Note: My loss of faith in government is nothing new. I’ve been distrusting government since 1965. We all have our personal points of view, and they’re all different. That is both unavoidable and entirely appropriate. We each negotiate the world as best we can, and we all struggle with highly complex realities in the face of varying degrees of information, misinformation, uncertainty and doubt. To complicate matters, very few people are interested in telling us the truth about much of anything while lying to us is a multi-billion dollar a year enterprise. Under such circumstances honest people may differ. What follows is my own personal POV. It is not intended as any sort of attack or disrespect to those of my friends here who may see things differently. Peace.
This must be about the millionth time I’ve been screwed by my government. And yes, I’m referring to the health insurance sham, Hopelesshagen, Afghanistan and etcetera. You’d think I’d have learned to like it by now. But no matter how many times they’ve done it, no matter how utterly predictable it is or from how many miles away it can be seen coming, it just never gets any easier to take. I am, and have been, sick to my stomach.
It’s funny how after every major betrayal I get flooded with requests for money, like ‘we gotta keep fighting! Give us money to stand up for the American people! Hurry!’ They kick us in the teeth, piss on our heads and then promise to stop it if we’ll ‘send more money now!’
‘We’re fighting for you!’
Shameless fucking bastards.
They’re not even trying very hard to hide it anymore. It’s gotten easy to be an American politician these days. Just take all you want, shit on our heads and we’ll send you good money to make it stop...and worship you as a hero if you skip a day.
The vast majority of our politicians, however good their intentions might one day have been, stink on ice. Dennis Kucinich OTOH deserves more respect than he typically receives. At least he doesn’t mind speaking the truth every now and then.
WASHINGTON -- Reflecting on the growing divide between Wall Street and Main Street, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) on Wednesday offered a powerful critique on the state of the economy in an open committee hearing.
"The class warfare is over -- we lost," Kucinich said before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "I want to make that announcement today. Working people lost. The middle class lost."
"The wealth of this nation is being accelerated upward," Kucinich said. "That’s one of the problems that I had with the bailout."
I had problems with the bailout too. I remember how they hit us between the eyes with it. "You must give us a trillion dollars immediately, no questions asked, or we’re all going to hell!" I don’t know high finance but I know armed robbery and I knew this one for what it was when I saw it.
Bush and Cheney, Pancho and Lefty, they robbed us like a bunch of desperados way down yonder on the deserts of Mexico.
It was class war, and they won. Plain and simple. Of course they had to burn down the house to do it. The ownership class managed to steal all the marbles, leaving the economy a hollow husk that no longer has the capacity to provide jobs to the masses. I know there are people saying otherwise, I hope I’m wrong and they’re right but I expect job losses to continue to increase. I credit statistics but only so much. You know the old saying, figures can’t lie but liar’s can figure. I think ‘normal’ is never coming back. I think the rich people knew it too. That’s what made them go all whacky and just hold us up for all the money that was left. All in one last grab.
Our economy is no more. There is just no there there. We exported our manufacturing base and trafficked in voodoo to such a heinous degree that the smoke-and-mirrors industry will never be the same. We once had the capacity to maintain a large population in a state of constant growth, but the predictable end of capitalism comes when the economy can’t grow any further and begins to contract while the population keeps growing. We are in the time of post-peak capitalism. There are no more marbles to steal.
So the owner class won in what may well be the most pyrrhic of all pyrrhic victories...ever.
What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if all he’s going to do is fuck it up for everybody? I paraphrase.
In the long term what matters most is that we manage to assert ourselves as responsible stewards of the earth. I can’t believe we keep losing to people who are too ignorant to know that or too greedy to admit it.
If the utter destruction of our nation is not their intent, they better figure out how they are going to keep the rest of us employed and in our homes. We are made complacent and passive by our level of comfort, not our nature...and, unless I miss my guess, comfort is going to be an increasingly dwindling resource. I refer you to Turkana’s rec listed diary: 1,000,000 Foreclosures. Last Quarter, Alone. Hunger Rising.
What happens when we lose all sense of comfort, when we run slap out, when our collective misery reaches critical mass? One has to wonder if the rich have simply sold us out to go loot the rest of the world, and just don’t care what happens here anymore. Are they thinking they’ll just pick up and move to Dubai if we ever get rowdy?
I don’t know if they plan to abandon us altogether or if they have visions of converting the American workforce into a vast population of desperate, suffering, broken and frightened people laboring themselves into early graves for a pittance. Like it or lump it, debt slavery or prison.
