When Push Comes to Shove

Cape Cod police and fire officials say there have been two recent acts of arson — one failed, the other burned a house under construction — in which the arsonist left a message saying “[bleep] the rich.”

Naturally, the Right Blosophere puts this down to class warfare, instigated by liberal envy and resentment. The Jammie Wearing Fool writes,

I blame the class warfare rhetoric of the Democrats for these incidents of arson. Maybe if the left didn’t demonize wealthy people so much they wouldn’t stoke such hatred in their supporters. … Socialist blowhard Bernie Sanders was unavailable for comment.

I guess if it weren’t for leftists rudely pointing out that America is bankrupting itself with tax breaks to rich people that do little good to stimulate the economy, these things wouldn’t happen.

The BooMan disagrees

Or, maybe, if wealthy people hadn’t enjoyed super low tax rates for the last thirty years while we ran the government on people’s Social Security money, we wouldn’t be so upset about the idea of you using our Social Security money to pay off the debt you ran up making sure the world is safe for ExxonMobil. It couldn’t be that this random arsonist is actually pissed off about getting hosed, could it? Because I know plenty of people are about to blow a gasket at how badly this country is rigged against working people. Even when we have a Democratic president and huge Democratic majorities in Congress, we still can’t get decent reforms and we have to settle for half-ass. So, yeah, blame it on some Jewish guy from Vermont. I’m sure Bernie Sanders is to blame for every out-of-work malcontent who is fantasizing about slitting the throats of the top 2% that just got a near-trillion dollar bailout in the form of lower income and estate taxes.

In case any righties drop by here, let me be clear that no one is advocating actual arson or throat-slitting.

However, since I recently argued that there is only a difference in degree between censorship by threats of violence and censorship by threats of defunding, I suppose I should address the charge that progressive rhetoric might incite violence against wealthy people.

Rhetoric can incite violence; no question about it. As far as I’m concerned, Bill O’Reilly bears some responsibility for the murder of Dr. George Tiller.

On the other hand — among other things, Bernie Sanders said,

“How can I get by on one house?” Sanders said. “I need five houses, ten houses! I need three jet planes to take me all over the world! Sorry, American people. We’ve got the money, we’ve got the power, we’ve got the lobbyists here and on Wall Street. Tough luck. That’s the world, get used to it. Rich get richer. Middle class shrinks.”

That may be inflammatory, but it’s the truth. The middle class is shrinking in the U.S., which is a bad omen for all of us.

On the other hand, O’Reilly was telling his audience that Dr. George Tiller aborted healthy babies about to be born. If true, that would have been a clear violation of Kansas law. There is no evidence that ever stood up in court that Tiller violated the law.

Getting back to the topic — there is nothing so critical to the long-term health and stability of a nation than a stable middle class. Even if they are able to suppress the speech of progressives, if the economic trends of the past 40 years continue, sooner or later the rich will be forced to live within armed fortresses, or on their own private islands. And that’s not a threat, righties; that’s the way the world is.

19 thoughts on “When Push Comes to Shove

  1. First, I assume using the term ‘shrinking’ refers to the percent of wealth that the middle-class (and the poor) hold as a percent of all the wealth in the country.

    Second, I’m not sure where the line is between classes. Out in the boonies of southern Illinois, some federal civil servants are earning in excess of $100,000. Well within the $250K threshhold Obama sets but more than enough to live real high on the proverbial hog. And in Wash, DC that $100K figure is just the average for gov’t workers.

    Personally, I feel that Sen. Sanders is a hero. Hedge fund managers do not need to earn $1 BILLION (or more) per year.

    It is a dead horse that I am beating but we need to RAISE the marginal tax rate to 70% or higher.

  2. Back to this notion of principles, which I talked about a couple postings ago. It’s only “class warfare” if poor and middle class people try to enact laws that are fair to all. It’s never “class warfare” if the wealthy use their power and influence to tilt the playing field their way, extracting more wealth and power for themselves at the expense of others. In other words, the way right wingers use the notion of “class warfare” turns a principle into a one way tool, for their own advantage.

    I wonder where the righties are, who blame liberals for the arson, where they are on the socio-economic scale. It wouldn’t surprise me if they weren’t billionaires or millionaires, but stupid schmucks programmed during the Reagan years, who have yet to realize what their sociopathic philosophy has created. In other words, it would be a thousand years before they could possibly own a home on Cape Cod, and yet they still are shilling for those who’ve destroyed their own prospects.

    ..if the economic trends of the past 40 years continue, sooner or later the rich will be forced to live within armed fortresses, or on their own private islands. And that’s not a threat, righties; that’s the way the world is.

    What you have to get your hands around, is that these people simply don’t care. They’re perfectly happy to live within an armed fortress. It makes them feel secure. It would further aid and abet their willful blindness toward anything outside their little coccoon.

  3. It is a dead horse that I am beating but we need to RAISE the marginal tax rate to 70% or higher.

    What they need is to close the tax loopholes..No matter what the rate is they’re still not paying.

