LEE CAMP: Four Reasons the Ruling Elite Love This Crisis

While monumental shocks currently pound citizens around the world, an orgiastic festival of exploitation is underway. 

President Donald Trump and advisers hold video conference with banking executives, April 7, 2020. (White House, Shealah Craighead)

By Lee Camp
Special to Consortium News

Leviathan monumental shocks currently pound citizens around the world. Shocks to our lives. Shocks to the economy. Shocks to our reality. Shocks to our families, our careers, what we used to view as our “normal.” The pain of these shocks hits us in many ways, not the least of which is being forced to have sex while 6 feet apart.

Welcome to the Shock Doctrine.

Many of you may know Naomi Klein’s best-selling book The Shock Doctrine.” It was also turned into a hit movie I believe called “Fight Club,” but don’t quote me on that. The Shock Doctrine basically says that the rich and powerful — our rulers bereft of empathy or moral cores — exploit any crisis such as disasters, natural and otherwise, to force through controversial, draconian, profit-based, or flat-out, offensive policies and laws, while the majority of the populace are too distracted, stressed, and drowning in anxiety to fight back adequately.

To put that another way: When the shit hits the fan, rather than help people, the ruling thieves have a ball!

We’ve witnessed this tactic before:

Because our ruling elite fit in the farthest reaches of the sociopath spectrum, they do not see a horrific crisis as a time to help people. They see it as a time to get what they want.

American burlesque on Ben Hur, circa 1900. (Wikimedia Commons)

And Americans have hardly faced a crisis as formidable as right now. Someone dies in New York City every two minutes from coronavirus, the Federal Reserve now estimates job losses could total 47 million, the unemployment rate may hit 32 percent and the National Air Guitar Championships have been postponed.

This. Is. A. Crisis.

Which means it’s prime time for the oligarchs to exploit the bottom 90 percent of us. The largest way they’ve used this catastrophe so far is to pass their $2 trillion giveaway to corporate America with little-to-no oversight. David Dayen at American Prospect calls it a robbery in progress, and they plan to viscerally excrete more soon.

Hardly a moment of discussion about this (central) bank robbery on our corporate airwaves stabs through the wall-to-wall virus coverage. Even members of Congress hardly dig into it — after quickly signing off on the bailout bill, they had to run home to take care of their mistresses’ blind perfumed labradoodles (or whatever it is the elite do when they aren’t destroying average people’s lives via toxic giveaways to corporate monstrosities).

Here are some of the other controversial policies and laws joyfully being slammed through in an orgiastic festival of exploitation at the top:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency has indefinitely suspended environmental rules. Indeed, the already weak-sauce EPA just all but disbanded itself. This shouldn’t surprise anyone seeing as EPA head Andrew Wheeler counts “former coal lobbyist” as his crowning career achievement.

With this change corporate America and fossil fuel companies may begin polluting with impunity, putting an end to the exhausting practice of pretending as if every time they dumped a million gallons of noxious chemicals into a river it was an accident. After all, their throats were hoarse from yelling “Whoopsy!” so often.

Security forces fire pepper spray at protesters at the Dakota Access pipeline construction site. (Tim Yakaitis)

But look on the bright side — America will soon recapture our glory years when many rivers glowed bright with fire, highly flammable from such an effective polluting. I’m sure many Americans will feel their hearts swell with patriotic fervor when the rivers run red with the lively, acrid flames of feral capitalism. A festive sight indeed!

  • The Department of Justice wants to suspend certain Constitutional rights. Rolling Stone reports, “The DOJ has requested Congress allow any chief judge of a district court to pause court proceedings ‘whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation’…”

This means that as long as the courts yell the word “emergency,” they can hold anybody including U.S. citizens for eternity without charges or trial. What constitutes an “emergency,” one might ask. Well, let’s see: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, mud slides, Slip n’ Slides, viruses, black mold, termite infestations, bad cuts (especially in hard-to-reach areas), scrapes, bruises, polyps, bunions, rashes, fractures, sprains, twists, turns, tumors, tremors, trichinosis, in-grown crotch hairs, and of course hangnails. Emergencies are clearly everywhere! We better burn the Constitution!

  • The Trump administration has moved to steal the ancestral lands of a Native American tribe. The Trump regime (why are only governments in other countries called “regimes”?) said the Mashpee tribe in Rhode Island will be disestablished, 75 percent to help out Trump’s casino friends and 25 percent because Donald wants to end the primo champagne treatment America’s indigenous have received for hundreds of years. (Sarcasm.)
  • And there will likely be an attempt at privatizing some public schools. With schools out of session for months, the forces of greed will try to turn some into charter schools, just like after Hurricane Katrina. Transforming public schools – open to all of our children – into private for-profit institutions (generally far more accessible to the rich and the parasitic) is immoral and vile.

