Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dreams, But Why Bother!

We seem to always have a political treatise or memoir hitting the book stands.  Most of them are self-serving and annoying.  But the number one job of a politician is to keep his job and basically not give a damn about yours!
A while ago a man who currently resides in the White House wrote a personal book that was not meant to garner him political gains, at least not yet.  The book was a big seller made even bigger with his eventual rise in World prominence.
This post merely uses his title to play off and it is with some small apologies to Mr. Obama that I do so.
But frankly it fits with the current atmosphere of America so...

In America we are all given a fair chance to succeed.  This is what we have commonly called the American Dream.
And we want that America Dream for ourselves and even more so for our children.
But just what is The Dream?
Back in 1928 it was simply a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage as then candidate Herbert Hoover pronounced.
Sadly after winning by a landslide over Alfred Smith he and his Republican Party could not deliver on his great claims. Funny that from them not much has changed in that department in the 4 score and 6 years since.
In fact the only thing great about his Presidency turned out to be the Great Stock Market crash and subsequent Great Depression.
The American Dream then became a next meal and a roof over one’s head.
Millions were out of work and looking to Washington for help.
Mr. Hoover did get some small accomplishments during his tenure such as increasing our Nation’s National Park footprint but basically far too little to help those who found themselves on the ground, literally!
It was the Great Depression that outlasted him and catapulted Franklin Delano Roosevelt into the White House.
And after several social programs were put in place by Mr. Roosevelt the nation appeared to be headed back in the right direction.
But we still needed something more.
And we got that nudge when Germany and Japan decided to take over the world.
World War II turned our economy around and it only took the lives of some 60 million people worldwide to do so.
Naturally there were many in politics upon whom that fact was not lost.  I mean the first part, the part about the economy, although the collateral damage probably slipped into their equation at some point.
These, for lack of a better term, war mongers realized the monetary benefit of war.  Of course only if they did not have to fight it themselves.
Former General Eisenhower famously warned about these hawk archetypes in his Presidential farewell speech when he coined the phrase, the vast industrial military complex.
And today that vast industrial military complex sucks the air out of America in many ways.
When the right wing continues to kow tow to their owners in the 1% by lowering their taxes while keeping the middle class down there is only one thing the country can do and that’s cut services!
Now of course you may say that we are all affected by service cuts but be real!  The uber wealthy do not need publicly funded services when they can literally buy an island with the petty cash in their pockets.
So service cuts hurt, harm and eventually kill the poor and middle class.
And let’s face it, when you’re dead the American dream is the least of your worries!
So we may still dream but between the Republican Party trying to gerrymander Democrats out of existence and the wealthy pulling the strings behind them there isn’t really any chance of a Disney ending for most Americans.
We will go into the big sleep with only our dreams perchance to keep our hopes alive.
Well we can dream but unless and until the American voter wakes up from their stupor and realizes what a terrible blight the Republican Party has become we shall only have dreams without any hope of achieving them.

And until then I must admit, Dreams? Why bother!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


History is filled with changing economic times.
There have been boom times where many lives were lifted out of poverty and financial disasters where the opposite route was taken.
Governments tend to bring order to the land and if possible stability.
Strong governments are fine as long as they incorporate checks and balances such as the basic hierarchy of the United States.
But without those features strong governments may turn harsh and corrupt as in North Korea and several Middle Eastern lands. A government that rules with an iron fist has many dangers.
But weak governments are worse and open the door to a coup or at the very least a loss of control that spirals down to anarchy.
Nations have been experimenting with different forms of government for centuries and naturally we in America believe ours, while terribly flawed is the best one in existence.

The lord of the Feifdom lived within these walls.
The Middle Ages saw a long period with no strong centralized government.  The land was generally ruled by lords of the land.  These landlords used the labor of what some might consider slaves to work the land for them as a method of paying off a debt.
The debt could be a fine for something bad the pauper had done or a fee for food he needed to survive.  He might owe money to the powers of the day because he sought to marry and asked the landlord to grant him a hut in which to live.  The landlord might oblige in return for favors with the bride and the use of the child’s labor once old enough to work.
But the bottom line was the ‘free’ man was indebted to the landlord and could lose all including his life if he stopped paying what he owed.
One could be excused for confusing this type of situation as slavery but history branded these poor unfortunates, serfs.

