It is 2010 and the lights are going out all over America. Slowly winding down to darkness. If darkness covers the land of opportunity, when will we find our way forward again?
There is no question now about our educational system. It has failed us, and the warnings of Newton Minow, some fifty years ago have come true. Television did, indeed, become a “vast wasteland,” a vacuum into which the minds of our children would go and not emerge with anything but useless information. And as they grew, those children became adults addicted to nonsense, abated only marginally, in some cases by the occasional rigors of a demanding school or by the common sense of parents or by a home filled with books and no television sets.
But there is no question now about the consequences of too much television. The single most important consequence is that many adults today clearly have been raised and educated without the necessary reasoning skills that they should have learned. Television requires only slavish acceptance of what appears on the screen. No one challenges drama and television is drama. Even the news is often arranged to make the viewer wait for a climactic ending to a simple story…after the commercials…”when we come back.”
The result has become the Age of the Hick. This is the Age of the unlettered, unsophisticated, unreasoning, unchallenging, unknowing citizen who can be fooled into a mortgage that costs much less than it should but says on the face of the document that it can be raised to much more than he can afford in only two years.
Not understanding the terms, not understanding how short a period two years is in the life of a mortgage, and not understanding the nature of man to take advantage of his fellow man…the Hick signs the paper. And a formerly great nation collapses under the weight of the ignorance, stupidity, and short sighted dreams of a life borrowed, not earned.
Small countries die and their civilizations are absorbed into those of larger countries by conquest. Large countries and empires crumble from within, from the decay of their vast institutions, once they have gone off the path of truth and rationality.
Jesus did not teach us divine wisdom. Jesus of Nazareth taught us common sense. For some reason he understood the proper interaction of man with man. He understood that killing leads to more killing until it leads to war and then mass extermination of human beings. He understood that kindness leads to kindness and love beats hate…hands down…every time.
Almost no one lives a Christian life. Nor do those of any other religion live a Christian life or a rational life. Muslims are no better and other religions veer off into often idiotic disciplines that have no earthly value and less value for the contemplation of eternal life.
Television has taken away the ability of many Americans….we will soon see if it is the majority of Americans…to make intelligent decisions. Television time is often dead time. So the balance of time in the rest of our lives is often shorter. We have less time for contemplation. We have less time for exercise. We have less time for decision making. So it is not surprising that we make poor decisions.
But not all of our poor decisions are our own fault. For some time now, at least 8 years or more, several television networks advanced themselves as independent news organizations, but were in fact surreptitiously—to most people—were working for the Republican Party. One in particular is now out of the closet, having been so obvious over such a long period of time.
Literally, not since the days of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy have we had a national television network spewing out lies to influence the People as we have now with the Fox News Channel. And not in the history of American television…at least that anyone in media has ever been aware of…has a network owner subsidized a television personality so unpopular with advertisers for his racist and anarchic commentary that over 290 advertisers…hundreds of millions of dollars…have canceled their commercials.
This was Glenn Beck, a showman, an evil clown, a disgusting liar and fool whose entertainment value among the hicks and the White Supremacists and the segregationists of the Old South and the rural communities nation wide is very high. Most networks would be happy to be rid of this largely uneducated, bigoted, middle-to-lower income and education demographic. Apparently not Rupert Murdoch, who has made his reputation, or his super-market-tabloid notoriety, on sleaze and gossip.
Now we come to 2010 and the mid-term elections. The country is in a terrible place. We have 15 million unemployed and another 10 million still in underpaid, underutilized positions, often working part time. We don’t know how many people are simply living on one income in a family that formerly had two, getting by on credit and declining lifestyles.
Fox News Channel and the Republican Party align themselves with several billionaires who want to make their lives easier by getting the government off their backs about huge amounts of pollution they have caused and want to continue to cause. They also want to be relieved of any inheritance taxes their estates should be forced to pay (normally a net amount actually paid of something like 20% of everything inherited.)
And finally, some of these people already pay next to nothing on personal taxes and on corporate taxes. ExxonMobil paid zero taxes on tens of billions of dollars (while you paid their gas taxes and increased prices for their excess profits at the pump.)
Fox News Channel, however, has decided that its audience will be two groups and it will pander to both. The first group will be those disaffected former segregationists and cynics who, because they have been fortunate, believe that anyone disadvantaged in this Recession is a lazy welfare cheat, and that they will never need government help of any kind, not realizing that they use tens of thousands of dollars of government assistance every year.
The second group that the Fox News panders to is that segment of the population that simply has all kinds of biases and has a proclivity to follow the latest trend. This is a very large group of people. It includes people who carry signs suggesting we do away with Social Security and Medicare while they themselves are on Social Security and Medicare and could not live without either one. But these are the people about whom Newton Minow spoke when he asked us to beware of the consequences of a “vast wasteland” of television programming rather than programming in the best interests of society.
