The 1% are changing America. It’s our move.

Summary: The moment approaches when every American sees that the 1% are taking it away. Then we each make a choice to go with the flow or resist. Here are a few events that show this time is close. I’ve predicted the events leading to this point, but have no idea how we’ll react. Much depends on our choice.

“An experience of profound contempt is necessary in order to grasp our situation, and our capacity for contempt is vanishing.”
— From Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind, chapter on “Values” (1987).

Don't Tread on Me

We’re in the pursuit phase of our battle with the 1%, the quiet coup. Decades of quiet organizing and slow progress (see here & here) — then Reagan began their advance that continues to this day, inexorably accelerating. After breaking down the old order (e.g., unions, campaign finance limits, New Deal era limits on banks) we see them building a New America: dismantling the public-financed colleges (see here and here), shifting the tax burden from the rich to the middle class, and many other changes to core features of America.

The obvious moment of truth will come when events force us to see the systematic nation of these changes. Will we rise to the challenge, or look in the mirror and see cowards? That time approaches. Soon we’ll learn the answer.

(1)  Former NSA & CIA Director Hayden mocks us

This is almost too good to be true. Former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden spoke to America’s inner party at the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Conference.

If somebody would come up to me and say “Look, Hayden, here’s the thing: This Snowden thing is going to be a nightmare for you guys for about two years. And when we get all done with it, what you’re going to be required to do is that little 215 program about American telephony metadata — and by the way, you can still have access to it, but you got to go to the court and get access to it from the companies, rather than keep it to yourself” — I go: “And this is it after two years? Cool!”

He was speaking the truth. We deserve to be mocked The USA Freedom Act was mostly cosmetic reform (the NYT agrees). Two years ago I predicted our pitiful response to Snowden’s revelations.

Stop TPP

(2)  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) passes

Under the cloak of “free trade”, the still-secret TPP builds an elaborate machinery to screw us. On May 20 I forecast that it would pass. There was much cheering when a bipartisan alliance in the House voted against Obama on June 12 (a victory for the Left’s campaign to call Congress!).

But reports of the TTP’s death proved premature, proving against that there is no political polarization for interests of the 1%!

The Hill reported “President Obama is poised for one of the biggest victories of his second term after the Senate voted Tuesday to advance legislation enhancing his trade powers.” The New York Times described the doings of that socialist Obama and his GOP allies…

The tortuous path of the trade legislation over the last six months created the unusual alliance between Mr. Obama and Republican leaders … “This is a very important day for our country,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader … Most Democrats — along with labor unions, environmental groups and liberal activists — disagreed, saying that such trade agreements had resulted in lost manufacturing jobs and lower wages for American workers.

(3) Miscellaneous milestones on our trip back to the gilded age

There were cheers after Obama’s latest Hallmark moment, announcing a halt to the Federal government’s funding militarization of local police. Undeserved applause, as Philip Giraldi explains in the American Conservative: “Obama Won’t Demilitarize Police“, 23 June 2015 — “White House claims of de-escalation are merely misdirection.”

For those who still hope that normal democratic processes will save us, there is the spectacle of the Clinton and Bush dynasties teeing off together in Campaign 2016.

Our reaction to these events will show who we are, and probably determine the nature of America for the next few generations (or longer).


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11 thoughts on “The 1% are changing America. It’s our move.”

  1. Great post. You’ve concisely summed up my thoughts regarding recent events. It is indeed “our move.” I can’t help but suspect that whichever way things go, as Hedges observes below, we can expect some dark times ahead.

    “The replacement of history with myth, the use of mass surveillance and the Espionage Act to shut down any investigation into the centers of power, the collapse of journalism, the deformation of education into a vocational program for the corporate state, along with mindless forms of entertainment and spectacle, create obedient subjects that demand their own enslavement.

    … There is, however, a new, emergent consciousness. It has not reached the majority. But it has reached enough of the minority to make resistance possible. It is a consciousness grounded in truth and the bitter reality of our age. It sees through the myths and self-delusion. It understands the configurations of corporate power. It knows that, as the ecosystem unravels and the most terrifying security and surveillance apparatus in human history holds us hostage, revolt has become a moral imperative. The state, too, is ready. It has its spectacles, including its political theater, and it has its goons. It will use whatever tools work to maintain power. Asleep or awake, we will all pay a heavy price. ”

    — Excerpt from “Chris Hedges: America’s Electoral Farce“, Truthdig

    1. arguendo,

      I hope you and Hedges are correct. Unfortunately I agree with Hedges’ on the bad news, but I don’t see the signs of hope he does.

      “the ecosystem unravels”

      Perhaps so. This is core doctrine on the Left. It is, however, unsupported by the IPCC, the major climate agencies, or actual data so far. Color me skeptical.

  2. With much respect, I expect nothing less than doom and gloom from you, Fabius.

    ..after all, that is your charm. ;)

    However, those of us who will fight will fight. No matter what anyone says, make no mistake, we will fight.

    …we’ll see you in the streets and online.

    1. arguendo,

      A gloomy view is a change for me. More often in the decade or so after starting writing in 2003 I was delusionally optimistic. But we have been losing for a long time, and that has consequences. A “banquet of consequences.” As I say in this post, I suspect (guess) we’re nearing the point of widespread recognition of these multi-generational trends. We will learn much about America from our reaction.

