“Everything is connected; and in the financial and political arenas, this connection is one single, solitary strand: Money.”
“You give me armed drone marketing to our national market, a couple of strong lobbyists, a lot of cash, and I’ll sell millions. Constitutionality, moral responsibility, the common good? We can address such minor issues once the product is sufficiently embedded and part of the mainstream. After all, it is easier to get forgiveness than permission.”
“The truly powerful feed ideology to the masses like fast food while they dine on the most rarified delicacy of all: impunity.” -Naomi Klein
Over the last months, I have done quite a bit of reading regarding the supposed issues inside the beltway, from the Fiscal Cliff to women’s rights, from the continuing stalemates of the Tea Party contingent in the Republican House to the Second Amendment, from the Debt Ceiling to the death of our middle class, from the cut of entitlements to the neglect of our elderly and poor.
And I am certainly not unique in scouring the pages for relevant stories regarding these issues.
However, it is very easy to get caught up in the minutiae, the details, and not see the macro trend that has led us to the horrific conditions so prevalent today… down the primrose path, so to speak.
We often overlook the obvious:
The accelerating decline of runaway capitalism, replaced by a new economic system based on speculation and control; a system that I often refer to as ‘Post Modern Oppression.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “A man in debt is so far a slave.” With the deregulation of our banking system, the marriage of commercial banks with investment banks, with the participation of the insurance industry and the proliferation of finance-friendly technology- we have allowed the creation of a successfully orchestrated greed unlike anything in the history of mankind, globally.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was right. Globally, people are only slightly evaluated based on behavior demonstrative of integrity or the acumen of career success (once common, especially in community banks); these are a rapidly decreasing, minute part of the new criteria used to ‘measure’ one’s ability to procure credit. The availability of data accessible to our financial institutions now enables them to evaluate credit worthiness in a much more intrusive way- from one’s specific buying habits to history of illness (even of other family members), from internet searches to which neighborhoods in which one has lived. Not that the financial institutions have ever excluded this criteria- but much like ‘new age’ hiring and employment evaluation, technology has enabled banks to ‘tweak’ such invasive practices to unfathomable levels.
One has to remember that for a bank, a debtor is a valued customer- albeit an indentured customer. And in the latter years of the Bush administration, loans were doled out to virtually anybody with a Social Security card and a Drivers License, regardless of default risk.
Subsequent to the provision of these loans to the masses, they were then packaged and sold as ‘lucrative’ investments based on rank as to the likelihood of success or failure- who can pay the note vs. those that are most likely to default, and everyone in between. Regarding the high-risk loan investments, higher returns were offered to lure more customers. The banks then maximized their insurance of these loans based on inflated value, in anticipation of their subsequent failure (the loosening of insurance requirements at the insistence of these same banks is another topic altogether).
And who were the buyers/holders of these sure-to-fail loan investments? The world: From Germany to Iceland, from municipalities to state governments, from your 401k to company pension funds, from other banks… to taxes and collected and loaned by the federal government to bail out these same banks… and then there was AIG.
As for the United States? The victims hit the worst were the middle class, the poor, the elderly, and our education system.
And since the 2007 financial crisis, it has recently been reported that the banks continue to sell these same loans packages that impoverish the global community and widen the income gap. Additionally, there is a proliferation of more ruthless investments calculated on the risk of everything from death bonds to failing governments.
The underreported horrific situation concerning Libor is the absolute worst and most consequential of criminal banking behavior. A number of large international banks in the U.K., are responsible for collectively setting the interest rates for intra-bank lending. This is a highly speculative affair; and one that is/was engaged in illegal, massive manipulation of these rates in order to show higher profits. The consequence? To the banks? Penalties that in some cases take/took about half an hour to pay off. To the customers? The city of Baltimore even filed suit… Good luck with that.
One might say that this is an inconsequential story or a complicated one- that is until one realizes that these banks control a conservative estimate of 360 Trillion U.S. dollars; which is $50,000.00+ for every human being on Earth. As if that much money even exists; but for the profiteers, the speculation of these funds is quite real.
Bringing this back to the micro level: Your widowed aunt that lost her house, or your father’s lost pension, or the masters-degreed brother whose only job offer is as a barista at Starbucks, or the exorbitant interest on your credit card… or the 47% drop in the net worth of Americans- all of this is primarily due to banking behavior predicated by a level of greed heretofore unseen in the history of mankind. Why so dramatic? The victimization is global and the widening of the income and wealth gap is unprecedented.
Hence my frustration with much of our media, and its control by large, market-manipulative, corporate entities so directed by the global banking industry.
While our divide-and-conquered populace is overwhelmed with issues ranging from gay marriage to Tea Party influence, from gun control to right to life issues, from immigration to gerrymandering- everyone has been hoodwinked, not even realizing it. And not to say such issues aren’t important, but they pale in comparison to the consequences of the resulting oppressive actions so imposed by the banking industry. After all, food, clothing, and shelter do take precedent.
