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Diane Dimond
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Will It Take a Revolution?

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If you haven't seen the new movie "Les Miserables," you must. It is a staggeringly powerful presentation of revolution in 19th century France, and once you see it you will never forget it. The haunting music and lyrics will stay top-of-mind for weeks.

"Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men ... "

Now wait. I haven't suddenly become a film critic, not at all. But I must say as I watched this monumental movie about peasants seeking justice, I was struck by the comparisons one could make to the growing turmoil in modern America. Today, it is all about the percolating economic upheaval in the U.S. that is certain to crush us all in the years ahead if something isn't done — and fast.

Politicians in Washington may be patting themselves on the back for preventing a fall off what they called the nation's "fiscal cliff," but really what they have done is just put off the hard decisions until another day.

They failed to do their job until the last possible moment, and when they finally acted, their solution was disappointingly lackluster. Their kick-the-can-down-the-road compromise solution doesn't help the economy in the long run, and it certainly does nothing for future generations who will likely drown in the red ink we leave behind.

Think you would be able to keep your job if you failed day after day, year after year to perform your duties in a timely fashion? Honestly, I don't know how these "leaders" in Congress — who earn between $193,400 and $223,500 a year (plus perks) — can look at themselves in the mirror. Their actions border on criminal, in my opinion.

In the wake of Congress's recent fiscal cliff votes, increasing segments of America are getting angrier. The poor who struggle to feed their families and pay the bills are angry. People who can't find jobs after searching for months or years are angry. Now, those individuals making more than $400,000 are angry because they are facing substantial tax increases that many of them say will keep them from hiring new employees or buying big-ticket items like new homes, cars or major appliances. That spending could have helped ignite the nation's sputtering economy, but now it never will.

"Do you hear the people sing? Singing the song of angry men ..."

The simple truth that few speak is that tax increases are never going to fix an economy that borrows up to $1 trillion a year for entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and food stamps), defense spending, tax credits and other government programs. America is simply going to have to substantially cut spending — period.

Don't politicians get that? Reminds me of the movie's song "Beggars at the Feast."

"Everywhere you go

Law-abiding folk

Doing what is decent — but they're mostly broke!"

It's time for everyone — from lawmakers who continue to push for funding of non-vital hometown projects to the countless thousands of special interest lobbyists — to reign in the urge to hold out their hand for more money. There isn't any more money. And logic tells us that to print more is sheer insanity. It's time for elected officials in Washington to do what must be done, otherwise within the next decade the national debt will overtake us all. It is as clear as black and white — or as the French revolutionary's final call for change put it in the song, "Red and Black":

"The color of the world is changing day by day

Red — the blood of angry men!

Black — the dark of ages past!

Red — A world about to dawn!

Black — the night that ends at last!"

If we truly want America's economic slide to end, if we really want to reclaim superpower status for the country, we will have to regain our economic footing. The dirty little secret solution to America's fiscal woes is that even more segments of the population will have to be made angry if we are ever going to get a grip on this slippery slope to total insolvency. We have all become slaves to past bad thinking that we could simply throw money at things and social problems would magically disappear.

Most important, more of us have to care about the economic slavery we all endure these days. I know, just getting through the week is hard. Paying the rent or mortgage is sometimes impossible. Finding enough time away from work for children, elderly parents or just plain relaxation is nearly impossible.

We've all become slaves in our own way to the shrinking power of the American dollar. But somehow we citizens have to find time to pick up the revolutionary banner that reads, "NO MORE RED INK." It will surely be painful for everyone, but it's a revolution in thinking that's long overdue.

"Will you join in our crusade?

Who will be strong and stand with me?

Beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?

Then join the fight

That will give you the right to be free."

It might very well take a modern-day revolution to install leaders bold and brave enough to get done what must be done — to stop spending money that simply isn't there. And voters must begin to insist upon it ... or else.

"Do you hear the people sing?

Singing the song of angry men

It is the music of a people

Who will not be slaves again."

You in? If you're wavering, you might want to see the movie to understand what's at stake.

