Saturday, January 7, 2012

Food for thought: Orwell on Pacifism and War

During the Second World War, the battle lines were drawn and they were pretty clear.

But during the last few decades, there were no clear battle lines - but as the ruling class of capitalists is looting us, and more and more people are forced to live (or even die) in poverty, it is time to choose "which side are you on", as the song goes. Exploitation will either grow to unprecedented heights, or it will be abolished.

This post features an essay , written by G.Orwell 60 years ago (in the next post we will repost an essay by A. Einstein as well):

George Orwell - Pacifism and the War

[...] Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security. Mr Savage remarks that ‘according to this type of reasoning, a German or Japanese pacifist would be “objectively pro-British”.’ But of course he would be! [even if he wasn't able to realize it - my note] That is why pacifist activities are not permitted in those countries (in both of them the penalty is, or can be, beheading) while both the Germans and the Japanese do all they can to encourage the spread of pacifism in British and American territories. The Germans even run a spurious ‘freedom’ station which serves out pacifist propaganda indistinguishable from that of the P.P.U. [ the P.P.U = Peace Pledge Union, a British pacifists organization - my note] They would stimulate pacifism in Russia as well if they could, but in that case they have tougher babies to deal with. In so far as it takes effect at all, pacifist propaganda can only be effective against those countries where a certain amount of freedom of speech is still permitted; in other words it is helpful to totalitarianism.

I am not interested in pacifism as a ‘moral phenomenon’. If Mr Savage and others imagine that one can somehow ‘overcome’ the German army by lying on one’s back, let them go on imagining it, but let them also wonder occasionally whether this is not an illusion due to security, too much money and a simple ignorance of the way in which things actually happen. As an ex-Indian civil servant, it always makes me shout with laughter to hear, for instance, Gandhi named as an example of the success of non-violence. As long as twenty years ago it was cynically admitted in Anglo-Indian circles that Gandhi was very useful to the British government. So he will be to the Japanese if they get there. Despotic governments can stand ‘moral force’ till the cows come home; what they fear is physical force. But though not much interested in the ‘theory’ of pacifism, I am interested in the psychological processes by which pacifists who have started out with an alleged horror of violence end up with a marked tendency to be fascinated by the success and power of Nazism. Even pacifists who wouldn’t own to any such fascination are beginning to claim that a Nazi victory is desirable in itself. In the letter you sent on to me, Mr Comfort considers that an artist in occupied territory ought to ‘protest against such evils as he sees’, but considers that this is best done by ‘temporarily accepting the status quo’ (like Déat or Bergery, for instance?). a few weeks back he was hoping for a Nazi victory because of the stimulating effect it would have upon the arts:

"As far as I can see, no therapy short of complete military defeat has any chance of re-establishing the common stability of literature and of the man in the street. One can imagine the greater the adversity the greater the sudden realization of a stream of imaginative work, and the greater the sudden katharsis of poetry, from the isolated interpretation of war as calamity to the realization of the imaginative and actual tragedy of Man. When we have access again to the literature of the war years in France, Poland and Czechoslovakia, I am confident that that is what we shall fined." (From a letter to Horizon.)

