Saturday, August 27, 2016

Revolution Yes! (But Who's Revolution?)

There's no doubt whatsoever that Americans across the board are fed up with Washington. Poll after poll reaffirm what you can hear practically anywhere. We know, for instance, that our democratic republic, fought bitterly for and bequeath to us by our Founding Fathers is gone. It wasn't taken from us by some foreign power or lost due to some natural disaster. We simply gave it away like so much day old trash. Little by little Washington chipped away at it while we were fixated on the latest video game, so-called "reality shows", pop star or celebrity stories fed to us by tabloids, or maybe by overhype of some sports event. Meanwhile, the corporate news spoon feed tiny tidbits of what's happening---or what they claim is happening---while carefully redirecting our attention to the events they want us to see and told in a way to create the opinion they want us to have.

Now we find ourselves under an Oligarchy; controlled by the top 1% and their corporate alter egos. To be precise, the Oligarchs are neo-fascist, which, as its founder, Benito Mussolini, said should be understood by its more accurate description, corporatism. It borrows from the Left on some issues (mostly social) and from the Right on others (including heavy surveillance, a militarized police state, control over the economy and foreign policy).The Oligarchy literally owns the government, or to be more accurate, they work together hand-in-mailed glove. Where they once operated mainly in the shadows, they now increasingly function in the bright light of day, thanks to Citizens United which gave corporations "personhood" and allowed them unlimited restrictions on political donations (while flesh and blood persons are still capped), gerrymandering, no or few term limits, unaccountability, and dedicated lobbyists.

They operate by a revolving door, passing off money for title every time the enter or exit from government to corporation and back again. Both major political parties help protect their interests while money and contracts grease the wheels. They pre-select who they want and leave us to pick between either of the two pre-approved competitors. They control 96% of all media---Internet, TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. They produce what they want us to see, hear, or read and present it in such a way as to distract, mislead through falsification, twist the facts, manipulate, and most importantly, to manufacture the "correct" opinion and either create support for or against; that is, if they mention the story at all. They build a story to create a "crisis" or an enemy to fear, just as they downplay or ignore real issues that we should be aware of. The Oligarchy controls the economy and our nation's finances (indeed, it can accurately be said that they control the world's economy with just 1% controlling 50% of the world's wealth). They influence what we buy and when we buy it, all by going further in debt, which is the golden chain by which they own us. We even come with certificate of ownership. It's called our credit rating. It reflects our value to them.

The name of the game for the Oligarchs isn't money. They actually own that already either directly or indirectly since they own the banks and more importantly, the Federal Reserve. They also control Wallstreet and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange which trades in commodities. They are interested in control; absolute and total control. They are pan-nationalist; they are loyal to no country or political ideology. They view countries simply as economic sectors over which governments and their corresponding agencies are the "hired help". They are to manage the resources and assets of the Oligarchs. We---you and I---are merely a resource to be used. Jobs are simply economic units within the corporate clog to be moved to where they can be employed more cheaply or eliminated all together. Unions, once the unbreakable wall protecting the workforce has become merely a gatekeeper; the enforcer for management. Their job is to keep workers on the assembly line and off the picket line as well as weed out (or rat out) the troublemakers.

As I said earlier, they control US foreign policy; that is, they use it a means to gain control over another country's resources. If they can do it as businessmen/women, fine. If they can't do it diplomatically, then, as a last resort, they use the US military as their own personal enforcers. Besides, conflict is good for artificially stimulating the economy and lowering unemployment numbers by removing "excess" numbers from the rolls as they are sent to fight for some oilfield or gas reserve. The media they own can always be counted on to "sell" it to the American Public as a threat to national security or our values in some imaginative way. Meanwhile, they work diligently to keep us divided at home and to promote as much disharmony and violence as possible. If we're fighting each other, we aren't focusing on them. They allow illegal immigration as a means to flood the job market which drives down wages and/or benefits. They allow entry to Muslims knowing that they're unwelcome and they will not be properly vetted, and thus poise a potential threat to our safety (which they are largely removed from). Besides, what better excuse to eventually impose martial law and achieve total control, including removing troublemakers or ensuring worker productivity (think "national security")? So, with all this in mind, is there any question that the American People have had quite enough? The answer has to be a categorical "yes". The majority of Americans have long considered Washington as the "enemy", be it the Federal Courts, Congress, the Presidency, and given some recent blunders, even the Supreme Court.

