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MSNBC: Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Class War For Idiots / December 7, 2011
By Mark Ames

I have written about the the correlation between austerity programs and violence–whether the mass state violence like the 1989 “Caracazo” bloodbath in Venezuela in response to an IMF-sanctioned austerity program, in which up to 3,000 people were massacred (leading eventually to the rise of Hugo Chavez)…the violence of forcing a country like Greece to accept being ruled by an ax-wielding fascist Holocaust denier…or the personal violence in the workplace, where Americans have been dealing with “Going Postal” massacres ever since the effects of Reaganomics set in during the 1980s.

Here is a graph I found (H/T: “Financial Armageddon”) based on a study by Control Risks that illustrates as simply and clearly as can be, so that even My Pet Goat readers can grasp it, the linear correlation between harsh austerity measures and mass violence: [click to enlarge]

Read more:, Mark Ames, Class War For Idiots

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  • 1. gold red azure black  |  December 8th, 2011 at 1:28 am

    so it is about time for me to dash out on this country. where do you all fellows recommend?

    scandinavian country? china? hongkong? being a wap, i am even considering japan. not russia, though, because i am afraid of being eaten by wolves/russians.

  • 2. t5k  |  December 8th, 2011 at 6:16 am

    yes, it’s like reagan in the 80’s with the self-fulfilling prophesies of cutting back on social spending and then the subsequent hysteria around the “rise in crime”. what follows are prisons and “tougher laws” on “crime”, no doubt stimulating the economy somehow in the long run as the contract mercenaries rush to get more handouts from uncle $am 🙂

  • 3. t5k  |  December 8th, 2011 at 6:18 am

    I would be interested to see the methodology how they differentiated “demonstrations” and “riots” though…

  • 4. Chenille  |  December 8th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Hi, I am working on a book that involves all your favorite characters–Ayn Rand, Libertarians, the Koch Bros and JOHN FUND. Because ExileD has done a stellar job on the Koch parasitic organizations, I cruised down here to read some of your work…Guess what, I read for a while and got one of those UNTRUSTED connection warnings. I think that you need to get it cleared up.

    I plan to send you a donation…yeah, I know, the checks in the mail, but I really mean it and I might want to talk to you about the Koch boys. Take care and fix that warning.

    By the way, aside from a few lapses in grammar, this is an excellent publication.

  • 5. Trevor  |  December 8th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    As with so much these days, you’re left wondering if the people making these decisions are evil or just really stupid. “Dur, I’m a gonna cut socialist spendin’ so my rich buddies pay less taxes! Whoopsie, now there are riots!”

  • 6. Zhu Bajie  |  December 8th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    “so it is about time for me to dash out on this country. where do you all fellows recommend?

    scandinavian country? china? hongkong?”

    Look at also Dave’s ESL cafe.

    Zhu Bajie, American in China

  • 7. Dammerung  |  December 8th, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    What you really mean is, “Perfect correlation between unsustainable government spending and mass violence.” Do you know why Greece can’t continue spending megabillions on its social programs? BECAUSE THEY’RE BROKE, they can’t print money, AND NOBODY WILL KEEP LENDING TO THEM.

    You can blame fiscal conservatives all you want, who were howling when the spending STARTED that it was going to cause problems down the road. [Of course, the “fiscal conservatives” were also the very same people who looted the treasury and ran up the debts, because “fiscal conservative” means “nothing for all of you, everything and more for me and mine.”] The real problem is the zombie belief held over from the 80s and 90s that thoroughly-extinguished bogeymen are the problem–I’m speaking of collectivist ideologies like socialism, communism, and fascism which deny the preeminence of individual freedom and the right to make your own social, fiscal, spiritual, and corporeal choices.

    Yeah, those are the problem all right. And I ain’t afraid to say it, that’s how edgy I am!

    Moral of the story: Don’t be a fucking sucker and wake up to what the bankers and the .1% are doing

  • 8. Econ Guy  |  December 8th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    So yeah…FYI H-J Voth probably stands Hans-Joachim Voth.

    He’s an Economics professor I had the dis-pleasure of seeing at a conference. Real self-righteous, snooty, dick… so of course I looked into his work as he thinks he is all that. He has not published too much that was truly insightful… most of it is just historical data and finding an equation to throw at it. Just a warning… his publications are nothing more than your standard neo-liberal trite.

  • 9. SmartassRothbard  |  December 8th, 2011 at 9:12 pm




  • 10. guesto  |  December 8th, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Yeah, Dammerung, except the deficits happened mostly under Republican administrations.

    The manufacturing jobs were lost under Republicans, too.

  • 11. Dammerung  |  December 8th, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    I know that the .1% are cutting programs like heating oil before they cut taxpayer funded bonuses, and that’s supremely fucked up.

