INDEFINITE DETENTION OF AMERICANS AND SOPA - THE WAR IS ON
What is the difference between China and the USA in activity with their populations? Zero apparently, when citizens can be detained indefinitely by the military in prison and web communications are monitored and censored at will. There is little to no difference between public centralism (communist/capitalist China, keeping the worst of both worlds) and private centralism (capitalist USA). The only question that needs to be asked, will we be oppressed by the powers that be like those in China and willingly live under this oppression?
It is definite that the new bill regarding indefinite detention includes American citizens, there is no possible other reading, especially when specific amendments were rejected. The only item missing in all of this exegesis of the bill is WHY this is introduced.
Almost on its heels is SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act which promises to ban from the internet those involved in what is called theft of others property, intellectual or otherwise. Once again we find broad language which can be used in any particular fashion, or blurred language.
"The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open internet, both domestically and abroad. We cannot have a free and open Internet unless its naming and routing systems sit above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry."
So back to this question, WHY is all of this being introduced at this time? Apparently the powers that be are getting very nervous about the status quo remaining intact. The people have not been cut a break for a long time, and they have balanced the errors of a moneyed elite on the backs of the rank and file population. Actually they intend to let matters get much worse for the 99%, and the processes of cuts have already cut large swaths from the cloth of any safety net or entitlements for the people. In other words they fear the ramifications if they continue the current route, and they have no intentions of serving anyone else but the moneyed elite, because this has always been the charter from the beginning.
They have noted the great uprisings that have occurred globally, and specifically in the belly of the beast, the USA. So they have allowed these two issues to drive their agenda of coercive force - the gathering together of the people into an opposing force, and one of the chief instruments used to disseminate information and solidify some form of global solidarity, the internet. Marry to it the primal concern for the loss of an industry which cannot keep up with the times (corporate media, both informational and popular), the ones who censor through lies and the absence of information thereof (news) and who try to tell you how to live (pushing popular fantasies), to try to regain the control of the population - make what is familiar, subservient and loyal the only media. Sow the seeds of fear in the dissenters by threatening them and even use indefinite detention, to stop the wave of protest that might turn revolutionary. THAT is what is essentially taking place with these freedom killing bills, they did not just happen by accident unless you have a stochastic bent, but they are planned. Proving that this current system needs to be totally dismantled by the people.
What the above video seems to touch on, but very lightly (so it will have to be further explored) is how SOPA essentially destroys free speech in this forum, which holds the potential of reaching millions across the globe. Free speech is a useless phase without the potential too reach the great mass of people, indeed, without an equal platform there is essentially no free speech, just such in meaningless phrase. You need media to express free speech, and the internet is such a forum.
However for years, purposefully the conventional media has been controlled and an ordinary person rarely has the financial ability to own radio or TV means, or the means to start a world class newspaper, etc. As I said above, the doors have purposefully been shut to the rank and file people, and if it is used it is severely limited to a sound-byte or a short paragraph in response and subject to editors and many forms of concision.
Anyone can own a private or public computer or means to the internet, and this is why all should be up in arms about SOPA. Because it would destroy forums, social media and networking. These are the seminal ideas of change which a movement can be based upon, and it will be impossible to monitor multiple millions as their thoughts and ideas are exchanged. Yet though this bill SOPA, entire websites can be shut down because of perceived infraction (which may not in fact be true, but used for other purposes). This will result in the entire web being shut down, or every single post will have to be cleared on a daily basis. SOPA will destroy the internet, and I have no other alternative but to believe that this is its purpose, and the only way to stop this is to stop the powers that be by any means necessary.
AS I HAVE SAID MANY TIMES BEFORE, CODIFICATION INTO LAW IS MERELY THE LAST STEP IN SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN PREVIOUS USED AND USURPED, BY DECLARATION OR SECRETIVELY FOR MANY YEARS. IT IS THE LAST NAIL IN THE COFFIN USUALLY FOR THE PEOPLE.
*the above is just an example of an area of monopolistic media preservation*
"Murphy faintly hoped Obama would emulate Truman. However, Senate bill sponsor Carl Levin said he insisted on subjecting US citizens to the same draconian treatment as foreign nationals. The original Senate bill excluded them. At his request, they were added."
