The War on You

Let the word go forth from Washington!  The corporate rulers occupying our nation's capital have declared war on just about every citizen.

Have no doubt: those in the upper ranges of the top 1% of wealth in this country (aka The Money Party) want to kick you to the curb.

They want to reduce your social security and make you go broke paying for medical care.

They want to lower your wages and trash your retirement.

They ignore the clear facts that we've had negative job growth since 2000 and the situation is just getting worse.

They want to ship jobs, factories, and entire businesses overseas and give companies that do that a big fat tax credit for doing so.

They've been given so much for nothing for so long.  Now, they're ready to take it all.  It's their time!

The most recent assault is the ridiculous debate about raising the debt ceiling.  There should be no debate.  Failing to raise the ceiling right now means deliberate default on debts, refusing to pay bills the government can pay.  It's called fraud.

The pressing need to fix the budget is a separate issue.  Reduced spending and increased revenues should come through broad public involvement and open debate.  It mandates that the rulers behave like adults.

But this crisis isn't about putting together a real budget.  It's about creating a budget that punishes you, your family, and friends.  It's about taking your attention away from your vital interests to maximize income and control by The Money Party.

Were the leaders on either side of the debate serious, the Bush era tax cuts would be rescinded.  These cuts on the top 1% were temporary.   Guess what?  Congress lied.  When the temporary tax breaks ran out a few months ago, they were revived and renewed just when we had the greatest need for revenues.

The Money Party won't give up its wars either.  Iraq and Afghanistan have added $4 trillion to the national debt of $14 trillion.  Why not stop the wars?  How hard is that to figure that out?

Getting rid of Bush tax cuts for the super-rich, ending the wars, and moving out of the recession/depression would be huge steps toward balancing the budget.  But that won't happen with this Congress and this president.  Why?  That would cost the financial elite money for taxes and lost income for all those weapons they sell to support the wars.

The Attack on You Began in Earnest Just Years Ago

Congress repealed Depression era banking regulation that kept your banks from risky investments in 1999.

Congress enacted legislation in 2000 that allowed extremely risky investments in real estate and other derivatives, illegal for nearly a century.

In 2001, the big banks and Wall Street celebrated its newly purchased freedoms with a decade-long binge of fraud and risky investments.  Like a greedy con artist, they took everything they could from people here and around the world until there was no more to take.  We have now hit the wall thanks to them.

The outrageous expenses of wars based on lies caught up with us and shoved the deficit to new heights.  The tax cuts for the top 1% took away revenues needed to balance the budget.

The money they steal from the Social Security surplus is no longer enough.  They want to keep the tax in place for us and take an even bigger rake-off.

This crisis is manufactured by the ongoing greed of The Money Party.  It is funded by the US Treasury.  You pay for it, all of it.


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Hail Mary to invoke the 14th amendment!

This whole theater is all about creating a massive "crisis" and then claim "they had to" in order to "compromise" and thus avoid "disaster" by "default" ....

and that's why they just royally F@@$'ED old people, sick people and pretty much 99% of Americans.

It's just positively disgusting. I know default is real, but this is unreal. They are putting a gun to the head of America with their manufactured political theater, all to slash social safety nets.

Notice how they have the entire press not talking about that outrage, instead their political theater?

Of the reports over the last month, how many have focused in on the actual cuts and the fact Americans, more than ever, need social security and health care?

I'm positively sickened.

At long last, they have no shame

They allowed a war based on a lie and did nothing about that lie when they found out.

What kind of people are these? Certainly not like those they represent. Congress is the servant of big money, loyal and larded with gratuities. They are the true enemy of the state.

"enemy of the state"?

Are the conspirators enemies of the state? They do not see themselves as such, because they see the state as a means, not an end. In truth, they are not exactly enemies of the state but, more precisely, false friends of the state. The state is how almost all of them have amassed and continue to amass great personal wealth and power.

They can't lose and we can't win....unless....