Many of these people will tell you that they are for fiscally sound government; yet they voted—not once but twice—for George W. Bush while he spent us $13 trillion into debt. And the same people will tell you that they do not like Barack Obama even though he stopped the massive loss of jobs and actually was able to reduce the deficit slightly over the last year of Bush’s term. We were in a spiral heading for Depression and he and his economic team stopped it.
These same “hicks” say that they want people like Christine O’Donnell in the Senate, even though she not only has never held office, but has shown no sense at all of either fiscal responsibility or common sense. Not even the most radical Republican Right Wing politician in the House or Senate, looking to votes from the worst elements in his constituency would say that our scientists are “creating mice with human brains.”
We spent years and years…decades…of trying to restore a minimal living wage in this country on which two individuals, working full time, could afford a place to live, though not their own home, plus minimal living–clothes, heat and light and transportation to and from work. They could reside in one place and have sufficient income to pay their children’s public school expenses, though probably not—until Obama—afford any kind of health care and certainly no luxuries.
Now the new group of Tea Party Republicans say that they want to do away with the minimum wage. Senator Joe Miller, the candidate for Senate from Alaska, supposedly a Yale Law School graduate not only wants to do away with the minimum wage (which, by the way, even at our present rate is so far less than most European minimum wages that it is almost silly to compare them) but also contends that the Constitution does not permit unemployment insurance, so ostensibly he wants to do away with that, too.
All of the Republican candidates want to continue the Bush tax cuts. The fact is that none of the Bush tax cuts should be removed. It would not remove the stain of stupidity that resulted from their enactment in the first place. It would not erase the idiocy of reducing taxes, as Bush and Cheney did—twice—while going to war and creating monumental new costs.
It would not reduce the idiocy of reducing taxes while in a Recession or while the existing tax policies had actually created surpluses for the first time in about 50 years and having given us the longest period of prosperity in our country’s history. But if we retire the Bush tax cuts it will reduce the $13 trillion national debt by about $1.3 trillion immediately and begin to balance the budget.
So let’s make it simple. You owe $13 dollars total. You make $1.8 dollars annually. You are spending more than you make at about 50 cents a year. Should you give another $1.30 to people who already have so much money that they could almost literally never spend it all? Is that rational? And shouldn’t you even cut back your spending a little, take a slight bit less to add that buck to your annual income so that you can start paying down that 13 bucks you owe?
But continuing the tax cuts in the face of overwhelming…massive…evidence and plain, simple logic that we should retire them is exactly what the Tea Party Republicans and all the Republicans want to do. About 100,000 families out of 300 million people in this country are leaning on the 14,000 lobbyists in Washington to lean on the 535 Congress people, Senators and House members, to restore the tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires. If you vote Republican, you can count on a higher national debt and cuts in Social Security and Medicare.
It is just that simple. It is a handful of billionaires and their financial power versus the People. So if you vote for a tea bagger, here is what will happen…for certain.
1. We will have lower taxes for the rich ($120,000 kickback on every million of household income.
2. We will have lower annual incomes for the average American. (When minimum wage goes down, the average of all other wage rates falls accordingly.)
3. Very important health care reforms, like insurance exchanges to bid down premium costs, the addition of 100,000 new family physicians, reduction in senior prescription costs by negotiating rates, and no restrictions on prior illnesses for children…all will be lost.
4. Medicare deductible will go up to $2,000 and co-pays will increase
5. Social Security age qualification will be raised to 70.
6. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…and possibly new war in Iran…will continue.
7. Military budget will stay at $700 billion, higher than the rest of the world’s military budgets combined.
8. Wall Street regulations will be eased. Rich will get obscenely richer. Poor, poorer.
9. There will be greater restrictions on gays, elimination of gay marriage.
10. Consumer advocacy group will be virtually gutted as will food safety regulations and drug safety regulations…as they were in Bush Administration.
11. Federal judges will be appointed by corporations behind the scenes in return for their huge campaign donations. Consumer complaints will not exist. Product liability will disappear. Corporations will become more hugely profitable.
12. The country will likely fall into a real Depression, with unemployment numbers gradually dropping to as high as 15% and real numbers in the 20% range.
13. Fox News Channel, the Republican Party, billionaires, the military and military contractors (it is all one group now) and Southern Segregationists will control government, much of society, television and radio, manufacturing, social services and wages. Fewer than six million people will run the country and the economy–and profit handsomely–while 294 million will live either on the edge of their seats or in declining conditions.
It can’t happen here? It is already happening here.