Fear and Progressive Policy

Great little piece from New York Magazine (h/t kthug) on a billionaire (Jeff Greene) who argues:

“This is my fear, and it’s a real, legitimate fear,” Greene says, revving up the engine. “You have this huge, huge class of people who are impoverished. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we will build a class of poor people that will take over this country, and the country will not look like what it does today. It will be a different economy, rights, all that stuff will be different.”

Um, yeah. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Why is it, exactly, that the plutocrats think they can indefinitely fuck with the rest of us?

Greene is getting at one dynamic… some sort electoral revolt. But what is worth noting is that traditionally it wasn’t just fear of electoral defeat that encouraged the super rich (or aristocrats previously) to make concessions, it was also the fear of mobs armed with pitchforks.

Throughout the 19th century, many progressive social changes occurred in the context of looming violence. Indeed, fear of the “the Revolution” was the driving dynamic behind much of the politics of progressive policy in Europe, and certainly it was a similar fear that brought many wealthy to accept the improvements in work conditions and ultimately social insurance here.

Indeed, I was reading a book on San Francisco from the 1950s to 1970s — Season of the Witch — and it was a reminder about how much left(ish) violence there was even at the time. It wasn’t that concessions were won at the point of a gun, but rather that a certain amount of fringe violence reminded the wealthy that there were limits they had to acknowledge.

It strikes me that the fall of the Soviet Union is another dynamic. No one is worried about the commies taking advantage of growing inequality, or the consequence of austerity.

The rich are worried about elections, but know they can control that through unlimited money. What they aren’t worried about is their skins.

Another part of the New York Magazine article quotes a hysterical member of the plutocracy:

More often than not, fears like these manifest as loathing for the current administration, as evidenced by the recent wave of Romney fund-raisers in the Hamptons. “Obama wants to take my money and give it to do-nothing animals,” one matron blurted at a recent party at the Pierre for Dick Morris’s Screwed!, the latest entry into a growing pile of socioeconomic snuff porn geared toward this audience.”

Keep it up lady. Keep it up, and sooner or later, holding onto your money is going to be the least of your problems.

Just to be clear, I’m not encouraging or condoning violence. I’m just saying that a healthy respect for the potential of violence in society would be a useful constraint on the sort of slash and burn politics being pushed by today’s right.






198 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    Both sides had it so good, for so long… they’ve both lost sight of how bad it can get; and how quick it can happen.

  2. 2
    redshirt says:

    In for the first Tumbrel comment.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    “Socioeconomic snuff porn” is the best description I have ever seen for the vile crap cranked out by Morris et al. It should be a rotating tag line.

  4. 4
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I would think the threat of violence goes both ways. The rich have the police to protect their property and keep the poor masses in their place.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Kerry Reid says:

    I’m guessing here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if all this “matron” did to get rich was to either inherit wealth or marry a rich dude.

  7. 7
    mass says:

    If you want a Banana Republic, run by and for the plutocrats, you’re going to get a Banana Republic, complete with kidnappings, killings, bank robberies and mob violence, to list a few identifiers.

    Sure, you can hire a bunch of Blackwater/Xe body guards and mercenaries to protect you in your walled compound and armored cars. But, remember: Their services can be bought by you; their services are for sale.

    Sleep tight.

  8. 8

    The only reason even small fragments of white America were willing to listen to Martin Luther King Jr. was because they saw Malcom X as the alternative.

  9. 9
    Brachiator says:

    Um, yeah. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Why is it, exactly, that the plutocrats think they can indefinitely fuck with the rest of us?

    History and precedent.

    Just to be clear, I’m not encouraging or condoning violence. I’m just saying that a healthy respect for the potential of violence in society would be a useful constraint on the sort of slash and burn politics being pushed by today’s right.

    The right has had no problem in dealing in violence, in ruthlessly suppressing opposition.

    It strikes me that the fall of the Soviet Union is another dynamic. No one is worried about the commies taking advantage of growing inequality, or the consequence of austerity.

    Huh? There is a great deal of concern, and suppressed outrage at the rise of oligarchs who are comandeering the economy, and of former commies who abused their privilege under the old system, and who find ways to abuse privilege under the new regime.

    On the other hand, I always wonder if those who talk about the potential of violence have much in the way of personal experience in either kicking ass or in having your ass kicked?

    The Schofield Kid: [after killing a man for the first time] It don’t seem real… how he ain’t gonna never breathe again, ever… how he’s dead. And the other one too. All on account of pulling a trigger.

    Will Munny: It’s a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.

    The Schofield Kid: Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.

    Will Munny: We all got it coming, kid.

  10. 10
    shortstop says:

    @Kerry Reid: My thoughts as well.

    Leaving aside the tumbrels for a moment, what is it about these people that they can’t recognize that creating a huge, permanent underclass will also affect their long-term prospects for growing and even maintaining wealth? Henry Ford is quoted so often as to be yawn-inducing, but it really is true that without a healthy middle class, the economy simply cannot grow.

    Are these people really unable to look six seconds down the road? This lack of foresight is not indicative of the superior business acumen they’re always assuring us they have.

  11. 11
    The Red Pen says:

    I was reading a recent Free Republic post asking “What if there are riots when Obama loses.”

    A lot of Freepers were quite excited by the prospect. They clearly envisioned this as an opportunity to shoot black people with impunity. Some of them indicated a desire to kick things off themselves.

    What they don’t get is that there are way more of “them” than there are of “us Freepers.” If violence starts, they may have some fun shooting a few looters, but they won’t live to see the smoking ruins the next day. They will be overrun. They may hate certain people in the abstract, but once they start firing into crowds of disenfranchised people, those people will hate them back in a tangible and much more deadly way.

    I wanted to ask, “How’d that civil war work out for you assholes last time?”

  12. 12
    pluege says:

    Why is it, exactly, that the plutocrats think they can indefinitely fuck with the rest of us?

    they live in a world created in their minds.

    that, plus they are slaves to their greed, they can’t kick the habit even if they could see how they’re destroying themselves along with the rest of society. They have adopted a value system that says a persons worth is measured by the amount of money they have without regard to how they accumulate the money. hence, they are superior by virtue of their 2wealth and everyone else is a parsite by virtue of not possessing obscene wealth.

  13. 13
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @mass:

    Sure, you can hire a bunch of Blackwater/Xe body guards and mercenaries to protect you in your walled compound and armored cars. But, remember: Their services can be bought by you; their services are for sale.

    and why is some Merc going to go the wall for you when it all goes to hell in handbasket. Everyone remembers what happened Louis XVI Swiss guard for staying loyal to the bitter end.

  14. 14
    jrg says:

    @Brachiator:

    On the other hand, I always wonder if those who talk about the potential of violence have much in the way of personal experience in either kicking ass or in having your ass kicked?

    Really? I’m seeing this as the opposite. I think that people who don’t understand the threat of violence are those who are blissfully unaware of it as a reality.

  15. 15
    WereBear says:

    @shortstop: Are these people really unable to look six seconds down the road? This lack of foresight is not indicative of the superior business acumen they’re always assuring us they have.

    That’s right. They are not looking down the road at all. Very few of them have any idea how to make money; thus the obsession with not having what they do have taken away.

  16. 16
    drouse says:

    You don’t think that they haven’t been preparing? Sonic cannons, microwave area denial weapons, police that are indistinguishable from mechanized infantry? If push comes to shove they plan on making it bloody. Think Syria magnified by a couple of orders of magnitude.

  17. 17
    ding dong says:

    @shortstop: they are not because they think they have so much money that they have enough money for their great great great grandkids. Look at Mittman. He has 20 million for each of grandkids right now. Chances are he will live another thirty years and have double that amount if not more. If things bad enough here his grandkids will move to China or wherever things are better.

  18. 18
    pharniel says:

    The last time I had this conversation it was on Bastille Day.

    I’m just saying the guy they interviewed? He’s got a good idea of what happens when that straw breaks. You typically get a bad end something that most american’s don’t appreciate.

    Revolution is [b]bad[/b]. The rich don’t seem to understand that they own property at the sufferance of the State and thus they benefit the most from stability.

  19. 19
    spongeworthy says:

    Ridiculous. Wouldn’t these frightened plutocrats conclude that the best way to prevent being overrun by angry broke people would be to see them get jobs? Why is the only legitimate solution you folks arrive at is just taking money from plutocrats and handing it to broke people?

    History tells us the money you extort from these plutocrats will be gone and nothing to show for it. If you really wanted to help the underclass and prevent a massacre of the wealthy, you’d be encouraging anything that would help people find work. Instead, you guys seem to think rich people are screwing you and the only solution is redistribution.

    Don’t you realize that rich people frequently get rich by putting people to work?

  20. 20
    Chyron HR says:

    @The Red Pen:

    A lot of Freepers were quite excited by the prospect. They clearly envisioned this as an opportunity to shoot black people with impunity.

    They’re not people, silly. They’re “animals”.

  21. 21
    D. Mason says:

    For perhaps the first time in history they don’t have to worry about it. They own enough of the nations military apparatus to protect themselves from any amount of rabble. Sure a few precious elites would fall to any uprising of the proles while the soldiers assemble but it doesn’t take the kind of time it used to. By the time the lower classes finished slogging it out they could be sitting on a beach somewhere posh, heads firmly attached, riches largely intact, watching the US burn on live satellite feed.

