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Daveparts Donating Member (854 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:13 AM
Original message
Welcome To the Machine
Welcome To the Machine
By David Glenn Cox

I walked past the sign in the window almost unnoticed. But as I past, it caught my eye, an American flag then underneath the words united we stand. A relic, a leftover from a time of make believe, a time that never was. An illusionary fairy tale we told ourselves to blunt our fears with the facade of outrage and national unity.

As I past I thought to myself, yeah, united we stand, right. Bullshit on both counts as we are neither united nor standing. The last thirty years of American politics have been about nothing but division. To break apart unions and workers rights, about dividing us into haves and have-nots. The arbitrage of profitable corporations making some wealthy but leaving most just holding the bag. Some take their golden parachutes and depart with employee pension plans under their arms.

To deregulate the airlines making ticket prices cheaper but to invest nothing to make the infrastructure better, changing flying from a pleasure into a drudging misery. The great railroad empires built beautiful ornate lavish train stations and terminals as monuments to their power. They were building something, something to last for decades, something that spoke to us about American power and industry. Today airports are built at public expense and no one questions about the tax dollars spent if they choose not to fly.

No airline CEO in their right mind would invest in a terminal. Their only concern is for the profitability of the airline. They arent interested in building anything but stock value, just getting, what do I get?

So we watch as our communities erode, the affluent say, why should I pay higher property taxes? I send my children to private school where they can have all the advantages I can pay for. No matter how you slice it or dice it, it is for the most part all about exclusion, resegregating ourselves within our own social or religious classes. United we stand right?

Through tap jazz and modern its still just a song and dance singing a chorus of, I dont want to pay taxes for schools my kids dont attend, Yeah united, right.I thank God that my parents generation didnt feel that way. The school was the pride of the community, we had nice parks as well but the schools were second to none. We didnt have any lights on the little league fields but we always had new textbooks.

Our High school football team was only so so as 90% of the graduating class went on to college. The indoor Olympic size swimming pool made it possible for the swim team to make state. Frivolous really, thousands of dollars to teach swimming but every student attending learned to swim. I doubt that in the following decades if any of my classmates ever drown, the community made sure of that. The pool was also open nights and weekends for the community to use, manned by the lifeguards they had trained.

We could swim, we had the best of facilities and we could study, we had the best of facilities. Yes, we could play sports with the best of equipment and play music with the finest instruments in the best of facilities. Even at that age we understood the unspoken contract, we give you this because we value you. Your success or failure reflects on us and on our community. If you fail, you will know that it was not from any lack of effort on our part.

The town had ridiculously high property taxes and made no bones about where the money was spent. But the school system was an irresistible draw to families with children and the towns government was strict and prudent about growth. They built the tax base carefully so as not to swamp the boat. The value of the homes in the community soared over and above those in surrounding communities. By building something for everyone they had built something for themselves and profited handsomely in the bargain.

The city of Atlanta where I currently reside has been faced with enduring crises. Grady hospital, a public hospital that has served the poor for decades is in desperate need of funding. More than just a public hospital Grady is a teaching hospital serving both Emory and Moorhouse Universities to train physicians. The board of directors have come up with a plan for salvation.

To allow a private corporation to take over the hospital but there is a hitch in the plan. First they need the city and state along with private donations to come up with over 200 million dollars. In effect to fix the problems before the corporation will take over. Ignoring that if we fix the problems what do we need the corporation for? But you see this plan is being sold to us as a rescue!

This nice friendly benevolent corporation will take this troubled facility off our hands if we will just fix all the problems first. Now before I go any further allow me to mention that our Republican Governor, Sonny Perdue gave Hyundai motors a ten year ten million dollar tax wavier to build a parts facility in South Georgia.

The state of Georgia will help to under right a profitable corporation to the tune of 100 million dollars for 400 jobs. But now for a level one trauma center that serves 9 million of its citizens, that trains its doctors and therapists, paramedics, pharmacists and EMTs. Grady gets a blank stare and, gee we would like to help you but Like I said united we stand, bullshit!

Because Grady is a public hospital they must accept every one that comes through the door. Private hospitals in the area can offer faster services and luxury accommodations drawing away insured patients leaving Grady to try and do with less, another case of the financially strong exploiting the financially weak. The net affect of this has left Grady with only 7% of patients with private insurance and 75% of the patients being on Medicaid. This speaks directly to the heart of the problem we as a society have digressed from the great society to the awful society.

From shoddy schools to shoddy bridges and levies to life itself. We must turn over even the sufferings of the poor to the corporation. In a related story, Countrywide Finance the troubled mortgage lender currently under investigation for corrupt practices and predatory lending has been lent 51 billion dollars by the Federal home loan bank board. Just sign here and the government runs to their rescue but a public hospital for the poor? Hit the road jack!

Yep, united we stand, healthcare in a shambles. None of the political front runners offer any cures, Just a kiss on the forehead to make the boo boo feel better. That is why Grady hospital is the canary in the coalmine. No matter what your opinion on public funding of heath care this hospital makes it possible to train high paid tax-paying professionals. The message we as a society we are sending out is that you dont matter. Not our problem, to turn our heads and look away cutting not only fat but meat and even the heart of a nation. To say, I dont live in Atlanta or Minneapolis or New Orleans so its not my problem.

Lets let the corporations solve the problems, but that is the governments job to fix problems. That is the only legitimate domestic purpose of a government to maintain domestic tranquility. When the government says in effect we cant solve the problem lets turn it over to private industry they are delegitimizing themselves. When the government fails to fix a school or a bridge or levies its not time to turn to a corporation but to a new government. This is a problem corporations cant solve a government that says let someone else do it but still pay me! Indolent self-serving crying we would if only we could but we cant so we wont.

I would wager the plight of Grady is a common one across America, united we stand remember? A government that promises much but offers nothing in return to its people. Student Loans at competitive rates! Social Security? Why not privatize it? The 1200-point drop in the Dow average makes the 2 to 3% offered by Social Security look sweet right about now. It puts an exclamation point on why you dont privatize, its Social Security not Social Speculation.

Even now the armed forces are asking wounded veterans to return reenlistment bonuses. You signed up for four years and when your unarmored Hummer hit that IED you had only served two. Never mind the eight billion dollars lost squandered or stolen by corporations in Iraq, Marine; we want our money back! And where are those night vision goggles you were wearing when that bomb went off? You signed for them, you are responsible for them and being unconscious for three days is no excuse. We will deduct it from your disability check provided we ever declare you disabled.

Not a government of the people but a government on the people. A government that looks to explain away rather than explain, a government that looks away while an entire class of its population is economically wiped out. Explaining, it cant be helped but look how well our corporations are doing!

A government devoid from the people, where an administrators function is not to do the job. To not pay out benefits, to make sure theres no investigation and not even to answer the questions before Congress. To make the numbers fit the story rather than the other way round.

A clicking clanking automaton of tyranny, unwilling uncaring and oblivious to the needs of its citizens. Building nothing, nothing but failure into the system with a whirlwind of lowered expectations. United we stand? If you believe that Ive got a lovely bridge for sale in Brooklyn and Ill let you have it a good price because I like you.

Even now, George Nero Bush presides over the demise of the dollar making those with money poorer by the day. The corporate bankers with billions of bad debts on the books rejoice as the value of the bad debts decline as well. Just as the Wiemar Republic did away with its war debt George does away with his.

The old adage says, united we stand divided we fall, is it me or does it feel like were falling? Or should it be divided we crawl?

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine!
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. Predictable.
Once you realize the government has no intention of really paying it back, you are left with a nice long bout of inflation to dispose of the excess. Sort of like how the debt from VietNam was disposed of.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
2. This isn't about the music business ...
What's next? 'The Fletcher Memorial Home' to discuss subprime mortgages?
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ms liberty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 10:49 PM
Response to Original message
3. Nicely done. K&R n/t
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superkia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-28-07 11:16 PM
Response to Original message
4. Great post! I wish more Americans would open their eyes to...
see reality, maybe then we could make change but until we make change in how we vote, the corruption will continue because we are voting for the machines candidate. There is a hope though, one candidate does want non profit health care for all and is speaking out about the attack on the constitution, the illegal hunt oil deal, the patriot act, impeachment and war or should I say peace. We have a choice but too many walk around with their eyes closed and will continue to walk us into The Wall! Americans are have been dumbed down and they have no idea, the worst part is many of them are intelligent book smart people. Too bad book smarts don't do shit for common sense.

Keep posts like the OP coming, its great to see that there are some who have a clue!
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nashville_brook Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-29-07 01:18 AM
Response to Original message
5. i love your point about the lie of "being united" -- the machine is eating us
thank you for this great read!
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