Other ‘ages’ followed such as that of enlightenment and the industrial revolution and while the World moved on toward our current modern times it was not without an occasional hiccup.

There were World Wars and the rise of Communism which in many ways can be considered just another form of feudalism.  And many humans still live under totalitarian rule.

We survived the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing great depression.

We enjoyed the post war era that ushered in the Middle Class and general prosperity for a majority of Americans.

We continued our rise as the most admired nation in the World and have seen continued immigration throughout and past the 20th century.

But along with our march toward a more perfect union we have taken a huge step backwards.  And if we are not careful we will end up back in a new age version of Feudalism as the most affluent among us look for easy prey among the less fortunate. You might be excused for coining a new phrase as they GO SERFING!

Not your daddy's idea of surfing
Before you dismiss this out of hand as absurd think about all the other times people sat back and allowed their lives to be turned upside down and ruined due to complacency and denial.
As I stated earlier there are millions of humans living under the total control of a small number of evil greedy dictators even today!
And there are more would be tyrants plotting the takeover of other countries going on as well.
But think something like that cannot happen in America?
You know what’s coming, THINK AGAIN.

Our steady march to the Middle Ages began decades ago
But as with any slow and steady movement it may be hard to notice the trend until it affects your life.
To wit we first fast forward to 2008 and back to 1929.
We will bounce around in time from then but it’s a fantastic place to start as the lives of so many people were adversely affected in ways they may not overcome in their lifetime.

I offer herewith a dozen examples of how the wealthy are SERFING, SERFING USA!

1 – SECOND 'GREAT DEPRESSION' SERFING – As a result of the financial meltdown caused by the greed and subsequent appeasement of the wealthiest among us millions were thrown into turmoil for no fault of their own.
In fact the only ones not hurt by the financial crisis were the very same people who caused it!
It’s hard to believe it’s almost 6 years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
And the key players are not only still in power but have cemented their positions.  They have gained more wealth than one would have thought possible just a few short years ago.
And as far as catch phrases go; ‘Too big to fail’ has morphed into ‘Too big to jail.’
None of these criminals have or will see the inside of a cell unless it’s to visit those of us who end up in debtors’ prison.  Or maybe it should be called serfer’s prison.
I know it does not exist – yet.

2 – PARASITIC SERFING – If a company came to you and asked you to promote their product wouldn't you expect some form of compensation?
Let’s say you’re an athlete and Nike asked you to wear theirnew sport shoe so they could get a following and make a killing in the market.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could make a few pennies off their fortune as well?
If you are an athlete in college the powers that be say you are not only NOT entitled to get any money off the sale of your image or the promotion of your name etc but if you do accept money you could lose your scholarship and standing in the NCAA!
In other words the lords of college sports and businesses that make money off those sports have conspired to turn you into fodder for their feudal system.
Welcome the real world, Undergrad Serf, it's only the beginning.

3 – RETIREE SERFING – The awful buyers’ job market has spawned a new terminology, one that should strike fear into the hearts of every near retirement age American; Middle Age Interns!
Everyone knows it is immoral to use unpaid interns to do the job that a full time employee has done or could do but if you complain, well, see ya around pal!
Businesses don’t have to rely on workers sending in resumes anymore.  In fact many consider spending a dime on a ‘worker needed’ ad to be foolish as well as time consuming.
Who has the time to read through the thousands of resumes you will receive from incredibly overqualified serfs?
And besides, they can serf the web or put a sign on the front door for hopefuls to drop their papers in the mail slot.

