What is in your best interests right now?
If you are a normal human being, that is, not a psychopath or a sociopath, you might say: a good paying job; security for your children; a loving relationship; a secure home; a secure retirement; healthcare; the opportunity to do more and / or better in the future. The list can be lengthy.
For me, it is my own belief that, “I am under no one’s thumb” and only subject to my own self-imposed limitations or restrictions that make me feel good about myself and my future. When I feel that way I can move mountains and attain any objective. At least that’s the way it has seemed to me over my past 65 years.
When I have been denied my belief, even for a few hours or days, I became depressed, angry, hyper-aware and very motivated.
Perhaps we share that belief in common.
In the past when life became hopeless for nearly everyone, and families had little – not even the tiniest itty-bitty bit of wealth, shelter, food or clothing – bloody revolution followed. Overwhelmingly, people (the 99.9%) became convinced that they had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
For me it appears we are once again on another historic threshold of great unrest, for the undeniable inequitable distribution of wealth leads to no other conclusion. (1.)
What will happen to the USA and other western nations as the formerly oblivious middle class realizes that they, too, have been reduced to serfdom? Will we, like our ancestors, stumble on into hopelessness and eventually rebel? Or, will we make history and create a new path back to hopefulness and opportunity for all?
Clearly those in charge have prepared the way to resist a revolution should it materialize, and make it very bloody. Following 9/11 Congress suspended the Bill of Rights and passed the most repressive laws in the history of our nation: the USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commission Act and the National Defense Authorization Act.
What did we do?
Well, we stood by as our constitutionally guaranteed rights evaporated and our hometown police were armed to the teeth with surplus military weapons, SWATT gear, armored HUMVs and Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAPs) vehicles.
To me it sure looks like our government is spending our tax monies to ensure our police are ready for combat against us.
If not, then where are the domestic enemies? Are they the ones the NEOCONS created in Iraq and Afghanistan or are they those our CIA financed through out the Third World to topple governments they didn’t like?
When I was a child we thought of ourselves as the guarantors of a rebuild Europe and Japan; conquerors of outer space, and technological wizards. Our home was a land where both the American Dream and equal opportunity lived; where I could own my home, make a good and stable living, and send my kids to college.
Somewhere along the way our nation changed. We metastasized, into a Doppelganger USA selling perpetual war — dealing death to millions — and all the while trampling on our own Constitution and our citizens’ freedoms.
We became the land that assassinated its own president and civil rights leaders. And, under the spell of an irrational fear of communism, we let our Black Ops people murder, torture and disrupt with impunity; topple democratically elected governments and stymie third world nationalistic heroes; kill millions of defenseless people in predatory capitalistic wars; sell cocaine to our children to fund countless wars against people throughout the world (2.) and flushed trillions of dollars down the toilet while letting our own starve. We turned the mentally ill out in the bitter cold; allowed millions to go without proper healthcare and treated our elderly like used disposable diapers. All the while the few, the .1%, capitalized on the perpetual war machine — the Doppelganger USA — we had become.
We, the 99.9%, remained oblivious, even while nearly 3,000 of our own were murdered before our eyes on one September day.
Finally, our metastasized Predatory Capitalist system went too far and Depression .2 happened. That’s when millions of us lost everything — our homes, our savings, our jobs and our dreams. We began to awaken because these things were now actually happening to us, the middle class, the everyday Joes and Janes who go to work, pay our mortgages, take care of our kids and believe our government is working in the best interests of us all.
No longer were just the “minorities” being abused, disenfranchised and stolen blind. We were too. We became the “them”, “the despised others”, in the .1%’s “Us vs. Them” nightmare formula.
Now, with our belief in our political leadership eroded to the very bottom of the Gallop confidence scale, we are literally clinging to our last and most precious dream – our hope for a better tomorrow.
Millions of us, whether or not we understand it, teeter on the edge of a frightening abyss of hopelessness.
I consider myself a political party nobody. I’m not a member of the Democrats, Republicans, nor the Tea Party – whatever that means.
However, I do see myself as a member of the 99.9%.
In my mind that makes me a follower of my ancestors’ path, some of whom came to the colonies prior to the War for Independence and actually fought for their freedom. My guess is that they believed that independence would help them obtain the most out of life, no longer a serf, slave or indentured servant, subject to the whims of the ruling class, but truly free to live under no man’s thumb.
There are millions of us who still walk that path. We share freedom’s dream and believe ourselves to be free men and women, living in a land of opportunity which has no boundaries save only those we impose upon ourselves.
Family lore says that at least one on my father’s side survived the Revolution and like hundreds of other serving patriots, found Congress unwilling to pay for services rendered. Instead, some 30 years later, Congress finally awarded some lucky few a parcel of Indian land in lieu of the promised wages.
He may have thought himself free and under no man’s thumb. But that was not the case. The bank repossessed his dream.
After that he fell back on his horsemanship skills learned on the old family farm in Southern Ohio and became a farrier for Reiter Dairy, located a stone’s throw away from my alma mater, the University of Akron.
Over a hundred years ago and in the days of his youth, Grandpa Baker served with the U.S. Marine Corp.
