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To the Phones

Smaug makes his opening bid

Following Atrios at Eschaton, Call the White House, your Senators and your House members to say no to proposed cuts to Social Security via the Chained CPI.  They *are* cuts.

This is what the 1% have been waiting for.  This is why the bankers and well-connected have been strangling the money supply for the past 4 years and holding the economy hostage every time there is an expiration of their tax rates.  They need for us to feel enough pain so that we will give up something that is very important to us.

It has never been about the deficit.  It has always been about weakening and then eliminating the social insurance programs and using the chained CPI to calculate Social Security benefits is their first blow.  Don’t let them get away with it without a fight.

Say “NO!” to the Chained CPI.  But don’t just stop there.  I’ve always believed that you shouldn’t oppose a law or proposal without a working counter proposal.  Don’t just complain.  So, tell your elected officials that you would like to strengthen Social Security by raising the payroll tax on higher income earners.

Here’s who to call:

White House


Your Senators

Your House Members

We didn’t share in the prosperity, why should we share in the austerity?

Spread the word!

13 Responses

  1. I just called them. Sigh. Fuck! Yeah, just that – fuck! This should not be necessary.

    • I agree. What is it about “social insurance programs are not negotiable” do they not understand?

      • For the most part, the Senators and House members come from an era where Democratic give backs are the rule and Democratic Presidents are, automatically, not legitimate in the eyes of Republican legislators despite receiving strong victories at the polls. With the death of Daniel Inouye yesterday, only three Democratic Senators and seven Democratic House members predate Reagan. One of the three Senators is Max Baucus who compromises on everything anyway.

        Democrats have controlled the House for only four of the past 18 years and even then Blue Dogs made that control precarious. The fake filibuster (no talking) means that nearly all items require 60 votes in the Senate and that is not going to happen.

        The result is deadlock or give back with the Republicans running the show despite losing elections.

        “WE” have been schooled to fail and give in. Or at least the Democrats in Congress and the White House have been so trained.

        P.S. The leading contender to succeed Senator Inouye is US House member Colleen Hannabusa, at least according to the Honolulu newspaper. What a difference a Coast makes. Washington and California already have two women Senators. Hawaii will go from two 80+ year old males to two women (presumably) and one of Alaska’s two Senators is a woman. Only Oregon has no women in the Senate but they do have one woman (of five) in the House. Just elected.

  2. I did my share with letters to Senators Menendez and Lautenberg. I’m not sure Leonard Lance gives a flying fuck since I was redistricted into a solidly red district that will never change for the next 10 years. I guess I could send him a yo momma email but what would be the point? He’s unreachable.

  3. Thanks for the head up RD.

  4. it just gets worser and worser with that obama guy. isn’t about time to offer him up to the gop/teabaglicans and al qaeda of wall street? take him. he’s yours…always has been…!

  5. It’s heartbreaking, Nancy Pelosi is throwing seniors under the bus, and expects other Democrats to follow suit, while Obama is busy saying he legislates like a Republican.

    We have really been thrown under the bus. I won’t believe any Democrat, lest they remove Nancy Pelosi as Minority Whip, lord knows she has whipped us all to pieces.

    I am speechless.

  6. The cliff, the sellout, and coming to America:

    Funny how one news story can lead me to find out other stuff. I was intrigued by this story this morning in the Telegraph UK:
    Amateur gardeners inspired by TV being turfed off overgrown allotments – Telegraph

    With an estimated countrywide waiting list of 200,000 for plots, a record number of allotment holders this year have been asked to vacate their land, for leaving their soil unworked.

    The term allotment was unclear to me so I Googled “England garden allotment” –
    This took me to Wikipedia:

    These were created in 1809 following a letter from Rev Stephen Demainbray to King George III in which he asked the king to spare, in perpetuity, 6 acres from the Inclosure Acts for the benefit of the poor of the parish.[24][25] Following these Inclosure Acts and the Commons Act 1876 the land available for personal cultivation by the poor was greatly diminished.

    So far so good but what were these Inclosure Acts? Wikipedia gave a general definition:
    The Inclosure or Enclosure Acts were a series of United Kingdom Acts of Parliament which enclosed open fields and common land in the country. They removed previously existing rights of local people to carry out activities in these areas, such as cultivation, cutting hay,grazing animals or using other resources such as small timber, fish, and turf.

    Wanting to know more of the socio-economic impact of these land grabs I searched, coming upon this summary of a book by Libertarian Economist Friedrich Hayek which sought to dismisses the Socialist critique of the Capitalism and the industrial revolution :

    They hang the man, and flog the woman,
    That steals the goose from off the common;
    But let the greater villain loose,
    That steals the common from the goose.
    Anonymous, in The Tickler Magazine, February 1, 1821.

