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Why are you the Victim in a Consumer Society?

By       Message Gene Messick     Permalink

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As digitally remastered muzak Christmas Carols beckon shoppers into malls, while our government dumps mountains of cash into failed banks hoping to prevent the collapse of credit card debt, owners of stock in the American Consumer Society are praying that Santa will bring them a miracle this Holiday Season. How did good and decent ordinary Americans become trapped into this Bottomless Quagmire of Debt, to which the ONLY solution -- we are told -- is to spend more money?

Proposition #1:  At what point in our history did Americans agree to replace "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness", with "Greed is Good; Debt is Good; Liberty is found by Spending More!"?
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When did Pursuit of Capitalism become synonymous with Pursuit of the American Dream? Where in any of our founding documents is Capitalism even mentioned?  It's found nowhere in the Declaration of Independence. Nowhere in the Constitution. When did our Founding Fathers embrace Capitalism? Where did they declare that becoming a Consumer Society was their reason for fighting a War for Independence?
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Proposition #2: When the World Trade Center Towers collapsed, do you remember the reassuring advice given to an awestruck Nation from our President? Go shopping.

Why were the World Trade Center Towers collapsed? As a reaction to American Corporations trying to force-feed Values from their secular Consumer Economy into Muslim places around our planet.

The invasion of Iraq has been proven time and again to be a War for Oil, so that American Capitalists could acquire control over one of the richest Oil Reserves on the planet. Behind a smoke-screen claiming to be for the Spread of Democracy, Iraq was invaded for the Security of American Captialism. In order to justify invading Iraq, Cheney, Bush & Company had to sell the biggest, costliest lie ever told to the American people.
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How did oil under deserts of Iraq become an American interest? Because of our forced evolution into a Consumer Economy. Because American consumers slurp up 20% of the World's oil production, yet we produce only 5% within our national boundaries. That's why Oilmen Dick Cheney and George Bush declared that attacking Iraq to acquire access to THEIR oil fields was in America's best interests: to protect and defend our Consumer Society and profits therefrom. Invasion of Iraq had very little to do with securing democracy, and everything to do with securing capitalism.

Proposition #3: At what point did this become the Mantra for America: Whatever ails our Nation, the solution is to spend, Spend, SPEND!   Creating a Consumer Society of work-drudges is not exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" into our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.

Our War for Independence was fought to deliver all Americans, including those of future generations, from tyrannical control of a Colonial Economy dominated by the Royal Corporations of King George.

It took 200 years to accomplish, but Corporations of Wall $treet have replaced the tyranny of the first King George with their Tyranny of a Consumer Economy. The goal? All American Consumers should owe their souls to the Company Store. Latter day Bankers and Corporate CEOs have become America's home-grown economic terrorists.

There were no economic Recessions or Depressions prior to invention of the Consumer Society. Surely, there was social unhappiness from other sources, but no economic "bubbles", boom n' bust cycles, financial panics, crashes and multi-billionaires. Why do we allow our lives to be jerked around by those who sold us the idea that the only road to "liberty and happiness" is to buy more useless stuff?  We've got closets and storage sheds bulging with stuff, so where's the "happiness"? And what is "liberty" when you're passing the $10,000,000,000,000 cost of your unsatisfying "happiness" on to your children and grandchildren to pay off? 

Nowhere are the fallacies of a Consumer Economy driven home more clearly than in the Meltdown of Wall $treet and the Global Economy. The very same folks whose Greed brought on their Rush to Another Great Depression, wrapped themselves in an American Flag, and pretended to be our Heroes who would save the day.

If you look closely, you can always figure out who's guilty. Either they run away and hide because their conscience tells them they are guilty, or they do just the opposite: their sociopathic Denial forces them to be the first to stand and propose solutions to "our problems" which they, not we, caused. They are not Heroes. They're simply trying to divert attention from their crimes by pretending to be Heroes, so they will not be arrested, fined, imprisoned, hung, or drawn and quartered by those they fleeced. Mendacity is alive and well in America's Consumer Society.

Who was the first to stand and pretend to propose a solution with a 3-page BAILOUT Plan?  It was US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman-$achs who helped invent Derivatives, those instruments of Greed which singularly brought on the Economic collapse of the World Economy. In his panic of being exposed for his pivotal role, Paulson said he would relieve the pain of Americans being thrown out of their homes by buying up sub-prime mortgages. It took only a month for his banking buddies to point out how misdirected his efforts were. Here's what they told him:

No, no, Hank! You've got it all wrong. We don't need cover. What we need to do is pump the well dry so that Government can never recover. With that Maverick nut-case and his girl sidekick running around loose, there's every possibility that the N*g will become President. A catastrophe in the making. You and Bernanke have got to change course while there's still time!