And I’m saying that from a place of deep concern for our society, not because I like kids. I don’t like kids. Not a fan. They’re sticky and tenacious and high-pitched and they ask questions you can’t answer like,”Why’s the sky blue?” and “Why does the moon follow us when we drive?” and “Why are they named the Mario Brothers if it’s Mario & Luigi? What’s their last name?” and “Is the anteater the only animal named after what it eats?” At some point during this gut-wrenching inquisition I generally break down into incoherent mumblings of deep self doubt.

These are just four examples of obvious Shock Doctrine spoils. Along with the trillions of stolen money pilfered by way of the “bailout,” this will amount to quite a nice bag of booty – but that’s not enough. The neo-liberals and neo-cons will continue their disaster thievery for some time to come.

But shocks to the system can be used for positive change as well. For example, workers have been uniting in a way not seen in decades, and the possibility of a general strike hovers just over the horizon. Suddenly average workers – people stocking shelves, delivering packages, driving food cross country, caring for the elderly – have been told they are “essential” to the beating heart of American life.

Meanwhile we all now recognize that hedge fund managers, CEOs, corporate lawyers, marketing execs, sports entertainment sales specialists, and professional boardroom fluffers are not essential. They are overpaid courtesans, empowering a flailing consumerist death march, empty calories for an obese and slovenly pseudo-existence.

The current strikes and worker solidarity are due to the fact that the shock of the outbreak has woken a lot of people up. Citizens who have slept through these matters for years suddenly see the big picture. In fact, a new poll shows nearly 60 percent in of the U.S. believe the political system is designed solely to serve the rich and powerful. Sixty percent of Americans now understand the problem. We must use this shock to the system to benefit the people rather than the rich and powerful leeches getting plump off the blood of minimum wage workers.

As Margaret Kimberly wrote recently, “A return to normalcy is the opposite of what we need. This is a moment to think about what should be the new normal and what should be jettisoned forever. “

Now is the time for great change because when things are back to “normal,” it’s too late.

Lee Camp is the host of the hit comedy news show “Redacted Tonight.” His new book “Bullet Points and Punch Lines” is available at LeeCampBook.com and his standup comedy special can be streamed for free at LeeCampAmerican.com.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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28 comments for “LEE CAMP: Four Reasons the Ruling Elite Love This Crisis

  1. David B Harrison
    April 11, 2020 at 14:32

    In response to the the comments on this post about our fellow citizens inaction I would like to remind everyone that the American People have been exposed to 100 years of hard core propaganda.Beginning with the project to con the American people into World War I(see General Smedley Butler).Advertising,popular media,and education at every level teaches us how to think and live according to the dictates of the ruling class and their toadies.Neoliberalism(you don’t solve problems you profit from them) is the end game.It has taken the worst from capitalism and make it a gospel(I’ve got mine to Hell with you).Neoliberalism is the most successful cult in human history and to defeat it you will have to deprogram The American people.There are thousands of people who have awakened to the truth about what is going on in this country.You need to support these people financially(using the Bernie Sanders model)and they will become your foot soldiers and squad leaders for this fight.P

  2. April 10, 2020 at 22:48

    General strike. There’s no way around it–we have to take it to the streets. We have to rattle the chains of the elitists and let them know who’s really in charge. We the “essential workers” a.k.a. your burger flippers, your trash collectors, your daycare workers, need to assume our rightful place in the world. Power to the people!

  3. Tomonthebeach
    April 10, 2020 at 20:48

    The Hill/HarrisX poll is not evidence of wakening, but evidence that 43% of Americans are still clueless how their own political system works. My guess is that these registered voters are far more woke than the non-registered voters not polled. So, it appears likel that half the country is in a political coma still. Maybe they will reflect on the politics that put them in the loooong line at the unemployment office.

  4. robert e williamson jr
    April 10, 2020 at 14:33

    Teddy Seaman and Lugnut.

    The thought is becoming less and less alien to the masses.

    Now that the rich have been forced into identify who the actual critical workers are maybe other Americans will wake up.

    Americans make plenty of jokes about the French but lets see how long did they riot in the streets this past year?

    If Americans don’t get off their collective asses and do something the joke in on them. Us, those who live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. No!

