I respectfully disagree with those who say choosing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Rodham Clinton is solely the province of the young and naive.
I feel the same way as the kids do and I’m 51. Many of my age-mates are of a similar mind.
That’s why The Cynical Times is endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. It’s the first real endorsement in the history of this news and satire website devoted to the faltering middle class.
I worked in the mainstream news media for more than 30 years before it was taken over by right-wing monied interests. During that time I covered both politics and economics in Washington, D.C., rubbing elbows with everyone from Alan Greenspan to Jeb Bush to Cory Booker; covered cops and courts in Newark, the Bronx and South Florida; covered energy, insurance and banking at the national and global level; and our military overseas.
I am wholly convinced that the naive view right now in America is held by those who believe they can present our shrinking middle class with another choice between two Wall Street agents and call it a proper election. Because that’s what the U.S. has had every year since Jimmy Carter ran for our nation’s highest office in 1976 and that’s why our voter turnout is among the lowest in the so-called developed world.
Most Americans want to vote against both the Wall Street money machine in New York City and against the K-Street political lobbyists in Washington, D.C., and have been wanting to do so for some time. However, there’s usually no meaningful way to accomplish that goal. Until now.
That’s why The Cynical Times is feeling The Bern.
We want to vote against Wall Street and K-Street. Just like most of you.
That’s why the naive view is the one now being taken by the beneficiaries of the status quo who think they can continue to narrow our social pyramid without consequences. They believe they can claim a greater share of our national wealth for themselves year after year by purchasing favorable laws and regulation from the present crop of pay-to-play political trash without compromising their own security as our increasingly unstable society totters collectively from right to left.
The Founding Fathers viewed elections – real elections with real choices – as a form of bloodless revolution. A way to foster peaceful change without regicide and warfare in the streets.
The wealthy and sheltered fools on Wall Street and K-Street have removed that “speed governor” from our faltering democracy in their insatiable quest for earnings and political donation growth. And done so with the able assistance of political hookers from both major parties.
The painful truth is that most Americans would line up every CEO against a wall who offshored jobs and dodged taxes – if they could. Same goes for every member of Congress who votes against the social programs they claim we cannot afford while simultaneously holding open the door to the Treasury vault for their Wall Street paymasters.
Real blood in the street is where we’re headed if we don’t start having real elections again in this nation quick, fast and in a hurry. Elections that result in new generations of representative leadership and allow people to hit back at the same Wall Street monied interests which have introduced new terms into our national lexicon for outrageous financial behavior.
Terms like “predatory lending,” “for-profit colleges,” “offshoring,” “dead peasant insurance,” “foreclosure fraud,” “masters of the universe” and “killing your bunnies” are bandied about candidly today, but would have qualified as treason before The Cold War ended in 1991.
If you’re one of the millions of hardworking Americans who has been kicked to the curb in recent years by Wall Street to foster increased profit growth then you’re one of “bunnies” that was killed. A significant percentage of those bunnies really wound up dead due to suicide over the ensuing years, or saw their marriages destroyed by divorce.
Amazingly, the Masters of the Universe brag about such things to one another. Just as Enron traders bragged about destroying the California economy as they manipulated its energy prices in 2000 and 2001.
That’s why the naive view is the one that claims Wall Street agents like Hillary Rodham Clinton are any more capable of planning for our nation’s long-term interests than their Wall Street paymasters. The investment bankers and traders – it might as well be spelled T-R-A-I-T-O-R – who long ago abandoned their own moral compasses to advance their “fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value” in the near term.
The status quo that Hillary Rodham Clinton has benefited from so handsomely allows a deplorable for-profit college company like Corinthian Colleges to escape its debts by declaring bankruptcy, as it did in 2015, while denying the same protection to the students it exploited for their government Pell Grants. The closure affected more than 16,000 students and employees.
Chelsea Clinton and Jenna Hager Bush, who never had to borrow to pay for their educations, were not among them.
What do CEOs like Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old who hiked the cost of a life-saving drug 4,000 percent overnight, want from their fellow Americans?
More, more, more.
When do they want it?
Now, now, now.
Who do they want it from?
You, you, you.
They think Greed is Good, because that’s what they’ve been told and taught. Just like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump.
