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"What should we do, sir, submit or fight?"
On September 29, 2008, in the wake of the defeat in the United States House of Representatives of the first bailout bill, officially called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, I published the graphic at left, illustrating the scorn for American taxpayers of the financial services industry. The two men in this graphic are United States Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (left) and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, who testified before Congress that the global financial system risked collapse if the U.S. government did not immediately start buying up the hundreds of billions of dollars in failing mortgage-backed securities of financial services companies that had carried the instruments on their books at wildly over-valued levels.
On October 3, 2008, a revised version of the bailout bill passed the Senate and then the House of Representatives, with President Bush signing the legislation
that afternoon. The core feature of the new bill, the bailout of the financial services industry at a minimum cost of $700 billion, remained intact. Sweeteners designed to turn the legislation into a Christmas tree
of desires for representatives who had voted against the first version of the bill ensured its passage in the second round. Expensive as they are, those added expenditures, promises, and mandates notwithstanding, the bailout bill is nothing other than a taxpayer-funded government giveaway to financial institutions
that took excessive, imprudent, reckless risks for profit and, in so doing, ultimately placed their companies and, indeed, the global financial system at appalling risk. The U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve Chairman virtually told Congress that, unless the bailout bill passed, the irresponsible activities of those private institutions imperiled the stability of the entire global economy, and President George W. Bush said as much
in his address to the nation on September 24, 2008.
While handing the U.S. Treasury the power to expend what could result in several trillion dollars of money the United States will have to borrow or print, since its expenditures already exceed by hundreds of billions of dollars its tax revenues, neither the original bailout bill nor the one that ultimately passed offered average Americans any relief whatsoever from the destructive economic downturn that has been underway for months. The bill that passed did not place a moratorium on foreclosures, which are putting millions of American families on the street. The bill that passed did not authorize the U.S. Treasury to bail out any homeowners or small businesses whose indebtedness now exceeds real asset value of mortgaged property. The bill did not make even the slightest attempt to bring under strict regulatory scrutiny and control the Federal Reserve, which has maintained
a virtually zero-growth regime on the money supply average Americans use (the so-called "M1" monetary aggregate) while allowing the money supply used by massive financial institutions (the so-called "M3" monetary aggregate) to grow out of control. The bill did not make any mention whatsoever of mandating investigations of the regulatory agencies and personnel who had oversight responsibilities but were somehow unable to see, prevent, or even mitigate what came to be a "crisis" so severe that the President of the United States, in a historical and historic first
, went before the American people to speak of looming economic disaster.
Despite overwhelming anger
among constituents, the members of Congress capitulated to the threats from Wall Street, the Bush Administration, and the Federal Reserve. Despite an unprecedented influx of phone calls, e-mail messages, faxes, and other communications from average Americans, the members of Congress capitulated.
It is unlikely that even one elected representative saw my September 29 article, "To the Members of Congress Concerning the Bailout Proposal
," in which I pointed out the stark similarities between the Bush Administration's manufactured hysteria about a collapse of the global financial system and its manufactured hysteria in 2002 about Iraq producing weapons of mass destruction that Congress needed to give President Bush the unfettered power to stop. Others who wrote articles condemning the bailout were similarly ignored.
The majorities in both houses of Congress did not listen to those who vote for them, nor did they listen to the writers, academics, and others who articulated in published works what was clearly and indisputably an overwhelming consensus of will against the bailout. Perhaps unique in modern American politics, last Friday, October 3, 2008, the United States Congress, together with the President of the United States, demonstrated in one act that the unquestionable, visible, evident, unarguable will of the citizenry is subordinate to the demands of something that is neither constitutionally recognized nor inhered of rights under any legitimate conceptual philosophy of natural law. In a battle of starkly defined opponents, Congress and the President chose the side of and made victorious that which is not even living, much less citizen.
Yet, despite that crushingly obvious reality, most of those who are reading this article will go to the polls on November 4 and vote for either Barack Obama or John McCain, both of whom voted for the bailout. Almost every last one of you, the readers of this article, will vote for one of these two men who have both indicated in no uncertain terms that your will means nothing to them other than that it will put them in a position of even greater power to ignore your will at their convenience and situational expedience; and you will cast your vote with no small degree of conviction that your chosen candidate will somehow bring changereform, evento a system that has ensured their rise to power within that very system
. One calls himself a "maverick," the other lays claim to the banner of "hope and change"; yet these two men have already shown you which side they will choose when the veneer of democracy is denuded of its hiding places for raw power and greed.