  5. Teddy Seaman
    April 10, 2020 at 08:44

    As history has shown, populous uprisings immediately after crises don’t always succeed immediately but they do begin the upswell of citizen activism which, in many cases, ends up in gains for the citizenry. The protests in Hong Kong, France and other locales around the world are only the beginning of what may be and should be a global fight against the unfettered capitalist systems expanding wealth inequality. We can only hope that the citizens of the United States will put down their electronic gaming machines and turn off their televisions long enough to actually think about the world we currently live in and the possibilities of the world we could live in and how much better off we, the working class, could be. Hopefully everyone will agree that the essential workers and occupations are inhumanely the lowest paid in our society, the highest paid are severely overpaid (and in many cases unnecessary), wall street is a ponzi scheme and elected officials are no longer public servants but grossly over compensated pawns of the corporate elite. The USA is not alone in facing the apex or turning point in society where either fascism or social democracy will reign. The actions or inaction of the masses will determine the future of our world. The answer lies with us and a general strike is a good start.

  6. robert e williamson jr
    April 9, 2020 at 16:35


    I got it. Long ago. I haven’t rooted for either party since LBJ. And I didn’t vote for him is was 19 couldn’t vote and got drafted instead. Both parties bought-in after CIA managed to get JFK murdered.and LBJ was the first to get a receipt for his purchase.

    The intestinal fortitude of the congress has never been it’s strong suit, unsavory conduct by too many seems to rule the day instead. Once they looked around and realized they could not trust the intelligence community they folded like a cheap lawn chair and far too many stayed in government for the money those positions lead to make, the whole time lickindg the boots of people like Allen Dulles and his “inner elite”.

    They bought into the lie and acted as they some how knew what was best for us. I think I might know what it will take to affect changes that mean something to the majority of the population and it will not be done in one election cycle and not necessarily in DC.

    To be honest I would hate to see Bernie get elected and then be put in no-win position by the crooked congress. That is very similar d to what happened to Obama. He roused the voters but ignored the “Deep State”, that was until he had his “come to Dulles ” meeting with the intelligence community during his national security briefings. It think his change was evident. They told him “BOY, you best mind your manners now you are no longer in Chicago.”

    I do however have an enormous problem with religious beliefs driving government decisions, especially when that government seems to assume it has the ultimate power over my life. Kinda puts a guy in bad mood or at least those of us who know the difference between , now lets say this all together, “shit and Shin-ola” Shin-ola was a now a defunct historic shoe polish company BTW>

    I see where the Jewish population in the U.S. is the largest outside Israel. After we deal with this idiot we have in the White House I have some advice the the Jewish community that resides here in this country. I don’t pay my taxes so my government can support Israel. Charity starts at home and we have plenty enough problems of our own noewgh. You all should understand that Benny is not your guy, not if you are an American. And I do know that many in the Jewish community here in this country do disagree with your government and I’m addressing the evil doers in my country as well as yours.

    Regardless of what many may think when this guy is gone I expect substantial blow-back on his extreme Pro-Israeli policies, many, in my opinion bordering on treason.

    America will have changed for the worse, it is early in this game and too many are clueless at this point as to just how badly Supreme Leader has screwed the American public.

    This last stunt of his , ignoring this pandemic has put me over the top. This man needs to go to jail.

    Supreme Leader doesn’t have to worry about his kids or grand kids. They all have the best security we Americans can buy them and who does he thank. Not us taxpayers, he is always too busy sucking up the “Benny the Blade , through his proxy Jared.

    I’m not really sure where all the outrage is. I love my family if you love yours you might want to think about what I have written here..

    SHERLOCKHEMLOCK, what will you let FEARLESS LEADER get elected again? Hell why no go out and catch the virus, the suffering will last less time.

    Nope, that’s not for me. IF Biden were to get elected the democratic party needs to be attacked like a rabid dog to send SMILIN’ JOE a message. You and your part have sold us out now get your shit together or die as a political party. have sold us out, because they have.

    If something doesn’t change drastically and soon we might not have any more elections. But the good news is Americans have proven just how enigmatic they can be, they have stuck together by staying apart and it works.

    So the one thing that has WORKED against this epidemic, social distancing and we have the highest law enforcement official in the land, the Attorney general has entirely missed the dog damned point.

    He says that the stay at home order is draconian much like HITLER and the NAZIS. This jerk is projecting his anger. Angry evidently because not enough Americans are gong to die. Bill Barr, you pompous ass, I got some news for you I did not stay at home because of some bullshit order the Supreme Leader gave, screw him and you too., I stayed home because Supreme Leader blew this pandemic thing in GRANDLY BEAUTIFUL TRUMPIAN fashion. Don’t press your luck sucker!

