Elmo, You’re Fired!

How the Destruction of the Arts and Education Ensure Our Servitude to the One-percent

Elmo was fired after 32 years on Sesame Street. The cost of the show is so little. Why did Trump and Co. do it?  Doesn’t entertaining and educating children count for anything?

It’s all about loss these days, at least for the 98 percent. Although what we lose covers the waterfront and seems a haphazard choice, it isn’t. Get rid of the social services which support a family; get rid of shows that give a friendly and imaginative time for kids to learn, as well as a time to rest for single Mom, working two jobs to keep them all alive.

Trump and his family are a “forget the poor and use-the-workers-up” type family. Bannon, Trump’s chosen Chief Strategist, is a well-known racist, anti-immigrant man connected with the Alt-right via Breitbart News. He is the guide for Trump’s fondest take-it-all dreams.

The Trump regime has ended support for the National Endowment for the Arts, and other public services, including Sesame Street. The arts remind us of the great accomplishments of our ancestors: writing and story-telling, 2,000 plus year old manuscripts documenting Egyptian medicine before Europe had a culture, showing dike diggers and pyramid builders lifting stones weighing tons to the top – how did they do it? Those who wish to own “humans” as did the slave-holders, want the victims ignorant about what their ancestors have done and to see themselves as deserving little.

When Africans were captured and shipped to silver mines on the West Indies and to the southern US plantations, those who survived the voyage laid out like sardines in the hold of the ship, did not have the mentality of slaves. They were full human beings who intended to rebel and flee, and many did, which is why there are so many black Native Americans. But those who claimed to “own” these captured folk, worked to turn them into possessions. They had significant monetary value and were needed to create fortunes for their owners.

The owners separated those who spoke a common language. They made it illegal to read and write. They didn’t want the people sharing knowledge. Thinkers could plot and plan. They had a sense of weaponry. They lacked allegiance to the owner for letting them survive.

The owners forbade practicing their African religion.  Only some kind of bastardized Christianity was allowed. The most important part of the Christian lesson was to revere and serve their master and to expect something good in heaven. A state of helpless fear was instigated. Marriages were considered temporary. A couple could be sold separately. Children born to partners, as well as those resulting from master’s profligacy and rape, frequently were sold. Your child was not yours, but property of your “master.” Slaves needed a pass to travel. Those who ran away were captured and frequently killed by the slave patrol which even came up north to hunt and were not against grabbing Free Men calling them slaves and taking them south to sell into slavery.

So why would the Trump gang want to get rid of Elmo and all the arts? Because these are an expression of a free and creative person. Elmo and other puppet figures give a child ideas, the propensity for free thought, and valuable life lessons, like working together to achieve common goals. It is the same reason Trump does not support the public schools as exemplified by DeVos who stated she would not be sorry if public schools were eliminated. The Trump regime doesn’t want common man thinking. Thinking man reacts to the fact he is being robbed of appropriate payment, put into prison for petty crimes, dragged to fight wars against people he does not know and afterwards dropped from public concern.

Those who watch cultural programs get the idea that government owes them something for their taxes. Same with expecting Medicaid coverage if you are poor and Social Security after paying into it for a worker’s life time. Social Security is now called “Entitlements.” Whose idea is that? Your bank savings is not called an entitlement as if the bank is doing you a favor by giving your own money back to you with a little interest.

The Trump regime doesn’t want to give the parents a break and the child a treat. Elders are to work until they burst. Children are to be disorderly, uneducated and worthless. Cutting Meals on Wheels tells the elderly, the disabled, the vets to croak. This endless demolition of education, the arts, of meals, of social services is intended. The population is seen as wanting too much from the “Citizen United” folk. The rich who never have enough believe that the “needy poor” are free to die. It’s a “get lost” policy which has taken over.  Money taken from the poor and one-time middle class goes to the military. It is a 1984 life.

Programs that lift up and educate the poor are a threat to the one-percent’s control, their ownership of the world. And while our trials and tribulations cannot compare to the atrocities of the slave trade, their methods and goal are the same: Keep people uneducated to keep them as slaves, thus minimizing costs to horde more wealth and power.

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A Country Based on Theft

Listened to a discussion of how we are exterminating elephants, one every 15 minutes for their tusks (ivory) whose buyers do not know that the elephant is killed to get them; to the way polar bears now have to swim 100 miles to find food and often die on the journey; to how our President Elect’s son joined the extermination fad by shooting animals in Africa for sport, and on and on. I listened to this and wept.

