They Still Don’t Get It


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“Louis XV, the fellow who set the stage for the French Revolution—though he didn’t live to see it, dying in 1774 after ruling France most of the century—famously noted a bit of citizen disaffection with his prediction, après moi, le déluge. After me, the deluge.

This is the French king who presided over the dissolution of much of France’s world power, plunging his nation into a succession of wars that eventually resulted in the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and the humiliating loss of India, Canada and all American lands east of the Mississippi to Britain, plus the relinquishment of all lands west of the Mississippi to Spain. His rule bled the French armed forces and the national treasury dry and set the stage for the calamitous, head-rolling rise of more chaos and war under the ersatz democrat, Napoleon.

235 years later, we now have Bailout King AIG (insurance giant American International Group)….”

Author: Tom Hastings, professor of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University in Oregon and Director of PeaceVoice
Published in: The Enquirer-Herald in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on the Huntington News Network (home page: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/) West Virginia, and in Oregon PeaceWorks (home page: http://www.oregonpeaceworks.org/)
Date: March 18, 2009 and June, 2009

For the full article:
They Still Don’t Get It
(689 words)
by Tom H Hastings

Louis XV, the fellow who set the stage for the French Revolution—though he didn’t live to see it, dying in 1774 after ruling France most of the century—famously noted a bit of citizen disaffection with his prediction, après moi, le déluge. After me, the deluge.

This is the French king who presided over the dissolution of much of France’s world power, plunging his nation into a succession of wars that eventually resulted in the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and the humiliating loss of India, Canada and all American lands east of the Mississippi to Britain, plus the relinquishment of all lands west of the Mississippi to Spain. His rule bled the French armed forces and the national treasury dry and set the stage for the calamitous, head-rolling rise of more chaos and war under the ersatz democrat, Napoleon.

235 years later, we now have Bailout King AIG (insurance giant American International Group) imperiously telling the government that, with the $170 billion (yes, billion) in money seized from your paycheck, they will be paying out $ millions in bonuses and “retention fees” to their “talent” (this is the word used by apologist Edward M. Liddy to the weak challenges offered by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner). Both “sides” in this playacted disagreement agree that contractual arrangements made in the past mandate this.

Excuse us? Who cares? We can make a contract that calls for a suspension of the laws of gravity and thermodynamics, but those contracts and laws would mean nothing. The real world and the actual laws of physics are dispositive. When a ripoff corporation goes belly-up and the government steps in to make sure the little people aren’t crushed but instead saves the “talent” who live in porcine and rapacious disregard for the fate of the masses of us who actually work for a living and don’t take more than our share, we cannot be expected to put up with it.

Bush the Younger never said After me, the deluge, but it’s coming. Look at the war contracts the DoD signs daily, some of them going out a decade. A decade! Military contracts pretend to promise hundreds of $ billions to war profiteers long past the Obama administration. Are these contracts legal? Perhaps on paper, but paper cannot prevent the deluge.

Lockheed Martin Corp. was awarded a $665,637,785 on one contract that goes until 2015. Raytheon Co. gets $106,473,293 in one contract that goes out to 2011, with an additional $16,075,146 ‘modification.’ Schafer Corp. is being awarded a $9,787,453 cost-plus contract out until 2014 (cost-plus is the backcharge cash cow that Obama claims will no longer rip us off, yet here it is again). These are just a small sampling from one business day (March 13, 2009) at the Pentagon. This does not count the hundreds of $ millions for contracts to be completed in this fiscal year also noted on the same day. This is a daily money gush from your paycheck to the Pentagon (which gets about half of your FICA funds, an enormous bite out of your earnings every month if you are lucky enough to still have a job).

We the hard-working American people are all suffering. Millions are out of work, scores of millions have no health care, millions of us live in homes that not only need repair but are worth less than the mortgages we owe, the rolls of homeless grows daily, and millions have seen life savings in pension funds evaporate.

Much of that evaporated wealth of the people has simply been redistributed into the fat pockets of corporations oinking poormouth and extending their chubby pink soft hands, claiming that they need more bailouts.

The era of Too Fat to Fail is screeching to a halt. These robbers have operated with impunity and immunity far too long, waging wars and losing it all—innocent lives, worldwide reputation, the heart of our economy, the nestegg of democracy. The US government seems to be hors de combat, out of the fight, due to ethical injuries, but the people will rise in a wave of nonviolent revolt that will change the leadership as many times as it takes to get the corpulent corporadoes off our backs.

Tom H Hastings is professor of Conflict Resolution at Portland State University in Oregon and Director of PeaceVoice