I pass over the money-sheltered ignorance capable of believing that literary life is still going on in, for instance, Poland, and remark merely that statements like this justify me in saying that our English pacifists are tending towards active pro-Fascism. But I don’t particularly object to that. What I object to is the intellectual cowardice of people who are objectively and to some extent emotionally pro-Fascist, but who don’t care to say so and take refuge behind the formula ‘I am just as anti-fascist as anyone, but—’. The result of this is that so-called peace propaganda is just as dishonest and intellectually disgusting as war propaganda. Like war propaganda, it concentrates on putting forward a ‘case’, obscuring the opponent’s point of view and avoiding awkward questions. The line normally followed is ‘Those who fight against Fascism go Fascist themselves.’ In order to evade the quite obvious objections that can be raised to this, the following propaganda-tricks are used:
  1. The Fascizing processes occurring in Britain as a result of war are systematically exaggerated.
  2. The actual record of Fascism, especially its pre-war history, is ignored or pooh-poohed as ‘propaganda’. Discussion of what the world would actually be like if the Axis dominated it is evaded.
  3. Those who want to struggle against Fascism are accused of being wholehearted defenders of capitalist ‘democracy’. The fact that the rich everywhere tend to be pro-Fascist and the working class are nearly always anti-Fascist is hushed up.
  4. It is tacitly pretended that the war is only between Britain and Germany. Mention of Russia and China, and their fate if Fascism is permitted to win, is avoided. (You won’t find one word about Russia or China in the three letters you sent to me.)
My past and present. Mr Woodcock tries to discredit me by saying that (a) I once served in the Indian Imperial Police, (b) I have written article for the Adelphi and was mixed up with the Trotskyists in Spain, and (c) that I am at the B.B.C. ‘conducting British propaganda to fox the Indian masses’. With regard to (a), it is quite true that I served five years in the Indian Police. It is also true that I gave up that job, partly because it didn’t suit me but mainly because I would not any longer be a servant of imperialism. I am against imperialism because I know something about it from the inside. The whole history of this is to be found in my writings, including a novel (Burmese Days) which I think I can claim was a kind of prophecy of what happened this year in Burma. (b) Of course I have written for the Adelphi. Why not? I once wrote an article for a vegetarian paper. Does that make me a vegetarian? I was associated with the Trotskyists in Spain [Orwell went to Spain during the Spanish Civil War and fought the fascists, by joining POUM, a marxist organization - my note]. It was chance that I was serving in the P.O.U.M. militia and not another, and I largely disagreed with the P.O.U. M. ‘line’ and told its leaders so freely, but when they were afterwards accused of pro-Fascist activities I defended them as best it could. How does this contradict my present anti-Hitler attitude? It is news to me that Trotskyists are either pacifists or pro-Fascists. (c) Does Mr Woodcock really know what kind of stuff I put out in the Indian broadcasts? He does not — though I would be quite glad to tell him about it. He is careful not to mention what other people are associated with these Indian broadcasts. One for instance is Herbert Read, whom he mentions with approval. Others are T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Reginald Reynolds, Stephen Spender, J. B. S. Haldane, Tom Wintringham. Most of our broadcasters are Indian left-wing intellectual, from Liberals to Trotskyists, some of them bitterly anti-British. They don’t do it to ‘fox the Indian masses’ but because they know what a Fascist victory would mean to the chances of India’s independence. Why not try to find out what I am doing before accusing my good faith?

‘Mr Orwell is intellectual-hunting again’ (Mr Comfort). I have never attacked ‘the intellectuals’ or ‘the intelligentsia’ en bloc. I have used a lot of ink and done myself a lot of harm by attacking the successive literary cliques which have infested this country, not because they were intellectuals but precisely because they were not what I mean by true intellectuals. The life of a clique is about five years and I have been writing long enough to see three of them come and two go — the Catholic gang, the Stalinist gang, and the present pacifist or, as they are sometimes nicknamed, Fascifist gang. My case against all of them is that they write mentally dishonest propaganda and degrade literary criticism to mutual arse-licking. But even with these various schools I would differentiate between individuals. I would never think of coupling Christopher Dawson with Arnold Lunn, or Malraux with Palme Dutt, or Max Plowman with the Duke of Bedford. And even the work of one individual can exist at very different levels. For instance Mr Comfort himself wrote one poem I value greatly (‘The Atoll in the Mind’), and I wish he would write more of them instead of lifeless propaganda tracts dressed up as novels. But his letter he has chosen to send you is a different matter. Instead of answering what I have said he tries to prejudice an audience to whom I am little known by a misrepresentation of my general line and sneers about my ‘status’ in England. (A writer isn’t judged by his ‘status’, he is judged by his work.) That is on a par with ‘peace’ propaganda which has to avoid mention of Hitler’s invasion of Russian, and it is not what I mean by intellectual honesty. It is just because I do take the function of the intelligentsia seriously that I don’t like the sneers, libels, parrot phrased and financially profitable back-scratching which flourish in our English literary world, and perhaps in yours also.
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Restoring competitiveness by even "working for free"!

Capitalism, as we've already discussed, is a system the workers have to compete against each other in order to get picked by the employers.

