"Us versus Them" The Money Party (5)

 

M. Collins: The Money Party (5)

"Us versus Them"


Michael Collins
"Scoop" Independent News
Washington, D.C.

We have been warned again and again that seeing the world as an "us versus them" proposition is a fatal error. It's polarizing. It leads to "class warfare." It absolves "us" of the collective responsibility we all have in a democracy. Can't have it, not allowed.

Well, here's some news for "them". It is precisely an "us versus them" world. We live in a nation where tremendous wealth calls the shots without respect or regard for the public will, fails miserably again and again, and then hides behind "collective responsibility." We're supposed to believe that somehow "we all allowed this to happen."

This point is critical: If "we" all allowed it to happen then "they" aren't responsible, ever. They have the ultimate "Get out of jail free" card. Kill, maim, steal, lie, cheat, etc. etc. and all they have to do is say everyone was in on it; therefore, they are not responsible. Starting a war based on lies that breaks the bank of the federal budget while the richest 1% get tax cuts is just one example of the fraud perpetrated by our "public servants." Did you have anything to do with that?

Now the "D" word is being used – we're on the verge of a major depression or, at least, a calamitous recession, take your pick. How did this happen? See if you can identify your role. How will they blame us in order to survive and do it all over again?

In 2001 the loser won. We had a president selected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The prevailing justices stopped a state recount, defying their long-held bias in favor of states' rights, a position they'd held before and returned to following their presidential intervention.

Then the looting began with a stunningly consistent display of greed and avarice bringing us to these perilous times.

• Right out of the gate, the top 1% of citizens, those with incomes averaging over $1 million a year, got income tax breaks worth $250 billion through the Bush tax cuts started in 2001. By 2010, 50% of the tax breaks, $120 billion, will go to just 1.4 million citizens. The tax cuts continued in various forms for the fortunate 1%. Is that shared sacrifice by those who benefit the most financially? Did you have anything to do with these decisions? (Annotated links)

• Banks can write mortgages that are so risky they're referred to as "subprime" and Wall Street can bundle them up and sell the lot of them as premium investments. Home buyers are suckered at the front end and holders of retirement funds (401K, etc.) get to subsidize the flawed scheme at the other end. Top economists warned against these huge risks to citizens and the nation, but were ignored. Did you have anything to do with these decisions?

• "Derivatives" are a risk filled stock market product allowing investors to "bet" on the future value of a commodities, interest and exchange rates. The face value of over the counter derivatives went from $100 trillion in 2002 to $516 trillion in 2007. As a point of comparison, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States was $14 trillion in 2007. Investment genius Warren Buffett characterized their risk when he called derivatives a "financial weapon of mass destruction." Despite an early warning of real risk in 1995, by Buffett in 2002, and others like bond expert Bill Gross, nothing was done to regulate their sales which are widely held by retirement funds.

The subprime crisis is destroying your home value. Will derivatives and other risky stock market schemes wipe out your retirement? Did you have anything to do with these decisions?

• The cost of the Iraq war is considered "off budget." This means that the $500 billion spent so far and the $2.4 trillion estimated total cost of the war don't show up in the annual budget approved by Congress. The war profiteers get hidden government subsidies without having to bid for major contracts, all at our expense and that of our children. This kind of behavior by any private business would be called fraud. Did you have anything to do with these decisions?

• The Bush administration claimed it would rescue New Orleans from the destruction of hurricane Katrina and pledged billions to the effort. The contracts for this effort were handed out without competitive bidding. Guess who got them – the "made men" of The Money Party, many of whom got no-bid deals in Iraq for that "rebuilding." The city has a whole slew of luxury properties but continues to destroy good low cost housing. The 200,000 evacuated in 2005 are now largely gone. Did you know that? Did you have anything to do with those decisions?

Iraq War veterans are committing suicide at a rate of 120 per week. Sixty thousand have post traumatic stress disorder, and tens of thousands have permanent disabilities. More than one million Iraqi civilians are dead as a result of violence and civil strife predicted by experts in our government and elsewhere to follow the U.S. invasion. There are now five million orphans in Iraq. Our country's reputation in the rest of the world is at its worst ever. The war was based on lies. Did you have anything to do with these decisions? (Also see these links.)

So gear up, get in shape, and be ready to hear that we are to blame for this worst of all possible worlds created by The Money Party and its minions. They'll soon be blaming us for this on a regular basis at a major media outlet near you. As the economy continues its collapse and the truth about Iraq and other national "security" lies emerges, you'll hear stories about a great national soul searching and reflection on how "we" got where we are.

But consider this: People can't make rational decisions on major matters without a free flow of information on the topic at hand. We have had nearly zero accurate information on vital issues and events since 9/11 and we had very little during prior decades.

Those of "us" who supported this war did so based on wildly misleading information. Those who opposed the war, without a full understanding of the lies and carnage, did so at a level which was also based on limited information.

