Well, Galz n' Ghoulz -
up on my SOAP-BOX again ...
As my Dad used to say, after dealing out a Poker hand:
"READ 'EM N' WEEP!"
© - Tom Hyland - 7/27/10
Sometime during WWII, the people running the country realized that
it was relatively easy to dupe the Public. Consider both the Fear of Invasion over here, as well as the powerful Propaganda machines and methods that were employed so successfully.
‘Piece Work’ - was getting all Americans to work in Factories, producing millions of: Ammunitions, Trucks, Jeeps, Tanks, Guns, Uniforms, Packaged ‘C’ Rations - whatever, all for the War Effort. Plus, everyone was conditioned to ‘Buy War Bonds!’ WHY? Because ‘Rosie The Riveter’ said so! Consumers did without normal products, everyone worked for the Good of the Country. Besides Hundreds of Thousands of Sons and Daughters Lives, many other sacrifices were endured.
The War finally ended, and Warmongering Corporations that made huge profits refitted their factories and machinery to begin producing Consumer Goods again. Automobiles, refrigerators, radios, stereo consoles, furniture, bedding, mattresses, et cetera all came rolling off the assembly lines. There was a huge demand for products of comfort and ease.
Between 1948-1958 - ‘The Great Baby-Sitter’ Television, was mass-produced. Something new and different that could be used as a Mass Communicator, that would be later utilized as yet another ‘Propaganda Machine’ to lull the masses into a programmed submission, while at the same time disseminate controlled information via the ‘Controlled Media.’ TV would be a new ‘Escape Mechanism’ - lulling ‘the Baby’ to sleep: Fun - Games - Distractions - get everyone to Relax and Ignore the Real Issues at hand - like that ‘Police Action’ - The Korean War! And The “U2 Incident” involving Colonel Powers, and more.
During this same time period, products were flooding the country from “Occupied Japan.” We were re-building the ‘Bombed-Out’ countries of: Britain, Japan, Germany, and France. FOOTNOTE: I don’t think that any of them ever paid us back! That’s Okay - we’re those ‘Bloody-Rich’ Americans!
New products, inventions, and innovations hit the market: Transistor Radios, Hula-Hoops, 5-Speed Bicycles, Cameras, and many other ‘new’ and ‘wonderful’ things were made available to the public. The ‘Boys’ had returned home, the economy was flourishing, new tracts of development of Homes sprang up all over America. Times were Good!
The Fifties and Sixties saw the Birth of ‘Rock N’ Roll’ - every teenager with a dollar or more in his/her pocket rushed out to buy the New 45 RPM Plastic records. Everybody who was anybody just Had to have a Record-Player, or Turn-Table. These were ‘FUN’ times!
The average American citizen was totally befuddled with buying Things and Spending Money. I was just 16 in 1956, when I got my very First Charge Card - ‘Charge-It-of-Baltimore’ was the Forerunner to MasterCharge! For that Christmas, I went to Gann’s men’s Clothing Store, on the corner of Light and Ostend Streets and loaded up!
A beautiful 100 percent Grey flannel wool suit, a Pink, Button-Down shirt, a contrasting tie, with Pink and Black wide Regimental stripes, a pair of Black French-Toe shoes with Cuban heels, several pairs of Black socks, a Black leather belt, and a couple of other Plaid Button-Down shirts. WOW! I was the ‘Cat’s Meow!’
And guess what Pilgrims? I eventually paid off every nickel of this purchase with my own, hard-earned funds. I had a Bonded Paper Route - I was Self-Employed - an Entrepreneur! Little did I know that I had been Caught - in the inevitable cycle of the ‘Credit Trap!’ The old-time practice of ‘Lay-Away’ was soon forgotten, replaced by Corporate Usury via the Credit Card.
To be sure, at first it was very subtle. Low, affordable interest rates were employed. But, hidden in the ‘fine print’ they had buried the right to change interest rates, any time they wanted in the future. The ‘Hook was Set!’
Slowly, but surely, the ‘local’ department stores got into the act. Major corporations, like: Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Wards started issuing their own private Credit Cards. Not to be outdone, other companies soon followed: Macy’s, The May Company, The Hecht Company, Stewart’s, and more. Do you remember Epstein’s? And Two Guys? Two Guys from Harrison, was the full name. Shofer’s Furniture was a local establishment here in Baltimore. America The Beautiful was chugging right along!
Every business that had any sense at all, wanted each and every American citizen to have ‘Purchasing Power’ - and trust me, we swallowed the Hook! Automobile Dealerships came up with ‘EASY’ terms to buy and finance a car. Then, the ‘Big Three’ in Detroit got wise - they formed their own subsidiary corporations for financing autos - GMAC - FORD FINANCE - CHRYSLER FINANCE ...
