When Authorities Believe Their Citizens Will Become Dangerous…

Yves here. Tom Neuburger discusses the important issue of the real aims for the increase of the surveillance state in Western countries. He posits that it’s due to elites recognizing the potential of the lower orders to turn violently against them. In one sense, that’s already well recognized, witness how many of the super-rich have built highly-secure, meant-to-be-self-sustaining bolt holes in places like New Zealand and discuss among themselves how to assure the loyalty of the private jet pilots they will depend on to get them therem.

However, I beg to differ that climate change will be the trigger for action. Most people do not have the tendency to blame climate change on the rich, even though their refusal to make lifestyle sacrifices is a major contributor to inaction and directly to carbon emissions continuing to rise. Rising inequality is a far more likely spur.

For instance, in 1984, McKinsey sent me to Mexico to help a US company value a potential Mexican acquisition (there was a huge bid-offer gap and they wanted advice on how much it was rational for them to better their proposal). I spent a week in Mexico City. There were only two hotels then considered up to international business standards, and the one I was in was a dump, with worn furniture and fixtures, filthy carpets and poor housekeeping.

I had to take a cab from the central business district to where the McKinsey offices were. I forget the name of the district, but it was low rise and upscale and looked like the sort of area with embassies and diplomatic residences.

It was the first time I ever saw snipers on rooftops (the driver actually pointed them out, I suppose to reassure me if I noticed them that I should not worry). And they were on more than one building. That was an early lesson on the risk of a very wealthy elite: they could not be sure of their personal safety.

Neuburger also asks why the soi-disant left has largely ignored the rise in surveillance and enforcement tools. Bluntly, I see two reasons. One is very few have been or are willing to protest and thus assume because they aren’t the sort of people to make that kind of fuss, the policing apparatus will never be used against them. Second is that many eagerly applaud its construction to use against the deplorables, regardless of the damage to principles of rule of law and privacy. It has become sadly necessary to remind readers of the danger:

The money quote:

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get at the Devil?

Roper: I`d cut down every law in England to do that.

More: Oh! And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you –where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws –man’s laws, not God’s –and if you cut them down –and you’re just the man to do it –d`you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I`d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety`s sake.

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at God’s Spies

“When authorities believe their own citizens will become dangerous, they begin to focus on controlling the public, rather than on addressing the disaster.”
—David Wallace-Wells

I’ll be focusing on this subject in the coming months, as more and more evidence appears that surveillance of the American public is increasing. It’s not just the factof surveillance that’s concerning. The reason they’re doing it is frightening as well.

Consider: Who do you think the NatSec elites are protecting themselves against? Who are they worried about? It’s not, as you may have imagined, those mad Republican others. Many in the NatSec state ARE those “others.”

No, they worry about you.

Why Does the Left Ignore “The Other Coup”?

If you’re a regular reader, you know that one of the sub-themes at God’s Spies is “The other coup,” the one that no one in the mainstream wants to acknowledge. Even those moved strongly to decry the fascist Trumpian party (which certainly exists) and fear the coup it certainly represents, find themselves hard-pressed to decry the other coup, the ongoing one by our National Security State.

Truth be told — and I mean that literally — one reason that some encourage the “other coup” is that the NatSec State is working to benefit them … for the moment, at least.

No one in the establishment wants Trump to be president again, including the CIA. Hell, they didn’t want him to be president the first time around. Sen. Chuck Schumer, speaking in January 2017, after Trump’s election but before his inauguration, made this unforgettable comment:

I’ll cover this briefly here; look for expanded discussion in later work. But to start, consider this, from the (neocon) magazine Commentary. It starts with the tale of an earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska, and public officials fears of what would happen:

North America’s strongest recorded earthquake struck just off the Alaskan coast at 5:36 p.m., on March 27, 1964. The shaking from the magnitude 9.2 quake lasted an unimaginable four and a half minutes. The tectonic forces reshaped Alaska’s coastline and triggered tsunamis that wiped out villages and claimed lives as far south as California. Anchorage, only 75 miles from the epicenter, was devastated. …

The sun set that night on a shattered city. Thousands were homeless. An entire neighborhood of stately homes had tumbled down a bluff as the soil beneath it turned to slurry. …

Almost as soon as the shaking stopped, city officials began worrying about how the populace would respond. … Police quickly deputized a group of volunteers—some of them freshly emerged from those Fourth Avenue bars—as ad hoc officers. The men put on armbands with the word police emblazoned in lipstick—a few were even issued firearms—and off they went to protect the city from the inevitable post-disaster crime wave.

