An American Outrage: Bernie, AIG, and Us

There have now been more than 4,000 deaths and 30,000 casualties of American military in the war in Iraq. More than 100,000 Iraqis [the number of excess deaths in Iraq since March 2003 is estimated at over 1.3 million — Ed.] and others, most of them civilian, have also been killed in what is now known to be an unnecessary war. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

We have recently learned that former President Bush and former Vice-President Cheney had authorized the use of torture. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

The Supreme Court has ruled there have been significant and substantial constitutional violations during the Bush-Cheney era. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

More than 46 million Americans don’t have health insurance. Millions don’t get the health care they need or are turned away because they can’t pay. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

The unemployment rate has climbed past 8 percent. More than 12 million Americans are unemployed and actively looking for work. About three million have been unemployed more than half a year. About 2.6 millions jobs were lost just in the past four months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Companies have eliminated jobs, forcing the remaining employees to work beyond their capacity. These companies have cut wages and benefits; they have shipped jobs overseas. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

About 38 million Americans are living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

About 3.5 million people were homeless last year. More than one million of the homeless are children, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. Over a half-million are veterans. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

Almost every reputable scientist has told us that the world’s environment is in jeopardy from man-made destruction. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

We are killing off our animals by a combination of neglect and planned destruction of their lives and habitat. About 1,600 animal species are critically endangered, according to the World Conservation Union; about 25 become extinct every year. But, we as a nation are not outraged.

But, we are outraged about one thing. Our money.

We are outraged that Wall Street financiers, corporate bankers, and real estate brokers have seemingly conspired for personal greed, leading to a plunge in the value of our own stocks and investments, forcing the nation into the worst economic crisis in more than seven decades.

We, as a nation, are outraged that Bernard Madoff scammed individuals and charitable foundations for billions.

We, as a nation, are outraged that executives at failed insurance giant AIG are receiving millions in bonuses paid for by taxpayer funds. In Congress, conservatives and liberals, many of whom were part of the problem of the subprime mortgage crisis, have united for the first time in years and have expressed their outrage. The President, who inherited this mess, is outraged. The media who had failed to adequately report this mess are outraged. Almost every American is outraged.

And why are we outraged? Because it’s money.

As homeless children sleep beneath bridges, as millions desperate for work are told to go home and collect a pittance in unemployment, as innocent Iraqis die, as young soldiers return without limbs, as our earth is being destroyed, we sit and yawn through the news, desensitized to the horror. But, sadly, the one thing we react to, the driving impetus to contact our legislators, and the one thing that moves us to outrage is money.

And we criticize the Wall Street financiers and investors, the greedy bankers and those wanting to make a quick-flip profit in housing?! Perhaps our outrage comes from a deeper place, an inner reality that we see just a hint of ourselves and what each of us is capable of if we were given the financial opportunity.

[Rosemary Brasch before retirement was a secretary, Red Cross family services national disaster specialist, and university instructor in labor studies. Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist, patriot, and professor emeritus of mass communications from Bloomsburg University, who refused to sign a loyalty oath to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His latest book is Fracking America: Sacrificing Health and the Environment for Short-Term Economic Benefit. Read other articles by Rosemary, or visit Rosemary's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Jeff said on March 26th, 2009 at 6:48am #

    Well, that is the world which, with our help, has been created for us. Ask and ye shall receive.

    Even though the Red Cross does good, it still is part of the same snake swallowing its’ tail syndrome. It is a tool within the workshop of the master planners.

    Send in the destruction forces, whether military, economic or other, and then send in the bandage brigade. Hit replay.

    This has been the way of humanity since time began.

    As one said on the silver screen, “The horror, the horror”.

    All, with the help of mass media, no longer gives a hoot.

    I wonder when the ivory towers will finally fall. Problem is, behind these are the structures, which we yet cannot see, are ready to carry on the circle jerk. Problem is, others are using our hands to carry this all out. Everyone should just put their hands under their armpits and refuse to participate in this ghastly game.

    The game masters may just stop the game due to disgust of having to participate. We will find out if our armpits stink.

  2. joed said on March 26th, 2009 at 8:18am #

    problem is, no body gives a damn.
    people will not do anything untill their food runs out. and when that happens they will crawl to the pig begging for a morsel.
    people just don’t care.
    sacrifice and hardship is the key to real change. if people simply stopped buying stuff, only bought the absolute needs, then there would be some change. but most cant live without their blue berry or whatever it is. you amerikans have a sick sick society and it is going to get worst before better.
    fuck the pig

  3. Jeff said on March 26th, 2009 at 10:58am #

    joed, most Americans are the same as the rest on the inside. Family, roof over head and such. The problem is that Americans have been duped to become the test tube to see how far you can push humanity for ultimate control and power.

    Other areas of the world are experiencing the experiment in different ways. All the same, for power and control.

    When you control both sides of the game, you never lose.

    Their “divide and conquer” is working. I think you see the turmoil the world over. We are either pacified, all of us, or we are made to rage on each other. Either way, the control of the game is not in our hands.

    We can rail against ignorance or arrogance, but it is only like pricking a balloon. Pop, and what is left.

  4. Andrea said on March 26th, 2009 at 8:01pm #

    A corrupt system first of all, puts all of its efforts to corrupt the minds. Otherwise it can not last for a long time. An evolution for good, in the minds of Americans is a key for the well-being of the whole planet, In this issue i saw this article revealing:

  5. Jeff said on March 27th, 2009 at 2:52pm #

    Andrea, as much as you wish and hope, America is not the center of the world for those that live beyond its’ borders.

    Should that be the case, you would no doubt be thoroughly pissed off!

    Just look to your southern border.

    That in human terms could be considered the “butt”.

    Just look to your northern border.

    That in human terms could be considered the head.

    Like the story goes, when the butt closes up, everything else clouds.

    North America is a very attractive analogy in human terms.

    To be honest, “The United States of America” needs a massive cleanse.

    We to the north can help.