He was one of “The Few” sent early on to Nicaragua to ensure that U.S. interests (Read U.S. business interests) were maintained during the ongoing unrest in that nation.
(Please see Part I, Lies Too Big To Fail, (below) and Stephen Kinzer’s book, The Brothers, for a clear description of the Dulles brothers role as advocates for their Sullivan & Cromwell law firm corporate clients in what became known as the Banana Wars. I see this point in time as the “modern” beginning point for when our nation began to metastasize into the Doppelganger USA we have now become.)
So life goes on — one might think.
But in fact that was not the case for Grandpa Baker. Today we know that the fickle nature of life had nothing to do with his tour of duty in Nicaragua, nor the Banksters taking back his coal-hauling trucks during the Great Depression.
Back then, the game was rigged against my grandfather, just as it is in our time today. The .1% — the Robber Barons, Banksters — controlled the government, the economy and waged war for their profit, just as they do today.
How do I know this to be true and that our clock is about to strike midnight (Remember that Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock which the government would trot out every once in a while? Its minute hand was poised ready to strike midnight – the symbolic end of the world – when we would all be burned up in nuclear holocaust. Originally, in 1947, it was set for seven minutes, but, due to climate change, the clock was reset to five minutes in 2014.)
Perhaps time will run out for mankind and we will all disappear because we did nothing about climate change. Realistically though, I believe it’s more likely that our system will fail us before the climate does. We will either starve or freeze because we no longer have the means to sustain ourselves and our families or we will perish at the hands of some 19-year-old National Guardsman, who, while doing his duty, shoots us down while we are attempting to steal that last loaf of stale bread.
How do we know this? Well, even the Council on Foreign Relations (4.) now says it’s time to helicopter drop some money to the teeming masses and relieve their agony a little bit. So there is a spark of hope still out there.
Our Task – Restore Parity of Opportunity
I’ll venture a guess that all of us expect to live “a good life”, one which not only ensures the basics — comfortable home, healthy food, decent clothing, a good education — for ourselves and our loved ones, but also a life which offers a chance at attaining even more. We all want a shot at that “American Dream”, whatever that means to us.
Further, most of us believe that the chance at attaining more in life is not exclusive. Rather, we believe that all of us should have a chance at that Dream — to be and have whatever we want. We believe that the American Dream is inclusive and not limited to a select few.
When we believe that way, we can accept whatever life has dealt us, because we know, in the end, it’s up to us to make our dreams come true. So, because I believe I can attain most anything I desire, that there is nothing holding me back save my own initiative, then I’m O.K. with the results. Some of us will have more… a lot more… and others will have less. But, it’s up to each individual to make it so.
What I have just described is Parity of Opportunity. It’s when the playing field is level and does not favor one person over another for any reason, such as: race, sex, age, ethnicity or wealth.
The Time of The Great Awakening
I believe the most recent election results (Nov 2014) will usher in The Time of The Great Awakening in the U.S. because the winning elected officials will now become even more emboldened to speed up their disassembly of the rights guaranteed the 99.9% by the Constitution. Their efforts will directly lead us into The Age of Parity of Opportunity as the 99.9% defend against the loss of their remaining rights.
What can we do – the everyday Joes and Janes - to help stop the Pendulum of Opportunity at Parity, i.e., opportunity for all? How will we ensure we walk the path toward parity and not swing past toward bloody revolution and that we move away from our current form of predatory capitalism toward a more humane form of capitalism?
As one of the millions of American boys, in 1970, I made a choice to enlist rather than be drafted into the U.S. military. I especially remember that day because even as a “nobody” recruit, I had to swear an oath:
“I, Ronald Baker, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
Millions of us have taken that oath, or one similar, declaring to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Today, it is that oath which gives me the confidence that, together, we will correct the wayward course of our nation by moving the Pendulum of Opportunity back toward Parity of Opportunity for all which is guaranteed by our own Constitution.
Seven Initial Steps to Guarantee Parity of Opportunity and Resurrect Our Democracy
Here are seven concrete actions steps we can take to resurrect our democracy and move away from the Doppelganger USA which we have become.
- Reverse Citizen's United vs. Federal Election Commission
- Repeal three, Bill of Rights busting laws: the USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commission Act and the National Defense Authorization Act.
- Re-establish the Glass-Steagall Act
- Abolish the CIA
- Establish a national public works program and fix our infrastructure
- Adopt a Robin Hood tax
- Facilitate local, sustainable, distributed energy systems throughout the nation.
Part 1. Lies Too Big to Fail, How We Lost Our Naïveté
Part 2.Lies Too Big to Fail, A Doppelganger USA is Running Amok Throughout Our World
1. "85 richest now have as much money as poorest 3.5B", Allison Jackson, GlobalPost, 6 Nov 2014. Also, go here for more and see the full report at the bottom of the Oxfam html page.
2. "Key Figures In CIA-Crack Cocaine Scandal Begin To Come Forward", Ryan Grim, Matt Sledge, Matt Ferner, The Huffington Post, 10 Oct 2014.
4. "Print Less but Transfer More Why Central Banks Should Give Money Directly to the People", Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan, Foreign Affairs, Sept / Oct 2014 Issue.