The Middle Class is not “Normal”

There’s nothing “normal” about having a middle class. Having a middle class is a choice that a society has to make, and it’s a choice we need to make again in this generation, if we want to stop the destruction of the remnants of the last generation's middle class. Despite what you might read in the Wall Street Journal or see on Fox News, capitalism is not an economic system that produces a middle class. In fact, if left to its own devices, capitalism tends towards vast levels of inequality and monopoly. The natural and most stable state of capitalism actually looks a lot like the Victorian England depicted in Charles Dickens’ novels.

At the top there is a very small class of superrich. Below them, there is a slightly larger, but still very small, "middle" class of professionals and mercantilists - doctor, lawyers, shop-owners - who help keep things running for the superrich and supply the working poor with their needs. And at the very bottom there is the great mass of people - typically over 90 percent of the population - who make up the working poor. They have no wealth - in fact they're typically in debt most of their lives - and can barely survive on what little money they make.

So, for average working people, there is no such thing as a middle class in “normal” capitalism. Wealth accumulates at the very top among the elites, not among everyday working people. Inequality is the default option.

You can see this trend today in America. When we had heavily regulated and taxed capitalism in the post-war era, the largest employer in America was General Motors, and they paid working people what would be, in today's dollars, about $50 an hour with benefits. Reagan began deregulating and cutting taxes on capitalism in 1981, and today, with more classical "raw capitalism," what we call "Reaganomics," or "supply side economics," our nation's largest employer is WalMart and they pay around $10 an hour.

This is how quickly capitalism reorients itself when the brakes of regulation and taxes are removed - this huge change was done in less than 35 years. The only ways a working-class "middle class" can come about in a capitalist society are by massive social upheaval - a middle class emerged after the Black Plague in Europe in the 14th century - or by heavily taxing the rich.

French economist Thomas Piketty has talked about this at great length in his groundbreaking new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. He argues that the middle class that came about in Western Europe and the United States during the mid-twentieth was the direct result of a peculiar set of historical events. According to Piketty, the post-World War II middle class was created by two major things: the destruction of European inherited wealth during the war and higher taxes on the rich, most of which were rationalized by the war. This brought wealth and income at the top down, and raised working people up into a middle class.

Piketty is right, especially about the importance of high marginal tax rates and inheritance taxes being necessary for the creation of a middle class that includes working-class people. Progressive taxation, when done correctly, pushes wages down to working people and reduces the incentives for the very rich to pillage their companies or rip off their workers. After all, why take another billion when 91 percent of it just going to be paid in taxes?

This is the main reason why, when GM was our largest employer and our working class were also in the middle class, CEOs only took home 30 times what working people did. The top tax rate for all the time America's middle class was created was between 74 and 91 percent. Until, of course, Reagan dropped it to 28 percent and working people moved from the middle class to becoming the working poor.

Other policies, like protective tariffs and strong labor laws also help build a middle class, but progressive taxation is the most important because it is the most direct way to transfer money from the rich to the working poor, and to create a disincentive to theft or monopoly by those at the top.

History shows how important high taxes on the rich are for creating a strong middle class. If you compare a chart showing the historical top income tax rate over the course of the twentieth century with a chart of income inequality in the United States over roughly the same time period, you’ll see that the period with the highest taxes on the rich - the period between the Roosevelt and Reagan administrations - was also the period with the lowest levels of economic inequality.

You’ll also notice that since marginal tax rates started to plummet during the Reagan years, income inequality has skyrocketed.

Even more striking, during those same 33 years since Reagan took office and started cutting taxes on the rich, income levels for the top 1 percent have ballooned while income levels for everyone else have stayed pretty much flat. Coincidence? I think not.

Creating a middle class is always a choice, and by embracing Reaganomics and cutting taxes on the rich, we decided back in 1980 not to have a middle class within a generation or two. George H.W. Bush saw this, and correctly called it "Voodoo Economics." And we're still in the era of Reaganomics - as President Obama recently pointed out, Reagan was a successful revolutionary.

This, of course, is exactly what conservatives always push for. When wealth is spread more equally among all parts of society, people start to expect more from society and start demanding more rights. That leads to social instability, which is feared and hated by conservatives, even though revolutionaries and liberals like Thomas Jefferson welcome it.