Those who face foreclosure after buying homes with an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) did so with bad information. Those who invested in a financial structure riddled with "a weapon of mass destruction" called "derivatives", did so while information was withheld about the exceptional risks involved.

We're all in the same theater of illusion created by The Money Party "Imagineers."

The mainstream media was just doing its job as the public relations shop for corporate America. The Bush economic plan was a pyramid scheme from the start. The various details were all offered to make more money for the very few at the top. There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a fact easily discernible with just a little research. But there were huge profits to be made chasing those phantoms. The human sacrifices in deaths and injuries are no surprise either. Who in power honestly believed that U.S. troops would be welcomed in a nation that we'd bombed and starved for over a decade?

The subprime loan scheme was a loser from the start and the investments offered in the form of aggregated subprime loans were almost laughable. Yet the regulators and press said very little to question this practice despite ample evidence of danger.

You don't sell garbage and call it a great investment. You don't create a financial house of cards that benefits the few and call it an expanding economy. The lack of reporting on this wasn't a matter of "errors of omission." We were told a series lies which were repeated again and again.

Financial schemes that benefit the very few are a common theme in most modern wars. Yet as it relates to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, this issue was barely covered or discussed. The profit motive behind the new endless war rarely if ever made the OpEd pages.

Those who claim that average Americans bear responsibility for this array of tragic mistakes fail to acknowledge the massive lockdown of accurate information which was replaced by false story lines which deliberately mislead and deceive.

We've had sparse information, relentless propaganda from the White House, and a timid Congress. Despite that, a majority of citizens have learned enough to know the nation has been headed in the wrong direction for years. Even though the mainstream media are now "embedded" as an ally to war and destruction, 70% of citizens oppose the war based on their own information gathering and evaluation.

Despite the many lies told again and again, without any alternative sources of information to reveal the truth, the "us" segment of the population has lost almost all faith in the current political rulers. That's why a recent poll showed the president with a 77% disapproval rating. The people have done their homework and their decision is in: The Money Party has reached its lowest point ever. It is a miserable failure.

It's time to speak up and state the truth – the massive failure of this government, at home and abroad, is a man-made national tragedy. All of those involved in the planning, execution, and continued funding of these activities must step down. We need truly fair, open elections under citizen control and without private money (i.e. corporate and other contributions). This will allow citizens to determine their own fate. Nothing less will work. We can no longer pretend to cast meaningful votes and they can no longer pretend to get elected.

No more masquerades, no more financial bubbles, no more self-serving schemes, wars, or staged events designed to distract the people. To those responsible: Admit your errors, correct them, and leave. There are nearly 300 million who would stand in your place and honestly serve the needs of the country and respect the will of the people.

END

Special thanks to Mike for clarifying a key point in this article and to Jill Hayroot and Susannah Pitt for their input.

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship and a link to the original article.

 

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lest we not waver come November. We all must clean up our own backyards....for the only one we can control is ourselves!

What a period of pillage we've been through. I'm not arguing that Bush is totally unique. Rather, he's the epitome, the exemplar of a system gone terribly wrong.

I'm just waiting for my stock certificate indicating my share of taxes used to pay for Bear Sterns. We all paid and will continue to pay those who made the mistakes that require payment. What a deal that is.

I believe that the primar turnout totals i around the country indicates a pent up urge for rational leadership well beyond what any candidate is promising. We'll have so many voters in 2008 they'll have trouble stealing it (which is a statement Obama made about New Hampshire before he left Iowa).

Take care!

"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton

What an astonishingly naïve perception from the today’s dominant front-page writer on ePluribus Media.

Collective social responsibility for our acts as societies is out because we are the abused victims of “them”. How neat!

And why is the belief wrong that we get the governments that we deserve, that each of our institutions, good or ill, are an expression of the society that together we individually create? Because Michael Collins tells us so.

Why does he? It appears it is because to recognise this fact lets “them”, the rich and the powerful, off the hook. It spoils the clarity of the nice left-wing polemic of the innocent toiling masses manipulated by the greed, avarice and self-interest of those in power.

In making this declaration, the writer, of course lets “us” off the hook.

Well, copying his style, I have news for Mr Collins. Look about you between now and November.

Watch how the candidates of all parties pander to the self-interest of the different groups of voters to whom they are attempting to appeal. Watch how voters, the "masses", seek the comfort and assurance that all will be well with them and their families from the policies that are spread out as bribes to assuage their own greed and avarice. Cheap gas at the fuelling stations? Persuade me that the continued horrors of Iraq will bring it and I shall buy into your programme. Now all I need is assurance that I can have absolute security from any thought of sharing our wealth with immigrants and the poorer nations if it means I might have to forgo upgrading my Mustang or enlarging my fridge freezer.