Visit Diane Dimond's official website at www.dianedimond.com for investigative reporting, polls and more. To find out more about Diane Dimond and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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Comments

4 Comments | Post Comment
A good friend of mine, currently in trade school with a grant, got all upset recently about hearing through the state unemployment office (California) that all unemployment benefits would stop on Dec 29, 2012. I told her that that had to be a mistake; the basic unemployment benefits are totally employer paid, and are not the government's money. Doing some research, it quickly became obvious that what was due to go off the fiscal cliff was the federal extended benefits. I explained to my friend that as sorry as I was about people who would lose that benefit, it was paid from money that we don't even have--borrowed money. I have noticed that the bureaucracy tends to cut in places that are the most visible and paint the blackest picture at such times. (She has state benefits due her that she hasn't been able to collect, BTW.) Through the last few elections, I find myself yelling back at the politicians making promises "That's NOT YOUR JOB!). Especially when the money is NOT THERE and the gov't is usually the least efficient way to deal with stuff.
Comment: #1
Posted by: partsmom
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:46 PM
A good friend of mine, currently in trade school with a grant, got all upset recently about hearing through the state unemployment office (California) that all unemployment benefits would stop on Dec 29, 2012. I told her that that had to be a mistake; the basic unemployment benefits are totally employer paid, and are not the government's money. Doing some research, it quickly became obvious that what was due to go off the fiscal cliff was the federal extended benefits. I explained to my friend that as sorry as I was about people who would lose that benefit, it was paid from money that we don't even have--borrowed money. I have noticed that the bureaucracy tends to cut in places that are the most visible and paint the blackest picture at such times. (She has state benefits due her that she hasn't been able to collect, BTW.) Through the last few elections, I find myself yelling back at the politicians making promises "That's NOT YOUR JOB!). Especially when the money is NOT THERE and the gov't is usually the least efficient way to deal with stuff.
Comment: #2
Posted by: partsmom
Sun Jan 6, 2013 3:46 PM
Ma'am...This people was corrupted in the cheapest possible fashion: With promises... We call these promises entitlements, and it has become a dirty word...If you understand that we are a commonwealth, and that the people own the ultimate title to all of this place, and all of the wealth, and all of the debt, too, then you see that entitlements are exactly what the word suggests, the people's due for what is given as rights to the rich...In Ancient Rome, a republic, the slaves drove the farmers from their lands... They could no more compete with slavery than today's workers can compete with robots, or foreign slaves...
Our government could have protected us from competiton with slavery as it did once with chattel slavery when government was still responsive to the people, but we have less representation than those people, and ever less democracy with every child born... And every child born is born with a debt to pay for government that has never served this people, which always put principals before practice, and rejected reason for the dream of free enterprise...
Revolution is not necessary, but resistence is essential...The siamese twins of our economy/government, joined at the brain cannot sustain itself but for a short period feeding directly off the people, and it can levy all the bills it wants upon the people, but the people have been too long bled to pay anything...Now government wants to deny entitlements to those who cannot possibly live without them as the price of paying debts to the rich -when it borrowed from the rich rather than fairly taxing them...
Private property is a privilage people must pay for with taxes, and the rich have dispossessed the poor peasant farmers, and much of the country and our rescources have simply been handed over to the rich for a triffle...The poor working people have been broke with taxes loaded onto them by the rich...
There is a limit to the amount people can be used and abused by their government even when justified by the most pure and commonly accepted principals... There is no sounder argument for change than empty pockets, and if the government thinks it can deny entitlement people must have because they have been dispossessed and are without means, then let them try...
For the moment, people left in the country snuggled up with their guns and bibles will stand with the government...The words: Pagan and Heathen both refer to country people whose traditional gods answered their prayers...It is no different in our age, but how long will their affection for their government last when they are called to the slaughter of city dwellers to relieve government of the necessity of their support???