In today's environment, employers usually prefer the Asian workers, as they work ridiculously long hours for ridiculously low wages - that makes them more competitive than everyone else, except maybe the German workers, who may be "expensive", but they are also more productive/efficient.

So, apart from a few exceptions, the western workers "must" become more competitive, so that the employers will start picking them again in the labour market. After, all, who cares about poverty and inequality? The only thing that matters is maximizing your own personal profit, right? So, the workers need to be productive, obedient and cheap. And that's where "austerity" comes in:

A lot of people, especially the Social-Democrats, criticize austerity because it reinforces the recession and inhibits growth. This is true, but it also misses "the big picture". The capitalists are not stupid, or at least they are not that stupid - they know that these austerity measures inhibit growth, and even if they didn't know, they must have noticed it by know. And yet they persist, because this policy may inhibit growth on the short term, but it will also create a new generation of workers that will work longer hours for less money. So, in the long run, the capitalists will make a profit, even if they have to take some short-term hits as well (some businesses are going bankrupt because of austerity - they are "necessary sacrifices" in order to create a better future for the capitalists, at the expense of the workers). Here's how it works:

As unemployment keeps rising, the workers become desperate, as they have no money to sustain themselves and their families. This situation is very similar to a castle siege - the attackers would cut the supply lines of the people inside the castle, and these people would either starve to death (as they had no food), or they would be forced to surrender. The workers face a similar choice, as they have no job, and the employers will only offer them a job if they agree to give up their demands of an 8-hour day or of a "decent" wage, healthcare benefits, etc.

So, unless the workers fight for a system without employers, a system in which the workers are in charge of themselves, they will eventually be forced to accept working in poverty. The employers have all the labour force they need in Asia, at extremely low prices - so as long as they are in charge of production, they will keep picking the cheaper workers, forcing everyone else to accept similar conditions of poverty, or face unemployment and starvation. They even call today's generation "a lost generation", as a lot of them will not get "picked" for work, and they will be left to starve, in order for the next generations to accept working for pennies.

So how is this strategy working out for the capitalists? Actually, it's working great! Sure, there are some protests, but on the other hand a lot of workers have already accepted working for (a lot) less, and some of them have even accepted working...for free! That's something that even the slaves of the Dark Ages didn't accept, as they masters would at least give them food and water, in order to keep them alive so that they can continue to exploit them for as long as possible.

Today, as it turns out, there are some cases where you don't even have to do that - and I'm not talking about China or Africa or anything like that. I'm talking about the West:

Unpaid jobs: The new normal?
With nearly 14 million unemployed workers in America, many have gotten so desperate that they're willing to work for free. While some businesses are wary of the legal risks and supervision such an arrangement might require, companies that have used free workers say it can pay off when done right. [yeah, sure, it can pay off if you look at it from the capitalist's point of view - my note]

"People who work for free are far hungrier than anybody who has a salary, so they're going to outperform, they're going to try to please, they're going to be creative," says Kelly Fallis, chief executive of Remote Stylist, a Toronto and New York-based startup that provides Web-based interior design services.
In the last three years, Fallis has used about 50 unpaid interns for duties in marketing, editorial, advertising, sales, account management and public relations. She's convinced it's the wave of the future in human resources. "Ten years from now, this is going to be the norm," she says.
Cassie Johnson, a 27-year old in San Marcos, Calif., lost her job as an enrollment adviser for an online university in 2009 and was receiving unemployment benefits for a year before finding an assistant manager position at a Starbucks (SBUX) that's so far from her home she spends most of her pay on gas. Since starting a public relations internship in February, she feels a renewed sense of purpose.

"I'm learning a lot and I feel really good about it. I'm happy. I feel relevant. I'm not making any money, so it's tough, but I feel it's setting me up for a career," Johnson says. "I only have $1.50 left in my checking account right now but I'm living with my boyfriend and he's been really good about supporting me." [meanwhile, even the Chinese workers make more money that she does - but at least she's "relevant" - my note]

All work and no pay – the rise of workfare
As consumers, we may all be guilty of ignoring the poverty wages paid by companies such as Primark in their factories abroad. But how many of us are aware of the exploitation going on in the UK, as workfare schemes allow such companies to profit from free labour?

