- > Columns
- TODAY'S NEWS AND HOOTS
- Feature - Lloyd Kaufman: The Kotori Interview
- Feature - Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Road to the Mountaintop
- Feature - Losing LeBron
- Feature - The Crazy Legend of Slowhand Jack
- Feature - The Giving Lens Gets Focused
- Notes From A Polite New Yorker
- Tommy Digital's Pussy Cocktails
- The Octopus Files
- Wasims Rants
- The Guys You'll Meet on Earth, But Not in Heaven
- Slippery Id
- The Shameful Truth
- Writing for the Sake of It
- Void Creation
- Frankly Speaking
- Pulling At The Fringes
- These Altered States - America Trying to Become Itself
- The Worthless
The Shameful Truth: Hitler, War, Racism and Genocide... or "The Tempestuous Sea of Liberty"
Fascism is bleeding into the thinning walls of our democracy.
"We have to make America the best place in the world to do business." -Dick Cheney
This is not just about greed. Though it is, perhaps, easier to dismiss it all as a human device or vice, this is about an evolving system which has morphed into less of the "we the people," and more of "buy the people." This is about Corporate takeover of a fledgling and now disappearing democracy. But corporations are run by people, and there are, in fact, a few people with the consolidated power and wealth in this country. With fascism power is consolidated and the missive of law is that the nation can wage war to strengthen itself (as opposed to defending.) Fascism also focuses on convincing the nation that it has a common purpose. Be it a war on terror or criminals who need to be locked up for our protection. Fascism is bleeding into the thinning walls of our democracy.
Banks, Financial Institutions and Corporations are the most powerful entities in this Nation. More powerful than our elected officials. More powerful, even, than our president. Banks, Financial Institutions and Corporations not only inform our national policy but also our foreign policy. These institutions are not concerned with human rights. They are not concerned with moral consciousness. They are not concerned with people. They are concerned, only, with profits.
And now, as of January 6, 2011, our Man of Change has appointed the ex-JP Morgan big man, William M. Daley as his new Chief of Staff. So now, one of our most powerful executives in the White House – appointed by OUR president elect – is one and the same with the name of banking and big business interests. He has even been endorsed by both The Chamber of Commerce (see "Citizens United and The Chamber of Congress") and Karl Rove.
The fact that our man of Change and Hope has sold out is another essay, but, for now, what is important is that our seized democracy is in a state of emergency. Our votes, requesting change and help for the little guy, more racial equality, healthcare reform, an end to war, and the closing of Guantanamo, have been superseded by the Power of a strengthening Monetary State – be it a weakening people's state.
Our (loss of) liberties as a people are subject to a government that can imprison people indefinitely – without being tried or charged –as the continuation of policy of a re-interpreted constitution that allows preventative measures as means to vague boundaries of imprisonment (Guantanamo and Bagram). That we are allowing this to continue as a policy of the United States of America is beyond atrocious.
Part of the reason we, as a people, have permitted this to happen, is we have been indoctrinated by a system that condones imprisonment rather than rehabilitation or deterrence. We keep the "criminal minds" off the street, deny them of certain rights in order to prevent more crime. But we, as a system never look into the cause of crime or prevention of this dead-end cycle because the cycle serves those in power to keep a portion of the population undereducated and underpaid as an economic incentive to business. Our system has been re-organized around profit and oppression. This is not a random accident. We oppress other nations in War, and we oppress our own people by aiding in their demise but not in their success. Which aids in the success of more moneymaking schemes for corporate profit under the pretense of keeping us safe.
The United States has the largest documented prison population in the world, and the cost is approximately $50 billion a year to state governments and $5 billion more to the federal government. As of 2008, one in nine black men, age 20 – 34, is in prison. Black men are imprisoned almost seven times more often than white men. This August, in 2010, a study by the Schott Foundation found that only forty-seven percent of black men in the U.S. finish high school.
Why, then, have we not put some of the billions of dollars of costs to incarcerate people into a better education system and jobs programs – which would surely deflate the prison population?
Why are so many prisons privatized and, in fact, big money makers for corporate owners? Corrections Corporation of America, the nation's largest private jailer – with revenue in the billions in 2008 - spent millions of dollars to lobby against two bills: the Public Safety Act of 2007 (which would outlaw private prisons) and the Private Prison Information Act of 2007.
Corrections Corporation of America won. Profits over people.
During Nazi rule in Germany and its occupied territories, the Nazis employed slave labor. Even Fordwerke, an auxiliary of the Ford Motor Company employed slave labor. Hmm.
Prisons in the United States now employ huge numbers of inmates who work for .23 cents an hour to $1.15 an hour – maximum (The Prison Policy Initiative) for corporations that pay the prisons for the labor. (In some cases they are technically paid more, but due to various deductions the inmate doesn't see more.) The prisons make money, as do the corporations. Not far from slave labor.
These Truths exist.
But the lies exist as well.
"If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed. " - Adolf Hitler
"There is no doubt that Sadam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." - Dick Cheney
We have gone to war based on lies. Lies that our leaders at the time knew were lies.
But there was money to be made. Is money to be made.
There is not money to be made by stopping genocide. Hitler was counting on this, too.
There is a genocide that CONTINUES in Darfur, Sudan. Over half a million Darfurians have been killed because of ethnic cleansing and millions have been displaced on the same count. We did not send troops to stop this genocide, but we sent troops to Iraq because it was good for corporate profits. We know about Halliburton, and now non-Iraqi oil companies can recoup 75% of oil from oil projects in Iraq, Bush and Cheney War profiteers.
In 1940 the U.S. knew about ghettos and Hitler's atrocities. In 1942 the U.S. knew about the slaughter of almost three-quarter of a million polish Jews. Yet, The U.S. waited two more years and until more than six million Jews had been killed in Europe to get involved.
We, as a nation, are young enough and ignorant enough to think that our liberties, freedom of speech, and what we hold precious as our "liberty" will last because it exists. Unfortunately, we have to be active in this process of maintaining what we know as "liberty."
It was Thomas Jefferson who said,
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty."
That means, it is something we must fight for.
Stand up to the Industrial Military Complex.
Stand up to the Corrections Corporations of America.
Stand up against OUR tax dollars paying for profits to corporations from WAR and INCARCERATION.
Stand up against our tax dollars NOT going to EDUCATION.
Fight against our tax dollars going towards the destruction of what we know as liberty, rather than the maintenance of it.
Often I lay awake at night. Sometimes I am thinking how messed up things have gotten. Sometimes I am thinking how messed up I have gotten – and that I am much too hard on my country's downfalls. I mean, we don't live in Belarus! Nor do we live under the reigns of Stalin. I can write this column, speak up – if be put on a list of suspects – and leave the country if I want. But then, I think, wowa. This is exactly the thinking that is at the core of subservience. We settle for the minimum freedoms, rather than fighting for a minimum.
Perhaps the problem is that we have never set our standards high enough. A good education, access to reasonable and affordable healthcare, and pensions secure from derivatives and double speak are not actually in our constitution. But neither is the part about making our country more business friendly than people friendly, so where are the guardians of balance?
I guarantee you, if we do not get a handle on this corporate takeover of government, if we do not educate our Nation's people, and if we are not willing to face the truths of who we have become, our children will be raised in a Nation with failed public schools and unaffordable healthcare, in a system where people are rewarded for greed and profit from racist slave labor and lying. For this is what we have seen in the first decade of the new millennium.
While we count our money.
And wash our hands.
That's the Shameful Truth.
"We the people" still have the vote, but we need to exercise it and let the politicians know that we will not put up with this obstruction of liberty.
Go to: movetoamend.org
End corporate takeover.