  4. Ah yes, 30 years of tax cuts for the rich have certainly proven that money trickles somewhere – only it’s UP, not down.
    We all know that there has been a concerted effort to kill the middle class in this country. People worried about themselves and their families don’t worry about those of others less fortunate than themselves. They worry about their own.
    And people above a certain income levels don’t have to worry. People no longer have everything invested in George Baily’s Savings and Loan. Why, back in the old days, even Mr. Potter, if he had most of his money with George, would have had to worry if this little S&L failed.
    What people miss now is that everything’s global. The American rich don’t have to live in armed and gated castles or communites if the poo-poo hits the ventilator here. If the riff-raff comes after them, the truly rich can leave the merely rich as sacrificial lambs to the angry mobs, while they take off for Canada, Europe, Central and South America, etc. Mr. Potter can piss on George Baily’s grave, and give the rich-guy one finger salute to everyone else as he and his XE contractors wheel his crippled body and even more crippled soul to a private jet as it takes him and his off to safety.
    Jamie Diamond doesn’t have to worry. France awaits.
    There is no incentive for the inter-global rich to worry about America. After the they rob everything, including the grave here, they can move to their next conquestl China? India? Brazil? The whole world beckons! Or, if there’s a way to colonize – the planets. Then, the Galaxy, and the whole Universe beckons!!! Kind of makes me hope there’s a solar system of technically advanced lizards who are peaceful, except when faced with stupidity, arrogance and greed, where those are what make a 5-star meal in their culture.

  5. At this point I am done with Obama. Yes the alternative is worse but this guy is some pretty weak tea. This is a nasty recession and these concessions to the gobs and gobs of money rich is disgraceful. The balloon juice front pagers will preach and dismiss progressive values at their own cost. The cost is being ripped off and just taking it.

  6. Swami,

    Both would be a good deal for the country. Close the tax loop holes that allow major corporations such as GE and Bechtel to pay no taxes whatsover. And raise the marginal tax rate. I’m not even advocating the 91% marginal rate from 1961. Just a mere 70%, as a small show of appreciation to a country that allows them to live in gross comfort.

  7. I’m sure most of you have noticed how the righties accuse the left of the very sins that they themselves commit. They steal elections while accusing the left of stealing elections. They accuse the left of promoting “junk science” (ie evolution, global warming) while themselves inventing laughable junk science (intelligent design, nonexistent global cooling). They lie while accusing the left of lying. They re-invent history (ie Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate).

    And then there’s this thing about violence. They stockpile weapons and ammunition and openly talk of murdering lefties. I spend some of my time (too much really) reading rightie blogs. One of the things that’s interesting about them is how many righties constantly threaten violence. Many of them (and I do mean MANY) sound as if they are itching to shoot somebody. All their hatred is directed at liberals, whom they claim have “ruined the country.” That “socialist Obama” is one of their objects of hatred. They hate Bernie Sanders too (those who have enough IQ to know who Sanders is). And they vigorously defend the rich, who are screwing the middle class (most of the rightie bloggers are themselves middle class, or lower, though they fantasize that someday soon they’ll be rich).

    There are so many ironies here that it’s hard to list them all. The “socialist Obama” would, in an earlier time, be considered far right of center to judge from his policies (ie bailouts for banksters). If George Bush were still president and followed the exact same policies as Obama, the righties would be singing songs of praise rather than foaming at the mouth about the socialist president. The hated Bernie Sanders, who may be a real socialist, could possibly save capitalism and the middle class (including the rightie bloggers) if he had any real power.

    The righties threaten “a second civil war.” They may get it. The trouble is that even if they win, they lose. Actually, all of us will lose.

    I feel fortunate that I no longer live in the USA. However, I’m not gloating. If America comes apart at the seams, no place in the world will completely escape the fallout. Again, we all lose.

  8. “Out in the boonies of southern Illinois, some federal civil servants are earning in excess of $100,000.”

    I take exception to the Chief’s comments. I am a former Federal Government employee; and, I NEVER earned $100,000. At the end of my 31-year career, I think I earned almost $40,000 a year. Additionally, with the exception of the very highest levels of officials (e.g., cabinet secretaries, political appointments), I never worked with an employee who earned in excess of $100,000. Furthermore, the last 25 years of my career, I worked in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, one of the most expensive areas to live. My Dad worked for the Federal Government in the boonies of Tacoma, Washingon, and was very proud when he retired after almost 40 years in the mid-1970’s he earned a whopping $15,000 a year. Your average Federal Government worker is part of the middle class that is disappearing. We are constantly picked on and used as pawns by Congress; but we are just like every one else who earns only enough money to live from payday to payday and raise families on two incomes. The hardest part of working for the Federal Government is to live with the stereotype that we are nothing but a lazy bunch of bums stealing the money of the taxpayers. Well, guess what? I pay taxes, too. When Reagan made some speech about how our tax dollars should not go to Planned Parenthood because of his and the Republican’s desire to run women’s lives. I showed him. From that time onward, I took 2 percent of my meager paycheck and donated it to Planned Parenthood just to show him that he couldn’t control all the taxpayers’ monies. If you want to take potshots at the politicians, please remember that many of the civil servants in the Federal workforce are just average people just like you trying to make ends meet. The majority of civil servants do not receive salaries in six figures, maybe high five figures by retirement; but, it usually takes a long time to get there. I like this blog because Maha does a good job of pointing us away from stereotypes by giving us the facts/truth which helps deal with the people who seem to avoid facts and truth. But, I have been seeing this Fed worker bashing for a while and needed to speak up for a much maligned group of people, who are really part of America’s middle class.