This did not just begin with Reagan, but is the recent trend of the same since the beginning (below):
"Under the controversial defense spending act that is awaiting approval from US President Barack Obama, lawmakers can give the Executive Branch the go-ahead to wage a war over the Web against any nation deemed a threat to America. Specifically, Section 954 [National Defense Act 2012], "Military Activities in CyberSpace," states, "Congress affirms that the Department of Defense has the capability, and upon direction by the president may conduct offensive operations in cyberspace to defend our nation, allies and interests."
The White House originally said that it would veto NDAA FY 2012 if it made it off Capitol Hill, but only days before it left Congress, Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media that the president's advisers will no longer recommend such action. Thus, the inking of Obama's name to the document will not just give him the power to pursue computer attacks, but also the ability to detain American indefinitely, employ tactics of torture on prisoners and send his own citizens to foreign institutions for prosecution."
Just in case some did not get the sleight of hand verbally in this document, let me clarify it for you. Any distinction regarding the enemy in the so-called "war on terror" between foreign activity and American activists/dissenters has been abolished. Just like it has in the matter regarding detention, so this naturally follows - the Pentagons cyberwar activity can be unleashed on American citizens as well as foreign entities, because the American citizenry has not been distinguished from the enemy. The protection of America in the oath is against enemies both foreign and domestic, NOT oppression of the people both foreign and domestic at the pleasure of the few.
Obama says he will enter an written addendum to the bill as he signs it, but the only distinction made in the addendum is not to clarify what actions the government can take against dissenting American citizens, but what agencies will be involved in the war on terror waged against the American citizens. So the FBI is also named as an agency, which is precious little difference especially if one realizes that the FBI is primarily the domestic political police - not crime fighters as they have been billed in popular media. I just thought I would make this clarification not only for the people, but to inform the powers that be that we are watching and know what you are doing and intend to do, and you are spelling out your own eventual demise.
"IF TYRANNY AND OPPRESSION COMES TO THIS LAND, IT WILL BE IN THE GUISE OF FIGHTING A FOREIGN ENEMY." JAMES MADISON
"We justify our cowardice to the forces that oppress us with a discourse of moralizing humanism. The rejection of revolutionary violence is anchored in the spirit of those who oppose the system while defending the values it teaches."
"UNDER A GOVERNMENT, WHICH IMPRISONS UNJUSTLY, THE TRUE PLACE FOR A JUST MAN IS ALSO IN PRISON." HENRY DAVID THOREAU, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
SO THE GENERAL IDEA IS NOT TO JUST BECOME ANOTHER BRICK (BELOW):
Hey, even Justin Raimondo hits some good ones occasionally, even though he obsesses on an America that never existed and is full of myth. He just might be right that the empires sites will be set on a new enemy and war (Iran), to deflect the easily distracted American public away from the real domestic offenders which have brought us to our current condition (and still some have no idea what is coming) -
CORPORATE BANKRUPTCY IS BIG BUSINESS - OR, ELITE WAYS TO STEAL FROM THE WORKERS
"When Steve Miller, the vulture capitalist who drove Delphi into the ditch of America's dreams, declared, "Bankruptcy is a growth industry," he was smiling, but he wasn't joking.
Bankruptcy in the US isn't a sign of economic distress or mismanagement. It's a business plan -- calculated, cunning, and void of redeeming social value. American Airlines is the latest in a long line of financial obscenities that make vulture capitalists salivate.
If we had a president we could believe in, he would not only call out the National Guard to protect the constitutional rights of citizens at Occupy protests, he would defend the vested benefits earned by workers with the full moral and institutional authority of his office. It won't happen.
We must cease and desist from unrealistic expectations and mount our own counteroffensive. US courts routinely aid and abet the extortion of workers and the plunder of pension plans. Capitalism isn't above the law in the United States, it is the law. Peace and solidarity activists are hounded, harassed, and arrested but the forcible transfer of wealth from the working class to the investing class is protected concerted activity.
American Airlines doesn't pretend to offer a business plan that promises better management. The only benefits American Airlines purports to extract from bankruptcy are pension evasion and concessions from unions facing a court-ordered firing squad.
The crib notes for this business plan read: bankruptcy = profit. The longhand reveals the moral compunction of a crocodile.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) estimates that a default at American Airlines could be the largest in US history. The PBGC itself is teetering on the edge of insolvency. In 2004, a report by the Center on Federal Financial Institutions said the PBGC "is insolvent on the basis of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and would be shut down if it were a private insurer."
