Thomas Jefferson famously said, ” The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” What he didn’t tell us was that when it’s too late and the tree of liberty is long died, the flickering flame of liberty might just light those long dead branches and burn that tree into ashes.
More From The Camp…..
I recognize now that I won’t have the honor of a gravestone. My burial spot will be marked with a non-descript FEMA-issued plastic stake driven into the dirt here on the grounds of the camp I’ve been confined in for more than two years. And while my final resting spot is certainly a depressing and anti-climatic end to a life that once held promise, I suppose my little plot of dirt suits me better than the anonymous ignominy suffered by all those who died before me.”¦executed by government-sponsored mercenary forces in the clashes that exploded in streets all across America, but their final fate is even better than that of the many millions of souls that whimpered away, dead from the disease and starvation that hit those trapped by martial law in the major cities.
I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think, sitting away here in the Region 4 Eastern US FEMA Adjustment Camp. They don’t call this place a prison, and we’re not allowed to call it a prison staring out from behind the concertina wire, but that’s certainly what it is. It’s not so bad in here after all….all my friends are here. Not your garden-variety criminals, we campers…no this camp is filled largely with those who were labeled “Domestic Belligerents” early on. Lawyers and journalists and bloggers and human rights protesters primarily. To say it really sucks in here is of course a gross understatement. But in many ways, I understand why the federal government enacted martial law and why they felt it necessary to start rounding people like us up. The reality is when Americans finally realized just how badly we’d all been screwed, the violence and anger that spilled into the streets was explosive. You see, after years of being lied to and beaten down. After watching paychecks shrink and food prices soar. After years of losing homes and forced evictions….and being blamed for all of it…when Americans finally realized that they were not the cause of all their misery, that they were not responsible for their decimated economic circumstance and that the root cause of the dramatic decline of America was a conspiracy between the banks, the corporations and the government that was supposed to protect us, they just lost it. When the drug-addled, alcohol-numbed mass of America woke up to the horrifying reality of their perpetual existence on the roulette wheel called life, they exploded and just went bat shit crazy.
And what exactly did it take to finally make the American people wake up and lose it? It was not enough that every single man, woman and child was extorted when Henry Paulson, Bush and Congress shoveled untold billions of dollars to the banks in 2008. (FREE MONEY, YIPEE!) I was not enough that after the banks took all this money, they engaged in a concerted and systemic campaign to pound the shit out of the very people who bailed them out, ramping up foreclosures and throwing them into the streets even faster. It was not enough when the American people learned that the previous amounts we agreed to pay the banks were grossly understated and that in fact they had given many trillions more to the banks. It was not enough when we learned that bank executives pocketed hundreds of millions in obscene bonuses while they continued to drive the banks we bailed out straight off a cliff. And it was not enough when American taxpayers learned that hundreds of millions of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars was wired straight offshore and into central banks all around the world. And it was not enough that every single level of government failed to do a single thing prosecute any wrongdoing or provide any relief or benefit to the American people.
No, none of that mattered. What finally sent people out raging into the streets was when they went to their ATMs and bank accounts and discovered that all their money was gone. Trillions of bailout dollars….gone! Trillions of reserves supposedly invested conservatively….gone! Trillions of retirement and investment dollars…gone. Americans had been laying down and taking the whipping for decades, whipped like so many slaves on a modern-day, digitized plantation. And the mass of Americans would have probably kept pulling on that yoke indefinitely as long as the banksters could continue to keep the balls up in the air and the Fed kept spitting out $100 bills. But they didn’t. The Rube Goldberg machine that was the world financial system finally came crashing down all around us. And when it did, it didn’t matter if the wizards that feigned control for so long were all merely grossly incompetent or criminally sociopathic and just stole all the money. You see, in the credit choked society that was pre-collapse America, people relied on daily infusions of cash to buy food and fulfill the basic obligations of daily life. And with no cash coming out of ATM machines and no food in America’s belly, the natives didn’t just get restless….they got angry….real fast!
I’ve got a little black book with my poems in. Got a bag with a toothbrush and a comb in.
Daniel Defoe was a trouble-making writer who lived in merry old England right around the turn 16th century….just like his buddy Martin Luther who was stirring up trouble in Germany about a hundred years earlier, Danny got in trouble for writing some pretty provocative things that poked The Establishment right in the eye. Like Martin Luther and Daniel Defoe who used the emerging social networks of their day…and were punished for doing so….bloggers, twitterers and other online activists suffered very real persecutions and abuse for screaming out against the crimes and injustices they saw around them in the years leading up to the collapse.
As I sit here now staring up into the concrete sky, years after the fact, it still blows my mind how completely out of touch the vast majority of Americans were to the peril all of us were facing in the years leading up to the collapse. A few rebel voices stood up and screamed the warnings….and we were persecuted, prosecuted, bankrupted and pounded into silence and submission long before things got really bad for everyone else.
