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AdLib On April - 30 - 2013

spain protest

Americans are accustomed to war. War on nations, war on drugs, war on obesity, war on “voter fraud”, even war on tactics and emotions such as terror (might the US one day declare a War on Horror if we’re attacked by zombies?)

There is however a war that is underway around the globe, it is in fact a World War which has come to the shores of America but though the battles may get attention, the bigger overall war remains a secret to most, as the aggressors want it to be.

It is an unconventional war, all the aircraft carriers and fighter jets we have are of no help. And make no mistake, this war is for big stakes, the biggest, world domination.

Many have speculated on who our adversaries would be if there was a World War III. The Soviet Union used to be the likely enemy when it was in existence. Some have speculated about China, Islamic countries and rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea. However, in the modern age, wars are not often fought between nations, they are fought between ideologies, between segments of populations as we’ve seen in our recent wars with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Here’s the secret…World War III is going on right now. And it’s no different than our recent wars when it comes to being ideologically-based even though the players are different. The enemy is small but incredibly powerful, they mount assaults all across the globe on people everywhere but are like terror cells, operating independently but driven by the same philosophies and practicing the same viciousness. The enemy is both foreign and domestic and has more destructive power than any army.

They are the wealthy who see class warfare and dedication to their greed as a righteous crusade and their global assault against the people of the Western World is fully engaged.

The campaign of austerity that the wealthy launched against Western Europe, following their looting of Western Europe’s wealth in the economic crisis of 2008, has been brutal. The intensifying of this war on the people at that time was opportunistic and ruthless (a specialty of the wealthy). The politicians financed by and doing the bidding of the wealthy responded to their economic plundering of world economies…by insisting that those most victimized should pay the price of setting the economy back up so it can be usurped once again by the wealthy. So while the wealthy and their corporations enjoy record profits and aren’t asked to put back more of that back into the wounded economies of the nations they’ve hobbled, the poor have money and food taken away, the youth have jobs and their futures taken away and the elderly and ill have their pensions, health care and security taken away from them.

This politically enforced class warfare is happening in a limited way here in the U.S. because President Obama has stood between the wealthy and their injecting this poison at full potency into our economy. President Obama’s stimulus spending bill in 2009 thwarted the same destructive assault on the American public. While all Western nations crashed along with the global economy in 2008, the American economy bounced back sooner and is showing more positive growth than any of the European nations which were forced down the austerity path…some European countries are actually declining into double dip recessions if they haven’t already.

A growing number of Europeans are unemployed, 12.1 percent now, with 27% unemployed in Spain and in Greece, 18% in Portugal, 14% in Ireland and 11.5% in Italy. Again, these numbers aren’t dropping, they’re rising. The youth are being hit even harder in these nations. In Spain, 50% of young people are unemployed. Nearly 25% of youth in Europe unemployed.

Consider that again for a moment, 50% of all young people in Spain can’t find a job, can’t start a career, can’t earn any money. And 25% of all young people in Europe. What happens when you’re young and angry and you see that you have no future?

What’s happening in Spain is that a growing armed insurgency of thousands of young people around the country are participating in attacks, vandalism, sabotage and violent protests against their government.

What’s happening in Greece are riots that take place every single day and the rise and growth of ultra-Right Wing groups espousing Nazi-type views and violently attacking those they oppose (they now claim 10% of Greek Parliament seats).

This World War the wealthy are prosecuting against the majority isn’t just riling up the reasonable against them, it’s activating the extremists against whoever they see as their enemy. In Greece, street battles go on between different populist groups such as the Anarchists and the Nationalists (purity of the Greek race types).

As Americans, we may sometimes look at what happens in the rest of the world from a detached distance, harboring the delusion that what we see elsewhere can’t happen here. Whether it’s acts of terrorism by religious or economic jihadists, we later learn the hard way that what can happen there, can happen here.

There have been the rumblings of social unrest here in the U.S., from the Occupy Wall Street protests to last week’s protests in Chicago by minimum wage employees at fast food and retail places. The World War of the wealthy against the rest of the population of the world continues to intensify and as more are shoved into desperation and see their futures stolen away from them, the opposition will grow in force.