Karina’s story is not uncommon. More and more people are being compelled to work without pay on threat of losing the poverty income of £67 per week (if you’re over 25) that jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) provides.

Karina was mandated to work in Primark under New Labour’s Flexible New Deal. She had been sent to a private ‘welfare to work’ provider whose regime included putting claimants to work without pay in businesses, charity shops and public sector workplaces. Although regulations meant that she could only be obliged to work for up to 12 weeks without pay, she worked for 24 weeks, fearing she would have her benefits stopped if she did not agree. She had signed up to and paid for a college course that would help her find work but she had to give it up to do the placement: ‘They told me they would stop my JSA, so I stopped my English course.’ 

The younger generation of workers is the one suffering more - some graduates in England are even paying to get get a job (instead of getting paid for it)!

Graduates paying to work for free
When Roz Tuplin graduated in 2010 she thought that a post-graduate degree in English Literature would be good grounding for a job in the media. She knew she would have to gain work experience, but after a year of trying to get a placement, she has decided to pay employers £65 a day to let her through the door. "It seems to be the way things are going," she said.
Ms Tuplin, 23, from Wirral, will be paying £260 for a four-day work experience placement with a TV production company in London. Access to internships, many said to have been arranged through well-connected parents, has been an area of controversy.

"The government's own lawyers have warned work without pay is often illegal and HMRC should be investigating companies which offer unpaid and paid-for internships." 

And it just keeps getting better and better:

Hundreds of Thousands of Lower-Wage Workers, Many of Whom Worked for Decades, Would Be Denied Unemployment Insurance Under Provision Now Under Consideration
A provision that congressional negotiators will consider for legislation to extend the payroll tax cut through the end of 2012 would deny unemployment insurance (UI) to hundreds of thousands of lower-wage workers who worked for years or even decades, effectively paid UI taxes while they worked, and then were laid off.
Unemployed Portuguese told to 'just emigrate'
Hounded by the economic crisis that shows no signs of letting up and by political leaders of all stripes, Portugal's conservative Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho sent out an unprecedented message to his fellow citizens: Emigrate.

A wave of indignation was triggered when Passos Coelho, in the face of the growing unemployment that is hitting young people and educators extremely hard, suggested to teachers on December 18 that as an alternative they could move to Portuguese-speaking countries like Brazil or Angola.

Meanwhile, back in "Plutocracy Land":

Since 2009, 88 Percent Of Income Growth Went To Corporate Profits, Just One Percent Went To Wages
“Between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010, real national income in the U.S. increased by $528 billion. Pre-tax corporate profits by themselves had increased by $464 billion while aggregate real wages and salaries rose by only $7 billion or only .1%. Over this six quarter period, corporate profits captured 88% of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1% of the growth in real national income. …The absence of any positive share of national income growth due to wages and salaries received by American workers during the current economic recovery is historically unprecedented.”

No wonder the people are out on the streets - it took them long enough. They are of course in the very early stages of a process that could -and should- lead to a revolution, a revolution that should end this system where almost all the economic and political power is concentrated at the hands of a few oligarchs, who don't seem to mind when a lot of suffer, if that suits their interests...

This article from the Huffington Post describes a trend that will probably grow, as the people start opening their minds to alternative ways of organizing our societies. It would be premature, if not foolish, to talk about a socialist revolution in the West, as there is no preparation for such an event, at least not in the near future. But we should start discussing this possibility, as capitalism can only lead us to mass poverty, if not war:

 Young People More Likely To Favor Socialism Than Capitalism: Pew
Young people -- the collegiate and post-college crowd, who have served as the most visible face of the Occupy Wall Street movement -- might be getting more comfortable with socialism. That's the surprising result from a Pew Research Center poll that aims to measure American sentiments toward different political labels.

The poll, published Wednesday, found that while Americans overall tend to oppose socialism by a strong margin -- 60 percent say they have a negative view of it, versus just 31 percent who say they have a positive view -- socialism has more fans than opponents among the 18-29 crowd. Forty-nine percent of people in that age bracket say they have a positive view of socialism; only 43 percent say they have a negative view.