OK! says Hank. You're right. Banks can resell foreclosed homes for more profit on the same product. Instead of keeping Americans in their homes, money needs to flow into banks so they can make more loans, so more money can be spent on useless and unnecessary things, creating greater debt, keeping the Consumer Economy afloat. What was I thinking of?! They'll never be able to prosecute us, so we don't need to protect ourselves from them. At the ready: Christmas is Near! Ava Maria and all that stuff! Start the Pumps! (Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!)

Wherever you are, whatever your financial circumstances, you can become a Foot Soldier in the 2nd American Revolution. Stop spending. Stop borrowing. Get out of debt ASAP. Protect yourself and those you love. It's absolutely certain your Government shall not.

Take control of your life: stop being a victim of their Consumer Society.

As long as Government leaders believe their highest purpose is to promote, protect and defend a Consumer Economy, your "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" is under attack and at risk, just as surely as it was under the other King George during the 1st American Revolution.
[BAILOUT] 007: Protect yourself! Your government will not. 
Distracted by an obscenely expensive Presidential Campaign, most Americans cannot fathom the enormous impact our Financial Meltdown is having.  And yet, rapidly grinding Economic Machinery is steadily chewing through the financial lifelines of employed Americans: loss of jobs is here, and there's nothing that GwB nor his Merry Band of NeoCONs and SuperCONs in Washington can do to reverse or ease your pain.

Christmas 2oo8  will be the bleakest experienced by Americans living since the Great Depression.

Job losses reached avalanche proportions in November. Failures in Corporate America gush down onto Main Street instantly, affecting shops and service industries nationwide. Inability for Retailers to find short-term loans to purchase merchandise for filling Holiday shelves became a Reality in October. But even greater is the inability of Americans to be able to afford Christmas 2oo8.
What can you do to protect yourself as this calamity oozes into your personal and family life?  

The worst thing you can do is wait, expecting your government to fix anything. Those who are wise have started planning defensive measures.  Those who are not will whine their way into an uncertain future. Here's our top 10 best moves to regain control over your personal and financial life. Do it NOW.

Strategy #1:  Immediately stop buying anything that you do not absolutely need to have. Make a shopping list, reduce it by a third, and stick to it. No impulse buying.

Strategy #2:  Pay down ALL of your personal debt ASAP. Becoming as debt free as possible is your Number One Goal. Zero is a great number!

Strategy #3:  Start with Credit Card debt. Get down to ONE card only. Use the convenience of charging, BUT make sure you pay it off every month. Throw a party, and invite your friends and neighbors to celebrate cutting up their retired Credit Cards.

Strategy #4:  Move your personal banking business out of commercial banks, and into a Credit Union as soon as possible. Member owned Credit Unions will do whatever possible to protect their members, while commercial banks will be looking for every way to increase their falling profits. Commercial banks must increase profits to satisfy stockholder expectations. In Credit Unions, YOU are the shareholders. And Credit Unions still have money to lend when commercial banks have run dry.

Strategy #5:  Pay off and retire ALL in-store credit cards. Charges, even when paid and the card cancelled, remain on your credit history for 7 years, affecting your overall credit score. If you are addicted to paying with a card, buy in-store gift cards. They cost you no interest, help teach you to live within limits, and in the long run improve your credit score. And using LayAway costs you no interest.

Strategy #6:  Begin thinking about what you can do for Christmas presents that requires spending as little money as possible. Spend your time being creative, rather than worrying about how you'll survive the Holidays. Make it. Bake it. Repair it. Repaint it. Color comic pages make great wrapping paper. Use your imagination, unleash your creativity, and start planning NOW.

Strategy #7:  Empty your closets and storage sheds. If you haven't used it during the past year, re-gift it, or give it away to an agency collecting to make someone else's Christmas better. Always a good idea, this will mean so much more to many more folks this Christmas than ever before.

Strategy #8:  Get serious about conservation. Carpool. Walk. Bike. If every car that has only one person in it has two or three instead, there would be no energy crisis, slashing dependence on foreign oil. Most Americans live near a public park or recreation center. They're yours. Use them. Find out what your Public Library has for you in books, CDs and DVDs, recycled magazines. They're already paid for, and cost you nothing.

Strategy #9.  Stop exporting jobs. Buy American made. Support your locally owned businesses, not super chain stores. Find your local farmer's markets, art and craft shows. If you have to buy foreign made, buy it USED at thrift shops and flea markets. Nothing bought USED goes back to China or anywhere else. It all stays here. And buying USED instead of new foreign goods improves our trade balance with other nations.

Strategy #10.  Do something kind for someone every day.
There are 13 Zeros in ten trillion dollars. That's what GwB and his Merry Band of NeoCON Thieves  'gave' to us as our National Debt. 
Give 'em back your Zeros this Christmas. Zero debt. Zero non-essential spending. Zero worries. Zero unhappiness.  


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For 17 years Gene Messick studied and taught Design at NC State University and Cornell. Co-founding the Visual Design Program at NCSU, he established the Photography Program at Cornell, where he taught in the Architecture Department, most interested (more...)

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