Sunday, March 26, 2006

Read 'Em and Weep...

Ari Shavit, the journalist with integrity....

Ha'aretz 24 March 2006
Dear Oligarchs, The Country Is Yours
by Ari Shavit

To: The 18 Families
From: Strategic consultant

Dear wealthy Families,As election day approaches, I want to give you an up-to-date report about the latest political developments in your country, namely the State of Israel. As you know, for the past 15 years my colleagues and I have worked devotedly and faithfully to ensure your takeover of the democratic configuration of the said state. During this period we have done exceptionally well. We succeeded in creating for you a society without an opposition, without genuine parties, without a genuine trade union movement and without a critical media. In this way we gained almost complete control over both the Israeli consciousness and the governmental and political establishment.

It is with great satisfaction that we are able to state that there is no political force in Israel capable of blocking you, no public debate capable of restraining you and no investigative press capable of endangering you. By means of methodical professional work, lasting more than a decade, we obtained absolute hegemony for you. Hegemony such as money does not have in any orderly Western country. Hegemony such as not even the roughshod Mapai of the 1950s had. Hegemony which has effectively transformed Israel from a democracy into an oligarchy - your oligarchy, dear families. An oligarchy which allows 18 oligarchs to rule unbridled over their vassal republic.

It is within this context that the primary importance of the 2006 election campaign should be seen. True, three unworthy candidates took part in the campaign. One lacks experience and two have bad experience. Two have extremist worldviews and one lacks any worldview. One lacks self-confidence, a second possesses inordinate self-confidence, the third is frivolous. Nevertheless, from the point of view of the oligarchs project that my colleagues and I are managing for you, the situation was crystal clear: Olmert and Kadima were a great hope, whereas Peretz and Netanyahu constitute a clear and present danger.

The danger that Peretz embodies can be summed up succinctly: the guy is weird. He is not a servant of capital and he does not kowtow to capital, behaving as though he does not recognize the supremacy of wealth. Peretz's anachronistic ideas about justice and equality are a clear threat to the new order we established for you so painstakingly.

As for Netanyahu, in the end he too turned out to be bizarre. True, he doubled and tripled the Families' wealth in the past few years, but seems to have done so on the basis of a pathetic worldview that holds that the principles of the free market and free competition should apply to the moneyed elite, too. As each and every one of you, dear masters of wealth, discovered on his own, Netanyahu could not be bought. He just didn't get it. When he waxed so bold as to object to the disengagement and even tried to raise a hand against the banks, we suddenly understood that the man is not one of ours. Definitely not. Despite his abode in Caesarea and despite his cigars, Netanyahu is no less dangerous than Peretz. Therefore the strategic decision we took was unequivocal: the Bibi did his job, the Bibi has to go.

Thus, even though on the surface this seemed to be a sleepy campaign, it was actually highly dramatic. It posed threats to our oligarchic rule from the right and the left. In the face of this danger we were compelled to take sophisticated and energetic action. To create a political body that will serve us faithfully and place one of our own at its head. And to mobilize all the assets we acquired in the past decade in order to ensure victory. So that the government will be all ours: our lackey and our tool.As you will recall, Arik Sharon was very convenient for us. He loved power and appreciated power and understood that we are the power. But his obedience was not absolute. Here and there he was also motivated by obsolete patriotic considerations, in a most unbusinesslike manner. In contrast, E.O. is truly an Extraordinary Opportunity. Each of us knows that: the door is always open, there is no bureaucratic procedure that cannot be abridged, there is no manipulation that is too manifold. It's nothing less than America. South America.

But this is not just a personal matter. Kadima's political structure is a dream come true. As a party without members, without elected institutions and without an ideology, the new ruling party will be an invaluable instrument to achieve our goals. Because it has no commitment below but only above, we will be able to gain complete control of the Israeli administration. Police, prosecution, treasury everything will be in our hands. Including the antitrust commissioner. Including the supervisor of banks. We will also stuff the Supreme Court with new and friendly justices. Like Berlusconi's Italy and Putin's Russia, Kadima's Israel will be a paradise of corporate control. The degenerate democratic regime of the 20th century will be replaced by a centralist oligarchic regime with crushing economic efficiency.

Ladies and gentlemen, the importance of this moment can hardly be overstated. Already in the past few months we proved that we are capable of waging a campaign here without debate, without confrontation and without truthful reporting. We proved that by anesthetizing public opinion we can knead it as we wish. We have brought to perfection the art of managing a controlled democratic process that produces the desired result. After the vote, when the masses return from the polling booths, it will be possible to assert irrefutably that our rule in Israel is absolute. Not indirect but direct, not partial but full. Israel is in our hands, 18 dear Families. We can do with it what we please.

However, on one point I have to temper my bullish report with a bearish remark. As a faithful and impartial professional consultant, it is my duty to tell my superiors the hard truth, too: past experience shows that while you are cannons in the business sphere, when it comes to policy you are hardly even cap guns. When it comes to your personal interests you are sharks, but where the national interest is concerned you are helpless goldfish. You do not understand Palestinians, you do not understand the Middle East and you do not understand the political side of life. That lacuna of understanding, like your need for quiet in order to do business, makes you perfect wards of protection.

Therefore, the country you manage after March 28 will also become a protectorate, paying protection money in return for a little quiet.But, dear oligarchs, that quiet will not last. And when it ends, big business will collapse with it. Accordingly, in my capacity as investment adviser, my advice to you is: exploit the next few years to the hilt. Extract as much as you can from the fusion of the great withdrawal boom and the boom of corporate control of the country. The odds are good that until 2010 you will be able to run wild as you have never run wild before. You will be able to celebrate as no other place on earth celebrates. But remember that the party will one day be over. Remember that it devours the principal and consumes the assets. And remember that no country can sustain itself when its pillars are rank with rot. No free nation can survive with its democratic spirit broken. Therefore, lose no time in preparing the real estate companies in Eastern Europe and the bank accounts in the Virgin Islands. And keep your yachts ready at all times for a long cruise. The victory in 2006 is on a tremendous scale, but it obliges a pullout strategy. My colleagues and I recommend that you realize your profits within a few years and skip to the next investment target.

Think Uganda. Uganda looks very promising.

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