[THS] David Michael Green: If The Russians Did This To Us, We`d Kill `Em
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Mon Oct 5 19:02:40 CEST 2009
If The Russians Did This To Us, Wed Kill Em
By David Michael Green
October 02, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- What if the Russians invaded?
It's not so far-fetched an idea, you know. We spent half a century and trillions of
dollars to make sure that it would never happen, so it's really not such a strange
So what if the Russians invaded?
What if they came and stole all of our money?
What if the Russians invaded and enslaved our children as cheap worker bee drones
locked in dismal dead-end jobs?
What if the Russians invaded and excavated all of our natural resources, leaving only
mountains of toxic debris in their wake?
What if the Russians invaded and they ruined our infrastructure, thrashed our
educational institutions, and stuck us with a grossly inadequate healthcare system?
What if the Russians invaded and incarcerated a huge percentage of our people in
for-profit jails? What if they ruined our military by sending it off on big-money colonial
expeditions? What if they cut the legs out from under the middle class?
What if the Russians invaded and turned us against each other, tricking this tribe of
Americans into hating that tribe, in order to keep any of us from realizing that they
were looting our country?
If the Russians did any of these things, wed kill em. Dead.
If the Russians invaded, we'd send our army to crush them in defense of our country
(or, at least, we hire somebody to do it).
If the Russians invaded, we'd be furious and raging and hateful and destructive for
good reason, too and we would bring to them the full measure of American
organized violence in order to take back our country from their plundering rampages.
Of course, the Russians havent invaded. But what's astonishing about the moment
we live in is that America has in fact been subjected to all these travails. We have
essentially been invaded by those who wish us ill, and our national and private
resources are being stripped bare. This country is being looted, and everything in it
that isn't nailed down is being carted away and sold off.
Our children are being saddled with enormous financial burdens. Our educational
and healthcare systems, sucked dry as mere revenues sources, are falling to pieces.
Our infrastructure is approaching ruin.
Our jobs, our industries and our community resources have been bundled up and
exported to where the work can be done far cheaper, and the workers are
compliant. Increasingly we are scrambling just to survive. Admittedly, our
government remains absolutely dedicated to making sure that some of us do
extremely well. It's just that that some doesnt include anyone you know.
What is absolutely astonishing about the moment that we live in is that we have been
essentially invaded, we have been absolutely looted, and yet we don't seem to be the
slightest bit angry about that.
If the Russians had done it, we would be absolutely furious. But in fact, it was our
own overclass that did it, and not only are we not furious at them, we don't even
notice the crime. Or, if we do notice, were furious at some ridiculously inappropriate
target, like a liberal president who isn't even remotely liberal.
America has always been a country with its full and fair share of flaws, but for quite
some time during the middle part of the twentieth century, we got one thing
reasonably right. There was a bargain then, between elites and the government and
the public. According to the terms of the deal, the aristocracy would still be
fantastically rich, but there would be limitations on their wealth, because some of that
wealth, some substantial amount, needed to be shared with the working people and
the middle class, and it was the role of government to make sure that that
happened. Many among the well-to-do even shared that consensus.
Since Ronald Reagan rode into town, however, that deal is off the table, replaced by
what is essentially a new New Deal or, more accurately, simply the Bad Old Deal.
Under the terms of this new/old arrangement, the unregulated wealthy grab
absolutely everything they can get their hands on, the middle class scrambles for
whatever bare existence it can maintain, and the rest of America, the working class
and the poor, fall deeper and deeper into third world-style poverty. Under the terms
of this new system, the role of the government is no longer to provide for the welfare
of the people, nor to ensure that there are limitations on what the plutocracy can
liberate from them. Under the terms of this new arrangement, the function of the
government is simply to serve as a tool, assisting that plutocracy in depriving
America's own people of everything that can be taken from them.
That means that in the last thirty years we've entirely restructured the economy so
that the super-wealthy have become obscenely-super-wealthy, and the middle class
are lucky to have stood still, and haven't really even managed that. If one examines
the destination of the considerable GDP growth that America has sustained over the
last three decades, it's gone entirely to the richest of Americans. The middle class has
actually lost ground. That's an astonishing fact, but think about it: Despite robust
economic growth, workers today actually make less than they did back in the 1970s.
Even more amazing, it wasn't that hard to pull off. All you had to do was to fool the
people and divert their attention to other circuses to go along with the remaining
crumbs of bread. Meanwhile, unions were decimated by changes in government
policy. Jobs were exported first to the south, then to Mexico, then to China, now to
Thailand or Vietnam, and probably soon to Africa in a never-ending search for the
cheapest possible way to wring value out of the working people of the world, leaving
Americans without any sort of remaining industry or economic base. Tax policy was
also deployed, channeling money from current working Americans, and especially
from their children, and diverted it to the already wealthy. The upshot of all these
policy changes was that the richest Americans became absolutely, astonishingly,
fabulously rich, and the rest of us are barely holding on, if that.
If the Russians had come here and done this if they had come and stolen our
resources, if they come and enslaved our children into inescapable soul-numbing
jobs, if they had left us with environmental degradation and a wrecked economy and
destroyed education system and a crumbling infrastructure and a sieve-like
healthcare regime if the Russians had come and done any or all of this, we
would've risen up in anger and hostility and patriotism and nationalism, and wed
have loaded up our weapons and killed every last one of them.