…At the time, most experts believed any major disaster would cause “a mass outbreak of hysterical neurosis among the civilian population,” as social scientist Richard M. Titmuss had put it some years earlier. Shocked by carnage and desperate for food and shelter, people would “behave like frightened and unsatisfied children.” Only firm control by powerful authorities could keep the lid on such dangerous situations.

“Only firm control by powerful authorities” plays right into the hands of powerful authorities who desire firm control.

All the dire predictions turned to dust, as the article details. “Expecting chaos, the sociologists were puzzled to find the residents calmly, almost cheerfully, pitching in to help.”

And yet…

Before dispatching those casually deputized citizens to keep order in the streets, the Anchorage police chief suspended the search for survivors in damaged buildings. “Arguably, the city was protecting its ruins from looters more conscientiously than it was looking for people trapped in them,” Mooallem writes.

Sounds conscienceless, this behavior; property before people. But that’s pretty much at the core what our government protects.

Disaster researchers call this phenomenon “elite panic.” When authorities believe their own citizens will become dangerous, they begin to focus on controlling the public, rather than on addressing the disaster itself. They clamp down on information, restrict freedom of movement, and devote unnecessary energy to enforcing laws they assume are about to be broken.

If reason one is that the state fears citizen panic during disasters, reason two is that it reasonably fears an overturning of the state during certain disasters. The coming climate crisis is a perfect example.

What’s Special about the Coming Climate Crisis?

Consider the climate crisis that’s about to strike. It’s different from other crises; it’s not an act of God, but an act of man. Someone is at fault, or many someones — in fact, the entire elite class of the United States, aka the property class, those with the most to lose, bear full responsibility.

The solution, to the extent there is one, is obvious: Stop burning fossil fuels for energy, and do it now, whatever “now” means in practice. After all, we’re already in trouble — warming of +1.5° C is coming next year, and the dreaded +2° C is two decades away, even if we cut ourselves off immediately.

What will happen if we don’t cut ourselves off immediately? Something a lot worse, surely. Panic and collapse, surely. And multiple attempts to remove current leaders from power.

The Only Two Choices Left

That day is coming, the day when the public demands change, redress, retribution. How will elites respond? The government, including its National Security arm, will have only two choices, similar to the choices faced by Anchorage, Alaska.

Elites who run the State can:

  • Protect the citizens by changing their policy now, or
  • Protect themselves and their friends from the wrath of their victims.

Doing the first means abandoning fossil fuels now:

Ending the climate crisis has one simple solution: Stop using fossil fuels

As COP27 unfolds in Egypt, we are hearing about a large array of climate change solutions, ranging from building with carbon-absorbing bamboo and using less plastic to growing more kelp in the oceans to retain its carbon stores and enhance biodiversity. …

However, as climate scientists we believe that they also have the potential to be dangerous distractions, drawing attention away from the three things we absolutely need to do to end the climate crisis: Stop burning coal, stop burning oil and stop burning natural gas.

Ending fossil fuel use is essential to end the climate crisis, and there is no alternative.

Yet can you imagine this government doing that? I can’t:

Industry Calls the Climate Shots in the Biden Administration
JULY 13, 2021

There are many more examples:

Biden Expands Oil Exploration in Bid to Slow Climate Change
JULY 13, 2022

But doing the latter means just what you think it means. To repeat:

When authorities believe their own citizens will become dangerous, they begin to focus on controlling the public, rather than on addressing the disaster.

And that’s why we’ll be covering this story as it evolves, plus the rolling civil warthis tale will be part of. “Controlling the public” means making sure the tools of control are in firmly place ahead of the time they’re needed. We’re watching that now, in my humble opinion. For example:

Why do America’s police need an armored tank?

America’s most in-demand police vehicle is a 10-officer 16,000-pound armored tank that takes bullets like Superman and drives 80 mph. The federal government buys dozens each year for local police departments. Do America’s local police need tanks?

“The Lenco BearCat G3 has option controls for battering rams, winches and even surviving a chemical weapons attack. With military-grade armor and the ability to take repeated hits from bullets up to .50 caliber, it’s most frequently used by police as a rolling shield.”

Stay tuned for more.