  22. 22
    Hungry Joe says:

    “Obama wants to take my money and give it to do-nothing animals,” one matron blurted …

    You have to wonder what she “does” (as opposed to those “do-nothing animals”) to deserve her upper-class, matronly status. Clips coupons well, probably; oversees servants; helps organize the occasional garden-club fundraiser. All on top of getting born into the right family and — give credit where it’s due — possibly marrying into a better one. She may have even broken a sweat in a dressage lesson.

    I am empathy-free: I have no clue what goes on in these people’s minds.

  23. 23
    jrg says:

    @spongeworthy: Read the article, sparky… Seriously. We’re talking about things like educational opportunities for kids, not handouts.

  24. 24

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  25. 25
    pharniel says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: Hell things go bad enough and “that’s a mighty nice house and daughters you’ve got there…” happens.

    That’s just directly out of The Prince. If these guys spent more time reading their Tsun Tzu and Machiveli and less on Rand we’d be in better shape.

    I guess that’s where the Noblise Oblige of the 40’s and 50’s came from – a concious decision that when people are at least content with their lot in life and don’t see the current game as unwin able they won’t rise up and take your stuff.

  26. 26
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Brachiator:

    On the other hand, I always wonder if those who talk about the potential of violence have much in the way of personal experience in either kicking ass or in having your ass kicked?

    Consider the point of view of an Egyptian twenty something during last year’s riots; you can

    a)chose peace and slowly and painfully starve to death.

    b) fight the current government, likely get beat to death or shot for the possibility of things changing so you don’t slowly, and painfully starve to death.

    So what’s you choice?

  27. 27
    Dave says:

    IIRC, this potential for violence was part of the reason FDR pushed so much social safety legislation in the 30s. He looked at the rest of the world going to shit and said “Let’s get ahead of this…”

  28. 28
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @shortstop: what is it about these people that they can’t recognize that creating a huge, permanent underclass will also affect their long-term prospects for growing and even maintaining wealth?

    They’re not particularly bright.

  29. 29
    pharniel says:

    @D. Mason:

    For perhaps the first time in history they don’t have to worry about it. They own enough of the nations military apparatus to protect themselves from any amount of rabble. Sure a few precious elites would fall to any uprising of the proles while the soldiers assemble but it doesn’t take the kind of time it used to. By the time the lower classes finished slogging it out they could be sitting on a beach somewhere posh, heads firmly attached, riches largely intact, watching the US burn on live satellite feed.

    The problem is what happens with some apocolyptic nutjob gets access to even a handful of stratigic nuclear weapons? You can be on that beach in the riviera but what happens when Col. Cletus who’s now in charge and implementing God’s Will decides to ‘cleanse’ that well known haven of filth and promescuity that is france with megatons of cleansing holy flame?

  30. 30

    Intelligent elites realize all have to perceive they are benefiting from the status quo.

    But our economic system rewards the most talented psychopaths and sociopaths able to game the system for short term profit. Most of our billionaires invented no new product, made no new discovery, and contributed nothing to the country’s well being as a whole. This selects against anyone capable of a long term view.

    Add to that the plummeting talent of the rampant nepotism in all our elite institutions and you have a national elite growing less and less intelligent and less and less competent as years go by. In media, in government, and in business no one near the top pays a high price for incompetence. Not a good long term prognosis for the country.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    @jrg:

    On the other hand, I always wonder if those who talk about the potential of violence have much in the way of personal experience in either kicking ass or in having your ass kicked?

    Either of you care to answer the question?

  32. 32
    Raven says:

    @Brachiator:

    On the other hand, I always wonder if those who talk about the potential of violence have much in the way of personal experience in either kicking ass or in having your ass kicked?

    If you mean getting a -B on a test, sure they’ve had their asses kicked.

  33. 33
    DonkeyKong says:

    “Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on: we cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances, we guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with us.-Tyler Durden

  34. 34
    Eruch says:

    And Xecky Gilchrist nails it. His/er answer has the virtue of simplicity, coherence, and is confirmed by experience. Well done.

  35. 35
    Waynski says:

    Agree with everything you say, Bernard. I worked on Wall Street in 2008, literally across the Street from Zuchotti Park. Whenever I’d walk outside during that time I’d worry that today might be the day some just-laid-off truck driver was going to start getting some pay back with an Ak-47. Never happened, but like you said… keep it up.

  36. 36
    jrg says:

    @Brachiator: I’ve got experience with both, which is why I disagree with you.

    The times I’ve seen violence break out, is was in one of two cases: 1) Someone thought they were invincible, and picked a fight, or 2) Someone thought they could talk any kind of shit they wanted without getting beat down.

    Edit: Furthermore, I fail to see how this is even relevant. Clearly, there is historical precedent for violence in cases of extreme wealth disparity.

  37. 37

    Pitch forks, rope, lamp posts! Who’s bringing the beer and snacks?

  38. 38
    mamayaga says:

    Didn’t we get a taste of this last fall in the brutal overreaction to the Occupy movement? Granted, it wasn’t the mass uprising of the inner city that the Feepers fantasize about, but it was open defiance by the new underclass as defined by our betters, namely, anyone not in Bush tax cut territory. That was in fact the message of Occupy, that 99% of us are now in the underclass and we should wake up and do something about it. The state reaction, of course, was that the heinous crimes of camping in the park and obstructing traffic merited beatings, gassing, arrests on bogus charges, etc. And look, the protests have stopped!

  39. 39
    Jay in Oregon says:

    I wonder if the right wing would fetishize the Constitution so much if the First Amendment mandated an estate tax instead?

  40. 40
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Brachiator: I always wonder if those who talk about the potential of violence have much in the way of personal experience in either kicking ass or in having your ass kicked?

    Aside from schoolyard fights, I don’t. But people who – like me – sat through history class and paid some attention know that violence happens when societies get too far out of joint. My proposed solution is avoidance: social-democratic policies that keep the gap between rich and poor from getting too wide.

    Do you really need to have your ass kicked to know that you don’t want it to happen?

    (So, pretty much what @jrg said.)

  41. 41

    @spongeworthy: Many did not get rich by putting anyone to work because they mad eit gambling in finance with other people’s money. Many others got rich by destroying American jobs and shifting them overseas while continuing to enjoy the benefits of living here rather than China. ‘Social tapeworm’ is a pretty good term for that crowd.

    For every Steve Jobs there are a lot of Jamie Dimons and John Corzines. And in addition there are a lot of folks whose only talent was to be the outcome of a well placed sperm meeting a well placed egg, who then assume there is something special about them that distinguishes them qualitatively from everyone else.

  42. 42
    Beauzeaux says:

    “Why is it, exactly, that the plutocrats think they can indefinitely fuck with the rest of us?”

    Divine right.

  43. 43
    Dave says:

    Fuck rich people, including this Jeff Greene, whoever the fuck he is. I hope his fucking yacht sinks.

  44. 44
    Cassidy says:

    @Brachiator: Yes. I’ve been on the giving and recieving(couple of funny stories) end of said ass-kicking, all throughout childhood and my teenage years, extending up into my time as a Soldier. My personal opinion, is that while the potential for violence is there, and historical precedent has shown that we’re close to the right time, the American public is too…submissive, for that kind of thing. Now, the minority communities may not be as they’re constantly on a conflict footing with police, but the rest are just way too passive or to stupid. When Billy Bob in podunk nowhere loses his trailer but still votes republican because “them queers are against the bible”, then you can pretty much assume that it is lost.

    There won’t be a poor persons uprising in this country. Civil war will come from the right as they become more extreme.

  45. 45
    srv says:

    People never seem to fathom the New Deal in the context of all those revolutions going on. I guess they would have just preferred outright Facism.

  46. 46

    @The Red Pen: I was reading a recent Free Republic post asking “What if there are riots when Obama loses.”

    Manson, the National Alliance, the KKK, the Freepers. These guys just jizz in their pants over the prospect of race war. It’s like the rapture, only with stockpiles of ammo.

  47. 47
    MonkeyBoy says:

    In historical England there was a 3 way dynamic between the King, the Nobility, and the Common People. The Nobility wanted to lessen the power of the King over them while the King enlisted the support in the commoners in as a protector of them from the Nobility. (In the Kingdom of Hungary the Nobility stripped the King of almost all power and ran roughshod over the commoners)

    The modern Democratic elite seems somewhat analogous to the old English role of King, while the Republican plan appears to be to maintain a scary underclass and then offer protection from it.

  48. 48
    Cassidy says:

    @Cris (without an H): The problem is that one lone guy with lots of guns, because that’s what it will be: one guy defending “his turf” can easily get overrun. He may kill a few, but it won’t take long before his stockpile just armed the uprisers. All these teatard fuckwits don’t think that way, though. They want to live a macho man, hero fantasy. In reality, they end up dead in this kind of thing.

  49. 49
    The Red Pen says:

    @Chyron HR:

    They’re not people, silly. They’re “animals”.

    I guess I should give the Freepers some credit, they did actually acknowledge that the hypothetical rioters were people — albeit “those” people.

  50. 50

    Why is it, exactly, that the plutocrats think they can indefinitely fuck with the rest of us?

    Using modern psychology and advertising/dissemination techniques, they’ve successfully bred the most servile, low-info and sadistic working class of the modern era. Rendering our electoral system inoperative.

    And in the unlikely event that the Curtain should ever slip, they are defended with weapons as far above the gun, as the gun was above the sword and the axe.

    Why would they be afraid?