And, as Kirk and Buckley predicted back in the 1950s, this is exactly what happened in the 1960s and '70s when taxes on the rich were at their highest. The Civil Rights movement, the women’s movement, the consumer movement, the anti-war movement, and the environmental movement - social movements that grew out of the wealth and rising expectations of the post-World War II era's middle class - these all terrified conservatives. Which is why ever since they took power in 1980, they've made gutting working people out of the middle class their number one goal.

We now have a choice in this country. We can either continue going down the road to oligarchy, the road we’ve been on since the Reagan years, or we can choose to go on the road to a more pluralistic society with working class people able to make it into the middle class. We can't have both.

And if we want to go down the road to letting working people back into the middle class, it all starts with taxing the rich. The time is long past due for us to roll back the Reagan tax cuts.

Comments

ckrob's picture
ckrob 2 years 49 weeks ago
#1

Both the constitutionally protected right of free speech and the freedom of the press reflect the authors' view of the desirability of an unimpeded circulation of ideas. A position that money is speech, sets up a small, wealthy group's ability to limit every one else's right to spread their ideas. This money/speech connection violates the clear intent of the founders. In reality, free press is simply a continuation of free speech in written form.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 49 weeks ago
#2

Which author -- Pikety, Hartman, Kirk or Buckley?

ckrob's picture
ckrob 2 years 49 weeks ago
#3

"Authors'" plural possessive, meaning the writers of the constitution. Sorry for the unclear reference. Thanks.

Michael Eisenscher's picture
Michael Eisenscher 2 years 49 weeks ago
#4

News Flash: We are not just "on the road to oligarchy". We arrived at that destination some time ago.

A recent article reported on the findings of two researchers who empirically tested various theories about the character of our "democracy." Here is what they found -

Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page
Princeton University Northwestern University
mgilens@princeton.edu b-page@northwestern.edu(Excerpts)

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy....

....Furthermore, the preferences of economic elites (as measured by our proxy, the preferences of “affluent” citizens) have far more independent impact upon policy change than the preferences of average citizens do. To be sure, this does not mean that ordinary citizens always lose out; they fairly often get the policies they favor, but only because those policies happen also to be preferred by the economically elite citizens who wield the actual influence....

....What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it....

....Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.

ScottFromOz 2 years 49 weeks ago
#5

Are you better off now? Reagan was fond of asking the question "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" It's widely accepted that the Reagan/Thatcher administrations brought about a seismic shift in economic policy, which continues to this day. To those who lived through that shift and know what life has been like before and after this shift in policy, I ask a version of Reagan's question; Do you think our country is better now than it was before Reagan and Thatcher's New Economic Order?

I certainly don't. I believe we (the people AND the nation) are far worse off.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 2 years 49 weeks ago
#6

Check out "George Carlin Social Security" on YouTube. The full title when you get there is "George Carlin Education Sucks, Owners of America, Social Security and Mass Media." He tells it in very very plain english.[ Rated R.]

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 49 weeks ago
#7

Thanks, Willie W, for that reference to G.Carlin. So, true! And it is going to take way more than just voting for all Democrats because they are all owned by the ruling elite as well. So what is left...if you can't change things democratically? When democracy is a sham? There is only one thing that people don't want to hear about. So called liberals need to get over their fear of guns because that is the only thing that is going to protect them from the wolves with guns in the future. The preponderance of liberal fear and loathing of guns has written all over it....."screw me"! "screw me"! "I won't bite! I'm easy!" "I may complain a lot..but that won't matter at all!" The relatively few people who die each year of guns shot wounds, whether by accidental shootings, crimes, or school or theater shootings will pail in comparison to the mass slaughter of people without guns in the future.

If you think Hitler's Nazi concentration camps and gas houses were just things of the past you may be starkly awakened one day in the future when they start rounding up "undesirables" (perhaps liberals who have objected to being treated like cattle). We're really not all that civilized...if we can illegally invade and occupy and murder so many people in the Middle East with drones and missiles and going door to door killing the occupants then they are quite capable of doing the same in the US. In Nazi Germany it was "The Jewish Question". In the right wing controlled US it will be "The Liberal Question". Propaganda like "Dirty hippies deserve to die!" "Nothing but unwashed vermin!". "Dirty, smelly, unclean hippies carry communicable diseases." Doesn't matter if it is true or not...propagandists will use whatever lies they can to achieve their means.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 49 weeks ago
#8

Palin -- As I always say, if we had one more Demcratic in the senate in 2009, card check would have passed. IMO, card check would be the most effective weapon against the 1%.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 2 years 49 weeks ago
#9

While Mr. Hartmann's economic analysis is accurate -- clearly he now understands the intrinsic evil of capitalism -- it raises the (vital) question of why he does not declare himself a socialist. Perhaps, though, his patently false concluding statement -- his claim "we now have a choice in this country" (when in fact the elections allow us no choice at all) -- provides the answer. If Mr. Hartman still believes the Big Lie our elections are meaningful, he probably also still believes capitalism can somehow be reformed. In which case he needs to re-read the material he published this last Monday, 14 April 2014.