    I mean seriously folks what does the little fat idiot mean, that he would rather see the streets full of the dead?

    If one is not outraged by the conduct of the SUPREME LEADER and his government that person is beyond help an desperately needs clinical care in an Corvid-19 critical care center. But no I’m not better, not yet!

    By the way since Trump declared war on all our families, his family is in “play”, if not get them out of the white house.

    Drastic times call for drastic measures!

  7. mark stanley
    April 9, 2020 at 15:37

    I think we are being played even more than Lee is describing here, if that’s possible. I knew something[s] was fishy with all of this.
    I really like this Dr./candidate:
    Dr. Shiva Ayadurai, the inventor of email and candidate for the senate in Massachusetts, talks about the Sustainable Development Goals, signed off by the United Nations, called SDG-3 in 2015

  8. Richard basteiro
    April 9, 2020 at 15:01

    When explanation are being put fourth by criminals who created this terraism on working and the poor and the systematic destruction of humanity and the planet we live on .a man named karl marks an engels laid out the treachery of the capitalist system.and a man named Lenin brought about a revolution that was attacked by the capitalist system.the only change that can bring hope is the destruction of the capitalist system of terrorism.we have nothing to lose but our chains.

  9. Glenda Collier
    April 9, 2020 at 14:01

    You hit the nail on the head.

  10. Lugnut
    April 9, 2020 at 13:29

    Alexander Haif said: “Let them march all they want, as long as they continue to pay their taxes.” It’s time to call for a tax revolt with the strikes.

  11. Drew Hunkins
    April 9, 2020 at 12:31

    The ruling class robbed us all blind for a measly $1,200 bribe. This Wall Street corporate give-away is something we’ll be paying for in perpetuity.

    • rosemerry
      April 9, 2020 at 15:42

      See the great Democracy at Work videos from Richard Wolff with explanations of this and all the other points of capitalism in the USA along with Covid-19. “Coronavirus and our mental health” is excellent.

  12. April 9, 2020 at 12:23

    You know what I did…Shared it!

    • Zerdelian, Virginia
      April 9, 2020 at 16:24

      Let’s see if they will publish it.

  13. April 9, 2020 at 11:44

    “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
    We need more than a strike. They control the money so a strike is only effective against people who have businesses as much in debt to the banks as the rest of us including the government. They can create all the money they need. We need to take the power to issue money away from the big banks and issue it by our own government, not their sold out bunch of creeps including all the so-called liar progressives like Bernie and AOC who claim to represent the people. The conditions for revolution have been met, unfortunately their social management system has the population buried in myths, lies and misconceptions. This has been planned for a long time and if they didn’t engineer this pandemic they must see it as a God-send. I hope, like the Saudi ruling family, that the 1000 capital holders of this nation are similarly decimated. Will karma win the day?

    • April 9, 2020 at 21:12

      Howard, you are so right about the money creators. In the past there were many competing currencies in most countries and city states, When the ever greedy banksters figured out how to help a sovereign to powering return for getting sanctioned as the Crowns official and only source of money it was pretty well game over from there.

      Of course the people of each and every country should own and control those things held in common, and we all use and need money. The banksters figured out long ago the need to control the heads of all other institutions and they most certainly do. The banksters control the media, publishing, military, intelligence agencies, energy and Hollywood. They have a large fire hose of money they can turn on anyone the need to and this latest virus is oh so convenient for the banksters, especially when most economists had been predicting this financial collapse was overdue. Amazing how it happened and they escape blameless. Clever little parasites, they are.

  14. AnneR
    April 9, 2020 at 11:23

    John A and Lee Camp – my thanks.

    L C – Yes indeed the ruling elites – i.e. the corporate-capitalist-imperialists and their fellow travelers among the bourgeoisie (i.e. the comfortably off) – are making hay while this sun shines. We the taxpayers are apparently bankrolling Wall Street and their ilk once more. Meanwhile we the vox populi, the hoi polloi, the poor and actually working people are the payees for the largesse that they are getting (it seems more will be rolling toward them); we – barely able to pay our rent (mortgage? – give us a break) let alone put food on the table and find toilet tissue or facial tissues after the stockpilers (SUVs and decent bank accounts) have depleted the shelves once more – will be handed the bill, one way or another. (Social Security is on the block – and not just via the Strumpet; after all HRC and JB have been on board with that.)

