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The Dangerous Game

May 29th, 2010 · No Comments · Capitalism, Corporations and Industry, Economics, Labor, Media, Politics, Populism, Wall Street, Wars and Militarism

Anarchy is the absence of government. It could be a placid, pastoral society or it could be the wild, wild West. The fact is, however, that it is dangerous to contemplate anarchy unless you can be certain which it will be.

You may call the Soviet Union a state that grew out of a Communist ideal. And that would technically be true. But it really grew out of anarchy. A corrupt Russian Monarchy that held control of the Country for nearly a thousand years collapsed. There was nothing in the country to guide it. There was a devastated, decayed and impotent military. There was a civil service polluted with the appointments of incompetent officials connected to the Monarchy. The relatives of the aristocracy ran the Army and the Navy with less skill than any private or corporal.

The Russia of the Czars, before it was that large collection of soviet satellite states, stretched across an entire continent from Lodz in what is now Poland and Odessa on the Black Sea, across the vast steppes and mountains to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan. It was, merely by force of its size and isolated geographic position, an international power.

When people in the United States say that they are afraid of “Communism” what they really mean is that they are afraid of Russia, the Soviet Union, the remnants, as they see it, of the vast barbarian hordes. They fear the relics of the Slavic horsemen coming in waves to ride down women and children and set fire to villages. Or the newsreels of endless formations of tanks speeding along the plains of Eastern Europe to devastate the Huns of Germany and turn Berlin to rubble. A misguided view of Communism, which is irrelevant in the 21st Century.

The Czars, the most corrupt and evil rulers perhaps since the Khans, kept order and kept their country in poverty and desolation so that their extended nobility could prosper beyond any semblance of their worth to society. That was what they did. The Czars and their cousins “partied” and maintained power through military rule. In Russia itself they also used a secret police whose history stretched back several hundred years. Secrecy and the KGB are not built into Communism.They were, however, built into the Russian psyche. Lenin was tracked down and jailed by the Secret Police, as was Trotsky and many others. Don’t feel sorry for Czar Nicholas. He was merely the last of a line of despots.

What we fear is not Communism. What we fear is anarchy and what happens when there is a vacuum…as there is right now in the Republican Party. When there is a vacuum, a dearth of true leadership in a party, the pariahs step in. And that is not a good way to rejuvenate a political system. The Sarah Palins and the Rush Limbaughs, ignorance and arrogance combined and personified will lead to another George W. Bush, if you can find one.

In other words, when no one of substance supports your Party, wants to lead your Party, return to the royalty. In this country, that means the descendants of the former Presidents or the very wealthy. The Democrats tried hard to make Franklin Roosevelt, Jr. a candidate. The Republicans pushed the moderate Nelson Rockefeller. Even a failed Romney spawned another wealthy, typical conservative Republican…and his modest credentials as governor of Massachusetts and his name were enough to put him in the race. The Republicans are waiting. They had the failed Prince; they had their disastrous Bush moment, the Crown Prince sent packing, into exile to that foreign land, Texas, on the borders of civilization, where reason is lost among the maze of oil derricks.

The Bourbons did it and the Romanoffs would have done it had they all not been extinguished by a dictator, Lenin, who knew his history. We seem to thankfully be temporarily out of “crown princes” in this country.

Surprisingly, a very large number of Americans, even an astonishing number of Jewish Republicans, do not fear Fascism. We fear Communism because it was “something like” Socialism, which we don’t understand either, but which declined and failed. Socialism we associate with unions. And unions are the most battered and abused organizations in history if compared to their immense value to society. Corporations fight the workers by dividing them. This was what the Fascists knew how to do. They were the absolute masters of dividing the population and making the population fear the organizing tactics of the unions.

Even today Europeans are vastly more unionized than Americans. They have retirements at earlier ages, at a much higher percentage of income than Social Security. They have up to four years of unemployment benefits at up to 40% of wages. They have five weeks of vacations, have total, free health care, including long rehabilitations, and do all this with population densities so much higher, that we could never even begin to imagine them. They have their wealthy, their capitalists. They’re not stupid. Sweden, as big a “welfare state” as one can find has a top 1% that rivals ours in ownership of wealth.

British Petroleum (Standard Oil of Indiana–Amoco) and the other oil companies, and the remaining manufacturing industries, most of which have been sent overseas because we, Americans, did not support our unions and Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce….all hate unions because unions organize. (Like Communists and Socialists.) Once they have power, the Corporatist Republicans say, they will become dangerous. They will terrorize those who disagree with them. Like the Bolsheviks did.

The Corporatists play on the American fear of a vacuum. Americans all came from someplace else, looking for opportunity, yes, but also stability. Once the nation was established, we had only two major incidences of revolutionary activity and both were brought about by a crisis.

The first was the Civil War, brought about by the inability of an emerging, immigrant society, refugees from other despotisms, and Christian idealists to tolerate the inhumanity of slavery. The second was the Great Depression. The failure of the financial system to provide capital for industry because of reckless financial speculation. This lack of vision caused the financial system to collapse, costing the bankruptcy of banks and industries and the loss of tens of millions of jobs.

