Culture War, Class War, Chapter Thirteen: The Great American About Face
Why Insist on the Same Mistakes That Led to the Great Depression?
You don’t know what I’m getting at. But this is the indicator of the gradual change in our country that would be missed by those younger than myself. I only see this glaring discrepancy because of having lived many years in an America whose values were different, and who thought differently, more compassionately than today. I know of an America where even that last big word that I used, compassionately, wasn’t the dirty word that it is today…or the certain game loser, deal breaker if uttered.
What’s Love Got to Do with It?
No. See, what’s happened today is that it’s not even society at large that is supposed to benefit. Compassion is not a goal, or even a value, when negotiating. The scornful repetition of those words, “bleeding heart liberal,” has had its intended effect. No, no, it’s not the function of government to care about anybody anymore.
It may be hard for you to realize what a huge change this is from, like, Roosevelt days. The Great Depression went on for a long time, crushing hopes and aspirations, shortening lives, increasing suffering. People lived beneath this yoke for a time that must often have felt interminable. They came out of this darkness only slowly, and with great effort.
There Was a Time When Kindness Was a Noble Thing.
So, yes, in those days, the easing of suffering was a value, compassion was a noble thing, not indicative of weakness like today. This is the way it was then and for most of the decades afterward, not much changing. Even Eisenhower, a Republican… he wasn’t, y’know, at war with the common good in the Fifties; he didn’t think government was not supposed to be compassionate, that it wasn’t their job or anything, that they couldn’t give anybody a helping hand or anything like that. But starting with Reagan and slowly since then it has become that.
People Suffering, People Dying…And This Guy Thinks It’s a Card Game!
Perhaps you’ve heard it too. At the time of it, you would see it discussed all over. There was Rick Santelli on CNBC. This was at the time when it first got out that Obama might just–with millions of foreclosures, people living in tent-cities and everything–might just present as part of his overall policy to deal with the problem something to help…ok, there’s one of those words (help), a certain game-loser; so you know what’s coming next…something that might “help” people who are heading into foreclosure, people losing their homes. The idea was to renegotiate deals with the bank, to recalculate the terms of their mortgage to make it workable to both sides again.
Don’t forget the banks had before that been given huge amounts of money by the American people. So in this plan, instead of proceeding with a foreclosure the banks were asked to be willing to accept slightly less money on the loan than the original terms called for.
It was thought, what would that hurt? After all the banks aren’t going to lose. At the expense of the American people they’ve made out like bandits…in fact, they’ve been bandits…they used extortion to get that money out. With this policy they would get some money out of the loan instead of none in the case of the foreclosure; they would even still make a profit. The only thing they wouldn’t be able to do is to add that note to the pile of losses they would be claiming as part of the government bailout. An aside, that last part — making less money than if they could claim it a loss—is the key to understanding the uproar about Obama’s plan to help financially strapped home owners.
So we saw Rick Santelli, a highly visible financial commentator for CNBC, someone I saw everyday for years. He stood in front of the camera on the floor of the stock exchange; CNBC broadcast it to the world. He was against Obama’s plan to “help” mortgage-holders…they should probably have used a different word than help. As he put it “In America, a card laid is a card played.” He said, “This does away with contract law!”
Yes, We’ve Made This Mistake Before.
Well, yea, yea, they used to say those things back in Hoover’s day too, alright? And then when everybody was hurting, and there was thirty to forty percent unemployment and nobody was making any money including the rich fat cats and they were losing their shirts in investments and no longer making money in the stock market, then…then…all of a sudden, ok, then it was ok to help out people who were starving.
But Why Do We Insist on Making It Again?
Well, why did it have to get to that? And why has it gotten to that again, even to where it’s back to where it was…again…at the beginning of the Great Depression: No compassion allowed.
What is that? It’s like “Oh, these people are all deadbeats here.” Oh, yea, all those millions of people? Doesn’t have anything to do with all that money that went to the rich people? Nothing to do with the fact that over the course of all these years we’ve seen the tax rates for the very wealthy go from eighty-some percent in the Fifties to where it is down below thirty-five percent now?
To offset those huge cuts in revenue, did we get any more prosperous in that time? Did those increasing cuts in taxes for the wealthy increasingly stimulate the economy? I repeat, did we get any more prosperous in that time? Did the tax cuts work the way the fat cats said they would?
Kumbaya—You Value People Over Rules? You’re No Doubt a “Hippie”
Well, I was there. No, they didn’t…and we didn’t…didn’t get more prosperous. We’re a lot worse off. Y’know, when I was growing up in the Fifties and Sixties my father was poor. But only he had to work! He might bring home fifty dollars a week, with six kids. But my mother didn’t have to work. Believe me, fifty dollars in that day, it wasn’t like it was worth a thousand dollars or something; there wasn’t that much difference.