  51. 51
    amk says:

    @Gus diZerega: steve jobs is an icon for american employment ?

  52. 52
    quannlace says:

    Heard a news squib about Romney being back from his Grand Tour….and Sweet Jesus. Add this to the list of words I never want to hear again, ‘VeepStakes!’ (The others are ‘job creators’ and ‘class warfare.’)
    It also mentioned the app the Romney campaign is releasing to help you follow all the VP excitement! Any guesses on how they’ll screw that up too?

  53. 53
    Bokonon says:

    Wait! Wait! In Atlas Shrugged, the productive people simply pulled back, let the system fail, and then they starved the looters into submission! Can’t the rich just do that here if the undeserving masses get too uppity?

    I think one of the worst signs of the intellectual health of our nation is that during this crisis, a significant number of the nation’s business leaders have defaulted into reading, distributing and quoting Ayn Rand. And they have reacted in a bunkered, self-pitying and reactionary way that is based off a poorly written piece of 1950’s dystopian science fiction. You know, instead of engaging with reality like the tough, unsentimental reality-based guys that they supposedly are. And dealing with hard facts. And gaming out real costs, losses, and benefits.

  54. 54
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @srv:

    People never seem to fathom the New Deal in the context of all those revolutions going on.

    Which revolutions?

    The US, the UK, Canada, Scandinavia, France, the Low Countries… all came out out of the Depression and/or into World War II the same way they went in — capitalist, parliamentary, democracies. And that was with U6 pushing 40% or more.

    We’re not even remotely close to the level of immiseration required to ‘kick things off’….

  55. 55
    Gus says:

    Why is it, exactly, that the plutocrats think they can indefinitely fuck with the rest of us?

    You see any evidence to the contrary? Poor people are beaten down. Labor is at its weakest in a century. The media are in service to the rich and give the people what they want, panem et circenses. Competing economic and political ideologies are completely discredited, justly or not. It’s gonna get one helluva lot worse before it gets better (assuming it does).

  56. 56
    RaptorFence says:

    I have basically always thought that the threat of something “farther left” is what kept the right in line for much of the previous century. Frankly, the threat of communism scared the right into making concessions that would be unthinkable today.

  57. 57
    amk says:

    @Cassidy: This

    There won’t be a poor persons uprising in this country. Civil war will come from the right as they become more extreme.

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: I even have a link to the two billionaires: http://stephenfrug.blogspot.co.....these.html

    Warren Buffett is a traitor to the insane billionaires.

  59. 59
  60. 60
    Jim Pharo says:

    Why is it collective resistance must be violent? Perhaps it’s the notion that any collective communal resistance necessarily implies the threat of violence, but I think of Gandhi, of Occupy Wall St, of Wisconsin, of Tahrir Square as examples of collective resistance without violence.

    My other thought is that what I learned from Corey Rubin is that it is always personal with these people. Much as they bray about the need to respect capitalism, job creationism, etc., what they’re really worried about is the prospect that they will have to mow their own lawns, cook their own meals, raise their own children etc. They are themselves self-indulgent children who are afraid of who will take care of them if they can’t hire people to do it.

    Why do you think they freak-out on a whole ‘nother level when there’s a protest at their house, or their personal email is published, etc.

  61. 61
    Sideshow Bill says:

    @spongeworthy: Hum, record company profits, high unemployment. That’s been the headline for a few years now. Doesn’t look like they are using their wealth in a manner that will create sustainable growth by creating consumers for their products.

    Of course now that people are still broke and can’t even run up debt their personal debt anymore, profits are going to start dropping. Maybe they’ll start to feel a little pin prick while everyone else gets another blast of double barrelled fun. (Where I work, we just laid of another 40 because demand is way down, but of course we’ve added more VP’s too, because they can magically get more work out of fewer resources.)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....f=business

  62. 62

    @Xecky Gilchrist: But people who – like me – sat through history class and paid some attention know that violence happens when societies get too far out of joint.

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
    some commie

  63. 63
    Cassidy says:

    Why is it collective resistance must be violent?

    It doesn’t have to be, but I think the point here is that when you resist progressive reforms and actively seek to enrich yourself and destroy the middle and lower classes, a point is reached where the underlying anger can no longer be constrained. That much anger rarely ends well for anyone.

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @Gus: I disagree. We had 25% unemployment in 1933 and no safety net by comparison with today. 8% unemployment compares with the view that many people had of the healthcare debate. ‘I have insurance from my employer, will this make it better or worse.’
    but instead it is “Well, I still have a job and am keeping up payments. Things could be a lot worse.”

    25% unemployment with no safety net is qualitatively different from what today is. And we did NOT get revolution at 25% unemployment. Hitler came in with 48% unemployment.

    Makes me wonder what unemployment rates were like in 1930’s Spain.

  65. 65
    Joel says:

    Jeff Greene implicitly compares Francois Hollande to Hugo Chavez in that piece, which is unintentionally hilarious to me.

  66. 66
    Joel says:

    Jeff Greene implicitly compares Francois Hollande to Hugo Chavez in that piece, which is unintentionally hilarious to me.

  67. 67

    @Hungry Joe: Clips coupons well, probably;

    do what now? I thought coupon-clipping was a pursuit for those of us who have to think about how much things cost.

  68. 68
    Cassidy says:

    @Cris (without an H): The only thing she does for that money….no, too crass.

  69. 69

    It’s impossible to mobilize the poor in this country to vote as a bloc on behalf of their own economic self-interest, and you’re wondering why the plutocracy doesn’t fear an armed uprising? The aristocrats have had about three and a half centuries during which to perfect their divide and conquer techniques to keep factions of the lower classes fighting each other for scraps while the elites take everything, so it’s not a great surprise that they’ve gotten pretty good at it by now.

  70. 70

    @Cassidy: Say man, did you end up moving to Missoula?

  71. 71
    catclub says:

    @Cris (without an H): The coupons on tax free municipal bonds. Not the ones in the newspaper circular.

    I know of them. Never actually seen them. I assume they are all just electrons now.

  72. 72
    Cassidy says:

    @Cris (without an H): No. I’m still in Florida. Me and the better half had a come to jesus moment where she very “assertively” explained to me that she didn’t want to move anymore. So now, I’m a GS civilian doing admin work and about to start the Firefighter Academy.

  73. 73
    Mary says:

    I believe it was right here in Balloon Juice comments a few months ago that I first read the phrase “Roosevelt now, or Robespierre later.”

  74. 74
    shoutingattherain says:

    And this revolution will come from the street-theater, paper-mache American Left?

    hahahahaha lol hee hee

    Not gonna happen. We’re comfortable. We’re fat. We’re pussies.

  75. 75
    TenguPhule says:

    “Obama wants to take my money and give it to do-nothing animals,” one matron blurted at a recent party at the Pierre

    These idiots are just queueing up for that spot in front of the wall, aren’t they.

  76. 76
    TenguPhule says:

    We’re comfortable. We’re fat. We’re pussies.

    The teabagger motto.

  77. 77
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy: I would have taken her to Montana before the final decision. Missoula is actually a nice little college town and despite the wingnuttiness Montana is stunningly gorgeous. Plus they have a pretty progressive governor right now who is making the teatards cry daily.

  78. 78
    HEY YOU says:

    Who will be protecting the police’s property while they are protecting the rich/

  79. 79
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @spongeworthy:

    you guys seem to think rich people are screwing you

    Yes. And?

    Don’t you realize that rich people frequently get rich by putting people to work?

    Tell them that, cause they ain’t doin’ it, even with the historically low tax rates that were supposed to unlock FREEDOM!

  80. 80
    Cassidy says:

    I think it’s interesting that we’re discussing this and earlier their was a discussion on the apes learning to dismantle the traps from poachers.

    At some point, the oppressed and hunted always start to fight back.

  81. 81

    I gotta come down on the side that militarizing the police forces to deal with mass demonstrations is pretty strong circumstantial evidence that economic elites had a pretty good idea where they were taking the economy.

    The crime was not incidental, but planned.

    And there is no shortage of thugs to hire as “police” and private security.

  82. 82
    Cassidy says:

    @Yutsano: You missed the assertive in quotes, lol. I didn’t do a lot of talking in that conversation.

    Personally, I was for it. I don’t remember hte exact job, now, but I remember thinking that it was good work and good pay. She just reached her limit. I ended up withdrawing from the Border Patrol process after that as well.

  83. 83
    TenguPhule says:

    Don’t you realize that rich people frequently get rich by putting people to work? into poverty.

    Fixed it for you.

    The modern serious business model for rich assholes is slash, loot and burn.

    And it needs to be discouraged. Ideally with heads literally rolling.

  84. 84
    Kilgore Trout says:

    @Cris (without an H):

    do what now? I thought coupon-clipping was a pursuit for those of us who have to think about how much things cost.

    Bond coupons.

  85. 85
    Marshall says:

    Having lived in both places, I think that this is the biggest difference between France and America. Few forget, in France, how bad it can get if you push things too far.

  86. 86
    mechwarrior online says:

    To late, and they have nothing to worry about. The left is weak and will never endorse violence so why should anybody be afraid? Look at the hysteria at people in the black block.

    Currently progressives will die and starve in the streets before firing a single shot. We all know that, so who honestly cares?

  87. 87
    TenguPhule says:

    By the time the lower classes finished slogging it out they could be sitting on a beach somewhere posh, heads firmly attached, riches largely intact, watching the US burn on live satellite feed.