They know they can't lose. They know that people will vote to authorize them to continue the war against us. Okay, so only half the electorate still votes, but that's enough for them to claim legitimacy, the consent of the governed. And that half will never give up their vote because it is their precious right to vote for people who won't represent them. It is their voice in government to vote for people who will not allow public opinion to influence policy decisions. Why, if they didn't vote, the bad guys would win--never mind that no matter how often they vote and no matter who they vote for, the bad guys always win anyway.

What would happen if the corporations spent their usual billions of dollars to get their puppets elected and nobody except the 2% who benefit from corporate-run government voted? Would anyone still believe that the government is still legitimate and still has the consent of the governed? But then we'd lose our credit rating and no other country would loan money to us. We'd be bankrupt. Well, we are anyway. But as long as that credit rating holds, the government can continue to borrow money with which to wage profitable wars abroad, all the while moaning that it is too broke to provide jobs here at home.

If we didn't vote, the government would fall. Then we could write a new Constitution that vests power in the hands of the people instead of in the hands of "representatives" who don't represent us. We could institute honest elections where the popular vote in the final say and cannot be overruled. We could renounce any debts incurred without our consent and put the crooks who fleeced us in prison. We could send the war criminals to the Hague to be tried.

Not that there's the slightest chance that this will happen. The 50% who vote will always turn out to do their civic duty to a state that is destroying them. They'll continue to vote to empower the 2% because they believe that some day they'll win the lottery and will be in that 2%. They know the odds, but it's the only hope, the only chance they've got. And politicians know this, so they sell themselves as agents of hope and change. And it doesn't really matter how many of us stop voting because there's another sucker born every minute who will sell their grandchildren's future for the right to cast a ballot that doesn't even have to be counted for somebody they won't be able to hold accountable until long after the irreparable damage is done and cannot be undone.

The act of voting is the act of declaring oneself incompetent and appointing guardians to manage one's affairs. What's tragic is that no matter how many times those guardians steal the funds they were entrusted to manage on our behalf, that 50% will keep voting to authorize them to do so because THEY REALLY ARE INCOMPETENT. Oh sure, they can pay their rent and taxes if they happen to be lucky enough to have a job, but they're incompetent to make decisions about how their tax money should be spent. If they had power, they'd do exactly what our politicians do because they, like the representatives they vote for, care only about themselves and have no concern for others. Lacking social consciousness and guided solely by greed, they sympathize with the crooks they elect because they aspire to be crooks like that, or at least admire those who achieve that goal.

Great article, as usual, Michael. Of course having repeated the same things over and over for years, we do get better at saying it. The problem is that the few who can understand what we're saying are not the majority. The majority will continue to support predatory capitalism even while it roasts them, eats them, and picks their bones. To put limits on capitalism would not only be socialism, but it would put limits on their dreams of becoming greedy crooked pigs like the people they vote for. I agree with everything you say, except the last part of your comment responding to Robert. Our politicians are exactly like the people they represent. If voters weren't every bit as evil as the people they vote for, they wouldn't be voters, they'd be revolutionaries.


"Iraq and Afghanistan have added $4 trillion to the national deficit of $14 trillion."

Michael, I've been reading your byline for years now and while I appreciate the spirit and even some of the research that goes into it, I'm getting really sick and tired of seeing mistakes like this. The national deficit is about $1.7 trillion. The national DEBT is $14 trillion. When you make easily avoidable blunders such as this (don't you do any proofreading whatsoever? I'm beginning to doubt it), it doesn't exactly instill us with a sense of your credibility to speak on any matters.

error corrected

you're right, thank you. budgets, national debt and deficits are confusing enough.

Debt Deal - Obama goes on TV

Once we can find out the details, if ever, I'll write up an instapopulist.

You cannot find out the cuts and there is a narrative. Supposedly it's $1 trillion now with $1.4 trillion by committee with a trigger to cut Medicare and Defense if what the committee recommends isn't passed.

Now, is social security part of these $1 trillion? Probably, but not confirmed.

No tax increases for sure, but odds on no closing of tax loopholes either.

