What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:25
“...The goal has always been, Charles says, “true democracy,” where people “can run their own lives and choose what they want to buy, choose how to spend their money.” (“Now in our democracy you elect somebody every two to four years and they tell you how to run your life,” he says.)…”
There is nothing wrong with having wealth. The Pink Flamingo aspired to it on a daily basis. I was once ‘well off’ but no longer am. My lack of financial where-with-all is due, as is much of the nation, to the economy, the real estate crash, and unbridled greed. A single individual cannot effect the economy. Real estate crashes have been happening on a somewhat cyclical basis for most of this nation’s history. That’s life. What isn’t acceptable though, is having one’s future and financial security stripped, through no fault of their own, other than the fact that the older generation was far too trusting in their choice of financial planners, institutions, and brokers.
What is wrong is when wealth becomes so concentrated, and so much of a means to an end that those who have it will literally do anything, to keep it, regardless of who they destroy in the process. If it were just The Pink Flamingo’s parents who were caught in this trap, I would say, that’s the name of the game. You snooze you lose. But, I learning, in what is almost a weekly basis, that good men and women, decent people who have worked hard their entire lives have been cleaned, some of them by brokers they trusted most in this world – godchildren, even.
The frequency of hearing more and more about honorable, honest people who have worked hard, their entire lives, have saved, played the game the by the rules, put up a considerable nest-egg, and then being subjected to the indignities of having that nest egg stripped by pure greed is becoming alarmingly frequent. The ones who are hurting the most are the real “Makers” the men and women who built business, made a small fortune, and trusted that fortune to see them through the rest of their lives, and to see that their children got a little something. Most don’t have a pension. Most of them put a bare minimum into social security. They were so busy being taxed at upward of 40-50% that they couldn’t afford it. They would stash and build a nest egg. Once they retired, that nest egg was put out at interest, used to purchase land, or handed over to a broker to invest.
People who had a cash flow and income of at least $150K a year, are now barely making due on $15,000 social security. They are being forced to liquidate, with the vultures who scammed them out of their hard-earned savings stepping in to pick at what is left. They are being harassed on an hourly basis by credit card companies, over a bill that is two days late, and maybe a hundred bucks. The problem is, when you don’t have enough money to pay for food, you need that hundred bucks. There is no end to the merciless vulture culture that has been created in this country.
In many ways, it is reaching the point where it is almost evil. Greed is a vice. Greed is not good, it is evil. It is the basis of much of the heartache and trauma of the world. Greed destroys. It kills. It ruins lives, and those are just the lives of the greedy. What it does to those who are stepped upon in order to enable the greedy is even worse.
Paul Krugman once wrote:
The Unites States of America, once that shining city on a hill, is no longer that shining city. It has become a fortress of gold-pressed latinum, where only those who are part of this new power structure are allowed to enter. It is a power structure where the ultra wealthy, thanks to Citizen’s United, are allowed to spread their wealth in a most alarming manner, completely undermining the basic tenets of our Republic. When individuals of great wealth are allowed to spend more than the rest of us, to purchase political favors and candidates, it is the end of our world as we know it.
It is about the Rise of the Oligarchs.
“…Oligarchy (from Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning “few”, and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning “to rule or to command”) is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next. In his 2011 book Oligarchy, Jeffrey A. Winters defines oligarchy as “the politics of wealth defense by materially endowed actors.” In Winters’ definition, massive wealth is the key factor in identifying oligarchs.
Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public obedience and/or oppression to exist) or relatively benign. Aristotle pioneered the use of the term as a synonym for rule by the rich, for which the exact term is plutocracy, but oligarchy is not always a rule by wealth, as oligarchs can simply be a privileged group, and do not have to be connected by bloodlines as in a monarchy….”
What do they want?
“...From this confluence of campaign finance, personal connections, and ideology there flowed, in just the past decade, a river of deregulatory policies that is, in hindsight, astonishing:
• insistence on free movement of capital across borders;
• the repeal of Depression-era regulations separating commercial and investment banking;
• a congressional ban on the regulation of credit-default swaps;
• major increases in the amount of leverage allowed to investment banks;
• a light (dare I say invisible?) hand at the Securities and Exchange Commission in its regulatory enforcement;
• an international agreement to allow banks to measure their own riskiness;
• and an intentional failure to update regulations so as to keep up with the tremendous pace of financial innovation….”
