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Vichy America

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Were it not all so real it would make a great novel; Dan Brown could add another hundred million dollars to his collection. Perhaps he could call it "The Bhagwan Code," while I prefer to think of it as "Vichy America." Our synthetic, middle class, pseudo-Nazis, protesting for their gun rights or tax rights, a smiling, flag-waving, picture-mugging, minivan-driving collection of the dumbest individuals ever to stand up on two legs.

It's like a sort of reverse evolution where mankind evolves back into a creature that moves on three legs while leaving one hand free to carry the Bible or a cell phone. They are too dumb to even understand the herd mentality, too dumb to know the difference between predator and prey. The gun nuts rally to show off their machismo to each other thinking that they might somehow intimidate the government with their show of force like a baby shaking its rattle at a rattlesnake.

Do the Taliban march through Kandahar to show how tough they are? Do the Greeks wave tea bags and shout, "Don't tread on me"? The herd shouts, "Restore the Constitution!" but they don't have a clue as to what that really means, unaware that the Constitution that they imagine is miles from what they want. The herds are out protesting in favor of the predators and against themselves.

The Walton family fortune is worth some $90 billion and was made primarily on imported goods and exploitative labor practices. The Bush tax cuts saves the Walton family millions of dollars a year in taxes and saves the average worker $240 per year. The right wing government that they want to protect them has eliminated trade tariffs and a tariff is a tax on a foreign good that you don't pay. Are they protesting for an end to the Bush tax cuts yet?

If there is a tariff on bananas you don't pay it unless you buy bananas, and even if you do the cost per banana is minuscule. It is a tax on companies which import bananas into the United States and most of those companies are owned by Americans. Right now the US Congress is mulling over the idea of a value-added tax or a national sales tax. Leaving aside that sales taxes are the most regressive and unfair taxes on the working poor. Look at it this way: they have taken the taxes off the multinational corporations' incomes in the name of free trade, and now, to make up the deficit, they want to put the tax on to you.

I used the example of bananas because I thought it might strike a chord with these knuckle-dragging baboons. Imagine you and I share a toll bridge on the border and I charge a nickel for each person crossing the bridge my way and you charge a nickel for each person crossing your way. Five thousand people cross each day going your way while ten million people cross each day going my way. You earn $250 per day and I earn $50,000 a day.

Free trade argues that if you eliminate that nickel tax more people will want to cross the bridge. That it will create jobs and industry on both sides of the bridge, except the people on my side of the bridge earn $20.00 an hour and the people on your side earn $5 per day. The benefit goes to the guy that owns the banana trees; the loss goes to the workers in the country earning $20.00 per hour. It's true that traffic on the bridge has increased, but since there are no longer any tolls collected, what does it matter?

To me that is a far greater threat to national sovereignty than any of the made up reasons of the gun nuts and teabaggers. Because now they want you to pay the taxes to make up for the lost bridge tolls and even to buy them a new bridge! We live in an America under a two party system, those with money and those without money, and for those without money it's no party. Take, for example, our Treasury Secretary Mr. Geithner.

He began his early career at Kissinger and Associates; then he was a senior fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations before moving on to the Federal Reserve. He served in the Clinton administration under Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin. Their names came up recently when Bill Clinton commented that he had been given bad advice about derivative trading by Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin. Before Geithner joined the Obama administration his take home pay was around $7,000 per week, just like yours. What? You don't take home $28,000 per month?

I know, most of us don't, but I use that figure because many of us have no concept of wealth. None of the teabaggers and gun nuts have any concept of wealth. Geithner is a hamburger flipper in a red paper hat and nylon jump suit when compared with his predecessor. Hank Paulson was worth over $700 million and just the interest on $700 million in a bad year is $35 million dollars. Hank could buy a new $10 million yacht and a $25 million estate in the South of France every year and never touch the principle.

John McCain's wealth is between $20 and $25 million. Diane Feinstein's, $40 to $100 million. John Kerry, $167 million and Georgia Senator Johnny Isackson, $23 million. So who do these people have more in common with, you or each other? That's why John McCain and John Kerry can wholeheartedly agree that it is important to send $1.5 billion a year to Pakistan to build schools and infrastructure. Last week Defense Secretary Gates was out advocating for a free trade agreement with Colombia. Apparently Mr. Gates has enough time on his hands to fill in at the Commerce Department, but what do we need from Columbia that we can't get now?

It's just another chance for the American wealthy to sell toothpaste made in China or Fords made in Mexico or hire workers in a country where half live below the poverty line. You see, the United States market already accounts for 40% of Colombia's exports and the US accounts for less than 30% of Columbia's imports. So a free trade agreement would be a net 10% loss for a trade deficit which last month grew to over $38 billion. The winners? Multinational corporations. The losers? You!

Try and understand, the tea partiers and gun nuts aren't wrong. They're just stupid. The herd senses danger and closes up but doesn't know the difference between lions and giraffes. They're smart enough to know that something is wrong but not smart enough to figure out what it is, so they follow the leader. Their leader who makes ten times as much money as Tim Geithner and who tells them, "They're destroying your Constitution."

What was it that George W. Bush called it? "Just a goddamned piece of paper!" Are you sitting down? Bush was right. A constitution that doesn't protect you from exploitation or rapacious greed, that allows your life and prospects for prosperity to be sold down the river in the name of corporate good is just that, "a goddamned piece of paper!" You might think that it's superman standing on top of the Empire State Building, cape and flag waving in the breeze behind him, but the rich folks is having monkey stew tonight and you're invited!

I look into my poor man's crystal ball and I can tell you what the future will bring: income for banks and corporations will rise while unemployment will remain unchanged and wages will remain flat. The President's committee on deficit reduction will recommend cuts and tax hikes to Social Security and Medicaid but only to "Save" them. Those hikes and cuts won't be recommended until after the November elections. Then as the presidential election season is upon us the Republicans will again put up a weak challenger and maybe the teabaggers will hoist some clown as their standard bearer thus making sure that Obama is re-elected.

Then the Mr. Burnses of this country will lament, "Oh, fiddle dee dee, now I didn't want that to happen." What you see happening in Greece today will come to America. "Gosh, we really hate it that we have to cut spending and social programs but the revenue just isn't there." No, of course it's not, it's all been shipped overseas, but the profits still have a place to call home.

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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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