Will there ever be a time when the politicians stop lying to us about their agenda? Not until we stop lying to ourselves about the wellspring of our powerlessness.
In the comment thread
of my graphical post, "The People (Who Matter) Have Spoken," at Big Brass Blog
, long-time friend Missouri Mule asked the salient question: "What should we do, sir, submit or fight?"
Given that she has known me for quite a while, she knows very well what my answer is. What she does not know is that I will not answer the question just yet.
There is no reason to expend great energy fomenting an angry mob to doomed rebellion when, not so long from now, that angry mob might very well become a desperate legion spontaneously exploding in all-consuming revolution.
Does that sound far-fetched? Indeed, it probably does, which means you really aren't
ready for my answer to Missouri Mule's question. For your own sake, I genuinely hope you never will be. For our children's sake, I truly hope otherwise.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
Oh lay off it, wouldja? Those guys know what they're doing; They wouldn't be where they are if they didn't, right? Geez, have a little faith. We pay their salaries, so they know not to cross us! Another thing you forgot is...wait...phew, that's better.
I needed something stronger than sticking my finger down my throat...I'm trying a new binge and purge diet. Thanks, DW!
Good evening, trog.
New motto for Congress:
They corrupt easy
so we don't have to.
The Dark Wraith should see what the financial services industry lobbyists would pay for me to lay off their sleazy hides.
Better yet, see what the rate is to troll lib sites like Kos or HuffPo, smacking down the latest news against Republicans, like McCain's website offers! Just think of all the neat-O swag you'll gather up by clobbering idjits! ( HuffPo especially; There's a whole lotta inane goin' on there.)
As much as I hate threadjacking, http://www.talk2action.org/..." rel="nofollow">this article is very interesting. The producers of the execrable video Obsession, are coming out with another POS called Third Jihad. The people behind this, the Clarion Fund, have one cover photo of the video on display at their website, but another cover has been shown to the public. Their site also supported McCain in the election, but the cowards erased that part.
What the hell is hate speech, if this isn't it?
Good morning, Peter of Lone Tree.
The current NYSE circuit breakers can be found here.
A more general discussion of circuit breakers, collars, and price limits can be found here at the SEC.
The Dark Wraith should probably get the candles out of the cellar in case the lights go off.
I increasingly find the "either/or" thinking on all this very disturbing and lacking in maturity. Have we lost our ability to truly reason? Is the ideology of the "left" as frozen and odious as that of the "right"?
Let's get very, very real. We are no longer in the 18th century. A romantic popular uprising in the 21st century US is unlikely under any circumstances. Such a thing would be televised and a great majority of our "citizens" would watch it there. Nor is it Beijing or Berlin. Does anyone in their right mind imagine that such an uprising would not be ruthlessly crushed? Let the St Paul RNC suppression be a lesson.
There's less chance of masses of people raging in the streets of Des Moines, Eureka, or Fall River than there is of Dick Cheney publicly and humbly apologizing for his transgressions.
It also troubles me that a "revolution", at this time, in this country, would be one by wealthy (relative to the rest of the world) people demanding continued possession of their SUVs, iPods, and Entertainment TV, rather than true justice, community, and peace. Disgusting. Demoralizing.
"Submit or fight?" Oh, please. Neither, damn it! And is this not a manufactured and disingenuous conundrum? The "people" have submitted to their own greed, selfishness, and ennui for years, while the masters have doled out trinkets. We are all complicit. So fight what; who; how?
Here's the bit: until we learn to be true citizens, real democrats, capable of self-government and taking responsibility, we will wither and die before the onslaught of the Red Giant of final-stage capitalism.
Those who survive will be those who neither submit nor fight. They will be those of us who are capable of learning and caring.
ddjango has spoken. Be at peace.
Hate to say it, Wraith, but you remind me of Ralph Nader. Not a dime's worth of difference between McCain and Obama, you say? Nader's inability to distinguish between Bush and Gore put the former in the White House for eight disastrous years. This time around I hope most people are pragmatic enough to see the difference between the maverick and the community organizer, and get the country back on a more progressive track.
