SO MANY BAD THINGS HAVE BEEN HAPPENING TO THIS COUNTRY—OVER THE LAST 40+ YEARS—THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO WONDER!
JUST A RUN OF BAD LUCK, THE OUTCOME OF A DEEPLY FLAWED BUSINES MODEL, OR BOTH OF THESE ASSISTED BY SOME PEOPLE WITH AN AGENDA?
ARE WE IN A STATE OF ECONOMIC CIVIL WAR?
NOTE: THE U.S. FIGURE IS SOMEWHAT MISLEADING BECAUSE IT DOES NOT INCLUDE A NUMBER OF HEADINGS WHICH SHOULD BE INCLUDED UNDER THE DEFENSE HEADING. THE TRUE U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY FIGURE IS IN EXCESS OF $1 TRILLION.
I have never been particularly conspiracy orientated (arguably something of a pity since I am primarily a thriller writer) but I do tend to take a holistic view of life and am pretty good at connecting the dots and recognizing patterns..
I have a friend—an old school friend, a lawyer of some eminence and now a judge, who tends to dismiss conspiracies, “Cock-up not cover up, old chap (he’s British).”
I’m not so sure.
I remain reluctant to believe in conspiracies—unless faced with contrary evidence—but when patterns emerge over time I pay attention. And they have emerged—and are becoming clearer by the day.
The fact that Congress is no longer in conformity with the wishes of the American people is now blindingly obvious. The influence of Big Money is both pervasive and dominant. Conflicts of interest are routine and have become cultural.. The revolving door is but one example. Senior officers retiring to well paid jobs with defense contractors is another. Corruption has become institutionalized. We just don’t call it corruption. We talk about, “The way things are,” and “I have to protect my career.”
In fact, if I was an enemy of the U.S. and was setting out to weaken this Great Nation irreparably, I would have initiated actions which would have resulted in almost exactly what has occurred—and continue to happen.
War—as far as offensive action is concerned—is not solely confined to breaking things and killing people. Fundamentally, it is about destroying people’s will to resist so that you can impose your will on them and have them do what you want. It is about achieving control.
You can do this openly in the fashion of a real shooting war like WW II—or you can do it much more subtle ways—such as those employed by the communists when they were trying to bring down the West.
It strikes me that the Right Wing have taken a leaf out of Comintern’s books and are going one better—much better. The fact that they are better should come as no surprise.
- They have more resources—from financial to management skills.
- They have massive experience in commercial propaganda.
- They largely control the means of communication.
- They have already infiltrated and suborned the political system
- They have already infiltrated and suborned the legal system up to—and including—the Supreme Court.
Either way, the end result in practical terms is rule by the few (and their followers) for the benefit of the few (and their followers). The loser, in both case, is democracy—and an important element, a sensibly regulated free enterprise system.
Clearly many good things have happened in this Great Nation over the previous decades—both on an individual and on a community basis. Still, it is hard not to be aware that the American Way of Life, as far as most are concerned, has become less secure, more fraught, and—all too often—decidedly hazardous. Bad things have caused life to become decidedly more stressful.
What are the bad things that have happened over the last 40+ years. The list is far too long to be inserted here. These are some extracts.
- VIETNAM WAR. We lost the Vietnam War in a particularly humiliating fashion in 1975.
- WAR & CORRUPTION. We have been in a continuous state of war—hot or cold—at vast expense ever since. Only the Military Industrial Congressional complex has benefited. Otherwise the results have been disastrous. We win battles but we don’t win wars—or haven’t since WW II. The cost are incalculable. Everywhere we go we spread corruption on a massive scale. That is scarcely a coincidence.
- PROSPECT OF UNENDING WAR. As a result of our policies—which we largely deny and refuse to change—we face the prospect of war continuing for the indefinite future.
- TRADE UNIONS CRUSHED. The Trade Union movement has been largely crushed or rendered irrelevant. In effect, workers have little or no bargaining power any more. Capital now vastly outguns labor.
- NO REAL INCREASE IN EARNINGS FOR DECADES. The pay of most Americans—in real terms—has scarcely increased in over four decades. As a consequence the standard of living of most Americans has declined—and continues to decline. Such declines have a tendency to accelerate.
- POOR WORKING CONDITIONS. As compared to the rest of the world, there has been virtually no improvement in working conditions. This affects everything from worker compensation to paid maternity leave. Job security is minimal. Dissatisfaction with work is evident. Labor force participation is dropping.
- INCOME INEQUALITY GROTESQUE. Income inequality is at unparalleled levels. The current situation is so out of balance, it might reasonably be described as grotesque.
- DECLINING SOCIAL MOBILITY. Social mobility has decreased.
- GROWING UNDERCLASS. We have a large and growing underclass—who are much abused and struggle to survive.
- RACISM CONTINUES TO FLOURISH. Despite having an African-American president, the reality seems to be that racism hasn’t evaporated as many people hoped but is alive and well and downright aggressive in some parts of the nation—with the police playing no small part. This is a particularly American tragedy and undermines our reputation globally.
- MILITARIZED POLICE. We have militarized out police force—largely to keep the underclass in check. They are largely successful at the task but at a price of abuse and unacceptable behavior.