This is so wrong:
“...And yes, I am going to call “conservatives” fascists in this post, because the people who cheer the death of their fellow citizens aren’t good Americans. They aren’t good Christians either. If you hate the poor and wish death upon the sick, you aren’t a Christian, you’re a Roman. If you believe in torture and the death sentence I don’t understand how you reconcile the torture and death penalty imposed upon Jesus, but more importantly to my point, if you believe in small democracy and a limited democracy that subservient to the wealthy and business interests alone, you don’t believe in democracy, you believe in Oligarchy.
The idea of “Free Markets” is a direct assault on the central idea behind Democracy. The idea that Democracy via Government has no place in Governing the commerce conducted within the state is a method of thwarting democracy. If one wealthy Oligarch can have his will over the combined will of millions of his fellow citizens than he is not their peer, he is their King.We have an Oligarchy in America, that can not be disputed.
There are billionaires who control multi-billion dollar industries who exert enormous wealth and power, and they are the bribe makers, they are the men who bribe our law makers and law enforcers to subvert our democracy to their interests, and not only have they succeeded, but they have declared a silent, coded all out war on the heart of American Democracy itself.
Coded language such “economic freedom” means the freedom of the rich to do as they please and the freedom for the victims of their robbery to die in the streets. “Social Justice” can only become the enemy of economic freedom when the basis of that economic freedom is fraudulent, that is why the bribe taking lawmakers hate “Social Justice”, because social justice means an end to the “Economic Freedom” to commit their fraud and do as they please.
What conservative fascists call “Socialism” is anything that stands in the way of their undemocratic “Free Markets”. Duckspeak was the word used by George Orwell in 1984 to describe the dumbing down of language into a incomprehensible system of relaying talking points to the brain that fitted perfectly within party approved discussion. When I hear conservative fascists speak the same talking points ad verbatim in a mishmosh of disconnected lunacy, Duckspeak is what I am hearing….”
Right now, The Pink Flamingo is having a very difficult time writing this post. Thanks to the wonderful greed of the brave new world, much of what remained of my world has come crashing down on me, this evening. The good news, or the bad news is that I’m not the only person having my life pulled out from under me. It appears to be the name of the tame today. If you’re not part of the 0.1% in this world, you are fodder to be trod under their feet.
No, I did not feel like this, once upon a time. I thought I was part of the upper 5%. At one time, I was. But, the way the game is rigged, today, even what remains is so easily taken from you by greed and selfishness, by cruelty, lies, and cheating.
The worst problem with the new American Oligarchs is the fact that they are sad, pathetic selfish little people who are willing to destroy our country, just to have their own way. They are richer than anyone in history. That didn’t work out for King Solomon. It didn’t work out for Midas. It didn’t work out for Caligula or Nero. It’s not going to work out for them.
Oh, they may be spared the humbling, gift of problems, that turn us into real, feeling individuals. They may not need to worry about not being able to pay their bills, have their lights cut off, or not be able to afford their medications. They might not need to worry about their parents and their loss of financial stability. After all, they are part of the problem.
They don’t need to worry about much of anything in their strange and convoluted version of Randian socialism. They are removed from all the problems of life to the point where they have no real grasp of reality. They’re spoiled, selfish, and terribly childish. One of these days, some of these men are going to go off the deep end and start making Caligula type demands on the American people. I wonder if anyone will say anything?
It’s not like the far right really cares. People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Medved, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, and the usual punditry suspects really aren’t all that in to worshiping money. That’s not the problem. The problem is that they are worshiping the wealthy.
That’s a sad state of affairs that allow the oligarchs to grow increasingly more powerful as they continue to purchase great chunks of our society. The own the Republicans in the House, Senate, and throughout the states. They basically control the Supreme Court. They can do anything they want.
That’s what an Oligarch is.
Unlimited power that has corrupted, in unlimited ways.