US bankruptcy courts protect the assets of US corporations invested outside the United States from creditors. You can bet your mother's paycheck American Airlines' parent company, AMR Corp., has cash and assets stashed in ports all over the world.
Labor has a legitimate lien on Capital. A pension isn't a gamble or an investment -- it's earned with hard steadfast work.
A company that cancels its pension obligations should not be permitted to profit from it. The trend toward bankruptcy as a growth industry in the United States is a clear indication that we aren't in a recession. We are experiencing a restructuring at the expense of everyone who works for a living.
We won't win this struggle in court. The operative word for rank-and-file workers isn't competition, concession, or compromise. The operative word is "Occupy."
Bankruptcy at American Airlines shouldn't be allowed to fly."
"As the Occupy movement keeps developing, it seeks solutions for the economic and political dysfunctions it exposes and opposes. For many, the capitalist economic system itself is the basic problem. They want change to another system, but not to the traditional socialist alternative (e.g., USSR or China). That system too seems to require basic change.
The common solution these activists propose is to change both systems' production arrangements from the ground up. Every enterprise should be democratized. Workers should occupy their enterprise by collectively functioning as its board of directors. That would abolish the capitalist exploitative system (employer versus employee) much as our historical predecessors abolished the parallel exploitative systems of slavery (master versus slave) and feudalism (lord versus serf).
In workers' self-directed enterprises, those who do the work also design and direct it and dispose of its profits: no exploitation of workers by others. Workers participate equally in making all enterprise decisions. The old capitalist elite -- the major corporate shareholders and the boards of directors they choose -- would no longer decide what, how, and where to produce and how to use enterprise profits. Instead, workers -- in partnership with residential communities interdependent with their enterprises -- would make all those decisions democratically.
Only then could we avoid repeating yet again the capitalist cycle: (1) economic boom bursting into crisis, followed by (2) mass movements for social welfare reforms and economic regulations, followed by (3) capitalists using their profits to undo achieved reforms and regulations, followed by (1) again, the next capitalist boom, bust, and crisis. US capitalism since the crash of 1929 displays this 3-step cycle.
In democratized enterprises, the workers who most need and benefit from reforms would dispose of the profits of enterprise. No separate class of employers would exist and use enterprise profits to undo the reforms and regulations workers achieved. Quite the contrary, self-directing workers would pay taxes only if the state secures those reforms and regulations. Democratized enterprises would not permit the inequalities of income and wealth (and therefore of power and cultural access) now typical across the capitalist world.
Actually existing socialist systems, past and present, also need enterprise democratization. Those systems' socialization of productive property plus central planning (versus capitalism's private property and markets) left far too much unbalanced power centralized in the state. In addition, reforms (guaranteed employment and basic welfare, far less inequality of income and wealth, etc.) won by socialist revolutions proved insecure. Private enterprises and markets eventually returned and erased many of those reforms.
Traditional socialism's problems flow also from its undemocratic organization of production. Workers in socialized state enterprises were not self-directed; they did not collectively decide what, how, and where to produce nor what to do with the profits. Instead, state officials decided what, how, and where to produce and how to dispose of profits. If socialist enterprises were democratized, the state would then depend for its revenue on collectively self-directed workers. That would institutionalize real, concrete control from below to balance state power from above.
Workers' self-directed enterprises are a solution grounded in the histories of both capitalism and socialism. Establishing workers' self-directed enterprises completes what past democratic revolutions began in moving societies beyond monarchies and autocracies. Democratizing production can finally take democracy beyond being merely an electoral ritual that facilitates rule by the 1% over the 99%."
"After the atrocious massacre that began on the 19th of November, and following the aggressive charade staged by the MB and the SCAF since Monday, the revolution continues throughout the country.
Please watch this video and circulate it as widely as possible throughout the day. Follow @mosireen (http://www.mosireen.org ) for more documentary footage, interviews and ongoing coverage of the continuing uprising in Tahrir and around the Cabinet, as well as testimonies from victims of CSF & military violence, torture, and military trials."
A few days ago I had posted on both Jewbonics and Mondoweiss where I thought the revolution had to go in order to break free from the neoliberal yoke of oppression. For all intents and purposes I believe it is moving into full revolutionary mode (not that my words influenced anything, just by way of observation), and there is a intrinsic tie between the revolution of the people in the rest of the world - eventually humanity will have to move in the direction of what is occurring in Egypt in a truly global sense.
