point of coincidence: the military capitalism of private corporations exists in a weakened and formal democratic system containing a military order already quite political in outlook and demeanor. Accordingly, at the top of this structure, the power elite has been shaped by the coincidence of interest between those who control the major means of production and those who control the newly enlarged means of violence; from the decline of the professional politician and the rise to explicit political command of the corporate chieftains and the professional warlords; from the absence of any genuine civil service of skill and integrity, independent of vested interests.
The power elite is composed of political, economic, and military men, but this instituted elite is frequently in some tension: it comes together only on certain coinciding points and only on certain occasions of ‘crisis.’ In the long peace of the nineteenth century, the military were not in the high councils of state, not of the political directorate, and neither were the economic men — they made raids upon the state but they did not join its directorate. During the ‘thirties, the political man was ascendant. Now the military and the corporate men are in top positions.
Of the three types of circle that compose the power elite today, it is the military that has benefited the most in its enhanced power, although the corporate circles have also become more explicitly intrenched in the more public decision-making circles. It is the professional politician that has lost the most, so much that in examining the events and decisions, one is tempted to speak of a political vacuum in which the corporate rich and the high warlord, in their coinciding interests, rule.
It should not be said that the three ‘take turns’ in carrying the initiative, for the mechanics of the power elite are not often as deliberate as that would imply. At times, of course, it is — as when ‘political men’ thinking they can borrow the prestige of generals, find that they must pay for it, or, as when during big slumps, economic men feel the need of a politician at once safe and possessing vote appeal. Today all three are involved in virtually all widely ramifying decisions. Which of the three types seems to lead depends upon ‘the tasks of the period’ as they, the elite, define them. Just now, these tasks center upon ‘defense’ and international affairs. Accordingly, as we have seen, the military are ascendant in two senses: as personnel and as justifying ideology. That is why, just now, we can most easily specify the unity and the shape of the power elite in terms of the military ascendancy.
But we must always be historically specific and open to complexities. The simple Marxian view makes the big economic man the real holder of power; the simple liberal view makes the big Political man the chief of the power system; and there are some who would view the warlords as virtual dictators. Each of these is an oversimplified view. It is to avoid them that we use the term ,power elite, rather than, for example, ‘ruling class.’
[‘Ruling class’ is a badly loaded phrase. ‘Class’ is an economic term; ‘rule’ a political one. The phrase, ‘ruling class,’ thus contains the theory that an economic class rules politically. That short-cut theory may or may not at times be true, but we do not want to carry that one rather simple theory about in the terms that we use to define our problems; we wish to state the theories explicitly, using terms of more precise and unilateral meaning. Specifically, the phrase ‘ruling class,’ in its common political connotations, does not allow enough autonomy to the political order and its agents, and it says nothing about the military as such. It should be clear to the reader by now that we do not accept as adequate the simple view that high economic men unilaterally make all decisions of national consequence. We hold that such a simple view of ‘economic determinism’ must be elaborated by ‘political determinism’ and ‘military determinism’; that the higher agents of each of these three domains now often have a noticeable degree of autonomy; and that only in the often intricate ways of coalition do they make up and carry through the most important decisions. Those are the major reasons we prefer ‘power elite’ to ‘ruling class’ as a characterizing phrase for the higher circles when we consider them in terms of power.]
In so far as the power elite has come to wide public attention, it has done so in terms of the ‘military clique.’ The power elite does, in fact, take its current shape from the decisive entrance into it of the military. Their presence and their ideology are its major legitimations, whenever the power elite feels the need to provide any. But what is called the ‘Washington military clique’ is not composed merely of military men, and it does not prevail merely in Washington. Its members exist all over the country, and it is a coalition of generals in the roles of corporation executives, of politicians masquerading as admirals, of corporation executives acting like politicians, of civil servants who become majors, of vice-admirals who are also the assistants to a cabinet officer, who is himself, by the way, really a member of the managerial elite.
Neither the idea of a ‘ruling class’ nor of a simple monolithic rise of ‘bureaucratic politicians’ nor of a ‘military clique’ is adequate. The power elite today involves the often uneasy coincidence of economic, military, and political power.

3

Even if our understanding were limited to these structural trends, we should have grounds for believing the power elite a useful, indeed indispensable, concept for the interpretation of what is going on at the topside of modem American society. But we are not, of course, so limited: our conception of the power elite do not need to rest only upon the correspondence of the institutional hierarchies involved, or upon the many points at which their shifting interests coincide. The ‘power elite’ as we conceive it, also rests upon the similarity of its personnel, and their personal and official relations with one another, upon their social and psychological affinities. In order to grasp the personal and social basis of the power elite’s unity, we have first to remind ourselves of the facts of origin, career, and style of life of each of the types of circle whose members compose the power elite.
The power elite is not an aristocracy, which is to say that it is not a political ruling group based upon a nobility of hereditary origin. It has no compact basis in a small circle of great families whose members can and do consistently occupy the top positions in the several higher circles which overlap as the power elite. But such nobility is only one possible basis of common origin. That it does not exist for the American elite does not mean that members of this elite derive socially from the full range of strata composing American society. They derive in substantial proportions from the upper classes, both new and old, of local society and the metropolitan 400. The bulk of the very rich, the corporate executives, the political outsiders, the high military, derive from, at most, the upper third of the income and occupational pyramids. Their fathers were at least of the professional and business strata, and very frequently higher than that. They are native-born Americans of native parents, primarily from urban areas, and, with the exceptions of the politicians among them, overwhelmingly from the East. They are mainly Protestants, especially Episcopalian or Presbyterian. In general, the higher the position, the greater the proportion of men within it who have derived from and who maintain connections with the upper classes. The generally similar origins of the members of the power elite are underlined and carried further by the fact of their increasingly common educational routine. Overwhelmingly college graduates substantial proportions have attended Ivy League colleges, although the education of the higher military, of course, differs from that of other members of the power elite.
But what do these apparently simple facts about the social composition of the higher circles really mean? In particular, what do they mean for any attempt to understand the degree of unity, and the direction of policy and interest that may prevail among these several circles? Perhaps it is best to put this question in a deceptively simple way: in terms of origin and career, who or what do these men at the top represent?
Of course, if they are elected politicians, they are supposed to represent those who elected them; and, if they are appointed, they are supposed to represent, indirectly, those who elected their appointers. But this is recognized as something of an abstraction, as a rhetorical formula by which all men of power in almost all systems of government nowadays justify their power of decision. M times it may be true, both in the sense of their motives and in the sense of who benefits from their decisions. Yet it would not be wise in any power system merely to assume it.
The fact that members of the power elite come from near the top of the nation’s class and status levels does not mean that they are necessarily ‘representative’ of the top levels only. And if they were, as social types, representative of a cross-section of the population, that would not mean that a balanced democracy of interest and power would automatically be the going political fact.
We cannot infer the direction of policy merely from the social origins and careers of the policy-makers. The social and economic backgrounds of the men of power do not tell us all that we need to know in order to understand the distribution of social power. For: (1) Men from high places may be ideological representatives of the poor and humble. (2) Men of humble origin, brightly self-made, may energetically serve the most vested and inherited interests. Moreover (3), not all men who effectively represent the interests of a stratum need in any way belong to it or personally benefit by policies that further its interests. Among the politicians, in short, there are sympathetic agents of given groups, conscious and unconscious, paid and unpaid. Finally (4), among the top decision-makers we find men who have been chosen for their positions because of their ‘expert knowledge.’ These are some of the obvious reasons why the social origins and careers of the power elite do not enable us to infer the class interests and policy directions of a modem system of power.
Do the high social origin and careers of the fop men mean nothing, then, about the distribution of power? By no means. They simply remind us that we must be careful of any simple and direct inference from origin and career to political character and policy, not that we must ignore them in our attempt at political understanding. They simply mean that we must analyze the political psychology and the actual decisions of the political directorate as well as its social composition. And they mean, above all, that we should control, as we have done here, any inference we make from the origin and careers of the political actors by close understanding of the institutional landscape in which they act out their drama. Otherwise we should be guilty of a rather simple-minded biographical theory of society and history.
Just as we cannot rest the notion of the power elite solely upon the institutional mechanics that lead to its formation, so we cannot rest the notion solely upon the facts of the origin and career of its personnel. We need both, and we have both — as well as other bases, among them that of the status intermingling.
But it is not only the similarities of social origin, religious affiliation, nativity, and education that are important to the psychological and social affinities of the members of the power elite. Even if their recruitment and formal training were more heterogeneous than they are, these men would still be of quite homogeneous social type. For the most important set of facts about a circle of men is the criteria of admission, of praise, of honor, of promotion that prevails among them; if these are similar within a circle, then they will tend as personalities to become similar. he circles that compose the power elite do tend to have such codes and criteria in common. The co-optation of the social types to which these common values lead is often more important than any statistics of common origin and career that we might have at hand.
There is a kind of reciprocal attraction among the fraternity of the successful — not between each and every member of the circles of the high and mighty, but between enough of them to insure a certain unity. On the slight side, it is a sort of tacit, mutual admiration; in the strongest tie-ins, it proceeds by intermarriage. And there are all grades and types of connection between these extremes. Some overlaps certainly occur by means of cliques and clubs, churches and schools.
If social origin and formal education in common tend to make the members of the power elite more readily understood and trusted by one another, their continued association further cements what they feel they have in common. Members of the several higher circles know one another as personal friends and even as neighbors; they mingle with one another on the golf course, in the gentleman’s clubs, at resorts, on transcontinental airplanes, and on ocean liners. They meet at the estates of mutual friends, face each other in front of the TV camera, or serve on the same philanthropic committee; and many are sure to cross one another’s path in the columns of newspapers, if not in the exact cafes from which many of these columns originate. As we have seen, of ‘The New 400’ of café society, one chronicler has named forty-one members of the very rich, ninety-three political leaders, and seventy-nine chief executives of corporations.
‘I did not know, I could not have dreamed,’ Whittaker Chambers has written, ‘of the immense scope and power of Hiss’ political alliances and his social connections, which cut across all party lines and ran from the Supreme Court to the Religious Society of Friends, from governors of states and instructors in college faculties to the staff members of liberal magazines. In the decade since I had last seen him’ he had used his career, and, in particular, his identification with the cause of peace through his part in organizing the United Nations, to put down roots that made him one with the matted forest floor of American upper class, enlightened middle class, liberal and official life. His roots could not be disturbed without disturbing all the roots on all sides of him.’ [8]
The sphere of status has reflected the epochs of the power elite. In the third epoch, for example, who could compete with ‘big money’? And in the fourth, with big politicians, or even the bright young men of the New Deal? And in the fifth, who can compete with the generals and the admirals and the corporate officials now so sympathetically portrayed on the stage, in the novel, and on the screen? Can one imagine Executive Suite as a successful motion picture in 1935? Or The Caine Mutiny?
The multiplicity of high-prestige organizations to which the elite usually belong is revealed by even casual examination of the obituaries of the big businessman, the high-prestige lawyer, the top general and admiral, the key senator: usually, high-prestige church, business associations, plus high-prestige clubs, and often plus military rank. In the course of their lifetimes, the university president, the New York Stock Exchange chairman, the head of the bank, the old West Pointer — mingle in the status sphere, within which they easily renew old friendships and draw upon them in an effort to understand through the experience of trusted others those contexts of power and decision in which they have not personally moved.
In these diverse contexts, prestige accumulates in each of the higher circles, and the members of each borrow status from one another. Their self-images are fed by these accumulations and these borrowings, and accordingly, however segmental a given man’s role may seem, he comes to feel himself a ‘diffuse’ or ‘generalized’ man of the higher circles. a ‘broad-gauge’ man. Perhaps such inside experience is one feature of what is meant by ‘judgment.’
The key organizations, perhaps, are the major corporations themselves, for on the boards of directors we find a heavy overlapping among the members of these several elites. On the lighter side, again in the summer and winter resorts, we find that, in an intricate series of overlapping circles; in the course of time, each meets each or knows somebody who knows somebody who knows that one.
The higher members of the military, economic, and political orders are able readily to take over one another’s point of view, always in a sympathetic way, and often in a knowledgeable way as well. They define one another as among those who count, and who, accordingly, must be taken into account. Each of them as a member of the power elite comes to incorporate into his own integrity, his own honor, his own conscience, the viewpoint, the expectations, the values of the others. If there are n o common ideals and standards among them that are based upon an explicitly aristocratic culture, that does not mean that they do not feel responsibility to one another.
All the structural coincidence of their interests as well as the intricate, psychological facts of their origins and their education, their careers and their associations make possible the psychological affinities that prevail among them, affinities that make it possible for them to say of one another: He is, of course, one of us. And all this points to the basic, psychological meaning of class consciousness. Nowhere in America is there as great a ‘class consciousness’ as among the elite; nowhere is it organized as effectively as among the power elite. For by class consciousness, as a psychological fact, one means that the individual member of a ‘class’ accepts only those accepted by his circle as among those who are significant to his own image of self.
Within the higher circles of the power elite, factions do exist; there are conflicts of policy; individual ambitions do clash. There are still enough divisions of importance within the Republican party, and even between Republicans and Democrats, to make for different methods of operation. But more powerful than these divisions are the internal discipline and the community of interests that bind the power elite together, even across the boundaries of nations at war.[9]

