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Friday, November 28, 2014

Democratic Downfall

    America has been an enduring and shining beacon for democracy throughout the world.  It has been an exemplary template for other countries that sought to create a democratic society that suited their needs, culturally and spiritually.  This has been America’s destiny since its inception, at which point our founding fathers declared our collective independence from a monarch who only served himself.  In recent decades however, our democracy has been hijacked by an elite few who would have all Americans serve their selfish needs.  These individuals only motivation is greed that takes the form of love for money, the need for power and the desire to dominate all others.  It is a game to them, in which the winner takes all and the ends justifies the means, no matter what those means entail.  In their cynical, twisted view of the world, all others will bow down to them, be diminished by them or perish at their hands.
    Where this downward spiral of America began is uncertain, but if one would have to guess, the seventies might serve as pretty prominent point of reference.  I know that others would argue that this distortion of American democracy began over one hundred years ago, but I am referring to when the plans were enacted, not when they were conceived, hatched and nurtured.  I am trying to keep my estimation to when changes in our economy and leadership really started to favor the few, while doing noticeable harm to the remainder of the population.
    I believe that it was the seventies that saw the greatest shift in power, because it was in the late fifties and throughout the sixties that the greatest movements for social change came into existence.  It was during these two decades that the will of the people in the 20th century was heard the loudest. Blacks fought for racial equality, while the young fought to end American Imperialism in the guise of war in Vietnam.  Even the military saw its share of descent among those soldiers who refused to carry out inhumane and immoral orders against a people with whom they had no qualms.  America was in turmoil, but it was fighting its way through barriers that needed to be destroyed for this country to reach its full potential.  The way seemed clear and the path that fate suggested for our young nation was one of equality and justice for all of its citizens, regardless of race, culture, sex or class.  The dream of owning your own home, working in a career (for life if one so desired), providing for yourself and your family was becoming a reality for so many who had until this time been excluded from these rights.  Education was no longer a pipe dream for black Americans and a college degree was something that all with the will to do so could attain in the pursuit to evolve and grow with their growing nation.  Instead of nation-building abroad, we were building our own country up to be the standard for those societies that hoped to adopt the democratic ideal for themselves.
    It was in the seventies that groups of individuals began to plot against their own countrymen.  In this time the conspiracies that today, no longer look like theories or delusions of paranoid schizophrenics were being drawn from the minds of sociopaths and put down onto paper or shared among others who envisioned an America that existed only for those of a certain standing.  It was in this time that American presidents became the puppets of businessmen, hell bent on siphoning all the wealth of the United States from the masses and into their own coffers and the coffers of family members and friends.  It was as if the game “Monopoly” had come to life and whoever ended up with all of the green, pink, yellow and blue money was the winner.  It’s the world that Ayn Rand envisioned when she brought forth her philosophy known as Collectivism.
    For some reason, this shift in wealth seemed to go into hyper speed after the 2010 elections and though the exact reason why the elite felt they could drop the curtain on their thievery, I have a slightly amusing theory. . . It has to do with the Mayan calendar and its prediction of the end of days that was to occur in December of 2012.  In my mind, I picture phone calls like those seen in the opening moments of the movie “2012”.  In those scenes, billionaires are being told that they need to provide another billion or so to accelerate the construction on some unknown device or vessel.  What is being constructed doesn’t come out until much later in the film, but basically it is a flotilla of giant arcs that will allow the rich to safely float above the waters that eventually engulf the entire Earth. Now, as implausible as this may have seemed to most, the fact remains that there are those who do believe December 21, 2012 will bring some cataclysmic event that will determine the fate of mankind.  So, the question is, what would you buy if you had more money than anyone could spend in a lifetime of extravagance?  A seat on a Russian spaceship, a condominium built out the hollowed out shell of a decommissioned missile silo?  Or maybe a birth on a one of a kind arc that represents the last hope for man’s survival?  Why not, it’s not like they’ll be broke after securing their life in the time after man.  Even if they spend all but their last billion, and nothing happens at all according to Mayan predictions, they’ll still have a billion to see them through their retirement years.  Besides, they’ll still have the giant arc to fall back on, in case the Mayans were off by a certain margin of error.
    My point, in this tangential rant about the end of days is this:  For some reason the super rich, who happen to also be the super greedy seem to have determined that they no longer have to hide the underhanded methodology as it pertains to gaining more wealth or more accurately impoverishing the masses in order to further increase their wealth.  Maybe there is an answer to this question somewhere out there, but what it is I am not certain, so a closer look at those things the rich have corrupted in their quest to have it all (literally) might shed some light on this topic for someone who might actually read this article.
