Our Rulers Flip the Rabble Classes another Bird

‘Inhumane at Any Time,’ But During a Pandemic? House Approval of $740 Billion Pentagon Budget Condemned;
“Once again, the House has voted to put the interests of weapons manufacturers and war hawks over the wellbeing of people here and abroad;; commondreamsorg, Eowin Higgins, July 31,2020 (Creative Commons)

“Win Without War was among the anti-war voices on Friday issuing blistering condemnations of the passage in the U.S. House of a $740 billion defense bill as part of the 2021 Appropriations Minibus.

“A $740 billion Pentagon budget is inhumane at any time,” said the group’s executive director, Stephen Miles. “In the midst of a pandemic—as people across the country struggle to make rent, to pay their bills, to survive a deadly disease—it should be unthinkable. Once again, the House has voted to put the interests of weapons manufacturers and war hawks over the wellbeing of people here and abroad.”

The bill passed the House on Friday by a 217 to 197 margin, largely along party lines, with 16 members not voting.”

Wanna guess which party lines?  Yeppers, you’re correct:

“Only 12 Democrats voted against the measure while 217 voted in favor. All Republicans in the House either voted against the bill or did not vote. Read the full roll call here. [at the ‘passed’ link]

“Though last week’s votes on whether or not to cut the Pentagon budget by ten percent were hopeful signs of the shifting tides on Pentagon spending, this Appropriations bill is a reminder that there remains much to be done,” said Miles. “We are also disappointed that House Democrats have decided to once again couple passage of a bill that fuels militarism abroad with bills that fund our priorities at home [no mention of what those might be], forfeiting the ability to challenge the former without undermining the latter.”

Miles did point to what he called “bright spots” in the bill, including two provisions from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) that repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force and require congressional approval before going to war with Iran and an amendment from Rep. Jackie Spier (D-Calif.) banning the Department of Defense from using funds to implement a ban on transgender Americans in the military.”

From Barry Gray at wsws.org, Aug, 1, 2020: ‘As stock indexes continue their climb US unemployment supplement expires, setting the stage for mass hunger and homelessness’ (with permission)

“The $600 weekly unemployment insurance supplement enacted in March as part of the bipartisan multi-trillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street expired Friday, leaving some 25 million US workers laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic facing destitution.

The loss of the federal supplement to state jobless insurance will cut benefits by up to 80 percent in some states, dropping the average national payment from $920 a week to $520, according to some estimates.

In addition, a moratorium on evictions of tenants in buildings with mortgages backed by the federal government, affecting 18 million of the 44 million renter households in the US, expired last week. This means that 11 million households could be served with eviction papers over the next four months, according to the global advisory firm Stout Risius Ross LLC.

With home mortgage payment moratoriums also expiring, a vast growth of homelessness is looming.

Mile-long lineups of cars at food distribution centers have already become commonplace. A cutoff or reduction in the unemployment pay supplement will greatly increase the spread of hunger and even starvation in the US. Already, almost 40 million people do not expect to be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment, and nearly 30 million say they did not have enough to eat during the week ending July 21.

The Labor Department reports that 33.8 million workers are either receiving jobless benefits or have applied and are waiting to see if they will receive them. These workers account for fully 20 percent of the US labor force.” […]

“Under these conditions, the stalemate in Congress over an extension of the unemployment pay supplement, which is certain to result in either the total elimination or a major cut in the benefit, amounts to a declaration of war by the capitalist ruling elite against the entire working population.” […]

The ruling class is demanding the elimination of the $600 benefit or its reduction in order to carry through its drive to force workers back to work under conditions where its incompetence, indifference and sheer greed have led to the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus pandemic and the deepest social crisis since the 1930s Depression. Workers are being given the “choice” of going back to factories and workplaces that are breeding grounds for the virus, without any serious protection for themselves or their families, or seeing their families go homeless or hungry.

