BY VERN TURNER
Due to a lack of pigment cells, melanocytes, human palms are either pink or some shade of “flesh tone.” It is curious that when we buy paints, “flesh tone” is almost always white-ish. Today’s economics in the United States is so shifted to the upper echelon of the wealthy, that what’s left for the rest of us makes us more alike than different.
The 1% is 99% white, while the black and brown people in the top 1% are mostly star athletes and entertainers. The notable exceptions include some loony entrepreneurs like Herman Cain – he of the 9-9-9 economic plan that would have destroyed the world’s economy.
It’s time to resurrect and focus the 99% movements in order to save democracy from the oligarchs pursuing the prophecies of Karl Marx with all speed.
In Das Kapital, Marx predicted that unregulated capitalism would destroy itself from within. Between 2001-06, 53% percent of every dollar earned in the United States went to the top 1%.
The bubbles burst and the economy tanked a year later, but those who bet against themselves with derivatives and other instruments of screwing-everyone-else ended up collecting billions while millions of people lost their jobs [700,000 per month], their health care [60-plus% of bankruptcies were attributable to health care necessities] and their abilities to contribute to society.
It should be noted that the Labor Department has produced all sorts of data showing how much less American middle class workers earn than they did before the Bush debacles.
Meanwhile, the banking industry managed to wangle a few trillion dollars out of the Federal Reserve to save themselves from themselves and followed the letter of their executive contracts paying said executives their required billion dollar bonuses for doing such a fine job.
This must be the new reward-for-excellence program that I slept through in American Government class.
Today we see “intellectual” combat between the naysayers and scientists who actually follow the rules of the scientific method. Most of these naysayers also call themselves “conservatives.” Backwards seems a better word.
As Carl Sagan once said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” And Fox News wasn’t even around when Sagan said that.
While I’m quoting famous Americans, Abraham Lincoln dropped a dime on my favorite villains when he said, “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country … corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
How did he know? Did he see 2014 through a glass darkly? He said these damning words in 1864 – six months before the end of the Civil War.
He had to see what the military industrial complex looked like even then.
Americans have this thing about applying sainthood to certain leaders. Ronald Reagan has been sainted over and over with aircraft carriers, countless roads and buildings and an airport named after him. Yet, his administration set records for criminal indictments and convictions, an $8 billion loss in the S&L scandals and over 130 investigations regarding defense contractor corruption … to name just a few things.
Clearly, if his record is examined with a clear eye, the Reagan years are among our most grievous. Then, of course, the Republicans picked George W. Bush to set new lows in every category for national progress.
Notice that our ills are attributable to Republicans almost exclusively. From the 20th Century until today, Republican presidents have created monstrous economic problems for the 99%.
Even the attempted rollback of women’s rights in society is on the table for Republicans which makes me say that a woman voting for a Republican is like a chicken voting for Col. Sanders.
Indeed, why would any in the 99% vote against their best interests? The rich do not create jobs. They do promote illegal war. They do cut taxes for the rich and corporations while raising the tax burden on the working classes – who can’t find good paying jobs anymore.
This all sounds like a formula for Lincoln’s disaster.
Those of us down here in the nether regions of American society no longer can look at one another and discern our place by skin color, gender preference, or any other phony divider. All we have to do is look at our palms and see that we are all in this together and that we’d better start asserting ourselves, or Lincoln’s and Marx’s prophecies will certainly come true.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through Amazon.com.