Indeed, in listing all the ills that beset our societies, Mr Collins paints a complex, emotional shroud with which to suffocate any intellectual criticism that we might have of what he writes. No more pertinent is his use of Iraq as an illustration with which he wishes to bolster his ridiculous argument: “Did you have anything to do with these decisions?” he repetitively demands.

Well, actually, I did see a nation rise up and respond with infantile acclamation to a leader who committed himself to vengeance, to get the believed perpetuator “dead or alive”, and whose wish to lash out at the world, that so cruelly treated them on 9/11, made them cheer the shock and awe that was inspired by setting aflame the night sky of Baghdad.

A “whole nation”? Perhaps not, but like the mother grieving for the death of her child from the bombs of our aircraft, I find it difficult to distinguish that small minority of 23% of a country that the polls tell us were not so enthused at the time.

Mr Collins, I was six years old when the American troops went into the concentration camps of Germany. The horror that they saw inside them was only heightened by the indifference of the neighboring town dwellers and the eagerness to blame "“them" for what had occurred inside. It was no accident that the military brought these citizens to witness for themselves what had knowingly been allowed to exist alongside their comfortable homes and the promise of prosperity that was offered to them by the Third Reich.

Our societies are collectively responsible for their actions, Mr Collins. It is not I that asserts this but history.

This is real history, not one which so tidily absolves a whole economic group from the wrongs of another to heighten divisions and create scapegoats for what we are or could become, in order to serve some political class polemic of the left wing. If you accept that “erroneous thought” is possible, then accept that political solutions based upon concepts of the masses and the economic structure of our society is as equally false as any that you claim elsewhere. What we do, what we are, how we behave is in our hearts and minds and unless we address these truths, neither our people or those awarded the power to lead them will ever really change.

My analysis rests on two assumptions:

1) We don't choose our leaders. Our elections are manipulated by the bottom-line requirement for money to run for office and the lies told over and over again in ads and commentary by the corporate media. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that election outcomes have been manipulated over time, particularly the last two presidential elections. No one serving would dare assert that they can prove they actually won an election.
2) The information provided to the populace is severely limited. There is no doubt about that. Lack of information and some degree of trust in those sources produces bad decisions by the public.

Absent reliable information from which to draw reasonable conclusions and elections that consistently reflect the will of the people, it is not possible to blame those who are routinely swayed by the propaganda and the sham elections. This isn't because I say so (or any one else who does), it's simple information theory and epistemology, better yet, common sense.

People are becoming more aware and taking responsibility for their political role in the U.S. Even when that will is expressed, as in 2006, a clear message to get out of Iraq, it is ignored by those (s)elected. Become aware, make the right decision, and the implementers you supposedly elected fail to honor the election contract. They're all saying "Oh" as Cheney did when told 70% of Americans want out quickly.

Dividing up the population by pitting the people against each other is a path to perpetual retribution at the cost of real change. Failing to recognize the power of a total information lockdown by mainstream sources and continued lies and indifference to the public will by the "leaders," denies one the opportunity to focus on what needs to be changed. Accountability by those who choose to lead and those who claim to inform is a top priority.

I'm convinced that the people are awakening quickly and with a purpose. The votes for Obama are largely a reflection of this, more than agreement with his programs. These people will not go away any more than they'll tolerate tent cities for the evicted or more death in Iraq. There are man others who've expressed positive visions for the future through other candidates and even more who don't vote who will show up in massive numbers in 2008.

Thanks again for your comments..

"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton

Firstly, thank you for responding with equanimity - an equanimity that the somewhat acerbic tone of my own comment did not perhaps deserve.

I certainly don't disagree that people are manipulated, not least by the type and sometimes lack of information that they are provided. Indeed, there is much in your analysis with which I do agree.

Truly, though, I cannot accept your belief that "the people are awakening quickly". I have heard that suggestion about change after World War 2, after McCarthy, after Nixon, after Vietnam, after Martin Luther King, after...the list in my lifetime of what is supposed to have changed us is endless.

I need much greater evidence that it is anything more than their instincts that, for example, the Iraq war is now too costly, financially and in terms of American lives, to buy into the idea that they are not just continuing to respond to their self-interest. They blame their leaders for USA Inc not achieving the high yields from the year end profits that they were seeking. They were not duped into wanting these. They were willing partners. If they accepted McCain's argument, for example, that there was a moral responsibility to stay alongside the Iraqi government, would they accept the cost?

The problem in our disagreement is not in your analysis of how power is exercised and how people's fears and personal desires are responded to by our politicians. It is your conclusion that our societies are not responsible for this occuring and that the actions of the last few years need not be "owned" by them because they are simply the innocent victims of manipulation. I find this not only absolving ourselves from responsibility, which in fairness you anticipated as a criticism, but positively damaging to any hopes of future progress that we may try to make. (It also leads to the totalitarian concept that the people are innocent fools that are too easily duped by the type of leaders that they currently have. These should be replaced by new leaders, OUR type of leaders, who will bring these naive masses to OUR new Utopia.)

