The gale winds and the utter destruction unleashed by Hurricane Maria upon the devastated island of Puerto Rico had nothing on the monster storm that developed in Manhattan and crushed San Juan and beyond starting last decade. While we Americans felt the dizzying pinch of the 2008 economic collapse, Puerto Rico—more than any other state or American territory—felt the full brunt of the fury. In what can only be described as an act of state sponsored terrorism, our Federal government came to the rescue of degenerate gamblers who imploded our economy and empowered them to keep betting on exotic derivatives and repackaged debt.
Some people think I am being unfair when I criticize Obama; however there is a reason why I refuse to let him escape condemnation. True enough he was just another politician; the carnival barker Trump is no different than the fraud Barack who duped tens of millions of believers just like me to think he was the “change we’ve been waiting for”. Obama went on to literally fleece Main Street by feeding us to the wolves of Wall Street. The full breadth of it none of us will really know, but what is known is outrageous on it’s own. Barack H. Obama ran interference as the Fed Reserve (the true bosses of this nation) gave the same bankers and multinational crime syndicates in New York and financial centers around the world over $14 trillion dollars by way of Quantitative Easing, ZIRP and a litany of monetary schemes that was stood up on Obama’s watch.
I used the word crime syndicate with full intention; business stops being business and becomes a criminal enterprises when money is being made by robbing other people. The financial industry has become a cancer of this earth for this very reason; entities like Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo don’t make any products or benefit humanity in the least. Their sole existence is to “create” wealth for themselves by cratering the rest of humanity. Capitalism is nothing more than an ideology of systematic theft where a dollar is made by taking from others. Let me make one thing clear here by the way, I’m not espousing Communism here for the record, both Communism and Capitalism are systems of taking from many in order to give to the few (read Capitalism is Communism). It doesn’t have to be this way; a more equitable system of collective enrichment is possible if a marketplace of competition was available for all and business was conducted on a fair playing field.
Capitalism has eradicated the playing field; corporations keep euthanizing competition as they use their sheer scale and scope to kill off whole industries in order to concentrate wealth and markets in the hands of a few. Wall Street titans have effectively resurrected serfdom by making it almost impossible for people to become entrepreneurs and start small business owners. This is part and parcel of the sham that was the Dodd-Frank bill which Obama signed into law; the Democrats glomed on to the crisis of 2008 to actually strengthen big banks as they pretended to be against “too big to fail”. The laws they implemented made it that much harder for smaller banks and businesses to comply with regulations while doing nothing to prosecute the criminals who stole billions from our life savings (read Dodd-Frank $hakdown).
Banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and the rest should have been broken up and made to fail. People who are used to parroting political talking points will think this idea nuts. “But that would have meant the layoff of millions and the failure of our economy”, they say. To which I respond that tens of millions were laid off anyway and our economy failed big time in 2008. Obama did not save the economy; he just put it on life support by giving our collective blood to delay the impending day of reckoning. Moreover, when people are given every incentive to gamble and know they have no risk of failure or punishment, it encourages criminal and unethical behavior that was the root cause of the crash of 2008 to begin with.
Moreover, let’s get this other fallacy of of the way. Obama did not save the economy in 2008 with his monetary schemes and failure to hold bank robbers (executives) accountable. I did not need to get an MBA from Johns Hopkins to learn this one truth anyone with common sense already knows—you can’t borrow your way out of debt. The jobs created under Obama were mostly seasonal, part time or employment that paid less than the jobs people had before they were laid off during and after the Great Recession.There is no lie in this world quiet like the ones that are peddled by statisticians. This is ten times true when you said statistician is employed by our government. The unemployment numbers put out the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes Baghdad Bob look like the scion of truth. The BLS unemployment rate does not count the long term unemployed, those who lost a high salary job and got minimum wage jobs nor does it count people who are working part time jobs. In other words, the BLS statistics are about as useless as Donald Trump during a natural disaster.
We live in a bifurcated economy where the 1% live in ways that would astound the tycoons during the gilded ages. While most of us fret in a state of pervasive economic anxiety and are constantly worried about keeping up with the rent, the few at the top live a life of opulence that make Saudi sultans look like paupers. The injustice of it all, there are people like Larry Ellison and Richard Branson who own whole islands to themselves while people who live on islands like Puerto Rico, Haiti and Jamaica are living in hardship and indigence. This is the corrosive effect of money; those who have billions get infected with such astounding greed and get so drunk off money that they see human suffering as a cost of doing business. Instead of calling out these moneyed fascists for the soulless plutocrats that they are, the Corporate State Media acts the part of their public relations agents.