  9. Gulag, you make a good point about the rich going global. A lot of them have already secured that second passport from Australia, Panama or Brazil. When Obama extends the Bush tax cuts, don’t expect all those tax savings to go into creating new jobs in America. Rather, the money will flow in to banks located in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore. If it gets “invested,” that will be in gold or silver mines in Canada and South Africa. When America’s rich decide to invest in some kind of factory that creates real jobs, you can be sure the factory will be located in China, Vietnam or Bangladesh.

  10. The rich need demonizing if for no other reason than one of the seven deadly sins…greed. The fact that they have a relentless war against the poor seems to miss their consciousness. Like calling unemployed people lazy or any of their assorted social Darwinism.
    They worship the rich and demonize the poor. For me personally that kind of attitude ranks low on my morality scale. Dare I say it almost sounds…..evil.

  11. “The “socialist Obama” would, in an earlier time, be considered far right of center to judge from his policies (ie bailouts for banksters)”

    Candidie, get out a calendar, TARP (troubled Asset relief program) was signed into law on October 3rd, 2008. Obama was elected president Nov. 4th, 2008 and was inaugurated on January 20th, 2009. If your going to defend Obama at least show him the courtesy to not blame him for things he didn’t do!

    “I feel fortunate that I no longer live in the USA”

    I agree!

  12. Sooner or later the rich will be forced to live within armed fortresses, or on their own private islands.

    And every Republican-voting white trash goober in his trailer just KNOWS that he’s gonna be one of the rich few on the sweet side of the fortress wall, because Republican Murkan Jesus loves him best.

  13. Candidie, get out a calendar, TARP (troubled Asset relief program) was signed into law on October 3rd, 2008. Obama was elected president Nov. 4th, 2008 and was inaugurated on January 20th, 2009. If your going to defend Obama at least show him the courtesy to not blame him for things he didn’t do!

    I wasn’t talking about TARP specifically, but since you brought it up, you should also remember that Obama voted for it. Yes, I know he wasn’t president in 2008, but he supported TARP. And since then, his appointee Timothy Geithner has thrown additional trillions (yes, trillions, not billions) at the banksters, while allowing them to offload their toxic “assets” onto Fannie and Freddie

    Fed’s ‘Backdoor Bailout’ Provided $3.3 Trillion in Loans to Banks, Corporations

    And yet, no one has gone to jail for fraud, save Bernie Madoff, and that’s only because he made the mistake of stealing from rich people. Stealing from pensions funds, municipal governments, insurance pools and the federal government itself is apparently not a crime.

  14. “I wasn’t talking about TARP specifically”

    Pardon me, not sure why I would think you meant TARP, was there another bailout of banksters?

    “Timothy Geithner has thrown additional trillions”

    Tim G is the secretary of the treasury, the “trillions” in loans you reference where lent by the fed, the fed is headed by Ben Bernanke (A Bush Appointee, though Obama did re-up him). Printing money at the Fed and then loaning it to large financial institutions is not illegal, in fact it is just what the Fed does and has been doing since it’s inception in 1913.

  15. Down here in Florida, the rich already live in guarded communities, Miami is a prime example. One of the most third-worldie places I’ve ever been is a scant few blocks from down town Miami, with the most wealty on Fisher, Star, and hibiscus Islands in the nearby bay, not to mention Key Biscayne
    And then we have Sanibel Island’s bridge toll of over three bucks, which keeps the unwashed brown and blacks (and bubbas) out of view, except when in their service industry uniforms.

  16. Here’s an article I find myself in agreement with..


    And here’s a little something to ease your economic anxieties. For those of you who can’t afford the Oxycontin, the booze. the reefer. or whatever coping mechanism you’re using to get you through these tough economic times. Because of financial constraints I rely on the tried and true method of singing Negro Spirituals out on my front porch. Give it a try! It’ll take you away temporarily from the pressures of poverty.

  17. Speaking of taxes and the middle class, and in case someone missed it, the tax burden on the richest 1% of us fell 36% compared to what they would have owed in ’77 while families in the very middle of the income ladder experienced a 7% increase in their tax burden.

    Let’s be accurate. Class warfare this isn’t. This is warfare between the haves and the have-nots – and we’re losing it. (And, BooMan’s reference to making the ‘world safe for Exxon Mobile’ is ironic, not his statement, but because Exxon pays no income tax in America.

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