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The Privileged and Powerful in the Pandemic

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/19/privileged-and-powerful-pandemic

The piss ants and the pathetic punks are the rich greedy assholes that need to have half their wealth commandeered for the benefit of society not its detriment. Come on America where is your outrage!? Peace

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The beneficiaries of the savage capitalism of the past 40 years of neoliberalism, (who are also largely responsible for the current pandemic and much more), are working relentlessly to ensure that the outcome will be an even harsher version of the system they have constructed for their own benefit.

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Every penny denied to an Amazon worker is a penny that ends up in Jeff Bezos pocket.
If the Amazon workers went on a massive strike, they’d win raises and better benefits – that simple.

Tesla makes money on being the future.
If the county where Musk has his factory said, “go, ahead move it,” he’d lose billions – that simple.

The privileged and powerful are getting even richer during the pandemic because American workers have been conditioned by their oligarch overlords to settle for crumbs.

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To take it further, people need to boycott Amazon—refuse to line Bezos’ pockets with blood money. Find other, more ethical sources, or just do without. NO ONE should have to face death for the “economy,” which is nothing but enabling the corporate monsters to gorge on the lives of everyone else!

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Right, these billionaire, ruling-class royals are doing terrible things to America! They must stop! Yeah!

Oh, yeah? And who, exactly, is going to make them? “Progressives?” Don’t make me laugh. It’s over. They got to Bernie right when the tables were turning and turned off the juice for good. Shut that shit down. He’s out. For good. You got zero now. Nothing. Nada. Jack squat. You’re just talking to each other.

And nothing (nada, zip, zero) is going to happen without massive civil disobedience on the level that only a handful of Trump supporters are able to muster. Until we’re willing to hit the street by the millions, we’re done. We have nothing to say about what ever the hell the Musks and the Bezoses want to do. Nothing. They do whatever they like, period, and you can’t even muster a mainstream channel talk show panel to so much as wag a finger at it. Wake up. You’re dreaming.

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“Trump’s OSHA is doing squat” ?

Trump’s OSHA is being dismantled and will soon drown in the same Norquist bathtub where so many other “domestic” programs have met their fate.

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Bullshit, bruh. You wanna stage street demos in the middle of a pandemic, like the covidiots, or what? The tell – where your act nakedly does not compute – is when you refer to Murdoch/DeVos astroturf crap (which only shows up on the TeeVee because it’s astroturf crap), as “massive civil disobedience.” I mean: What in the hell are you smoking over there? Whatever it is, better stuff is legal in many states.

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~http://www.yourdestinationnow.com/2020/05/france-should-sell-mona-lisa-for-50.html

Then there this. A rich French businessman suggests France start selling off its art works (Such as the Mona Lisa) to help address the pandemic. The rich are getting richer as they exploit the pandemic to generate more profits even as monies shoveled their way by Governments and they want to use this opportunity to buy up EVERYTHING.

The guy wants Frances collected artworks , owned in Common by the people , monetized and sold off. Worthless paper for priceless works of art. What a bargain.

From the article he even suggested this…

He added: 'For the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, 50 billion, is only a third of his fortune, barely more than the amount paid to his wife in connection with his recent divorce. Why not rename our work Mona Lisa del Giocondo-Bezos?

Here is a better idea. If 50 billion dollars that sorely needed and you can justify stealing from the commons to sell it to private interests then why not just take the 50 billion dollars from Bezos and in return give him a string of glass beads. You can call it “the Bezos beads”

Fuck the one percent.

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If I may, do you have any suggestions about how to stop (and reverse) the ongoing massive transfer of public U.S. wealth into private hands? Do you acknowledge that this is happening? Do you acknowledge that the covid19 crisis is being used by the ruling class as a cover story to facilitate and justify this massive transfer? Do you acknowledge that nearly all (if not all) democratic, non-civilly disobedient means of countervailing this transfer are being thwarted, again using the covid19 crisis as a justification? Do you acknowledge that democratic, non-civilly disobedient means of opposing and stopping the ruling class’s ecocidal-homicidal-suicidal economic and political machinery have been undermined all over the world? Do you acknowledge that humankind and Mother Earth are hanging by a thread, that we are on the verge of full-blown global fascism?

If you acknowledge these things, if you acknowledge that we have to end the fear-mongering, remove the jackboot from the face of humankind, overthrow the ruling class, give Mother Earth a chance to heal – and if you insist, furthermore, that those who recognize these imperatives must remain passive, “sheltering” at home, cowering in fear, prostate to the police state – then what do you propose we do? How shall we advance these imperatives? How shall we fight the terrifying synthesis of state and corporate power that is grinding humanity into the dirt and destroying the planet?