Because you see, we all have the same enemy, whether it be in the Middle East, in the far east, the USA or Europe - all nations and states have moved in a cookie cutter fashion to that systemic oppression of capitalism. You might take issue with me, that lets say we do not face the same enemy in the USA as they do in Egypt, and in a surface sense you are correct, but not essentially. We both face a tiny moneyed empowered elite which are devouring the rest of the population, this is the legacy of capitalism - the 99% vs. the 1%, the people vs. a military dictatorship which supports the same form of the 1% vs. the 99%, and it is merely the location and exterior form which may vary.
None of this can be approached by sacking leader after leader, because it is a systemic issue and striking down the figurehead does not kill the beast - whether through voting or demanding resignation. I mentioned such in the Mondoweiss post I mentioned above - "I too have great respect for the Egyptian people, however asking one leader after another to step down is not going to change much. In short, the whole system must be uprooted and the current government must be disbanded. In other words, revolution in the true sense of the word. Anyone who thinks this is a non-violent activity, what is taking place in Egypt today is not aware of the facts, since the Maspero massacre there have been uncountable counter-revolutionary assaults on the Egyptian people – and they must be answered for."
Than connecting the current revolutionary thrust in Egypt by degree to what is occurring with OWS, this is where OWS will have to eventually go - because there is no reforming the current system, it is not merely corrupt but this is how it functions, it is just more obvious now - (Jewbonics quote) "This reveals the true nature of the so-called military rule, which is actually neoliberally funded. Those in the OWS movement in the US and elsewhere should take a page from this book and watch carefully. I have said numerous times on my blog that this gives a picture of what they would like to do to you. Also keep in mind, that if the revolution turns in the direction I think it will - and that is not by just naming the chief officer in charge and asking him to step down - but by revolution which is worthy of the name, and it gets substantial results, we should take note."
Then this communication arrives from Tahrir, a plea asking for help to save the revolution in Egypt, and so we enter revolution 2.0, posted on Jewbonics site -
"We are in the midst of a decisive battle in the face of a potentially terminal crackdown. Over the past 72 hours the army has launched a ceaseless assault on revolutionaries in Tahrir Square and squares across Egypt. Over 2000 of us have been injured. More than 30 of us have been murdered. Just in Cairo alone. In the last 48 hours.
But the revolutionaries keep coming. Hundreds of thousands are in Tahrir and in other squares across the country. We are facing down their gas, cudgels, shotguns and machine-gun fire. The army and police attack again and again, but we are holding the lines, holding them back. The dead and wounded are carried away on foot or motorbikes and others take their place.
The violence will escalate – for WE WILL NOT MOVE. The junta does not want to give up its power. We want the junta gone.
The future of the revolution hangs in the balance; those of us in the square are ready to die for freedom and social justice. The butchers attacking us are willing to kill us to stay in control.
This is not about elections or a constitution, neither of which will change the authoritarianism and violence coming down around us. Neither is this is about a so-called "transition" to democracy that has seen the consolidation of a military junta and the betrayal of the revolution by political forces. This is about a revolution, a complete revolution. The people demand the fall of the regime, and will stop at nothing short of that to achieve their freedom.
Foreign governments are paying lip-service to 'human rights' while they deal with the junta, shaking hands and legitimizing them with empty rhetoric. The US is still sending $1.2 billion in military aid to the Egyptian military. The army and police rely on tear gas, bullets and weapons from abroad. No doubt their stock has been replenished by US and other governments over the last nine months. Stock will run low again.
We ask you to take action:
Occupy / shut-down Egyptian embassies worldwide. Now they represent the junta ; reclaim them for the Egyptian people.
Shut down the arms dealers. Do not let them make it, ship it.
Shut down the part of your government dealing with the Egyptian junta.
The revolution continues, because we have no other choice.
From Tahrir Square / 22 November / 14:0"
EGYPTIAN ARMY DUMPING BODIES OF THOSE THEY MURDERED INTO TRASH PILES (BELOW):
I chose to post this in the context of trying to understand what is transpiring in Israel. Many issues make no sense whatsoever without an understanding of what the real history of Judaism is, what has taken place over the centuries in light of current Israeli activity.
All of the religious mythologies are self-serving and hold genocidal seeds in the current paradigm, people are captured by elite activity cloaked in religious garb. Few are played out in open living color like what is transpiring in Israel - but it varies little from other excuses used to promote self-serving theft in the name of some deity. Even the person featured in the video does not escape what is promoted as historical reality in the current debacle, but he understands the roots of the conflict from traditional religious moorings.