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 2 years 49 weeks ago
#10

chuckle8, card check died when Obama the Orator became Barack the Betrayer, which ensured it -- like any other "change we can believe in" -- was dead forever. See http://workinprogress.firedoglake.com/2010/04/13/what-happened-to-the-em...

bobbler's picture
bobbler 2 years 49 weeks ago
#11

I started work about Reagan's time, and I specifically remember the seniority list dramatically ending at 30-years (Only one or two people stayed up to 33 years).. Now that I have 30 years seniority, I am literally smack in the middle by seniority, about 100 people above me any hundred people below Me. Today the seniority list goes up to 48 years, and instead of retirement parties every couple of months we get the email that another coworker died on the job without an opportunity to retire. And it's worse than that, because 30 years ago we could retire with only one wage earner,,, today two wage earners in a family out of the norm. As you can imagine I am very very very pissed off, that we get Reagan's trickle-down economics whether Democrat or Republican is in office. This all gets back to the economy run like a game of Monopoly, because the rich own the politicians (Which is why it's very difficult to tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to trickle-down economics)..

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 49 weeks ago
#12

chuckle: You might be right..as long as that Democrat wasn't a blue dog Democrat! Not all Dems are evil, tis true! But the ruling elite plays their cards just they way they want to make people think they have a true democracy...a close call might seem like a democracy that just missed the mark. Leaving the losers to opine that "if they only had one more win in the Senate or House...". That fosters the illusion of hope. They aint no dummies! They know they have to use a lot of deception to make people believe they still have a chance. They (the ruling elite) have to give the illusion that the Democrats are the hope and when the Democrats win...they (the Democrats) sell us out on the really important issues....like universal healthcare and then pass asinine menial ones like...well, I'm not going to say it.

doc wilmot's picture
doc wilmot 2 years 49 weeks ago
#13

Yes, I would feel pretty bad about being a dupe in a private corporate army to fight for corporate higher profits! And that why I don't support our Dupes in the field!

Once they realize they were/are dupes (as in corporate pawns) they get PTSD.

“Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.”
― Henry Kissinger

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080829163144AAAY2UB

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 2 years 48 weeks ago
#14

The tragedy of this generation is that we believe only those who are of current use to employers/the corporate state are legitimate human beings. Not everyone can work, due to health or circumstances, and there simply aren't jobs for all who need one. The US shipped out a huge portion of its working class jobs since the 1980s, and then wiped out basic poverty relief. This generation of trhe better-off, the middle class, decided that our surplus population - the unemployable, and the unemployed - are unworthy of the most basic human needs of food and shelter. That's a frightening deterioration of what we were as a people.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 2 years 48 weeks ago
#15

This has defined America for years, and our media and policies reflect this. Today, unlike the past, "income inequality" refers exclusively to the gap between the better-off and the rich. The voices of the poor were virtually censored out of what we call "progressive" media. Today, Dem politicians no longer even claim that they "stand with the American people;" they explicitely state that they stand with the middle class. The poor have no voice in the public forum, absolutely no representation in government. We do, indeed, determine human worth by economic status.

humanitys team's picture
humanitys team 2 years 48 weeks ago
#16

It,s not capitalism that's evil what about practicing conciouse capitalism where transparency truth and fairness are practiced because they come from what you are being .

Beingism is the future of our world .

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 2 years 48 weeks ago
#17

ScottFromOz:

I like to use this phrase from Dr. Phil, whom I think is a conservative leaning jerk, when conservative relatives or comment posters begin their rich-ass-kissing routine. "How's that working for you? Any billionaires jumped out of the bushes yet to reward you? Wow, they're pretty lucky. They have all their biliions and you to defend them for free." The conversation usually ends abruptly.