    But they get their money in the first place by repossessing it from us. We’re not poor because we’re parasites or shits, we’re poor because THE OLIGARCHY HAS CORRUPTED OUR GOVERNMENT AND IMPLEMENTED deliberate policies of making us poor and they institute those through the BIG CORPORATE MONEY AND BRIBES. BIG CORPORATIONS/BILLIONAIRES/THE KOCHS are NOT our friendS, and don’t want us to be successful. So you SHOULD cry bloody fucking murder when gov’t funding for schools and hospitals get cut, because BIG CORPORATIONS/BILLIONAIRES/THE KOCHS NEVER WANT to educate or cure us. THEY WILL CUT GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS THAT WORKED, REPLACING THEM WITH FREEMARKET PROGRAMS THAT DON’T.

    Us bottom trolls know that the Almighty eXiled Censor cares about us and our future. We thank you and we are impressed by your kindness.


  • 12. gold red azure black  |  December 9th, 2011 at 1:05 am


    we call that an “aarfy”

  • 13. t5k  |  December 9th, 2011 at 4:20 am

    you also might want to hunt down a graph that places cuts in social spending next to rates of incarceration.

  • 14. Rehmat  |  December 9th, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Mass violence can be result of many other reasons than just austerity. the 1979 mass protests in Iran were result of King Reza Shah’s pro-West and anti-Islam policies. (Actually it was the Communists who had more to do with the initial phase of the revolution than the Khomeini-ites, but since I’m a fucking troll I won’t acknowledge that.)

  • 15. Ames 4 Birkenau fertilizer  |  December 9th, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Fuck you must be jealous of Taibbi Ames. Yeah, that’s right, I put my name as “Ames 4 Birkenau fertilizer” and my email as “” . Pretty edgy, aren’t I? Definitely NOT jealous of you Ames, anyone can tell by this comment. But you–oh man, you are definitely jealous of Taibbi (or at least, that’s what you advised the retarded white supremacists Jim Goad and Gavin McInnes to say to you in your open letter to Jim Goad):

    Oh, and just because I’m writing sick antisemitic shit here doesn’t mean that this is really Jim Goad. Or that I’m jealous. Not that “I” is Jim Goad, I just mean “I” as in “um, anyone”.

  • 16. Dammerung  |  December 9th, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Sorry, exiled cryptofascists, but you’re mostly preaching to a choir who also feels it can’t accomplish anything without a big sky daddy or Washington DC daddy holding their hand every step of the way. The basis of prosperity is freedom, not a benevolent regime.

    What on earth makes you think the average government drone is any less deceitful, thieving, and greedy than a Koch? Could it be because the middle class did so much better before the libertarians destroyed it under Reagan? Could it be that when government was stronger from the New Deal through Reagan, there was less inequality and the biggest middle class ever, and the working class had the highest standard of living ever–and since the attacks on Big Government, it’s gotten worse for everyone but the 1%? Yeah, as if that proves anything.

  • 17. Maz Tarhas  |  December 9th, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Now, contrary to what every econ/stat freshman spouts, correlation can imply causation. So you could have changes in govt spending causing social conflict. But what you are forgetting that you could also have underlying, hidden variables explaining both. Could it be that changes in government spending as well as social disturbances have an exogenous cause? I am sure Kristallnacht caused an increase in central spending, underying cause for both being simply nazi ideological agenda.

    Now, obviously there are numerous gaping-wide logical fallacies in my troll comment above, so let’s see if any of you commentards can call my bullshit out. Waiting…

  • 18. boson  |  December 9th, 2011 at 7:32 am

    of course the austerites would argue that it’s the other way around.
    big guvment -> debt crisis -> social unrest AND austerity which is painful but oh so necessary

    of course this is not true, but we on the left should pay special attention to destroy this line of reasoning, so that libertards cannot take this exit out of their burning house of lies.
    actually fiscal crisis is an age-old tool of the ruling class to impose austerity measures and roll back progressive achievements.

    you should first bleed out the budget by tax cuts, bailouts for banks and military spending THEN start bitching about the deficit, debt and savin’ our grandchildren’s future. and then the austerity drumroll is on.

  • 19. Dammerung  |  December 9th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Ah yes, Ronnie Raygun, well known advocate of international peace and small, limited government. Eye fucking roll, guys. Ol’ Reagan was a socialist who never met a problem he didn’t think Big Government could fix. Same with Bush the Lesser. A score of whackos fly planes into a couple buildings? DOUBLE THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT.

    I think that this site, and other similar alternative news sources, do a great job of dissecting Republican policies and a terrible job of disconnecting their actions from their rhetoric. Small government is what Americans WANT, but we don’t get that by voting Republican do we? Two sides, same real goal – to expand their own power using state violence.

  • 20. HamsterFist  |  December 9th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I for am excited to see the rioting. Free heat from burning buildings and cars.

  • 21. standardAnthony  |  December 9th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Don’t use their terms. It ain’t austerity. It’s theft. Good shit otherwise.