How did we develop the willingness to take what isn’t ours, to aggressively use it up with no respect for the victim’s sacrifice, to ignore mass extinction and have no sense of sharing the loss? This represents a breakdown in our sense of being part of a family of the living. The urge to take and slaughter often has a religious base, a standard manipulation for those citizens who serve the taker” by being at the front of attack. Harm is done in a religious cause, mine good and yours bad, like marauding soldiers in search of the Holy Grail.

The Pope told his religious followers as well as those deep in debt like Columbus and his crew, to take the land and its riches. Columbus enslaved natives to dig for gold until they died. He and his fellow henchmen lived by the sword, killing for the fun of it, loping off limbs, extracting infants from the womb. The land acquired was based on murder. A religious leader designated it as right. As it is today with the “towel heads” who claim to own the oil beneath their feet… and with the Muslims we are told threaten us so must be contained or wiped out. There is the greed of “taking” behind our manipulated fear.

Then comes our country’s second enormous crime, slavery. Using stolen men as unpaid labor created great riches for the few. In other cultures, people taken as unpaid labor after losing a war have a time limit after which they are included as full members of society. Not here. Slaves and their children’s children remain slaves. When importation became difficult, slave owners bred them, treated them as insensitive animals who barely missed their children sold and taken away. Today, the former slave population is increasingly unnecessary as factories move to countries that pay the workers less. The prison society for this surplus population is supported by our taxes.

The “taking” culture continues via taxes. Money is taken from the middle class, from public services, the parks and schools, etc., to make the rich richer. Blacks in ghettos are called inferior so why waste money on them? Public schools are underfunded and then abandoned as not meeting goals. State supported colleges have only teachers as poorly paid by the job consultant. Education is devalued. Muslims, Jews, women, gays and on and on are dropped from public concern. Our nation continues to rob its residents including its plants and animals by designating them as unworthy.

And so, we came to this country to rob Mother Earth of her goods as if our survival is not attached to hers. We are approaching a critical edge from which there may be no return. Because of our addiction to having more “things” we cannot see where we are and what we must do next. Change is always difficult. We need to awaken from the dream of having “more.” Change is the only thing that is real.

Slavery in America

I went to see a film called The 19th. Knew it was about something important but not exactly what. Now I know. Seeing The 19th was like a splat of cold water in the face and a stabbing pain in my heart. Seeing what is going on in great number without any of us knowing was like living writer Hannah Arendt’s  “the banality of evil,” the experience of Germans living next to concentration camps and not seeing them, intent on leading “moral” lives. Are we the same? Is there something good about our ability to turn a blind eye to what might alarm us? There is a bit of comfort in denying what is going on until we too fall into the pit. The 19th Amendment has to do with how we run our prisons, their purpose and means. Nothing said about the effect on prisoners.

US prisons are cells with bars, everywhere enclosed spaces watched by often violent guards. The experience for prisoners is one of fear and aggression, hopelessness, boredom and work. There is no training for the future. There is only now. Recidivism is high when the prisoner is released. It is different in Germany where prison is an open place full of teachers and inmate-students, people acquiring important skills and speaking about emotional problems. German recidivism is low. Treat a human as worthy and that is what get. Treat that person like an animal and their behavior follows suit. Would you expect anything else?

Those who wrote the 19th Constitutional amendment after the Civil War were mostly men of wealth and means. The 19th, seemingly well-intended writers kicked slavery out the front door and snuck it in the back. It said that no man could be forced to work for free (or for pitifully little) unless he was in prison. That statement is like a Trojan Horse with bells on it. You commit a crime or are reported to have committed one and you are transferred to the work gang..

This intentional parasitism did not come out of nowhere. Early America grew wealthy on the sale of tobacco , cotton and sugar raised by slaves. Slaves build great mansions for white folks including the White House where they served. Slaves built colleges and slave labor supported these institutions partly built to train missionaries who would to out and Christianize the “natives.” Among the slave-created and salve-supported schools are Harvard and Princeton and Brown and William and Mary and University of Pennsylvania and Columbia and Rutgers and Dartmouth.