    Funny thing, all the posh beaches not controlled by people who believe in economic stability through not screwing their workers happen to be kidnapping capitals of the world.

    And they tend to not return their captives even after ransom.

  88. 88
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy: I detected that subtlety. :) There are bigger worlds than Jacksonville out there though. Plus who’s to say you won’t be moving in your firejock career? I’m looking at the possibility of going back east at some point in the IRS, not to mention if I get on with the VA I can live almost literally anywhere I want to.

  89. 89
    jl says:

    The country is at a juncture. Perhaps even a critical dangerous juncture! Of danger and badness.

    Dangerous radical voices will arise, seducing the depraved and degenerate masses of half human lesser people to abandon the great principle that form the foundation of our Empire: I got mine, eff you!

    For example, this commie:

    ” Under every view of the subject, it seems indispensable that the Mass of Citizens should not be without a voice, in making the laws which they are to obey, & in chusing the Magistrates, who are to administer them, and if the only alternative be between an equal & universal right of suffrage for each branch of the Govt. and a confinement of the entire right to a part of the Citizens, it is better that those having the greater interest at stake namely that of property & persons both, should be deprived of half their share in the Govt.; than, that those having the lesser interest, that of personal rights only, should be deprived of the whole.

    James (Commie) Madision
    Note to His Speech on the Right of Suffrage, 1821

    Note: I bolded the commie atheist uppity part, as a warning. So you poor misguided sheeples will know what to watch out for. Yeesh, you have to explain everything to this stupid rabble.

  90. 90
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I gotta come down on the side that militarizing the police forces to deal with mass demonstrations is pretty strong circumstantial evidence that economic elites had a pretty good idea where they were taking the economy.

    In 1890, the US army had cavalry armed with carbines, and swords, infantry armed with bolt-action rifles and the odd machine gun. The police did too. So did the Pinkertons, and Baldwin-Felts, and such.

    The difference is today, the technology they all share is more advanced. But that’s the only difference.

    The mutatis don’t even mutandis in this vale of tears.

  91. 91
    scav says:

    @Joel: M. Marshmallow, François Hollande, oooo yeah, scary scary scary. Clearly, we’ve underestimated marshmallows for far too long, it takes a marshmallow to raise taxes. Unleash the Jettpuffed Battalions! “What do we want?! S’MORES!!! When do we want them?! NOW!!!

  92. 92
    Pathman says:

    Spongeworthy, buddy, pal, it’s time to put down the kool aid. You’ve been lapping up the serious piles of bullshit being fed to you by….whom? Do you actually read anything on this blog? It pretty much contradicts everything you just said.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Russian, of course. Then look at Spain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, and all the other counties flirted with fascism and dealt with frequent left-right violence in the streets. All might not have boiled over into revolution but the cauldron was bubbling up.

  94. 94
    Cassidy says:

    @Yutsano: Honestly, Jax ain’t bad. We both grew up here and it isn’t a bad place. I’m not enthralled with Florida at the moment, politically, but most of my job prospects involved South Carolina, Texas, Arizona, etc., so it isn’t the worst. I think the biggest factor is that she has a job now that has some promise of promotion and can turn into a career for her, or has at least given us breathing room for her to decide what she wants to do. She followed me around for 13 years and I can’t really argue with that.

  95. 95
    TenguPhule says:

    so why should anybody be afraid?

    Because some day soon, an unemployed father/husband/brother/son/wife/mother/daughter/sister is going to look at their family, look at the banks, the CEOs and the Republican Pols telling them to suck it up and die silently, and decide, fuck it.

    And then the blood starts flowing.

  96. 96
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Brachiator: It strikes me that the fall of the Soviet Union is another dynamic. No one is worried about the commies taking advantage of growing inequality, or the consequence of austerity.

    Huh? There is a great deal of concern, and suppressed outrage at the rise of oligarchs who are comandeering the economy, and of former commies who abused their privilege under the old system, and who find ways to abuse privilege under the new regime.

    He’s talking about the threat of Communism as a legitimate alternative to the USA. As long as there was the possibility of the USA going communist, the oligarchs had to be polite. Since the fall of the USSR, that’s no longer seen as a viable alternative.

  97. 97
    Scott S. says:

    I’m going to go with the safe assumption here. There won’t be a revolution. Things will continue to get worse. Boot stamping on human face, et cetera, et cetera.

    The fact is, good always loses, and evil always wins. In that respect, Chris Hedges may have the right idea: flee while you can, find somewhere you won’t get killed, and hope you can ride it out ’til it’s safe to come out of hiding.

  98. 98
    Argive says:

    @Mary:

    “Roosevelt now, or Robespierre later.”

    Yup. But to be fair, Greene seems to get it (sorta):

    “It is kind of a problem in America that so many Americans believe if they elect a different president, everything is going to be fine. This whole idea of American exceptionalism, that we’re the greatest, when people don’t have health insurance, don’t have housing . . . There are all these people in this country who are just not participating in the American Dream at all,” he says. This makes him uncomfortable, not least because they might try to take a piece of his. “Right now, for some bizarre reason, a lot of these people are supporting Republicans who want to cut taxes on the wealthy,” he says. “At some point, if we keep doing this, their numbers are going to keep swelling, it won’t be an Obama or a Romney. It will be a ­Hollande. A Chávez.”

    “Nobody gets it,” he grumbles, gunning over the boardwalk that leads from his boathouse to the beach. “I see David Koch a lot of the time. His policies are ridiculous. I don’t think he’s ever been to one of these schools where they have a rolling cart, where one computer has to go to different classrooms, and it can make so much difference, a $700 computer! I don’t think these guys realize, this is what they’re cutting off? To say to those kids, ‘Too bad, every man for himself’?”

    US labor history is full of violence. Erik Loomis at LGM has done a great job of cataloguing many of the more egregious examples in his series “This Day in Labor History.” I absolutely do not advocate violence of any kind. But Greene is right when he says later on in the interview that “I don’t think [wealthy people] understand what people can go for when they are at the end of their line.”

  99. 99
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Developed nations, with the exception of Germany, didn’t change their basic economic models, or constitutions, as a result of the Great Depression.

  100. 100
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy: If it makes you feel better, my parents had this exact same fight. After coming back to Washington (where they were both born & met) my mom said, “This is it, I ain’t moving!” even though Dad got stationed to a couple different postings afterwards. The last one before he retired was Treasure Island. I WANTED to actually move that time, but I was a junior in high school so my vote counted for zip. Mom stuck to her guns and I finished in Bremerton. Of course at the time she was working for a health insurance company and making more than my dad, so I’m sure that had something to do with it as well.

  101. 101
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    As long as there was the possibility of the USA going communist, the oligarchs had to be polite.

    That accounts for about 18 months, in 1931-32. The rest of the time… not so much.

  102. 102
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Brachiator:No.

    BTW I do come from a long line of steel mill workers from Pennsylvania.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_Strike

    Now what is your point please about this?

  103. 103
    Turgidson says:

    @spongeworthy:

    Don’t you realize that rich people frequently get rich by putting people to work?

    Sure, we realize that. The rich so-called job creators are the ones who have trouble realizing that at the moment. They and many of the corporations they run are sitting on mountains of cash the size of Everest – not spending it on hiring or expansion. Just sitting on it.

    I’m told it’s because they’re scared of the sockulist in the “White” House and his radical anti-business agenda. My theory is that it’s because they’re fucking assholes who won’t be satisfied with how good they have it until they have a negative tax rate and a new law is passed where us peons have to spend an hour a day praising their wisdom and kindness, or have what wealth we’ve managed to mooch from them confiscated and returned to them as the rightful owners.

  104. 104
    Cassidy says:

    @Yutsano: No, I’m fine. Part of the conversation was her asking why I couldn’t be happy being home. I wanted jobs (mostly) that were going to have me doing long hours in law enforcement. It made take a step back and re-evaluate my priorities. I still want public service, but I think we’ve found a good compromise.

  105. 105
    thalarctos says:

    The rich think they can hold out and hold on. They imagine, pace Orwell, a Gucci loafer stepping on a human face, forever.

  106. 106
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy:

    Part of the conversation was her asking why I couldn’t be happy being home

    That’s a valid question. You do have a kick-ass daughter you know. :)

    I have to head off and bust tax cheats and babysit Alaskans now. I’m hoping beyond hope I get a call from one of the Palins. Anecdote is not the plural of data, but I have a rather inordinate number of Alaskans call me from Wasilla. Not saying anything, but it is interesting…

  107. 107
    accidentalfission says:

    @spongeworthy:

    Don’t you realize that rich people frequently get rich by putting people to work?

    Seriously? Like Paris Hilton? Like private equity firms aka leveraged buyout aka hostile takeover?

    Like the creators of high frequency trading programs, mortgage backed securities, and credit default swaps?

    All of these are schemes that create nothing, produce nothing, help no one. These schemes create nothing that anyone can eat, wear, drive, or sleep in. These schemes skim money off the backs of working people. They are totally disconnected from the back-breaking labor required to extract resources and turn them into usable goods.

    Sure, there’s a need for stock markets and commodity exchanges. There’s no use for the 400% growth in the finance sector of our economy since the Reagan era.

  108. 108
    Cassidy says:

    The rich think they can hold out and hold on

    That made me think of World War Z. The story where they overran the compound was fun to read.

  109. 109
    karen says:

    Two countries and time periods. Greece in the late 60s. Brazil now.