4

Yet we must give due weight to the other side of the case which may not question the facts but only our interpretation of them. There is a set of objections that will inevitably be made to our whole conception of the power elite, but which has essentially to do with only the psychology of its members. It might well be put by liberals or by conservatives in some such way as this:

‘To talk of a power elite — isn’t this to characterize men by their origins and associations? Isn’t such characterization both unfair and untrue? Don’t men modify themselves, especially Americans such as these, as they rise in stature to meet the demands of their jobs? Don’t they arrive at a view and a line of policy that represents, so far as they in their human weaknesses can know, the interests of the nation as a whole? Aren’t they merely honorable men who are doing their duty?’
What are we to reply to these objections?

I. We are sure that they are honorable men. But what is honor? Honor can only mean living up to a code that one believes to be honorable. There is no one code upon which we are all agreed. That is why, if we are civilized men, we do not kill off all of those with whom we disagree. The question is not: are these honorable men? The question is: what are their codes of honor? The answer to that question is that they are the codes of their circles, of those to whose opinions they defer. How could it be otherwise? That is one meaning of the important truism that all men are human and that all men are social creatures. As for sincerity, it can only be disproved, never proved.
II. To the question of their adaptability — which means their capacity to transcend the codes of conduct which, in their life’s work and experience, they have acquired — we must answer: simply no, they cannot, at least not in the handful of years most of them have left. To expect that is to assume that they are — indeed strange and expedient: such flexibility would in fact involve a violation of what we may rightly call their character and their integrity. By the way, may it not be precisely because of the lack of such character and integrity that earlier types of American politicians have not represented as great a threat as do these men of character?

It would be an insult to the effective training of the military, and to their indoctrination as well, to suppose that military officials. shed their military character and outlook upon changing from, uniform to mufti. This background is more important perhaps in the military case than in that of the corporate executives, for the training of the career is deeper and more total.
‘Lack of imagination,’ Gerald W. Johnson has noted, ‘is not to be confused with lack of principle. On the contrary, an unimaginative man is often a man of the highest principles. The trouble is that his principles conform to Cornford’s famous definition: “A principle is a rule of inaction giving valid general reasons for not doing in a specific instance what to unprincipled instinct would seem to be right.”’ [10]
Would it not be ridiculous, for example, to believe seriously that, in psychological fact, Charles Erwin Wilson represented anyone or any interest other than those of the corporate world? This is not because he is dishonest; on the contrary, it is because he is probably a man of solid integrity — as sound as a dollar. He is what he is and he cannot very well be anything else. He is a member of the professional corporation elite, just as are his colleagues, in the government and out of it; he represents the wealth of the higher corporate world; he represents its power; and he believes sincerely in his oft-quoted remark that ‘what is good for the United States is good for the General Motors Corporation and vice versa.’
The revealing point about the pitiful hearings on the confirmation of such men for political posts is not the cynicism toward the law and toward the law-makers on the middle levels of power which they display, nor their reluctance to dispose of their personal stock.” The interesting point is how impossible it is for such men to divest themselves of their engagement with the corporate world in general and with their own corporations in particular. Not only their money, but their friends, their interests, their training — their lives in short — are deeply involved in this world. The disposal of stock is, of course, merely a purifying ritual. The point is not so much financial or personal interests in a given corporation, but identification with the corporate world. To ask a man suddenly to divest himself of these interests and sensibilities is almost like asking a man to become a woman.

III. To the question of their patriotism, of their desire to serve the nation as a whole, we must answer first that, like codes of honor feelings of patriotism and views of what is to the whole nation’s good, are not ultimate facts but matters upon which there exists a great variety of opinion. Furthermore, patriotic opinions too are rooted in and die sustained by what a man has become by virtue of how and with whom he has lived. This is no simple mechanical determination of individual character by social conditions; it is an intricate process, well established in the major tradition of modern social study. One can only wonder why more social scientists do not use it systematically in speculating about politics.
IV. The elite cannot be truly thought of as men who are merely doing their duty. They are the ones who determine their duty, as well as the duties of those beneath them. They are not merely following orders: they give the orders. They are not merely ‘bureaucrats’: they command bureaucracies. They may try to disguise these facts from others and from themselves by appeals to traditions of which they imagine themselves the instruments, but there are many traditions, and they must choose which ones they will serve. They face decisions for which there simply are no traditions.

Now, to what do these several answers add up? To the fact that we cannot reason about public events and historical trends merely from knowledge about the motives and character of the men or the small groups who sit in the seats of the high and mighty. This fact, in turn, does not mean that we should be intimidated by accusations that in taking up our problem in the way we have, we are impugning the honor, the integrity, or the ability of those who are in high office. For it is not, in the first instance, a question of individual character; and if, in further instances, we find that it is, we should not hesitate to say so plainly. In the meantime, we must judge men of power by the standards of power, by what they do as decision-makers, and not by who they are or what they may do in private life. Our interest is not in that., we are interested in their policies and in the consequences of their conduct of office. .We must remember that these men of the power elite now occupy the strategic places in the structure of American society; that they command the dominant institutions of a dominant nation; that, as a set of men, they are in a position to make decisions with terrible consequences for the underlying populations of the world.

5

Despite their social similarity and psychological affinities, the members of the power elite do not constitute a club having a permanent membership with fixed and formal boundaries. It is of the nature of the power elite that within it there is a good deal of shifting about, and that it thus does not consist of one small set of the same men in the same positions in the same hierarchies. Because men know each other personally does not mean that among them there is a unity of policy; and because they do not know each other personally does not mean that among them there is a disunity. The conception of the power elite does not rest, as I have repeatedly said, primarily upon personal friendship.