It's funny, we are one of the few liberal family members on both sides, and are the ONLY ones living within our means and debt-free and have something tangible to show for it.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 2 years 48 weeks ago
#18

Loren, Thom calls himself a democratic socialist. I've heard it many times. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 2 years 48 weeks ago
#19

HT, I respectfully disagree. Capitalism is evil, because it nurtures the psychopathy that is running us and our country right into the ditch. Profits before life. Literally. The tragic consequences are self-evident, throughout the U.S. We need a better system that honors and values human life, where no one gets discarded. Truth and fairness? That will never happen under capitalism. - AIW

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 2 years 48 weeks ago
#20

Alice...thank you for the correction. (This is NOT sarcasm: I truly appreciate it when someone points out I am wrong about something.)

Nevertheless, why then does Mr. Hartmann write, "now we have a choice"? In bitter truth we the people have less choice now under the One Party of Two Names than we have ever had at anytime in this nation's history,

And now that the Supreme Court has made money the ultimate electoral power -- now that the court has effectively approved the unlimited use of the irresistable mass hypnosis known as "advertising" -- the One Party of Two Names will remain all-powerful until the nation itself is dead. Such is the now-eternal reality of capitalist governance: absolute power and unlimited profit for the One Percent, total subjugation for all the rest of us forever (that is, until our species is extinct).

Moreover, to offer false hope where there is no hope at all is, in my opinion, the worst sort of deception there is. Not only does it deprive the victim of the ability to come to grips with reality (and in these circumstances we are all victims); it also obstructs any remaining human potential for transcending hopelessness and thereby -- some would say "miraculously" -- evolving a working solution.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 48 weeks ago
#21

Loren B -- How did Obama have anything to do with the filibuster of the Employee Free Choice Act in the Senate. I thought card check probably died with Ted Kennedy.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 48 weeks ago
#22

SHFabian -- I hope you do not think MSNBC is progressive media. What is Thom leaving out about the bottom 20%? It is interesting to note that Richard Wilkerson in his book "Spirit Level" about economich quality does not use the gini coefficient. The metric he uses for showing all the ills of our society due to economic inequality is the ratio between the top 20% and the bottom 20%.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 48 weeks ago
#23

Mr Human -- I thought the main goal of a capitalist was to be opaque and eliminate competition (unfairness).

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 48 weeks ago
#24

Loren B -- Thom does not provide false hope. He implies constantly if no "movetoamend.org" there is no hope. The main hope he preaches is the collapse of our economic system i.e. "Crash of 2016". When that happens, he hopes people would be inspired enough to go to movetoamend.org.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 2 years 48 weeks ago
#25

Loren, I appreciate your diplomacy. While I can't speak for Thom Hartmann, I'll take the liberty to share my understanding of what his message is. Having listened to Thom quite a bit over the past five or six years, I think I have a good idea where he is coming from. Thom is trying to motivate us to become more politically engaged; not only to vote, but to get active and raise hell when necessary. We are way overdue for a mass movement of resistence against this fascist hijacking of our government. It is imperative we find a way to take our country back, otherwise we are doomed... not just as a nation but as a species.

I agree with your basic assertion that the situation is dire. However I balk at the hopelessness you've often expressed so articulately. And I'm well aware of the cynicism I've conveyed in some of my own posts. It's hard to not be cynical at times. But I refuse to give up hope. We need to find a way to come together and channel all this anger into action. THAT is the choice, I believe, Thom is referring to. Bitching & complaining has its place (like this blog), but we need to do a lot more than that to dethrone these goddam pigs. The stakes have never been higher. We will never prevail without a movement that is focused, strategic and UNIFIED. That means (as Marc has pointed out repeatedly) setting aside our differences and joining forces against a common enemy. Nothing less than that will do. And therein lies our choice.

I also appreciate you acknowledging the "human potential for transcending hopelessness" and "evolving a working solution". Please dear comrade, hang onto that. For yourself and for us. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 2 years 48 weeks ago
#26

Loren, just an afterthought: regarding "one party of two names", check out posts #42 & #43, under the April 14th title "American Democracy No Longer Works".

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 2 years 48 weeks ago
#27

In Europe before the 1400's, a middle class of merchant city dwellers ("burgheren" in German, "bourgeousie" in French) arose as a result of industrial manufacture (not really the Black Plague), grew strong, as industrial manufacture grew strong, and eventually overthrew the ruling class of the time, the feudal aristocracy - in revolutions as the American in 1776 and French in 1789 - and thus became the ruling class themselves.