A few days ago, there was a glamour article written about the “next Warren Buffet” by the name of Seth Klarman (read CNBC’s article). CNBC treats this bilker, who has made his fortunes by trading debt and using Leveraged Buyouts (LBOs), like a virtuous prince. LBO sounds so sexy and harmless doesn’t it? This is why I hate acronyms and euphemisms; the rich know how to use words and marketing to hide the perniciousness. Leveraged buyout is the practice of murdering companies in order to make a financial killing. Vulture capitalists borrow billions from multinational banks who themselves are borrowing trillions from the Federal Reserve for free so they can turn around and lend it to us at interest. All sides make fortunes in this transactions as the tax payers finance this pyramid scams only for the tax payers be left holding the bag.
When folks like Klarman, Icahn, Buffet initiate these LBOs of companies, they do so with the sole reason of “streamlining” the business. Damn it! There is that euphemism again! Streamlining a business vis-à-vis a Leveraged Buyout means laying off massive amounts of people, stripping the company apart to sell of what is not part of the core business, and then sitting back and watching the stock price sky rocket by getting rid of overhead. Imagine that is society a huge toothpaste tube; this system of capital larceny depends on taking more and more from the bottom to feed the greed of the people at the top. Every year, the tube gets squeezed upward as more and more people are crushed to keep trickling money upwards. Capitalism is a system of voodoo, trickle up economy that is decimating humanity in order to enrich the gentry.
You know those jargon you keep hearing at work about eliminating redundancies and cutting overhead? The overhead and business redundancies Wall Street corporations s referring to is us. The age of industrialism, where people were seen as assets and needed to feed capitalism, is over. We are now in the age of technology and people are seen as liabilities on the balance sheets of corporations. This is the virus of capitalism and greed that bludgeoned Puerto Rico for nearly a decade. Let me give credit to Lee Camp, who by the way is more of a journalist than 99% of the hacks who work at the corporate press, for mentioning these stats. 46% of Puerto Ricans live below the poverty level, a mass exodus of millennials is gutting the island of human capital and those who remain are effectively turned into slaves of banking interests.
For the past eight years, Puerto Ricans have been treated to one round of austerity after another in order to pay off bond holders—more reasonable people call it extortion. It’s poetic, institutional bond holders like Seth Klarman have literally put Puerto Rico in bondage. Debt is the 21st century slavery and Wall Street is slowly making slaves of all of us. In order to feed the greed of Wall Street interests and banks, every year Puerto Ricans are asked to keep giving mega pounds of flesh. First they came for education as school funding was sliced, then sanitation budgets were gashed—Puerto Rico is enduring death by a thousand cuts at the hands of Wall Street derivative slashers. But you won’t hear this news being told by the corporate toadies at the mainstream press; they would rather show us pictures of hurricanes that look like skulls as they gloss over the very real news of people being turned into skeletons by corporate greed and this malignant military-financial complex before us.
The truth is that the hacks at CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and the rest of the yellow press dogs in the Corporate State Media are crying fake tears for Puerto Rico. They make a big production out of outrage and concern as liberal leaning hyenas focus on the lunatic Trump tossing paper towels and conservative leaning hounds revel in the hypocrisy of Hillary. There is a reason why they make us see red and stir our emotions; it’s so we don’t go beyond surface level and realize that it’s people like Klarman, Icahn, Buffet and the rest who are at the root of planetary strife. Not only do they not talk about these leeches who are sucking life from the lives of billions throughout the world, the Corporate State Media actually presents these scoundrels as heroes (read Devil is a Philanthropist).
A concert was announced a few days ago where the five living ex-presidents are set to headline a benefit show to raise money for Puerto Rico. What utter bullshit! These same presidents are the ones who kept feeding the 99% to the oligarchy all along. Puerto Rico is not an outlier but the leading indicator of what is coming for us. Notice how there are more and more homeless people popping up where you’ve never seen them before? I’ve worked and frequented McLean, Virginia for close to two decades; this is one of the richest localities in America. I return back after my own bout with homelessness not too long ago only to see street handlers on Leesburg Pike. Injustice is no longer a theory for me; witnessing this breaks my heart.
This is not about politics; both sides of the isle and both parties are equally heinous. Democrats and and complicit in this continued crime against humanity. Republicans are flip sides of the same coins; two factions who keep perpetuating policies that cater to the whims of Wall Streets as they whiplash the res of us. Hurricane Maria was a gentle breeze compared to the mendacity of the elites as politicians, working for Wall Street interests, pay lip service to outrage as they get paid by the very system they pretend to be speaking against. The anger that is being exuded on all side is warranted; sadly we claw at each other as co-victims of this economic warfare that has been unleashed on all of us choose to snipe at each other instead of clawing at the barrel that oppresses all. This is how a fraction of humanity can enslave billions.The disaster in Puerto Rico is being presented intentionally in a very one dimensional perspective. The Corporate State Media is intentionally neglecting the disease of corporate gluttony and capital greed that has been gnawing at the island and her children for more than a decade. Instead, they talk about the after affects of a natural disaster while they neglect the issue of debt and austerity that has been bleeding Puerto Rico all along. What the corporate media from the Washington Post, Fox News and CNN are doing is way beyond disinformation, this is propaganda that rises to the level of Joseph Goebbels.
