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Who are the One Percent?

[1]1,300 words

Who are the one percent of super rich getting fabulously wealthy by dominating the American economy? If you watch media portrayals in television and movies you might think they’re arrogant WASPs, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Some rich folks like Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs are, but they’re the last of an old breed of entrepreneur inventors, folks like Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, who once made themselves and their country very rich by making products the world wanted.

They’re a dying breed though.

In the mid-nineties the financial sector eclipsed the manufacturing sector as the largest part of our economy and has increasingly dominated it ever since. That trend has perfectly tracked another: income inequality has exploded as our economy became more and more financialized. One percent now owns 42% of American wealth. The reason is easy to understand. In a financialized economy wealth tends to flow to the few who move it around on computers, so there’s less and less for the many folks who actually make things.

Or at least they used to make things. An increasingly financialized economy rapidly sheds good jobs making things and never fully replaces them when an increasingly rich one percent hires more poverty level nannies and gardeners. In such an economy the majority of Americans – the 99% – have become increasingly superfluous. They now have value only as bomb fodder in wars to drive the earth’s last few holdouts into the global financial system.

Who were the players that financialized the American economy? Their names are well known: Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken, George Soros, Andrew Fastow, Jack Abramoff, Alan Greenspan, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Lawrence Summers, Ben Bernanke, and Bernie Madoff. They may be white, but they’re neither Anglo-Saxon nor Protestant. Their Jewish ethnicity is so overwhelmingly ubiquitous that when the rare WASP Timothy Geithner entered their ranks it was such an anomaly that whole websites were devoted to proving he isn’t Jewish.

Is all this coincidental, and does any of it matter? It might not if Jews copied WASPs in lacking ethnic solidarity or concern for their group interests, but they didn’t. Instead they created a vast establishment of ethnic organizations – American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, B’nai B’rith, and Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations – a collective power bloc that dominates far more than just America’s economy.

For example, when Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu visited Washington to address our congress he got continuous and unanimous lockstep standing ovations like the response of the old Soviet Politburo to their premiers, an honor congress would never pay our actual president. Bettylu Saltzman of the Jewish Establishment’s Chicago branch hand picked Barack Obama and launched his political career. He consequently knows his place and who he works for, which he was reminded of when his hand, briefly extended to Palestinians in friendship, was quickly slapped down and withdrawn for good.

Similar media domination maintains a myth that WASPs dominate our economy. Jews in contrast are always portrayed as innocent victims even though they’re 16% wealthier than the former in cities and 66% richer when America’s vast WASP rural poor living in Kentucky, West Virginia, and nearly everywhere else are included. Academic institutions are no less dominated. As a consequence if Americans leave college knowing anything about small ethnic minorities controlling nations it is more likely to be Alawites dominating Syria than Jewish domination in their own country.

What does the Jewish Establishment do? It basically always asks just one question of everything: is it good for the Jews? Which can make it very bad for everyone else. In the Jewish state of Israel and its adjacent occupied territories, for example, the majority of non-Jewish Palestinians live very different lives from their Jewish neighbors. They can’t vote, live in poverty, frequently lose their homes and farms to government confiscation and destruction, are often subject to government approved targeted assassination and random violence, and move only with extreme difficulty through a maze of checkpoints on rutted roads while watching their neighbors breeze by on Jews-only superhighways.

In America, where it can’t rule directly, the Establishment uses more subtle methods like de facto total dominance of both our two parties. Republicans are useful for avoiding taxes on their wealth and regulation of their often shady ways of acquiring it and are who they turn to for wars to take out Israel’s enemies like Iraq and Iran. Since their power is indirect and non-governmental, Republicans are also handy for attacking government’s potential countervailing force.

The Democrat alternative, once promoters of income fairness, conveniently shifted its focus in the seventies to rarely fully fulfilled promises that various protected groups would be allowed to enter the one percent. The one group never protected, though, was European-descended Gentile families, an American majority pathologically feared by the Jewish Establishment in the belief it might someday revolt against their influence even though just a generation ago its parents rescued Jews in World War II.

Democrats and their allied institutions function to weaken the majority in every way from attacks on its folkways to promoting massive immigration that reduces it to a powerless minority in the country it founded while creating a population so rootless and polyglot it is expected to be incapable of unifying enough to revolt. And just as Israelis demonize Palestinians as “terrorists,” the one percent create hatred toward and self-hatred among America’s majority by universally labeling them “racists.”

The two parties may appear increasingly polarized on issues irrelevant to the Establishment, but they’ve never been so unified on policies serving its interest. Support for war and Wall Street changed little in the transition from Bush to Obama.

Not every Jew supports their Establishment’s destructive programs and many actively oppose them just as many Germans once opposed their nation’s aggression toward its neighbors. And not everyone in the one percent is Jewish. Nevertheless when a ruling class’ critical mass fails to value those it rules like Israelis devalue Palestinians, things get bad for the ruled, and they’re getting much worse for Americans.

Jewish Establishment power over America is no myth or mystery. It was fully described back in 1988 by New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith’s in his book The Power Game [2] and more recently by academics John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their 2007 book The Israel Lobby [3]. But because Establishment power began in and continues to dominate media Americans depend on for understanding the world, it is still the room’s 500 pound gorilla ignored by all.

Mark Yudof, President of all University of California campuses, is a fairly typical member of the one percent who made news when his campus police violently suppressed Occupy Movement protests against them. That story went around the world but another one about the UC system is unlikely to.

Every ruling class has its upstarts and parvenus, outsiders who intrude on its power. A fictional one who met a disastrous violent end because he failed to know his place and got too close to the old English ruling class was vividly portrayed in the 1982 film The Draughtsman’s Contract [4].

Now America’s new ruling class seems to have its own upstarts. Ryan Clifford is suing a UC campus where he tried to pledge its Alpha Epsilon Pi Jewish fraternity in 2008. His suit alleges that as a non-Jew he was subjected to especially severe hazing including sexual assault [5]. Later, after the fraternity learned he had told his parents about this, it crippled him with a severe beating and chronically harassed and terrorized him when he eventually returned to school after two surgeries. Meanwhile UC, despite being fully informed and having an official zero tolerance policy against violent hazing, failed to discipline Alpha Epsilon Pi and instead told Clifford to drop out of college, which he did. Welcome to the new America, Ryan!