By Steve Bhaerman
“The war on poverty is over – all the poor people have surrendered.”
— Swami Beyondananda
It’s a sad observation to make, particularly at the holiday season, but America’s once-wonderful life is looking more and more like Potterville. As you probably remember from the Christmas classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” hero George Bailey (James Stewart) is shown what the world would look like had he never lived. In place of the owner-occupied homes made possible by George’s small town savings-and-loan company, we see a slum called Potterville, named after George’s nemesis, the scrooge-y banker, Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore).
For 64 years now, Americans – and people worldwide – have cheered the hero of this Christmas tale, and given thanks that the miserly old Mr. Potter was thwarted in his attempts to economically enslave the inhabitants of Bedford Falls. Unfortunately, at least for the time being, it looks like Mr. Potter has won. Here are some sobering statistics about the real class warfare in America and the disappearing middle class. As author and political uncommontator Thom Hartmann points out it is this very middle class that has been the backbone of our economy and preserved democracy.
Now if this was two years ago, we could have laid the average American’s reversal of fortune squarely at the feet of Republicans. In fact, if you look at the photo of Dick Cheney at President Obama’s inaugural, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr. Potter himself.
As sadly funny as this photo comparison may be, we now must recognize that the Democrats are just as complicit in the “Great Banking Robbery” that has robbed hard-working Americans of their life savings, and rewarded “hardly-working” speculators. While some would argue that those speculators earned their money working long hours, I would ask the question, “By producing what?”
Whenever my comic cohort Swami Beyondananda is asked if we create our own reality, he replies, “Well, we used to. But now it’s mostly made in China.”
Ever since the Clinton Administration, the Democrats have been enablers for globalization, or as we prefer to call it, “gobble-ization.” For generations, Americans have been taught that what’s good for General Motors is good for the rest of us. But as the United States becomes more and more like a banana republic, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Monsanto and other multi-national corporations, the average citizen is feeling frustrated and powerless against the unchecked, unbalanced and unmitigated power of money.
And the good news is …
We the people hold the ticket out of Potterville in our hand. Three tickets, actually. However, to get out of Potterville, we will have to also free ourselves from the matrix of current political thought. There are three movements – all of which I guarantee will gain prominence and momentum in 2011 – that will lead us out of the bewilderness, and restore political and economic sovereignty. These are:
1. The Transpartisan political movement.
2. The movement to create state banks a la North Dakota.
All of these involve grassroots movements to overgrow the current order, all involve revitalizing local economy, and all involve right and left coming front and center to empower a healthy wealthy commonwealth. Most important of all, each of these requires stepping across the threshold from how things have “always been” to how they now must be if we are to survive, let alone thrive.
Briefly, here’s what these movements can give us:
1. The Transpartisan political movement can help us establish the moral authority of we the people to counterbalance the rule of “they, the very few people.”
2. The state bank movement will allow states to use property owned and paid for as financial leverage to rebuild infrastructure and provide loans to local start-ups. California, for example, could go from deep debt into financial surplus. North Dakota, the only state with a bank of this kind, had a billion dollar surplus this past year.
3. Legalizing hemp will offer an all-purpose product (food, clothing, bio-fuel, and even building material) that can create greater economic self-sufficiency. Just ask Manitoba.
So next time someone says to you – or you say to yourself –“Nothing can be done,” correct that statement to, “Something can be done. And we can do it.”
See you next year!
A Unique and Hilarious Gift for Notes From the Trail Subscribers
As you know, Notes From Trail is provided to all those who want to receive it free of charge. However, we do cheerfully accept donations to support our work. And as we approach the end of the year, I’m calling on those friends and co-hearts and readers who are able to do so to renew your paid subscription (or become a first-time paid subscriber) for 2011.
You can become a subscriber for just $33, a sponsor for $333 or a “Super-sidizer” (a supersized subsidizer) for $999. However, for any contribution made before the end of this year, I am offering a unique gift that might offset some of the “seriousness” of the times. It’s a brand new, never-before seen e-book on The Zen Cohens of Harry Cohen Baba, and includes three-dozen of the funniest jokes in the world. Some are perfect for after dinner speakers, and others for “way after dinner speakers.”
So who is Harry Cohen Baba, and what are Zen Cohens? Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out, but Harry Cohen Baba was Swami Beyondananda’s teacher who showed him “the way of the Foo Ling Master.” Harry Cohen Baba went to the mountains (OK, the Catskill Mountains), and sat at the feet of the Great Ones – Henny, Benny, and yes, even Lenny – and came back with these healing jokes called Zen Cohens, which are designed to ignite a flash of enlightenment with a spark of laughter. Zen Cohens enlighten while they brighten, leave an aha in the wake of the ha-ha, and always impart some imparticle of wisdom.
Go here https://www.wakeuplaughing.com/epistore/index.php?category=Misc
to become a paid subscriber now, and you’ll have this hilarious e-book in PDF form in your inbox on Monday, January 3rd.
And wait … there’s more. Become a sponsor, and the Swami will make a Skype appearance (or appearance by remote via audio or DVD) geared especially for your group. Become a Super-sidizer, and Swami will perform at in your living room (or other venue of your choice) … transportation is extra, but no extra if we happen to be in your area already.
So, thank you in advance for taking advantage of any of these offers, and even if you are unable to make any donation whatsoever, thank you for being a reader of Notes From the Trail.
May we have lots to laugh about, and much to smile about in 2011.