Kumbaya. My Lord!
So there used to be this idea of benefiting society-at-large. There was this thing put out–even though it was a sham on the part of Republicans–that if you could somehow convince the Democrats that what you wanted was going to benefit the “society at large” they might come over to your side. Republicans still found it useful to promote the idea that they were representing the people.
What “Extra” Kitchen?
But no, no, no. If you say now that something is going to benefit somebody…. Like Rick Santelli said, “Well, a card laid…contract law’s all important…blah, blah, blah…. Does any of you people out there…” He was talking to the stock exchange people; he said, “Does any of you want to pay your hard-earned money so that the guy next door can have that extra kitchen that he put in?”
Now, where the hell did that come from? I hardly think that many of the people losing their homes were out there spending all their money on “extra” kitchens. So what’s the implication? The implication is that we’ve got a bunch of losers, spendthrifts, who are throwing their money away and they don’t deserve a break.
More Likely It Was Your “Extra” Kitchen, Rick. And, Thank You Very Much but We’ve Already Paid, and Dearly, for It.
Anyway, it was played over and over again. There were even people, even some pundits and governmental folks in public who were saying, “Yes, he was expressing what lot of people are thinking.” What the hell is that? That nobody can catch a break unless you’re rich? See, that’s what happens when something is repeated over and over and over again… Self-benefiting mean-spiritedness like this can be spoken of as being, somehow, reasonable.
A Broken Person Is Preferable to a Broken Rule in This Game.
And what is it that was repeated over and over and over again? Well, let me just put it this way…because I was there. You know the real issue here…when you say that it’ll benefit “society at large” or you say it’s going to help or benefit real people, or you indicate in some way that it’s gonna ease the suffering of a lot of people… The real thing insinuated has to do with that thoroughly maligned idea—”bleeding heart liberal”—and things like that.
Worse than that, these days, is that when that human touch somehow gets in, it’s no more considered a game! “It’s supposed to be a game,” that’s what they’re thinking, now. And it’s like, “Aw come on you’re trying to benefit people instead of playing a game.” That’s where that contract law comes in, it’s like, “No, that’s breaking the rules.” Well we’re supposed to be running a government for the people not for the rules, aren’t we?
You Value People Over Rules? You’re No Doubt a “Hippie.”
So you don’t even hear goodness coming in anymore. Or if you do hear the word compassionate it’s at most the naive utterance of someone that’s wet behind the years…some newbie or hippie…some “soft-headed” person who might have used it in a question in a town meeting, or the like.
And that’s another thing. A hippie? What the hell’s a hippie? Well this hippie can tell you. That is a definition I’ve watched change over the years. The definition in these strange days and among these current cold-hearted people is way different than originally.
In looking at this change in the meaning of hippie we bring into view another aspect of the overall argument I am making. I can tell you now that at the end you will see it all comes together neatly.
It all makes sense because of some basic human feelings, which are even present in large groups. Unfortunately those widely shared feelings are completely at odds with another set of commonly held basic human feelings that can be present and shared in another large group. That might sound complicated.
Compassion = “Hippie.”
Mean-Spirited = The “Real” Reality of The Game
And on the other side of this, the side that is presented to all, promulgated to everyone, and the only one considered “real,” we’ve got these mean-spirited feelings. They are at war with the idea that we have government that’s there to at all benefit, be on the side of, or even be for its citizens.
Like earlier I brought up the example of the Food and Drug Administration as something that benefits everyone, actual people, though it puts constraints on businesses. Government seen this way exists to protect American people in situations where they would otherwise be powerless. And that is based on this old-fashioned notion that it is a good thing to save people from dying or from suffering in situations where a single individual is helpless against a cultural or societal wrong.
Government could be seen this way because one preeminent value was that life was precious and good, that people dying was not good, that it was important to prevent that to the extent one could…more important than money or profits or the comfort and pleasure of people with riches. Those turn-of-the-century “hippies” valued life over arbitrary rules, people over profits, the common good over the capitalist game.
But I guess nowadays they’d say, “No, no, no…those people paid for that food!” And, you know, let the buyer beware. A dollar laid is a dollar played, after all.
Cool Hand Gipper (The Great Hustle) and What the 1% Would Still Have of Us: Context of The American Awakening
American Awakening and Cool Hand Gipper—“Obvious Truths,” an Overview
“Obvious Truths” Parts One and Two Reprise
This is the third and final part in this series delineating the history of the American Republican’ incredibly disciplined, relentlessly persistent, and amazingly cohesive … seemingly coordinated … nearly fifty-year campaign to gain advantage and wealth for their benefactor corporations and the “Filthy Rich” through totally concocted untruths.