What a Plan! What a Deal! Sell you a car at their own, controlled price dealership, earning an instant profit - then, finance the car also, yielding an even better, longer term profit! What a Country!
SIDE-NOTE: During the recent ‘Bail-Outs’ of the Auto Industry companies, did you hear of Any Off-Setting of Profits earned by their Finance Corporations being applied Against the Parent Companies’ Losses? I Didn’t! And - How come Ford did NOT need any Bail-Out?
What had they done differently? Was there a lesson to be learned, that the other Two should be Forced to Employ? NAH! Just dole out the Money, because they were Crying in their Champagne!
In certain places way out West, newer bigger corporate-run businesses started buying out small farmers and ranchers - The King Ranch comes to mind right now, as an example. In 1958, at my first job at Social Security, as a File Clerk, I physically saw the drawers and drawers of IBM Punch-cards for their many, many employees! Ownership was deemed more profitable and efficient, if controlled by the Big Guys, rather than the little guys!
Around the same time period, ‘Bird’s Eye’ came out with the very First packaged frozen foods. General Mills and Quaker filled the shelves with new breakfast cereals, all loaded down with SUGAR! Heretofore, only a few products were available, like: oatmeal, puffed rice, puffed oats, puffed wheat, shredded wheat - all plain. Remember ‘Snap, Crackle, and Pop’?
Now, there were all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors (dyes) added - some boxes even contained whistles, then other ‘prizes’ - all to get the attention of Kids. Someone once wrote that the new packaging, with all its vibrant Three-Color Printing cost More than the Contents of the boxes. But, we bought into it - Hook. Line, and Sinker!
The once wary, intelligent American consumer became a gullible gobbler, not unlike the later game ‘Pac Man’ ... swallowing anything and everything put before him on his plate, on the shelf, in the freezer, wherever ... Not unlike the Sirens of old, which soothed the Ancient Mariner to his death among the shoals and reefs - ‘Big Brother had started his ‘LULL-A-BY’!
“Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep my Baby...” Can’t you just hear Brahm’s in the background? As a corollary, anyone who has been in the military might think of “TAPS” - “All is Well - All is Well...”
Meanwhile, all across the Nation, hundreds of chemical factories began spewing out their noxious fumes - more and more chemicals and fertilizers were being mass-produced everywhere. Here in Baltimore alone, there was: Matheison, Davis, Glidden, and others. There was a tremendous desire for new automobiles, which required Steel! Bethlehem Steel Mill in Sparrows Point in Dundalk had its many-numbered smokestacks belching out plumes of smoke from their smelting refineries night and day, around the clock, operating on three shifts. Things were busy, and good!
Baltimore was always a busy Seaport, and once was proud to produce huge ocean-going vessels. My Dad was a Rigger at Maryland Ship-Building & Drydock, and climbed many a mast to secure rigging. Riveters, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, stevedores, seamen, and many others were gainfully employed for many years - before, during, and after the War.
But sometime in the late Sixties, or early Seventies, this all changed! In approximately twenty years, from ‘Occupied Japan’ - after we re-built it - they then ‘cut our throats’! Japanese steel was being produced Faster, Cheaper, and Better! Bethlehem’s Sparrows Point, as well as their Key Highway, Port Covington Shipbuilding operations slowly became defunct. U.S. Steel, Pittsburgh Steel, and Coastal Steel’s storage and distribution centers closed. Thousands of jobs were lost - not unlike Dominoes falling! WHY?
Where was Congress? Where was The Administration? Where were the Two Magnificent Embedded Parties? Democrats and Republicans alike - all behind ‘Closed Doors!’ Making Deals with ‘The Puppeteers’ Up Top - who were ‘Pulling Their Strings!’
RCA Victor was one of the First Companies to move its operations overseas - more American production jobs were lost. A trend was beginning that was to be almost the downfall of this Great Country!
Corporations had seen the Pendulum go to Full Swing. From the early days of Management Screwing Workers - through the establishment of Unions, with better Pay and Benefits - to them being too Big and too Powerful - to simply Getting Rid of Them! Long before the word ‘Globalization’ had been coined, Greedy Corporations and their Shyster Lawyers were planning and executing the demise of an American Production Industry!
Close Down Factories and Plants - Lose the Workers and their Damned costly benefits of Health insurance and Retirement Benefits!
Farm it all out! Send it Overseas! “We’ll Fix Their Wagons!”
And ‘Big Brother’ and Congress, and every succeeding Administration, whether Democratic or Republican, saw and knew what was going on - But did Nothing about it! FIE! The ‘Puppeteers’
were pulling the strings from high above, and John Q. Public had No Clue! Dance - Peasant - Dance!
