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AdLib On December - 15 - 2014

black lives matter march NYC

The U.S. budget vote this past week that allowed Citigroup to shove in a provision, written by Citigroup itself (remember voting for Senator Citigroup?). It hobbled the Dodd-Frank Act and once again, forces all of us American tax payers to fully reimburse Wall Street for all of their losses if they once again bring our economy to its knees by losing billions or trillions in their rigged derivatives game.

This was a definitive statement by the wealthy and corporations, “We own this so-called democracy, fuck the rest of you.” So we should be discouraged and give up on the people’s’ influence to have power over their own democracy anymore, right?

Nope.

As the scientific phrase goes, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes that reaction isn’t immediate, it can take years to appear but one thing is clear, no matter how overwhelming the power of any entity in history has appeared, they have always been brought down (seen any want ads for recruiting for the Roman army lately?).

A scientist might look at this victory of Citigroup over our democracy as a logical genesis for a great force to oppose it, that is, “Elizabeth Warren to Help Lead a Growing Movement Against Banks and Corporations, Brought to you by Citigroup!”

Citigroup has de facto elevated and increased the power and influence of Warren and other anti-corporate Progressives like Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown because of this coup. For the first time since President Obama was elected, Progressive Democrats rallied a majority of their party to oppose his damaging compromise on this and nearly block a budget deal that Obama wanted badly. Democrats were emboldened and rallied behind Warren and Nancy Pelosi in both the House as well of the Senate, because they appeared to be the conscience of their party and their moral leaders. This is not to say that Obama has not fought for and achieved principled victories for Progressives and all Americans along the way but in this particular case, the most public and unapologetic adversaries of the power that the wealthy and corporations wield, were women who are Democratic leaders. And the majority of Americans support their position.

Yes, we have had a big loss in this round, a scant several years after Wall Street destroyed the savings, jobs and home ownership of millions of Americans and a law was passed to prevent them from being insured to do so again, they have used their puppets in Congress to give them the right to do it again. But unlike in the past, they have energized a powerful and growing adversary movement with well-respected and liked leaders that has them in their sites. After the 2016 elections, if it favors Democrats as is the trend for Presidential year elections, maybe there will be a comeuppance for Wall Street much sooner than they expect.

This theme of out of control power bringing about it’s own adversarial force to confront and eventually defeat them can be seen in a variety of recent situations.

Vladimir Putin, the modern day czar of Russia saw himself as an invulnerable power on the world stage. He had used his position to protect the ongoing mass slaughters in Syria by his valuable military equipment customer, Bashar al-Assad and blocked strong UN sanctions against his military equipment customer Iran as they worked to arm themselves with nuclear weapons. Within Russia, he attacked and oppressed gays, political opponents and protesters including a music group made of young girls (Pussy Riot) without hesitation or any fear of consequence. He hosted the Winter Olympics just earlier this year in a propaganda climate that could only match the 1936 Olympics Adolf Hitler hosted in Berlin. And on the heels of that “goodwill” he received from the world, Putin calculated he had the political capital to execute his invasion of Ukraine and the annexing of Crimea.

During his criminal, brutal and deceitful assault of the sovereign nation of Ukraine, Republicans could hardly control their hard-ons for Putin. They praised him and openly wished that he could be America’s leader while slapping at Obama and laughing at how weak and ineffective he looked in comparison to this “real” leader (to Republicans, dictators are the only “real” leaders).

Despite international condemnation, sanctions imposed by the US and some allies (which again, Republicans sneered at as examples of how weak Obama was in responding to Putin), the shocking shooting down by Putin’s secret troops in Ukraine of a commercial airliner, the increasing tensions from Putin having war planes straying into the airspace of other nations, Putin remained confident that no one could stoop his march to attack the world in his way and restore Russia to the glory of its USSR heights.

But Putin’s savagery and aggression had created an environment where even the EU countries most dependent upon Russia’s oil and gas, knew they had to come together to stop him before it was too late. They knew that they couldn’t fight an analog war with armies and bombs, it would be too horrible and destructive, so instead the US and other nations focused on increasing oil output and conservation to reduce the need for and value of Putin’s oil. Russia is a pretty one-dimensional economy, at least half of all revenue they get annually comes from oil. Slash the value of that oil and even this powerful dictator can be brought to his knees without a single shot being fired. Since the beginning of the year, when Putin invaded Ukraine, the ruble has plunged in value against the US dollar by nearly 50%, its value cut in half by both the US led sanctions but mostly, the tumbling price of oil (as we can all see at the gas pumps right now…gas under $3!).

So Republicans, who’s looking like a stronger and smarter leader now? You still want Putin to be your President? He’s pushed his economy’s GDP to contract by around 4.7% next year according to Russian officials themselves! Which, knowing how honest they are, is probably a fraction of how much their economy will collapse over the next year. And with a nation suffering through devastating cuts and a severe recession, just how secure will this man who was so powerful and invulnerable just months ago, be in the role of Russia’s leader?

We’re all also sadly well aware of the power that our police forces have accumulated and how the racist tendencies of too many in our police forces (our courts and government as well) have wielded that power in deadly ways against unarmed and innocent black men. Abusing the power of the badge through prejudice is not new but the increased publicity and outrage it generates in today’s era of social media has changed the game. Those who use their power as police to injure and kill people simply because of the color of their skin have unknowingly been building the power of their adversaries. As overwhelming as police forces have become with their increasing militarization and treatment of citizens who protest as an enemy force that needs to be crushed, they too are not a power that can avoid defeat.

As with Putin, the approach to defeating the abuse of power by police would never work in a physical battle. Instead, all these weeks after the 1-2 punch of injustice in Missouri and New York, grand juries agreeing that cops have the right to kill unarmed black men, even those who pose absolutely no threat as proven in video, a protest movement continues to gain power nationally. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been active in connecting with the movement and offering what they can do with their power to stop this madness. Those policemen who support the racial violence by police may continue undaunted but the adversaries they’ve created are the ones whose power is growing now.

Again, even society is bound by the laws of science. The accumulation of negative power brings about the growth of positive power, not necessarily simultaneously but over the long run. The ebb and flow of that power means that one may dominate the other for a period but momentum eventually shifts back and forth. Unfortunately, in human society, negative power is usually reached for first and starts off with a lead (constructive people don’t have as much of a need to acquire power to accomplish constructive things, those who are selfish need power to force others to accept their selfish goals) but there have always been breaking points where conscience and solidarity gathers more power. They might not always be huge victories for the good guys but those eventually come too (in order for America to elect Barack Obama as President twice, we had to have the terrible, abusive power of the Bush Administration first).

This isn’t Pollyanna naiveté that allows us all to cozy up back on our couches, content in the knowledge that eventually the powerful who harm the majority will be stopped. Those times will come as they always have but they can either come sooner and limit the amount of deaths and harm to innocent people if we step up now or they can come later when we finally do get up off the couch but then we’ll see an unnecessarily long trail of destruction we allowed to continue.

History is on our side and against those who abuse the power they have. In the end, no one can maintain their power because of the inverse property of power, every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. And that is our eternal job as the majority of human beings on this planet, to be that equal and opposite reaction to those who accumulate power and use it to gratify themselves at the expense of the lives and well being of others.

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."

16 Responses so far.

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  1. EXFANOFARIANA says:

    Amazing post, AdLib…..I was thinking following the fall of oil prices, exactly what would ensue to Rasputin’s powers. And I have certainly enjoyed POTUS actions towards the Cuba embargo. Oil is the venom not only of this planet, but the source of all miseries. It feeds on GREED. Like Halliburton and other MIC’s moochers. Certainly with the upcoming new and diplomatic/trading endeavors with Cuba, Putin’s hands will also fail on several Latin America countries living under dictators.Venezuela and their “chavism” , will also fall.”Bolivarianism” will be gone in less than 2 years after a long suffering from it’s victims.
    Great one.Thank you! You must have heard Marco Rubio’s paranoia today…LOLOLOL

    • AdLib says:

      ExFan, thanks so much!

      It’s hard to argue against oil being tied to so much of the evil and destruction in the world. Whether it’s the evil in the Middle East, in Russia, in Texas (tongue partially in cheek) wherever that black ooze is found, inhumanity seems to follow.

      And if that wasn’t enough, it is literally destroying the very planet itself through Climate Change. How much death and suffering could one substance cause? It’s really astounding.

      I’ve often imagined that if cold fusion, a breakthrough in solar energy, or some other discovery could quickly and broadly slash the world’s use of oil and fossil fuels, so many evil people would be stripped of power.

      Then when I saw what the drop in oil prices is doing to Putin and Russia, to Iran and other dictatorial countries that have built their strength on oil, it just felt so satisfying.

      If Iran and Russia lose power (kind of ironic losing power from the dropping price of a substance that provides power) then they will have to work with the rest of the world, they may be forced to negotiate and collaborate in good faith with the family of nations instead of being self-sufficient to continue operating as an isolated or rogue state.

      The disappointing thing is that I heard SUV sales have skyrocketed, up over 80%. Dumb Americans, instead of banking the oversupply of oil, they rush out greedily to slurp it all up without thinking that once again, in the near future, they will have helped caused increased Climate Change, the disasters they exacerbate and high gas prices.

      Well, if we can at least pull the rug out from under Putin and Khamenei, this period of low oil prices could still reap big rewards for the world.

      • EXFANOFARIANA says:

        “If Iran and Russia lose power (kind of ironic losing power from the dropping price of a substance that provides power) ”

        BWAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHA That’s effing priceless, Ad.
        You know, not necessarily being a religious person but believing in a loving and merciful God,for quite a while now, I cannot deny God must be absolutely in love with POTUS and might have bestowed upon him all his grace and protection.
        Reason why the NOBEL PRIZE.

  2. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, even in the most dire circumstances, you can manage to find a glimmer of optimism. That’s a real gift.

    And I don’t think that what you’re saying here is falsely hopeful.

    For quite a while, I’ve been mulling over what appeared to be very limited options for the 99% (world-wide, really, not just in the US) to fight back. I mean, really — when you look at the way the Ferguson police were armored-up and equipped with massive tanks — how does anyone think any sort of armed citizen uprising is going to work out? Not in favor of the little guy, that’s for sure.

    And then there’s the option of the mass demonstration — which used to be pretty darned effective. Now? Maybe not so much. In an era when the MSM can simply erase tens of thousands of marchers by refusing to show any images or air the story, it’s like shouting to the world from a sound-proof room.

    But more and more I’m beginning to think there’s a third way. (And your article suggests this, too.) I call it, simply — not buying whatever it is they’re selling. Whether it’s a product, a service or a lie. Don’t buy it.

    This is actually something I’m learning from the Millennials. They’re one of the least gullible and least materialistic generations ever. A sizable percentage of them don’t own houses and don’t want to. There goes Citigroup’s power to peddle shitty mortgages and then sell them as “derivatives.” They don’t want to own cars (they’ll use mass transit or use a car-sharing service instead). So much for ridiculous insurance profits and unnecessary pollution.

    I think the Prez used the same technique with Putin. In spite of all the cries from the right to get down in the mud and wrestle with him militarily over the Ukraine invasion, Obama just made sure that what Putin was selling (oil) would become worthless. He “stopped the buying.” Now the ruble is tanking.

    We can stop buying Cheney’s idea that torture works. We can stop buying the idea that cops don’t need to wear body cameras and that they’re always justified in using whatever amount of force they choose to.

    WalMart’s and McDonald’s sales are (and have been for a while) down. When they opt to pay starvation wages to their workers and to peddle cheap junk, people figure things out. They stop buying.

    And it’s so frickin’ non-violent!

    In the words of Reverend Billy, “stop shopping.” (And that goes for buying crazy Cheneyan or Putinist ideas, too.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8kwAftPLlU

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, thanks for the very kind words.

      Exactly, my intention was not to offer false hope or happy thoughts, when I saw how Putin and Russia were being slammed by the sanctions and oil prices, I couldn’t help but recall how powerful and unstoppable Putin seemed just months earlier (and how Republicans were attacking Obama and praising Putin for being a real leader they wish would run the US).

      It just got the ball rolling in my mind that the most powerful nations, leaders and forces throughout history have always been cut down in time. And that got me thinking about the more philosophical concept about the nature of things as a whole, when it comes to power, how imbalances create opposite forces and can’t persist endlessly.

      Things don’t always change for the better but they do change. The Arab Spring changed things for a short while then things changed again. America under Bush made it imperative for there to be an America under Obama.

      Action and reaction, forces creating their opposite and equal reactions.

      Seeing how Americans are though, it could be a short or very long time until the oppressive drift of this nation is halted and the country is steered back to where it should be. Americans generally don’t like working towards long term goals, they’ll take a step forward electing Obama President then two years later, allow those who destroyed their economy to take back power in The House.

      People are so easily manipulated by fear (guess I shouldn’t have bought my advance tickets to see The Interview) and so easily subdued by apathy. Until a majority of Americans are suffering so much from oppression by the 1%, to the point where they can’t stand it any more, I have a feeling that things will continue going in the wrong direction.

      But just looking at the basic logic of cause and effect, that day will eventually come.

      Thanks for the Rev. Billy clip, he’s quite a character and right on the money (double meaning intended!).

  3. glenn says:

    “History is on our side and against those who abuse the power they have. In the end, no one can maintain their power because of the inverse property of power, every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. And that is our eternal job as the majority of human beings on this planet, to be that equal and opposite reaction to those who accumulate power and use it to gratify themselves at the expense of the lives and well being of others.”

    I would like to cite the recent poll by Pew Research Center which found that 51% of Americans found that the methods of the CIA were “justified”.

    This poll saddens and scares me to my very core. We have lost our humanity, our conscience, our ethics, our “exceptionality” (that is, if we ever had any “exceptionality”). Where are the voices countering the dick’s version of reality? Where are the voices of humanity?

    This mindset--that torture is “justified”-- is why it’s acceptable for cops to kill unarmed black men and teens. It’s why it’s acceptable for civilians to stalk and shoot an unarmed black teen. After all, they are the “other” and they are “different”, therefore it’s acceptable to “protect yourself” from these scary “others”.

    For humanity’s sake, people, we need to understand that torture is wrong, no matter who tortures. If it’s not acceptable for a terrorist to torture, it’s not acceptable for the government of the United States of America to sanction torture. If torture is wrong in one circumstance, it is wrong in all circumstances. Wrong when a terrorist uses torture; wrong when the United States uses torture.

    We have almost reached the end of the slippery slope upon which we started when we did not recognize our fellow humans as being fellow humans. When we have used justification after justification for not lending a hand, for not standing together, for not being the “united”. We need to recognize that we are almost at the bottom of that slope, and start pulling together to get ourselves back up--to get our humanity back. We have done this to ourselves together--yes, there may be more culpability on one side than the other--but together, we have reached this point. The question remains, what do we do to get back up?

    • AdLib says:

      glenn, this is what happens when a society has been propagandized and manipulated by their government through fear. They believe just about everything the Bush/Cheney machine fed them.

      Think about the Russians who hugely supported Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and every other population successfully propagandized by their government, they think exactly as they’re programmed to.

      It’s a bit different that the issue of citizens suffering though, propaganda can’t convince you your stomach’s full when it isn’t or that you’re better off without a roof over your head when it’s freezing cold.

      But propaganda can dehumanize “the enemy” and be used to justify all nature of war crimes.

      One thing many polls show is that most Americans are poorly informed and educated about their own government and history and the elite take advantage of this (for example, only 36% of Americans could name all three branches of the federal government, while 35% “could not name a single one”. And…only 27% know that Congress can override a presidential veto with a two-thirds vote. 21% of Americans think that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision can be reconsidered by Congress.” http://www.mediaite.com/online/survey-most-americans-cant-name-all-three-branches-of-government/ )

      So, Americans may be ignorant but they know when they’re broke and when they’re being tortured (of course, then, torture is wrong). It’s a base level that the majority has to connect on but thanks to the greed and inhumanity of the wealthy, it happens eventually.

      We do have a huge task ahead, un-propagandizing the majority on torture and many other things (remember when 82% of Americans said Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11?). I do think that is a related issue to people pushing back together against oppression but I don’t think it would stand in the way of people rallying together for change in this country.

