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Fleecing the Poor

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"You load sixteen tons what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt." Such is Capitalism, taking opportunity and advantage of others, by exploiting their needs, the feudal English land barons created tenant farms out of land which had once been held in common. Coal mining companies around the world have literally worked their employees to death. Nineteenth and twentieth century coalminers lived lives without the sun. They toiled, going to work in the dark of the early morning and returning home in the late evening dusk, just to eek out a living.

This is Capitalism; this is the glorious system which exploits all human frailty and all human need. It is the system which forces Ethiopian children to pack palm seedlings six days a week for starvation wages and forces the elderly to pour out their life savings on insurance policies which, may or my not protect them from the vultures awaiting them in the branches of every tree. Something will get them eventually, I suppose, just as all of these policies have exclusion clauses.

This is the world we leave to our children, a world which is predatory and heinous, a world where every offer is not what it appears to be, where every promise has either a hook or an escape hidden inside. They cloak these things in euphemistic frostings and sugar coatings; they are job creators and entrepreneurs! While you, you are the unemployed, dragging the system down.

They maintain that because they are so benevolent and kindly as to provide jobs for you slobs, slugs and sh*t kickers, that why should they pay forty nine percent of all of the taxes? Is it because they own fifty one percent of all of the assets or because they earn ninety percent of all the Capital Gains?

Verizon recently tried to impose a $2.00 "Convenience Fee" on its customers who paid their bill online monthly. Now imagine, a clerk in a store adding $2.00 to your bill for the convenience of wringing you up. It is only because they have their customers locked up tightly in legalese and with early termination charges or fees which will brutally punish any consumer who might attempt to escape from their clutches. What Verizon was after was direct access to your bank account, the fee didn't apply to those customers who had signed up automatic withdrawal.

Everyday, we face a growing labyrinth of scams and corporate rip offs. Back before Christmas, I read an article in Bloomberg about lay away shoppers and it was explained, that merchants did this as a service for less affluent customers and so it should be understandable, if a merchant wished to charge a fee for this fine service. Nothing could have been further from the truth, the purpose for a lay away program is to encourage the shopper to purchase more and at one location rather than shopping all around town. The merchant risks nothing, and it costs them nothing, all risk is incurred by the purchaser who might not be able to pay off the lay away on time.

We have seen major banks offering credit cards to the working poor at interest rates which would make a mobster blush. The banks innocently maintain, "We are only offering a service, we don't make them use it." It is only the vultures other talon, by which, it offers opportunity like the cheese in a mouse trap and then says, "I didn't make him eat it!" Then after being buried under interest rates and late fees the sucker defaults, the bank then sells the account and takes the appropriate deduction on its tax return.

Say the sucker owes $1,000 at 21% interest which is calculated monthly, in less than a year the bank has been paid in full and the outstanding balance, and all the rest, is nothing but interest and late charges. When the sucker can no longer pay the bank takes a paper loss and sells the account to companies which will harass the sucker with legal threats of garnishment and attachments enforced by agencies of your own local government.

This is Capitalism, a buy here, pay here system, by which, a poor mass transit system means more auto sales even from those who really can't afford it. It means more congestion and greater fuel consumption and so Capitalist's are against improved mass transit funding. They are opposed to national health insurance and public schools because in the words of W.C Fields, "Never give a sucker an even break." They are the pushers and you are the junkie, they've got the comfort and you've got the need.

Capitalism says, this is their world and they only just let you play along in their private game of Monopoly. We struggle to succeed in life, not against life itself which is hard enough, but against the Capitalist System. A system which says not the best and the brightest will succeed, but only the most affluent may advance. Some do escape however, either through scholarship or dumb luck yet, even that is only an illusion, some locked out and under privileged must be anointed as winners or the system can no longer say to the rest of you locked out and under privileged bastards, "See! He made it, why can't you?"

I once applied for a writing job and the employer said that he liked my writing samples and then went on to explain, that this was a conservative web site and he was a regular Fox News contributor, and if I could write the same caliber of material from a conservative perspective, I was hired. Capitalism, this paragon of moral virtue must try to buy you and sell you eventually, needless to say, I passed on the job and I remembered well what Tim Russert once said, "Integrity is for paupers." Russert was unaware, but he was damning not only his own personal integrity, but Capitalism's as well.

Imagine a system which controls education and health care, a system which controls all of the assets and buys and sells political offices. It creates scapegoats like Blagojevich or Bernie Madoff to protect the illusion of the integrity of the system. Was Rod Blagojevich an isolated incident? Was Bernie Madoff the only crook on Wall Street?

Eugene Debs said over a hundred years ago, "There is no relief in our courts, we have tried them all from top to bottom, and they are all against labor. So far as I am concerned, we will appeal no more. We will now appeal to the American people.

Judges, the creatures of the plutocracy, rule the country by injunction. From justice of the peace to justice of the Supreme Court, the injunction holds full sway. American citizens are forbidden to open their lips or to walk on the public highway."

What would Debs think of this modern America? What would he say about the "Citizen's United" decision? What would he think about the Department of Homeland Security or the Transportation Safety administration? What would Debs think of a nation filled with predatory banks and corporations? A nation which has the unmitigated gall to call its people, of all the most ridiculous things, "free" when Egyptians protested peacefully in Tahrir Square they were met with truncheons and brutal suppression. When Americans tried to peacefully protest in their own town squares were they not meted out the same suppression?

We begin a fourth year of economic misery directed solely at working people. They take it on the chin, they struggle, they lose their homes and their lives and what assistance has been forthcoming from their benevolent Capitalist government? Billions for banks and billions for bailouts, while you get food stamps, maybe; millionaires get tax cuts. The approval rating for Congress has reached an all time low of nine percent. It means, if you took one hundred Americans at random, only nine of those Americans think the Congress is doing a good job. A better example of a vote of no confidence, I've never heard of.

The only true purpose of government for is your protection, only today, you need protection from your government, what does that tell you? The President of the United States was once considered the leader of the free world. Today the leader of the free world can have you jailed indefinitely, without charge, or can have you murdered by executive fiat. What does this tell you about your freedom? It makes a mockery of the word "free" just as this government makes a mockery of its self.

"You get your freedom by letting your enemy know that you'll do anything to get it. Then you'll get it. It's the only way you'll get it." -- Malcolm X

"Be realistic, demand the impossible!" - Che Guevara

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I who am I? Born at the pinnacle of American prosperity to parents raised during the last great depression. I was the youngest child of the youngest children born almost between the generations and that in fact clouds and obscures who it is that (more...)

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