The Republicans openly denounce the $600 benefit as a “disincentive to work,” because a majority of workers laid off due to the pandemic are receiving more income in jobless pay than they did when they were working. This fact is a stark commentary on the near-poverty wages of most American workers.”

“But the Democrats echo the Republican line, agreeing, as in the New York Times editorial of July 30, that replacing only “a portion of the income of the average unemployed worker” is “reasonable in normal times,” because it “encourages people to find jobs,” but not in the midst of a pandemic.

In any event, there are no jobs for millions of laid-off workers to return to. As the Economic Policy Institute noted: “There are 14 million more unemployed workers than job openings, meaning millions will remain jobless no matter what they do. Slashing the $600 cannot incentivize people to get jobs that are not there.” […]

“House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Tuesday on CNN, “Look, it’s not $600 or bust.” He went on to signal his agreement with the Republicans that the current benefit was a “disincentive to work,” saying, “I think that’s an argument that… has some validity to it, and we ought to deal with that.”

Schumer is jointly sponsoring a bill along with Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat of Oregon) that would progressively cut the federal unemployment supplement by $100 for every drop of 1 percentage point in a state’s unemployment level.

And on Friday, Pelosi reiterated on CNN her position that, prior to the August 7 adjournment of Congress for the party conventions, “We’ll find our common ground” on a relief bill.”

In case you find Barry Gray’s report a bit too cynically…jaundiced  (especially without hyperlinks to check out), The Hill has a few pieces on the sausage-making, and I have no idea whether or not it’s a partisan place or not, including cherry-picking quotes or a slanted overall narrative, but  I’ll just drop the titles and links, maybe a brief excerpt or two, and yo can decide.

‘Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal’, Aug.1, 2020, thehill.com, Jordan Carney

“The division between the two sides are steep: Democrats want to extend the $600 per week in additional unemployment benefits through early next year. They are proposing roughly $1 trillion in new help for state and local governments and are pushing for priorities like worker protections and a boost in food assistance.

But the White House is increasingly focused on trying to get a smaller deal amid deadlocks on unemployment, state and local aid and liability protections.”
“A deal in a week, negotiators acknowledge, is unlikely.”

‘Progress’ but no deal as coronavirus talks head into next week’, Jordain Carney – 08/01/20, thehill.com

“The hurdles between the two sides are steep: Senate Republicans have introduced a roughly $1 trillion package, while the bill passed by House Democrats was roughly $3 trillion.”  […]

“But there are also serious divisions on other pieces, including additional money for state and local governments. Democrats are proposing an additional $1 trillion, while the GOP package includes more flexibility for the $150 billion already appropriated but no new funding.”

But Democrats have rejected the piecemeal approach [D.Trump’s], wanting one large bill that addresses all of the issues as part of the next coronavirus relief deal.

‘Stimulus checks debate now focuses on size, eligibility’, Naomi Jagoda,  07/31/20, thehill.com

“The two key issues that need resolving: payment amounts for dependents and eligibility requirements.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have put forth direct payment proposals largely similar to the stimulus checks included in the CARES Act from late March that provided checks for most Americans — up to $1,200 per adult and $500 per child under 17.”

Yet: Trillions for Wall Street, close to a trillion for War.

Big Fucking Woop: ‘Up to $1200 per adult’.  What a great way to reduce the surplus population.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

18 users have voted.


Lookout's picture

There is no antiwar party. Whatta mess.

As you suggest, add in the economic collapse on top of a pandemic and you have a real conundrum.

Danny Sjursen thinks we're ripe for major conflicts.

Our nation faces a perfect storm of crises and may be teetering on the brink of widespread communal violence.


Hope all is well in your corner. We're still laying low here on the mountain...hiding in the holler. Take care.