The problem for the rest of us is that the money which feeds their relentless corporate growth machines doesn’t come from no-where. It comes straight out of the pockets of the 99 Percent. The workers who are the backbone of a national economy still completely dependent on consumer spending.
Which is why our economy is stumbling around like a heroin addict going cold turkey right now.
Bottom line, consumers can’t spend what they don’t have. And homebuilders can’t sell homes to laid off workers whose jobs have been offshored to China.
As Wall Street has gone global, the old “Wall Street versus Main Street” political headline has morphed into one in which our own leaders champion global financial interests over the needs of the American electorate.
Because global millionaires pay. They also look a lot more like the millionaires in our Congress than most Americans do.
The painful truth is that Wall Street isn’t America any more. It’s Saudi Arabia, home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11; and it’s China, which has taken more than 60,000 of our factories since 2001. Meanwhile, Main Street is as American as ever, provided you fancy boarded-up windows and local economies built on Wal-Mart, Rent-A-Centers, payday lenders, soup kitchens and food stamps.
Our nation is in distress and our so-called leaders don’t inhabit the same world as we do any more. So they not only don’t know it – they don’t feel it.
Case in point, our public schools. The political hookers run them, but they don’t send their own pampered kids to them.
They don’t have to because they’re millionaires. The median net worth of a member of Congress was $1,029,505 in 2013, according to the Open Secrets nonprofit website. That compares with $56,355 for the average American household.
How is such a huge disaprity consistent with any kind of representative leadership? It’s not.
And that’s the rub.
We used to have an entire class of criminals in this nation called “Loan Sharks,” back in the day when Jimmy Carter was president. They were the folks who lent money illegally at interest rates above the 11 percent cap mandated by most state usury laws. Now, they’re out of business.
The loan sharks were supplanted by legitimate bankers and payday lenders, and their masters in Wall Street’s parasitical hedge fund and private equity sectors. Today, they legally charge rates that would make the Loan Sharks of old blush beet red.
Because Wall Street is regulating itself right now under our pay-to-play government. Our regulators work for them. That’s why Corinthian was able to keep fleecing students for another four years after then U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) tried to pull the choke collar on them with a raft of new rules in 2011.
The $29 billion “school sectors” bought off the other lawmakers on his committee via political donations. Also known as “legalized bribes.”
Why are they legal?
Because the same disgraceful Congress which has exempted itself from inside trading restrictions and term limits made them legal. That’s why its approval ratng is stuck in the lowest range in the long history of the Gallup Poll, hovering between 14 percent and the all-time low of 9 Percent for most of the past five years.
The numbers are not an accident. The amazing thing is that there actually is about 10 percent of the population somewhere which approves of these pathetic creatures, who enjoy the universal health care and gernous pensions they deny the rest of us.
That’s why I say the naive view is the one held by Hillary Rodham Clinton herself, who thinks she can grab with both hands and then brand herself as a sacrificial leader and a true agent for positive change. She took $675,000 for three speeches just from JP Morgan and secured a job as a national correspondent at MSBC for her pampered child Chelsea, who moved on from that gift job just before the campaign season without the slightest demonstration of either talent or industry.
Jenna Hager Bush and Meghan McCain also received legalized bribes on behalf of their parents from MSNBC in the form of undeserved perches as untalented and unproductive national correspondents.
Back in the day, leadership was done by example. It wasn’t a goddamn coronation and a license to steal.
The even more naive view is that American voters were somehow taken in by Barack Obama eight years ago and are now being taken in by Bernie Sanders. That assumes we are in no way voting against Hillary Rodham Clinton and Hedgefund Founder Mitt Romney and their fellow travelers in our nation’s privilege bubbles.
The painful truth is that we are voting desperately for a bloodless revolution at the polls. A vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote for peaceful change. The votes for Donald Trump are votes for blood in the street and scapegoats to pillory.
However, they are both votes for change in a society where Hillary Clinton is a well fed beneficiary of a tyrannical status quo that simply must be dismantled.
What do we ask in return?
Make the fat cats poor Bernie. Make them feel the burn from redistribution of wealth for a change.
Cause there ain’t nothing like a little suffering to turn a self-proclaimed Master of the Universe back into a modest American with some empathy for their fellow countrymen and women.
Victor Epstein (left),
The Cynical Times