And while those numbers aren't very far apart, it's noteworthy that they were reversed just 20 months ago, when Pew conducted a similar poll. In that survey, published May 2010, 43 percent of people age 18-29 said they had a positive view of socialism, and 49 percent said their opinion was negative.
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No More ZIRP For US Government - and what about those cuts on military spending?

This article is a repost from The article was written a few months ago, but it is as relevant today as it was back then - maybe even more so, with Obama announcing cuts in military spending:


The US Debt Death Dance continues with the entire elderly population sitting, watching in horror with a gun to the forehead is interesting since we are at war.  We just increased our war against Libya, with London kicking out the Libyan staff there and installing the rebels in a coup de force.  The whining about the budget is most astonishing here since we are at war.  Bush started his wars while cutting taxes and now this insane tax cutting regime continues as the rich evade paying for their wars which they want very badly.  They have basically declared war on nearly all Muslims and are planning a major global war against China while doing hot business with China.

These insane things run alongside the US bailing out the entire NATO banking system via letting the Federal Reserve with no oversight by anyone, lending over $16 trillion to private investment bankers and international central banks!  At ZIRP rates which is, for free.  This unleashed a global commodity/stock exchange inflation flurry which, in turn, is now causing revolutions, riots and defaults across the entire planet.  Returning to the author of all this, the US which has run trade and budget deficits nonstop during nearly the entire Cold War and now the War On Terror, the very rich have skipped out on paying for this nearly continuously since 1980 with Reagan’s ascendancy to the throne.

Russia calls for “immediate end” to Libyan conflict  and so  Russia won’t recognize Libyan rebels – Lavrov.  The former KGB officers know defeat when they see it, they have seen it happen before, in Russia so when they say, “There is no military solution to Libya situation”, we should take them seriously. [by the way, this statement was made by Medvedev and Merkel, as Germany sided with Russia and Chin on this one. We shalla talk more about this alliance in future posts - my note]

In Congress, which is now the Knesset on steroids, there is no ability to see looming defeat because the wars have been paid for via cheap credit.  So never, ever has there been a call for even the slightest sacrifices by the rich.  The rich, incidentally, own our military/industrial complex and make huge profits off of it and they seem little inclined to see this wealth return to the state to pay for the wars which fuel rises in their incomes.  They literally want to eat their cakes and bomb them, too.  This one-way feed whereby debt piles up while wars rage is a great way to bankrupt a country.  Many an empire in the past has tried this and all had the same dire end: bankruptcy.

The wealthy have pushed as hard as possible, the idea that the poorest half of the country that holds approximately 2% of the wealth compared to the top 10% that holds over 50% of the wealth, be taxed heavily for these insane wars, too.  Trying desperately to guilt trip the lower working classes who have seen jobs vanish and wages collapse, to pay for wars that enrich the wealthy even further, beyond their wildest dreams, is pure insanity.  Yet, this meme has been ruthlessly pushed by wealthy publishers, AIPAC and other creeps who don’t care if the country goes bankrupt, they just don’t want to part with a farthing of their own wealth no matter how dangerous this is in the future.

And history is very clear about this: empires that go to war and then bring back no loot and spend via debt on adventures that bring back little or nothing, countries that do this while letting the elites pay no price for this, countries that tax the poor to pay for fruitless wars, end up dead.  That is, their own people revolt and the foreign adventures collapse while the government at home collapses.

We have exactly one socialist in the Senate.  He is a voice of reason who is often ignored.  Here is his latest public statement about the mess in DC:  Majority Rule? – Newsroom: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
With the clock ticking on an Aug. 2 deadline for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, another major national poll found that Washington is out of touch with a big majority of Americans who want to see a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases as part of any deal to bring down the U.S. budget deficit.[...] The idea is popular everywhere in America, it seems, except on Capitol Hill, where Republicans have ruled out ending tax breaks and closing loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations.
Since the dawn of religions created by fearful humans, when something goes bad or gods had to be fed human blood, the elites usually didn’t sacrifice themselves to save their followers, they sacrificed someone who was much more helpless.  Prisoners, children, virgins, whoever: they tended to toss these into the maws of the irritated gods.  So it is in modern times: when there is a need for any sacrifices, the rich and elites all point to the rest of us and tell us to go jump into a fiery lake, not them.
In the last decade, the very rich who incidentally, own our military complex, have thrown multimillion dollar coming of age ceremonies for their own spawn while at the same time, sending the children of the working class and the poor into the wars which bring these huge profits.  Celebrating their brats turning into ‘adults’ (these ceremonies tend to come at 13-16 years of age for the children) with sybaritic displays while the children (often quite young, themselves) come home mutilated, psychotic or dead, is part and parcel of the gulf between the rich and the poor which is ultimately the cause of the future revolt that will happen here eventually.