4 – COLLEGE GRAD SERF – If you were a casualty of the 2008 middle class employment massacre that saw millions ‘laid off’ you suddenly found yourself in the same job pool as your dad or every other new college graduate.
With a tremendously large number of draft choices from which to choose and abuse businesses quickly learned from history.
You want a job?
You have debt?
You have a high rate student loan?
Would you like to intern with us?  We might even offer you a job if you work out well! (Or not.)
This offer of an unpaid form of servitude should be followed by, ‘of course I’ll respect you in the morning!’
However more businesses will say they can hire you but with business down they’ll have to pay you less than half what you are worth.
Oh and forget about a pension or other benefits.  Those are only for me and my friends.  You know the ones who can afford to buy their own with the tremendous profits we will be keeping off your labors.
And don’t think about leaving before normal quitting time or getting paid vacations.  In fact I may need you to work a little late, every night off the books of course!
Don’t like the deal?

5 –PEACE OF MIND SERF – Insurance companies have long considered the average human to be an annuity for them.  First they put the fear of disease or death in your head and then they sit back and count their money as you are forced to buy their product.
Insurance in all forms is sold on a “Peace of mind” platform that lulls one into a stupor thinking you are covered in case of an emergency.  Sadly it isn't until you have an emergency that you find you didn't buy the right insurance or you neglected to note the size 4 font at the bottom of the contract you signed.
So sorry but you aren't covered for that!
You can fight and argue but does anyone really believe a lowly serf can defeat the armies of the overlords and their banks of attorneys?  Dumb Serf!

6 – KEEP THE SERF DOWN – And speaking of banks how’s that interest rate you’re receiving?
Is it enough to keep your head above the rate of inflation?
That’s odd since the inflation rate is so low!
Didn't we bail those banks out with our money, our jobs, and our futures?  So the least you should receive in return is a small amount of payback, right?
Hah, you are such a cute Serf!

7 – RELIGIOUS SERFING – But banks take a back seat to the oldest profession in the world.  No I am not speaking of prostitution although in many ways it fits.
Even older than selling your body was the fine art of selling eternal peace, AKA organized religion.
Religion is the worship of anything and in the case of today’s, and yesterday’s religions that thing money!
The only thing scarier than an angry overlord is a so called holy man threatening an uneducated person with eternal damnation.
The preaching snake behind the pulpit is a constant reminder of the talking snake of Adam and Eve fame.
Religion has been around for centuries.
It was started when someone realized he could scare the hell, as it were out of another man by telling him lies of biblical proportions.
Perhaps after two men were fighting an eclipse of the sun happened and one guy jumped at the idea of the first religious scam.  He could tell everyone he caused the eclipse because he was angry!
He asked his friend the creature of the sky to make others do as he wished or face eternal darkness.  The creature obeyed him with a small taste of what that might be.
Not wanting to face that terrible future others treated the lying scam artist with more respect than he deserved.  Little by little the lie became fact and his power grew.
He passed his evil joke onto his heirs and the lineage of the faithful serfs began.
They gave what little they had to the man who spoke with the gods of the sky.  And they did so as faithfully as did the shop owners of Little Italy when paid protection was demanded by the powers that be.
And the rest is history.

8 – NON UNIONIZED SERFING – There is a virtual moat around the castle that is big business these days.  It is as impossible to ford as is the proverbial glass ceiling to break for most women.
Maybe if enough of us get together and form some kind of group we can finally go back across the Rubicon or rise above the invisible barrier to what once was an attainable American Dream.
Maybe we could form a union of sorts.
Oh, wait.  Those have been under attack ever since Ronald Reagan realized their inherent danger to the wealth and prosperity of the feudal lords.
When PATCO had the nerve to desire pay equal to their skills and importance Lord Trickle Down broke them and the trend has continued to this day!
Nowadays unions are under attack from every quarter and when the ones that still exist make any headway in talks with management they are vilified for causing rates to go up and costs to rise on non-unionized serfs.
Why you may ask would this happen?  Well in case you haven’t been paying attention there is no way management will lower their profit margins one cent so any give backs to unions will be passed along.