And don’t doubt: This is oppression.
Meanwhile, everyone has an enemy: Obama, the Tea Party, the Commie Liberals, the proponents for gay marriage, the Republican House, the immigrants, … the list goes on.
The true enemy of The People and the successful application of derision and division is… the banks. And not just the enemy of The People of the United States, yet the entire world community. Contributing to this ‘robbery,’ when globalization and technology came ‘online’- the banks were the first ones on the bus.
Unfortunately we live in a post-capital, market-driven, ad obsessed culture. We live in a world of speculation and domination, a market-driven world where the determination of success is measured almost entirely by money and wealth- at the expense of right and wrong:
A world where a Lexus is more important than ethics, where a mansion is surely more important than moral code. We have been trained, taught, and indoctrinated that the dollar is our god; making us all the more susceptible to derision, division, distraction, and diversion- and obsessed with the next item the internet chooses for us to borrow money and buy… We are the perfect victims of con.
So when we talk about enemy, it might be prudent to understand whom the enemy really is- and start to engage them on their field of play. Such fare might successfully determine our quality of life, and perhaps even the outcome of certain, current issues…
Such as gun control.
Like much of the nation, I was horrified at the events in Connecticut, if not more so; it certainly tainted my Christmas.
And since that time, I have read many articles and heard many debates regarding the Second Amendment, assault weapon magazines, the definition of ‘armed militia,’ mental illness, even teachers carrying firearms. Of course the solutions offered are divided along party lines (divide and conquer), and subsequently, with a diminishing prospect of any effective change.
What a misguided waste of time. When might realize that it is not about mandate, discourse, dogma, moral duty, or The Constitution? It is ultimately and only about… Money.
Ultimately, this influence will more than likely ‘arm’ the NRA to successfully stall any life-saving legislation. I have heard many positive suggestions, but none that emphasize the true roadblock to change: Solutions offered based on the truth that our decision makers understand one thing above all: Money.
And before continuing, let me say that my take on this problem is very general, possibly misinformed, and surely misguided.
It is a bit unnerving to me that I can take twenty minutes to shop for shoes or a brief case on the internet, and then receive advertisements of these items on multiple pages for weeks after my search. It is not uncommon for me to receive an endless plethora of loan offers, so predicated by criteria that I am not even aware of.
It is NOT unnerving to realize that such data could be applied to prospective massacre killers. For instance, if someone conducts various searches for information about assault weapons, coordinated with required medical data and reported purchases of weapons (gun shows are a problem)- such a collection of filtered data could be an effective way of flagging potential assailants. As it is, 75% of the states do not even conduct mental illness checks on gun buyers. And no government presently connects (compiles) this data that might reveal such individuals. Why not? The availability of such data is surely there, ready to be purchased with Fed dollars from the same data-mining firms that conduct business with the banking industry.
And where would the money come from?
Elevate taxes and require insurance on all firearms, based on the grade of weaponry and quantity of bullets purchased on a yearly basis. Subsequently, with the gains from these proceeds, require insurance companies to acquire this data, and further, to require mental health checks substantiated by medical certificates from qualified physicians. Concerned with liability, insurance companies would surely employ these measures anyway.
Successfully making such insurances profitable enough for carriers to vigorously pursue, it would be quite entertaining to watch the insurance lobby battle it out with the gun lobby. Who do you think would win? We all know. And lawyers? The ABA certainly wouldn’t have trouble with such policies considering the prospect of increased, lucrative legal activity. And if one were to successfully dangle such a carrot to the legal industry, perhaps we might ‘suggest’ that they relent on reviewing tort reform. Hmm… I’m out of my mind.
Regarding the initial passing of the insurance bill by doubtful legislators, the amendment would need to be part of a package inclusive of enticements targeting Senate and House members- additionally predicated by pressure from corresponding local governments and municipalities. Might we mandate that bullets are also taxed at a high federally set rate, only available for purchase through police departments and sheriff offices? The proceeds of these taxes would be given to the corresponding municipality and state governments- to spend on earmarked allocations from infrastructure maintenance to state and local government employment.
Although the battle would be a tough one in many districts where there are sizeable populations of gun rights advocates, the tax revenues of state bullet distribution at preset federal levels, allocated to state and municipal governments- would be a strong enticement to adopt such legislation. It would also bolster successful police activity in evaluating the users of such weapons.
These are just three examples that might have extremely positive effects to the health and security of American society, using the example of gun legislation.
Why the prospect of success? Because we will no longer engage in actions based on issues such as the Second Amendment, the common good, or moral responsibility- issues that are perceived of as ‘less important’ to those that make the decisions. Frankly, the vast majority of the true decision makers don’t give a damn about what they see as such ‘trivial’ issues.
No, we will learn to speak the language long understood by the true players in this sick game:
The language of money.
… We better. For our own sake.