Each of us, on average, will live for about twenty-five thousand days. The first six thousand days we are too young to have any impact on the world other than soiling diapers, being cute or shouting "Watch me!" We can parse through our lives allocating days for romance, education and work while leaving little time for what is really important in life.
We have been sold a soothing syrup of television and radio where men are portrayed as fat, stupid and inept and women are portrayed as sharp-tongued, knowing and appearance-obsessed. The main topic of conversation around the home is sex and their children are all little smart asses. This is what is portrayed as normal. These people are always doctors, lawyers or Indian chiefs but never butchers, bakers or candlestick makers. You are being dosed with soma, induced to believe that rich people have problems, too, but lead exciting and interesting lives while the problems of working people are totally unimportant.
When was the last time you saw a foreclosure on a television show that wasn't the news? Cable channels earn their bread and butter by dramatizing real stories of crime, infidelity, teen sex, rape and murder. Those subjects are scintillating and titillating, or a little tear-jerking, but stories of real tragedy that might make you think or feel just won't do. Now, war stories of flag-waving heroes and super heroes and even super, super heroes fighting Nazis and super evil bad guy villains, that's where Hollywood puts their money. Plots are aimed at a 12 to 15-year-old male audience and theater seats filled by non-thinking grownups looking for big screen, Dolby, 3D entertainment because their lives are empty and devoid of purpose.
Maybe if you closed your eyes to it you could see more of the real world. The city lights are bright and they blind us to what is going on up in the night sky. Perhaps we can't see the real world because of the phony light of this lie that is being shined in our eyes. It doesn't have to be this way; you can get off the Goebbels propaganda merry-go-round.
No matter what you've been told, no matter how much money you've got in your pocket, this is your country. You came into it the same way as Lloyd Blankfein and you'll go out of it the same way. What matters is what you do in between those two dates.
If you use government power and military might to unlawfully take over another country it is called an unlawful military invasion. If you use finance and economic power to destabilize a country and then offer them loans to stop doing it, then it is called a bailout. The Greek Prime Minister has called them predators and carnivores and speculators. At this weekend's meeting of the European Union, leaders called them a "Wolfpack." Our Congress calls them sir, as in thank you, Mr. Blankfein, sir.
In ancient Rome, when her legions would conquer a new province or country, the leaders of the conquered peoples would be brought to Rome to see all of its splendor. The hosts would explain to the vanquished that you, too, could live like this! Rome conquering your lands is really a good thing for you because we will control your money and your taxes but you will still be in charge. As long as we get our tax money and you do as you're told you may live as kings and do whatever else you wish.
The first financial solution proposed by the Greek government called for taxes on bank profits and the wealthy, but that plan didn't pass muster for some reason. The bailout enacted calls for higher sales taxes and wage cuts for working people and the elderly despite obviously not being what the Greek people want. Just because you don't see storm troopers with Panzers in the streets doesn't mean that it wasn't a fascist take over. They just don't goose step in uniforms anymore; they wear expensive three-piece suits and smile a lot.
The credit collapse in the American mortgage market in 2008 prompted the federal government to initiate a massive bailout of the banks and prompted the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates for the banks to virtually zero! The banks in turn deducted their losses from their taxes as millions of American homeowners were turned out into the street. Then the FDIC buys up these troubled assets and begins to auction them off with no-money-down terms to the banks. The same people who wouldn't give homeowners a one or two percent interest rate break to keep their homes are now buying the foreclosed houses back for forty cents on the dollar with no money down! Then, just to sweeten the deal, the FDIC promises that if for any reason the banks don't make money on the deal, the FDIC will give them a rebate on the purchase price!
Still feel like singing and dancing about jobs? Still feel like watching TV? Another dose of soothing syrup for you? The partisan media, millionaire hacks, who are left of center or right of center but really never leave the center at all, if they even implied what I'm saying directly to you now, would be fired so fast they'd be out the door before you could say Rockefeller Center. They won't talk about fascist takeovers but only about financial regulations. It's not that they don't love you but that they love their money more. They've been to Rome and seen its splendor.
Andrea Mitchell is the wife of Alan Greenspan; I'm sure she will tell us the truth about financial regulation. Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt and the great-great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. He's just plain folks, just like you and me! He understands how tough it is in middle America these days. Before Arianna Huffington started the Huffington Post she started Resignation.com, a conservative darling website calling for the resignation of Bill Clinton. She was a supporter of Newt and Bob Dole and back when she was still Arianna Stassinopoulos she met her husband, lifelong Bush family friend Michael Huffington, at a party given by oil heiress Ann Getty.
Like millions of you out there, I've been kicked a few times in my life. I've lost homes and seen the industry that I once worked in gutted by unfair foreign competition. I've watched it dry up and disappear so it's hard for me to take seriously someone whose wedding was paid for by an oil heiress, or someone who grew up in one of the richest families in America telling me what it's like to be kicked a time or two.
These days of your life are yours and yours alone; you can spend them watching TV or listening to overpaid experts steering the arguments. Or you can begin to think for yourself and figure out why it is that working people always get the short end of the stick while the wealthy keep getting more and more. These things are not privileges to be handed out, but your birthright to be claimed.