All in the Family
We are seeing here revealed the fifty-year invisible family and community that surrounded all Americans and affected every aspect of their lives, including, and intentionally, the basic components of one’s personality, and the erosion of reason, Soul, and independent thought or action.
I am showing how only because of increasingly cocky and greedy acts and extreme over-reaching “in broad daylight,” before the entire world, did this malevolent surround become visible. These brutish and thievish over-reaches displayed an incredible disregard for, disrespect of, indeed, an actual literal inability of the “Filthy Rich”—the 1%—and their Republican puppets to SEE American People, who were the recipients of these attacks. Together these reveals, displayed unintentionally however blatantly and unknowingly by the Republicans and the “Filthy Rich”… and before the entire world…disclosed to the masses of Americans some “cracks,” “stains,” or textures in the “dome” of unreality they’d existed in, which had made them blind to Reality itself, and had kept them in a near zombie-like dream reality.
“They’re so cute when they jump for their treat.”
As this Awakening continued, some began remembering events, the memories of which had been “bleached” out of awareness until just then, and then with remembering they realized how they’d been trained like animals their entire lives for the uses, whatever they’d be, of the “Filthy Rich,” and been trained then to forget that.
“From here, they look just like ants.”
It is clear that the “filthy rich” had an absolute certainty of their success because of their unmitigated power. What is also evident is the absolute inability of the “Filthy Rich”…which was the shocking thing they’d carelessly let out and therefore displayed to the World…absolute inability of the Republicans and the “Filthy Rich” to actually notice, let alone view or act towards, Americans as any thing even living or having sentient ability, let alone as humans, people, or individuals.
All We Have to Do Is Dream.
And as for the term “fellow Americans” often employed by Rich-publican politicos, if that thought even crossed your mind for a second as being anything but a device, you are not fully appreciating just how literally I mean for my words to be taken. You may very well, in fact, be deeply dreaming and have missed the crack in the dream state that had shone the light in the eyes of a sufficiently large segment of the world population as to cause them to come out of trance and begin to untie their formerly invisible bonds, so that they could try looking around, which led to the realization of the reality that had been blocked from view, and the beginnings of investigations into the real truths of their existence, and to this series of expositions, which delineates the actual, formerly invisible profile of the actual actors in American’s lives, and the processes of control, and the things in their lives that were determined for them by the “Filthies,” though ordinary folks thought they had been making decisions for themselves.
What The 1% Want to Do With Us
And the last aspects of this series delineates the real factors in your life and the outlines of the real intentions for our lives these puppet masters have had, and have even now in mind.
Processing the Populace
In Part One, I talked about the fifty-year Republican campaign to convince the media and the American people of certain truisms that had nothing to do with the truth, in fact were almost one-hundred percent of the time, the opposite of the truth. It is a pretty amazing story of a campaign involving such things as getting people poorer and poorer, requiring them to work longer hours and so on so that they would have less time to think about things. It included other elements such as the way in which people’s minds were either stressed or made busy, and also the way they wore down the American people’s resolve to fight back against injustice.
Part Two elaborated on these parts of the campaign, which together resulted in an erosion of reason among Americans. I discussed how this erosion of reason resulted in an erosion of action as well and why this would be desirable by the societal puppet-masters. Next, I discussed the means of the manipulation—the media, the puppet strings employed by the masters.
The Great Hustle (Cool Hand Gipper)
After that I talked about the way our lives were focused away from human concerns and reduced to the level of a game, contrived by the elite and which was geared toward their ends, suited to their abilities, and in which they dominated. This game was most of the time camouflaged in positive, civic sounding phrases and terminology that made it seem that it was an endeavor for the betterment of all, but I explained how it actually was played and what the motives and ends really were.
$$$ 666 The Great Religion
Last, I bring out how even this ruse of societal welfare was ever more let go of, as the puppet-kings gained in strength and in success in converting mass minds to a belief in the dogma of the game that they controlled.
Dogma Keeping Out Pesky Saviors
They channeled people’s inclinations away from their own priorities and from human concerns to be in alignment with the overseer’s non-humanistic, alien ones. Human concerns such as life, easing of suffering and the like were seen as silly and laughable.
And Then The Awakening
As they gathered power, they became more blatant and reckless in their machinations. The game was successfully installed as the focus and preeminent value of life itself; but in this headiness of accomplishment they became complacent about their subterfuge. Reckless in their maneuvers and ever more careless in concealing it, they risked being exposed.
Aspects of their self-benefiting game play and the cockiness with which they pursued them are further disclosed here in Part Three. We see how this creates a condition of such extreme suffering in the populace that stimulates them into awakening from the dream. The matrix is glimpsed. How the masses awaken and behold in horror the shackles and blinders upon them is described beginning here and in subsequent parts of Culture War, Class War.