I think it is time to let the people know what austerity is really all about, and it has nothing to do with a debt crisis caused by the people or any social programs. But it is a full frontal assault on the people by the few, so that their process of thievery and power over the rest of humanity can be solidified. This can be shown several ways - by historical analysis, seeing what the same crew has done in the so-called third world, examining the "recovery plans," and by the common experience of all the victims globally.
It should not surprise you that anything which is named as the culprit of the current condition in the corporate media is not even remotely correct, and that is because they serve those who hold the concentration of wealth (having shrunken ownership to a few mega-corporations, diversity out the window). It will not come to you (the truth) from the rank and file economists, because it is their job to be the fat around the midsection of the elite - who Antonio Gramsci described as individuals that "preyed on [the people] by a class of parasitic intermediaries (priests, teachers, tax collectors) on behalf of a small group of land owners." It certainly will not come to you by the politicians in office because representative government has been a joke since the beginning (used as a ruse to enact a constitution which does not even recognize the will of the people, hence the long struggle to ratify it and the final act of pulling the wool over the eyes of the rightfully skeptical people) - the government is nothing but a franchise of the elite.
What they fully intend to do is to further crush the people beneath the boot of their own desires, and to rob them of any wealth and safety so that there will be even a higher concentration of wealth in the hands of the few ("the responsible men," as Madison described them). This so that they can lead humanity like a senseless bull with a ring in its nose tied to the rope that they can pull on at will. What they do not expect is an enlightened people, capable of critical thinking which can band together to break their collective necks without remedy!
Whether it is the kingdoms of old, feudalism, or modern day capitalism they all have one thing in common - a small enriched elite. Every government that sports a capitalist agenda eventually comes after its own people, it is like cooking a frog in a pan of water by turning up the heat slowly - people are totally unaware until it is too late and what they think they have disappears like a passing chimera.
Why does this happen (above)? At first the people are needed to conquer the land and whatever enemies there are on the land, and then they are needed to exploit the land and its resources. However, after this is done and it is a bygone era the people used are not needed anymore, they become obsolete, and the very mechanisms they have created are used to boot them out the door. There is no appreciative management relationship with the workers (no matter what your union told you that took the title of "partners with management," or what you heard as propaganda on the media) - it is a class war, and there is nothing like being in a class war and not knowing it.
All along you thought you were being clever and productive, but you were writing your own pink slip - because the corporation (another entity that claims personhood but is just the housing for elite design) or should I say the owners, were thinking of how they could get rid of you as an expense so they could pocket the maximum profit (both owners in the sense of single or share holders). Anything which is left to be done after that, merely the menial chores is outsourced for labor at 5 cents an hour rather than $25.00 per hour (as an example).
You should have understood and known that when these same exact things were being done to the third world by the multi-national wrecking crew (GAT, WTO, IMF, NAFTA, WORLD BANK, etc) that you were going to be next (I told you this numerous times in my blog)! You are the crown jewel - the USA, Europe that has retained good support systems for their people, they want to undo it all.
The first thing gone after is anything which benefits the people, this was true in the case of the USA in the sense that they committed the people to massive bailouts of these elite financial institutions. Next, suddenly there was no money, and the loop recording of the large deficit was played over and over again. For a long period of time foreign entities have been able to buy up commons, like water and utilities, and these were turned into private enterprises while the cost to the people keeps steadily rising. These same processes have been used in third world countries, and for the most part the nations never rise again.
They go after Europe first in the sense of entitlements, because they have put in many beneficial services to the people - as an example, universal health care. What will happen is that there will be massive privatization in all of these areas that have been run as commons for the people, so that they will be repeatedly financially raped. The banks are re-capitalized but they will do little to no lending, and this will create havoc and eventually mean the death of many businesses which will be unable to hire - and at the same time this will happen to the rank and file people, a total seizure of financial activity, a chain reaction.
Look carefully at the so-called "recovery plans" in the USA and Europe, they are virtually nil. Why is this? Because there is no planned recovery, the people will be brought to the worst case scenario condition so that any good news seems like a large advance when it is nothing. In the USA there will be nothing but bad to worse, and the same thing happens in Europe - but in both places the "austerity" promise from the people is demanded front and center.
