The United States of Accountability - By Miss America / Rich Hartmann
For a free market contained within a democracy of individuals, never has that free market ever been more politically driven. Our economy’s complete dependence on backstops and interventions of our government and taxpayers has taken away the primary forces and factors of what traditionally and functionally should drive the economy. When these political factors come into play, we cross a line of defining how confidence in that economy should be determined. When fundamentals are replaced by faith, then we need to properly analyze these new fundamentals.
For me, accountability serves as the greatest measure by which to judge faith. My confidence and/or fear are best bought and sold by those I feel I can trust. …and in these days of broken promises, perpetual lies, and bullshit propaganda both my trust and faith in those who control the economy has been shaken to its core. As we blur historic measures by which we used to govern ourselves and economically operate, we move towards an adjustable society that bends for those who have the ability to make it bend “for the benefit of the whole”. The line blurs even more as the politicians, powerbrokers and elite trade the purposes of those foundations for financial, political or influential gains. Their justifications are what they feed the public through a deeply captured process, so much so that they never actually feel the true affects of the accountability they have distanced themselves so far from.
…but what they/we will soon learn is: Accountability cannot go unaccounted for!
Where politicians used to answer for policies, and bankers had to answer for finance, we now have politicians who will have to now answer for both. The cross pollinated demon child called “politiconomics” will try to persuade the taxpaying public to have faith in the path they would like to lead us down. …but the problem is, numbers have a way of adding up. (…but conversely there are lies, damn lies and statistics) …and when numbers don’t add up, it will be significantly harder to walk away from a societal audit unscathed. (Policies can’t be audited to a truth that numbers can, especially when having to deal with hard numbers that show themselves in hindsight)
Similar to those in charge, my adaptation to change can best be shown in my ability to no longer have my confidence or fear bought or sold on the back of a speech. No! I can no longer do this. I’ve drawn my line. …and I feel many other have done the same. My confidence is only for sale to those who can prove they are more than their speeches or rhetoric. My confidence is bought through trust of knowing that those who are in those positions of power or are highly exposed are able to be accountable for their actions as well as their words.
The two most recent political events that seem to shape my outlook on accountability are the Tuscan shooting spree and Wikileaks. These situations drew such large politically fueled debates, that I think what has become lost in those debates are the economic undercurrents that they will both have.
Civil Unrest in Tuscan
With Tuscan, societal unrest is a natural progression of tough economic times. The obfuscation of the causes, effects and courses of action we have taken (and continue to take) have left such a large portion of society utterly confused about who, what, when, where or why, has caused the hardship that they currently feel. The modern complexities and “moral flexibility” of financial engineers to outpace the regulator’s ability to govern them, thus leaving them to govern themselves, had become a cancerous self fulfilling loop. We now see politicians, who will govern themselves as political financial engineers aimed at meeting whatever political and financial goals they need to meet.
This becomes maddening to think about. The vicious cycle of reinforcing loops literally blows your mind away! (Bad phrase! Poorly timed in the Tuscan rant. I’ll rethink this in edit.)
Anyhow, back to Tuscan and civil unrest… In another self fulfilling orgy of “I’ll rub your back if you rub mine”, we’ve seen just about every politician, as well as every media personality run full steam away from being in any way accountable for the actions of a madman in Arizona. This has been a show of force as they defend themselves and each other, as none of them want to be held accountable in any way for those unforeseen variables of their butterfly effect. No one wants to in any way claim their little part. No one wants to admit how dots can connect in pretty direct lines to both civil unrest, (from a society that is both confused and angry about the current raw deal they are facing) to the political or media rhetoric that continues to fuel these fires of blame. (since no one’s been held accountable for the original problem.) …and as the flame grows, the rhetoric and sound bites become all the more important to those self serving individuals who profit off of the fame or name that their rhetoric provides them.
To Jon Stewart, Glenn Beck, Barack Obama, Sara Palin and all others whom have been on their soap boxes, entertaining, spewing rhetoric, rallying the people, leading the people or just tweeting god knows what… I say No! No you may not disassociate yourself with the bad that comes with your words, your actions or your inspiration. NO! You may not claim to be a 7th degree of Kevin Bacon away! In that same movie theme, “with great power comes great responsibility”. …and you and your egos must come to grips with both the positive and negative effects of words and actions.
You and your peers in similar mediums are the FIRST to claim ownership on all of the positive trickle down effects of what you do and say. When something goes wrong, when a black swan appears, a faulty accelerator locks, or deranged individual goes off the deep end, we get to see just how far the unknown variables of life can take us. Sure, an individual’s own interpretations or misinterpretations can be impossible to predict, but those possibilities must always be taken into consideration. You don’t need to look further than your nearest holy book to know that.
So let this serve as a warning… As I stated above, accountability cannot go unaccounted for. Democracy does not come cheaply as there will always be casualties of war. The people of power or prominence should accept that with the symbiotic nature of their actions and words within that symmetry of life. All that you can do is act in what you believe is the best interest of you, your family and friends and the society you are all part of. …and then accept the good and bad as consequences of that whole relationship.