11 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

wendy davis's picture


that's a hella mouthful from danny! even a scan of it all took me some time, lol, although i hadn't seen anything that particularly struck me as new that way. but more ballast for what we already know and suspect w/ all of the ingredients afoot, including the police state protests.

but the headings said a lot, didn't they?

of course neither the blue team nor the red team are anti-war, but occasionally the greens and libertarians are, including some of the authors at antiwar.com, iirc.

ah yeah; mr. wd and i just livin' the dream! but srsly, we live in one of the most gorgeous places imaginable, including the over 200 trees and shrubs we've planted over the decades. an oxygen-rich oasis for us and and four-legged wildlife, as well. no monarchs, but a few swallowtails, and at last a few bees, and woot! the summer (so-called) monsoons brought us 1.4 inches of rain! dayum, it's been dry!

glad to hear you're hunkerin' down well in your holler, lookout. what a weird 'new normal' this is. will it be permanent? no, it cannot. but what's ahead in terms of massive civil unrest? i don't have the gift of prophecy, either, which may be a blessing in itself:


7 users have voted.
Lily O Lady's picture


some time now. I keep telling my husband not to piss off the Trump flag guy up the street. He’s armed. I’m aware of the Proud bois and the Boogaloos. Recently a Hawaiian themed Chik-fil-a had huge lines of cars going through their drive-thru from other states. I couldn’t help but wonder if it had to do with the boogaloos who sport Hawaiian shirts.

We live in interesting time, damn it!

6 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

wendy davis's picture

@Lily O Lady

discover that the boogaloo boys were so organized a group.

when mr. wd goes grocery shopping on sat. mornings in what ed abby had dubbed: 'the shithead capital of dipstick county, CO', he's appalled at the number of pickups flying amerikkan flags, thin blue line flags, and this week: confederate flags. they honk endlessly, cat call, as in a parade. and yes, as with the only peace march a few of us idjits ever did in that town, the 300-strong oppo women were even more vicious than their male counterparts.

but when people on the boards say that it may come to a violent revolution/insurrection, i ask: 'and who has all the firepower?' a longer quesston would involve the issue/s, citizen militias, police, and the military and national guard, wouldn't it?

1 user has voted.
magiamma's picture

This from danny s caught my eye, given the inordinate amount of chaos being dished out... how log can this go before something pops.

Chaos Empowers Demagogues and Sociopaths

4 As I saw three years after America’s invasion in the name of “Iraqi Freedom,” once civil society crumbles, opportunistic and self-interested civil war seekers can deftly capitalize on existing racial, ethnic, tribal, religious, and/or ideological divides. At the top, demagogues — defined more by zeal than competence — rise to the fore. These charismatically cruel and divisive sorts, offer the instinctive comfort of clan loyalty and belonging to desperate people.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

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wendy davis's picture


heading that had caught my eye and how true that's always been. thank you; and i'd forgotten to tell lookout that i'll read more of it as i'm able. (weekends are full of chores here, and ah'm slloowwww.)

the next hugely complicates story that i'll try to tell is the one in which the WaPO Bezos rag) is reporting that those 'close to mnuchin' (sp?) have it that he's demanded a $10 billion Treasury Dept. loan to the USPS in 'trade' for for information on its contracts with private-sector shippers, including....Amazon..

and in my Post Office News and a PSA, under trump's new postmaaster general, luis deJoy, workers have been stripped of overtime, and much mail lies unsorted on the floor, and he's fine with it, even when it's packages.

but voting by mail during this pandemic is not only necessary, but crucial. i had/have some links showing that Ds of course, want the rules changed as to 'absentee', always my mail as in CO and a few other states, etc.), including ballots counted by the postmark day of sending, not the day or arriving (late, of course).

now the gist of the larger story is that Trump's causing it all, as was his firing of the chief prosecutor in the southern district of NY (berman), and installing his own crony hedge-funder, iirc.)

yes to pandemonium, chaos, unpredictability and demagogues as Saviors. sociopaths (and compradors) are less powerful as well as far more familiar... ; )

thanks, amiga.

back to the tabouli salad for mr. wd's work lunches...then whipping up some Sunday lunch.