    That’s where I see us headed towards.

    Greece in the late 60s where the right wing and military took over, thugs were hired to assassinate whoever the right wing didn’t like then after their coup, stayed in power for a long time.

    Brazil, now where there is a permanent underclass where the wild children from the favelas are killed by police for businessmen.

    That is where we will be if the current conditions continue.

    As for the freepers creaming for a race riot, I think that if Obama does get re-elected that will be reason enough for them and a whole lot of others to start one and the proof is how they projected about how what will happen if Obama doesn’t win, something the right wing always does.

    To be honest, I think Obama’s existence is enough for these fuckers to start a race war and they’ve been trying since Obama was elected. All I hope for is that it doesn’t get super bloody and that Obama and his family survive it.

  110. 110
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Maybe so. There was also the fact that the USA was trying to convince the rest of the world (where revolution was more likely) to not go communist and nationalize their industries and/or shut out American business from their market. It would have been a tougher sell if America had been the dump that it is today.

  111. 111
    Scott S. says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Yeah, the blood starts flowing… when he goes and shoots the gay guy next door, or the black family across the street, or the Democratic Party HQ downtown, or just takes down the wife and kids. Then the SWAT team shows up, blows him away, and the Luke Russert giggles over it next time he’s on TV.

    They never target the people they need to target. Because they’ve been told that the reason they don’t have money is because of gays and blacks and Hispanics and Democrats and wives who talk back.

  112. 112
    Hungry Joe says:

    Nothing takes the wind out a revolution’s sails like the inconvenient fact that just about everybody in this country has a roof over his head, clothes to wear, enough food to eat, a few bucks for the lottery, and access to high-def crapola telling him he’d have a better life if it weren’t for gays, atheists, and socialists/Democrats. Seriously. The homeless are a blip in the population. Few people, if any, are actually starving; we’ve seen no Biafra-baby photos (yet). It’s tough to get the masses into the street when the game — or, literally, anything — is on.

    So in a sense, “trickle-down” actually works: Just enough trickles down to keep people pacified.

    For now.

  113. 113
    Cassidy says:

    @Yutsano: Oh definitely. I think a part of it was trying to figure out a new identity. I’ve always been a Soldier. I’ve always thought of myself in those terms. She shut me up real quick when I said that and she said “Well, how about you try and be Dad and Husband?”. That got my attention real quick.

    Honestly, the Firefighter thing is a mix of interest and pragmatic. It satisfies my need to be doing something exciting and service oriented, the schedule is great so I’ll be home a lot, and I’ve already got the EMT background. When they do hire, vets go ot the top of the list. I’m actually pretty excited about the future.

  114. 114

    The most bizarre irony is that the Kochs are pushing the country towards that state of ‘the Revolution’ in their paranoid delusion that they’re fighting against that revolution. Remember, their motivation is their father’s crusade against ‘socialists’ of the 1900 style. A group that ceased to exist around the time the Kochs were born.

  115. 115
    accidentalfission says:

    @Gus diZerega: You just summarized one of the best posts Juan Cole ever made and that’s saying a lot. The Great Reagan Pyramid Scheme Comes Crashing Down

  116. 116
    NeoOstrakon says:

    I was speaking to a very wealthy friend of mine that put it well. He said, “I don’t want to live in a country where I have to live behind a 12ft electrified fence because a majority of the populous is impoverished.” He’s a republican that will vote for Obama.

  117. 117
    Socraticsilence says:

    @drouse:

    The problem with this idea in the US, is non-Urban areas are heavily armed- you think the Afghans fight, see what happens in rural Montana or West Virginia if push comes to shove.

  118. 118
    shortstop says:

    @karen: Brasil has hugely expanded its middle class over the past decade or so, exactly opposite to what’s happening here.

    I take your point, though. A gigantic and permanent American underclass is clearly what these douchebags are striving for.

  119. 119
    The Red Pen says:

    @spongeworthy:

    Don’t you realize that rich people frequently get rich by putting people to work?

    No they don’t.

    Businesses generate revenue by selling products or services. It is usually necessary to hire people to create or deliver these, but your formulation implies it’s the other way around. It’s part of a false narrative that says that if companies have more money, they will hire more people… because… underpants.

    Companies hire more people when they have more demand than the current people can handle. Companies do not like to hire more people and the fact that they hire people is not what makes them money.

  120. 120
    Cluttered Mind says:

    @Jim Pharo: Nonviolent resistance will never work here because quite a lot of people on the right already fantasize about liberals being brutalized or even killed when they try to protest. Remember the UC Davis pepper spraying? It was almost a unanimous opinion on the right that the students had it coming. I don’t think there’s any level of violence against liberals that people of that mindset would not be okay with. I don’t see a way out of this.

  121. 121
    hep kitty says:

    @The Red Pen: I’m surprised Ann didn’t say “you animals”

  122. 122
    ericblair says:

    @The Red Pen:

    Businesses generate revenue by selling products or services. It is usually necessary to hire people to create or deliver these, but your formulation implies it’s the other way around. It’s part of a false narrative that says that if companies have more money, they will hire more people… because… underpants.

    It’s this bizarre servile mentality that assumes that jobs are favors that rich people hand out as rewards for giving the rich people more money.

    I’ve hired people for my company, and I’m not the only one around here. There’s no “rich person” hiring anybody, since the employee will be paid by the corporation, which itself is a pile of paper in a state office somewhere. So there are middle-class yutzes like me who are given a limited amount of authority to hire people when we have a specific need and a business case. So you write your reqs and you interview people and you have your evaluations and conference calls and whaddayaknow, someone gets hired.

    Funnily enough, I have no fucking clue whether our corporate tax has gone up or down, since it’s absolutely no factor in the decision. We hire people when we have a need for a person to do work and the budget to pay them.

  123. 123
    cckids says:

    @shortstop:

    what is it about these people that they can’t recognize that creating a huge, permanent underclass will also affect their long-term prospects for growing and even maintaining wealth?

    For the love of FSM, this. Jonathan Kozol maintained in “Savage Inequalities” that, even if you don’t give a crap about the moral problems with essentially throwing away the 25% – 30% of kids who don’t graduate from high school, the economic disaster which naturally follows should make you think. Not so far.

    edit to add: WTF, WP? blockquote fail, sorry

  124. 124
    The Moar You Know says:

    To late, and they have nothing to worry about. The left is weak and will never endorse violence so why should anybody be afraid? Look at the hysteria at people in the black block.
    __
    Currently progressives will die and starve in the streets before firing a single shot. We all know that, so who honestly cares?

    @mechwarrior online: This. Right now the left’s not even willing to respond in kind to the smears used against the president. You’re trying to tell me these people are going to pick up arms? IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

    Because some day soon, an unemployed father/husband/brother/son/wife/mother/daughter/sister is going to look at their family, look at the banks, the CEOs and the Republican Pols telling them to suck it up and die silently, and decide, fuck it.
    __
    And then the blood starts flowing.

    @TenguPhule: It sure does, just like in Aurora. The blood that flows is the blood of other proles, not the guilty. The rich don’t need to hit the local Cineplex to see the Batman premiere, now do they? You think you can get within several miles of where the rich really hang out? Ridiculous. You’re talking about people whose idea of radical change is cutting the Obama campaign a $100 check and walking to the mailbox to send it, congratulating themselves all the way, and popping on some old-school Public Enemy when they get home.

    You hate the overclass, as do I. The difference between you and I is that I hate their willingly servile slaves even more – what some “liberals” last year termed the 99%. “Little Eichmanns” indeed.

  125. 125
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @The Moar You Know: “Little Eichmanns” indeed.

    Holy shit, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone approvingly quoting Ward Churchill. I’ma get this bronzed!

  126. 126
    Marshall says:

    @Dave: Correct. FDR was convinced that if he failed, there would be a violent revolution.

    Note that revolution can come from the right as well as the left.

  127. 127
    Redshift says:

    @Turgidson: That may be true, but it’s not the reason why. The real reason is that the whole “they’re Job Creators, and creating jobs is what they do!” line is a lie. Jobs are an expense, not a product, and a well-run company only creates jobs when there is enough demand that they need them. I don’t often try to judge whether people are lying or just stupid, but the idea that if they have more money, they’ll spend it creating jobs is so obviously ludicrous that nearly everyone who spouts it has to know it’s a lie.

  128. 128
    Barry says:

    @Cassidy: “Honestly, the Firefighter thing is a mix of interest and pragmatic. It satisfies my need to be doing something exciting and service oriented, the schedule is great so I’ll be home a lot, and I’ve already got the EMT background. When they do hire, vets go ot the top of the list. I’m actually pretty excited about the future.”

    The big problem is that firefighters are now high up on the elimination list of the right.

  129. 129
    Barry says:

    @Socraticsilence: “The problem with this idea in the US, is non-Urban areas are heavily armed- you think the Afghans fight, see what happens in rural Montana or West Virginia if push comes to shove.”

    Push has come to shove in those areas, and the alleged ‘Afghans’ there haven’t done sh*t. Remember, those guys have been reliable patsies for the elites ever since the elites used them as cannon fodder in the pro-slavery fight.

  130. 130
    Redshift says:

    @Cluttered Mind:

    Nonviolent resistance will never work here because quite a lot of people on the right already fantasize about liberals being brutalized or even killed when they try to protest.