      I make no predictions. I have a good record because I pick my spots for guessing about the future.

  3. Far be it from me to indict anyone for a gloomy view. Current events are enough to damage anyone’s calm.

    However, I do take heart in the understanding that these events are just a battle in an age-old war; a class war. The “1%” is just new-speak for the upper-class, oligarchs, plutocrats, etc. This “war” has been going on for a very long time. We will do what the 99% (i.e., populous, Republic, citizenry, etc.) have done for time eternal; fight back as best we can. We do ourselves well by understanding that this struggle is an imperfect process. Fabius gives great suggestions on just how to take part.

    But whatever your situation, I suggest fighting back in your particular “sphere of influence.” If you can only write letters to your Representatives, do that. If you can also make a call, do that too. If you can also change your buying habits to not support a complicit corporation, do that as well. If you can support an organization fighting in the courts on your behalf, do that often. If you can buy a politician, do that for all of us. Just do whatever you can think of and have time to do. A quick search of the internet will avail so very many opportunities to help.

    At this point, doing anything less is selling out your country and humanity.

    1. arguendo,

      This is, imo, one of the most important stories of our time. So please excuse me if I subject your comment to exegesis — with the understanding that my comments are speculation.

      (1) “I do take heart in the understanding that these events are just a battle in an age-old war; a class war.”

      I don’t take comfort from that. We’re responsible for today. Our lives, the America we leave to our children and their children. That democracy might reoccur a thousand years from now (as it did after it died in classical Greece) is no comfort to me.

      “In the long run we are all dead. Economists set themselves too easy, too useless a task if, in tempestous seasons, they can only tell us that when the storm is long past the ocean is flat again.”
      — John Maynard Keynes in A Tract on Monetary Reform (1923).

      (2) “If you can only write letters to your Representatives, do that. If you can also make a call, do that too. If you can also change your buying habits to not support a complicit corporation, do that as well …”

      (3) “if you can buy a politician, do that for all of us”

      Bruce Wayne is also fiction.

      (4) “doing anything less is selling out your country and humanity.”

      I feel the sentiment. But IMO it’s too harsh a way to see this. People naturally only see what’s around them. An organization is required to help them see what’s happening — to show them a different future — and to allow them to work together. At that point — when we’ve given them a choice — I’ll agree with you.
      I have a post coming on that soon. Those things are a total waste of time — unless done as part of a larger program. It’s a delusion to believe that people can have an impact acting alone. Batman is fiction. Overcoming this libertarian empowered individual fantasy is necessary to have even a small hope for successful reform.

  4. Ahh… again, there’s that doom and gloom we’ve all come to love so much about you. It appears you seek some measure surety – and maybe some day you’ll have it – but that day is not today. So how about until that day arrives you work to inspire yourself and others to whatever action they can muster rather than discourage anything less than perfection. As pragmatic as your words are, they wreak of defeatism.

    It’s a delusion to believe that people can have an impact acting alone.

    If you truly believe this, it is you that have deluded yourself into thinking you are acting alone. The beast can be made to lay down by a “death of a thousand cuts.” As well funded and organized as they are, there are many more of us than there are of them (and it is never all the people who bring about change, there just need be enough people). The point I attempted to make was that if one is in immediate doubt as to what can possibly be done, they should just know to cut in whatever way they can; with the knowledge that the more/better ways one learns to cut, the deeper those cuts will eventually be.

    Btw – There are already many “organization”s working towards (as well as accomplishing) solutions and many more available that describe in detail “what’s happening” to anyone who cares to look (Fabious Maximus being one of those noble pursuits). So, if you aren’t some sort of JTRIG psyops, then perhaps you’ll consider cheering up your tone a bit (jk, I know you won’t ;). We’re all well aware that the situation is dire. But IMHO, being so glum, however accurate your observations might be, is counterproductive.

    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
    “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

    – The Fellowship of the Ring, J. R. R. Tolkien

    1. arguendo,

      You are way overthinking what I said. it’s not complex. Restate: Americans need to find more ways (or opportunities, etc) to work together. Burning effort on long ranger activities accomplishes nothing, but distracts people from more valuable activities.

      “there are already many organizations working…”

      Yes. And your point is? I said we need to work more together. That says nothing about the organizations out there today.

  5. I’m way over thinking what you said? 0_o

    You subjected my comment to “exegesis” and gave a four point response. I do believe the house from which you throw that stone is quite fragile.

    And your point is? I said we need to work more together. That says nothing about the organizations out there today.

    My point being is that “we” are already working together and that one opportunity to work towards a solution is to join “our” ongoing efforts.

    PS I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to respond. It’s always a pleasure interacting with you.

    1. arguendo,

      “My point being is that “we” are already working together and that one opportunity to work towards a solution is to join “our” ongoing efforts.”

      That’s way too binary. Yes, some people are acting today (as Christians say, “there’s always a remnant”). It’s not enough in a population of 320 million. This is my primary point. I do not believe you are seriously disputing it, or that you didn’t find my words quite clear (although this m/b a lack of imagination by me).

      On the other hand, it’s a common objection. For example, I often note (as so many people have) that there were only small-scale protests to our pos-9/11 invasions and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. A comment usually appears to the effect that “I” protested, and millions of others did. Yes to the first is nice — but unfortunately the second is not so.

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