Americans have polarized into volatile anti-Washington subgroups. On the Right (some would say far or extremist Right), we have the Tea Party (they had been co-opted the Religious Right and some GOP conformists to a degree) which evolved out of a distain for the Republican Party which they viewed as not "conservative enough" and betrayed the principles of the Founding Fathers and their scared writ, the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Then we have the 2nd Amendment folks who see an attempt by Washington to disarm or impede our rights to possess guns. This ranges from those who oppose any and all restrictions to those who can tolerate some restrictions (such as registering new guns). There is also Oath Keepers, which is made up mostly up first responders and military (reservist mostly) and has a quasi-religious veneer to them. They pledge to protect ordinary citizens and uphold the Constitution and Bill of Rights. You have those who challenge the legitimacy of the IRS and those who oppose what they consider to be State indoctrination through the public school system (State schools really) and resort to some form of home schooling (there is another sub-set of this group which refuses any or most inoculations which they believe do more harm than not). Of course, we can't forget other various groups such as some (Right leaning) libertarians, some veteran groups, second wave Babyboomers (1956 - 1964), anarchists (which usually include biker clubs), militia types, some religious groups (like those who favor a theocracy), survivalists and "prepers", Secessionists, race oriented separatists, and third parties such as the American Party, the Libertarian Party, or the Constitution Party.

What these groups have in common is that they all fall under the umbrella of "the Patriot Movement" , which has spawned a whole genre of books and magazines, blogs, and radio shows. Fox News used to be known as "America's conservative channel", but that title has been forfeited. Still, there are ample blogs, YouTube video hosts, and non-mainstream radio personalities out there. What these individuals and groups want is basically to dismantle a hopeless broken federal system and restore power back to the states and local governments as much as possible. That is, they want to fully and literally apply the Constitution as written, not interrupted. They want as little government in their lives as they chose. They want honesty from those elected (not to mention an end to gerrymandering, term limits, and requiring elected officials to live under the same laws as ordinary citizens and an end to their taxpayer paid perks including salary and benefits for life, security, revolving door policy with corporations and/or lobbyist firms to mention just a few).

On the other side of the anti-Washington plug nickel, we have the Left (often called the Far or Extreme Left as well as the "lunatic fringe"). The majority of these individuals tend to be older or first wave Babyboomers (1946 - 1955), Millennials, techies, some veterans, various media, Internet (including bloggers and YouTube personalities), alternative radio shows, some (Left leaning) libertarians and anarchists, some academics (tenured I suspect), minority racial groups, third parties (the Green Party or Democratic Socialist of America), and other socialist or socialist leaning groups, plus various non-profits and grassroots organizations. Essentially, a similar but diametrically oppose group to those on the Right such as the Occupy Movement vs. the Tea Party. They too have created their own media niche, be it books, radio shows, blogs, YouTube and so forth. Numerically, this is the largest group and statistically the youngest too.

What these groups basically want is an expanded federal government, but not based on the one we have, which they agree, is broken beyond repair. Some of these see the Constitution as a good guide but basically having outlived its relevance. They look to the socialist democratic countries of Scandinavia, which, despite propaganda to the contrary, has been quite successful. Their recent failures have been more a result accepting immigration unconditionally from low skilled or educated individuals from Africa and the Middle East. These individuals do not share a common history (either national or even European), a common religious foundation, traditions or values. Specifically, they don't understand the laws or the basis behind the laws, a similar work ethic, and tend to attempt to impose their beliefs and values on their host county. So, in a system where everyone shares a certain core system of values and work ethic that encourages everyone to pay in to take out, these immigrants are conditioned simply to take from the system which they quickly presume to be "entitled" to without paying in.