Another set of questions: Do you believe that government officials lie? Do you believe that U.S. government officials routinely lie to the public in order to advance goals and agendas that they know the public would never support? Do you believe that corporate infotainment “news” outlets also routinely lie to advance these same goals and agendas? Do you believe, for example, that U.S. government officials, in concert with corporate “journalists” (propagandists), lied to the public in order to provide a cover story for a war against Iraq that they wanted to wage purely to benefit the economic interests of the U.S. ruling class?

Do you believe that U.S. government officials and corporate propaganda outlets conduct public relations (propaganda) campaigns to “sell” government policies to the U.S. public which overwhelmingly benefit the U.S. ruling class, and harm the working classes (the vast majority)? Do you believe in asking the question cui bono in regard to such policies? Do you believe that we can learn the truth about such policies – about the war against Iraq, for example, or recent attempts to stage a coup d’etat in Venezuela – by “following the money”?

Now, if your answer to most of these questions is “Yes,” then I would like to pose one final set of question: Why are you not “following the money” in regard to the covid19 lockdown? Why are you parroting corporate government propaganda talking points about covid19? Why aren’t you questioning those talking points? Why do you refuse to offer – or even to consider – suggestions about how governments might work toward easing the covid19 lockdown? Why are you such an enthusiastic supporter of prolonging the worldwide suspension of civil liberties, indefinitely, with no plan ending it? Lastly, why don’t you acknowledge the hardship and suffering that the covid19 lockdown is causing for billions of non-privileged people the world over?

You’ve written a daunting list of questions, but this one stands out. What happens if we take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to flip the script? What happens if, when the order comes down to “reopen the economy,” we instead start learning how to feed, house, and care for ourselves and our friends and neighbors without need of cash income for protracted periods of time?

These threads are chock-a-block full of calls for “total, rolling, Gandhian non-cooperation,” in the words of Giovanna-Lepore, and pleas for a general strike and boycotts. Aren’t we, in effect, doing that now? Isn’t capital screaming bloody murder at the shutdown of the consumer economy, and isn’t that the very remedy for our collective woes that c-v19 has presented to us?

We don’t have to think about this. It’s already been thought about, more than a century ago, for example in the woolen mills of Lawrence MA. All that we’re lacking in this critical moment is organization and class solidarity.

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Your style of interrogation seems out-of-place to me. I have the impression you think people who notice problems and tell the truth about the problems they see have an implicit responsibility to come up with “the solution” to every problem they notice. That’s no way to get anywhere, when the issue, for me, is truth: What is actually going on, as opposed to the distortions with which we are assailed, for whatever reason, from all directions, all the time. People will discern solutions (or not) without my guidance.

I have no apologies for imparting truths as I reach for them, thylacine, as none are necessary or even appropriate. Should I say something untrue, please prepare your interrogation about that.

Students of truth and consequences are familiar with the concept of an insoluble problem. “Hard problem” is the understated mathematical term. There’s no need to forbid the discussion of problems which might not have any solution.

(That macho weirdo @mlucid smells like a police-state provocateur to me, btw. Also: I entirely concur with @GuildF312S, above. This looks like the onset of a long-term national strike – organized or not.)

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Had Socrates’ interlocutors characterized his questions as “interrogations,” Plato would have had scant little to work with.

Perhaps characterizing probing philosophical questions as “interrogations” enables a person to more easily ignore them, as you have done with most of mine.

I’d be most interested in a response to my question about “following the money.” Is covid19 an instance where “following the money” – tracing the untold trillions of taxpayer dollars that are in the process of being transferred to private bank accounts, using covid19 as a money laundering device – is not a fruitful endeavor? Is this an instance where privatization of public goods and services, where theft of public wealth, is merely incidental, perhaps merely an unintended side-effect of covid19 virulence?

I have asked my questions in good faith. I have not exhibited rancor or animosity. If my tone has seemed challenging, I apologize, and I assure you this was not my intent. My intent is to sharpen my understanding of the myriad philosophical issues surrounding the responses of governments and media outlets to covid19. You seem like a good person to ask about these issues, because your comments are routinely sophisticated and profound.

“Interrogate” is not derogatory. I doubt Plato would mind the Greek equivalent. Philosophers often speak of interrogating values or systems – without meaning it as a synonym of “attacking”.

