THE BIG IDEAS IN ABSTENTIA
Barbershop Makes Me Wanna Holler Edition by DeAngelo Starnes
The Shop is beginning to see a pattern. Well not beginning to but it just becomes clearer.
To quote Charles Dickens:
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Well that’s right now, ain’t it? If you in the One Percent, you fall in the former category, if you like the rest of us, well ….
Which brings up another quote. This one from the movie “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” as shared by my friend and fellow Decoding Society contributor Marjorie Fields Harris,
“[I]t’s only on the brink that people find the will to change. Only at the precipice do we evolve. This is our moment.”
This might be that moment. After the shit that was thrown in our face this week. You might be asking yourself, “Can it get much worse?” Are we spiraling towards serfdom? How much more can we sustain? This assault. On our senses. On our intelligence. Our emotions. Our security. This week was bad.
Take the Senate Report on CIA Torture. 600 pages of summary and heavy redaction. But still a knock-out blow to the lie called “enhanced interrogation.” Followed by tepid admissions that the CIA probably committed torture. Some back-patting for even that much of an admission. What about calling them “war crimes?”
But nobody goes to jail? Nobody get prosecuted? The implicit admission of a crime notwithstanding, the excuse for the conduct is that folks were doing what they could in the name of “patriotism.” Is that really patriotism? Or is it terrorism?
The torture report was preceded by the Department of Defense’s autopsy results of the murder of Michael Brown. Findings: Michael Brown was killed by multiple gun shot wounds with severe injuries to the head, brain, and chest. Except for a contact wound to the hand, his wounds occurred from long distance.
According to this report, Wilson committed homicide. Not going to get into the failure to indict except to note that doesn’t mean a charge against Wilson can’t be brought. It damn sure can. Double jeopardy doesn’t attach because there was no jury trial. He could still be charged based on some of the discredited evidence and repealed law presented to the grand jury. Another grand jury could be empaneled. He could be charged with perjury. A federal charge based on civil rights violation could be brought. He can be sued. He ain’t out of the woods.
Budget deal drafted and submitted under the cover of darkness. With the beneficiaries (e.g. Citigroup and Jamie Diamond of Chase) doing the actual writing and personally lobbying fiduciaries of our taxdollars while the focus was on Bill Cosby, parades masking as street protests, athletes wearing “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts, and torture reports. On Faux News, they even brought up Benghzi and Ebola.
The budget deal shows you how psychotic the Republicans are with the White House and some Dems in Congress as willing enablers. It’s labeled as the Cromnibus when it should be called the Crime-nibus Bill. Rolling back deals made in the last budget fights which resulted in the sequester and government shut-down. Cuts to Pell Grants (sequester gain) and Dodd Frank regulations on derivatives. Cuts to the budgets of the IRS and EPA, which means less enforcement of pollution laws and against corporate tax dodgers. Cuts to the WIC program. Cut retirees’ benefits. Increased military spending. Increase in campaign contributions (read: bribes) for high-rollers like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Alderson.
You would think that with them ceding control of the Senate next year, the Dems would strike a final vote of defiance against this kind of behavior. After all, they suffered from GOP obstructionism for years. Obama with no need to be anyone but himself proved he’s doing the bidding of Wall Street. He’s proven conclusively that he is actually a moderate Republican (I wish he was the socialist radical these mugs claim he is).
So if the rich can’t get tax cuts, they still get deregulation of Wall Street gambling. Socialized losses with capitalist profits. Gamble with people’s dreams and taxpayer dollars with impunity on Wall Street. There will be no prosecutions because the offenders are Too Big To Fail.
Meanwhile, you, Main Street, still don’t get relief from tax laws. And while the IRS is quick to point out a mistake on your returns, they sho’ ain’t investigating deliberate tax evasion and creative accounting by Too Big To Fail companies. And the tax breaks they do give you are capped. Slashed budget means they still get away with tax dodging.
Plus they don’t raise the minimum wage, or extend unemployment benefits. But they are cutting your WIC benefits. Cutting the retirement benefit you sharecropped for. Giving the college loan bill collectors more dough to come after you.
FDR used the bully pulpit to tell corporations to hire people who needed jobs or that he would withhold government money so that he could do the hiring instead. Today, the government gets bullied by the corporations to rob from the poor and give to the rich.
Have you heard anything good about the Cromnibus? Too bad Elizabeth Warren can’t filibuster that joint.
But the economy is recovering, right? Tell that to mugs who got jobs but still need food stamps. Or folks still trying to get back into the home ownership game.
What really is driving people to the brink is that so much of what is bad for overwhelming majority of us is force-fed to us via the media and then bills passed into law. By crimes not prosecuted. By our collective confusion about solutions.
And therein lies the cure. Because there is really nothing left but our indignation. We don’t have much more to give away. Or for them to take. We are indeed at the brink. We have no choice but to push back. We have to do it for ourselves. For our children. For our future. For our freedom, liberty, and sanity.
Happy holidays if you ain’t too stressed to enjoy them. Cuz it’s the worst of times and gettin’ worse times, if we don’t do something about it.