Any one who had heard stories or read John Galbraith or Arthur Schlesinger or any of the historians of the period, watched with dread as in January 2009, the first month of the Obama Presidency, over 700,000 jobs were lost. And despite the fact that almost that many had been falling away in previous months, one could only wonder if this might not be the next Great Depression. It was bad enough, but thank God and the stimulus we did not crash completely.

The Great Recession, however, has already cost us two years and we will lose a good portion of a third. Fifteen million people are out of work, and for them and others, at least 6 million who have gone into foreclosure on their homes, it IS the Great Depression. For many African-Americans it IS their Great Depression.

We are turning parts of Detroit into farmland. One of our greatest industrial cities has been decimated by lack of vision and attention to its middle class citizens. And we cannot deny that it is in very large part the result of a hangover of residual racism. People say that air travel is the safest mode of transportation, with only something like .0001% of people ever killed. But when it is your plane that crashes, it is 100%. For the unemployed and foreclosed in America, it is a 100% crash.

We must speak up for the truth. We must be clear about what we will tolerate and what we will not. Forty Republican Senators and sometimes only one Republican Senator stand for the banks, the oil companies, the Chamber of Commerce and for those who would impose their religious beliefs on all of society. They have brought the government to a half 116 times in this current legislative session. It is treasonous. In other words, 54% of the People elected this President and this Administration. Fifty-nine percent of the Senate and a much stronger percentage of the House of Representatives were elected by Progressives. Yet we are held hostage by 41 Republican Senators.

We have seen what the influence of a fanatical religious belief combined with politics can do. We know about the burka and the beheadings and the hangings in the fundamentalist Muslim countries. We don’t want our sons and daughters who, through no fault of their own, have different sexual preferences than most of us, or women who have good reason to abort a pregnancy to be ruled by a group of Right Wing elders in some ancient superstition or some modern, even less rational version.

We cannot sit in Churches listening to ancient superstitions and let those radical positions, made before there was anything resembling modern society, dictate policy to 21st Century society. Libertarians and Conservatives who want smaller government and less control over their lives by government can’t have it both ways. You cannot have freedom from taxes and government regulations and yet impose your will on a woman’s body or tell someone whom they can live with or marry.

Corporatism has taken over this country. It is supported by hundreds of Right Wing commentators who have discovered what corporate lawyers discovered generations ago. It is more profitable to defend corporate malfeasance than to challenge it. And so the radio networks, the largest of which were founded by the friends of the big oil companies, like Exxon and BP, and who pay no taxes, use their revenues to support the welfare of huge international corporations.

People like Murdoch and Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Hannity are paid millions, even tens of millions a year…not because of their audiences and ratings and ad sales. The evidence is clear. Glenn Beck has lost between 126 and 200 sponsors. His audience…which is basically there because many rednecks only watch the Fox News Channel…has dropped by almost half. It has actually cost Murdoch hundreds of millions of dollars in viewers. Apple Computer, the hottest advertiser in electronics will not advertise on Fox programming at all.

Yet Beck stays. Why? Because Murdoch, the big oil companies, the pharmaceutical companies, the Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Party and five members of the Supreme Court of the United States are behind his fascist rants. The system is corrupt. It stinks from the head down. We have too much concentration of power in the media. Only one commentator out of ten is other than a Right Wing Neoconservative. Like Beck and Limbaugh, they are notorious for lies, distortions, seditious accusations of the government and encourage a warlike, aggressive military posture.

Wars are bankrupting our country. We must begin to think about the fact that a small band of fundamentalist Muslims cannot defeat or seriously harm this country. They have, however, clouded our vision. With George W. Bush, that was not clouding. He had no vision of anything, foreign or domestic. But our military, encouraged by Right Wing, military-industrial-connected Republican Senators, like John McCain…see the possibility of war everywhere.

We are now $13 trillion in debt. We paid for two wars in Iraq and a war in Afghanistan…and they have really accomplished nothing except to put us in very steep debt. We cannot say, “yes, well, but…that’s where we are now, so we must simply cut back on Social Security and Medicare….” No. We must cut back on foreign wars. We are not “fighting them over there so that we won’t have to fight them here…” That is more than just foolish. It is a lie and a propaganda technique by the Right Wing.

Here’s the truth. We have been drawn into a campaign in the kind of place that General MacArthur would have warned about…a place where you cannot win, only diminish your capabilities, wasting your national blood and treasure on a worthless landscape. Bring the troops home and spend half the money to protect ourselves five times as well.

Be clear about the danger. It is here at home. It is giant corporations with no loyalty to the United States and no real effort to make us secure, merely to make more profits for their corporations. Whether it be Dick Cheney’s Blackwater, his private army, or Halliburton, the company he lead and by whom he was still paid while earning them tens of billions of military contracts, or even BP (Amoco) disregarding safety to ruin the livelihoods of our Gulf Coast states, there is where the danger lies. Not some fantasy of Communism. Not some small band of Arabs. U.S. corporations are the real danger to Americans.

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