When a nominally Marxist revolution succeeded in Russia in 1917 the capitalist powers panicked and militarily attacked Russia on 26 fronts and waged economic war upon it with embargos and blockades. The panic and fear of the prospect of Marxist/Leninist revolution at home in the U.S. and Europe caused those governments to take measures at prevention.

First was repression with "Red Scares" like in the 1920s when communists of both authoritarian and anti authoritarian types (Leninist, Marxist, anarchist) were hunted and jailed and killed. Then, after a crisis of capitalism in 1929, when revolution actually seemed imminent, they tried appeasement. They created "capitalism with a human face" with various forms of quasi socialism with New Deal in the U.S. and "social democracy" (mixed economy) in Europe.

This continued until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Today there is no more a fear of communist revoution thus no need for appeasement of the populace with quasi socialism. Capitalism has dropped its human face.

What the Reagan Thatcher era represented was an adjustment to the loss of imperial hegemony with the nationalization by Mid Eastern nations of their oil industry (beginning with Iraq) in 1973. Until then we were a colonial power and all Americans and Western Europeans were as a world wide ruling class. Afterwards the Westerners could no more enslave non Westerners thus the American and Western European upper classes turned on and cannibalized their own working class for that purpose and enslaved them (us) instead.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#28

doc wilmot: well said! And that was a very good quote! Thanks!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#29

Elioflight: I agree with you on Dr. Phil. I've only watched a few of his programs. I really can't stand his pompousness. I really don't get off on watching shows like that anyway. I certainly don't get a thrill out of watching those people yelling at each other and Savior Dr. Phil "setting things right". I don't understand how anyone would agree to go on his shows airing their dirty laundry for the whole country to see.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#30
Quote Mark Saulys:Then, after a crisis of capitalism in 1929, when revolution actually seemed imminent, they tried appeasement.

So, it will only be when "revolution actually seemed imminent" that we will once again, perhaps, see some more appeasement. It won't come through the corrupt ballot box, or the crooked Democrats or Republicans we elect. They have to be scared that there will be a revolution before things will change. And you can't have a decent revolution without weapons to back it up.

You know, there is another way of voting that might just work for us. If we all run out and buy weapons, "they" will certainly notice. Massively increased gun sales would send a strong message.The citizens would be casting their "votes" that WILL count for a change. We won't even have to actually do a real revolution..it'll just send a very strong message that the people are not going to take it anymore.

Obviously, the show of guns by civilians does work. The right-wingers have proved this several times. And the politicians are cowed by them...that's why "democracy" works for them and not us. We're to timid...too kumbaya. The wolves always go after the easiest prey.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 2 years 48 weeks ago
#31
Quote Palindromedary:I certainly don't get a thrill out of watching those people yelling at each other and Savior Dr. Phil "setting things right". I don't understand how anyone would agree to go on his shows airing their dirty laundry for the whole country to see.

Palindromedary ~ The answer to your question is $. The show itself is BS. Pure BS.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 2 years 48 weeks ago
#32
Quote Palindromedary:Obviously, the show of guns by civilians does work. The right-wingers have proved this several times.

Palindromedary ~ Seriously, Seriously?!! You are using the example of right wingers to suggest how to proceed? Are you completely oblivious to the fact the the Reich Wing is completely compromised and controlled by the 1%? Are you completely oblivious to what can happen to anyone identified as an "enemy combatant?" What exactly are you suggesting? Please be specific!

Maybe you want to help the elite fill up all those vacant concentration camp bunks with a bunch of scared and easily manipulated left wingers? That's what it sound like to me. You better cool off and maybe take a long walk in a park before you spew a lot of self defeating nonsense.

At least state--in detail--your case about how you're paranoid theories have a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding. I'm all ears!!! So far it sounds like you are advocating that a bunch of armed civilian vigilantes storm the bastions of our current social order. I'm so curious as to just how that is supposed to work and actually change public policy.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 2 years 48 weeks ago
#33

It is quite obvious to me that these so called "well armed Reich Wingers" are nothing more than accessories after the fact. They are puppets in a grand masquerade. Nothing more, nothing less. They simply exist to give credence, and to mislead.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#34

You mistake me for someone who wants to see an armed revolution. I am merely saying that the level of dissatisfaction of the people, when it reaches such levels, is the only thing that will change the thinking in Washington. History has proven this to be true. The only time the US government came out with social programs, of such magnitude, was when there was a threat of a revolution. People in America, seeing what happened in Russia when their people overthrew the Czar and went Communist, started to think that that might have to happen here because what was happening in the early part of the 20th century is a lot like what is happening today. The result was that it sent shivers down the backs of the capitalists who saw that they had better change things. So social programs were instituted which made life for Americans much better over the many decades since....until the 1980's.