Anyway, most on this group favors some measure of a democratic socialist government with much greater participation by the public over the government and major restrictions on corporations (especially their proximity to government contracts and taxpayer money). As an aside, Communism has garnered little traction with this group. They would reduce the cavernous wage gap between ordinary people and the 1%, insure a taxpayer (mainly corporate) paid two year college education, maintain a government social safety net, a focus on people or nature friendly based technology, replacing Obamacare with single payer form of healthcare, legalized pot, equal treatment (social and legal) regardless of gender, orientation, or wealth and strong employee representation to name a few. Yet, many also support libertarianism, (small "L"). Of course, there are still those who would demand to be classified as a special class based on their race or ancestral history including payment of "reparations" (essentially semi-historical extortion) as well as those who favor independence or quasi-independence based on race or religion.

So, we have two groups which seem to on opposite sides of the political spectrum. One would think that they have nothing in common which could possibly unite them, and that may yet prove to be true. But if it is, then in all likelihood any potential citizens revolt or revolution would be unsuccessful. In fact, it's much more likely that we would see a nasty civil war which would result in the imposition of martial law and perhaps even a dictatorship of some form (not unlike Rome at the end of the Late Republic Period). In fact, I think this is exactly what the Oligarchs would like to see happen. It would provide them with what they crave the most--- direct control. And if you think about it, you can almost see it happening. Look at how are being divided as a nation into competing groups and pitted against each other with the outcome simply a matter of whose flag the Oligarchs will fly as they cease control. We can prevail simply be talking with an listening to each other and remembering that neither Washington, the Oligarchy, or that corporate media is on our side. I think by doing to so, we will find common ground as Americans have always done. Yes, there will be things we disagree about, but that's normal and natural. Even spouses, significant others, and good friends disagree and sometimes argue (like who's the best football team of all time when we really know it's the Green Bay Packers).

Meanwhile, we need to refuse to be manipulated by the corporate media and focus our attention on the Oligarchs, the Washington politicians and lobbyists, and the corporate media. We don't need to protest that "Black Lives Matter" when we know all lives matter or attack whites, Asians and Hispanics when we know that we have to work together to see the change we want. We should be careful about demanding more money or services from the government when we know that only brings more control over our lives. We shouldn't have to sacrifice competent healthcare for a lack of choice and options. For that matter, we shouldn't have to be forced to have healthcare at all if we don't want it. As adults, we shouldn't tolerate government telling us what kind of soap or grease we should use, what we can eat, or whether to fine us if we don't wear seatbelts. We know certain kinds of grease, sodas, food are unhealthy; we know seatbelts can help save our lives, but those are our choices and our decision provided that we also accept the responsibility without complaint too. We know companies should make a reasonable profit and employees should be compensated for their effort and time, but not that ordinary employees barely get by while corporate officers make over 500% more in compensation.

We know Congress makes laws, and that's ok, but exempting themselves isn't. Taking bribes or gifts is never right. Keeping their six figure salary, benefits and security for life isn't. Unlimited tenure in office isn't. Gerrymandering districts to stay in power isn't. Corporate "personhood" and unlimited corporate donations isn't. A revolving door between corporations and the government isn't, nor is private "closed door" lobbying, corporate lobbyist written bills or policies. Neither is the lack of transparency when it comes to government contracts and bids concerning public lands and resources, or non-published committee votes. Restricting who can run by making the cost so high that only millionaires need apply or prohibiting anyone outside the two corporate controlled parties---the Democrats and Republicans---from participating in debates is wrong just as providing the politicians with a list of proposed questions is. Unauthorized surveillance by government agencies on ordinary citizens is wrong, and the list goes on and on. I think these are at least some of the things both sides can agree on. The time for us to come together is now. The time for us to act is now. If we continue to fight against each other and accept the "spin" of corporate media, we may not have much time left.

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