Anyone who graduated from high school understands the principal of cause and effect. The wealthy who marshal this war on the rest of the world know it too but they are blinded by their greed and hubris to see it clearly. Like all tyrants, they believe might makes right and that once they win their war, they will simply continue to dominate the majority. They fail to consider the history of what happens to most tyrants who have tried to dominate their own nation or even the world. In the end, the many can always defeat the few as long as they are united…which is why the wealthy work so hard to create divisions and hatreds between the many. Their mistake is in overlooking that their tyranny will, after oppressing the people hard enough and long enough, unite the many against them and bring about their downfall. In the short term however, even though they may see victory coming closer into their grasp, they are priming a powder keg to blow up.

The leadership of many countries have been content to put the burden of reducing their debt on the poor and working class people with the thought that it will buy them time and hopefully by the next decade, things will be okay again (and they’ll have slashed expenditures on the majority so that’s more tax money to reroute to the wealthy). They have not addressed the root causes of the economic collapse and the unsustainability of their economies because that would entail taking the License to Steal away from the wealthy. So what if leaders make the majority of their citizens suffer for a decade with the promise it will be better by the next decade…and things aren’t better then?

Here’s where austerity is leading Europe on its debt/GDP ratio per Eurostat (a lower percent is better):

  • Spain’s  increased from 69.3% in 2011 to 84.2% in 2012
  • Greece declined from 170.3% to 156.9%
  • Portugal increased from 108.3% to 123.6%
  • Ireland increased from 106.4% to 117.6%
  • The U.K. increased from 85.5% to 90%.

As much as the war is escalating in some of these nations today, what might it be like after 10 more years go by with depressed standards of living, 10 years more of young people graduating college and not being able to find work or income, 10 more years of the elderly and those in medical need being deprived?

And if Republicans continue to be able to block government spending here in the U.S. on such necessities by continuing the sequester, fighting the closing of tax loopholes, opposing spending on repairing infrastructure and decimating social welfare programs including Social Security and Medicare, where might America find itself in this war? Under the sequester, Republicans and the wealthy just yawn as Americans are denied cancer treatments, elderly are deprived of Meals on Wheels, the unemployed are deprived of Unemployment Insurance payments, children are deprived of Head Start education and on and on. As the standard of living in America is lowered by the wealthy and their cronies, as our young people graduate college and can’t find well paying jobs while realizing that for the first time in recent memory, their futures will be worse than their parents’, the hopelessness and anger will build here too.

It is no secret that the agenda of the wealthy Right Wingers who dominate the top 1% in the US is to depress wages for Americans, slash government spending on the 99% and their safety nets and eliminate the taxes the wealthy pay while increasing the amount of handouts they receive from the government from the 99%’s tax money.

All the wealthy’s talk of libertarianism and taking personal responsibility only applies to the 99% and is their camouflage for stripping Americans of the benefits they pay for with their taxes so that money can be looted by them. When it comes to the wealthy taking personal responsibility, the wealthy just laugh as they claim to be too big to fail and grab billions in “bailouts”.

There’s a quote in the old Francis Ford Coppola movie about wealthy gangsters, “The Cotton Club”, which is just as poignant when it comes to this, “If you don’t think you’re at war, you’ve already lost the war.” There is a World War going on now, the media may show each battle as an independent conflict but zoom out and you’ll see the big picture, the same battles against the standard of living of the non-wealthy majority are happening at the same time, all around the world. The wealthy are invested globally so to one degree or another, they are intertwined with each other and that makes their wars on the majority, global.