Extracting free labor is the fastest way to make a fortune. You rise on another man (or woman’s) shoulders, ignoring their sweat and tears. You labor them an inferior race that does not much feel pain. At one time US jail was associated with making license plates. Now inmates make almost everything in almost every US corporation. Big business receives Federal tax credits for employing inmates in excess of millions yearly. Business is not complaining

The United States Government is the primary guilty party in formulating a slave-based operation. The Federal corporation, UNICOR sets working conditions and wage standards for working inmates. Prisoners are said to work an 8 hour day for wages ranging from .23 cents/ hour to 1.15/hour. Due to the inflated cost in prison of making telephone calls and of purchasing items in the commissary, many prisoners leave jail in greater debt than when they arrived.

Here are some of the companies using slave labor: Whole Foods, WalMart, whose company policies clearly state “forced or prison labor is not tolerated” but get around this restriction by using a 3rd party for almost every item in the store . There are Farms with inmate labor who work under a blazing sun without adequate sunscreen, food and water. There is Victoria’s Secret where South Carolina inmates replace “Made in Honduras” tags with Made in the USA. There is AT&T which laid off thousands of telephone operators who were union members, to increase their profit. They were replaced by inmates who work in Call Centers for approximately $2 a day. There is BP which, after spilling 4 million barrels of oil in the Gulf Coast, used African-American inmates to clean it up instead of the local community of out-of-work fisherman. Other prisons using inmate labor include Microsoft, Nike, Honda, Pfizer, Saks 5th Avenue, JC Penny, Macy’s and Starbucks.
When inmates come before the parole board praying for release after 5 or 10 or 15 or… years of stifling imprisonment and imposed labor, reviewers pay little attention to their work time or to their good behavior. These appointed judges usually revert to the crime which brought that person to jail in the first place and on that basis answer no. The parole officer seems proud of his moral position. He lacks awareness of how prideful behavior becomes abusive.

Prison as a correction institute has been turned into a “tough on crime” torture zone by elected officials who think that repeating this slogan will get them elected by fearful voters. Those in prison have little or no time to spend with their children depending on how far the prison is from their home. When they meet, they are divided by a wall of glass and speak through a phone. Children are not embraced. Prisoners are deprived of almost all that makes life worth living.

Prisoners are beginning to rebel against their slave condition. They want reasonable wages and respectful treatment. Those who recently went on strike to call attention to their mistreatment were seriously beaten by guards, many thrown into solitary confinement including boys as young as 14, a sure way to make them grow insane. The prison’s intention is to break the spirit of its inmates and force them to turn the the wheel of outside profit.

How can slavery go on under our noses without our knowing it? We do not know it because the corporations which use inmate labor do not want us to know. Slave labor spoils their image. We might think twice about buying something made by unpaid or barely paid inmates. We might ask questions and learn that most people are in jail because they lack money for bail as do their relatives. They have not had their time in court, have not been convicted of any crime.

Many think that our prison system is itself a criminal event. It is clear that a functioning society needs no jail. Instead, it needs to create a place to help those who fail and fall between the cracks. Such people need psychological support and job training, not punishment. They need patient models who demonstrate how to live in society, something you cannot learn in a cage. They help inmates learn to get close to people, rather than feel helpless and enraged. This approach for those who fail in any way, would benefit us all.

Afraid to Change

Now we are peering at an edge over which we must fall . We need to move  totally away from it, not  just to give the appearance of making constructive change without doing something that can be undone in a flash.  We need to not be taken in by advertising. Pseudo change  come from corporations whose paid-off politicians mouth imaginary benefits including jobs, jobs, jobs! this repeated by corporation-owned newspapers and teachers who are ill-informed by all of  the above as well as fitting in so as to not lose their jobs. Fear is not a good attitude to have when learning about what is.

Biased news sources threaten us with death or some kind of horrible existence if we move away from the corporate plan. Fear is used to close the minds of those who are needed to submit. Where is that part of us which wants to be self-sufficient? The child happily dwells in a world devoid of oil and fracked gas and overly hot seasons, a world free of flood and drought, of  drug-inoculated animals whose drug-resistant bacteria enter our bodies once the carcass is eaten to cause disease in us. These surviving bacteria cannot be eliminated by antibiotics. The world of treating infections with antibiotics will soon be over. We are creating our world as a place where antibiotics will not work. The child is not enlivened by the so-called civilized institutions which destroy life.