“Brother, I Do Not Know Thee.”
Part Three continues from the end of Part Two where I was describing how the brouhaha around Rich Santelli’s callous comment revealed a wholesale and disturbing change in American’s sensitivities toward each other and in particular a callousness about each other’s suffering. Part Three continues from here:
Foolin’ the People About History…Reagan’s Great Ruse and The Face of the Enemy, Ours
Foolin’ the People About History
- Reagan “saved” America.
- Reagan saved Americans from an oppressive tax burden.
- Reagan brought down the Iron Curtain, the Soviets, Berlin Wall.
- In America we were far better off than the Soviets were because… We are the richest country in the world. In America we only get better.
- don’t have to work as hard.
- can take better care of our children.
So these days you have the attitude, “A dollar laid is a dollar played”; people’s suffering is irrelevant to the game.
Reagan’s Great Ruse
We have seen a lot of change over the last five decades. And many new thoughts have become truisms that are actually not true. In the real world they’re nonsensical.
The Eighties Changed Everything…The Great Swindle.
Unfortunately they abound because of the cultural change initiated by Ronald Reagan that lowered the standard of living for everyone except for the rich who were the beneficiaries of that switch. It was the greatest shift of money upward, to the higher classes, in history, at that time. Bush in the last decade outdid him though.
The Republicans pulled off this transfer of wealth under the banner of capitalism. The huge tax cuts for the seriously rich, which was how this relocation of money was accomplished, began with Reagan. When it was proposed during the 1980 presidential race Bush the Elder called it “voodoo economics.” This was before he was invited on the ticket with Reagan.
Voodoo economics gradually brought the highest marginal rate of taxes down below thirty percent from the seventy percent it had been when Reagan took office. This should be compared with the ninety-some percent it was under Democratic and Republican presidents—Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy—in the 1940s through 1963. Reaganomics took corporate tax rates down to forty percent from the fifty percent that it had been previous to that beginning in the Forties.
Keep in mind that these were times—Forties through Sixties—when America’s economy boomed, turning the US into the wealthiest country in the world. Remember also that the last time, previous to Reagan, that marginal tax rates were below forty percent was in the Twenties, prior to the Great Depression. Not coincidentally at that same time, preceding the Depression, corporate tax rates were also at their lowest and were down in the teens. History records how well those low corporate and private marginal rates worked out. This did not stop the Reaganites from opting to repeat the previous debacle.
The Face of the Enemy, Ours
Overall, this bonanza for the rich–along with union-busting and other anti-worker practices by Reagan–had the effect of gradually lowering the standard of living for the vast majority of Americans. The result could not have been more ironic. These pro-capitalist, fervid anti-communist Republicans like Reagan and his supporters began the process that would make us mirror images of Soviet Russia in several hugely important ways.
At One Time, “Women Don’t Have to Work”; At Another, “Women Are Free to Work.”
Reaganomics brought in the two-salary family. This had been one of those major propaganda points for the anti-communists in the Fifties: We were horrified finding out that behind the Iron Curtain both parents had to have jobs to support their family. It was thrown out as one of the ways we were superior in our capitalist way of life—American wives and mothers did not have to work and were able to spend their time instead raising the children.
The anti-communist Reaganites also brought in institutional child care, for now this was needed because both parents were working. Someone had to take care of the children, and they would begin that at earlier and earlier ages.
At One Time, “Strangers Take Care of Their Kids”; At Another, “Child Care Teaches Social Skills and Enhances Multicultural Awareness.”
Again, extramural child care was one of those elements of Soviet life that in the Fifties was pointed out to us disdainfully and which we were grateful not to be subject to. It would be thought inhuman, if not barbaric, for children to be cared for by strangers, while the mother was working. There was something dangerous, if not lascivious, insinuated to us by propagandists, about pre-school children not being with their mothers, not receiving her protection and love during that vulnerable and needy time, but being instead “in the hands of strangers”…(god forbid!)
But after Reagan this dreaded feature of Soviet culture became the norm in American culture as well.
So Reagan’s economic policies pushed Americans into a lower standard of living—fooling them in all kinds of ways that this was not the case—which was evident in major changes in American culture which mirrored that of the Soviets such as the virtual requirement of two-salary families and along with that the necessity of child care outside the family at earlier and earlier years. But these Soviet-like changes did not also bring with them Communist benefits of job security, free child and medical care, guaranteed lifelong support, and so on.
The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,”Part Two – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Two,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
The Rise and Fall of Obvious Truths, Part 2. by SillyMickel Adzema
The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema
Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.
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