As the quote goes, in order to fight back, you first have to recognize that you’re in a war.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

11 Responses so far.

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  1. jjgravitas says:

    You’re dead-on, Adlib. In days past, the rich built this world, back when it needed to be built. The rich paid for it themselves, as in the case of the railroads, or they allowed the government to do it for them, as in the case of the phone system and the phone and electrical grids. And they allowed for a dense social structure including welfare and safety nets for the very public who made up the workers and consumers whose efforts built the structures that helped make the rich as rich as they are.
    Now we are a world of seven billion people. Now that the world is entirely built, we’re just doing maintenance. And maintenance is never as much fun as building from scratch. The social safety net, which in days past was seen as an investment in our future, is now only seen as an albatross hanging on the neck of whoever the present administration happens to be. Except for NASA, No one seems to believe in the future anymore.
    We may still be voting for our politicians, but our democracy is rapidly becoming an oligarchy. Or perhaps we are already there.

    • AdLib says:

      Hey jjgravitas, good to see you!

      Agreed, so much of our functional infrastructure is built now though the great thing about innovation is that new infrastructures can be required and built, i.e. electric car charging stations, internet service (there are still many rural areas in the US without broadband), etc.

      The sobering realization is that much of the wealthy have always had nothing but spite for those who aren’t. Throughout history, it’s been slaves, serfs, peons or exploited workers, the majority of the wealthy never want money to be spent on anyone other than themselves.

      I don’t think the latest attempts by the wealthy class to strip the majority of retirement and health care in order for them to siphon off that tax money into their own pockets, is anything new.

      President Abraham Lincoln addressed this same thing so eleoquently during his debate with Stephen Douglas:

      “It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.”

  2. BourneID says:

    AdLib

    Please check the Help Desk; there’a note for you -- important.

    B

  3. choicelady says:

    Very well said, AdLib. As a trained historian (don’t try this at home without a good guide) I know this is part of a century-plus continuum, that the progressive movement, the New Deal, the Great Society all were major threats to the Great and Powerful, and they have determined to get their power and the money BACK.

    Over the past 40 years they have made constant inroads on social welfare, and the collapse of the world economy was their best chance to bring it home -- it was the moment they could impose ‘austerity’ and pretend that didn’t mean making the poor bail out the rich.

    But it’s NOT working. In nation after nation it has become clear that the wealthy -- those who created the hell -- are engaged in what Jacob Hacker called “The Great Risk Shift”. Only the US under PBO’s guidance have avoided the worst impacts.

    I see this as the last gasp of a dying Moby Dick. It will not go well for many of us, but it never has in dark and troubled times. But from so many nations we are seeing resistance including here -- and it will fundamentally change the way we organize production, benefits, outcomes, decision making. Will it happen in our lifetime? Possibly. But it WILL happen. It always does. No matter how powerful the rich seem to be, they fall. The hubris alone does them in, and the will of the people commands major policy changes. Setbacks WILL occur, but they will not prevail.

    We gave the bastards a chance. They blew it. Now they, not we, will have to pay the piper and begin dancing to a new tune, one WE write.

    That is the arc of history -- it bends toward justice. Today is no exception.

    • AdLib says:

      Excellent comment, you laid it all out so well, CL!

      As much as I tried to zoom out to present the big picture, you zoomed out even more to present an even fuller picture.

      As we learned the hard way, this battle is never over. The 99% won gains since FDR but the forces of greed weren’t defeated, just overpowered. They remained dedicated to their agenda and starting with Reagan, they regained the power to take back all the gains the 99% had received.

      Bush really handed them the store with tax cuts and the housing bubble, especially handing them the no-strings-attached taxpayer funded bailouts while millions of Americans lost their nest eggs, homes and jobs. We were in a deep hole and it’s unimaginable where we’d be if McCain had won in 2008 or Romney had won last year.

      President Obama has won profound battles against the plutocracy trying to oppress most Americans. The ACA is probably the biggest win for most Americans and after 2014, when it is mostly in place, it will become clearer to even the doubters.

      I agree with you and mentioned below that it may indeed take generations to turn this ship around in the right direction but as you say, the greedy have had their knowingly dishonest theory of recovery through austerity blown up by the simple act of putting it into practice (not to mention that the economists whose work it was based on have now been proven to have intentionally manipulated their data and arrived at false positive conclusions).