A self-sufficient life is frowned upon by those who would make us dependent on products they can sell. The banks are against farmer’s independence  They underprice vegetables to force farmer’s into unpayable loans until they cannot pay the mortgage and give up the farm. They chemically spray and poison underpaid factory farmers. They cause factory farmers to work at a pay-level which turns them into slaves. They poison all the vegetables and fruit and legumes and milk and meat with insecticide and growth hormone the general public will eat.  We live in a poisoned world. Is this our choice?

The American Indians were removed by the European invaders because they were spiritual beings who functioned as a group. They did not think anyone owned the land in which they dwelled. This accounts for the newly arrived starving and impoverished white men’s misunderstanding when NY Indians accepted  their offering of beads as a gift and not as the sales price for New York. it didn’t take long for the white men to discover that violence worked better than petty gifts or even phony treaties.

We are made to be dependent on outside forces but don’t want to see it that way, a false supposition which keeps us passive. We claim ownership of that on which we lean for support. The more unnecessary imposed support we seek, the more we become addicted to crutches that take away our lives. What will we do if there is another power failure? No refrigerator to maintain our food which  spoils in days and no food to be delivered. The farmer’s trucks lack power from gas pumps that do not suck oil.  No water in your tap to wash your hands or to flush your toilet. What will we do when the absence of power ends the flow of cooling water over the water pools filled with “discarded” nuclear rods at New York’s Indian Point or any other nuclear reactor?’ “Hello Fukushima.

After the explosion of the Trinity atom bomb, Robert Oppenheimer said,  “Now I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” We dwell in the sin of Adam who ate the forbidden apple so that God threw them out of the garden. What is that apple? Is it the apple of ownership? There is hope if we renounce a take-it-all and spoil-it-all society and live in a loving relationship with Mother Earth.

You may say we can’t go back. Got to have cars and TV and I-phones and pollution and spoilage until death. But the idea of permanence is false. There is no back and no forward. Everything is moving and changing. It is a flaw to worship the components of our current life as the only place to be. Survival has to do with moving into what supports life.

There is power in wind and sun and geothermal and tides and… There are extremely small and extremely large things to be discovered. The more we know, the more we see how little we know. There is seeing and feeling the beauty of the wild. Do not believe those who would make you afraid of change. Their motivation is short-sighted and usually selfish. We can share work on a farm or commune, can share our gifts and talents and not fall into the exploitative need for money. We can choose a place with a good water table far from leaking and exploding nuclear reactors. We share our work and talent, have more time for fun. We can bring out our instruments, drums, and whistles to play a tune. We dance and sing, write music and tell stories. We can lead a life that does not threaten. We can love.

 

 

 

 

 

Fear Keeps You Locked In

Fear is the Siamese twin of false attachment. The more you fear the consequences of being different from the one whose power you fear, the more you love that person. It’s a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, loving the one who has abducted you so that they will feel your love and not kill you.

People whose life is contained by fear, often do not know it. A container of fear seems to create a note of safety since it tells you when to run–which is almost always. They feel fear only long enough to engage in a hasty retreat. A woman is afraid that loving any man will open her up to the abuse of childhood with a self-centered and aggressive mother. As a result she runs away from the nice men whom she fears might turn out to be bad. It is only the aggressive, self-centered men (and women) who push past her resistance and capture her. She falls into the hurtful arms of the kind of abusive person her fear is telling her to avoid.

Fear is a kind of blindness. The alarm button is pushed too easily and panic sets in too soon. The fearful adult is actually living as she had in childhood when demonstrating any individuality or autonomy brought on the wrath of her over-protective parent. Such a parent said, “I’m the only one who loves you.”

You need to recognize aggression which is masked as kindness. If the perpetrator points to a good “result” after harmfully and repeatedly punishing you, you are not to disregard your feelings.  You need to stop surrendering to the aggression of a parent-substitute lover.

Bad is bad. Aggression is aggression. Huge numbers of bales of cotton picked which enrich “Massah”  do not make slavery OK to the slave. Only a person who can say no can say, “Yes, I accept your offer.” There is no real yes without a no. You need to practice saying no in your every day life. This will give you a sense of security that you can say no when needed and then goodbye. Without your ability to say no, you cannot risk having a close relationship with anyone.