When the brothers Gracchus in Rome began their efforts at agrarian reforms that ultimately led to their deaths, Tiberius Gracchus described the condition of the citizens driven from the lands by slaves in terms that seem as though he knows us well..."The beasts of the fields and the birds of the air have their holes and hiding places; but the people who fight and die for Rome enjoy only the light and air. Our generals urge their soldiers to fight for the graves and shrines of their ancestors. The appeal is idle and false. You cannot point to a paternal altar. You have no ancestral tomb. You fight and die to give wealth and luxury to others. You are called the masters of the world, but there is not a foot of ground you can call your own."
Consider the old testament prophets like Micah railing against those who sucked wealth out of their country and life out of the people...Tradition protects the wealth of the wealthy and forms like law empower man against man; but no class of wealthy sitting on piles of wealth can defend it without a healthy society... Micah said: Woe to them who devise iniquity upon their beds; In the morning they execute it, for it is in their power. Yea, they covet fields and seize them, and houses, and carry them away... So they crush a yoeman and his house, a man and his heritage..(Mic.2:1,2)... And: They eat the flesh of my people, and strip their skin from off them; And: They make bare their bones and break them up, like meat in a pot, and flesh in a caldron (Mic 3:3)

Consider that every revolution in modern times has resulted directly from government bankruptcy from the English revolution hense...The government could save the people the trouble of revolution and admit their entire collusion with business and wealth has been a bust... They could admit the folly of trying to capitalize the world by decapitalizing us, and laying the cost on us for doing so...But they have nationally and internationally saddled all people with debt that no one can pay except with the most fortunate and optimistic prospects... Just as the slave masters were slaves to the financial center of New York, we are all corrupted in our desire to hang onto our lives... For now the country people hate the city people, but all are being dispossessed, and thrown into the same soup... A people deprived of their country are deprived of their meaning... A people deprived of their ability to create have been deprived of their sense of re-creation, their purpose, meaning, and personality...The finding of ourselves is part and parcel of our finding of our land and our rights inalienable...

The outcome of this intractable mess we are living through may certainly demand violence and sacrifice unto death... If we cannot act, and cannot define the problems we face, then our anger will be exhausted on ourselves as the rich desire so that as we scapegoat others we will be robbed of our morals, and incapable of moral self defense when it is our turn... Like Rome, we can end in tyranny, or with revolution complete, we can have democracy... All people should have rights, and must, but in the future, those with privilages must pay for them with taxes...We will have welfare and entitlements with tyranny, but as now it will only be to buy our acquiescence in our own demise...
Thanks...Sweeney
Comment: #3
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Jan 7, 2013 6:28 AM
Ma'am;... There is a crime, but the problem of shared responsibility going back to the founding fathers means there is no criminal... It is as Gurtrude Stein said: A bureaucracy is a bureucracy... Or, you could say: It's China Town; or, you can't fight city hall... For those on the recieving end it does not matter that they cannnot pick out a single individual to bear all of the responsibility... Do you think it mattered to those jambed into gas chambers that Jews helped do the deed, and were part of the vast machinery of death of which only a few held any meaningful responsibility??? The hierarchy of death, the chain of command, the bureacracy of death produced its desired result, and people died, but no one but a few in the chain of command themselves ever hung for it...
Those who prey by choice on others are rare, and feel not the least part of sympathy, and yet they will be the first to demand mercy, and hide behind the rights they deny to others... They might twist the law to the breaking point, and suck every bit of meaning out of law, but in the end will point to the law, and say: what I did was legal...
People think they cannot live without law, but if they are not willing at some point to live lawless they may not live at all...The first act of any successful revolution is the establishment of law, but revolution is always unlawful, a breaking up of law that has become a dead letter having no relationship with justice...Talk of revolution is fine... It is important to recognize that all social forms even when created to achieve the most moral forms humanity has ever made its own -can in time have the meaning in them traded off for wealth for a few...
Do you believe in nationalism??? Does the thought recall a thousand battlefields blessed by American blood, and the fatal devotion of our best for the wonderful notion of freedom, and does your heart morne for them and tears find your eyes...Your nationalism is another's wealth, and that wealth internationalized to reap even greater profits demands nationalism to defend it abroad though it has been made private and useless to all but its owner...
The good for which government is created can be turned by persistent self interest to the good of a few, and a positive evil for others... What does Jefferson say about forms: When Governments become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them... And: Mankind are more dispossed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed... Custom, conservatism is common to all of humanity; but as seldom as it occurs, the changing of old decrepid forms, and their replacement with new forms is the entire story of all of humanity...In the life of a man, revolution is rare; but in the history of mankind, the change of forms is common... All forms are forms of relationship, but when the form is rotten the relationships must be preserved in a new form...
Thanks.... Sweeney
Comment: #4
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Mon Jan 7, 2013 7:06 AM
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