And I am using the example of those people in Nevada as an example of how the government has obviously shown that it respects people with guns much more than they do when people don't have them...especially if they are outgunned at the moment. Maybe the government will come back later with reinforcements but I haven't heard that they have done that. My only conclusion has to be that guns appear to make a difference especially if the government is outnumbered at the time. I don't especially believe that that rancher should have gotten away with it. He owes back taxes and should pay up. But a lot of corporations owe lots of taxes and should pay up as well. But the way things are now, they'll keep getting away with it. They have guns, whether it is actual guns as in Nevada, or financial weapons. We're all out gunned. And if any revolution or insurrection takes place it will be by those who have guns...by right wingers and militia. It won't come from us. We don't have guns. Nor do we have financial weapons. Hence, no revolution will come from us. That's for sure. So, no, I am not trying to foster a revolution..not one with weapons of any sort. But, perhaps, by convincing people that voting for just another crooked politician either Democrat or Republican isn't going to make any difference at all, maybe we can all start voting "outside the box".

We can't win through a crooked system. You can't even use "movements" to influence politicians who are owned by the ruling elite. They'll continue to play their games making you think change will come but there will always be something, some excuse, that prevents it...they'll blame some sneaky thing that the Republicans have done....or some blue dog democrat...or claim that they were short on votes by just one or two Democratic votes. Sorry to burst your bubble, old boy, but we're sunk!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#35

DAnnemarc: I agree that they are puppets of the ruling elite. That is, perhaps, why they have gotten away with their little stunt. That is probably why Obama didn't call out a more compelling force to enforce the law. But, what do you expect of a sellout? He's got no balls to go against the reich wingers. If they showed that they could enforce the law, they would piss off a lot of people like the Koch brothers who get wealthy off of things like that rancher is doing. Why, they might have to pay their taxes as well! It might set a bad precedent...a bad example...to actually collect taxes from rich people.

On the other hand, this rancher's family has been there for 150 years and they have used that land to graze their cattle all these years. Then one day, someone decides that some turtle, that is in no way even threatened with extinction, also likes to live in that area. And someone thinks that those turtles in that area may be threatened by grazing cattle. Never mind that those cattle have been grazing there all these years. All of a sudden this one turtle lover sicks the BLM cops on the Rancher and they round up all his cattle.
Seems rather unfair if we are talking turtles but maybe not so unfair if we are talking about back taxes. Turtle soup, anyone?

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 2 years 48 weeks ago
#36

There could be some endangered turtles that deserve our protection.

Palindromedary, if gun ownership will result in revolution why then do the right wing oligarchs who rule us want everybody to have one? Seems in parts of the world where the gun manufacturers have succeeded in pushing their product on everyone despots still prevail but their divisive political strategies have genocidally deadly outcomes as do their local factional rivalries.

I, personally, am afraid of the mass of American yayhoos getting emboldened by gun posession.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 2 years 48 weeks ago
#37

Hey Palin- For what it's worth, here's one thought that occurred to me is just now. Perhaps these reich-wing dramas featuring mobs of idiots parading around with their stupid guns is nothing more than a phony ploy to get the rest of us up in arms, giving those fascists the perfect excuse to mow us all down! How 'bout that?! - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#38

Mark Saulys: They want only those people who have been manipulated by Fox news to have them. They sure don't want the Progressive Liberals to have them. Oh, the weapons manufacturers would be delighted. And the Republican right-wingers only walk a tight rope so as not to tick off one of their major supporters...the Gun Manufacturers. Their idiot toadies will work as zombies easily directed against a Liberal government. And it's working already. Just the fear factor of so many right-wingers with guns is enough to bully the Liberals into submission. See how they backed down in Nevada!