    JA – Bernie. Did he *ever* intend to actually run? Stay the course? As for the DNC and the primaries so far – there is a stink eminating from those from S Carolina onward. Was – as I have read might be possible – Warren used (whether agreeably or unaware) as a vote sink, preventing Bernie from getting SC? *Then* she ends her candidacy….

    Not that Bernie was ideal. Pro-zionist and so pro-brutal, murdering colonialist, *not* anti-war – whether that war murdered people via bombs, missiles, bullets, invasions or the use of siege warfare (economic sanctions); a believer in the right (!?!) of the USA to determine who should be governing other countries (Venezuela being a prime example, but also Iran, likely Nicaragua and Cuba). Domestically he was better and the better choice; still pro-capitalist, mind.

  15. jo6pac
    April 9, 2020 at 10:27

    Nails it, we on Main street lose every time.

  16. Sally Snyder
    April 9, 2020 at 08:20

    Here is an interesting look at one of the reasons why there is a shortage of surgical masks in the United States:

    see: viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/04/where-are-masks-just-ask-united-states.html

    American tax dollars at work for the IDF.

  17. Me my self
    April 9, 2020 at 06:59

    Freedom of expression is still alive!
    Knock on wood it will be around for a while?
    I would love to see Lee Camp argue the DNC lawsuit in front of SCOTUS.
    Actually any lawsuit, maybe teach lawyers how to get a point across effectively.

    Well said Lee.

  18. Gregory Herr
    April 9, 2020 at 00:51

    I hoped the link about the EPA might lead to The Onion…
    At least they won’t have to rename the Department of Defense to get their Orwellian kicks.

    • Gregory Herr
      April 9, 2020 at 18:16

      At “the last american vagabond dot com” can be found parts I & II of an investigative series by journalist Whitney Webb and co-author Raul Diego that connects Event 201–a simulation exercise conducted this past autumn which somewhat “foretells” the present crisis—with another simulation exercise, Dark Winter, conducted in 2001. Not for the faint of heart.

  19. robert e williamson jr
    April 8, 2020 at 21:17

    Lee Camp as one who doesn’t seem to miss much does some very humorous stuff. We sure as hell need it about now that is for sure.

    HEY Lee , have you heard the one about the Supreme Leaders son-in-law ? No, well it turns out he has promised Benny “THE BLADE” Notinyahoo that if any thing happened to RBG he would have Daddy-in-law appoint The Blade” to a “Celebrity Justice” position on the SCOTUS.

    Ahhh! You see I’m not so good at being funny, reality always gets into my way.

    Actually Beau of the Fifth Column news is in favor of a national strike just as soon as this bug works itself into exhaustion.

    He says what the heck lets all take another two weeks off, and yes shut them dog damned phone off too.

  20. John R
    April 8, 2020 at 20:26

    ” . . . a new poll shows nearly 60 percent in of the U.S. believe the political system is designed solely to serve the rich and powerful. Sixty percent of Americans now understand the problem.” OK, so now we get it ? I don’t think we get it AT ALL. Why do I say this ?

    Because today (not surprised AT ALL) Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race for president. Bernie was the ONLY possible antidote to our present very broken system – he was the only candidate even talking about wealth gaps, worker rights and medicare for all.

    So, now that he’s gone and if and when the virus stops killing us we can return to “normal.” Normal being the path that brought us to this mess of a moment.

    Now that Bernie’s out we’re gonna get the “normal” back. How effing stupid can we get ? We will have a deranged and very immature man-child or a demented corporate lackey to choose from come November.

    Do we get it now ?

    • April 9, 2020 at 06:58

      Oh we get it. The question is what do we do about it? Vote for Status Quo Joe Biden, the latest Republicrat incarnation of the eternally-returning “lesser of two evils” who will save us from Trump? Preposterous!

      There will not be a return to “normal.” There will be a new, improved and absolutely “necessary” normal–austerity and a greater tolerance for violations of basic civil liberties. Welcome back to the newest New Order.


    • Ken Q
      April 9, 2020 at 11:25

      John R, I agree. I bet all those people who don’t have health insurance wish they had voted for Bernie Sanders now.

    • rosemerry
      April 9, 2020 at 15:51

      I wonder about that 60%. Why did so many vote for Biden, who has not one single good feature in him at all and never has had, yet Bernie at least has reasonable domestic policies.
      About the Big Banks, who are now trying to get their traders to work (“essential”) despite COVID-19. As well as te big bailout, they get life insurance payouts for their traders that die.

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