As the requirements of the top places in each of the major hierarchies become similar, the types of men occupying these roles at the top — by selection and by training in the jobs — become similar. This is no mere deduction from structure to personnel. That it is a fact is revealed by the heavy traffic that has been going on between the three structures, often in very intricate patterns. The chief executives, the warlords, and selected politicians came into contact with one another in an intimate, working way during World War 11; after that war ended, they continued their associations, out of common beliefs, social congeniality, and coinciding interests. Noticeable proportions of top men from the military, the economic, and the political worlds have during the last fifteen years occupied positions in one or both of the other worlds: between these higher circles there is an interchangeability of position, based formally upon the supposed transferability of ‘executive ability,’ based in substance upon the co-optation by cliques of insiders. As members of a power elite, many of those busy in this traffic have come to look upon ‘the government’ as an umbrella under whose authority they do their work.
As the business between the big three increases in volume and importance, so does the traffic in personnel. The very criteria for selecting men who will rise come to embody this fact. The corporate commissar, dealing with the state and its military, is wiser to choose a young man who has experienced the state and its military than one who has not. The political director, often dependent for his own political success upon corporate decisions and corporations, is also wiser to choose a man with corporate experience. Thus, by virtue of the very criterion of success, the interchange of personnel and the unity of the power elite is increased.
Given the formal similarity of the three hierarchies in which the several members of the elite spend their working lives, given the ramifications of the decisions made in each upon the others, given the coincidence of interest that prevails among them at many points, and given the administrative vacuum of the American civilian state along with its enlargement of tasks — given these trends of structure, and adding to them the psychological affinities we have noted — we should indeed be surprised were we to find that men said to be skilled in administrative contacts and full of organizing ability would fail to do more than get in touch with one another. They have, of course, done much more than that: increasingly, they assume positions in one another’s domains.
The unity revealed by the interchangeability of top roles rests upon the parallel development of the top, jobs in each of the big three, domains. The interchange occurs most frequently at the points of their coinciding interest, as between regulatory agency as and the regulated industry; contracting agency and contractor. And, as we shall see, it leads to co-ordinations that are more explicit, and even formal.
The inner core of the power elite consists, first, of those who interchange commanding roles at the top of one dominant institutional order with those in another: the admiral who is also a banker and a lawyer and who heads up an important federal commission; the corporation executive whose company was one of the two or three leading war materiel producers who is now the Secretary of Defense; the wartime general who dons civilian clothes to sit on the political directorate and then becomes a member of the board of directors of a leading economic corporation.
Although the executive who becomes a general, the general who becomes a statesman, the statesman who becomes a banker, see much more than ordinary men in their ordinary environments, still the perspectives of even such men often remain tied to their dominant locales. In their very career, however, they interchange roles within the big three and thus readily transcend the particularity of interest in any one of these institutional milieux. By their very careers and activities, they lace the three types of milieux together. They are, accordingly, the core members of the power elite.
These men are not necessarily familiar with every major arena of power. We refer to one man who moves in and between perhaps two circles — say the industrial and the military — and to another man who moves in the military and the political, and to a third who .moves in the political as well as among opinion-makers. These in-between types most closely display our image of the power elite’s structure and operation, even of behind-the-scenes operations. To the extent that there is any ‘invisible elite,’ these advisory and liaison types are its core. Even if — as I believe to be very likely — many of them are, at least in the first part of their careers, ‘agents’ of the various elites rather than themselves elite, it is they who are most active in organizing the several top milieux into a structure of power and maintaining it.
The inner core of the power elite also includes men of the higher legal and financial type from the great law factories and investment firms, who are almost professional go-betweens of economic, political and military affairs, and who thus act to unify the power elite. The corporation lawyer and the investment banker perform the functions of the ‘go-between’ effectively and powerfully. By the nature of their work, they transcend the narrower milieu of any one industry, and accordingly are in a position to speak and act for the corporate world or at least sizable sectors of it. The corporation lawyer is a key link between the economic and military and political areas; the investment banker is a key organizer and unifier of the corporate world and a person well versed in spending the huge amounts of money the American military establishment now ponders. When you get a lawyer who handles the legal work of investment bankers you get a key member of the power elite.
During the Democratic era, one link between private corporate organizations and governmental institutions was the investment house of Dillon, Read. From it came such men as James Forrestal and Charles F. Detmar, Jr.; Ferdinand Eberstadt had once been a partner in it before he branched out into his own investment house from which came other men to political and military circles. Republican administrations seem to favor the investment firm of Kuhn, Loeb and the advertising firm of Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn.
Regardless of administrations, there is always the law firm of. Sullivan and Cromwell. Mid-West investment banker Cyrus Eaton has said that ‘Arthur H. Dean, a senior partner of Sullivan & Cromwell. of No. 48 Wall Street’ was one of those who assisted in the drafting of the Securities Act of 1933, the first of the series of bills passed to regulate the capital markets. He and his firm, which is reputed to be the largest in the United States, have maintained close relations with the SEC since its creation, and theirs is the dominating influence on the Commission.’ [12]
There is also the third largest bank in the United States: the Chase National Bank of New York (now Chase-Manhattan). Regardless of political administration, executives of this bank and those of the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development have changed positions: John J. McCloy, who became Chairman of the Chase National in 1953, is a former president of the World Bank; and his successor to the presidency of the World Bank was a former senior vice-president of the Chase National Bank.[13] And in 1953, the president of the Chase National Bank, Winthrop W. Aldrich, had left to become Ambassador to Great Britain.
The outermost fringes of the power elite — which change more than its core — consist of ‘those who count’ even though they may not be ‘in’ on given decisions of consequence nor in their career move between the hierarchies. Each member of the power elite need not be a man who personally decides every decision that is to be ascribed to the power elite. Each member, in the decisions that he does make, takes the others seriously into account. They not only make decisions in the several major areas of war and peace; they are the men who, in decisions in which they take no direct part, are taken into decisive account by those who are directly in charge.
On the fringes and below them, somewhat to the side of the lower echelons, the power elite fades off into the middle levels of power, into the rank and file of the Congress, the pressure groups that are not vested in the power elite itself, as well as a multiplicity of regional and state and local interests. If all the men on the middle levels are not among those who count, they sometimes must be taken into account, handled, cajoled, broken or raised to higher circles.
When the power elite find that in order to get things done they must reach below their own realms — as is the case when it is necessary to get bills passed through Congress — they themselves must exert some pressure. But among the power elite, the name for such high-level lobbying is ‘liaison work.’ There are ‘liaison’ military men with Congress, with certain wayward sections of industry with practically every important element not directly concerned with the power elite. The two men on the White House staff who are named ‘liaison’ men are both experienced in military matters; one of them is a former investment banker and lawyer as well as a general.
Not the trade associations but the higher cliques of lawyers and investment bankers are the active political heads of the corporate rich and the members of the power elite. While it is generally assumed that the national associations carry tremendous weight in formulating public opinion and directing the course of national policy, there is some evidence to indicate that interaction between associations on a formal level is not a very tight-knit affair. The general tendency within associations seems to be to stimulate activities, around the specific interests of the organization, and more effort is made to educate its members rather than to spend much time in trying to influence other associations on the issue at hand … As media for stating and re-stating the over-all value structure of the nation they (the trade associations) are important … But when issues are firmly drawn, individuals related to the larger corporate interests are called upon to exert pressure in the proper places at the strategic time The national associations may act as media for co-ordinating such pressures, but a great volume of intercommunication between members at the apex of power of the larger corporate interests seems to be the decisive factor in final policy determination.’ [14]
Conventional ‘lobbying,’ carried on by trade associations, still exists, although it usually concerns the middle levels of power — usually being targeted at Congress and, of course, its own rank and file members. The important function of the National Association of Manufacturers, for example, is less directly to influence policy than to reveal to small businessmen that their interests are the same as those of larger businesses. But there is also ‘high-level lobbying.’ All over the country the corporate leaders are drawn into the circle of the high military and political through personal friendship, trade and professional associations and their various subcommittees, prestige clubs, open political affiliation, and customer relationships. ‘There is … an awareness among these power leaders,’ one first-hand investigator of such executive cliques has asserted, ‘of many of the current major policy issues before the nation such as keeping taxes down, turning all productive operations over to private enterprises, increasing foreign trade’ keeping governmental welfare and other domestic activities to a minimum, and strengthening and maintaining the hold of the current party in power nationally.’ [15]
There are, in fact, cliques of corporate executives who are more important as informal opinion leaders in the top echelons of corporate, military, and political power than as actual participants in military and political organizations. Inside military circles and inside political circles and ‘on the sidelines’ in the economic area, these circles and cliques of corporation executives are in on most all major decisions regardless of topic. And what is important about all this high-level lobbying is that it is done within the confines of that elite.

6

The conception of the power elite and of its unity rests upon the corresponding developments and the coincidence of interests among economic, political, and military organizations. It also rests upon the similarity of origin and outlook, and the social and personal intermingling of the top circles from each of these dominant hierarchies. This conjunction of institutional and psychological forces, in turn, is revealed by the heavy personnel traffic within and between the big three institutional orders, as well as by the rise of go-betweens as in the high-level lobbying. The conception of the power elite, accordingly, does not rest upon the assumption that American history since the origins of World War II must be understood as a secret plot, or as a great and co-ordinated conspiracy of the members of this elite. The conception rests upon quite impersonal grounds.

There is, however, little doubt that the American power elite — which contains, we are told, some of ‘the greatest organizers in the world’ — has also planned and has plotted. The rise of the elite, as we have already made clear, was not and could not have been caused by a plot; and the tenability of the conception does not rest upon the existence of any secret or any publicly known organization. But, once the conjunction of structural trend and of the personal will to utilize it gave rise to the power elite, then plans and programs did occur to its members and indeed it is not possible to interpret many events and official policies of the fifth epoch without reference to the power elite. ‘There is a great difference,’ Richard Hofstadter has remarked, ‘between locating conspiracies in history and saying that history is, in effect, a conspiracy …’ [16]
The structural trends of institutions become defined as opportunities by those who occupy their command posts. Once such opportunities are recognized, men may avail themselves of them. Certain types of men from each of the dominant institutional areas, more far-sighted than others, have actively promoted the liaison before it took its truly modem shape. They have often done so for reasons not shared by their partners, although not objected to by them either; and often the outcome of their liaison has had consequences which none of them foresaw, much less shaped, and which only later in the course of development came under explicit control. Only after it was well under way did most of its members find themselves part of it and become gladdened, although sometimes also worried, by this fact. But once the co-ordination is a going concern, new men come readily into it and assume its existence without question.
So far as explicit organization — conspiratorial or not — is concerned, the power elite, by its very nature, is more likely to use existing organizations, working within and between them, than to set up explicit organizations whose membership is strictly limited to its own members. But if there is no machinery in existence to ensure, for example, that military and political factors will be balanced in decisions made, they will invent such machinery and use it, as with the National Security Council. Moreover, in a formally democratic polity, the aims and the powers of the various elements of this elite are further supported by an aspect of the permanent war economy: the assumption that the security of the nation supposedly rests upon great secrecy of plan and intent Many higher events that would reveal the working of the power elite can be withheld from public knowledge under the guise of secrecy. With the wide secrecy covering their operation’s and decisions, the power elite can mask their intentions, operations, and further consolidation. Any secrecy that is imposed upon those in positions to observe high decision-makers clearly works for and not against the operations of the power elite.
There is accordingly reason to suspect — but by the nature of the case, no proof — that the power elite is not altogether ‘surfaced.’ There is nothing hidden about it, although its activities are not publicized. As an elite, it is not organized, although its members often know one another, seem quite naturally to work together, and share many organizations in common There is nothing conspiratorial about it, although its decisions are often publicly unknown and its mode of operation manipulative rather than explicit.
It is not that the elite ‘believe in’ a compact elite behind the scenes and a mass down below. It is not put in that language, It is just that the people are of necessity confused and must, like trusting children, place all the new world of foreign policy and strategy and executive action in the hands of experts. It is just that everyone knows somebody has got to run the show, and that somebody usually does. Others do not really care anyway, and besides, they do not know how. So the gap between the two types gets wider.
When crises are defined as total, and as seemingly permanent, the consequences of decision become total, and the decisions m each major area of life come to be integrated and total. Up to a point, these consequences for other institutional orders can be assessed; beyond such points, chances have to be taken. It is then that, the felt scarcity of trained and imaginative judgment leads to plaintive feelings among executives about the shortage of qualified successors in political, military, and economic life. This feeling, in turn, leads to an increasing concern with the training of successors who could take over as older men of power retire.[17] In each area, there slowly arises a new generation which has grown up in an age of co-ordinated decisions.
In each of the elite circles, we have noticed this concern to recruit and to train successors as ‘broad-gauge’ men, that is, as men capable of making decisions that involve institutional areas other than their own. The chief executives have set up formal recruitment and training programs to man the corporate world as virtually a state within a state. Recruitment and training for the military elite has long been rigidly professionalized, but has now come to include educational routines of a sort which the remnants of older generals and admirals consider quite nonsensical.
Only the political order, with its absence of a genuine civil service, has lagged behind, creating an administrative vacuum into which military bureaucrats and corporate outsiders have been drawn. But even in this domain, since World War II, there have been repeated attempts, by elite men of such vision as the late James Forrestal’s, to inaugurate a career service that would include periods in the corporate world as well as in the governmental.[18]
What is lacking is a truly common elite program of recruitment and training; for the prep school, Ivy League College, and law school sequence of the metropolitan 400 is not up to the demands now made upon members of the power elite.[19] Britishers, such as Field Marshall Viscount Montgomery, well aware of this lack, recently urged the adoption of a system ‘under which a minority of high-caliber young students could be separated from the mediocre and given the best education possible to supply the country with leadership.’ His proposal is echoed, in various forms, by many who accept his criticism of ‘the American theory of public education on the ground that it is ill-suited to produce the “elite” group of leaders … this country needs to fulfill its obligations of world leadership.’ [20]
In part these demands reflect the unstated need to transcend recruitment on the sole basis of economic success, especially since it is suspect as often involving the higher immorality; in part it reflects the stated need to have men who, as Viscount Montgomery says, know ‘the meaning of discipline.’ But above all these demands reflect the at least vague consciousness on the part of the power elite themselves that the age of co-ordinated decisions, entailing a newly enormous range of consequences, requires a power elite that is of a new caliber. In so far as the sweep of matters which go into the making of decisions is vast and interrelated, the information needed for judgments complex and requiring particularized knowledge,[21] the men in charge will not only call upon one another; they will try to train their successors for the work at, hand. These new men will grow up as men of power within the co-ordination of economic and political and military decision.

7

The idea of the power elite rests upon and enables us to make sense of (1) the decisive institutional trends that characterize the structure of our epoch, in particular, the military ascendancy in a, privately incorporated economy, and more broadly, the several coincidences of objective interests between economic, military, and political institutions; (2) the social similarities and the psychological affinities of the men who occupy the command posts of these structures, in particular the increased interchangeability of the top positions in each of them and the increased traffic between these orders in the careers of men of power; (3) the ramifications, to the point of virtual totality, of the kind of decisions that are made at the top, and the rise to power of a set of men who, by training and bent, are professional organizers of considerable force and who are unrestrained by democratic party training.