    The things that I will detail come from a myriad of sources, but all seem reliable to me at the time at which I viewed them on TV or in some documentary or read in an article or book.  The one thing that I can say is that they all seem to be validated by the things that I see happening in the real world.  It is this confirmation with reality that makes it so puzzling to me why more people don’t come to the same conclusion as I have and as have the protesters who converged on Wall Street in September of 2011.  Perhaps it is a simple matter of insulating oneself from those things we hope not to be true.  I must admit that I did not see the corruption in Washington D.C. as clearly as I do now until I had time to research what was happening to our democracy.  Until I started paying attention to shows like the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert, which inevitably led to programs like the Rachel Maddow show and other news sources that were free from the influence of corporate money, I was blind to the hypocrisy and theft that was happening right under the American public’s noses.
    I did however, start to care about what our government was doing both here and abroad.  I educated myself, so that the opinions I've expressed in my videos series “My Take” are based on facts that I unearthed through a diligent process of research through a variety of sources.  Yet, there are those, who like me, have found themselves laid off (no longer the case) or put out of business by corrupt practices, ill-conceived deregulation and corporate manipulation who still defend the perceived right of the wealthy to rape our economy in hopes that our sacrifice will allow the rich to put us back to work.
    And this leads me to one of the first and most prevalent ways in which the wealthy have duped the rest of us, or more accurately, enough of the rest of us into allowing them to take what was rightfully NOT theirs.  To some it’s known as supply side economics, to others it was called Reaganomics and to others still, it goes by the moniker of trickle down economics.  Whatever one wants to call it, this failed economic system of income, spending and regulatory policies boils down to the following:  The masses give their hard earned money to the rich, so the rich can in turn give the masses back some of their money . . . only after the masses perform some form of work for the rich.  Now let’s break this all down for the fans of FOX news.  The masses, which would be everyone except the top one percent are taxed more to pay for tax breaks that the supposed “job creators” need to create jobs.  Sidebar:  We have been paying to fund these tax breaks for over 30 years now, so where are the jobs?  Or should I say where are the well-paying jobs for Americans?  Now that we’ve established where the money comes from, let’s look at where it goes.  The rich get tax breaks that they should use to create further wealth for the country, but what seems to happen is that the money they save in the form of tax breaks goes to line their pockets and to add to the economies of other countries.  In other words, the rich take our money and put it in off-shore bank accounts, so they can, in turn, be eligible for further tax breaks.  Tax breaks beget tax breaks.  And then when the rich deem the climate right, they hire some of us to work fifty to sixty hours for forty hours of pay, while hiring others at wages that never seem to keep pace with the cost of living.  Hmmm,  I wonder if there has ever been a time since Regan in which the rich actually lost money under Trickle Down economics: Not counting the money they lose to one another through back stabbing and hostile takeovers.
    A give and take would be fair, but I can’t imagine that the rich ever gave more than they took.  So, there you have it, the first and biggest way in which I believe the rich have destroyed our economy.
Related to this collapse of our economy is the theft of our democracy.  It is the corruption in our political system that has led to what appears to be extremely bad choices made on our behave, by our legislators over the years.  Although I may not know the names of all the individuals or groups that are distorting the laws and causing harm to the United States, here are the ones I do know of and their contributions to our society:
1)       Citizens United – A group that fought and won a Supreme Court ruling which allowed for the influx of unlimited funds into political campaigns.  With the blessing of the Supreme Court, individuals, organizations and corporations could give any amount of money they choose to the political candidate of choice.  One problem that I see with this decision is that it takes the possibility of representation by unbiased and relatable people out of the equation for all but the richest people or businesses.
2)      Grover Norquist and his Taxpayer Protection Pledge – For the past 25 years, Norquist (a lobbyist) has fought for lower taxes and gotten the signatures of 95% of the republicans in congress and all but one of the republican presidential candidates to pledge to never raise taxes.  This pledge flies in the face of reason and isn’t even endorsed by those who would benefit most from it, the wealthy (at least those who have a sense of loyalty to the United States).
3)      Congress (both sides of the isle) – While the republicans openly admit that they are going to screw over the masses by offering up tax breaks and subsidies for corporations that have had record profits in recent years, while pushing bills that would severely cut spending for programs that help the poor, elderly, young and disabled, the democrats seem to only to be able to give in to their immoral decisions.
4)      Deregulation – Whether it was the banks or environmental protections or food safety, deregulation has only served to make people less safe, less secure and less likely to live comfortably over the next fifty years of climate change that many scientists are now inevitable, thanks to  the efforts.
    And, yes, I do know there is an underlying illness to the symptoms we observe in the elected leadership class of America, but I thought it important to highlight those things everyone can make note of by simply opening their eyes, ears and minds.

If you like what I detailed here, please let me know whether I should continue this discussion by Tweeting me @fabianaugustus or emailing me at C_Ossman@hotmail.com.

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