Look at Greece for an example, pay cuts - pension cuts - health spending reduction - education cuts. On the tax side, nothing tax free - one part of the population pays for the others unemployment - taxes raised on everything - increased VAT, everything out of the peoples pocket. Selling off utilities - and all common access business. In Italy the retirement age increases - whacking unions - privatizing municipalities - selling off local services - essentially a carbon copy of Greece, all divesting the people.
In both Italy and Greece they have banking ice men taking office while the prime ministers exit, from the central banks and curiously one with a Goldman Sachs background, and both with Harvard connections... Essentially it is the complete surrender of the governments to the financial sector, which has been par for the course without the fanfare in the USA.
Yet, for all intents and purposes the plans for recovery are a joke, and anyone who comes to a different conclusion has not read the so-called plans. Which brings us to a serious conclusion - if the recovery plans are a joke, than the only real thing happening here is the divestment of the people. Along with the global divestment of the people there will be a further trickle - up, or should I say raging river upwards towards a global elite. In fact, not one activity which was mentioned as a trigger to this current ruse (financial activity of whatever form) has been changed or stopped! The only thing that will survive are those who have already received a hand to the top, as the latter to any future is kicked away.
If you think the misery has stopped let me assure you that it has just begun, and the global elite with its minions, which are supposed to be your representatives have been given a seat at the sumptuous table while the rest will become beggars at the doors. Is this what you want? If not I say the time for global revolution is now, because nothing can be reformed under the current global system, it must be torn down by the people. If you care for your loved ones, your families and friends you cannot sit idly by and watch this happen. They will rape the people and the planet without recourse, so there must be an equal and opposite action from the people to tear the edifice down without remedy to build a better tomorrow for all humanity.
DEMOCRACY IS A JOKE EVERYWHERE - VETOING DEMOCRACY
Papandreou Says He Is a Socialist
Papandreou writes on a blackboard as a punishment meted out by Germany and France: "I must not consult the Greek people I must not consult the Greek people I must not consult the Greek people I must not con. . . ."
Actually what happened in Greece when the peoples referendum was rejected is no surprise to those who understand that all pretension to real democracy from sea to shinning sea has ALWAYS been a joke (ask Shay, of Shay's Rebellion). One does not have to search long and had to find that this previous statement is essentially fact, the question that has to be raised is - what will the people globally do about this? Let me say the current condition cannot be voted away, it cannot be marched away, and lighting candles and singing songs while asking for some form of "reform," is not the answer. The system(s) are working fine - it is not "corrupt" as if it had some redeeming quality, this is made to give you the illusion that you have freedom - you don't, you have owners and a slave rebellion which destroys the slave masters is way past due.
"This week was a sharp reminder that the ancient ideal of democracy is just as threatened -- and to some, just as threatening -- as it's ever been. In government offices in Athens, G20 meeting rooms in Cannes, and "Super Committee" chambers in Washington, we learned that there are still places where the will of the people can be overruled by the whims of the powerful.
From the Parthenon to the Potomac, it was the same story: Elites still hold veto power over the democratic process, and they're not afraid to use it.
Democracy: 'Radical,' 'Irrational,' 'Dangerous'
Ironically, this week's ferment began in the country that's usually credited with creating democracy. In many ways the Greek economy couldn't be more different from our own. The government's fiscal problems there are due in large part to widespread corruption and massive tax evasion -- not tax breaks, tax evasion -- which are very different from our own problems. The government's finances dramatically worse than our own -- almost like night and day -- and a default could create the next major financial crisis.
A certain level of fear and concern was understandable when Greek President George Papandreou announced there would be a referendum on the new bailout plan imposed on his country. The global economy is still unstable, top-heavy, and still riddled with too-big-to-fail institutions. In a worst-case scenario, Greece could trigger another financial meltdown.
Yet the fear was rarely balanced with an understanding of what's really happening in Greece. There was no acknowledgement that the bailout's terms might be grossly unfair (they are), that they're likely to make a terrible situation even worse (they will), or that Greece is in chaos, misery, and despair. (It is.)
And what was most striking was the assumption the elite -- the 1%, if you will -- have veto power over the democratic process. In most of the commentary that flowed from the powerful and the press, a surprising number of world leader didn't even acknowledge that Greece had the right to its own democratic decision-making process.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, whose nation will benefit from "bipartisan" U.S. actions to create a free trade agreement between the two countries, said that "The world has plunged into fears again because of the Greek prime minister's radical step to hold a referendum." Closer to home, French President Sarkozy said that "the Greek's gesture is irrational and, from their point of view, dangerous."
The first part of that statement is a slur against democracy. The second part is, of course, a threat.
What's the Greek word for 'shafted'?
Few are asking who created the Greek debt problem, or who benefited. As in the United States, deficit-creating behavior primarily served the wealthy, the powerful, and the banks. Tax collections for corporations and the wealthy have been very low in Greece. And while tax evasion is commonly for everyone from taxi drivers to millionaires, it takes a lot of cheating cabbies to equal one rich tax dodger.
Bankers didn't give Greece these loans out of kindness, either. They saw an opportunity and they took it. That's why they're being asked to take "haircuts" and lose part of the loan repayment (a reasonable measure that hasn't been yet considered in the US mortgage crisis.)
Greeks are struggling with devastating levels of unemployment, a declining standard of living, and widespread social unrest. While the austerity measures imposed on it do include tax hikes and measures to reduce tax evasion, they will have an especially devastating impact on already hard-hit middle class Greeks. They're the ones who went to work, paid their taxes (wage earners were disproportionately taxed because of the evasion), and paid into their Social Security and health funds with the expectation these services would be available when they were needed.
It doesn't matter now. They won't get their say. Once again the elites were given veto power over democracy. A "bipartisan" revolt of politicians in both major parties made sure of that, and today George Papandreou is looking forward to joining the swelling ranks of Greece's unemployed.
The public's widespread dissatisfaction is understandable, and this stifling of democracy should raise even more fears for Greece's future stability than the referendum did. What will happen if the Greek people continued to be denied a place at the bargaining table as their fate is decided? Given that nation's troubled past, and its tormented present, there's always John F. Kennedy's quote to consider: Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.
But what does this have to do with us? We certainly don't face Greek-level problems. In fact, it serves the elite's narrative to suggest otherwise. Our currency is the dollar, which helps a great deal. We're a commanding world economy. We have the money and resources to fix our joblessness problem, if we only had the will, and we're not part of a larger group like the European Community.
Bet we are part of the G20, which this week reaffirmed its obsession on austerity measures even as Europe sinks under the weight of those already imposed. Washington's Powers That Be are still obsessing about austerity, too.
Here, as in Europe, public opinion is expected to take a back seat to the elites. Yet another poll has been released which shows that a majority of people in all age groups oppose cutting Social Security to fix the deficit. Past polls have shown that strong majorities of Republicans, independents, and even Tea Party member oppose such measures.
Yet despite the strong public objections, and despite the fact that there's overwhelming evidence these cuts are unnecessary and counterproductive, an elected "Super Committee" is likely to recommend them anyway. The usual Congressional rules have been waived in order to force their proposal to a simple up-or-down vote, with no possibility of filibuster and no chance to offer amendments. And US politicians will be under as much pressure to vote for this austerity measure as their Greek counterparts were.
The same week that democracy was under siege in Greece, the "Super Committee" heard from a blue-ribbon panel representing the austerity elite: a Republican hater of Social Security recipients; a Democratic member of Morgan Stanley's Board of Directors; a Republican ex-Senator; and an economist aligned with the Democratic establishment advocates for entitlement cuts. The activities of all four been funded by Republican anti-government-spending billionaire Pete Peterson.
In words that echoed those of the South Korean and French Presidents, the quartet told the unelected committee that if it fails to offer austerity measures which the public rejects, "We haven't got a prayer and neither have you." The elites have spoken: The public is to be ignored. Democracy's been vetoed.
Here's what they didn't teach us in civics class: Democracy has always been controversial. "Democracy... is a charming form of government," said Plato, "full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike." He could sound like a Tea Partier at times. "Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy," he said, " and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty."
Plato's aversion to democracy is shared by a lot of powerful people these days. But politicians, especially those whose party derives its name from the democratic principle, would be better off remembering another Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who said that "The only stable state is the one in which all men are equal before the law."
Representatives from groups that represent Social Security and Medicare recipients, the disabled, and the elderly requested an opportunity to address the Super Committee. They wanted to present their case for preserving these programs, a position that's supported by compelling evidence and supported by majorities in all political parties and of all generations.
"Take a bite of this apple Mr. corporate events Take a walk through the jungle Of cardboard shanties and tents Some people drink Pepsi Some people drink Coke The wacky morning DJ Says democracy's a joke..."