      They’ve had to use lies to advance their policies because they’d never get a majority in any country to vote for a policy of “You people get screwed and we wealthy get even richer!” so really, the worst thing for their agenda was to put it in place.

      Indeed, the hubris and ignorance of the wealthy knows no bounds. They begin to think that whatever they want to happen will happen because that’s what they’ve experienced throughout so much of their lives. But in a democracy, all that is needed is a majority of people to say, “We’ve had enough of this!” and no matter how wealthy a Romney is, he loses.

      We’ll get there but it could get ugly along the way, there could be the kind of revolt and chaos we hope won’t occur but in the end, we’ll get there.

  4. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, in an article full of impressive statements, this one stood out particularly:

    The politicians financed by and doing the bidding of the wealthy responded to their economic plundering of world economies…by insisting that those most victimized should pay the price of setting the economy back up so it can be usurped once again by the wealthy.

    I think it’s going to take a couple of re-readings and some time for me to get my thoughts together on this one. There’s so much in it.

    My immediate reaction is not so much commentary as it is a bunch of questions. Among them:

    Are there non-violent ways to take on an “enemy” that is so well financed that none of the children in their dynastic empires will ever have to work — for many generations?

    When/if conflict comes, will it be the various factions that the wealthy have set at odds with each other battling one against another? A sort of re-run of the Civil War? Or will the 99% finally recognize who’s really doing what to whom and turn against the oppressing minority?

    Will the military and/or the police take sides? With whom?

    What role will the media play? MSM and/or social media?

    Do street protests like Occupy Wall Street work any more? Or do the wealthy simply stand on balconies, sip champagne and snicker as the police “clean the streets” for them?

    I guess the bottom line question is — can the mega-rich be brought into line? Or are they so wealthy and powerful that they’re now unbeatable?

    As a basically hopeful person, I’m hoping it’s not the latter. For everyone’s sake.

    • AdLib says:

      Fascinating and powerful questions you pose, Kes.

      For conversations sake, here are my guesses on your brilliant questions that no one can answer with certainty.

      Are there non-violent ways to take on an “enemy” that is so well financed that none of the children in their dynastic empires will ever have to work — for many generations?

      Absolutely but the public would need to remain committed to a long term campaign. It would take years to do but we would need to vote corporatist politicians out of office, reverse Citizens United, raise taxes (including Estate Tax) and kill loopholes for the wealthy, eliminate gerrymandering and put a mandatory public financing mechanism in place. It would be a campaign that could take generations but it could absolutely happen.

      When/if conflict comes, will it be the various factions that the wealthy have set at odds with each other battling one against another? A sort of re-run of the Civil War? Or will the 99% finally recognize who’s really doing what to whom and turn against the oppressing minority?

      I would guess that the conflicts that come would be like what’s happening in Greece, where the factions manipulated by the wealthy would be in a fight with the true populist groups in the middle and on the left. They would be outnumbered, just as OWS far outnumbered the Tea Party but the conflicts could be very hostile. In the end, the RW groups would eventually cross the line and destroy whatever sympathy they had. So, the 98% (let’s be generous and attribute 1% to the RW Extremists) would be a powerful enough force to unseat the pawns of the 1% in elections and demand the kind of economic restructuring that would be required to return the majority of Americans to a solid and growing standard of living.

      Will the military and/or the police take sides? With whom?

      I think that OWS was highly instructive on this. From the outset, it may be the case that the police are positioned as the paramilitary army of the wealthy. This is what we see in Europe. 200,000 people turned out recently to protest in Spain (representing many times that in terms of sentiment) yet the Police came in riot gear to disrupt their protest and attack and scatter them.

      The protesters know and those who would protest here know that the freedom to protest is given lots of lip service by those in power but if it intimidates them, they won’t hesitate to try and stomp it out under the phony excuses of “public safety” and “infringing on the rights of other Americans”. It would be ugly and as with OWS and even going back to the Vietnam War protests, it may result in casualties.

      OWS was a victim of its anti-power credo, disarming itself of having leaders and a concrete agenda that would have given it an infrastructure that couldn’t be broken up by police with batons and tear gas. As long as a future incarnation of that or a similar movement wasn’t so adamant about avoiding organization, the people would eventually prevail here too, whether through the pressure of public opinion on politicians or by electing people who would move their agenda forward and the police lines back.

      And it wouldn’t hurt for their to be a dedicated Progressive who was charismatic to be a leader in such a movement.

      What role will the media play? MSM and/or social media?

      The MSM would likely repeat its behavior from OWS. It would likely begin by trying to ignore or trivialize such an anti-establishment movement then once it became undeniable, they might try to co-opt it and its popularity to profit off of. Then down the line, they could possibly push the meme that it was a failure, weakened or whatever they could say to bury it. As for social media, I think it would be huge, both for the good folks and bad folks in organizing and mobilizing. When Twitter first came out, it was seen as such a trivial thing but it is such an incredible tool for organizing protests and coordinating, as we saw in Egypt.

      Do street protests like Occupy Wall Street work any more? Or do the wealthy simply stand on balconies, sip champagne and snicker as the police “clean the streets” for them?

      The protests in Europe certainly seem to be having a powerful impact, I’d imagine some of the wealthy are keeping their private jets fueled up 24 hours a day, not wanting to be cast in the role of Marie Antoinette if the uprisings overturn the government. Spain is in chaos as is Greece. Italy’s also in political disarray with an angry public. The wealthy may take some comfort in having their own domestic army (AKA The Police) but if protestors evolve, become more clever and strategic in their protests and keep on coming, I think those smiles will disappear on the faces of the wealthy.

      The thing is, replacing one SCOTUS, 16 Republicans in The House and 6 Republicans in The Senate with the right people would begin to change everything for the better.

      I guess the bottom line question is — can the mega-rich be brought into line? Or are they so wealthy and powerful that they’re now unbeatable?

      Those who have enormous wealth and power can seem unstoppable. They may prevail for a very long time but history seems to illustrate that all power, even that of tyrants, is eventually broken.

      Under Eisenhower in the 1950’s, not exactly ancient history, the highest tax rates on the wealthy were about 90%. The middle class was growing and opportunities were as well. When wealth isn’t concentrated in so few hands, it raises up all boats including those of the wealthy. Just not so ridiculously high as they are now.

      So that can be done if a true movement grows amongst the 99% to make some fundamental changes in the way we handle our politics and economy. The wealthy 1% can’t outvote the other 99% on anything if we come together.

      The one unfortunate yet consistent thing about Americans is that they aren’t pro-active, they don’t move on a problem before it happens but once they are suffering a great deal, they do demand change.

      I think the snowball is rolling already, the Repubs’ rejection of what 90% of Americans wanted on background checks has tanked a number of Repubs in polls and I think it’s just the beginning. As the sequester cuts hurt millions more Americans, Republicans hold the country for ransom again with upcoming debt ceiling and continue working against the interests of most Americans to benefit the 1%, we could see the Republicans swept out of power and policies that Americans want swept in.

      We’ll see, this will take at least 4 years to unfold I think, don’t know that Dems could take the House back in 2014 but by 2016, the Dems could once again sweep in a new Dem President with a new Dem Congress and a mandate to move Progressively on issues.

      • choicelady says:

        We all will have to pay attention to our own history in the sit-down strikes. More to the point, the Pittston Coal Strike in the late 1980s took very different tactics.

        There are going to be clashes -- and it will differ markedly depending on WHERE. Not all PDs have been federalized. The reaction to Occupy was very different around the nation -- not all PDs reacted the same. Portland, Seattle (even after their clash in 1999 with the WTO protesters) Denver, etc. were NOT violent. Sacramento was a major non-event, too. NY was very much federalized after 9/11 -- there was a CIA agent IN the NYPD until Obama found out in 2011 and removed said person. Oakland is just its own horror -- deep embedded racism is decades deep.

        We need history and strategy and we also need to know that we stand on the shoulders of our recent and more distant past -- we now have rights and petitions for justice won during the 30s, 60s and 70s by those who suffered real deprivations in civil rights as they were arrested, prosecuted, deprived of basics. Those in labor, civil rights, and anti-war movements all paid the price to win rights we can demand today.

        That said -- the right will constantly try to push back on our rights, no question. But the ground has been laid, the media actually DO make these injustices clear (not from nobility but because it’s part of a ‘bleeds/leads’ mentality) and we have lawyers by the thousands looking after exactly these things.

        So we can learn if we will how to move us ahead without losing ground, and that is priceless. It is the missing link I see -- knowing HOW to take advantage of what we have gained. Smart strategies are essential to solid outcomes.

      • kesmarn says:

        AdLib, thanks so much for the time and thought that went into this reply to my comment. And especially for the basic tone of realistic optimism that’s in it as well.

        Along with recognizing that we’re in a war, I guess we need to hold the thought that winning it is possible. And that we don’t have to lose our souls (like “them”) in the process. I think of all the times the President has called on us all to listen to our better angels.

        When things have gone in a negative direction, he tends to say things like: “This is not who we are as a nation.” “We can be better than this.”

        I know it’s an overused quotation (from RFK, if I’m not mistaken), but I still like it: “Some people look at things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I look at things that never were and say: ‘Why not?'”

  5. glenn says:

    Wow! Powerful stuff, AdLib.

    The only other time I felt this concerned about the future of my country was during the Vietnam War protests, which just about tore our country apart. We had no internet or “social media” at that time, yet it was clear that the country was deeply polarized.

    Now, with social media and the internet allowing every nutjob in the country a platform in which they can enlist other nutjobs, the polarization is even worse. I believe you’re right; the hopelessness and anger is building here. The question is, on which side will the anger build the most, and which side will “pull the trigger” (metaphorically speaking). The 1% have managed to fuel that anger on both sides, but there are some of us who still believe in the fundamental principles of our country--that voting and holding politicians responsible--are the best actions we could take to restore our collective sanity.

    If we take the other path--armed rebellion--then we have betrayed our principles, our Constitution, and our “exceptionalism” as Americans. Melissa Harris-Perry says, “Democracy is messy…The only way it gets better is when everybody is in,” she said. “…The only danger in democracy is when we opt out.” (I do know that MHP didn’t author the “democracy is messy” quote). Today, it is as messy as it has been in many years. We need to find our way through the mess by using the highest power we have--our votes and our voices. Thank you for using yours so well.

    • AdLib says:

      glenn, thanks so much!

      I hate to say it but I think we’ve seen that the anger is already at a boiling point on the far Right. The growth of hate groups, militias and conspiracy theorists unfortunately back that up…as do the growing popularity among that cult of such lunacy peddlers as Alex Jones.

      I hate to say it but I do expect that as these extremists are squeezed by the wealthy’s economic oppression and the whipping up of hatred of minorities and those different from them, we may see a rise in the more mainstreaming of Nazi-like nationalistic types just as is happening in Greece, France (where Le Pen is growing in strength and popularity) and elsewhere.

      At the same time, the ranks of potential protestors and even hostile activists on the left could be filled by year after year of college graduates discovering that the future they were promised has been ripped away from them (and meanwhile they’re carrying $100,000 in school loan debt).

      I don’t believe that it is more likely than not that such an era of great conflict will occur. As you point out, if the activism and anger of Americans is focused into elections, the removal of Republicans from power could lead to a diffusing of this time bomb they’ve planted.

      If groups on either the Left or Right used violence in a futile “armed rebellion”, they would be swiftly slapped down by our government and rejected by the majority, the majority of Americans don’t sympathize with anyone who would declare war on their country.

      At the same time, if things got too desperate for too many folks, we could see the kind of destabilizing populist protests and clashes with police that are now seen in Europe frequently.

      My guess is that Republicans have little chance of winning back the White House or holding onto Congress (even if they were to get a narrow majority in the Senate in 2014, they would lose it back when they have more seats at stake in 2016) until or unless their party disengages from the 1% agenda. And that won’t be anytime in the near future.


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