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  1. Alice X

    I was just brushing up, the bearded one’s phrase was:

    the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

    The word revolutionary is most often omitted, but indicates a fluid rather than static dynamic.

    1. Tom Stone

      Take a few minutes to read about “Full Spectrum Persistent Area Wide Surveillance”, Gorgon Stare was deployed above Baltimore during the George Floyd riots and we’ll see more of this.
      One well equipped aerostat can track every human being in their area over a period of months and retrieve that information on demand.
      “Full Spectrum” means just that, it is the “Panopticon”.
      Add “Pre Crime” Algorithms and Cops with tanks and things could get real messy.

  2. marcel

    This goes a long way to explain why Russell Brand is being canceled. “You’re creating the necessity for an ongoing crisis”. There is a short clip on X, but each time I see the reference, X adds “this post has been removed by its author” – which is not true, but discourages one to click the link.

  3. Samuel Conner

    >” Elites who run the State can:

    Protect the citizens by changing their policy now, or
    Protect themselves and their friends from the wrath of their victims.”

    This is a disheartening perspective from which to reflect on public health policy since early 2020.

  4. Louis Fyne

    —The solution, to the extent there is one, is obvious: Stop burning fossil fuels for energy, and do it now, whatever “now” means in practice.—

    Ok. So we agree that we need more fission as a stopgap?

    And we need tariffs to double/triple/quadruple the price of tube socks, widgets, winter avocados, and trips to Florida?

    not holding my breath for kumbaya unanimity obviously.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Agreed. Statements like “Ending the climate crisis has one simple solution: Stop using fossil fuels” really rankle, because it’s anything but simple. If we simply outlawed the burning of fossil fuels, we’d immediately trigger a severe energy crisis where people would be unable to fuel their vehicles and the electrical grid would be down most of the time. People would have to heat their homes with firewood during the winter, and in places with high population, there simply isn’t enough wood to go around. [The denizens of NYC would strip Central Park bare in less than a week.] And even in places where there was enough wood, air pollution levels would skyrocket. The increase in human suffering would be immense.

      The reality is that we can’t quit using fossil fuels until replacements are available, and we’re nowhere near that goal. And as you very correctly note, there is little unanimity about how to get there. I personally would love to see more fission, but as an end goal instead of just a stop gap. [Well, unless the fusion guys finally succeed.] The more and more I study the problem, the more and more I’m convinced the renewables will fail and that fission is our only viable long-term solution. But alas, nuclear advocates are in the minority.

    2. hk

      The Neuberger quote sounds disturbingly like what Biden said about Putin the other day at UN: all problems of the world can be solved simply by my enemies surrendering unconditionally and doing whatever I tell them to do…

  5. DJG, Reality Czar

    Thomas Neuberger, thanks for foregrounding elite panic. As mentioned by marcel above, elite panic explains the cases of Russell Brand plus Julian Assange plus Edward Snowden.

    Yves Smith notes: One is very few have been or are willing to protest and thus assume because they aren’t the sort of people to make that kind of fuss, the policing apparatus will never be used against them.

    This is why I encourage everyone, even the most introverted among us, to attend demonstrations. I have demonstrated fairly regularly in the past dozen or so years. Here in the Chocolate City, I participate in the parades for Liberation Day and for May Day.

    What does one learn? (Whether or not you think that demonstrations are effective.) You learn just what Yves Smith points out. I recall being at the NATO Summit demonstrations in Chicago about twelve years ago. We marched from Grant Park to Cermak Road. There were dozens of police officers. There were also dozens of “photojournalists.” I kept wondering at the cameras. I must be in hundreds of shots taken that day. And we all know where images now end up–in the surveillance state.

    Afterwards, the cops kettled the peaceful demonstration. I managed to walk through a place where the fence was not connected. By the time I got up to the Chinatown/Cermak elevated platform, the police were beating the crap out of the Black Bloc and anyone else trapped.

    No Democratic debates? “Self-executing” clauses of the Constitution? Nikki Haley yammering about the imminent death of Social Security? Right-to-work laws (a very old symptom). = Elite panic crushing everything.

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      Mayor Rahm.

      But even before that I’d take my Potbelly chocolate shake lunch to the sidewalk on La Salle St by the Federal Reserve and a few TBTF buildings to observe the Occupy Wall Street protests. Way too many of the protesters appeared right out of Central Casting stereotypes including their signs. Every building had surveillance cameras outside, too.