  • 22. Gatorade  |  December 9th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    God damn man, this is like the time you did that graph of the US economy and wars. That graph is almost unfairly incisive

  • 23. John  |  December 9th, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Exactly. Look at the UK. The Tories are cutting like mad (IIRC a plan was made which would close a third of the public libraries in England), unemployment is high (around 17% is some areas of London) and university fees are rising. Yet, they feign surprise and horror when kids fight back.

  • 24. acabaca  |  December 11th, 2011 at 6:31 am

    Weak government only leads to anarchy and ruin; see Somalia. What we need is a strong, smart government that is a servant of the 99% rather than the 1%.

    Libertarian dream that all problems would just magically go away if the government itself was disbanded or crippled until it’s incapable of working is based on utter fantasy and a complete failure to comprehend human nature. Behavioral psychology has repeatedly shown us that humans are NOT rational beings and are in fact incapable of ever making a rational decision, except through sheer accident.

    One point mentioned above is salient: this same chart serves as evidence for the forces opposing Ames. It can be read as austerity programs causing trouble, but what causes the austerity programs in the first place? Excessive spending. Worth thinking carefully about.

    The reason Greece is in such trouble – and all western nations will follow it – is because the country has been systematically spending more than it can afford for decades. Greece has no industry worth speaking of, terrible infrastructure, and a populus that sees tax evasion and bold-faced corruption as the rule rather than exception. Even worse, Greeks categorically oppose any attempts to do anything to these problems by rioting. This isn’t even a matter of class warfare anymore, it’s a matter of the whole country being dead broke due to its own wastefulness.

  • 25. super390  |  December 11th, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Austerity programs have nothing to do with excessive spending, they are a manufactured effect of excessive tax cuts. A Reagan insider made the mistake of writing a bio in which he admitted the goal of the tax cuts and the deficits was to cause a future fiscal crisis that would lead to the gutting of social programs. There is no level of spending for the poor that will not be turned into a “crisis” by tax cuts. The tax cuts are the rich’s way of paying themselves for their war on the poor.

    In other words, yes, they are sadistic bastards, and no, they don’t care about the well-being of the country until it is completely converted into their private property.

  • 26. tubalcaine  |  December 12th, 2011 at 5:39 am


    sounds like you have some things to say about fartsonal responsibilifart

    “What we need is a strong, smart government that is a servant of the 99%”

    yeah but what if, after the revolution and execution of the oligarchs, the majority is in favor of awful shit like stringing up homos or whatever? what’s the good word on your ‘strong government’ then? H’m?

    See, how I libertardedly cleverly turned the whole thing around. Pretty amazing of me, isn’t it? To equate stringing up oligarchs with stringing up a weak minority who never did anyone any harm.

  • 27. boson  |  December 12th, 2011 at 7:51 am

    @24: bull! greece did not go bankrupt because of excessive spending and “laziness”.
    fact no. 1: greek workers work 48% MORE than their German counterparts in a year. 2100 vs. 1500 hours.
    fact no. 2: greece spends and used to spend way LESS on social protection than germany RELATIVE to its own GDP
    fact no. 3: the big tax evasion in greece is by the rich, not the majority + the huge tax cuts for the oligarchs that the pre-PASOk rightwing gov. handed out to them, causing the fiscal crisis + it was the fucking retarded disgusting OLYMPICS that sunk the greek budget which is NOTHING else but a huge handout for big business (construction etc.), funded of course by taxpayers who are then handed the bills of the losses and debt that remains after the olympic retardery is over.

    and then off course the monetary union which was designed by German bankers to bleed out the periphery so they could buy up greek etc. banks, land and so on dirt cheap.

  • 28. tubalcaine  |  December 12th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    i’m not trying to equate them at all, though. they aren’t the same thing.

    i am saying that the majority is not always right. the majority of americans were not always, for example, in support of gay marriage.

    i am saying that it is not enough to have a government that is strong and smart. it also has to be just and “servant of the 99%” is an uncomplicated way of putting that.

    sure it’s good, if they’re servants of the entire 99% including the lower segments that have no power and are widely despised, the segments no one in their right mind would defend, etc.

    due to my understanding of american morality, i have a hard time imagining it stopping at just dealing with legitimately evil exploiters and not going on to clean up “undesirables”. maybe there’s something here that i’m not getting.

  • 29. tubalcaine  |  December 12th, 2011 at 8:13 am

    [should have been added to last comment]

    if you can make it stop at legitimately evil exploiters, i’m all in favor, though.

  • 30. John of Johnsville  |  December 18th, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Productivity is rising prosperity isn’t, why? Fucking Reagan and Thatchers class of scum shits.

  • 31. The Watcher  |  January 5th, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Interesting comments, but imo people only go out burning and looting when

    a) They are starving


    b) When they think they can get away with it

    Politics, schmolitics.

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