7 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

about the Repubs attaching 26 billion in Pentagon pork into the CARES Act.
Can't find it now. It had a photo of a pig flying an F35. The pork was to purchase more of several different aircraft, all to fight Covid19, presummably.

9 users have voted.

Neither Russia nor China is our enemy.
Neither Iran nor Venezuela are threatening America.
Cuba is a dead horse, stop beating it.

Lily O Lady's picture

@earthling1 do fly!

4 users have voted.

"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

wendy davis's picture


but i'll echo lily o lady's great response: "so pigs do fly!"

well, some do call it: 'A war on covid-19'. baffling stuff, earthling1. yanno how fascist RT.com's become on the police-state protests? one thing's up to today mocking "peaceful" portland protestors for burning a bible, a flag, and a pig's head in a cop hat. hey; that's peaceful revolutionary art! ; )

3 users have voted.
earthling1's picture

@wendy davis
The headline said "Violent protestors".
I see nothing violent about a book and flag burning or a pig roast for that matter.
Wonder who got the hog jawls?
Heh, best part of the pig.

4 users have voted.

Neither Russia nor China is our enemy.
Neither Iran nor Venezuela are threatening America.
Cuba is a dead horse, stop beating it.

wendy davis's picture

> @earthling1

as though they'd doused it all in gasoline...there may not be any good parts.

my rule of thumb is: if you're a cop, and ya don't want to be called a pig, don't act like one.

5 users have voted.
travelerxxx's picture

@wendy davis

... yanno how fascist RT.com's become on the police-state protests?

Okay, so it's not just me. It's gotten bad enough with RT that – while I may still read them – I refrain from recommending them to the public at large. It's not just the coverage of the protests, by the way. I haven't bothered to add it up, but I feel it's getting to be nearly 50% of their "news" coverage.

I"ve expected President Pompeo to ban the entire network at some point, but if it keeps going in the direction it's going, I might be exactly wrong.

3 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture


but a hella lot of the reporting is srsly fascistic lately. it used to be a good place for subversives to the zeitgeist used to get a voice, including stephen cohen, et.al.. a few good op-eds (caitlin johnstone, for one), but mainly dreck and click-bail.

and isn't tucker carlson on fox? by the headlines, he's been awesome lately in calling a spade a spade.

nice to see you, mi amigo. hope they let you outta jail soon. ; ) (i just found earthling1's story, and will put it up.) good golly miss molly: the HEALS Act.

3 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture


here it is, from the excellent alan MacLeod at mint press news, july 29, 2020:

"On Monday the Senate GOP released their outline for a new $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. A successor to March’s CARES Act, the 177-page document, named the HEALS Act, includes no funding for hazard pay, the Postal Service, state and local governments, nutrition assistance, or help for uninsured or underinsured Americans, but incorporates a $29.4 billion bonanza for the Pentagon.

The package is presented as a necessary measure to help the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far caused the deaths of nearly 153,000 Americans. But it appears that the GOP had a very different enemy in mind when writing some parts of it. “To prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically and internationally,” the bill (pp. 35-38) allocates $686 million for the purchase of extra Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, $650 million for A-10 Warthog fighter-bombers, $720 million for C-130J transport planes, $283 million for AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and $1.068 billion for P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft.

It is not just the Air Force that will benefit from the new bill; it also includes $41.4 million for Raytheon missiles, $260 million for a new Navy fast transport ship, $250 million for amphibious shipbuilding programs and $375 million for armored combat vehicles. Most of these military spending requests are ones that had previously been subject to cuts in February as the Trump administration moved Pentagon money around to fund construction of the border wall. The plan also allocates (p. 11) $1.75 billion to the FBI for the design and construction of a huge new facility in Washington, D.C.

The new HEALS Act, which differs both in scope and its recipients from the $3 trillion Democrat-backed Heroes Act, which President Trump has promised will be “dead on arrival.” Unsurprisingly, Democrats have condemned the new plan. “The bill contains