    2. square coats

      I got somewhat cynical about demonstrations that were specifically happening in my immediate vicinity, after participating in a couple where police blocked traffic so that the crowd could march from one downtown square, several blocks, to another sanctioned location, give certainly meaningful speeches, and then disperse, with hardly if any media coverage following. This seems to be the city’s basically officially established route that large-ish demonstrations are allowed to travel.

      What really caused the cynicism for me was that all this was happening a comfortable distance of several long city blocks away from the State House, which was so close it almost felt like a point was being made, something like, we’ll allow you to have, even accommodate you in having your protest in such a way that it doesn’t actually reach the political process.

      Plus the second location that was marched to was on the other side of a big park from the State House. The cops wouldn’t even have needed to block anymore streets to facilitate the protest reaching it.

      I definitely am in favor of demonstrations; sadly being pretty shy etc I’m very unclear on how to participate in ones I can actually geographically be present in that feel genuinely purposeful. But I’m pretty sure there will be more at some point with more disruptive tactics, for better or worse.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I think demonstrations accomplish little more than collecting potential troublemakers gathering their faces for storage in government databases of the usual suspects. I seriously doubt today’s Elites would quail in their bastions like Dick Nixon in his White House. I also doubt the demonstrations that put the fear into Nixon did much to stop the Vietnam war. I believe today’s u.s. police are much more brutal than the blue meanies of the 1960s. Why step unprotected into the present maelstrom of heartless force to lodge a protest that will fall on the barren soil of our Polity?

        The idea that guns are an answer to counter the force of the state is an idea as antiquated as the second amendment. Killing and injury to persons has little effect on the u.s. Elite. They only care about their ‘stuff’. A little blood bath of citizens and police is of little consequence to them. I believe the u.s. Elites are buffered behind worlds well apart from their inferiors, more like the drug-lords in Mexico than the Elites living in Mexico City. The u.s. Elites only care about damage to their ‘stuff’ — their buildings, their businesses, their bank accounts. Besides I believe most citizens care very much about bloodshed and death whether demonstrators or police and that tends to turn public opinion against demonstrators and rioters.

        There are lessons from the Ukraine war and some of the warfare in the Middle East that I believe are being ignored or crushed under the inertia of the too large MIC and DoD. The u.s. is fielding million dollar heavy armor to Ukraine where Russian missiles and drones turn it into smoldering shells sprayed inside with quickly blackening red mist. The u.s. builds huge ships in spite of lessons the British should have brought back from their brief war with Argentina. The same kind of bigger hammer thinking is behind the push to field militarized police, mobile in their BearCats and heavy armor. Take a look at the image of the BearCat and see if you can spot a glaring vulnerability. To deploy the BearCat the driver needs to see where the vehicle is going. There is no need to destroy the BearCat if you can blackout the windshield. Other vehicles may also have viewing blocks or television viewing screens but those eyes too could be closed. The thinking I recall in the DoD was that if you can hit a target you should hit it to destroy it. That is fine except that heavy armor raises the size and force of the weapon system required to accomplish a kill. If you take out the sighting mechanism on an Abrams you have blinded its gun.

        I guess I am suggesting the next uprisings may be of a very different kind. I wonder what might happen in the event of a “Mr. Robot” scenario.

  6. Cat Burglar

    Considering the Lenco BearCat from the standpoint of the Ukraine War, you notice it has tires that need air in them, and also needs fuel. It doesn’t look good in mud. Korean War histories note that US forces were motorized and wedded to their vehicles and roads, which enabled them to spread out over such a large territory that Chinese forces were able to move hundreds of thousands of soldiers on foot with almost no detection. I wonder how much maintenance time the BearCat requires, and where the spare parts are made.

  7. The Rev Kev

    I don’t know why the author chose the Alaska earthquake from Alaska back in ’64 as an example. A better example is with New Orleans when it got slammed by Katrina back in ’05. Aid was delayed because the military deployment was prioritized, even though it would take them a few days to gear up. There was all those stories about what was happening at that Stadium and which turned out not to be true. And of course rescue efforts were suspended because of a rumour that shots were fired at a chopper. Here is a taste of the government response-


    Of course a lot of the elite were long gone as they had the means to abandon New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina hit but their properties were still there. So armed mercenaries were hired – including Israelis – by them to keep out anybody from their neighborhood. So the government response was all about control, even if it meant that aid was delayed or not even given. Recently I am seeing an interesting thing about the elites fear of their own citizens. The government is now seeing threats coming from – wait for it – from military veterans. No thank you for your service here. You can bet that if you served in the US military, they you will find yourself on a list of those to be watched carefully. And doing so can make a self-fulfilling event.

