The American Dream
04/23/2012 § Leave a comment
This link to a piece by George Carlin sums up the state of the union for the last 20 years. Its a dark and stormy outlook for this country, but its increasingly apparent, even to idiots like me. I didn’t want to see it, but its increasingly harder to ignore. I’m content to do the 9 to 5 thing, not upset the apple cart, tow the line, work for the man. But should I?
It was the duty of every American, as one time, to throw the bums out of office, to vote, and replace with revolutionary fervor the ruling party with some one new, some one I felt confident was looking out for my best interests, and the interests of my fellow citizens. Read what Thomas Jefferson had to say about this some time, its very enlightening. But currently, voting doesn’t seem to be quite the effective tool it once was. We keep electing the same guys, really.
Obama came in with a mandate for change, yet the policies GW and Clinton put in place with regard to bills eroding civil liberties have been extended and even toughened. The Department of Homeland Security, and that name is a joke, everyone knows its the American version of the Gestapo, or the GRU, has been given dramatic new powers to ignore your constitution in the name of “security”. I never heard a truer statement until a friend recently remarked that every sovereign’s reaction to threats, real or perceived, throughout history, has been to prey upon its own people, no exception. I can’t really refute that comment.
I’ve always been a big believer in our system of capital and its ability to raise people up. More millionaires are created in America than anywhere else in the world, period. That’s great. But its becoming more and more apparent to me that the game is rigged.
America puts more people in jail than any other civilized country, in the WORLD! Largely due to drug offenders. mere possession puts thousands of people in jail. Once in jail, assuming the offense is a felony, that felon has as record. Once some one has a record, they are virtually unemployable. Once unemployable, well, there’s food stamps. That’s one less person able to contribute to our incredibly complex tax system. And there’s incentive for jurisdictions to jail people, county sheriffs collect state tax money for every person behind bars. There’s a whole system in place to house and feed these people. Inmates, assuming they have money or has someone who can put money in their county “books” can buy junk food, for which that jurisdiction collects even more cash. Once out, or even while they are in jail, there is an entire system of social programs, with people waiting to “help” them, and everyone one of those people count on these inmates and ex-offenders for their jobs. Its a huge cash machine, and once the machine is in motion whoa to those who stand in its way. This system, for all the good everyone on the outside believes it is doing to keep them safe, really just feeds on people. Violent offenders, those who are obviously not fit to live in the confines of decent and “normal”, modern, non-violent life, the Charlie Mansons of the world, well, the problem here is obvious, and difficult to solve. But the bulk of people in jail are hardly of that cloth. We’ve all apparently accepted that anyone that’s every been to jail is useless to us and only worthy of being on the dole. Can we afford to stay with this philosophy?
Another way the game is rigged is a strange law that I became aware of as a contractor. Tax law is incredibly complex, if you don’t employ the help of an accountant who knows about it your at a great disadvantage. To qualify for certain deductions you, as an independent business and a corporation, must have multiple income streams and the corporation must be comprised of two or more living people. I’m certainly simplifying the thing, but many of you know what I’m talking about. At first blush its obvious that this was imposed as some kind of way to control tax fraud, and people willing to commit it are plenty. I know, a friend of mine is an IRS agent. She tells me about her cases all the time. But its another hurdle to us who would like to be self employed, and again, I can’t stress how very complex the system is. What exactly are the problems with a tithe; everyone contributes a percentage of their income? There’s tons of opposition to that, of course, the loudest voices would be from the accountants, I’m sure.
The last troubling bit of evidence for the rigging I want to mention is the obvious creepage of systems to help those in power maintain control. Video cameras are everywhere. I know the arguments, it cuts down on violent crime. I don’t have an argument against that. But is that the world we really want to live in? I read posts by people all over the world, we all do, at least those of us who work or do things online, and I have opportunity to speak to IT professionals from Britain quite a bit. Britain’s CCTV system has been in the news a lot, it appears to be a concerted effort of the British Government to install closed-circuit cameras everywhere and the effect has been a supposedly dramatic reduction in crime. But there are detractors. Spoilsports, or legitimate concern? The British that I speak with online about this are a mixed bag, of course. A surprising number of them don’t seem to have a problem with it. But some do. Many did regard the earlier link to the story about a CCTV being installed in every home as simply too intrusive. It is. In my opinion however its a natural progression. Once CCTVs are an accepted part of the landscape the natural next step is to install them in every home. Once that’s accomplished, well, I don’t know what the next step is but its probably not too far to observing the kinds of foods people eat and charging them accordingly as the strain on the British state health care system will simply not tolerate another heart attack. Please put that cake down, Mrs. Parsons, and report to the nearest health clinic for some state mandated health and nutrition re-education.
Sounds preposterous, right?
Here’s a link to a story that just showed up on Susan Sarandon.
Had to update this entry with this story.
Good peice by Tavis Smiley on the part of the American Dream that I didn’t cover.