No, I prefer to respect people enough to blame them for what has occurred, to want to make them conscious of that blame and to seek change not through political leaders but through a change in the attitude, perceptions and perceived needs of our society and in the individuals of which it is composed.

Can you imagine a politician brave enough to say "Don't blame Bush for what and where we are. He merely responded to your willing collaboration. Blame yourselves"? Obama is the closest that I have seen for a long time to get near to such a statement. It is couched in such a way, though, that it allows people to say "It was them, not us. We want change". Self awareness of their personal culpability for the past is hidden behind statements about hope for the future so that the learning process never really begins. I am not sure, also, that it translates into change in which they are willing to give up a great deal.

It has taken me the best part of fifty years to understand the sadness in the voice of my Moral Tutor at University when she, who had worked all her life to further Social Administration policy in our country, asked "Keith, do you really believe, for all the advances that we have made in universal education, health care, social security, and housing in this country, that as a people we have advanced in any real form from what we were before?" It was clear that, towards the end of her long and highly acclaimed career, she now doubted that any real achievement had been made. Not in the physical sense but in the moral sense.

If we can't make progress in this way, then we will make no progress at all.

Aw heck, though Michael, it is a huge subject and I am clumsy and inadequate in my explanation of where I so strongly see our differences in viewpoint. I do not want to remove the pleasure in the unearned courteousness of your reply. Thank you.

The need for change in one area carries an absolute urgency. We face problems which could literally lead to the extinction of the species. This is the ultimate existential crisis. We all have responsibility for that due to the widespread dissemination of information over time. These facts simply can't be suppressed.

In this area, I agree with you. People must take on the task of addressing this for their own benefit and that of their children. This applies to people in the industrial nations, at the very least. Anyone arguing that there is no problem and those who agree are responsible for the very worst type of risk taking and intellectual dishonesty.

On the issues I raised, responsibility is much harder to ascribe, in my opinion. You can lock up global apocalypse for a couple of decades but it will emerge and spread as a prospect. With narrower issues that arise within the United States, it becomes a more problematic assessment. I think we have the most exquisite propaganda machine in history, certainly superior to any in our time. The Matrix was a documentary.

As for "self interest" being the fulcrum of change on Iraq, I don't know. The war is barely covered. The financial impact is ignored. Most people don't connect the current economic crisis with Iraq. A CNN correspondent said recently that the wished people would watch more of his news on Iraq, since "good things are happening here." My God! But a movement started in the Republican Party that opposed not only Iraq, but invasion and occupation as a generic wrong. Ron Paul made this clear by asking people how they'd like the United States to be attacked, and then occupied. Dennis Kucinich offered a similar position.

Nevertheless, the opposition is profound and resistant to recent efforts to re-sell the war.

On any of the issues I mentioned, we could go back and forth but ultimately the difference would end up based on theory, moral and otherwise.

The real responsibility is to awaken right now. There is enough information on the table to make rational decisions and more than enough to avoid irrational ones. At the very least, avoiding heavy judgments is a tactical move designed to get people to act on solutions just as soon as possible.

But where are the choices. The general public in Great Britain opposed the Iraq war more in larger majorities than the United States. They were ignored. Our leaders ignored our strong hesitancy and our clear preference for using the U.N. (pre-war, both Democrats and Republicans favored this in the U.S.). The response of both governments was to tell lies and frighten just enough people to allow illegal action. The Congress totally ignored the 2006 election, a lesson not lost on the public.

On the issue of survival of the species, including sacrifice, there are no options presented. McCain is a nominal environmentalist, Obama says we'll leave world a "little cleaner" for our children, and Hillary is focused on simply keeping her stories straight. We have no choice, it seems.

Have we made any progress? Not really. Governments that provide social welfare for their own citizens rain down death on foreigners when the economic or geopolitical whim strikes them and they do it with impunity.

We have one choice and that's to keep up the effort and spread the word as far and wide as possible, ignore the selected rulers as much as possible, and actually change consciousness to the point where the lunacy simply becomes unacceptable, dropped from the dialog. We're left with no other choice now. If the effort to spread the word is intense enough, we will have an opening. I suspect it will come from a natural catastrophe somewhere that it shouldn't occur, providing the jolt necessary for simultaneous understanding that: our leaders lie, they lie at the risk of our lives and safety, and they are guilty of the worst forms of cynicism. We can no longer tolerate the drift to catastrophe. It would be a shame if this is what it takes but and I hope our actions precede dire consequences for not acting.

Not terribly optimistic but conditions should drive action not degree of difficulty.

Cheers!

"Furthest from him is best, whom reason hath equaled, force hath made supreme above his equals." Milton