    1. ddt

      Did they ever catch the guy that shot up downtown Dallas with an automatic rifle a few years back, including some police? He was obviously military or former military. That story died quickly granted I don’t live in Texas.

  8. skippy

    Phoneix reloaded


    INCOMING …UK ONLINE SAFETY BILL MEANS IT WILL BE ILLEGAL TO CHALLENGE THE OFFICIAL GOVERMENT NARRATIVE ONLINE, PUNISHABLE BY 5 YEARS IN JAIL ! So many distractions over the last few weeks & many of us were wondering what else has been actually going on behind the scenes, what have they been trying to distract us from ? Well its bad news im sorry to say, the UK goverment have very quietly just passed a bill in Parliament which will mean that anyone that challenges the goverments official stance on ANYTHING online will be prosecuted & quickly incarcerated.


    And here I thought that Brexit was about increasing freedoms and liberties … rim shot …

    In the name of online safety, encryption of communication is no longer allowed.


    The UK parliament promised not to do it, but then re-inserted the clause anyway.

    Its being discussed [lol] in OZ safety of the people … cough system thingy …

  9. Rolf

    Neuburger’s piece immediately reminded me of the nightmare chaos after Katrina in 2005. From a 2012 Guardian article describing the federal prosecutions of NOPD,

    Prosecutors described a force in disarray during the hurricane, with some officers dedicated to saving lives while others armed themselves with their own automatic weapons and behaved like vigilantes. Senior officers spread false assertions that martial law was declared and encouraged the shooting of looters.

    Two officers – sergeants Kenneth Bowen and Robert Gisevius – were sentenced on Wednesday to 40 years in prison years for killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four other people. Another officer, Anthony Villavaso, received 38 years for the same crime.

    The court heard that Bowen used an unauthorised AK-47 to spray bullets at a group of civilians hiding behind a concrete barrier. Gisevius used a military-style M-4 rifle to shoot at unarmed people. Villavaso fired at least nine bullets at civilians with his AK-47.

    A fourth policeman, Robert Faulcon, was sentenced to 65 years for killing Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man with learning difficulties, by shooting him in the back with a shotgun. Madison’s brother, Lance, was then arrested and accused of attempted murder after the police tried to cover up their actions by falsely accusing him of shooting at officers on the bridge. He was held in jail for three weeks before a court freed him.

    Lance Madison told the court immediately before the sentencing that his brother was “gunned down and killed without mercy”. He said to the convicted officers: “You are the reason I can no longer trust law enforcement.”

    1. Rolf

      Contrast the Katrina debacle with the grassroots response by ordinary restaurant people and food vendors, preparing and delivering thousands of meals to people flooded out of their homes after Houston’s Hurricane Harvey in 2017, all self-organized and coordinated,

      “They got me 500 meals that I added to the 100 that I made. They started calling me when they had extra food and I was finding people to distribute it to.” Pat and her contacts continued to work as the number of needed meals grew into the thousands.

      “Tracy was picking up at Brennan’s every night; one night she picked up around 2,000 meals. Jay was picking up another 500 to a thousand, and Jessica Wilt of Central City Co-Op was picking up and taking out west for Cajun Navy to apartment complexes, trailer parks—any place where people didn’t have food,” Pat said. “People are remarkable—they want to help. We have an amazing community in Houston.”

  10. TomDority

    Authorities certainly believed that citizens were a danger after Hurricane Katrina blew through – it cost lives –
    Authorities from the west bank held off people, at gunpoint, from getting over to the west bank from the stadium area where easy access to the twin bridges is a ramp – even the convention center was a short walk to the bridges- both would of required a foot deep of water to walk through – well you had people die of thirst, and police bullets but really — keep those desperate people from getting out!! , Don’t bring MRE’s in on every sortie to bring people out — don’t let people self help and help others by blocking them in a stadium or on the curb of the convention center instead of steaming people out and bringing food in???? – twas a Cluster&^%$ brought to you and sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security – a bastion of admin, slush and paranoia dedicated to the advertised image of competence in being heroes to us all –gag

    1. Grayce

      Who was it that said, “Heck of a job Brownie?” Most likely someone who once received rIbbons for “Participation.”

