I want you to pause and really reflect on the next couple of sentences. When was the last time a top brass in government or a Wall Street CEO was held accountable for a massive failure or a substantial breach of the public trust on their watch? We live in a world where prosperity and authority effectively exempts people from culpability. While the prison-industrial complex is shackling a record number of people—America represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population yet houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners—the rich and affluent don’t get slaps on their wrists let alone jail sentences.
To wit, 9/11 witnessed the largest attack on American soil in our nation’s history yet not one political leader or bureau principal was held responsible for the horrors that unfolded on that fateful Tuesday morning. The Intel Community warned long before the day we lost our innocence as a nation that Osama bin Laden was determined to attack us only for their admonishments to fall on deaf ears and eyes blinded by neocon arrogance. When the inevitable happened, the political class in DC professed outrage even though high level officials and media insiders knew about the impending attack years before the Twin Towers tumbled into ash clouds.
2,996 people perished and countless more were marred by physical and mental traumas only for our fearless leaders to tell us to go shopping. Instead of galvanizing the public to sacrifice as individuals for the common good, we were told to buy cars and TVs to advance Wall Street profits. Meanwhile, the establishment displaced blame and erased criminal negligence behind Blue Ribbon Panels and patriotism by way of empty symbolism and corporate consumerism.
Sixteen years have passed and we still don’t know the half of it; we just know something doesn’t jive about the official narrative but the fear of being labeled conspiracy theorists and libeled as “truthers” prevents the public from demanding answers from our leaders. Why were a bunch of wealthy Saudis, including relatives of bin Laden, quickly flown out of America just days after 9/11? In an age where cameras are omnipresent, how is it that not one video of a plane flying into the Pentagon has surfaced? A million questions, all of them swept under the carpet by a government that uses the guise of “national security” to hide their malevolent intentions.
September 11th is not the only time our government and leaders entrusted with authority failed us. Seven years after the towers exploded and took the lives of thousands of fellow citizens and humans, our economy imploded and took the life savings of tens of millions of Americans. The Great Recession of 2008 was not some unforeseeable accident nor was it a one-off mishap; the same way the Intel Community was warning of weaponized planes headed for America, economists around the world were warning about weaponized debt that was set to go off and eviscerate the global economy.
Warnings were yet again ignored as fund managers intoxicated with hubris and government authorities in collusion with the very banking mafia they were supposed to be watching were asleep at the wheels up until the moment a tsunami hit our economy. All the sudden, everyone in DC and Wall Street became perversions of Captain Renault as they feigned shock! shock! that degenerate gamblers were placing bets using repacked debt and toxic mortgage loans as collateral to leverage the markets and enrich themselves at the cost of investors and the wider public.
The same tactics that the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and CNBC were touting as financial wizardry were all the sudden being cast as insidious money schemes. For all the dog and pony show of indignation and made for TV hand wringing, not one high level banking executive went to jail for the part they played in crippling our economy and embezzling the pensions, retirement accounts and nest eggs of countless millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Do you notice the sheer number of homeless people and panhandlers that are popping up in cities and towns near you in numbers that astound you? You can thank the Great Recession of 2008 and give a nod to Mr. Hope and Change for saving multinational banks by feeding Main Street to the wolves of Wall Street. While Obama was paying lip service to equality and fairness, he was paying tribute to justice by transferring $14 trillion dollars from us to the 1% by way of Quantitative Easing, Zero Interest Rate Policy and endless bailouts. Not to be undone, Donny boy is currently making America’s grave anon by continuing Barack’s malicious economic policies. Meet the new neocon puppet, same as the old neoliberal puppet.
Our government no longer enforces laws against the wealthiest few who are allowed to prance around the world without fear of repercussions for their gluttonous and heinous actions. Rather, our government has become the enforcers of the oligarchy; all levers of power have been monopolized by the global gentry in order to transfer wealth and resources from the vast majority of humanity into the Swiss accounts of the plutocracy. In this paradigm, a mother who steals to feed her children is liable to get a long prison sentence and a borrower who can’t pay his bills is at risk of going to debtor’s prison yet a mogul who defrauds the public of billions, if not trillions, goes Scott free.