Negatively, the formation of the power elite rests upon (1) the relegation of the professional party politician to the middle levels of power, (2) the semi-organized stalemate of the interests of sovereign localities into which the legislative function has fallen, (3) the virtually complete absence of a civil service that constitutes a politically neutral, but politically relevant, depository of brainpower and executive skill, and (4) the increased official secrecy behind which great decisions are made without benefit of public or even Congressional debate.
As a result, the political directorate, the corporate rich, and the ascendant military have come together as the power elite, and the expanded and centralized hierarchies which they head have encroached upon the old balances and have now relegated them to the middle levels of power. Now the balancing society is a conception that pertains accurately to the middle levels, and on that level the balance has become more often an affair of intrenched provincial and nationally irresponsible forces and demands than a center of power and national decision.
But how about the bottom? As all these trends have become visible at the top and on the middle, what has been happening to the great American public? If the top is unprecedentedly powerful and increasingly unified land willful; if the middle zones are increasingly a semi-organized stalemate — in what shape is the bottom, in what condition is the public at large? The rise of the power elite, we shall now see, rests upon, and in some ways is part of, the transformation of the publics of America into a mass society.


In a public, as we may understand the term, (1) virtually as many people express opinions as receive them, (2) Public communications are so organised that there is a chance immediately and effectively to answer back any opinion expressed in public. Opinion formed by such discussion (3) readily finds an outlet in effective action, even against – if necessary – the prevailing system of authority. And (4) authoritative institutions do not penetrate the public, which is thus more or less autonomous in its operations.
In a mass, (1) far fewer people express opinions than receive them; for the community of publics becomes an abstract collection of individuals who receive impressions from the mass media. (2) The communications that prevail are so organised that it is difficult or impossible for the individual to answer back immediately or with any effect. (3) The realisation of opinion in action is controlled by authorities who organise and control the channels of such action. (4) The mass has no autonomy from institutions; on the contrary, agents of authorised institutions penetrate this mass, reducing any autonomy it may have in the formation of opinion by discussion.


Gold Reserves

Published on Aug 15, 2013 Published on 15 Aug 2013 The world is losing trust in the dollar as a safe haven. A major blow came after Germany’s Bundesbank demanded the repatriation of a big chunk of its gold being … Continue reading

Published on Aug 15, 2013

Published on 15 Aug 2013
The world is losing trust in the dollar as a safe haven. A major blow came after Germany’s Bundesbank demanded the repatriation of a big chunk of its gold being held in the US. Because as RT’s Gayane Chichakyan reports, some are concerned the assets of foreign nations in the Federal Reserve are not secure or even there. The Germans were infuriated when the US Federal reserve didn’t even let them examine their own assets properly. Peter Boehringer, the founder and chairman of ‘German Precious Metal Association’, says that’s a bad sign.

Published on Jan 26, 2013

10 Countries With Largest Gold Reserves


The 12 Federal Reserve Banks form a major part of the Federal Reserve System, the central banking system of the United States. The 12 federal reserve banks together divide the nation into 12 Federal Reserve Districts, the 12 banking districts created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.[1] The twelve Federal Reserve Banks are jointly responsible for implementing the monetary policy set by the Federal Open Market Committee. Each federal reserve bank is also responsible for the regulation of the commercial banks within its own particular district.

Shibam

En los áridos desiertos del Yémen, existe una curiosa ciudad llamada Shibam, la “Manhattan del desierto”. La diferencia con la Gran Manzana de Nueva York, de acero y cristal, es que sus edificios, algunos de hasta 8 y 9 pisos, … Continue reading

Click to view slideshow.

En los áridos desiertos del Yémen, existe una curiosa ciudad llamada Shibam, la “Manhattan del desierto”. La diferencia con la Gran Manzana de Nueva York, de acero y cristal, es que sus edificios, algunos de hasta 8 y 9 pisos, son de adobe. Por sus calles, en vez de transitar miles de vehículos, apenas si se ve alguna cabra, un burrito, una mujer y algún ciclomotor. Es muy anterior a Nueva York; el origen de sus siete mil habitantes, viene del siglo XII a.C. Fue un importante centro en la ruta del incienso y las especias. La riqueza del incienso contribuyó a levantar toda esta arquitectura local basada en el adobe, troncos de palmera, y cimientos de piedra. La intención defensiva de las murallas, que rodean la ciudad, era para contrarrestar los ataques de los beduinos en pleno desierto.

El primer piso, la recepción, es un ambiente masculino; el siguiente es para la familia o dormitorio, luego vienen habitaciones privadas, incluida la cocina, ambiente femenino. El último piso o mafrach, es para reuniones familiares. En las reuniones familiares se suele mascar qat, leer poesía, escuchar música tradicional; allí en el ático, las ventanas son más grandes.

A nivel de calle, los muros tienen 1m de espesor para asegurar apoyo a los pisos superiores, cuyas paredes tienen al final, 30cm de ancho.

Planes de emergencia, con intervención de la Unesco, alguna empresa alemana, y otras ayudas, han permitido mejorar y restaurar edificios.

La red de agua, tendido eléctrico y telefónico conectaron la ciudad con la modernidad. Ahora se ven cables aéreos. Hay fachadas muy bien conservadas; algunas, blanqueadas con cal.

Hubo y hay esfuerzos para que la ciudad no sea un mero museo, surgieron apuestas por el turismo que aporta divisas, genera empleos y puede dar motivo de orgullo a los habitantes. Por desgracia, Yémen es un país con mala prensa, años atrás se hablaba de secuestros de extranjeros, atentados de Al Qaeda, revueltas, asesinatos terroristas, que empañan su nivel de seguridad.

clean coal

Germany’s Renewable Energiewende: Pioneering Path or Troubled Turn?

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 00:00 Lauren E. McKee

This article will examine the challenges to Germany’s policy of nuclear abandonment. Though Germany has made extraordinary moves away from their nuclear program, a full move will be riddled with trials that other countries contemplating such a move could face as well. Germany’s success or failure will likely set the course for the future of renewable energy in Europe and abroad.

A second challenge to the German energy plan is the extent to which the plan’s costs will be absorbed by energy consuming citizens and how strongly that will test their anti-nuclear resolve. Germany’ nuclear decision has largely been seen as fueled by domestic public concern and negative opinion that has been present since the 1970s but strengthened considerably after Fukushima. Though the plan to swiftly end nuclear was heralded by the German public directly after its announcement, eighteen-plus months later, the reality of who is expected to foot the bill for the switch-over is beginning to sink in. Polling reports that Germans still consistently support phasing out nuclear power, but a poll released in October of 2012 reveals that they are not willing to annually pay more than 50 Euros (€) to finance it, while some reports project that German energy bills, already the second highest in the European Union (EU) after the Dutch, will increase between €185 and €250  annually. 

A final challenge to Germany’s nuclear phase-out will be its potential increased reliance on coal and the setback that will pose to its long-term clean energy goals. Since the announcement of the nuclear phase-out, and as of November 2012, Germany has at least ten new coal-fired power plants under construction, many of which were commissioned after the turn from nuclear to compensate for energy lost from reactors. German coal consumption has grown an estimated 1.2% compared to 2010, and EU overall coal imports from the United States (US) have increased by more than 50% in the same time period.

The explanation for this turn to coal can be found by looking to the American gas market, which is currently glutted with cheap natural gas from the shale boom. As a result, American coal is being sold to European markets at low prices. The carbon permits sold under the current EU Emissions Trading Scheme are also cheaper than shouldering the cost of switching to renewables, so utilities companies have been closing gas-fired plants in favor of the coal-fired ones. While these coal plants are cheaper alternatives than gas-fired plants, they generate almost twice as much CO2 than the gas plants, even if they are designed to be “clean coal”. During the most recent February cold snap in Europe, France, a long-time supporter of nuclear energy, turned to Germany for imported electricity on an almost hourly basis, for electricity generated from resurrected idle coal plants. If coal plants are consistently chosen over gas, the incentive to build new gas plants or continue operating current gas-fired plants will decrease, and Germany’s environmental goals will not be furthered. This preference for cheap coal over gas may change if and when the US decides to export natural gas on a large scale, but until then, it seems coal is the most cost-efficient choice during a cold winter, for Germany and its neighbors.


Nov. 18, 2013 5:48 PM EST

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The top U.N. climate diplomat on Monday told the coal industry it should leave most of the world’s remaining coal reserves in the ground and start investing in renewable energy sources.

Speaking at a coal summit on the sidelines of a U.N. climate conference in Warsaw, Christiana Figueres said the coal industry needs to change radically to help reduce the carbon emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.

“The world is rising to meet the climate challenge as risks of inaction mount, and it is in your best interest to make coal part of the solution,” Figueres said.

The coal event was seen as a provocation by climate activists, who used a crane to reach the ministry’s roof, where they unfurled banners criticizing Poland’s — and the world’s — reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. Police used another crane to take them down, as panelists at the coal summit said that the people in the room, not the people on the roof, have the possibility to change the coal industry.

Coal industry officials at the event didn’t directly address her remarks but said the world cannot do without coal because in many countries it’s the only available energy source.

“A major aim of the summit has been to encourage open and constructive dialogue on the climate challenge — we’re not going to meet our climate objectives if we are not all part of the solution,” the World Coal Association, which organized the event, said in a statement.

Polish Economy Minister Janusz Piechocinski, whose country generates about 90 percent of its electricity from coal, said: “You cannot have a low-emissions energy transformation without talking about coal.”

Coal accounts for less than 30 percent of the world’s energy supply but more than 40 percent of energy emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Figueres, who was criticized by some climate activists for attending the conference, noted coal’s role in economic development since the industrial revolution but said it’s come at “an unacceptably high cost to human and environmental health.”

She said aging, high-polluting coal plants must be closed and new plants should implement technologies that allow for emissions to be trapped before they are released into the atmosphere. Such technologies are expensive and currently not widely used.

To bring down CO2 emissions to levels that would avoid dangerous levels of warming, most of the existing coal reserves must be left in the ground, Figueres said.

“Some major oil, gas and energy technology companies are already investing in renewables, and I urge those of you who have not yet started to join them,” Figueres said.

Back at the U.N. conference later Monday, she told reporters she didn’t expect any major shift in the industry’s deployment of capital anytime soon.

“They really need to do a major, major rethink,” Figueres said. “So I don’t expect them to stand up immediately and go, ‘We are ready for the challenge right now,’ but I do expect them to take the message very seriously.”

That message was echoed by U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern.

“The world runs significantly on fossil fuels right now and that’s not going to change overnight,” he said. “But at the same time if we’re going to get a grip on climate change … the balance of energy in countries all over the world is going to have to tilt much more toward non-fossil sources.”

Coal emissions have declined in the U.S. as some power plants have switched to lower-priced natural gas. But they are growing fast in China and India to meet the energy needs of their fast-growing economies.

Coal industry officials say significant emissions reductions can be achieved by improving the efficiency of coal-fired plants. But in the long term analysts say expensive carbon-capture technologies need to be implemented to make the deep cuts required to slow climate change.

___

Associated Press writer Karl Ritter contributed to this report.


Dear Friend,
Historic Blair Mountain, the site of one of the largest labor uprisings in U.S. history, in 1921,1 is under assault by the coal industry.
Coal companies want to use explosives to destroy Blair Mountain through a process called mountaintop removal mining — the most destructive form of coal mining there is.
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has the power to save Blair Mountain, but so far has refused to use it.
But our friends at Appalachian Voices think that national pressure on him right now could save Blair Mountain. So we’re joining them in calling on the governor to spare Blair Mountain from destruction.
In the Battle of Blair Mountain, in 1921, coal miners fought for human dignity, fair working conditions and the right to organize. That’s a big part of the reason why coal companies like Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources are so intent on destroying the mountain.
Local activists have been fighting for years to protect historic Blair Mountain, but with several permit applications currently moving forward, we need Governor Tomblin to feel public pressure now.
If he doesn’t use his executive power to stop the coal industry’s dangerous plans, the results for West Virginia will be disastrous.
In addition to permanently scarring historic Blair Mountain with explosives, the industry would dump dangerous pollutants into the headwaters of the Spruce Fork watershed, damaging stream ecosystems, putting fish and amphibian populations at risk, and potentially contaminating drinking water supplies. Mountaintop removal mining has also been linked to increased rates of cancer and birth defects.2
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has the power to save Blair Mountain, but he’s not going to use it without strong public pressure.
Thank you for fighting to save historic Blair Mountain.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. Chris Hedges, “The Battle of Blair Mountain“, Common Dreams, 7/16/12
2. Paul J. Nyden, “Study: birth defect rates higher in MTR areas, West Virginia Gazette, 6/21/11


SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 2:00 A.M.
Obama’s War on Coal


One of the most significant challenges in addressing global climate change is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the use of coal.