Rather than treat your queries for prescriptions in detail, I’m just trying to explain why it is I’m not inclined to pay any attention to such questions. The answer, in general, is “How should I know?” It starts to sound like a demand that I come up with an excuse for myself, rather than dialectic exchange, when prescriptive questions are strung together like a bead necklace.

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“Police state provocateur!!!” Oh that’s rich! Oh that’s me! Like some Q-anon CIA lurker-clerk keeping tabs on the MAGA freaks. Yeah. That’s right. Police-state provocateur! (I’m keeping that one for a band name.)

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I’m not picky. You wanna wait? Fine with me, uh, Snowflake (I gave you that one to fit your PSP moniker for me, right? I simply love that nom de gare!). So, yeah, I’ll see you whenever you get there, no matter how late to the party you are. (I’ll be the one with the mask. (One of the ones anyway., right? (I mean, what the heck. It’s science. (Oh, and you know what? You kinda sound like a "police state provocateur, yourself, a li-bit.))))

Very strange, if sincere, expressions from this apparent impostor: someone who seems to perceive non-staged friction between a deep state and “the MAGA freaks”; someone who thinks fistfights in the street are going to settle things. What a joke. I don’t accept the proposition that anyone is as stupid as this correspondent pretends to be (no, not even a white person). Ergo: It’s a pathetically phony act.

We’re not just lacking organization and class solidarity.

We’re lacking the means to effect the ruling capital class because shareholders keep getting bail outs.

Recently, JP Morgan investment execs explicitly told shareholders that investing – with blanket backstops supplied by the Federal Reserve – is essentially risk-free right now.

In terms of this article, Elon Musk, whose Tesla company has yet to turn a profit, has investors lined up to pour money into his version of the future. That’s the new nature of ownership: the shareholder class even owns the government spigots and they flow freely for the wealthy, but trickle on the rest of us.

I’m not against using this opportunity to usher in “total, rolling, Gandhian non-cooperation,” I’m totally for it. I’m just warning that the wealthy are well-insulated from a shut down – hell, the stock market is surging at 30% unemployment.

Wow, just wow. I mean I know it’s hard to tell who’s who and all, but that’s the point. It’s hard to tell. You can’t just make something up that appeals to your amygdala and assume it will pass muster, at least not here.

I mean, most folks know their way around net.terminology but will be nonetheless, be hard pressed to figure out what you’re trying to do with your attributions of me (much less what you think I may be talking about). I mean, to reduce “massive civil disobedience” to “fistfights in the streets” is clearly agenda driven, not evidence based. So, what is your agenda. What is your solution?

YES! Thank you for this idea that is not heard enough! If people are so outraged about corporate greed, why don’t we OPT OUT, at least as much as you personally can bring yourself to do? In addition to worker strikes and boycotts, civil disobedience and protests, fighting for justice at every level of government, joining caring communities which bypass money whenever possible, and all other good actions I’ve read about that is currently happening, we also need something, which I have not yet heard about currently happening, and we need it on a mass scale:
For those who are able to do so, do not return to work at jobs that are unjust. Choose any of the infinite number of morally better alternatives, whether it’s joining an intentional community or starting your own business or at least changing your lifestyle so you can work as little as possible and grow as much of your own food as possible. I wish workers everywhere would start a worker-owned co-op that sustainably creates something needed locally (soap / toilet paper / produce) and recruit workers from chains such as Walmart and Amazon – then convince everyone in your community to shop only at this local worker-owned place. Start a local credit union to give loans to create such businesses and gradually replace all the corporate chains with local alternatives.

Let us not forget that we are not powerless. We are partially complicit in corporate crimes by continuing to work at unjust places and continuing to buy from unjust places. Let your anger rise up until you say “ENOUGH” and OPT OUT. If you can’t reject all of society’s trappings (because, after all, it’s illegal in most places to live off the land money free), you can still reject as much as possible…it’s not all or nothing…some positive change is better than none.

Please don’t misunderstand this to mean “love it or leave it” BS or to blame workers for the corrupt system…What I’m saying is that we need to opt out of corporate malfeasance as workers and consumers while simultaneously fighting for corporations to be held to much higher standards in its treatment of workers, our environment, and gross inequalities in pay. We need to opt out of our immoral lifestyles as much as possible while simultaneously fighting for a democracy that would restrain the rich and powerful from destroying our lives, our environment, and our hope for a just government that serves the public good.

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