Talking about the suffering of Puerto Rico and not mentioning how banks are ravaging the island is akin to going to the hospital for heart failure and the doctor focusing on a hangnail. The disease that has gutted Puerto Rico is the same disease that has been gashing the world. When you get a minute, watch this video of Anthony Bourdain visiting Jamaica (click Anthony Bourdain’s Travels) and listen to the part where he interviews Jamaicans about the tourism industry. Nine out of the ten beaches in Jamaica are owned by private resorts and off limits to “non-guests”—otherwise known as Jamaicans. The tenth one is in jeopardy of being taken over by yet another private resort. They are turning Jamaicans into visitors in their own homes, they are turning all of us into slaves in our own abodes. This is Apartheid by way of economic terrorism and it’s being waged by corporate criminals on Wall Street and beyond.
I pray for the island of Puerto Rico and the rest of us. If we really want to make a difference in this world, the only chance we have is to decentralize and empower our communities where we live. The more we depend on globalism and the more we give our hands to corporations, the more we will become slaves of the system. It’s high time we stop giving allowance to politicians and partisan sheep on all sides who insist on using pains of people as stepping stones and talking points. In all honesty, I can’t even blame the rich and powerful for doing this any more than I can be mad at vipers for being poisonous. The onus is on us, the people who are getting snake struck by these moneyed cobras, to stop giving our hands to the fangs of the Wall Street and DC mafia.
The elites, and those conditioned in ways Pavlov’s dog can’t imagine, will accuse me of class warfare and wealth envy for writing this article. This is what the uber-rich have perfected; they kick you then accuse you of being a whiner when you say “ouch”. Wealth envy is when I am covetous of my neighbor’s fortune; it’s not wealth envy when I demand a crook give me back my possessions that he took. I have to give it to the elites; they victimize people once by fleecing them into indigence and then victimize them two times over for having the audacity to be upset at the theft. There is in fact a class warfare being undertaken, except it’s not being waged by those who demand justice. The class warfare is being conducted by the fraction of society who have all the riches yet demand even more. That is the only “us versus them” we should be focused on instead of idiotically fighting over race, gender, religion and ideologies. We should have singular focus on uniting so that we, the bottom 99%, who are being victimized and them, can defend our common interests from the clutches of the plutocrats.
Disaster capitalism must end and we must do all we can to curtail capital larcenists from running our nation into the abyss. Haitians remember well the depravity of the Clintons and how the Clinton Global Initiative used the suffering of Port-au-Prince to fill up the coffers of Bill and Hillary (read Hillary, Haiti and Counterfeit Philanthropy). This is the malignant brilliance of the system, people like the Bushes, Clintons, Trumps and Obamas—led by their billionaire patrons like Gates, Soros and Koch brothers—make money on the front end by kneecapping the masses and make more money on the back end by pretending to be saviors. Money in; money out. Greed is the most toxic sin. Just how much longer will we keep bowing to worship the rich and famous as they stab all of us in the back?
The natural disaster unleashed by Hurricane Maria gets our attention, but we should pay more attention to the havoc wrought by the criminals on Wall Street before the next economic development leads to our collective Great Depression. Our ADD as a society makes us forget about the monster storms that keep being unleashed from Wall Street. It would do us well to reflect on the economic developments of 2008 instead of yapping about the latest Corporate State Media outrage, getting distracted by the clown Trump and falling for the red meat of our politics. The next economic downturn will make the Great Recession look like child’s play in comparison (read Unity or Dissolution). If for nothing else do this for self-preservation; stop enabling the people who keep gnashing Puerto Rico and the world while the Corporate State Media runs interference—stand in solidarity with Borinquen. #SolidarityBorinquen
“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Check out the interview I conducted with Jason Goodman last evening where I share my journey from taking part in the system to being a statistic of the system and how hardship changed my perspective.
Check out the Ghion Cast below where I discuss three different times where the people rose up against tyranny and defeated their oppressors. In each instance, it was unity that defeated despotism.
Dios bendiga a Borinquen
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
- A Matter of Life or Death: We Cannot Afford to Ignore Mental Illnesses Any Longer - August 17, 2019
- The Mindless Cycle of Violence Continues - August 6, 2019
- Why am I a “Person of Color”? - July 26, 2019