Why Do We Love Billionaires So Much?
By C.A. Matthews
It confounds me. We're angry when we aren't paid what we should be, tired of how some capitalists blatantly steal from the public purse and don't pay their fare share, and yet we act mesmerized whenever the ultra-rich pull a flashy stunt to generate more publicity for their money-making machines.
You know what I'm talking about--the heavy mainstream media coverage of both Richard Branson's and Jeff Bezos' recent "joy rides" into the upper atmosphere. You'd think their private lives would be of zero interest to everyday folks slaving away in dead-end jobs in these billionaires' concerns, but the mainstream media seems to think their activities are more important than climate catastrophes happening around the globe this week. In fact, the big news outlets spent almost the same amount of air time covering Bezos' pretend space race adventure than they did on stories dealing with the multitude of deadly floods, droughts, forest fires and other climate emergencies that occurred on the same day.
Obviously, what rich people do with their billions for fun is infinitely more important than our children's safety or futures.
Or could it be…the mainstream media just wants us to think we love billionaires and find their antics lovable? Could it be we don't really love the hoarding toadies at all, but the powers-that-be want us to be tolerant of them and their destructive ways? Tolerant enough that we don't all grab our pitchforks and build guillotines before our homes burn down in a drought-driven forest fire?
"Just a little off the top," one can imagine Jeff Bezos muttering as thousands of his ill-treated warehouse workers lead him up the scaffolding to meet the blade.
It's time to be honest with ourselves. We--and by this I mean you, me, our children and loved ones--are the 99%. We can't afford to put up with these "lovable antics" by the überwealthy any longer. The 1% have by far the largest carbon footprint. Scientists tell us that the 1% and their conspicuous consumption is the leading cause of climate change. The 1% are the spoilers of this planet and human life in general.
It's time we stopped admiring them. It's time we stop kidding ourselves that we'll ever become one of them. You know deep down the odds that you will ever become a billionaire are a billion to one. So, if we're never going to become a member of the billionaire club what can we do to give our lives meaning?
First off, we can stop the idol worshiping right now. There's no such thing as a "good billionaire" as I heard someone say. It's an oxymoron like "military intelligence." The two words don't belong in the same sentence. Billionaires aren't God. They're not "good" because they own just about everything and everyone on the planet and keep it to themselves. End the adoration of their senseless buffoonery in fast planes and dildo-shaped rockets.
Second thing, stop making excuses for these clowns in designer clothing. They are not better than the rest of us. They're not even smarter than the rest of us. Didn't Trump's nonsensical tweets make that fact more than obvious? Billionaires were simply born into wealth and have used that wealth to take things away from those less fortunate--such as our land, natural resources, our labor, our clean air, drinking water, and now even outer space. They live to make a profit off of everything and everyone.
(And you do qualify as one of the "less fortunate" if you actually pay your taxes. Most billionaires don't pay any.)
Last, but not least, call out the mainstream media and others who attempt to glorify the billionaires and their activities. No more spreading their propaganda. Tell it like it is--they're greedy bastards who don't share their wealth, treat their workers like slaves, and get away without even paying their fair share of taxes. They're not to be emulated, idolized, admired, or tolerated. Shut down their PR spokespeople.
Think of billionaires as your ex. You walked away from that dysfunctional relationship, didn't you? You know you are strong enough to walk away from the likes of Branson, Bezos, Musk, Gates, Buffet, the Walton family, etc. You don't need them to distract you from what really matters in life--taking care of yourself, your loved ones, and your neighbors.
Let the billionaires go--and be sure to let the door hit them hard on the backside as they exit!
Fifty years ago, poet Gil Scott-Heron expressed a similar attitude on this very subject.