Here is a good speech by our only socialist Senator:  Plutocracy: If Corporations and the Rich Paid 1960s-Level Taxes, the Debt Would Vanish – Newsroom: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
If corporations and households taking in $1 million or more in income each year were now paying taxes at the same annual rates as they did back in 1961, the IPS researchers found, the federal treasury would be collecting an additional $716 billion a year.

In other words, if the federal government started taxing the wealthy and their corporations at the same rates in effect a half-century ago, the federal debt to investors would almost totally vanish over the next decade. [In reality, if the government did try to raise taxes on the rich, they would simply take their money and move/invest it somewhere else, like Asia for example. So, this "solution" that Sanders is suggesting will not work, leaving us with no other choice that to try and completely overthrow them, not increase their taxation - my note]

So why aren’t we taxing the rich? Why are we now suffering such fearsome “debt crisis” angst? Why are our politicos so intent on shoving the “fiscal discipline” of layoffs and cutbacks – austerity – down the throats of average Americans?

No mystery here. Our political system is failing to tax the rich because the rich have fortunes large enough to buy off the political system.
The free ride to many wars is now ending.  Before, Republican Presidents starting with Reagan, figured out that the public would buy into crazy wars if they didn’t have to pay for them.  So the idea of using debt to pay for wars become the Holy Grail of the military/industrialists who thought Pentagon spending could double every 4-6 years and no one would notice this is a classic hockey stick graph which leads to infinity.

Now that the rich are talking about cutting social security and Medicare and possibly all other services used by American citizens while increasing the war spending, Public support is finally waning for defense spending – Stripes Central – Stripes.  And about time!  The majority of Americans want the war gravy train to stop.  If we have to starve at home or die of disease thanks to our wars, then it is much easier to just stop the wars, isn’t it?

The banks were reliquified by the Fed just 2 years ago and now they are setting themselves up to float above this mess which they and their buddies created in the first place.  When the GOP ideology of no regulation of credit markets, no usury laws, no taxes on the rich first were proposed by Reagan’s gang, the bankers cheered.  Now that the mess they endorsed and pushed for is pushing our empire off the cliff, they get cold feet.  Well, all the cash holdings they have are dwarfed by the FOREX cash held by foreign powers, all of whom ran up huge trade surplus profits against the US since Reagan.
THEY are getting nervous and Chinese warnings have been disregarded.  The US cannot print its way out of this mess without using the Weimar option which is to destroy the value of the dollar until it can’t buy even a loaf of bread with a wheel barrel of cash.  Foreign powers hold tons of US debt and if it is suddenly priced at above 3% per annum, this means our government will be forced to spend 100% revenues on interest and this will be money flowing OUT of the US to pay for our red ink, not into the country.

The pirates and gnomes running Goldman Sachs, an entity that ought to have been forced into bankruptcy, a monster bailed out at great cost by our own central bank, is freaking out over all of this:  Goldman Sachs: US Faces Credit ‘Downgrade’ if it Counts Eventual End of War as ‘Deficit Reduction’ 
Senate Democrats have issued a new “savings” plan that would nominally pare the projected deficit by over $1 trillion simply by assuming that the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will eventually go away by virtue of those wars ending.  This has spawned a myriad of criticism, including a leaked Goldman Sachs memo warning that the nation faces a credit downgrade if it tries to use this sort of on-paper gimmick instead of actual cuts in spending.
Goldman Sachs wants real cuts?  HAHAHA.  Cut them!  Of course, they run our government via bribes to politicians, etc.  And these creeps pay little to no taxes.  They scheme to enrich themselves and beggar us.  And as typical of such fiends, they want cuts to things that keep us alive while evading responsibility for funding our government.