- EXCESSIVE INPRISONMENT. By global standards, we have an extraordinarily large number of people incarcerated. This is so large it directly affects the democratic process.
- INSTITUTIONAL TRUST DESTROYED. Trust in institutions—and the government in particular has been largely destroyed.
- VANISH BELIEF IN DEMOCRACY. Belief in democracy has been seriously undermined.
- CRUMBLING INFRASTRUCTURE. In contrast to our massive investments in defense, our investment in infrastructure has been inadequate and we now face a deficit of in excess of $3 trillion.
- HORRENDOUS NATIONAL DEBT. Our National Debt has ballooned to over $18 trillion.
- PENSIONS VANISHING. The defined pension is on its way out—and the 401k has been found to be inadequate. Risk has largely been transferred to the individual.
- SOCIAL SAFETY NET INADEQUATE. The social safety net—both by by international standards and in absolute terms—has been shown to be entirely inadequate. Our treatment of the long-term unemployed is obscene.
- SOCIAL CONTROL DOMINANT. Social control has become so powerful it is practically impossible to resist. The penalties for not conforming include loss of job, loss of credit, and subsequent loss of home. Whatever the Constitution says, you speak up at your peril.
- FINANCIALIZATION OUT OF CONTROL. Financialization now has a disproportionate grip on the economy. The banks that were largely responsible for the recent Great Recession are now bigger than ever. Corporate profits are being spent more on share buybacks than research, development, plant and equipment. Considerable recent research now supports the conclusion that although we need a financial sector, excessive financialization is destructive to the economy in general and to many individuals. A recent Time magazine story referred to “The Disease Plaguing American Capitalism.” This expresses it well. This disease is serious and its effects are profound.
- INADEQUATE GROWTH & PRODUCTIVITY. Both growth and productivity are sluggish.
- DISTORTED BUSINESS MODEL. Overall, the American Business Model has been tilted and distorted to favor the ultra-rich—and we have evolved a form of corrupt, monopoly orientated crony capitalism instead of the classic free enterprise system we purport to operate. Almost every market sector is now dominated by only a few massive corporations supported by financial institutions.
- CORPORATE GREED. Corporate greed has done truly terrible damage to both the environment and the food chain to the point where our food is becoming less and less nutritious and is extensively contaminated. The consequences are showing up in our health.
- EXPENSIVE & FLAWED HEALTHCARE. Our healthcare system—still largely implemented by the private sector—not only costs nearly twice as much as alternatives, but is deeply flawed in itself. Americans live sicker and die three years sooner than the inhabitants of other developed countries. Chronic conditions are virtually the norm. Roughly half of all adults with health insurance are on medications of some kind.
- INADEQUATE EDUCATION. Our educational system remains deeply flawed and inadequate by international standards. Student debt is now such a serious problem, it is distorting the economy—and directly affecting the housing market.
- INTRACTABLE ISSUES RESOLVED ELSEWHERE. Numerous issues—which have been resolved by other nations—remain intractable here to the point where it is now manifest that vested interests prefer the status quo regardless of the difficulties it causes the majority of the population.
- INSECURITY & FEAR. The American Way of Life, as far as all too many are concerned, is now underpinned by insecurity and fear—and the American Dream is dead.
- NO VALUES APART FROM GREED. Despite, our numerous churches and our professed belief in God, if you judge by our behavior, you could well be convinced that this has become a nation woefully short of Christian values—indeed any values at all apart from greed. We have massive corruption at the top, a democracy in name only, a boorish corporate culture, poor and frequently unpleasant working conditions, worship at the altars of distraction and consumerism, and treat those less fortunate than ourselves abominably. In addition, many of us are racist and our international behavior seems based upon the notion that we can invade and kill with impunity. We have killed hundreds of thousands since 9/11 and have de-stabilized the entire region. As for our pattern of mass incarceration, torture, and widespread abuse of prisons—best illustrated by Abu Ghraib—what does that say about us?
- APATHY & FATALISM. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all this has been the relative lack of reaction by the American people as a whole. Individual issues are rarely discussed and the totality of the situation is virtually never mentioned. There has been no popular political reaction. Instead, most Americans seem to be fatalistic.
My conclusion is that the U.S. has been deliberately and methodically destabilized in a highly sophisticated, effective, and organized manner by a subset of the ultra-rich and their followers and that in a less corrupt environment their action would be regarded as treasonous. In effect, those concerned have learned how to manipulate the Constitution to their personal advantage.
Do these actions amount to conspiracy or a group of conspiracies?
Though they are never referred to in this way, I rather think they do.
These are harsh words, but it seems to me that if you deliberately and knowingly work to undermine the economic wellbeing of most of the American population such strong language is called for.
I don’t care what kind of a rugged individualist you think you are—no one does anything absolutely alone. And the concept of the public good—doing things for the general welfare of all of us—is very real—and it should be. A selfish society is an unpleasant place to live in.
Right now, the U.S. is seriously out of step with the prevailing values of the rest of the developed world—and most Americans are paying dearly for it across the spectrum..
Future prospects are grimmer still.
It is outrageous that we are doing so little to remedy the situation.
Or are we beaten already?
VOR words 1732.