We won?

I've been looking for information on the "deal" details but supposedly Obama said Social Security cuts and Medicare cuts are not part of the deal.

Yet to be seen because use of chained CPI for COLA adjustments is a major, major cut to social security benefits.

Seems politicians are keeping this close to the chest, but if it turns out to be a glorified "save face" in order to raise the debt ceiling, well, then, maybe we should write a series of articles about real reforms to reduce the debt and deficit that won't hurt anybody.

If someone else knows differently, that social security chained CPI is part of this deal, please write a comment with a link reference. Thanks.


Folks, I have looked high and low on "deal" specifics and cannot find a thing. It's ridiculous. $1 trillion of cuts that one cannot find out what they are.

Yet another headline buzz I will assume, and probably specifics won't be revealed until after the deed is done.

Losing the War On You: How It's Come To This

Anyone handicapping negotiations knows that it matters not a whit where they begin or what the score is in the 6th inning; it's where it's going to end up, and about that there's been, or should have been, no doubt at any point:

Cheshire cat smiling ubercynic Mitch McConnell (who is one right-winger who I have 0% doubt knows all about the electoral rigging done and to come) was going to write the plan with Grover Norquist, it was going to have Zero on the revenue end and crippling cuts to the hated New Deal programs (finally), it was going to be all about "drowning government in the bathtub," and Obama wasn't even going to be given enough 'cover' to survive in 2012 (when the 'disaffection of his base' will be the cover story explaining his defeat as well as the demise of the Democratic senators riding his negative coattails).

The Democrats in the Senate will be insane to pass the McConnell "compromise" but, being insane, they will, leaving Obama a choice whether to sign and seal his own electoral doom or veto and plunge the world into a financial tailspin. Now all this was politically preordained when the GOP netted a spectacular 125 House seats (mostly for Tea Party wingnuts) on a modest Generic Congressional Ballot lead of 9% last November (By way of comparison, the Democrats' 26% Generic Congressional Ballot advantage netted them only 58 House seats in 2006, the last off-year election. That's 125/9 vs. 58/26 and that's statistically impossible in the absence of wholesale rigging.) and essentially everything in between was Kabuki and not worth paying the slightest attention to.

Yes it is a war on you, as Michael puts it, and they're slipping blanks in your guns and dum-dum bullets in theirs each November. We won't even begin to be able to fight back until we take over the vote counting process, make it public and observable with Hand-Counted Paper Ballots. Period.

Hand-Counted Paper Ballots

I guess hand counting is a pretty good full employment program, but all we really need is durable paper or cardboard ballots that can be machine-counted first followed by automatic hand-counts of random samples, with sample size large enough for 95% to 99% confidence.

This check should be required in every election large enough to make hand-counting unwieldy. The idea of requiring hand recounts (or any recounts) only when the margin between two candidates in less than 3% or whatever ... is patently ridiculous given what we know of computer ("machine") counting of ballots and the ease of hacking that process. It's like closing the side door to the barn when the big doors are swinging wide in the wind.

Meanwhile, we have states in the U.S. (Georgia?) where there is virtually no paper trail whatsoever.

"Its not who votes that counts, but who counts the votes." -- Josef ('Uncle Joe') Stalin


Didn't you forget to mention how the corporate rulers bring in cheap labor to do those jobs they can't export? I know it is considered right wing and racist to be against uncontrolled immigration, but I disagree. All over the world they are bringing in immigrants from poorer countries to work cheap in better off countries - lowering wages and causing huge unemployment suffering - that's how they get and stay rich, by exploiting people. These immigrants are their pawns, the workers their victims, the countries they come from still suffer but someone comes out of all this unscathed, indeed rather better off - the rich ruling class who get their profits up and their pound of flesh. It's time the left and the right united against our true enemy - not each other, but the rich ruling class.