There are a lot of good people, speaking of prison, incarcerated in this country for reasons real or imagined. We lock more people up per capita than any other nation in the world by far. We lock people up for the unauthorized and temporary alteration of their own consciousness. We lock people up for being poor or of the wrong race and having the misfortune to come into contact with our ‘legal’ system...and don’t say it doesn’t happen because it does. We’re not above sending innocent people to prison. We do it every day. We imprison people for political reasons too – just ask Don Siegelman for one...or Leonard Peltier for another. There are many others as well. Estimates run from the low hundreds to the high thousands.
We are in many ways a harshly punitive and vengeful culture and yet war criminals and mega-thieves are running free at the highest levels of society. Hell, they own the joint! Their despicable mugs leer at us from the national TV as they fly around in their Lear jets living in the lap of luxury while millions of us, and more of us every day, hang on by the skin of our teeth...if we’re lucky. The smart money says that we’re too beaten down to fight them any more, and sadly enough there’s reason to believe it.
A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?
Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States?
Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?
What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population?
Can anything be done to turn this around?
Can anything be done to turn this around? That is the question of the hour.
I always liked Obama. What’s not to like about a brilliant, articulate young African American man of high achievement, a constitutional lawyer, community organizer and Saul Alinsky disciple? Why he looked like just what the doctor ordered. I so wanted to believe in him but I feared I had come to understand something about the presidency, that it’s not the heart of power but only the face of it...and that it changes men more than men ever change it.
Still, I was mighty damned happy about it when Obama was first elected. It was and will always be a huge symbolic victory for all of America. Substantively however, there are issues.
Cornell West: I was ready because I draw a radical distinction between the symbolic and the substantial. As a critical supporter of Barack Obama, engaged in over 50 events for him from Iowa to Ohio, I knew that at a symbolic level something could happen that was unprecedented. And it did happen. At that symbolic level, I can understand the tears, I can understand the jubilation, I can understand the euphoria. But I always knew there was a sense in which he, now heading the American empire, was tied to the shadow government, tied to CIA, FBI, tied to the establishment waiting to embrace him. It was clear when he chose his economic team, when he chose his foreign policy team, he was choosing, of course, the recycled neo-liberals and recycled neo-Clintonites that substantially you're going to end up with these technocratic policies that consider poor people and working people as afterthoughts. Beginning with bankers, beginning with elites.
Symbolically, black man breaks through makes you want to break dance. So, yes, we have to be able to relate to both of these. So I resonate with your dear fiancee, because the hopes that were generated and the call for change, and then we end up with this recycled neo-liberalism. There's no fundamental change at all.
However sad it may be to accept, President Obama so far is a disappointment.
From day one, with the selection of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, it appeared that Obama was falling into line with the expectations of entrenched powers. By now it appears to be a more or less complete capitulation to the Military Industrial Complex, Wall Street and the rest of the corporate gangsters who own this country. I think we can dismiss the 11-dimensional chess theory. That strange disturbing feeling you may have had within recent memory, that feeling that you are being repeatedly and ruthlessly screwed no less in 09 than you were in 08 is no illusion my friend. It’s all that’s left for the American people following the class war. It’s their plan for us...fuck us.
As for Obama, who knows? Maybe he will end up redeeming himself before it’s all over. That certainly is my hope for him...but sadly, not my expectation.
We fought hard, we won big - and nothing changed.
We were sick and tired of being mugged and raped and hoped Obama would stop it. Either he never had any intention of stopping it or he found himself powerless to do so once he got into office.
What does this tell us? I think it tells us that the system will never serve us. Never. If it were ever going to I have to think it would have done so by now. We are going to have to find other ways to serve ourselves...ways that don’t rely on corrupt institutions.
I recently saw a video clip of a demonstration in Copenhagen, where of course we beat our children in the streets (having learned nothing in 41 years) for really caring about what happens to their world...and ours. In the clip the young crowd of protesters were chanting to the masked and heavily armed police, "We are people. What are you?"
That’s what I have to say to our government of, by and for the rich.
"We are people. What are you?"
Jailed Copenhagen protesters face Christmas behind bars
Remaining 16 demonstrators in detention running out of days for Christmas release, despite freeing of high-profile activists
This is not the video I referred to above but it does capture a portion of the same chant and is worth a look IMO.
"We are people. What are you?"