  4. Skepticat says:

    Another thought provoking blog from AdLib. Societies where the oligarchs work overtime to vacuum away the remaining crumbs tend to become increasingly unstable because the have nots,and increasing legions of used to haves have no compelling reason to support the status quo any more. If the answer to “What’s in it for me?” is becoming a bit less every year eventually there will be a tipping point.

    • AdLib says:

      Very good points, Skepticat!

      Nature abhors a vacuum and as the wealthy try to suck up the wealth of the majority, internal pressure builds. There is no historic justification for their thinking that they can keep stealing from and oppressing the majority, eventually, the majority becomes angry and pushes back.

      It’s true, along the way, when you’ve taken away from the people their sense of security, in their jobs, their government, their system of justice, their future and their kids’ future, then they do feel like there’s nothing left to lose. And people who feel that way demand change.

      This isn’t sustainable for the 1% but they will have to learn that the hard way, as they always have.

  5. Nirek says:

    Ad, Senators Sanders and Warren are our best bet to overturn Citizens United, IMO. Greed is America’s worst enemy. The greed of the BIG corporations and the very rich is unsustainable. Things like this are like a pendulum and in time the pendulum will swing back to the left.

    • AdLib says:

      Nirek, I agree, it’s been bubbling up since before the lies and profiteering of the Iraq War, the financial crash, Citizens United, Occupy Wall Street, minimum wage protests, Black Lives Matter…the public is slow to revolt but it sure seems to be building.

      I do think that the pendulum is swinging farther left, more Progressive and that Dems like Warren, Sanders, Sherrod Brown and others will be among the leaders of this movement.

      A rubber band can only be stretched so far…until it snaps. And the Plutocrats are always the last to know when they’ve reached “too much”.

  6. Kalima says:

    A really wonderful piece of writing and outstanding logic, AdLib. I won’t spoil it by offering my meagre opinion, especially this time of night, but will offer these two thoughts of wisdom from Aristotle that seem to blend in with your thoughts.

    Injustice

    Injustice armed is hardest to deal with; and though man is born with weapons which he can use in the service of practical wisdom and virtue, it is all too easy for him to use them for the opposite purposes. -- Aristotle, Politics. c.334-23 BC.

    Majorities and Minorities

    It is impossible for the whole to be happy, unless the majority, if not actually all, or at any rate some, parts possess happiness. For happiness is a very different thing from evenness: two odd numbers added together make an even number, but two unhappy sections cannot add up to a happy state. -- Aristotle, Politics. c.334-23 BC.

    • AdLib says:

      Kalima, these are some eternal truths. Not many people quoting Aristotle nowadays, you’ve shown why they should.

      This is a never-ending struggle for the majority of humanity, a minority will always horde power and wealth and the majority will constantly have to stand up to them or be forced into greater hardship.

      May be a cliche but seriously, why does anyone need to own more than $100 million? $50 million? $20 million? How much better can you live? What meals or cars or homes can you buy that you couldn’t have bought before? Yes, you can buy more of everything than you can use but what’s the point? Clearly not happiness.

      • Kalima says:

        Must be true about “the more you have, the more you want”. Thousands of shoes for Imelda Marcos who only had two feet like the rest of us while the people suffered. Multiple homes that most of these greedy buggers will never live in. Putin with his yacht and palaces for his middle aged, flabby-chested, shirtless horse riding, while smiling that hideous Botox induced fake grin. Speaking about Putin, bet he’s not smiling now. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving tyrant.

        “Rouble crashes to dramatic low amid frantic central bank rate rise”

        Russians left wondering whether the good times under Vladimir Putin are over as 17% interest rates fail to save the day

        http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/16/russia-rouble-frantic-central-bank-hike-putin

        You are right about Aristotle as most of what he said applies just as much today as it must have done then. There will always be greedy people in our world, but there are also always more of us than there are of them, and we must never stop protesting against what they do that makes others suffer.

  7. SearingTruth says:

    Thank you for precisely and eloquently giving the American people reasons for hope gentle friend AdLib.

    America needs more patriots like you. Undeterred and unafraid.
    ST

    “Nothing is certain, except that humanity is good.”
    SearingTruth

    A Future of the Brave


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