Our economy, and by extension our nation, failed long before the cataclysmic collapse that occurred when the banking system failed in early 2012. The collapse itself was not at all unpredicted, it in fact was the last act in a real life snuff flick that started running years before. The reality was our nation crumbled into the abyss in the months that immediately preceded the unprecedented government bailout of the banks in 2008. No, that’s not entirely true. The truth of the matter is our nation collapsed in the heady and intoxicating credit bubble years between 2004 and 2008 when every single American borrowed more money they could ever hope to earn in three lifetimes. No wait, it was before that”¦you see our nation collapsed between 2004 and 2000 when that visionary leader, the pied piper from Texas, convinced all of America that the key to our great nation’s growth and world dominance was a petroleum fueled, bomb-based economy.
That’s right, we bomb the rest of the world into rubble, the world will see we mean business and we’ll all live happily ever after, slurping up Satan’s thick black blood laid deep below the sands of the desert, an entire world away. And here back home, we’ll destroy every single industry and job so our entire economy runs on nothing but bombs and oil…..GREAT PLAN! We were all sure the brilliant plan would work perfectly in the long run. Except of course it didn’t work at all. The United States didn’t just suffer unemployment, we didn’t just lose important industries…no, entire regions of this nation were turned into economic wastelands. As industries died, taking jobs with them, entire sections of this country descended into prisons of poverty, debt and hopelessness. It was not just geographic sections of the country that descended, it was entire socioeconomic sections that fell into the deep and inescapable pit of poverty, debt and hopelessness.
Prisoners in a Failed and Corrupted Political Experiment
Some prisoners live in concrete cells behind long, tall fences. But many millions more live in prisons equally as confining”¦prisons from which they will never escape. Most Americans are in fact prisoners”¦prisoners to a debt-driven political and economic system from which they will find no escape. The fact that they do not realize they are trapped in prisons, “guests” on a plantation of slavery from which they will never escape is an indictment of the nation’s failed education system. America’s education system failed because people were clearly unable to manage basic math. If they did ever sit down with a white piece of paper and a pencil, adding up the credit card debt, the mortgage debt, the auto debt and the student loans, they would have realized long ago that there was simply no way they would ever crawl out from underneath the extraordinary debt burdens that enslaved them. And yet, they persisted on, year after year, living lives of absurd futility working the first six hours of every 8 hour workday to pay the debt service on existing obligations. They hardly ever sat down, sat back and asked the simple question…..
Will I ever be freed from the shackles of debt prison?
The answer for the fast majority of Americans living in pre-collapse America was that they never would never leave their government-induced debt slavery. And although international law and custom generally restrict the prison sentences handed out to children, most Americans are not yet adults when they are first sentenced to prison. At age 17 America’s best and brightest head off to college. For most college is just the beginning of their prison sentence. They leave college tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt”¦most have no idea they’ll never be able to pay the debt off. And still they go, every year, millions of them, off to college to start the cycle, off to begin serving their government-induced, life- long prison sentences. Not so long ago the naÃ¯ve little youngsters would graduate college, they might actually find some semblance of a job which would delude them into thinking they might actually pay of their loans…someday…but before they got to that, it was time to sign up for the new car lease and purchase a home”¦paying off the college loans could wait. It was time to begin “establishing” oneself, right? And so the cycle continued with every new graduating class. New students racking up oppressive debt, new graduates taking on even more debt as they’re shot out the back end. And with every new debt obligation accepted, the prison sentence for all these hapless is extended even further.
But today there are no jobs, just that looming college debt that must be paid”¦.and when there are no jobs to pay the debt, the student remains truly enslaved. Today this nation’s best and brightest enter what should be the most productive period of their lives and find they have nothing to do”¦no jobs, and no hope of jobs. It’s absurd to yell at the Occupied protesters and tell them to, “GET A JOB!”, to which the only appropriate response is, “I’d love to get a job dear sir, but I’m a citizen of the United States of American and our nation’s corrupt political leadership shipped all the jobs offshore.”
Every time one of the hecklers sounds off on a protester, they need to sit the heckler down, pull out the white piece of paper and go through that heckler’s outstanding debt obligations. A simple, blank, white piece of paper will do. The heckler is undoubtedly employed (for now) and fully invested in the system, but starting slowly the heckler needs to see all his debt and see all the job loss and see all the corruption between the corporations and the government. Even if the heckler is a smart guy…maybe one of those swells that was up on the balcony sipping champagne and leering at the Occupied protesters below, it may take a while before he is able to get back down on the ground and understand basic math.
But if you’re real patient, maybe that heckler will come to the only logical conclusion. Maybe his eyes will be opened, the light bulb will go off and he’ll begin to understand that we are all just prisoners. Prisoners living in a political, social, economic and legal system that benefits and enriches a very small few, while at the same time trapping the vast majority of us in debt prisons from which there is no escape.
The heckler, like all of us, is a prisoner trapped on a plantation of debt slavery from which there is no escape.
A political prisoner in a formerly free country called Amerika.