Mr. Comm. Org. flipped and voted for the FISA/Telecom Immunity outrage. Sounds pretty fucking Blue Dogshit to me.
The people worthy of being president have no interest in that BS, nor would they be funded by those with the cash needed to win, if they were to run.
I hope Mr. Obama wins, only because McCain is such a detestable POS that I'd take Putin over him.
ddjango, you sound more than a bit self-righteous here. Don't lump us all together as "people demanding continued possession of their SUVs, iPods, and Entertainment TV.." It's condescending, and frankly insulting. There's a number of us who don't, and never have, lived like that. You don't know who we ALL are, what we fight for, what we've done, or how we live, so stop passing judgement - it's not conducive to "being at peace".
Your statement is that we are all complicit, so therefore - what? So we don't have a right to fight? We just sit back and do nothing and try nothing, because we're all to blame? Because only special people like you who are "capable of learning and caring" will survive?
Gawd, save us from the enlightened peace dude... Tell you what, honey - you just sit there and meditate when BushCo declares martial law, and Blackwater goons are telling you when you can walk down the street. I'm sure your alpha state will be tremendously helpful.
"Nader's inability to distinguish between Bush and Gore put the former in the White House for eight disastrous years."
The statement almost presupposes that eight years of Gore would NOT have been just as disastrous.
The question really isn't whether our host would join any revolution, nor that the American public would riot in the streets in righteous Bastille Day anger. There will be no public storming the gates of the White House.
The real danger is, of course, more like what the stereotypic banana republics face.
Let me give you a for instance.
Say, for sake of argument, the McPain coalition manages to steal it for the Republicans again this November, the DINOcrats rolling over again For the Good of the Country. Unity and all that.
Shortly after being sworn in. McCain himself, in doubtless an Act of God, is Invited Onwards. Reluctantly, of course, the Governess from the Council on National Policy becomes the national figurehead of a totally draconian and economically indiscreet cabal. More odious than Cheney, with no respect for Poppy's Carlyle coalition.
She dismisses Robert Gates. She insults Riyadh. She attempts to bully Israel. She ignores Goldman-Sachs. Paulson? You surely jest.
Things get so bad, Petraeus Caesar is forced to take a stand. In an hour's time, the White House is taken, Congress is liberated, and of course, martial law is installed. To the cheers of the pundits, Wall Street rebounds, and the Security of the Treasury is ensured. Our Protector Petraeus Caesar Rules from Sea to Shining Sea.
For as long as he has all the guns.
A revolution doesn't have to be popular.
It doesn't even have to be a real revolution.
"The lady doth protest too much." Hit a nerve, did I?
Interestingly enough, I said "we", not "you", and include myself fully in the indictment.
So tell me, what is it specifically that you will do when martial law is declared and the gentlemen with the bearclaw on their T-shirts appear?
I'm not suggesting that we do nothing. I'm suggesting that we do something other than what we have been doing, because, well, it doesn't seem to be making things better.
My suggestions about what we need to do, although admittedly general, are clearly stated . . .
"Here's the bit: until we learn to be true citizens, real democrats, capable of self-government and taking responsibility, we will wither and die before the onslaught of the Red Giant of final-stage capitalism.
Those who survive will be those who neither submit nor fight. They will be those of us who are capable of learning and caring."
Did you not read that far before you got pissed off? Do you agree or disagree? What are your solutions?
Seems to me that you passed judgment here yourself, but deftly sidestepped the point: What. Will. You. Do?
Be at peace.
What will people do?
There's an infinite number of options.
A few I'm familiar with:
90-year-old Addie Polk shot herself when they came to evict her.
Some folks are refusing to pay their mortgages.
Some are refusing to pay other outstanding bills.
Some are asking themselves, "Is that something I need, or something I want?" before making a purchase.
And so on.
Will some form of retribution be visited upon these people for seeking their own form of protest?
Of course. And those forms might be grotesque and hideous.
But they will be able to say, "I stood."
DDjango, this statement is also very general - "until we learn to be true citizens, real democrats, capable of self-government and taking responsibility, we will wither and die before the onslaught of the Red Giant of final-stage capitalism."