  11. Dalepues

    I know many people who believe that climate change is occurring, but
    refuse to acknowledge that it’s caused by anything humans are doing.
    Climate is bigger than humans, they reason. We’re just like little ants or
    (microbes) when viewed from the atmosphere, which is infinite and
    where all the smoke goes. Global warming, climate change,
    that’s all caused by solar flares, something we have no control over.
    They won’t be giving up their Silverados, Rams, Sierras….

    1. Grayce

      Paper mills once dumped their waste into the Hudson River as if it was their right. Then it was cleaned up after environmentalists and other “tree huggers” pointed out how to fix the pollution. Lake Erie was once dead from industrial waste and now it is clean. The US actually knows how to attack big problems.

  12. juno mas

    My take: Once the anger rises high enough, there are not enough police (or SWAT teams), in a society full of guns, to suppress the chaos. This is where those best organized take control locally.

    Food and shelter (safety) take priority over grand ideals.

  13. David in Friday Harbor

    Neuberger raises a good point but addresses it through his usual lens of conventional wisdom. Fossil fuel over-use and the resultant climate change are but symptoms of the real problem: 8 Billion human lives in simultaneous being on a planet that when I was a child was struggling to support 2.5 Billion of us.

    At the current temperature rise it is estimated that 1.5 Billion people will begin to be displaced from their homelands due to heat, drought, crop-failure, and wildfires by 2050. We can respond to their upcoming migration with compassion or with force.

    From Katrina to Syria, U.S. elites have shown us again and again that force is always their answer. Mass surveillance is how this force will be directed and implemented. They have already mown-down all the laws. The winds of the Extinction Event have started to blow.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The coming great migrations will not be orderly or bloodless. The u.s. does not house and feed its present population and constantly brings in or allows in immigrants to lower pay and keep the workforce anxious. I cannot imagine what might happen once climate forces large numbers of people to immigrate or die. Many countries beside the u.s. provide poorly for their current populations. The coming large inflows of immigrants will multiply miseries, grow discontent, and foster horrors. The near future looms death and disaster.

  14. orlbucfan

    If the true winds of the Extinction Event have started to blow, the “elites” will get caught in the maelstrom, too. Irregardless of the protection they attempt to amass. Glad I equate cynicism with realism.

  15. Gulag

    The ongoing coup of our National Security State is also often ignored because it is ideologically uncomfortable for what is left of the traditional Left in the U.S.

    The idea of a powerful centralized network of state power players functioning largely independently of the usual private power suspects, with their own set of unique interests, is often considered too ideologically heretical to contemplate.

    Furthermore, their potential allies on the populist Right (especially in the areas of American foreign policy and this ongoing coup of the National Security State, are still seen as largely deplorable on a cultural level as well as ignorant about how credit and money actually operate in the American economy (MMT–although the writings of Richard Werner could be of immense help in bridging this ideological gap).

    In order for this ongoing coup to be stopped, there will have to be a generalized public revolt, part of which may include an unusual alliance of the populist Right and Left on issues of foreign policy and national security, along with a total rethink of how this totalitarian managerial regime can be dismantled.

    1. Grayce

      While “left” and “right” were fighting, they did not look up at the royalty of both parties smiling that the minions were so occupied they did not notice who was eating their lunch.

  16. Even keel

    “The Elites” don’t run the state. People do.

    I honestly don’t know when people started using that term. But it’s the worst.

  17. Anselmo

    In Spain there aren’t evidences about any Climate Emergence and our goverment is destroying dams, during a severe drought.

  18. Garbagecat

    I vividly recall a conversation I had at an Aspen Institute gathering in NYC shortly after 9/11, with a gentleman whom you would recognize as one of the most successful investment-company founders. He was talking about his and his friends’ fear of a French Revolution event taking place in America. Yes, complete with many wealthy heads, including his own, on pikes.

    Climate change was not then widely perceived as an imminent, existential crisis, nor had anyone (except himself) yet imagined Donald Trump as the leader of a political movement. Rather, my friend was animated by concerns about inequality (exactly mirroring the point Yves made above).

    I got the distinct sense from his analysis that more bread and circuses were needed. I wouldn’t say that our elite classes have executed this strategy very well in the nearly twenty years since that conversation.

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