Coal use, primarily for the generation of electricity, now accounts for roughly 20 percent of global GHG emissions.

Rising energy demand will continue to drive up coal consumption, particularly in countries with large reserves such as the United States, China and India.

Coal is cheap.

Coal can provide usable energy at a cost of between $1 and $2 per MMBtu compared to $6 to $12 per MMBtu for oil and natural gas, and coal prices are relatively stable.

Coal is inherently higher-polluting and more carbon-intensive than other energy alternatives.

However, coal is so inexpensive that one can spend quite a bit on pollution control and still maintain coal’s competitive position.


U.S. 2012 coal exports, supported by rising steam coal exports, are expected to break their previous record level of almost 113 million tons, set in 1981. Exports for the first half of 2012 reached almost 67 million tons, surpassing most annual export volumes dating back to 1949. U.S. coal exports averaged 56 million tons per year in the decade preceding 2011. If exports continue at their current pace, the United States will export 133 million tons this year, although EIA forecasts exports of 125 million tons.

Total U.S. coal exports, including both steam and metallurgical (met) coal, were almost 13 million tons in June 2012, surpassing April’s record-setting amount by 0.2 million tons. June was also the third consecutive month of exports surpassing 12 million tons. The global economy has been slowing, especially in China, the world’s largest coal consumer by a large margin. As a result, EIA does not expect coal exports to continue at their current pace. Exports in August, the latest data available, reflect some of the weakening global demand for coal, falling 2 million tons from the record June levels. While declines in export levels inject some uncertainty, exports remain elevated with lower August exports still 13% above August 2011 levels. As a result, 2012 is still expected to surpass the 1981 record.

This increase in exports marks a significant reversal from the general downward trajectory of U.S. coal exports beginning in the early 1990s, which bottomed out in 2002 just under 40 million tons, the lowest level since 1961. Coal exports in 2011 rose 171% from 2002, with only a brief interruption by the global recession. Export growth accelerated after the recession, with consecutive post-2009 growth of more than 20 million tons per year, a level of growth not seen since the 1979-to-1981 export boom. Current data for 2012 (through August) show coal exports are growing even faster and should more than double 2009 export levels, buoyed by growth in U.S. steam coal.

Increases in steam coal exports come after years of losing ground to met coal exports. While met coal has typically held a larger market share of U.S. exports than steam (its share remained relatively close to 55% over a prolonged period), between 2009 and 2011 met coal averaged two-thirds of U.S. coal exports. However, current data (through August 2012) show that steam coal exports are rebounding, growing about 50% in 2011 and on track to grow another 50% in 2012. In a near mirror image of 2010, steam exports are now driving U.S. coal export growth, accounting for 95% of the annualized 2012 export increase—pushing coal exports to likely reach their highest level on record this year.


WASHINGTON – House Democrats joined Republicans Friday in voting to restrain environmental regulators from hurting the coal industry, battling what mining-state lawmakers call a “war on coal” that just cost another 1,200 jobs.

The 233-175 vote to approve the “Stop the War on Coal Act” marked the final vote in the chamber until mid-November. Nineteen Democrats joined the majority in voting for the bill.

The proposals would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting greenhouse gases, quash stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and give states control over disposal of harmful coal byproducts. The vote coincides with a fresh campaign-trail effort by Mitt Romney to hammer President Obama over the impact the EPA’s policies have had on the industry. It also comes after company Alpha Natural Resources announced earlier this week that it was eliminating 1,200 positions, closing eight coal mines across three states. The company cited a difficult market in which power plants are switching to abundant, less-expensive natural gas and “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”

House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement Friday on the vote, blamed the “war on coal” for the job loss and said the House bill reins in the administration’s most damaging new energy regulations and holds them accountable for the economic impact of several others.”

The legislation, though, is dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate, and Obama has already threatened a veto should it ever reach his desk.

Republicans and conservative groups are working to saddle down-ballot Democrats with Obama’s environmental policies, which are unpopular in energy-producing battleground states such as Virginia and Ohio. They argue that no source of jobs or affordable energy can be spared amid a still-weak economy, with unemployment at 8.1 percent, and reliance on oil from the tumultuous Middle East.

New fuel economy standards that cut tailpipe emissions — set for model years 2017-2025 — would be gutted by the act. So would the EPA’s ability to regulate gases blamed for global warming. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling cleared the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under its authority to control air pollutants, but the legislation amends the Clean Air Act to preclude any taxes or regulations on greenhouse gases.

Another provision would forbid the Interior Department from issuing any new rules that threaten mining jobs or U.S. coal production through the end of 2013. The package also would create a new agency to study how EPA rules harm jobs and energy prices.

The measure also would give states broad control over disposal of coal ash, a waste product from power plants, and protection of water quality near mining operations. Also nixed would be EPA standards for mercury and air toxins and a “good neighbor” rule that protects states that are downwind from polluting power plants.

Rep. Bill Johnson, who authored the act, challenged Obama to follow through on his State of the Union vow to support an all-of-the-above approach to American energy.

“This is not about climate change,” said Johnson, R-Ohio. “If it’s a public health, public safety, national security issue, certainly common sense regulations are appropriate. Regulations that are based on fact and science — not based on political rhetoric or an environmentalist agenda.”

The measure’s passage dovetailed with a broadside against Obama in battleground Ohio, a coal-mining state. Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign released a television ad Wednesday entitled “War on Coal,” in which a coal worker declares that “Obama’s ruining the coal industry.”

Energy issues have flared in several competitive House and Senate races this year, with Democrats seeking distance from Obama and their party. In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, facing re-election in November, has embraced the GOP’s “war on coal” language and echoed their attacks on the EPA. Both candidates in North Dakota’s tossup Senate race have criticized Obama for hampering energy production.

Democrats voting with Republicans Friday to support the package included West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall and Pennsylvania Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz.

The White House, warning that the bills wouldn’t survive Obama’s veto pen, said the legislation rolls back public health safeguards and measures that will save Americans money — and not only on their gas bills. Obama officials pegged the annual savings from the health benefits of the rules at up to $90 billion.

Debate over the measures exposed a growing rift between those in Congress who champion cheap energy regardless of the source and those whose constituencies demand they stand up for coal. Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said Republicans were breaching their own principles by favoring coal over natural gas, the price of which has plummeted in recent years.

“The Republicans are saying there is a war on coal, but the only battle coal is losing is in the free market to natural gas,” Markey said.

U.S. coal production is actually at its highest levels in two decades, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But American power plants are burning less of it, meaning more and more coal is being exported to other countries. Meanwhile, more efficient extraction methods have reduced the number of coal miners employed in the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/21/house-gop-jabs-obama-on-energy-policy-with-vote-on-war-on-coal-bill/#ixzz2BOsZDbQj


However, one area that is salient to American voters is coal. Obama’s War on Coal has been brutal for thousands of families who live in states along the Appalachian Trail. With new greenhouse gas regulations the EPA is doling out, it’ll prevent the creation of new plants and is scheduled to shut down 10% of existing coal plats that are operational today.


Greenpeace has just unearthed a bunch of old coal industry ads, and the results are pretty amusing for anyone who tracks the propaganda campaign waged by America’s biggest energy thug.  Take the phrase “clean coal,” for example, which sounds like it emerged from a focus-group session on Madison Avenue in the late 1990s.  In fact, the industry has been using the phrase in advertising copy since at least 1921, when a New York coal company pitched clean coal as if it were a forerunner of Viagra, promising that “clean coal will develop more heat and make for mutual satisfaction.”  


Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign
By ERIC LIPTON and CLIFFORD KRAUSS

WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

“Since Obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled,” said one advertisement by the American Energy Alliance, a group financed in part by oil executives. “Tell Obama we can’t afford his failing energy policies.”

With nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year, according to an analysis by The New York Times of 138 ads on energy issues broadcast this year by the presidential campaigns, political parties, energy companies, trade associations and third-party spenders.

That tally is nearly four times the $41 million spent by clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups to defend the president’s energy record or raise concerns about global warming and air pollution. The Times rated presidential campaign and national policy ads by whether they promoted fossil fuels or pushed clean energy and conservation, regardless of their sponsors, using ad and spending data compiled by Kantar Media, a company that tracks television advertising.

The lopsided nature of the energy messages this year contrasts sharply with 2008. Back then, global warming was a top public concern, and green ads greatly outnumbered those for fossil fuels, $152 million to $109 million, according to the analysis by The Times, which looked at 184 energy-related ads. In 2008, Chevron, one of the nation’s leading oil companies, trumpeted its investments in geothermal power, and Mr. McCain spent millions of dollars on ads featuring solar panels and wind farms as part of a solution to global warming.

But climate change legislation died in Congress, Republicans gained a majority in the House, and pocketbook issues like the price of gasoline began dominating public discussion. After imposing a yearlong oil and gas drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in response to the disastrous BP spill in 2010, President Obama recast himself as favoring an “all of the above” energy strategy, allowing the industry to drill offshore as deep as ever and moving to open up new regions like Alaska’s Arctic waters.

The shift left many fossil fuel critics disillusioned and unwilling to do much to support the president. “It’s hard to think of any environmental activist who is enthused about anything Obama does these days,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, which challenges the industry on drilling plans. “Obama’s explicit embrace of fossil fuels and implicit embrace of all the environmental degradation that entails are almost indistinguishable from the policies of the Bush administration.”

Mr. Obama’s policy decisions on the Keystone pipeline and clean air rules did not win him friends in the fossil fuel world, either. Many of the industry’s titans are going all out to elect Mr. Romney, who has promised to open up more land and coastline to oil and gas drilling, end wind and solar power subsidies and curb regulations that discourage burning coal for electricity.

“The stakes are high,” said Steve Miller, the recently retired president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which has spent about $12 million on pro-coal television ads, according to the Kantar data. “Our goal is to assure that whoever is elected will have seen a groundswell for coal in swing states.”

The Times analysis shows that ads with energy themes have played an outsized role in the 2012 campaign season, with energy earning more frequent mentions than every other issue except jobs and the economy.

Energy first emerged as a major advertising topic during the last presidential election. Back then, one of the biggest spenders was the Alliance for Climate Protection, an environmental group backed by former Vice President Al Gore that spent an estimated $32 million on ads urging legislation to combat global warming.

This year, the alliance, now called the Climate Reality Project, is not buying television ads at all, focusing instead on social media, training and organizing. “Whatever we would spend, it would just be washed away in this sea of fossil fuel money,” said Maggie L. Fox, the group’s chief executive.

Other clean-energy players, particularly from the solar industry, are also keeping a low profile after Solyndra, a California solar module manufacturer that received half a billion dollars in federal loans, declared bankruptcy and became a favorite Republican target.

Certain environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, are still running their own television commercials this year in support of Mr. Obama’s policies. And the wind industry is on a campaign to win renewal of a major tax credit. But “we are being outgunned by orders of magnitude,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “There is just no way we can compete with some of the richest companies in the history of the world.”