Labor arbitrage

Before the people's uprising in Egypt, Indonesian forms were bringing in Indonesian workers and using them in the Egyptian textile industry. The head of one of the Indonesian firms was asked why they did this and responded that the Egyptian police wouldn't come in and club recalcitrant workers (those in independent unions) so they just brought in their own workers.

What a crock. It's the death dance of greed.

Labor argitrage is at the root of the WTO

All WTO or GATT supporters, if sane, have lamented that barriers to the flow of labor have not been eliminated along with other trade 'barriers'. This 'defect' has been, from Day One, noted as something to be attacked within the WTO world system as a non-conforming aspect of the economic system promoted by GATT and the WTO world system. I saw this up close, in corporate offices, as far back as the 1960s. It's been conscious and deliberate from the first. The entire 'globalism' movement has its roots in labor arbitrage. It's puzzling to me how here at EP and elsewhere we assume that we can separate out the two issues -- labor arbitrage (migration issues) and corporate 'globalism'. The two are joined at the hip.

Internet providers to log all users and sites visited

Don't worry your corporate masters will soon know the names of everyone reading this site.

A bill has just been passed which requires all ISPs to log all its customers and keep a record of the internet sites they visit for 'law enforcement purposes'

The never ending quest to quall paranoia

It's extremely important to know how they're spying. I just presume they know anything they want. The good news is that unless you're very wide read, they don't bother with you. Readers and commenters are further down the chain. Pretty soon they list will be an absolute majority, a de facto recall petition.


awesome, privacy and freedom disappears

I cannot believe the extremes going on to "profile" people. From marketing to now this, it's friggin' pathetic.

How much money can all of this data possibly be worth and I can guarantee there are a host of algorithms out there that are bogus in conclusions.

It's ridiculous, 70% does not 100% make in human choices and behavior.

Maybe it's a jobs program

Like in Romania under Ceeausescu where they kept police files of all typewriters with imprint of the keys or East Germany where the Stasi recorded conversations and kept meticulous records. Plenty of informers on the payroll. I just hope they don't offshore these jobs -- could be a great opportunity for new bureau and lots of contractors. Nation building begins at home!

Frank T.

oh they are offshore, Chase alone

seems to know real time every single purchase and can call you with a flag if they suspect something funky almost immediately.

They all are in India.

My war

With some $1.2 Trillion being spent this year alone on wars, defense and the national security state apparatus, with unjustifiable tax breaks for the wealthiest, and egregious tax loopholes for corporations, it seems that there's quite a bit of money that no one in DC wants to talk about, let alone touch. Instead of cuts in health and welfare, instead of sacrificing the commonweal to the idols of militarism, wealth and the corporatocracy, perhaps, just perhaps, our government might balance their books on the backs of those who benefit the most from government policies, instead of the working poor and what's left of the middle class. Nah

Paul Krugman is correct – “It’s now impossible to deny the obvious, which is that we are not now and have never been on the road to recovery.” (NY Times, 8/5/11) This so-called Great Recession is a long term economic downturn that has all the signs of an economic collapse that will outdo the Great Depression. And nothing is going to change that. University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Richard Wolff has a great DVD lecture called "Capitalism Hits the Fan" that succinctly explains the economic forces at work during the past 3 decades that have led to this sorry state of affairs. Anyone who accepts the ‘official’ narrative that this economic situation is temporary and we’re on the road to ‘recovery’ needs to view this and Chris Martensen's DVD called "Crash Course".

Economists who have a grasp of history know that we are driving off the cliff with no brakes, and that the trillions the Fed handed out to national and international banks and investment houses was just a stop-gap measure. Corporate profits are up, unemployment and homelessness are up and wages have been stagnant for the past 30 years. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The governmental attacks on labor and the social safety net is not going to end because there is no incentive for the ruling plutocratic corporatocracy to end it. ‘It’ is living high on the hog while government domestic spending will continue to be slashed. The only real winner is the war mongering military industrial complex.

Nice summary!

The coming collapse can be avoided but not with the current cast of characters. Makes you wonder - where do they think they'll be living? They think that they'll carry on with impunity. Big mistake.