Again, you are assuming that everyone in this collective "we" are at the same level of development, and that "we" aren't capable of self-government and taking responsibility. I don't believe that's true, and furthermore, some of us have shouldered more responsibility already in our lives than you might imagine. Some of us have been very active participants in our government and communities. I think you are missing some key reasons why we have the system we now
What will I do? Right now, I'm learning everything I can about constitutional ways citizens can replace and recall their representatives who don't represent, and whose actions are in fact treasonous in many cases. Non-violent means are my preference and modus operandi at this point.
What will I do in the event of a military rule? Absolutely everything possible to defend my home, my loved ones, and my neighbors. I live in the stix, and if that means holing up with the 30.06 until I'm blasted to bits, so be it (if I'm one of the folks selected to receive a permanent vacation at one of the new Rancho Fed locations, that will be a moot issue).
I think a more likely scenario will be one similar to the underground resistance movements in France and Holland during WWII. The Dutch resistance was far more scattered and less cohesive in terms of groups, but many, many individuals risked everything to sabotage the occupying German force, and they pulled off some really amazing acts. I'm very familiar with their stories and tactics. It was the same in France. Not surprisingly, many were caught and executed.
That's how it is sometimes, when fighting for one's freedom. It takes enough people with the guts to risk their lives to succeed. Even the Shou lin monks know how to kill, if they have to. Some times the fight comes to you, and that's when people with balls, huevos, and backbones need to make a stand.
Meditating, visualizing a different scenario, or surrounding oneself with imaginary circles of white light will not protect you, nor will it help anyone else. It makes you feel better, but that's it. It's just mental masturbation. Which is fine, in and of itself. It's just not useful or helpful, in the event of a do-or-die national crisis.
"POWER CONCEDES NOTHING WITHOUT A DEMAND. IT NEVER DID AND IT NEVER WILL. FIND OUT JUST WHAT ANY PEOPLE WILL QUIETLY SUBMIT TO AND YOU HAVE FOUND OUT THE EXACT MEASURE OF INJUSTICE AND WRONG WHICH WILL BE IMPOSED UPON THEM, AND THESE WILL CONTINUE TILL THEY ARE RESISTED WITH EITHER WORDS OR BLOWS, OR BOTH. THE LIMITS OF TYRANTS ARE PRESCRIBED BY THE ENDURANCE OF THOSE WHOM THEY OPPRESS.”
- FREDERICK DOUGLASS
P.S. POLT, that's very much how I see it.
DW, please do not notice my grammatical errors!
I think it's interesting that I seem to have pissed you off more than the bad guys, unless you're having trouble identifying who your enemies are. Or do you create them at random?
"I don't believe that's true, and furthermore, some of us have shouldered more responsibility already in our lives than you might imagine. Some of us have been very active participants in our government and communities. I think you are missing some key reasons why we have the system we now
Dead wrong - you have no idea the crap I've been through, or where I've fought and how. I've been actively involved in community-based politics for forty years and I've got the physical scars and rearranged bones to prove it. And I know the exact bloody reasons we are where we are.
Your comments about "meditating", etc., are immature and short-sighted, as well as prejudiced. You've obviously mistaken me for some homunculus in your own head.
I did not, in my original post, attack you personally. You have chosen to do just that twice. So, just for the record, drop dead.
Let me know how the 30.06 thingy works out for you, cowgirl. Just have the hell at it. I'd wish you peace again, but you are unfamiliar with the concept.
You must be projecting here, because nothing in my posts comprise "pissed off". You asked me questions and I replied. Nowhere have I stated or implied that I see you as an "enemy", and I certainly don't view you as one. Please point out where you have been personally attacked in my posts. Yes, I made a dig about people who go around saying "peace" to people, and use meditation as an escape from taking real action. It was intended as more of a general dig, not as an attack against you personally.
I happen to be familiar with the concept of peace - I just find that the people running around saying it are often times the most likely to scold and judge others. Based on your disproportionate reaction to my remarks, that feeling has been reinforced.
You have referred to me as "immature", "short-sighted", and " a cowgirl". You also told me to drop dead. Not too peaceful, is it?
Perhaps before you label people you don't know, and generalize an entire country, you should take a look at what you're putting out. It seems like maybe you have some unresolved stuff going on, I don't know. I do wish you well, and I actually mean it. I know what it's like to go through hell.
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