The American Petroleum Institute, backed by the nation’s largest oil and gas companies, is the top energy spender this year with its “I’m an energy voter” campaign. Although the ads avoid explicitly endorsing any candidate, they clearly echo policy stands taken by Mr. Romney and the Republicans: opposing regulations that might slow down drilling and denouncing Mr. Obama’s proposal to eliminate oil industry subsidies.

“New energy taxes could hurt drivers and families,” one ad says. “Better to produce more energy here, like oil and natural gas. That will help the economy. That’s good for everyone.”

The petroleum institute has spent an estimated $37 million so far on television ads, according to the Kantar data, more than it spent in all of 2008. And it is just one of nearly two dozen groups — including Americans for Prosperity, backed by the oil billionaire David H. Koch, and Crossroads GPS — that are running advertisements this year advocating more fossil-fuel production or condemning spending by the Obama administration on solar and wind projects.

“These are companies and industries that clearly feel threatened,” said Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. “And when companies and industries with resources feel threatened, they air advertisements.”

The fossil fuel industries have also used more subtle tactics, like mobilizing miners to wear pro-coal hats and shirts at candidate events and placing a coal industry logo on the cars for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Nascar team.

Their trade associations have targeted swing states like Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Pennsylvania, where there are established operations like coal mines or fast-growing new efforts, like fields where natural gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing, a technique that could face new restrictions from regulators.


GRUNDY, Va. — More than 5,500 people turned out Sunday afternoon at a mountaintop park in remote Buchanan County to show their support for coal.
With the “War on Coal” rhetoric that’s been on a lot of Republicans’ lips this election season, a lineup of political speakers that included Matt Romney, son of Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, came to talk about the resource that powers both the electricity and the economy here.
“Right now our country is in dire straits,” Matt Romney said, promising that his father, if elected, would make the nation energy independent by 2020. “We can’t ignore the vast natural resources we have in this country: coal, natural gas, oil.”
In coal country, the issue is complex. On one hand, the Appalachian coal industry has been steadily losing jobs in recent decades, due in part to mechanization and declining reserves. On the other hand, new policies implemented by the Obama administration have had a painful, immediate impact.
It was clear in the mood of the crowd Sunday. Some talked about how thousands of recent coal industry layoffs have impacted their families and communities; others said they go to work every day wondering if they will still have a job when they get there.
“The only promise Obama kept was to kill coal,” said Jerry Shortt, a coal miner from Richlands who was laid off temporarily right after Labor Day — and learned Friday that for him, along with 189 other employees at the mine where he worked, the layoff would be permanent.
“You see all these people? I bet you a quarter of them’s laid off,” he said. “I know a lot of people that did [vote for Obama] that are not going to next time. Hope turned into damnation.”
THE WAR THAT COAL MINERS and companies perceive is one being fought on several fronts, said Barbara Altizer, executive director of the Eastern Coal Council, one of five industry-funded groups that sponsored Sunday’s rally.
“They come at us on the air side. They come after us on the water side. They’ve stopped the permits, so that’s like starving us. And EPA has started… allowing various anti-coal groups to run things into the ground.”
On the air emissions side, two new sets of EPA rules have cut both the present and future use of coal.
First, new air emissions standards prompted utilities to announce the closure of dozens of coal-fired power plants, cutting the demand for coal and costing jobs. In some cases, utilities chose to convert those units to natural gas, which because of new technology for extraction has become relatively cheap and plentiful. Rules for coal-fired boilers have also affected factories and other facilities that use industrial boilers.
Second, a new proposed EPA rule would require any new coal-fired power plants to be constructed with technology to control carbon dioxide emissions — technology that’s not been fully developed. With this proposal, even state-of-the-art coal burning technology, like that being used at the new power plant that just opened in nearby Wise County, couldn’t be permitted, utility officials have said.
On the water pollution side, coal mines are now subject to new restrictions in obtaining the permits needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Targeted specifically at mountaintop mines in Appalachia, according to industry supporters, the change effectively prohibits modern surface mining and has also created significant problems for deep mining.
At the same time, hundreds of mining permits have been suspended in limbo for the years of the Obama administration, with the federal agencies in charge of processing these permits choosing to simply take no action.


Take Action!
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition to President Obama and Obama for America:
“It is both misleading and cynical to claim that President Obama is more pro-coal than Mitt Romney. President Obama, please urge your campaign to pull this ad, and be a leader toward a better way forward than dirty coal.”
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CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.

Dear Friend,
Part of leadership is having the courage to tell the truth even when it’s difficult.
And right now we need leadership from President Obama to overturn a decision by his campaign to run radio ads in Ohio which promote coal and incredibly actually criticize Mitt Romney for saying (when he was a different person, in 2003) that the pollution from coal plants kills people.1
The reality is that Romney’s campaign is being buoyed by a massive injection of cash from fossil fuel polluters like the Koch brothers. And he’s pulling his pro-coal talking points straight from the Tea Party. So an ad suggesting that President Obama is more coal-loving than Romney isn’t just cynical, it’s misleading.2
The ad reflects clear political pressure President Obama is feeling in swing states like Ohio.
But is the Obama campaign actually misguided enough to think that anyone whose number one issue is promoting dirty coal would also be misguided enough to vote for Obama instead of Romney?
The real story is that, while President Obama has a mixed record on coal, he’s done some very good things — things Mitt Romney would reverse on day one. Even though the Obama campaign ad criticizes Romney for saying that coal pollution kills people, President Obama’s EPA has implemented the long-overdue Clean Air Act update to limit, for the first time, toxic mercury pollution from coal plants. It also introduced the Carbon Standard, which, while it does little to fundamentally reduce pollution, is a vital recognition of the need to cut off polluters’ ability to freely dump climate-heating carbon pollution into our atmosphere.
President Obama’s have-it-both-ways, “all-of-the-above” rhetoric threatens not just to undermine these policies and others that support clean energy, but to undermine the progressive support for his candidacy that helped usher him into office in 2008.
The people of Ohio know that fossil fuel pollution tends to punish most those who can least afford to move away from it. From lung disease for generations of miners who have been left with no choice but to work in coal mines, to water pollution which increases cancer rates, to power plant pollution which causes everything from asthma to neurological damage. And of course the climate pollution from burning coal is an ominous and growing cloud over all of our futures.
As the leader we elected on his lofty promises to stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planet, President Obama should be laying out a better way forward. Not perpetuating the myth that burning coal has a viable place on a livable planet, or criticizing “Etch-a-Sketch” Romney for a fleeting and long-gone true statement about dirty coal.
Thank you helping to keep our country moving forward, not backward.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. — Here’s the full transcript of the ad:

Barack Obama: “I’m Barack obama, candidate for President, and I approve this message.”

Narrator: “When he ran for President, Barack Obama pledged to support clean coal and invest in new technologies. And here in Ohio, coal production has increased 7% since Obama took office. Ohio coal jobs are up 10%. Obama’s also made America’s largest investment ever in clean coal technology. A $5 billion effort to create the next geneartion of coal fired plants. And under Obama natural gas production is at an all time high. With shale gas deposits across Appalachia, thousands of good jobs are on the way. And Mitt Romney? He’s attacking the President’s record on coal. But here’s what Romney said in 2003 at a press conference in front of a coal plant: ‘I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant, that plant kills people.’ So when it comes to coal, ask yourself: Who’s been honest, and who’s playing politics?”

Barack Obama: “Paid for by Obama for America.”

Germany’s Renewable Energiewende: Pioneering Path or Troubled Turn?

This article will examine the challenges to Germany’s policy of nuclear abandonment. Though Germany has made extraordinary moves away from their nuclear program, a full move will be riddled with trials that other countries contemplating such a move could face as well. Germany’s success or failure will likely set the course for the future of renewable energy in Europe and abroad.

A second challenge to the German energy plan is the extent to which the plan’s costs will be absorbed by energy consuming citizens and how strongly that will test their anti-nuclear resolve. Germany’ nuclear decision has largely been seen as fueled by domestic public concern and negative opinion that has been present since the 1970s but strengthened considerably after Fukushima. Though the plan to swiftly end nuclear was heralded by the German public directly after its announcement, eighteen-plus months later, the reality of who is expected to foot the bill for the switch-over is beginning to sink in. Polling reports that Germans still consistently support phasing out nuclear power, but a poll released in October of 2012 reveals that they are not willing to annually pay more than 50 Euros (€) to finance it, while some reports project that German energy bills, already the second highest in the European Union (EU) after the Dutch, will increase between €185 and €250  annually. 

A final challenge to Germany’s nuclear phase-out will be its potential increased reliance on coal and the setback that will pose to its long-term clean energy goals. Since the announcement of the nuclear phase-out, and as of November 2012, Germany has at least ten new coal-fired power plants under construction, many of which were commissioned after the turn from nuclear to compensate for energy lost from reactors. German coal consumption has grown an estimated 1.2% compared to 2010, and EU overall coal imports from the United States (US) have increased by more than 50% in the same time period.

The explanation for this turn to coal can be found by looking to the American gas market, which is currently glutted with cheap natural gas from the shale boom. As a result, American coal is being sold to European markets at low prices. The carbon permits sold under the current EU Emissions Trading Scheme are also cheaper than shouldering the cost of switching to renewables, so utilities companies have been closing gas-fired plants in favor of the coal-fired ones. While these coal plants are cheaper alternatives than gas-fired plants, they generate almost twice as much CO2 than the gas plants, even if they are designed to be “clean coal”. During the most recent February cold snap in Europe, France, a long-time supporter of nuclear energy, turned to Germany for imported electricity on an almost hourly basis, for electricity generated from resurrected idle coal plants. If coal plants are consistently chosen over gas, the incentive to build new gas plants or continue operating current gas-fired plants will decrease, and Germany’s environmental goals will not be furthered. This preference for cheap coal over gas may change if and when the US decides to export natural gas on a large scale, but until then, it seems coal is the most cost-efficient choice during a cold winter, for Germany and its neighbors.


Nov. 18, 2013 5:48 PM EST

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The top U.N. climate diplomat on Monday told the coal industry it should leave most of the world’s remaining coal reserves in the ground and start investing in renewable energy sources.

Speaking at a coal summit on the sidelines of a U.N. climate conference in Warsaw, Christiana Figueres said the coal industry needs to change radically to help reduce the carbon emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.

“The world is rising to meet the climate challenge as risks of inaction mount, and it is in your best interest to make coal part of the solution,” Figueres said.

The coal event was seen as a provocation by climate activists, who used a crane to reach the ministry’s roof, where they unfurled banners criticizing Poland’s — and the world’s — reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. Police used another crane to take them down, as panelists at the coal summit said that the people in the room, not the people on the roof, have the possibility to change the coal industry.

Coal industry officials at the event didn’t directly address her remarks but said the world cannot do without coal because in many countries it’s the only available energy source.

“A major aim of the summit has been to encourage open and constructive dialogue on the climate challenge — we’re not going to meet our climate objectives if we are not all part of the solution,” the World Coal Association, which organized the event, said in a statement.

Polish Economy Minister Janusz Piechocinski, whose country generates about 90 percent of its electricity from coal, said: “You cannot have a low-emissions energy transformation without talking about coal.”

Coal accounts for less than 30 percent of the world’s energy supply but more than 40 percent of energy emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.

Figueres, who was criticized by some climate activists for attending the conference, noted coal’s role in economic development since the industrial revolution but said it’s come at “an unacceptably high cost to human and environmental health.”