Society will understand. No one will think Sara Palin pulled the trigger in Tuscan. (nope, she just put up the target… hahaha) Similar to my owning a gas guzzling SUV while we are waging wars over oil in the Middle East. We are “grown ups”. We can connect the dots. We are capable of understanding that Rock/Rap music, and violence in TV and movies are not the “causes” of violence… but deep down inside we know there is a link. We just choose to accept the untruth because of the slippery slope of freedoms we enjoy, could be trampled if we really addressed it! We evolve for both good and bad, and the seeds of this evolution are manifested in the minds of people and their influences …which can be a song, a movie, a political speech or even media rhetoric like this.
Why does someone need to take the blame? Because it’s the truth! Empathy goes a long way, and pointing fingers heals and bruises one’s own ego, but the truth sets us free. In this modern age, there will be more accountability to face down the road as we continue to see the downstream effects of our economic clusterfuck. The food riots in some countries, the civil unrest of Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece, Ireland, England, etc… Do we think we are immune? No, as Tuscan has taught us. …and we are as a society, ARMED TO THE TEETH.
All you need to do is go on Youtube for 5 minutes to see just how far the level of stupidity is willing to go for our “15 minutes of fame” society, or just to make a name for yourself. For those misguided individuals that are willing or directionless, or those that have reached their maddening ends, they can see the level of attention that a psychotic act can bring. …and this is something to fear!
To quote V: “People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
Or the quote’s predecessor from Thomas Jefferson: "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."
This is in no way a justification of vigilantism, but rather an inconvenient truth. Which leads me to the next topic of accountability…
Plugging the Wikileaks
Plugging the Wikileaks
Free speech is one of the greatest rights that America has achieved, but it didn’t come with a manual on how to operate it. Ben Franklin once said: “3 may keep a secret, if 2 are dead.”
With that in mind, people need to know that words, like actions have consequences. …and people need to know that at some level, you always need to be accountable for these words and actions. Regardless of whatever level of privacy you thought you had. Once it’s said… it’s out there! (When you tell your spouse something bad about your boss, you’d think that’s private! But one divorce later, and new relationship between the ex-spouse and boss… and, you get the point. We have Hollywood to teach us this. ***hat tip to Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin***)
What the Wikileaks have taught us (and should continue to teach us) is that people need to know that at some level, you always need to be accountable for these words and actions.
At some level, a diplomat (whether he thinks what he says is confidential or not) needs to know that when he says something, it may come back to bite them or whomever they represent.
At some level, an Afghan clan leader (whether he thinks what he says is confidential or not) needs to know that when he says something, it may come back to bite him or his family, or whomever else he represents. (To his local opposition, he is the “wikileak”. …and he doesn’t live in our “democracy”.)
At some level, a Julian Assange (whether he thinks what he says/publishes is right/wrong/etc…) needs to know that when he does what he’s doing, it may come back to bite him! Because any time you expose or embarrass (or just plain cause problems for) powerful people, they will do whatever they need to do to keep you quiet.
At some level, the US needs to be accountable for what we did and continue to do. Whether they are inconvenient truths or lies… once they are exposed, you take accountability for them. …because here’s the rub. If we bend rules or laws, or trample over rights in the process of achieving what’s best for America… we might inherit an America we no longer want.
For the community opposed to Wikileaks, their willingness to believe that the information being leaked is what keeps America safe, and that the lies, truths, conspiracies, rights and wrongs that we commit in the name of our McDonalds/Wall Street society should be kept secret… I say: NO! It is the exact opposite! This world is too plugged in and far to interconnected. Political lies, financial nepotism, Subprime loans and oil plumes, just like truth, have a way of surfacing. …and the world hates you more for the lie. The societal brainwashing that so many people currently face is not unlike that of a cult. Fear is what keep the sheep in line. Fear is powerful. The more fear, the more power, the more control.
At the end of the day, what you may want to ask yourself is this: Which should I be more upset with? What should I fear more? People dying over truths? -or- People dying over lies? …and if we are to hold people like Julian Assange accountable for any deaths associated with the truths he exposes… What should we do for those accountable for the deaths due to lies? If it was my life, which would I want to die for? …because from the trickle down effects of Wall Street’s financial WMD’s (civil unrest and subsequent deaths) to the much more direct “Libby-ish” lies of Iraq’s WMD’s, the mission is NOT accomplished! Hell, it hasn’t even been accounted for!
For a politically based economic recovery, we must restore trust. We must restore that faith. We must restore that leadership. We must restore The United States of Accountability!
All the best,
Miss America – Rich Hartmann
p.s. I’ll try attaching my 1st attempt at a political cartoon. Like with writing, my artistic skills are a bit rusty. I hope you enjoy anyway, if not… oh well.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Additional disclosure: I would also like to submit a picture along with this, but don't know how to paste it???