    So? Nonviolent resistance does not require that both sides agree to keep it nonviolent. The nonviolent movements led by Gandhi and MLK both faced huge amounts of violence. In particular, compared to right-wingers fantasizing about liberals, in the Civil Rights era there were a lot more people who not only fantasized about killing black people, but had actually done it. It didn’t stop a nonviolent resistance movement from existing and succeeding.

    Nonviolent resistance is about what you choose to do, not what is done to you.

  131. 131
    Turgidson says:

    @Redshift:

    I get that – but good businesses can make more money by hiring people if the new people produce more value for the company than their wage. This, of course, is more likely to be the case when there is sufficient demand in the economy. Which this economy doesn’t have, thanks to the braindead GOP’s efforts to hold demand down by preventing the government from generating it as a last resort. And the rich bankroll the GOP (well, more so than the Dems anyway). Hence, they don’t seem to think creating jobs can increase their wealth, as a first principle, at the moment. Like I said, ’cause they’re assholes. And probably also because short-term profiteering is all they know at this point, and taking on additional payroll is not a short term money maker, and not a guaranteed longer term winner either.

  132. 132
    Cassidy says:

    @Redshift: I don’t think we have a society capable of non-violent confrontation anymore. We also don’t have a MLK or Ghandi.

  133. 133
    mtraven says:

    What 9 and 49 and no doubt others have said. They think they can get away with it because so far they have, and because the US under and middle classes do not seem very dangerous, to put it mildly. They are stuck out in the suburbs in front of their TVs, not massing in the public square (which doesn’t even exist anymore) to storm the Bastille.

    What made Occupy so exciting was that it seemed to be a chink in the gray media-driven numbness that envelopes American political culture. Hopefully just a first step.

  134. 134
    Berial says:

    @shortstop:

    Leaving aside the tumbrels for a moment, what is it about these people that they can’t recognize that creating a huge, permanent underclass will also affect their long-term prospects for growing and even maintaining wealth? Henry Ford is quoted so often as to be yawn-inducing, but it really is true that without a healthy middle class, the economy simply cannot grow.

    The problem is that their long-term prospects AREN’T based off of the ‘real’ economy. It’s based off the gambling hall that our financial sector is based upon. When your money is made by “imaginary” means you don’t really care all that much what is happening in the real world.

  135. 135
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Marshall:

    Note that revolution can come from the right as well as the left.

    Or both. Or neither. Cf. Huey Long, or Napoleon.

  136. 136
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Socraticsilence:

    The problem with this idea in the US, is non-Urban areas are heavily armed- you think the Afghans fight, see what happens in rural Montana or West Virginia if push comes to shove.

    Yep. A lot of folks here love to sneer at the notion that right wingers with guns (or armed progressives for that matter) could cause problems for our high tech military.

    They can cause a hell of a lot of trouble. Add to that the study done back in the 90’s that projected up to a 50% defection rate for US Army units in the event of a large, regional insurrection and you have the potential for combat units to be combat ineffective before they even reach the battlefield.

  137. 137
    shortstop says:

    @Berial: Right, but the financial sector is a piece of the overall economy, not a parallel structure. The idea that casino operations can continue indefinitely is willfully blind.

  138. 138
    Another Halocene Human says:

    You know, Bernard, you’re being just a tad too glib. There’s several packed cubic meters full of air molecules between the sabots lobbed by angry workers and black bloc wannabes engaging in criminal mischief under the cover of legitimate mass movements.

    Furthermore, the history of labor violence in THIS country includes a great deal of violence instigated by the bosses. If union stewards gained a reputations for being brawlers is was possibly because they were being shot at. The Pinkertons effectively selected for a combination of tough, violent, and a little bit crazy.

    If you look at the 50’s through the 70’s you have a history of racial violence, both whites escalating the violence used to maintain Jim Crow even as it began to crumble and blacks tearing up urban infrastructure in an impotent protest against intolerable conditions. By contrast, ultra-violent leftist groups were a kind of sad footnote to the 70’s, swiftly and irrevocably crushed by the government, murdered, imprisoned, or forced into hiding. In a time when violent crime was at an all time high per capita, I think it unlikely that such violence was as politically significant as you imagine. If anything, such groups gave cover to the “law and order” (=bring back separate but equal) voter.

  139. 139
    shortstop says:

    @Berial: Right, but the financial sector is a piece of the overall economy, not a parallel structure. The idea that cas.ino operations can continue indefinitely is willfully blind.

  140. 140
    Chris says:

    @mechwarrior online:

    And yet they’re still terrified of us, which is the most remarkable thing of all. It’s not a cynical political ploy, not for the base: people form militias, go bankrupt buying ammo, and in the most extreme cases, commit murder and risk imprisonment and the death penalty, because they’re just that scared to death of the Liberal One Wielder Socialist Politically Correct tyranny they think is forming before their eyes.

    Not since the Protocols of Zion have so many people been worked up over a nonexistent threat.

  141. 141
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Cassidy:

    I don’t think we have a society capable of non-violent confrontation anymore. We also don’t have a MLK or Ghandi.

    When peaceful protestors get shot at, bludgeoned and arrested on false charges by militarized police, it does tend to radicalize the protestors towards violence.

  142. 142
    SatanicPanic says:

    @Redshift: You could actually make the argument that non-violent resistance is more effective if it’s on the receiving end of violence. Not that I want to volunteer anyone on our side for a beatdown. I’d like to think I’d take some pepper spray in the face for the right cause.

  143. 143
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:
    Everyone remembers what happened Louis XVI Swiss guard for staying loyal to the bitter end.

    It made the Swiss brand and thus, their progeny for generations got fat guarding the ill-gotten gold of history’s greatest monsters?

  144. 144
    Cassidy says:

    @celticdragonchick: I’m in total agreement. What I’m trying to say though is that we, as Americans, don’t have it in us for nonviolent protests. Sure, they are done, but the thought in the back of the brain is “what if this gets violent”. Violence is a part of our culture, now, and I’m not sure we have the wiring to think otherwise.

  145. 145
    accidentalfission says:

    @mechwarrior online: The gun fondlers are going to kill each other by the dozens while they’re on the lookout for people with hoodies and Obama bumper stickers.

    So yeah, there will be lots of gun and ammo stashes available to us liberals who know how to use them. Just watch out for the booby traps Lt. Col. Cletus (USAF-Ret) left in his basement.

  146. 146
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @WereBear: ding ding ding

    And don’t forget the ones who, like Mitt, made some of their clams stripping down and raiding what was left of the economy. Vulture capitalism IS their skill, so why stop now? When they’re done with the US there are plenty of others (France, Canada) to move on to.

  147. 147
    BobS says:

    @Barry: I have many friends and family members who are firefighters. Despite their recent addition to the Public Enemies list, sadly the majority of them remain right-wing assholes when it comes to their personal political views.

  148. 148
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @pharniel: The rich don’t seem to understand that they own property at the sufferance of the State and thus they benefit the most from stability.

    But of course they realize this. The smart, connected ones offshore all the loot they can, ready to flee when things get harsh.

    The dumb ones buy gold. (The dumbest ones try to leave the country with it via commercial aircraft.)

  149. 149
    Chris says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Huey Long was definitely on the left, IMO.

    Napoleon was an interesting “third way” ruler in that he used conservative government and methods to promote progressive ideas. You could say something similar about De Gaulle in the following century.

  150. 150
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @spongeworthy: It’s not as if altering the Gini coefficient and government investment in education and infrastructure makes for a bigger pie to be shared or anything.

  151. 151
    celticdragonchick says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    You could actually make the argument that non-violent resistance is more effective if it’s on the receiving end of violence. Not that I want to volunteer anyone on our side for a beatdown. I’d like to think I’d take some pepper spray in the face for the right cause.

    As long as the police and their apologists can make a case for “long haired hippies who had a beatdown coming” or some variant thereof, they will keep getting away with it. Right now, general public support for militarized police brutality is nearly unbreakable.

    Remember this incident from Aurora, Colorado two months ago?

    Did anything change?

    If the images of dozens of people pulled from their cars at gunpoint and handcuffed without probable cause or warrant…not to mention an officer pointing a shotgun (with his finger on the trigger!)at a terrified child don”t make people budge, then right now, nothing will.

  152. 152
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @jrg: Handouts, indeed, not a terribly effective form of redistribution, but don’t knock them–they definitely work better than deregulation and tax cuts for the .01%.

  153. 153
    Berial says:

    @shortstop: No doubt, but the elites in this article seem to be mostly the financial or inherited wealth type or the very top of the corporate ladder with very little working knowledge of how the ‘animals’ live.

  154. 154
    The Moar You Know says:

    If the images of dozens of people pulled from their cars at gunpoint and handcuffed without probable cause or warrant…not to mention an officer pointing a shotgun (with his finger on the trigger!)at a terrified child don”t make people budge, then right now, nothing will.

    @celticdragonchick: Shaddup I’ma watching mah teevee!

  155. 155
    SatanicPanic says:

    @celticdragonchick: Has anything changed? Actually, I thought the OWS protests were pretty effective at getting the austerity program off the table. Good work for about 2 months of disorganized protesting and images of kids getting pepper-sprayed were part of that. Compare that to the G8 protests- those accomplished absolutely nothing positive for our side.

    I would ask you the same question about armed resistance- did Oklahoma City, or the Olympic Park bombings, or any of the other right wing attacks move the dial on any of their pet issues? Not really. On the contrary, most attacks occured after the Republican party gained power, not before. The only situation they’ve been at all able to get their way is against private citizens, i.e. abortion clinics, not against government.

  156. 156
    IrishGirl says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Good point! They certainly did so back in the Guilded Era. They even used the National Guards. I can’t imagine the national guard attacking striking civilians today….but I have been wrong before.

  157. 157
    The Moar You Know says:

    Holy shit, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen anyone approvingly quoting Ward Churchill. I’ma get this bronzed!

    @Xecky Gilchrist: I don’t know shit about the guy but he had that one dead to rights.

  158. 158
    Bernard Finel says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I wasn’t being glib, and I was deliberately lumping all sorts of things together to make the general point that for many years, right-wingers felt constrained by fear. Not just fear of losing an election, but fear of violence, be it mass violence or fringe terrorist violence, or fear of international violence from the USSR. There was always an undercurrent of, “if we push too hard, really bad things might happen.”

    Noting that much labor violence was causes by owners is besides the point. The reason they hired the Pinkertons was precisely because they feared the workers, and that fear had political consequence, even when the vast majority of the coercion was against labor.

    This fear was not about the actual amount of violence, nor about who was wielding it. This fear was just that, fear.

    At present the right-wingers don’t fear violence. The Freepers want it, and the plutocrats, for the most part, consider it unthinkable.

    Again, it is not about reality, it is about perceptions of what is permissible and what is “too much.” And the reality is that the Koch’s and others seem to be completely unconcerned about the consequences of their actions.

    Maybe that’s a good thing in a sense, that as a society we’ve advanced to the point that being a money-grubbing sociopath is safe… but it does have political consequences.

  159. 159
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @mechwarrior online: Maybe because in the American experience non-violent resistance has been more effective than the armed kind?

    Huh, maybe?

  160. 160
    SatanicPanic says:

    @celticdragonchick: I want to add that while the Colorado incident was bad, that wasn’t aimed at a non-violent protest. I imagine there’s a difference between what people will accept in crime prevention and what they’ll accept in protest prevention.

  161. 161
    Bernard Finel says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Let me be more precise actually.

    The issue not that plutocrats in the past necessarily had good reason to be fearful, the issue is that regardless of anything else, they often WERE fearful of violence. I think that is no longer the case.

  162. 162
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Cluttered Mind: I feel that incident had the result of radicalizing and galvanizing a great mass of white college students who, since police brutality is racially rationed in this country, never had cause to question the use and misuse of state power.

    Witness the sudden vigor in resistance to “stop and frisk”. Stop and frisk has been going on for years and years with little more than hand-wringing by white liberals. Now you have Occupy veterans pushing hard against it. The state governor even floated a decriminalization trial balloon. Hmmm, what changed?

  163. 163
    Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ (formerly IrishGirl) says:

    Glad you posted on this topic. The reason we’ve had less violence on the fringes is because of the expansion of the middle class and the implementation of welfare, etc IMHO. As the middle class grew and peaked and the poor tended to have more options (not claiming they have got it easy by any means) there were more and more people who had more to lose by engaging in violence. Now the middle class is shrinking and austerity is shutting down options for the poor, if the trend continues there will be an increase in violence. The only question is, how bad does it have to get for the poor and how small does the middle class have to be to reach that tipping point?

    My curiosity is piqued now….if we were to look at the worst levels of violence in US by the left and the supposed “underclasses” (or as the 1Percenters like to call us, the animals), I what the percentage of each class level breaks out to be? Or if it isn’t percentage of class, would it be the mix of percentages of income spent on survival, like 50% spent on housing, 40% on food etc. what are the measures that matter since class designations can be so fuzzy?

  164. 164
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Chris: It’s a “false flag” (one of their favorite terms–maybe their subconscious is trying to tell them something).

    For example, the farm price collapse in 1872-1873 was REAL and it created real hunger and misery. However, the cause was not Teh JOOz, it was US land and agricultural policy. We pulled a China and “dumped” cheap Midwestern grain on the world market, causing a panic.

    Of course, if the rubes knew this, they might pack their bags for America, too. For whatever reason, elites in Eastern Europe weren’t enamored of emigration. Nope, better to set one group of peasants against another, give them a taste for blood and mayhem to distract from the real crimes going on. (Also, the elites were really scared of the potential for hungry peasants to come at them with pitchforks.)

    Now ditto US stagnant wage growth, because deregulation+low taxes, and the excuse? It’s them Messicans! They took ‘er jawbs!

  165. 165
    Brachiator says:

    @jrg:

    I’ve got experience with both, which is why I disagree with you.
    __
    Edit: Furthermore, I fail to see how this is even relevant. Clearly, there is historical precedent for violence in cases of extreme wealth disparity.

    Didn’t ask you what you saw. Asked what you took or gave out.

    People write cavalierly about violence as though it is the same as being snarky in a blog post. Or they expect someone else to do the fighting and dying while they sit on the sidelines and cheer.

    What if this violence you think is possible draws you into it? What are you going to do then? It will be too late to ask if it is relevant.

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    Do you really need to have your ass kicked to know that you don’t want it to happen?

    Again, the point is that some posters are mulling the possibility of violence as though it will have a cleansing effect, but are also arrogantly certain that they will never have to get involved in the fight. But I take your point about doing all one can to avoid things having to come to that.

  166. 166
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @celticdragonchick: And that is a tactic by police to earn the support of the quiet suburban voters to respond with extreme prejudice.

    Non-violence didn’t just happen. Those kids at the sit-in counters trained for months. Because the moment they responded to force with force the entire cause was lost.

  167. 167
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @BobS: My theory is that they know they’re in a bubble. They spent years, for example, restricting which ethnic groups (and gender) could even be firefighters. They also still get paid and treated relatively well (because they were public safety) while the exurbs have unpaid firefighters… uh, that’s quite the dropoff there.

    Firefighting IS dangerous and requires a lot of training. I wouldn’t volunteer, jeez. But I wonder if knowing all of that tends to push them to wingerism as a sort of mental avoidance of the precariousness of their position in a world with high unemployment and downward pressure on public sector wages?

    And unlike cops, it’s not so easy to get into the extortion business. Maybe a fire investigator or fire chief could do it, but not a regular grunt.

  168. 168
    The Moar You Know says:

    I imagine there’s a difference between what people will accept in crime prevention and what they’ll accept in protest prevention.

    @SatanicPanic: In the America of 2012 that I live in, that’s a difference without a distinction.

  169. 169
    Rafer Janders says:

    @mass:

    If you want a Banana Republic, run by and for the plutocrats, you’re going to get a Banana Republic, complete with kidnappings, killings, bank robberies and mob violence, to list a few identifiers.Sure, you can hire a bunch of Blackwater/Xe body guards and mercenaries to protect you in your walled compound and armored cars.

    I lived this way when I was a child. It was…not always fun.

  170. 170
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @SatanicPanic: Actually, I thought the OWS protests were pretty effective at getting the austerity program off the table. Good work for about 2 months of disorganized protesting and images of kids getting pepper-sprayed were part of that. Compare that to the G8 protests- those accomplished absolutely nothing positive for our side.

    I agree.

  171. 171
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Bernard Finel: Oh, I agree. Why should they be?

  172. 172
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    Which revolutions? The US, the UK, Canada, Scandinavia, France, the Low Countries… all came out out of the Depression and/or into World War II the same way they went in—capitalist, parliamentary, democracies. And that was with U6 pushing 40% or more.

    Germany.

  173. 173
    celticdragonchick says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    Has anything changed? Actually, I thought the OWS protests were pretty effective at getting the austerity program off the table. Good work for about 2 months of disorganized protesting and images of kids getting pepper-sprayed were part of that. Compare that to the G8 protests- those accomplished absolutely nothing positive for our side.

    I’m sorry if I was unclear. I meant that nothing has changed with respect to the inability to tone down police violence and the willingness to use military weapons and tactics against Americans, including innocent bystanders.

  174. 174
    celticdragonchick says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Exactly.

  175. 175
    SatanicPanic says:

    @The Moar You Know: No it’s not. OWS actually accomplished some of its goals and part of that was due to the reaction that it got from people who saw kids getting beaten up. Again, compare that to the G8 protests- no one sympathized with a bunch of protesters breaking store windows because at that point they became criminals.

  176. 176
    SatanicPanic says:

    @celticdragonchick: Again, I don’t want to sound like I’m volunteering people for police brutality, but sometimes that’s good publicity for us. I’m pretty sure Ghandi and MLK would agree with that.

  177. 177
    DFH no.6 says:

    @ericblair:

    Funnily enough, I have no fucking clue whether our corporate tax has gone up or down, since it’s absolutely no factor in the decision. We hire people when we have a need for a person to do work

    Exactly right.

    I’ve been a hiring manager for nearly 30 years now (in various capacities for two companies), and never once in the literally hundreds of times I (and my fellow managers) have embarked on the hiring process you so succinctly described have we ever considered corporate taxes when making hiring decisions.

    Doesn’t factor in, at all. And, like you, I couldn’t even tell you what tax rates the companies I’ve worked for have paid on earnings.

    I’ve spoken over the years to a number of others responsible for hiring in businesses quite different from my industry (building engineering and construction) and they’ve all agreed that taxation (high, low, or in between) has no bearing on hiring decisions.

    Demand for products and services is the only criteria used in deciding to hire (or lay-off, if demand drops).