Liberal politicians, although they may rant and rave, are still afraid of the people who are heavily armed. They know that the people likely to try an overthrow of our government are the nitwit righties who watch Fox news. It'll be like Ukrainian Yanukovych Presidency being overthrown by a bunch of Nazis but only here in the US.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#39

AIW: Maybe, maybe not. Anything is possible. Even the fact that I am saying the things I am may be that I have been manipulated by right wingers to say them..even though I abhor the right wing and I never watch Fox Snooze. On the other hand, maybe all those who pretend to be lefties are not all they try to imply they are as well. Maybe they are merely tools being used by the ruling elite to keep people full of hope that will keep us all placid and only bitching and complaining on blogs..while effectively shunting any serious breach of the ruling elite's goals of total slavery of the masses to evaporate in the moment.

Bitching and complaining can be a great catharsis which can let the steam out of something that builds until someone snaps. Although, I suppose for some, it could feed their fires and rage and one day might snap. But that could happen no matter what people say. And if we all said nothing, to ensure that we never trigger an unstable person, then we will have voluntarily become deaf, dumb, and blind....and totally controlled. Hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil. Some may differ in the order of priority here.

There are certainly people and institutions who pretend to be progressive and peace-loving who have purposely named their organizations with progressive sounding names. But their real aim is to serve the ruling elite...the over throw of anyone who gets in their way by using covert suggestions to spend a lot of time and money and effort on things that will never work...given the present circumstances. They are hope hypesters...they hype hope. And these organizations take on Liberal sounding names like International Center for NonViolent Conflict that have actually taken on tasks that the CIA was once chastised for...like fomenting internal dissent..sending in subversives to teach and rally internal dissenters and how to go about overthrowing their governments....supplying money and weapons for that cause. Even Presidents and Congress Critters who we vote for because they claim they are Liberal, or at least say liberal things when they campaign are being deceptive and will not represent those of us who voted for them once they get into office.

Who really knows how much of what we think and say has been manipulated by someone who may not have our best interests in mind? We are constantly bombarded by commercials that try to make us want to give them our money. We are constantly tugged different ways by politics. I guess we all have to make decisions about what is correct and true.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 48 weeks ago
#40

Mark S -- How can you separate the shortage of labor (black plague) from the rise of industrial manufacture? How can industrial manufacture grow without a large demand?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 2 years 48 weeks ago
#41

Palin -- I couldn't stand making the 1% even richer. The gun manufacturers must love you.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 2 years 48 weeks ago
#42

I second that, Chuck.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 2 years 48 weeks ago
#43
Quote Palindromedary:On the other hand, this rancher's family has been there for 150 years and they have used that land to graze their cattle all these years.

Palindromedary ~ 150 years of precedent is only as good as the law allows. Granted 150 years ago there were different laws on the books. For instance, in order to better steal the land from the Native Americans the feds enacted one law I am familiar with whereas if you developed a land you had claim to it. If this was the case it was the responsibility of the ancestors of this family to secure that land and pass it down.

This is really common sense. Are you going to move into a house and start to invest in developing it without a legal title? Certainly not. That makes no sense whatsoever. There has to be some outstanding legal claim these people have to this land. I don't know if there is, or if the media is stifling it. Nevertheless it seems very nefarious to me that the legal topic isn't even being covered or addressed by either party. This entire story makes the same sense that if a homeless person who had been living under a bridge for several years suddenly thought he owned the bridge. The world doesn't work that way.

This battle belongs in a courtroom and not on a battlefield. These Ranchers--without a legal argument to the use of this land--have lost. Period. Anything done through violence apart from the legal issue is nonsense. Even a victory would only be short lived; and, that is highly unlikely. If you ask me, this entire charade is intended to discredit protesters in general--to open the door for the use of massive deadly force in any demonstration--and really has nothing to do with land rights, gun ownership, or any of the principles of the Bill of Rights.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#44

DAnnemarc: I remember something from studying real estate many, many years ago. I don't remember what it was called back then but I found something called "easements claimed by prescription". Back when I studied real estate laws, there was an example given of an uncontested (by the owner) crossing (by non-owners) of the owner's property. It went on for years and the owner never tried to stop them or put up barriers in the early years to prevent them from crossing. He eventually, many years later, decided to put up barriers and the people who were used to crossing the property actually successfully sued the owner preventing him from preventing other people from crossing the property.

You are right, this does belong in a court battle. But what then? If the court decides in favor of the government, will we be back to square one where the armed citizens show up to block the government form enforcing anything?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 2 years 48 weeks ago
#45
Quote Palindromedary:You are right, this does belong in a court battle. But what then? If the court decides in favor of the government, will we be back to square one where the armed citizens show up to block the government form enforcing anything?