    An understanding of the Enclosure Acts is necessary to place aspects of the Industrial Revolution in proper context. The Industrial Revolution is often accused of driving poor laborers en masse out of the countryside and into urban factories where they competed for a pittance in wages and lived in execrable circumstances.

    But the opportunity that a factory job represented could only have drawn workers if it offered a better situation than what they were leaving. If laborers were driven to the cities, then some other factor(s) must have been at work.

    One factor was the Enclosure Acts. These were a series of Parliamentary Acts, the majority of which were passed between 1750 and 1860; through the Acts, open fields and ‘wastes’ were closed to use by the peasantry. Open fields were large agricultural areas to which a village population had certain rights of access and which they tended to divide into narrow strips for cultivation. The wastes were unproductive areas – for example, fens, marches, rocky land, or moors – to which the peasantry had traditional and collective rights of access in order to pasture animals, fish, harvest meadow grass, collect firewood or otherwise benefit. Rural laborers who lived on the margin depended on open fields and the wastes to fend off starvation.

    Enclosure refers to the consolidation of land, usually for the stated purpose of making it more productive. The British Enclosure Acts removed the prior rights of local people to rural land they had often used for generations. As compensation, the displaced people were commonly offered alternative land of smaller scope and inferior quality,sometimes with no access to water or wood. The land seized by the Acts were then consolidated into individual and privately-owned farms, with larger and politically connected farmers receiving the best land. Often small land-owners could not afford the legal and other associated costs of enclosure and, so, were forced out.

    In his pivotal essay “English Enclosures and Soviet Collectivization: Two Instances of an Anti-Peasant Mode of Development”, historian Joseph R. Stromberg observed,

    “[T]he political dominance of large landowners determined the course of enclosure….[i]t was their power in Parliament and as local Justices of the Peace that enabled them to redistribute the land in their own favor. A typical round of enclosure began when several, or even a single, prominent landholder initiated it….by petition to Parliament….[T]he commissioners were invariably of the same class and outlook as the major landholders who had petitioned in the first place, it was not surprising that the great landholders awarded themselves the best land and the most of it, thereby making England a classic land of great, well-kept estates with a small marginal peasantry and a large class of rural wage labourers.”

    When access was systematically denied, ultimately the peasantry was left with three basic alternatives: to work in a serf-like manner as tenant farmers for large landowners; to *emegrate to the new world; or, ultimately, to pour into already crowded cities where they pushed down each others’ wages by competing for a limited number of jobs.

    But the eviction of the peasants began much earlier:

    In Liberty Against the Law, Christopher Hill tells the story of the redistribution of land and wealth from rural labourers to the landed classes between the 16th and 18th centuries, and the rack-renting, eviction and persecution of the poor. For landless labourers, he says, the termination of rights to common land “meant the difference between a viable life and starvation”. Many died in the famines of the 1590s, 1620s and 1640s. Many more – 80,000 in the early 17th century, according to the historian Peter Clark – became vagabonds whose wandering put them on the wrong side of the law. They were branded, flogged back to their parishes, press-ganged by the navy and the merchant marine, or forced into industries whose conditions and wage rates were “little better than slavery”.

    The children of vagabonds and paupers were transported to Virginia, effectively as slaves. Many of them died in transit. There were enclosure riots (attempts to resist the landlords’ seizure of the commons) all over the country. Almost all of them failed, and many of the rioters were transported or executed. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Marion Shoard records in her book This Land is Our Land, a further 7m acres of England – 20% of the total land area – were enclosed by landowners.

    *In the 1880’s three generations of my family left England for America they were probably not the peasants described above as they were skilled laborers; but I think this history is important to us living in another time of redistribution, when the rich are by all accounts once again impoverishing “the peasants” world wide.





    • Your comments wouldn’t be stuck in moderation if you made them shorter and didn’t include so many links.

    • I remember another version of part of that poem.

      The law is quick to jail the felon
      Who steals a goose from off the common,
      But lets the greater felon loose
      Who steals the common from the goose.

  7. capitalism a more egalitarian means of impoverishing the peasantry?

    James Purnell: The new egalitarian capitalism « Progressive Governance Conference
    [James Purnell, UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, addressed the plenary session on progressive politics after the financial crisis.]
    We come neither to praise capitalism nor to bury it. We want to change it, by reforming it, and I want to argue to make it into a more egalitarian capitalism. That means that, coming out of the crisis, the progressive political project needs to be both more confident and more radical.
    In 2009 in the wake of what is referred to as the financial meltdown this wide-eyed Progressive proposed that the time had come to press for a kinder, gentler face on the system. Somehow he failed.

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