Billionaire Dreams are our Nightmares: https://youtu.be/-mKAI34chNo
Poverty Wages and Tax Dodging Funded Bezos' Ridiculous Space Trip https://truthout.org/articles/poverty-wages-and-tax-dodging-funded-bezoss-ridiculous-space-trip/
Learn more about the billionaires' "space race" in Coast Watcher's recent article, Billionaires in Spaaace! https://continuousrev.blogspot.com/2021/06/billionaires-in-spaaaace.html
And be sure to check out the best place on the web for independent journalism: https://radindiemedia.com/
What if UFOs are just billionaires from other planets?— 𝙏𝙤𝙢 𝙃𝙞𝙘𝙠𝙨 (@tlhicks713) July 24, 2021
If you're arguing the success of capitalism based on this psychopath having spent 10 minutes in space while millions are deprived of medical care and/or bankrupted by medical bills, you're as twisted as he is. Just dumber. pic.twitter.com/JMm4nHSb7U— ✊🏻 Stained Class (@DEMS_R_GOP) July 21, 2021
Hahaha why no I cannot pay you a fair wage you lowly Amazon worker, I need that money for a five billion-dollar carnival ride— Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ (@caitoz) July 20, 2021
As Seattle was breaking records with triple-digit temperatures, Amazon warehouse managers called for a "power hour." They were pushing workers to run fast and pack faster despite having no indoor air conditioning in the warehouse.1
Amazon puts productivity over the safety of their workers. They use high-tech algorithms to enforce it, surveilling workers and punishing them if they can’t meet the algorithm’s goals, even in the heat. This kind of workplace surveillance shouldn’t be legal, that’s why Congress needs to act now.
Even before the "heat dome" Amazon warehouses were already dangerous places to work. Amazon uses high-tech algorithms like Rate and Time off Task to push workers to the physical limit and then punish them for taking bathroom breaks.2 It’s so bad OSHA once called Amazon warehouses one of the most dangerous jobs in America.3
Workplace surveillance and productivity algorithms shouldn’t be legal in the first place. But our legal system lags behind the pace of technology. Unless Congress closes the gap, Amazon will continue to use its high-tech grip to squeeze the life out of its warehouse workers. Like, increasing productivity rates, during a historic heatwave, in a warehouse without air conditioning.
Join thousands of activists already calling on Congress to fix this and protect Amazon workers.
Thank you for speaking out,
Tihi and the team at Watchdog -- a project of Demand Progress
1. Daily Dot, "Amazon warehouse runs productivity contest at warehouse despite record-breaking heatwave," June 28, 2021.
2. The Verge, "How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for 'productivity'" April 25, 2019.
3. Futurism, "After Deaths, Amazon Lands on List of Most Dangerous Employers," October 18, 2019.
It’s a big week for the resistance. As the Line 3 protest camps continue to meet the unprecedented advancement of Enbridge’s dangerous pipeline — arrests are happening nearly every day as this Indigenous-led movement attempts to stop a host of river crossings — my colleague, Chase Iron Eyes, and our full media team are heading out to the frontlines right now.
This trip, and our staff’s ongoing dedication to media creation, outreach, and logistical support, is a huge investment — and it’s one we hope you’ll help us make. We’re going all in on providing the camps with needed equipment and capability to amplify this struggle now, while we still have a chance to protect Anishinaabe homelands. Will you give generously in this moment to protect our relatives and our world?
Water protectors at a Line 3 front in June. Photo by Christopher Francisco.
Our presence — and that of any allies who can also make the trip — is badly needed. In 2016 and 2017, the movement against the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock attracted tens of thousands. In Minnesota, we are far fewer, and we’re spread thin across several camps. Those already on the frontlines are struggling logistically to stop Enbridge’s rapid build across many bodies of water. As you can see below, the police presence is mighty. We must do all we can.
Police ready to enforce Line 3’s incursions in June. Photo by Christopher Francisco.
Fortunately, we’re joining a coalition led by knowledgeable Indigenous leaders like Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, who was arrested this week, and Tara Houska of Giniw collective (pictured below). Our first jobs are to get there, set up, listen to the needs, and begin amplifying the voices of those on the ground.
Giniw Collective’s Tara Houska provides leadership against Line 3. Photo by Christopher Francisco.
The time is now. This week, another mistake in construction spewed noxious fluids into another sacred river. As they always do, this pipeline is already despoiling pristine waters. How much worse will it be when the tar sands oil — some of the world’s dirtiest — is spilled in these same water systems? We must not let that happen. We’re preparing to hold our ground for as long as it takes, and we thank you from our hearts for your generous support of this mission.
Wopila tanka — thank you for supporting our direct action against this toxic pipeline!
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Cheyenne River Organizer
The Lakota People’s Law Project