She said aging, high-polluting coal plants must be closed and new plants should implement technologies that allow for emissions to be trapped before they are released into the atmosphere. Such technologies are expensive and currently not widely used.

To bring down CO2 emissions to levels that would avoid dangerous levels of warming, most of the existing coal reserves must be left in the ground, Figueres said.

“Some major oil, gas and energy technology companies are already investing in renewables, and I urge those of you who have not yet started to join them,” Figueres said.

Back at the U.N. conference later Monday, she told reporters she didn’t expect any major shift in the industry’s deployment of capital anytime soon.

“They really need to do a major, major rethink,” Figueres said. “So I don’t expect them to stand up immediately and go, ‘We are ready for the challenge right now,’ but I do expect them to take the message very seriously.”

That message was echoed by U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern.

“The world runs significantly on fossil fuels right now and that’s not going to change overnight,” he said. “But at the same time if we’re going to get a grip on climate change … the balance of energy in countries all over the world is going to have to tilt much more toward non-fossil sources.”

Coal emissions have declined in the U.S. as some power plants have switched to lower-priced natural gas. But they are growing fast in China and India to meet the energy needs of their fast-growing economies.

Coal industry officials say significant emissions reductions can be achieved by improving the efficiency of coal-fired plants. But in the long term analysts say expensive carbon-capture technologies need to be implemented to make the deep cuts required to slow climate change.

___

Associated Press writer Karl Ritter contributed to this report.


Dear Friend,
Historic Blair Mountain, the site of one of the largest labor uprisings in U.S. history, in 1921,1 is under assault by the coal industry.
Coal companies want to use explosives to destroy Blair Mountain through a process called mountaintop removal mining — the most destructive form of coal mining there is.
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has the power to save Blair Mountain, but so far has refused to use it.
But our friends at Appalachian Voices think that national pressure on him right now could save Blair Mountain. So we’re joining them in calling on the governor to spare Blair Mountain from destruction.
In the Battle of Blair Mountain, in 1921, coal miners fought for human dignity, fair working conditions and the right to organize. That’s a big part of the reason why coal companies like Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources are so intent on destroying the mountain.
Local activists have been fighting for years to protect historic Blair Mountain, but with several permit applications currently moving forward, we need Governor Tomblin to feel public pressure now.
If he doesn’t use his executive power to stop the coal industry’s dangerous plans, the results for West Virginia will be disastrous.
In addition to permanently scarring historic Blair Mountain with explosives, the industry would dump dangerous pollutants into the headwaters of the Spruce Fork watershed, damaging stream ecosystems, putting fish and amphibian populations at risk, and potentially contaminating drinking water supplies. Mountaintop removal mining has also been linked to increased rates of cancer and birth defects.2
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has the power to save Blair Mountain, but he’s not going to use it without strong public pressure.
Thank you for fighting to save historic Blair Mountain.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets


1. Chris Hedges, “The Battle of Blair Mountain“, Common Dreams, 7/16/12
2. Paul J. Nyden, “Study: birth defect rates higher in MTR areas, West Virginia Gazette, 6/21/11


SEPTEMBER 26, 2012 2:00 A.M.
Obama’s War on Coal


One of the most significant challenges in addressing global climate change is reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions resulting from the use of coal.

Coal use, primarily for the generation of electricity, now accounts for roughly 20 percent of global GHG emissions.

Rising energy demand will continue to drive up coal consumption, particularly in countries with large reserves such as the United States, China and India.

Coal is cheap.

Coal can provide usable energy at a cost of between $1 and $2 per MMBtu compared to $6 to $12 per MMBtu for oil and natural gas, and coal prices are relatively stable.

Coal is inherently higher-polluting and more carbon-intensive than other energy alternatives.

However, coal is so inexpensive that one can spend quite a bit on pollution control and still maintain coal’s competitive position.


U.S. 2012 coal exports, supported by rising steam coal exports, are expected to break their previous record level of almost 113 million tons, set in 1981. Exports for the first half of 2012 reached almost 67 million tons, surpassing most annual export volumes dating back to 1949. U.S. coal exports averaged 56 million tons per year in the decade preceding 2011. If exports continue at their current pace, the United States will export 133 million tons this year, although EIA forecasts exports of 125 million tons.

Total U.S. coal exports, including both steam and metallurgical (met) coal, were almost 13 million tons in June 2012, surpassing April’s record-setting amount by 0.2 million tons. June was also the third consecutive month of exports surpassing 12 million tons. The global economy has been slowing, especially in China, the world’s largest coal consumer by a large margin. As a result, EIA does not expect coal exports to continue at their current pace. Exports in August, the latest data available, reflect some of the weakening global demand for coal, falling 2 million tons from the record June levels. While declines in export levels inject some uncertainty, exports remain elevated with lower August exports still 13% above August 2011 levels. As a result, 2012 is still expected to surpass the 1981 record.

This increase in exports marks a significant reversal from the general downward trajectory of U.S. coal exports beginning in the early 1990s, which bottomed out in 2002 just under 40 million tons, the lowest level since 1961. Coal exports in 2011 rose 171% from 2002, with only a brief interruption by the global recession. Export growth accelerated after the recession, with consecutive post-2009 growth of more than 20 million tons per year, a level of growth not seen since the 1979-to-1981 export boom. Current data for 2012 (through August) show coal exports are growing even faster and should more than double 2009 export levels, buoyed by growth in U.S. steam coal.

Increases in steam coal exports come after years of losing ground to met coal exports. While met coal has typically held a larger market share of U.S. exports than steam (its share remained relatively close to 55% over a prolonged period), between 2009 and 2011 met coal averaged two-thirds of U.S. coal exports. However, current data (through August 2012) show that steam coal exports are rebounding, growing about 50% in 2011 and on track to grow another 50% in 2012. In a near mirror image of 2010, steam exports are now driving U.S. coal export growth, accounting for 95% of the annualized 2012 export increase—pushing coal exports to likely reach their highest level on record this year.


WASHINGTON – House Democrats joined Republicans Friday in voting to restrain environmental regulators from hurting the coal industry, battling what mining-state lawmakers call a “war on coal” that just cost another 1,200 jobs.

The 233-175 vote to approve the “Stop the War on Coal Act” marked the final vote in the chamber until mid-November. Nineteen Democrats joined the majority in voting for the bill.

The proposals would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting greenhouse gases, quash stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and give states control over disposal of harmful coal byproducts. The vote coincides with a fresh campaign-trail effort by Mitt Romney to hammer President Obama over the impact the EPA’s policies have had on the industry. It also comes after company Alpha Natural Resources announced earlier this week that it was eliminating 1,200 positions, closing eight coal mines across three states. The company cited a difficult market in which power plants are switching to abundant, less-expensive natural gas and “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”

House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement Friday on the vote, blamed the “war on coal” for the job loss and said the House bill reins in the administration’s most damaging new energy regulations and holds them accountable for the economic impact of several others.”

The legislation, though, is dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate, and Obama has already threatened a veto should it ever reach his desk.

Republicans and conservative groups are working to saddle down-ballot Democrats with Obama’s environmental policies, which are unpopular in energy-producing battleground states such as Virginia and Ohio. They argue that no source of jobs or affordable energy can be spared amid a still-weak economy, with unemployment at 8.1 percent, and reliance on oil from the tumultuous Middle East.

New fuel economy standards that cut tailpipe emissions — set for model years 2017-2025 — would be gutted by the act. So would the EPA’s ability to regulate gases blamed for global warming. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling cleared the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under its authority to control air pollutants, but the legislation amends the Clean Air Act to preclude any taxes or regulations on greenhouse gases.

Another provision would forbid the Interior Department from issuing any new rules that threaten mining jobs or U.S. coal production through the end of 2013. The package also would create a new agency to study how EPA rules harm jobs and energy prices.

The measure also would give states broad control over disposal of coal ash, a waste product from power plants, and protection of water quality near mining operations. Also nixed would be EPA standards for mercury and air toxins and a “good neighbor” rule that protects states that are downwind from polluting power plants.

Rep. Bill Johnson, who authored the act, challenged Obama to follow through on his State of the Union vow to support an all-of-the-above approach to American energy.

“This is not about climate change,” said Johnson, R-Ohio. “If it’s a public health, public safety, national security issue, certainly common sense regulations are appropriate. Regulations that are based on fact and science — not based on political rhetoric or an environmentalist agenda.”

The measure’s passage dovetailed with a broadside against Obama in battleground Ohio, a coal-mining state. Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign released a television ad Wednesday entitled “War on Coal,” in which a coal worker declares that “Obama’s ruining the coal industry.”

Energy issues have flared in several competitive House and Senate races this year, with Democrats seeking distance from Obama and their party. In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, facing re-election in November, has embraced the GOP’s “war on coal” language and echoed their attacks on the EPA. Both candidates in North Dakota’s tossup Senate race have criticized Obama for hampering energy production.

Democrats voting with Republicans Friday to support the package included West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall and Pennsylvania Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz.

The White House, warning that the bills wouldn’t survive Obama’s veto pen, said the legislation rolls back public health safeguards and measures that will save Americans money — and not only on their gas bills. Obama officials pegged the annual savings from the health benefits of the rules at up to $90 billion.

Debate over the measures exposed a growing rift between those in Congress who champion cheap energy regardless of the source and those whose constituencies demand they stand up for coal. Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey, the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said Republicans were breaching their own principles by favoring coal over natural gas, the price of which has plummeted in recent years.

“The Republicans are saying there is a war on coal, but the only battle coal is losing is in the free market to natural gas,” Markey said.

U.S. coal production is actually at its highest levels in two decades, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But American power plants are burning less of it, meaning more and more coal is being exported to other countries. Meanwhile, more efficient extraction methods have reduced the number of coal miners employed in the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/09/21/house-gop-jabs-obama-on-energy-policy-with-vote-on-war-on-coal-bill/#ixzz2BOsZDbQj


However, one area that is salient to American voters is coal. Obama’s War on Coal has been brutal for thousands of families who live in states along the Appalachian Trail. With new greenhouse gas regulations the EPA is doling out, it’ll prevent the creation of new plants and is scheduled to shut down 10% of existing coal plats that are operational today.


Greenpeace has just unearthed a bunch of old coal industry ads, and the results are pretty amusing for anyone who tracks the propaganda campaign waged by America’s biggest energy thug.  Take the phrase “clean coal,” for example, which sounds like it emerged from a focus-group session on Madison Avenue in the late 1990s.  In fact, the industry has been using the phrase in advertising copy since at least 1921, when a New York coal company pitched clean coal as if it were a forerunner of Viagra, promising that “clean coal will develop more heat and make for mutual satisfaction.”  


Fossil Fuel Industry Ads Dominate TV Campaign
By ERIC LIPTON and CLIFFORD KRAUSS

WASHINGTON — When Barack Obama first ran for president, being green was so popular that oil companies like Chevron were boasting about their commitment to renewable energy, and his Republican opponent, John McCain, supported action on global warming.

As Mr. Obama seeks re-election, that world is a distant memory. Some of the mightiest players in the oil, gas and coal industries are financing an aggressive effort to defeat him, or at least press him to adopt policies that are friendlier to fossil fuels. And the president’s former allies in promoting wind and solar power and caps on greenhouse gases? They are disenchanted and sitting on their wallets.

This year’s campaign on behalf of fossil fuels includes a surge in political contributions to Mitt Romney, attack ads questioning Mr. Obama’s clean-energy agenda, and television spots that are not overtly partisan but criticize administration actions like new air pollution rules and the delay of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

“Since Obama became president, gas prices have nearly doubled,” said one advertisement by the American Energy Alliance, a group financed in part by oil executives. “Tell Obama we can’t afford his failing energy policies.”

With nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year, according to an analysis by The New York Times of 138 ads on energy issues broadcast this year by the presidential campaigns, political parties, energy companies, trade associations and third-party spenders.

That tally is nearly four times the $41 million spent by clean-energy advocates, the Obama campaign and Democratic groups to defend the president’s energy record or raise concerns about global warming and air pollution. The Times rated presidential campaign and national policy ads by whether they promoted fossil fuels or pushed clean energy and conservation, regardless of their sponsors, using ad and spending data compiled by Kantar Media, a company that tracks television advertising.

The lopsided nature of the energy messages this year contrasts sharply with 2008. Back then, global warming was a top public concern, and green ads greatly outnumbered those for fossil fuels, $152 million to $109 million, according to the analysis by The Times, which looked at 184 energy-related ads. In 2008, Chevron, one of the nation’s leading oil companies, trumpeted its investments in geothermal power, and Mr. McCain spent millions of dollars on ads featuring solar panels and wind farms as part of a solution to global warming.

But climate change legislation died in Congress, Republicans gained a majority in the House, and pocketbook issues like the price of gasoline began dominating public discussion. After imposing a yearlong oil and gas drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico in response to the disastrous BP spill in 2010, President Obama recast himself as favoring an “all of the above” energy strategy, allowing the industry to drill offshore as deep as ever and moving to open up new regions like Alaska’s Arctic waters.

The shift left many fossil fuel critics disillusioned and unwilling to do much to support the president. “It’s hard to think of any environmental activist who is enthused about anything Obama does these days,” said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, which challenges the industry on drilling plans. “Obama’s explicit embrace of fossil fuels and implicit embrace of all the environmental degradation that entails are almost indistinguishable from the policies of the Bush administration.”

Mr. Obama’s policy decisions on the Keystone pipeline and clean air rules did not win him friends in the fossil fuel world, either. Many of the industry’s titans are going all out to elect Mr. Romney, who has promised to open up more land and coastline to oil and gas drilling, end wind and solar power subsidies and curb regulations that discourage burning coal for electricity.

“The stakes are high,” said Steve Miller, the recently retired president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which has spent about $12 million on pro-coal television ads, according to the Kantar data. “Our goal is to assure that whoever is elected will have seen a groundswell for coal in swing states.”

The Times analysis shows that ads with energy themes have played an outsized role in the 2012 campaign season, with energy earning more frequent mentions than every other issue except jobs and the economy.

Energy first emerged as a major advertising topic during the last presidential election. Back then, one of the biggest spenders was the Alliance for Climate Protection, an environmental group backed by former Vice President Al Gore that spent an estimated $32 million on ads urging legislation to combat global warming.

This year, the alliance, now called the Climate Reality Project, is not buying television ads at all, focusing instead on social media, training and organizing. “Whatever we would spend, it would just be washed away in this sea of fossil fuel money,” said Maggie L. Fox, the group’s chief executive.

Other clean-energy players, particularly from the solar industry, are also keeping a low profile after Solyndra, a California solar module manufacturer that received half a billion dollars in federal loans, declared bankruptcy and became a favorite Republican target.

Certain environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, are still running their own television commercials this year in support of Mr. Obama’s policies. And the wind industry is on a campaign to win renewal of a major tax credit. But “we are being outgunned by orders of magnitude,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “There is just no way we can compete with some of the richest companies in the history of the world.”

The American Petroleum Institute, backed by the nation’s largest oil and gas companies, is the top energy spender this year with its “I’m an energy voter” campaign. Although the ads avoid explicitly endorsing any candidate, they clearly echo policy stands taken by Mr. Romney and the Republicans: opposing regulations that might slow down drilling and denouncing Mr. Obama’s proposal to eliminate oil industry subsidies.

“New energy taxes could hurt drivers and families,” one ad says. “Better to produce more energy here, like oil and natural gas. That will help the economy. That’s good for everyone.”

The petroleum institute has spent an estimated $37 million so far on television ads, according to the Kantar data, more than it spent in all of 2008. And it is just one of nearly two dozen groups — including Americans for Prosperity, backed by the oil billionaire David H. Koch, and Crossroads GPS — that are running advertisements this year advocating more fossil-fuel production or condemning spending by the Obama administration on solar and wind projects.

“These are companies and industries that clearly feel threatened,” said Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. “And when companies and industries with resources feel threatened, they air advertisements.”

The fossil fuel industries have also used more subtle tactics, like mobilizing miners to wear pro-coal hats and shirts at candidate events and placing a coal industry logo on the cars for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Nascar team.

Their trade associations have targeted swing states like Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Pennsylvania, where there are established operations like coal mines or fast-growing new efforts, like fields where natural gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing, a technique that could face new restrictions from regulators.


GRUNDY, Va. — More than 5,500 people turned out Sunday afternoon at a mountaintop park in remote Buchanan County to show their support for coal.
With the “War on Coal” rhetoric that’s been on a lot of Republicans’ lips this election season, a lineup of political speakers that included Matt Romney, son of Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, came to talk about the resource that powers both the electricity and the economy here.
“Right now our country is in dire straits,” Matt Romney said, promising that his father, if elected, would make the nation energy independent by 2020. “We can’t ignore the vast natural resources we have in this country: coal, natural gas, oil.”
In coal country, the issue is complex. On one hand, the Appalachian coal industry has been steadily losing jobs in recent decades, due in part to mechanization and declining reserves. On the other hand, new policies implemented by the Obama administration have had a painful, immediate impact.
It was clear in the mood of the crowd Sunday. Some talked about how thousands of recent coal industry layoffs have impacted their families and communities; others said they go to work every day wondering if they will still have a job when they get there.
“The only promise Obama kept was to kill coal,” said Jerry Shortt, a coal miner from Richlands who was laid off temporarily right after Labor Day — and learned Friday that for him, along with 189 other employees at the mine where he worked, the layoff would be permanent.
“You see all these people? I bet you a quarter of them’s laid off,” he said. “I know a lot of people that did [vote for Obama] that are not going to next time. Hope turned into damnation.”
THE WAR THAT COAL MINERS and companies perceive is one being fought on several fronts, said Barbara Altizer, executive director of the Eastern Coal Council, one of five industry-funded groups that sponsored Sunday’s rally.
“They come at us on the air side. They come after us on the water side. They’ve stopped the permits, so that’s like starving us. And EPA has started… allowing various anti-coal groups to run things into the ground.”
On the air emissions side, two new sets of EPA rules have cut both the present and future use of coal.
First, new air emissions standards prompted utilities to announce the closure of dozens of coal-fired power plants, cutting the demand for coal and costing jobs. In some cases, utilities chose to convert those units to natural gas, which because of new technology for extraction has become relatively cheap and plentiful. Rules for coal-fired boilers have also affected factories and other facilities that use industrial boilers.
Second, a new proposed EPA rule would require any new coal-fired power plants to be constructed with technology to control carbon dioxide emissions — technology that’s not been fully developed. With this proposal, even state-of-the-art coal burning technology, like that being used at the new power plant that just opened in nearby Wise County, couldn’t be permitted, utility officials have said.
On the water pollution side, coal mines are now subject to new restrictions in obtaining the permits needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Targeted specifically at mountaintop mines in Appalachia, according to industry supporters, the change effectively prohibits modern surface mining and has also created significant problems for deep mining.
At the same time, hundreds of mining permits have been suspended in limbo for the years of the Obama administration, with the federal agencies in charge of processing these permits choosing to simply take no action.



Take Action!
Clicking here will automatically add your name to this petition to President Obama and Obama for America:
“It is both misleading and cynical to claim that President Obama is more pro-coal than Mitt Romney. President Obama, please urge your campaign to pull this ad, and be a leader toward a better way forward than dirty coal.”
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CREDO Action | more than a network, a movement.

Dear Friend,
Part of leadership is having the courage to tell the truth even when it’s difficult.
And right now we need leadership from President Obama to overturn a decision by his campaign to run radio ads in Ohio which promote coal and incredibly actually criticize Mitt Romney for saying (when he was a different person, in 2003) that the pollution from coal plants kills people.1
The reality is that Romney’s campaign is being buoyed by a massive injection of cash from fossil fuel polluters like the Koch brothers. And he’s pulling his pro-coal talking points straight from the Tea Party. So an ad suggesting that President Obama is more coal-loving than Romney isn’t just cynical, it’s misleading.2
The ad reflects clear political pressure President Obama is feeling in swing states like Ohio.
But is the Obama campaign actually misguided enough to think that anyone whose number one issue is promoting dirty coal would also be misguided enough to vote for Obama instead of Romney?
The real story is that, while President Obama has a mixed record on coal, he’s done some very good things — things Mitt Romney would reverse on day one. Even though the Obama campaign ad criticizes Romney for saying that coal pollution kills people, President Obama’s EPA has implemented the long-overdue Clean Air Act update to limit, for the first time, toxic mercury pollution from coal plants. It also introduced the Carbon Standard, which, while it does little to fundamentally reduce pollution, is a vital recognition of the need to cut off polluters’ ability to freely dump climate-heating carbon pollution into our atmosphere.
President Obama’s have-it-both-ways, “all-of-the-above” rhetoric threatens not just to undermine these policies and others that support clean energy, but to undermine the progressive support for his candidacy that helped usher him into office in 2008.
The people of Ohio know that fossil fuel pollution tends to punish most those who can least afford to move away from it. From lung disease for generations of miners who have been left with no choice but to work in coal mines, to water pollution which increases cancer rates, to power plant pollution which causes everything from asthma to neurological damage. And of course the climate pollution from burning coal is an ominous and growing cloud over all of our futures.
As the leader we elected on his lofty promises to stop the rise of the oceans and heal the planet, President Obama should be laying out a better way forward. Not perpetuating the myth that burning coal has a viable place on a livable planet, or criticizing “Etch-a-Sketch” Romney for a fleeting and long-gone true statement about dirty coal.
Thank you helping to keep our country moving forward, not backward.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. — Here’s the full transcript of the ad:

Barack Obama: “I’m Barack obama, candidate for President, and I approve this message.”

Narrator: “When he ran for President, Barack Obama pledged to support clean coal and invest in new technologies. And here in Ohio, coal production has increased 7% since Obama took office. Ohio coal jobs are up 10%. Obama’s also made America’s largest investment ever in clean coal technology. A $5 billion effort to create the next geneartion of coal fired plants. And under Obama natural gas production is at an all time high. With shale gas deposits across Appalachia, thousands of good jobs are on the way. And Mitt Romney? He’s attacking the President’s record on coal. But here’s what Romney said in 2003 at a press conference in front of a coal plant: ‘I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people. And that plant, that plant kills people.’ So when it comes to coal, ask yourself: Who’s been honest, and who’s playing politics?”

Barack Obama: “Paid for by Obama for America.”

Goodby Greenland

“When you grow up in Greenland, you don’t really think about the different mountains having different minerals,” Mining in Greenland – a country divided By James Fletcher BBC World Service, Narsaq, South Greenland 1 January 2014 Last updated at 00:41 … Continue reading

“When you grow up in Greenland, you don’t really think about the different mountains having different minerals,”

Mining in Greenland – a country divided

By James Fletcher BBC World Service, Narsaq, South Greenland

1 January 2014 Last updated at 00:41 GMT

Greenland’s economy relies on fishing and hunting, but the government has ambitious plans to develop the country’s resource industries. In places like Narsaq, there’s a fear that mining could destroy the environment and traditional ways of life.