I grew up in an End of Times household where the adults worked tirelessly to create nuclear missiles so this would happen.  I was told, ‘This will protect us!’ even as we talked about how we were going to die.  ’That’s OK since Jesus will save us,’ was the answer, one that I seriously doubted.  Nay, I feared.  Insanity of this sort infects religious believers which is why the many religious wars raging around the planet, sucking us in, are so dangerous.
Thousands of years ago, humans invented religions due to fear of death.  To save themselves, they then created the concept of human sacrifices to save themselves from angry gods.  This meant killing someone, of course.  So, to save themselves, our ancestors killed others!  Who didn’t deserve to be allowed to be saved, of course.  This is a fundamental problem with all religions even if they ceased sacrificing humans and animals to bloody gods.  The impulse is still very much there.  It is part of our brains.

This idiot from Utah thinks it is funny if he destroys the nation in order to stop overspending money.  Did he vote for the military budgets?  Yup, enthusiastically, every time!  Did he vote to raise taxes every time he doubled the Pentagon spending?  Nope, never.  Perhaps making it impossible to raise taxes will fix our military problems by stopping all wars.  Except this won’t happen.  They will use this as a way of cutting social services to zero.  For the rich want everything and they want to share nothing.  Again: this is Ice Age thinking.  Eliminate all rivals and then one can hunt mastodons in peace.
Due to insane religious nuts like Senator Lee, the elites have decided to have a legal but unconstitutional coup:  ‘Super Congress’: Debt Ceiling Negotiators Aim To Create New Legislative Body.  Good lord, what’s next?  The guillotine?  French Directory – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Under the French Constitution of 1795, qualified property holders elected 750 legislators, who divided themselves into the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients. This bicameral legislature had a term of three years, with one-third of the members renewed every year. The Ancients held a suspensory veto, but possessed no initiative in legislation.
The system made provision for the stringent control of all local authorities by the central government. Since the new constitution sought to create a separation of powers, the directors had no voice in legislation or taxation, nor could directors or ministers sit in either house. The law guaranteed freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom of labour, but forbade armed assemblies and even public meetings of political societies. Only individuals or public authorities could tender petitions…The finances had been so thoroughly ruined that the government could not have met its expenses without the plunder and the tribute of foreign countries. If peace were made, the armies would return home and the directors would have to face the exasperation of the rank-and-file who had lost their livelihood, as well as the ambition of generals who could, in a moment, brush them aside.
The end result was Napoleon.  When the Weimar government floundered, the end result was Hitler when Germany finally went bankrupt.  Since the military is sucking down a huge, huge hunk of our budget, if this is endangered and the wages of the military aren’t paid on time, they will take over the government just like we saw in Egypt.  This will fix nothing since the military leaders want more wars which is what happened when Hitler and Napoleon took over bankrupt empires that still had strong military systems pretty much intact.
Both Hitler and Napoleon promised guns and butter and brought in lots of loot for a while until military defeats reversed this and the people let invaders (Russia in both cases!) overthrow their armies.  In the US, we have a very dangerous military machine that is mainly overseas.  If Congress doesn’t pay them or if the US debt is degraded and thus, less desirable, we will have a coup more likely than an election.  The military will not tolerate civilian spending if they have to be cut, too.  Ending the many wars goes against the grain for the military which wants more of these wars for it increases their power.

. Even if the soldiers don’t want more wars, the generals at the top do.  And until the soldiers revolt (and they certainly did in the Vietnam War!) the generals will cheerfully expand wars to infinity.  This is a big mess the US has to discuss. Do we want eternal, increasingly expensive wars of attrition run by assassins?  Or do we want peace and plenty?  The rich want the former, the bulk of Americans wan the latter.  But enough Americans want the End of Times to tip the scales in favor of the elites who want wars to enrich themselves.  This is a tragedy history has written so often, it becomes tedious to even bring up the many examples of this dynamic and how stupid it all is since we know the obvious end results.  History is utterly clear about this.  Fatally clear.
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