    How this ridiculous meme of supposedly too-high taxes preventing the “job creators” from hiring has any legs is beyond me. Even my thoroughly far-right Tea Party boss (who reports directly to the “rich guy” who owns the joint) knows that taxes have fuck-all to do with our hiring decisions.

  178. 178
    blondie says:

    FDR’s New Deal programs were created within a generation or so of the Russian Revolution(s). America’s 1930s rich weren’t more benevolent than today’s rich, but they were aware that allowing the creation of Social Security was better than being dragged into the street and shot.

  179. 179
    Brachiator says:

    @SatanicPanic:

    He’s talking about the threat of Communism as a legitimate alternative to the USA. As long as there was the possibility of the USA going communist, the oligarchs had to be polite. Since the fall of the USSR, that’s no longer seen as a viable alternative.

    There was never any real threat of commies in this country. The far right used this to fan their fantasies to lull themselves to sleep at night.

    And while I understand the notion that fear of commies forced the oligarchs to behave, it is also the case that the powers that be used the false fear of communism to oppress people at home and to wage wars and topple governments abroad. And supposed concerns about domestic revolutionaries led to SWAT teams and violent suppression of dissidents, none of which was done very politely.

  180. 180
  181. 181
    Alex SL says:

    I have long had the feeling that the dismantling of the social contract started the moment they lost fear of the red menace. In Germany, the first elements of the welfare state were introduced by Bismarck in hopes to stop the rise of the social democratic party. As late as the 60ies the leaders of the “Free World” were not entirely sure if the Soviet system was not actually better at economic growth. Around the 70ies it became increasingly clear that that system had sclerotized, and that is also the decade neoliberalism really gained momentum. It certainly looks as if fear was the only thing that ever kept the 0.1% from hogging all the money.

  182. 182
    Sandman says:

    I am reminded of this quote that I snagged off an unremembered forum last year during the whole debt-ceiling debacle. The original words were written by a fellow named Glen Tomkins — they are not mine.

    I’m not going to say it’s time for a revolution. Revolution is the opiate of the high-brow intellectuals. (Centrism is the opiate of the middle-brow intellectuals.) In any even half-way successful society, revolution isn’t an option that anyone but the ruling elite has available. In a successful society, everyone else imagines that their relative prosperity and well-being is the result of the leadership of the current elite, and they won’t upset the apple cart no matter how strong a merely theoretical case high brow intellectuals might make that they could get themselves a much better deal by being demanding and assertive. The US is a lot more than half-way successful, so only its ruling elite can decide for a revolution.

    Damned if they don’t seem to be intent on doing just that. It looks like we’re going to have a completely optional national bankruptcy crisis, created by the party that most closely serves the ruling elite, because that elite just isn’t getting all the RoI, and all the impunity, that it imagines it deserves. It has to suffer the indignity of the continued drain on their incomes posed by Medicare and Social Security, God help us.

    This could only happen in an unusually successful society, and one in which the elite had grown completely unused to the very idea of any need to respect limits. But it does happen to such societies. England at the time its great earls and dukes forced a budget crisis, and then their Civil War, and France at the time the grandees on the Parlement de Paris forced an equally unnecessary budget crisis, and thus their Revolution, are both examples of incredibly entitled and privileged elites in the most successful nations of their day, just throwing it all away because they weren’t getting everything without limit, and could not comprehend that that is a basic condition of life.

    If that’s how it goes here in the US, if they actually do this thing and force the US into bankruptcy, the result will so go against them, will so completely destroy them, that future generations will have the same difficulty understanding that it wasn’t the ordinary and downtrodden who made the resulting revolution, but the very elite that the revolution ended up obliterating, that we have in understanding the French Revolution and English Civil War.

    The machers in our ancien regime have a death wish. They’re welcome to it, and good riddance once they’re gone. The problem is that revolution isn’t one of their little private excesses they can indulge in and not hurt anyone else.

  183. 183

    @Brachiator:

    There was never any real threat of commies in this country. The far right used this to fan their fantasies to lull themselves to sleep at night.

    And while I understand the notion that fear of commies forced the oligarchs to behave, it is also the case that the powers that be used the false fear of communism to oppress people at home and to wage wars and topple governments abroad. And supposed concerns about domestic revolutionaries led to SWAT teams and violent suppression of dissidents, none of which was done very politely.

    Agree completely. The “threat” of Soviet Communism was the best thing the oligarchy had going for it in terms of convincing the peons that expecting anything better than subsistence was treasonous.

  184. 184

    In regard to violence, which of us volunteers to go first? You know, get shot or imprisoned for up to life while you’re waiting for the 2nd and the rest to stand up? Keep in mind that such a thing requires hundreds of thousands (or more) and up until such numbers virtually everybody participating gets hammered.

    It is pretty easy to call folks weak or pussies or such up until you figure on putting yourself up first. I look around at the rest of my fellows and can’t quite see why I should put myself in prison or dead on that basis.

    I don’t know how bad it would have to get, Spain hasn’t gone up in flames and neither has Greece and that there sucks eggs compared to the US.

  185. 185

    In regard to violence, which of us volunteers to go first? You know, get shot or imprisoned for up to life while you’re waiting for the 2nd and the rest to stand up? Keep in mind that such a thing requires hundreds of thousands (or more) and up until such numbers virtually everybody participating gets hammered.

    It is pretty easy to call folks weak or pussies or such up until you figure on putting yourself up first. I look around at the rest of my fellows and can’t quite see why I should put myself in prison or dead on that basis.

    I don’t know how bad it would have to get, Spain hasn’t gone up in flames and neither has Greece and that there sucks eggs compared to the US.

  186. 186
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Do you really think that concern about the the kind of political violence in Europe from the Russian Revolution through the beginning of the Depression was not a factor in the implementation of New Deal programs or are you simply being pedantic about what constitutes a revolution. If you are being a pedant, I would suggest that revolutions do not require overturning an economic system (e.g. 1688, 1776, 1830, 1848) nor must they be successful.

  187. 187
    Shinobi says:

    There was a “flash mob” shop lifting event here in chicago over the weekend where some kids raided a store and ultimately stole about 10 pairs of $200 jeans. It was a big deal. They played the video over and over on the news. All I can think is that we’re going to see more of this kind of thing if things don’t change economically.

  188. 188
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Plenty of polls showing that the wealthy fear violent uprising, serious redistribution, etc. in higher numbers

    They have more to lose; then again, at the top, maybe they have a good angle to see the ground shifting underneath us

  189. 189
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @chuck butcher:

    In regard to violence, which of us volunteers to go first? You know, get shot or imprisoned for up to life while you’re waiting for the 2nd and the rest to stand up?

    “Waiting for the 2nd” is called adventurism and I’d argue that school and workplace shootings are where you’ll find most of that in America, with the same results as all adventurism

    As to whether any of us “get shot” when the shit really does hit the fan: ask the people who die at the hands of our government across the world

    We will not be given a choice

  190. 190
    Caz says:

    Well, you’re totally full of BS, but at least have the courage to admit that you ARE condoning violence. You say that violence would be useful if keep politicians (well, the GOP ones) more in check. So you’re condoning violence because you think it would be useful and basically help the country.

    You liberals don’t even know what a lie is anymore since you’re doing it so much. You lie more than you tell the truth these days, and don’t even have the courage to stand behind your positions.

    It’s not the lack of violent repercussions that is ruining this country; it’s the progressive policies of the liberals combined with the failure of the GOP to stand by its conservative principles.

    Bipartisan agreements in Congress are creating laws and spending that are ruining this nation.

  191. 191
    Lurking Canadian says:

    We’re not even remotely close to the level of immiseration required to ‘kick things off’….

    Sadly, this. The ancien regime fucked over the peasantry of France literally for centuries before they stormed the Bastille.

    The bottom is there, but it is way, way, way farther down than where we are now.

  192. 192
    mclaren says:

    Um, yeah. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Why is it, exactly, that the plutocrats think they can indefinitely fuck with the rest of us?

    Because, with the total militarization of American life and the effective imposition of martial law including the brutal repression of even the mildest of non-violent dissent today in America, the top 1% can crush anyone anywhere who raises hi/r voice to protest, let alone take any action to actually change American society.

    If Martin Luther King were alive today, he’d be locked in solitary in Gitmo in a sendep chamber.

  193. 193
    JR in WV says:

    @accidentalfission:

    Hey, what about collateralized debt obligations? You can’t leave those profitable financial instruments out of your discourse!

    Think how many hedge fund managers and investment bankers made jillions of euros off of those fine profitable tools!

    Now think of how many hard working people working 50 or 60 hours a week lost their home, IRA, and jobs off of those CDOs!!!

    Suckah!

  194. 194
    Lawnguylander says:

    @Lurking Canadian:

    It’s sad that things aren’t bad enough for people to start getting violent?

  195. 195
    TenguPhule says:

    You lie more than you tell the truth these days, and don’t even have the courage to stand behind your positions.

    More Teabagger Projection.

    I blame failure to retroactively abort them before they turned to the stupid.

  196. 196

    […] Bernard Finel adds this: […]

  197. 197
    Mark says:

    @Cassidy: Soldier is capitalized? Really? Lol.

  198. 198
    Zme says:

    @Brachiator: I have (various industrial actions and student riots in the 60s in both France and England). Several nights in cells, a broken ulna and cracked skull plus bruised balls and kidneys say I’m qualified to call for violence against the intransigence of the ruling class.

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