But it wasn't the Russians that did it, it was our own overclass. And worse still, it was
our own government acting as though they were protecting us from the evil
bogeyman du jour, while in fact they were assisting the wealthy in bleeding us dry,
until our anemia left us fit only for our profit-seeking hospitals.
Think about how idiotic you have to be to allow yourself to be looted and not even
realize the money's been taken out of your pocket. Think about how politically
immature you have to be to allow a thief to walk right up to you, take your money,
and not even recognize who that thief is. Think about how stupid you have to be to
blame it on somebody else like gays, or Iraqis, or black helicopters and not pay
attention to the real rip-off artist who's stealing your money.
I would tip my hat in admiration to these plutocrats for the cleverness of their
scheme even if a scam this ugly requires the predators to have the moral sensibility
of an empty parking lot but in fact what they've done isn't really all that clever. The
successes of their crimes have lots more to do with the fatuousness of their victims
than with the acumen of the criminals.
Worse yet, as if the American public hasn't already been stupid enough, here we are
thirty years down the road from the advent of Reaganism, and we still don't get it.
Here we are after three decades of being looted, still unable to figure out who's
ripping us off. Here we are, even after the implausibly complete failures and disasters
and depredations of the Bush administration, and most Americans are still unable to
point to the criminals and their ideology, and identify the source of the crime.
Which makes the future looked even more shaky. Now we have a president who
most Americans are coming to believe is some sort of far-left Stalinist, while in fact he
is every bit the full-measured facilitator of corporate parasitism that either George W.
Bush or Bill Clinton were.
And yet, because he is being made out to be some sort of outrageously decadent
liberal, and because Americans are too dim to figure out the ruse, this president
who is failing to address the concerns of ordinary Americans, most especially because
he's not working for them in the least is bound to fail, and is looking increasingly
like the proud owner of a one-term presidency. And what we can expect in reaction
to that failure ironically and disastrously and jaw-droppingly idiotically is a sharp
turn to the right. When Obama fails, it will be framed, as it already is being, as some
sort of grand failure of liberalism. In fact, of course, just the opposite is true. It's a
grand success of the overclasss looting of America.
In this respect, Obama offers precious little change, even from the crimes of
George W. Bush. Look at his healthcare initiative, for example. I don't know about
you, but Id say it's a pretty safe bet that anything that the big pharmacological and
big health insurance industries are in favor of is pretty much guaranteed to be a
disaster for the rest of us you know, we the people of the United States. This bill no
more represents an initiative for the purpose of bringing healthcare to Americans
than George Bushs prescription drug bill was an initiative to improve the life of
seniors. In both cases, whatever vicarious and accidental improvements that exist are
simply diversionary window-dressing on what is really another example of legalized
In the case of Obama's healthcare legislation, what's happening is that enormous
quantities of new customers are being forced to buy expensive health coverage from
insurance industry predators who will be vastly enriched by means of this new
legislation, which is precisely why they would favor something that ordinarily we
would expect them to oppose, and that we certainly would expect them to oppose if
Obama was any kind of progressive whatsoever, even if only in his personal fantasies.
The bank bailouts were absolutely no different. What an amazing episode, what an
amazing looting of the American public, what an amazing chapter in the destruction
of an empire and all brought to us by a supposedly liberal president. In fact,
Obama was simply extending the tradition of the Bush administration, and the
Reagan ideology prior to that, which calls for pillaging the federal treasury in order to
divert the maximal amount of money to economic elites, and then leaving the bill for
the American taxpayer.
One could go on and on from here. Obama continues to deploy more mercenaries in
Iraq and Afghanistan than there are uniformed American soldiers. He continues to
support privatization of everything from American prisons to schools. He asks for the
most tepid possible re-institution of regulations on the financial industry, and when
the thieves on Wall Street growl back at him, he abandons even those most limited of
obstacles to their worst impulses.
The upshot is that today American voters have two choices. They can have the party
that represents the maximal plundering of America, at the maximal speed. Or they
can have the party that represents nearly the same crime at almost the same
Either way, the United States has ceased in any meaningful way to be owned by
citizens. Its voters vote, but their representatives in Congress and in the
administration are beholden to economic elites, and act entirely accordingly. The
country's institutions, infrastructure, and social relations are all being dismantled
piece by piece and either relocated elsewhere or sold off in order to wring yet
another drop of wealth out of the hides of working Americans, so that those who are
already wealthy beyond belief can be even further enriched.
If some other country did this to us if the Russians invaded and took all our
resources, and enslaved us and our children to work in dismal jobs when we could
find any work at all sufficient to maintaining a rapidly sinking middle class livelihood
if those things happened and the perpetrator was a foreign power, we'd rise up and
go to war and wed kill every last one of em.
But were not doing any of that, even though a very real enemy has invaded this
country and stripped it bare.
In fact, this society is pretty busy making sure that we don't even notice who that
David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New
York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles
(dmg at regressiveantidote.net ), but regrets that time constraints do not always allow
him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website,
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