9 – STAGNATION SERFING – And as far as not paying attention goes have you noticed how little the Republican Party has done over the last 5 or 6 years?
They have stopped or tried to stop every ounce of progress or measure aimed at getting America back on the road to prosperity in favor of lowering taxes for the overlords.
They have proposed cuts to every social measure known to man while giving their full support to the serf makers.  Please don’t call them job makers anymore it’s embarrassing to anyone with a brain.
And still they are in office!
Polls show they will stay in office and even stand a chance to gain a majority in both chambers of Congress.
But with a little luck we can vote these dolts, these puppets of the overlords out of office and elect a more enlightened group to lead us out of our fiefdom.
We must break from our role as Voter Serfs!

10 – SUFFRAGE SERFING – (Nice segue, no?) Well it will take a lot more than luck since the landlords have hit upon another method to keep the slave revolt from taking place, blocking voter’s rights.
Many serfs cannot afford to take time off from work to vote on Election Day or their lords may insist they work a few extra 'off the book' hours on that Tuesday.
Luckily many states have early voting days and same day registration and extended hours if lines are long.
Oh wait, those have been ruled out by every State with a Republican held majority across America.
And even if you can get to the polling booth on time you may not be allowed to vote if you are a woman who has been divorced and you don’t carry proof of your married name change with you.
You cannot vote if you have ever been arrested or perhaps look like you have been arrested or if the guy at the front door of the polling place doesn't like your face!
Voter’s rights are going the way of the unions in our American fiefdom and it will take a huge concerted effort to stem that tide from drowning our freedom.

11 – KEEP ON SERFING – The righteous fight for Democracy in America will take a great deal of money.  And it is money most of us do not have.
The vast majority of workers are paid far less than they deserve and many take home levels considered below the poverty line.
The meager money these workers make forces the government to subsidize them with programs such as food stamps from SNAP.
But the same companies that pay their workers these obscenely low wages spend fortunes to stop any increase to the federal minimum wage laws.  They vilify these low paid workers calling them lazy takers.
The truth is it is the CEOs of the large corporations who are the takers.
With their ownership of five ninths of the Supreme Court they have taken our labor, our money and our futures and placed them firmly in their off shore tax havens.
The ‘Citizen’s United’ ruling clearly unites only the citizens with unlimited wealth, aka our new overlords.
And these overlords of America fight anything that threatens their fortunes.
They have grown so sure of themselves that they were totally blindsided when their last champion lost his bid for the White House.  They were so certain he was going to win the Presidential election and take back America from the low class takers that even when the polls closed and they showed a massive victory for the other guy they sat stunned claiming fraud.  It was a pathetic show of hubris but certainly not their first and surely not their last.
Serfs of America may be forgiven for a bit of schadenfreude but sadly it didn't last and it was soon business as usual in Feudal America.

12 – SERF THE IGNORANT – The overlords are even waging a war on education and science refusing to believe in any man made or man assisted climate change.  Perhaps they feel if they keep their heads in the sand or somewhere else the sun doesn't shine nothing will stop their ascension to total lords of the World.
Friends of the wealthy who perpetrate and perpetuate this perp-laden practice regularly appear on friendly networks such as Rupert Murdoch’s FOX to keep the under educated just that.
Lulling the masses to sleep with tales of how the Democrats are out to take away your freedom or worse, your guns scare their base almost as much as did the preachers of old.
And since the Republican Party is the puppet of the wealthy one must conclude that they realize an educated electorate is their worst nightmare.
Sad ill-informed Serfs!

Anyone with a brain or a modicum of intelligence must feel frustrated to do anything about this system.
If we continue to act as if it’s futile to fight we will end up in a feudal light!
If all we do is Bitch Boys (and girls) nothing will change.
Our leaders have abdicated the throne to the landlords of the Fiefdom and as the glaciers melt and the oceans rise one wonders if they can swim.
They had better learn fast.
But until then sadly they will continue to serf.
Because everybody’s Serfin, serfin USA.

If we all had a notion
Across the USA
Then no lords would be serfin’

Like they are today!