In fact, when a CEO is caught swindling consumers or failing shareholders, he/she is “punished” by getting a golden parachute as they are paid tens, if not hundreds, of millions in severance payments and stock options on their way out the door. Tails we lose, heads they win; America has been turned into a giant pyramid the likes of which King Tutankhamun could not imagine in his wildest dreams. Click To Tweet If we were not so distracted by partisan infighting and driven to collective derangement by identity and ideological politics, America would be on a fast track to the next iteration of 1776. Sadly, we let demagogues and firebrands divert our attention and lead us into the cul-de-sacs of separable grievances and societal acrimony.
There to encourage mass exasperation and fan the flames of public strife is mainstream media. The same professionals who swore to speak truth to power are now more content with getting paid by power. This is the natural outflow of journalists being in bed with corporations and uber wealthy aristocrats. Think about this for a minute; if the New York Times had to choose between appeasing a defense contractor like Boeing in order to attract corporate advertisers versus protecting the public interest, on which side of the ledger do you think executives at “the Grey Lady” will err? This is a rhetorical question of course; we all know that principles always take a second seat to money wherever shareholder demands are present.
Mainstream media is no longer a trusted source when it comes to keeping the powerful in check and rooting out criminality and injustice. The last line of defense when it comes to our freedoms and our Democracy falls on the shoulders of citizen journalists and independent voices who are not in cahoots with authorities and moneyed interests. The newest writer to the Ghion Journal, Tim Nuell, is a prime example of the latent power we all have to uncover malfeasance and speak against consolidated corruption. One man armed with a telephone and online sleuthing was able to track down a Michigan State University economist and a former H.U.D. official and shed light on a $21 trillion Federal larceny that is actively being ignored by mainstream media.
Instead of shedding light on the continued fleecing of Americans and the pillaging of our planet by the intersection of federalism and corporatism, we are being treated to the idiot shows of a clown president, a band of charlatans in Congress and professional hacks in mainstream media. Remember when giants like Edward Murrow, Helen Thomas and Roi Ottley used to inspire confidence from the public? That was so 20th century ago! We are now being led my moral midgets like Sean Hannity and Joy Reid who are currently engaged in Twitter beefs with Corey Booker and Donald Trump Jr. in respective order. The “Fourth Estate” is now the Real Estate of ninnies and nitwits.
If we value our freedoms and want to keep our Democracy, the onus is on us to act as citizen journalists. Depending on corporate own media to keep our corporate owned government and plutocrat owned corporations in check is akin to trusting jackals to keep the sheep safe from wolves. We have the power of media in our hands; let us use this influence to empower citizen journalists—check out the latest Ghion Cast below on this exact topic. We can let yellow journalists in brown shirts at Washington Post, New York Times and Co keep leading us to more wars and social iniquities or we can depend on our fellow citizens to keep power in check and speak up for our collective interests. #ZeroAccountability #IndieMedia
“Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them.” ~ Voltaire
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Check out the latest Ghion Cast where I discuss the same issues I highlighted above and talk about the imperative of citizen journalism displacing corporate media as keepers of the public interest.
I mentioned the latent power that we all have within us, I really hope a time arrives where our default thought is to empower each other instead of prostrating ourselves to worship the rich and powerful.
Ghion Alert: My Event at Busboys and Poets on February 11th
Busboys and Poets will be hosting the founder/editor of the Ghion Journal as a featured author on February 11th at their 5th and K Street NW location. Busboys and Poets is an iconic bookstore and cafe named in the honor of legendary poet and visionary writer Langston Hughes. The event will be a community discussion about “race and identity in America”, a timely topic given that February is “Black History Month’.
This is a community event that is free and open to all, we highly encourage an advance RSVP to ensure seating. You can see the event link at Busboys and Poets website by clicking HERE. Find out about Teodrose Fikre and the work he is doing at the Ghion Journal viewing the video below the event flyer.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, 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. Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Teodrose Fikre (see all)
- Our Connective Existence: If Only We Could be Governed by Our Hearts - July 15, 2018
- Class and Grace: a Netflix Unoriginal Hustle - July 13, 2018
- Vulgar Games: When Our Struggles Become Fodder for Entertainment - July 12, 2018