Palindromedary ~ Excellent question. However, we will never know that if it doesn't go to court first will we? Certainly trying to enforce you're own law doesn't help their case, does it? By moving in a way that evokes serious criminal charges upon yourself you might be losing the case before it is ever even brought before a jury. A case that could otherwise be won. In addition to swift legal action there is also the possibility of striking a deal with the state; or, seeking other means of handling your business.

If these people had a title, or some other legal claim to the use of the land and the state was refusing to recognize that then they would have my complete sympathy. Personally, I find it hard to believe that this isn't the case. I think there must be more to it than they are reporting. On the other hand, what is really different about land snatching now and when it was done to the Native Americans--a piece of paper? Written laws?

I think it is safe to say that after 150 years of successful use of this land there is grounds for a peaceful solution to this problem After all, these Ranchers are using the land productively for the betterment of everyone else. They are contributing to society. I can't imagine any legal excuse to force them off the land; unless, this is a case of Corporate owned politicians who are abusing their authority to snatch the land for a Corporate purpose. If that is the case, that is precisely why the courts exist in the first place.

As much as I sympathize with anyone threatened with losing their land--Native Americans as well--I can't justify using force until all legal options are exhausted.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 2 years 48 weeks ago
#46

Marc, by the time all legal options are exhausted, so are your life's savings. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#47

DAnnemarc: Oh darn, did I misspell "from"? Anyway, I was reading an article in the Washington Post that went into the history of that Rancher. Seems he had been to court before and they ruled against him and he still didn't pay up. That was something like 20 years ago, if I recall. The recent "armed rebellion" had happened before and the BLM officers, who lived in nearby towns, got shunned by the local people...they couldn't buy anything from a local grocery store without someone making some kind of snide remark to them. In fact, a small bomb went off in one of the BLM main offices in Nevada. No one claimed responsibility.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/04/15/everything-you...

Seems to me that "states rights" was something that set off the civil war between the north and the south and "states rights" is what these people are claiming. They believe that the state of Nevada owns all of that BLM land and not the US Government. And they have a lot of people that believes that to be the case...not only in Nevada but in some other states as well.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 2 years 48 weeks ago
#48

Aliceinwonderland: That's the problem with our legal system...if someone tries to sue you...you have to hire a lawyer...and lawyers are very expensive. You can have a pro-bono lawyer assigned to your case but I'm sure they don't really have their full attention or interest in your case. If you have just a little bit of money saved up, you might be able to hire a lawyer but that will wipe you out. You could counter sue for a frivolous law suit, and if you are lucky, you may win.

It comes down to: that justice really is not blind before the law...it comes down to how good the defense lawyer is or how good, or honest the DA is, and how well they can convince a jury of their cause. That really does not prove who is guilty and who is not. So many people have been put on death row, because of our crooked legal/political system, for crimes they did not commit. DNA helped proved eventually, when that became widely available, that many of these people were innocent of the crimes. Others weren't so lucky and were executed.

And I just wonder how many people have been bankrupted trying to defend themselves against much lessor crimes, or disputes, with the lawyers they had to hire.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 2 years 48 weeks ago
#49
Quote Aliceinwonderland:Marc, by the time all legal options are exhausted, so are your life's savings. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland ~ There are a plethora of civil services, and servants, available both legally through the government and public services, that would be happy to take on this case just to further their careers and score historic precedents. I am so surprised that this option hasn't been explored so far--or covered by the media--that I strongly suspect the propaganda leg of the Reich Wing involved in this story. I reserve final judgement till I have more info.

Nevertheless, till then, I strongly respect your opinion.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 2 years 48 weeks ago
#50

Palindromedary ~ Like I told Alice, there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye. I don't care what political slant these people have. I have to hear both sides of the story in full before I state any fully informed opinion; and, I can't help but think that this official story is being presented with omissions. I've learned long ago living in Oakland that the media often twists and edits stories to create it's own perspective. Sometimes its intentional; but, most times it's the result of half fast journalism. That is why I don't trust the media. A story that is 150 years old cannot be told in a few paragraphs. We all need to keep an open mind and forget that these people are right wingers. They are first and foremost our fellow citizens and as such deserve to be fully heard by us all before we draw any conclusions.

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