Also during this time period, the ‘Heyday’ of another product, produced by Chemical Companies, like: E.I. DuPont De Nemour, and Monsanto, and others, saw its invention, and mass-production into every facet of our lives - PLASTIC!
Once upon a time, there was a thing called Cellophane - remember it? And Wax Paper - that’s what Mom used to pack Dad’s lunches in! Along came: Saran Wrap, Freezer Bags, Zip-Locks, Beer Bottles made from a combination of Glass and Plastic - supposedly Unbreakable! Then, the trend went to every bottle imaginable - Soda bottles - 6 oz. 8 oz. 12 oz. 16 oz. 20 oz. 32 oz. 64 oz. 1-Liter 2-Liter 3-Liter - Detergent bottles, Shampoo bottles, Conditioner bottles, Bleach bottles ... was there an impact on the Glass Industry?
“Bottles Bottles Everywhere - and Not a Drop to Break!”
Shipping Breakage Eliminated Alone ... should have Saved all those producers Millions of Dollars ... but were these Savings really passed on to the Public? HELL NO! Everything Advertised was: New! - Improved! - Better! - Cheaper! - Faster! And the Gullible, Lullabied Public - just SLEPT ... like A Drunken, Sleeping Giant!
“We’re poor little Lambs, who have gone Astray -
BAA -BAA - BAA! ... ”
As a corollary, companies like ALCOA and REYNOLDS came out with food-wrap products - sheets and rolls of Aluminum Foil. They had different qualities and advantages: like for cooking, and heating, and covering out-door grills, and other practical uses. Aluminum Cans were another invention, for sodas, and beers, and what-not. Extruded aluminum became available for homes and buildings, for gutters and down-spouts. Hell, at some point, they started making solid aluminum Engine Blocks for cars! My 1965 Dodge Dart had one in its ‘Slant-Six’ Engine! Progress? Yes - BUT ...
Generations have come and gone, and our Dumps and Land-Fills are over-flowing with PLASTICS that KILL WILDLIFE! And all those Millions of Tons of Aluminum METAL Are Not Bio-Degradable either! ‘We The People’ are just as responsible as the Crooked Politicians, and the Puppeteers! WHY?
BECAUSE - WE WERE THE PRIMARY USERS!
Sometime during the late Eighties or early Nineties, various and sundry jurisdictions began doing something actually Sensible -
RE-CYCLING Campaigns sprouted up everywhere. When we lived on Arabia Avenue in Baltimore City, there once were big White trucks that came by, on schedule for Pick-Ups. Each side of these trucks had specific bins, which provided a natural selection for sorting. At the curb-side, each Home-owner, or Renter, had separate bags, bundles, or boxes for: Plastics, Glass, Metal.
As I understood it at the time, all of these truckloads went to a Central processing location, and were: Crushed, Melted, or Burned, as the case may be? As I said before - SENSIBLE - Environmentally Sound - Practical, even! But, someone somewhere somehow decided it just Cost Too Much! So, it was eventually Abandoned! Now, no-one nowhere no-how even bothers to SORT!
WHAT A COUNTRY!
Back when the Re-Cycling was occurring, you might have even seen BENCHES, totally formed into wood-like boards, even with wood-grains embedded therein - and usually proudly stating: “Made from Re-Cycled Bottles!’ Bus Stops, Shopping Centers, and even Malls, once sported this sensible practice. Where are they now? Who Knows? Who Cares?
As any reader might know, this ‘Motor-Mouth’ could go on, and On, and ON! Suffice it to say, maybe there is enough divulged herein to prove my point? The Apathy of The American Public - The Docile-ness of ‘The Great Silent Majority’ - The Eighty-Percent of Middle Income Americans, that Do Ninety-Percent of All of the Work ...
ALL - might as well have just Laid Down and Died!
While I realize that this treatise in no way covers all of the Facts, nor all of our History; it is, nevertheless, one man’s opinion of How both our Governments, at every level, and the Puppeteers with all the Money, and the Greedy Corporations’ CEO’s and their Boards of Directors - have Screwed the American Public.
If all of the Recent ‘Bail-Outs’ and the accompanying Appointments, by both Republican and Democratic Parties and Administrations, of High-Level ‘Culprits’ from Major Corporations, who actually Caused most of our Financial Dilemmas, does not give you a “Wake-Up Call” - then, you might as well as play the role of NERO ... And just keep on FIDDLING!
The World Bank and Globalization, and Corruption and Collusion in our Crooked Governments are rapidly eroding: Our Independence - Our Freedoms - Our Dignity - and Our World Respect!
I wish that I could be more positive, but I can’t, because the Truth will set us Free!
I personally will Vote Against Every Incumbent in November.
Each of you must listen to your own conscience.
MAY GOD HELP US!
Peace ... Tom.
© - TKH.