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Commentary :: Politics
The Determined
25 May 2013
Modified: 11:46:51 AM
“Chuang Tzu, a well known and respected philosopher, was fishing in the Pu River with an old bamboo pole. The Prince of Chu sent two officials with a formal proclamation, saying ‘The Prince hereby appoints you Prime Minister'. Chuang Tzu's face remained unchanged. Without taking his eyes off the river, he said 'I have heard that three thousand years ago a tortoise with divine markings on its shell was killed and the shell made into a shrine to be worshipped in the Temple, until the present age.
Click on image for a larger version

“'What do you think: Is it better for the turtle to be killed and leave a sacred shell as an object of cult worship surrounded by clouds of incense and reverent speech for three thousand years, or to be allowed to live, dragging its tail in the mud?"

“The Prince's official said, 'Better for the turtle to live and drag its tail through the mud.'

"'Go away!' cried Chuang Tzu. 'Let me drag my tail in the mud!'” (Merton, 1969)

There can be no denying it, Americans got ripped off when we were forced to bail out large banks after the recession of 2008. I've read arguments on both sides in terms of different approaches to the matter, ranging from giving more in bailouts to wealthy corporations, to not giving over a dime. Both sides have points and areas that make sense in terms of their arguments. My college degree is an undergraduate one in Landscape Architecture, and, contrary to what many think, you don't have to be a numbers wiz for the craft, especially not in the digital age. I can wrap my head around the same stuff mathematically as your average person can, but it doesn't take rocket science to spot the rats in the maze of our recent financial crisis.

The crash was caused by the economic bubble, which in turn was caused primarily by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage bond market. Most people, including most experts claim this was just an accident. People, including experts across the globe just thought it was going to last forever, or even out. That's what the people that got the bailouts tell us and what those that handed them well in excess of $12 trillion told us also. The party line, from many well known GOP and Democrat affiliated experts and “personalities” alike, was that it had to be done.

Even many of those that literally became household names in part due to their deriding the bailouts, initially supported them, like talk show host Glenn Beck and politician/ personality Sarah Palin. As a normal everyday person, I believed we needed to also, at the time, as all the experts told us we needed to, and that doom and gloom would follow if we had not handed out the cash.

Unlike many of the personalities and experts, I, like most average folk, had not followed previous bailouts nor economic theory in terms of government intervention in markets, and had not studied anything regarding the pros and cons of various approaches to economic bubbles, and dealing with such circumstances. There had been other bailouts in the past, though on a much lower scale in recent times, and, so as long as it seemed like all things were functioning as they should and the trains were running on schedule, my head was buried in my own job, my own personal life, my own personal interests and my own personal concerns.

There was no time for learning curves and catching up. The crash was out of nowhere for most of us, as we were told by so many pundits and experts that, though the economy was struggling, we didn't have to worry about a real crisis. It was like a meteorite about to hit the earth and all the people in the media and most of those in government that we had come to rely on saying, “we need to spend trillions now, or this thing hits the earth and we're all done for.”

But what would happen if the meteorite had been approaching for years, and could have been averted years ago with little to no cost to you or I? What would happen, if the people that saw it coming thought amongst themselves that they stood to profit greatly if they simply allowed it to get to the point where it would either be a great threat or could be painted as such? What if there were laws saying that in time of great crisis, a very small group of people could decide whether or not trillions of our dollars could be spent, most of it to be given to the private sector, on such a thing at a moment's notice, and before really explaining to us what it was really for, how the crisis happened and what it was going to be used for?

What if the very people that were tasked with “deciding” whether or not we needed to give such large sums of emergency cash over to handling this crisis, all came from, were still connected to and even stood to benefit from, such money being spent on such a thing?

What if we then found out it was a scam, but the people tasked with doing something about it, that promised in campaigns they would do something about it, refused to do a thing once elected? What if the people elected had campaigns that were heavily funded and reliant upon large campaign contributions from people from the very part of the private sector that all the cash in question would be handed over to? Would we have a problem? Would we have been scammed out of trillions because we were trusting, innocent and vulnerable?

That is exactly what happened with the bailouts. In fact it is exactly what happened with many expensive things that people in private industries, that aren't even Americans in many cases, have benefitted from. It not only happened with the economic crisis, but with the Iraq War. It has been happening with all the aid we have been giving to both sides of the war ongoing between Palestine and Israel. It has even been happening with the very political status quo that has been working to convince us of the lie that only two political parties can truly represent all Americans, despite the reality of our ever diverse nation, and complex culture and economy.

Oil companies want us to pay for US military to protect them, so they don't have to pay for their own security and maximize their profits that way. Of course we don't own or profit from this, as we make no money from it, nor do we see gas prices going down at all. Other industries like cheap labor factories, the defense industry and mining concerns, also benefit from this, but we do not. However that is not what we are told.

We are told by our elected leaders this all benefits us. Just like with the bailouts we are told we need to be paying for 50,000 troops in Germany in 2013. Really? In 2013 we need 50,000 troops in Germany alone? We can see the b.s. now and we're getting tired of the meddling, and the lies. We're getting tired of the people telling us it’s for our own good, and those that point out the scam are “cynical.”

As long as we keep electing the same old people we will keep on getting the same old results. If they messed up, we can forgive them, and continue to have compassion for them, without allowing their problems to become ours once over and over again, and allowing them to come up with excuse after excuse. We need to be determined to root out those that have decided ahead of time that if they put the right faces and symbols in front of us they can continue to lie to us and to steal from us. We must become more adamant about not being ripped off, than they are about ripping us off. We must learn to say “no” more than we say, “yeah I guess so.” We must l say, “I’m sorry, but I do not want for myself the same things you want for me.”

To read about my inspiration for this article go to
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