Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
I’ve long contended that I believe the end game of those Corporatists that run our world is a feudalistic state of affairs where they represent the “Nobility” of the Middle Ages. This theory of mine originally came about when I began to think about the mystifying rise of celebrities as cultural icons. The Kardashians, whatever it is that they do, certainly are among the most famous of today’s celebrities. Many of these celebrities are notable not for their talent, but for their ability to manipulate public relations and the media. The Kardashians were not the first intimation that came to me about what I see is a trend to use subtle propaganda techniques to pave the way for full blown Medieval Feudalism. One of the first indications that came to mind was the TV program “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” The show’s host was Englishman Robin Leach. With his upper crust sounding English voice, actually a worked over Cockney dialect, he would breathlessly show the viewers sumptuous estates and introduce them to the wealthy celebrity wannabe’s who owned this monuments to poor taste. Around that time Donald Trump, the scion of a real estate empire married his middle European wife Ivanna, who taught this twit how to get publicity to publicize the Trump brand of over the top extravagance, coupled with a taste for gilt everywhere. Ivanna aged and outlived her usefulness to “The Donald” and he cast her aside for a much younger woman to grace his arm and broadcast his “potency.” The man has filed for bankruptcy many times, ran his Casinos into the ground and is far from the Billionaire Entrepreneur image he projects. Yet he runs seminars on how to get rich (easy to do when your father is a real estate baron) and has a well-rated program where he acts as a Judge as to how people are skilled in management. He has even had the temerity to play at running for President. The Trump name is more recognizable to the public than the name of the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
The recent birth of the Royal baby in England and the round the clock coverage by CNN illustrates my point. Our news shows give us more “news” on the box office from this week’s movies, than it does about deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. The “Cult of Celebrity” in my opinion is propaganda to pave the way for a feudal system where we the citizens spend our time thinking about the doings of our “betters”, rather than our responsibilities as citizens. When there is this absorption about the wealthy class and their lives, the fact that many escape their duplicitous deeds by being so wealthy, becomes and accepted reality. There is much evidence and little doubt that the recession of 2008 was brought about by illegal activity on the part of the financial community. Yet almost all of that community has escaped real criminal punishment for their deeds and when light prison sentences have been imposed, they spend their time is minimum security federal prison camps, with many of the comforts of home. Yes Bernie Madoff is in jail for life, but Bernie ripped off other rich people mainly and so had to be punished. Martha Stewart, though not to the manor born, acted like she was an arbiter of society. She was sent to jail for a minor violation because of fame and as an example to those who would rise above their station. This trend towards developing a “new nobility” to entrance us peasants is a difficult one to deal with since so many of us “low born” are fascinated by it. In truth “celebrity watching” has always been a human passion going back at least 5,000 years to ancient Sumer and Egypt.
We and many of the industrialized nations are supposed to be Republics, not Monarchies and to my mind we are fast elevating our “entrepreneurial and entertainment” class into our new nobility. The reality is that there is little any of us can do about this except to try to expose it and hope people wake up. I think though that having won the “celebrity war” there is coming an expansion by our “elite” into making ones status in society’s hierarchy, into ones’ privilege under the law and I’ll explain further the signs of this that I see occurring right now.One of the first signs of this change I perceive comes from the privatization of many of the Nation’s highways, making them high priced toll roads. The ostensible reason behind this is to defray the cost of maintaining these roads to the users rather than the taxpayers. Since the rise of the anti-tax movement led by Grover Norquist, our politicians are afraid to raise taxes overtly and so develop schemes to raise the money need to govern from hidden taxation, which regressively gives the greatest burden to those least able to pay the fare. Since the country as a whole has a poor public transportation system citizens are forced to rely on vehicles in order to work and do the other needed business of living life. Tolls mean nothing to the wealthy and in essence road privatization becomes a further step towards inequality of the classes.
This step has been exceeded in recent years by an even further stratification of the “privilege” of driving. In many cities around the country “rush hour” is the most difficult times of the day for drivers. We now have paid “Express Lanes” in many Cities. These lanes, for a fee, allow those who can afford it to move more quickly to and from their City destinations. Route I-95 going to and from Miami has one such system. Since my impending heart transplant caused me to begin the long trip into Miami during rush hours perhaps two to three times a week I became quite familiar with these paid express lanes about 3 ½ years ago. The difference in travel time was quite significant and yet living on a fixed income my necessary use of these lanes was somewhat of a hardship. As my wife would drive me in and back all those times I watched the stalled. Slow moving traffic in the non-express lanes and mused about the difference it made to those drivers. My contention is what we see in this phenomenon is merely the beginning of further “legalized” division of this country by economic/social class, which is fast bringing on all the characteristics of feudal society to our former republic. While I could give you further examples to prove my point I don’t have the space to make it replete with instances, nor complete with facts in this guest blog. I am expressing my viewpoint based on trends I perceive, the reader can agree or disagree with my suppositions.
If you disagree with my surmises, the following story may convince you to think again:
“Some prisoners at one California jail will now have the option to pay their way into a more comfortable stay, community news source the Argus reports.
The Fremont Police Department is now offering its inmates a “pay to stay” option. For a one-time fee of $45 plus $155 a night, prisoners serving short sentences on lesser charges can stay in a smaller facility while avoiding county jails.
“It’s still a jail; there’s no special treatment,” Lt. Mark Devine, a Fremont police official who oversees the program, told Chris De Benedetti of the Argus. “They get the same cot, blanket and food as anybody in the county jail, except that our jail is smaller, quieter and away from the county jail population.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/28/california-prison-pay-to-stay_n_3667573.html .
Let’s be honest here who is this “Jail” being designed for. Let’s say that someone is to be jailed for a week the cost would be $1,130. How many people who are jailed would be able to afford that amount plus any legal fees that they would incur? What is a short sentence? I think people would see 30 days as a short sentence. Your jail stay for 30 days would be $4,695. How many among us could afford that amount? What does “away from the county jail population” mean. My guess is it means Blacks, Hispanics and White “riffraff”. Please watch the short video from the Warden that is embedded in this article and you will see that my surmise is not incorrect.
My question is how long before this “reform” spreads countrywide and what does it mean for us as a society when it does? The rationale for this is to lower the costs to government of the prison systems. What other rationales, for other government services, will be made? My title in this piece refers to the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, where Dorothy and her cohorts follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Wizard and discover that he is a sham, learning that they must think and do for themselves. I believe we are being led down the same sort of road, but at destination’s end rather than the Wizard confessing his powerlessness, he will proclaim his omnipotence. Perhaps I am merely a paranoid old alarmist with my musings that this is one of many dangerous trends that are sweeping this country and creating a feudalist state, where once a republic existed? I don’t think so, but what do you think?
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger.