Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Several Insanities in the Western World, Especially the USA
Remember reading about the Age of Enlightenment, often cited as running from the late 1600's to about 1800, and sometimes called the Age of Reason? It would appear that we humans are in need of a Second Age of Enlightenment. Following are some of the things supporting such an assertion. Let's begin with a somewhat trivial (compared to the others) example.
1. Trump recently stated that "wages [in the USA] are too high". What planet is The Don on? Wages here essentially have stagnated for the last thirty years. The cost of living has not.
2. Our Fed Gov't and those of Russia & France are bombing ISIS in Syria...but, mostly thanks to the US, they're not all cooperating with each other. Is that a good plan?
3. The Fed Gov't here denigrates Russia for sticking it's nose into Syria (a Russian ally) and for trying to increase its influence in the Middle East. Are you kidding me?...talk about the pot calling the kettle black. The US Gov't's primary foreign policy component is to stick its nose into just about every civil war in the world...especially in the Middle East and/or southern Central Asia. Good grief!
4. The US Gov't continues to kowtow to Saudi Arabia...not entirely, but significantly. That's a troublesome issue because of the following. Wahhabism, the Saudi State-sponsored extremist Sunni Sect, spreads its poison all around the world. Radical, extremist terrorists are greatly encouraged by the Wahhabis; the roots of ISIS are in Wahhabism. The DC Powers-That-Be know that...and yet they continue to support the House of Saud.
5. The situation in Syria and Iraq is a complete mess. [Over 7,000 airstrikes by the US Gov't haven't helped much at all...but they have pissed off a whole bunch of terrorists.] In addition to the points above, the Gov't of Turkey is fighting ISIS...and fighting the Kurds, too...who happen to be fighting ISIS. Certain leaders in the world seem to have lost their minds.
6. The Taliban in Afghanistan now control more territory than they ever have since the US invasion. So much for interfering in a civil war...and so much for "nation-building".
7. Iraq now essentially is a failed State. Ditto the last sentence above.
8. The General in charge of the US program to train "moderates" to fight ISIS in Syria either has been or is going to be promoted. The program was a complete failure. About 5,000 were to be trained and equipped. Five or so were put into battle; in short order they all were killed or captured...along with their weapons.
9. Obama and most Republicans continue to push for approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Most Americans appear to be either oblivious to the Agreement/Treaty or against it. The smallest bit of research should reveal to anyone that the TPP is bad news for average people. It benefits only the Rich and Powerful. For any politician to claim that it will make us more competitive and increase the number of jobs here is utter nonsense at best, and a bald-faced lie at worst.
10. The War on Cash is well underway. Under Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws here, any significant amount of cash on you now can be seized by Law Enforcement...without you being charged with anything. The reason? It's "suspicious". In addition, the Powers-That-Be are pushing for a move to a cashless society. One of the reasons is to prevent bank runs in the case of an economic/financial collapse. Another reason: those same Powers then will know, because of the National Surveillance State, every single purchase you make...or at least, they will have access to those records. Consumer privacy will be gone. I foresee a day when, if you use any cash at all, you'll most likely be deemed a "financial terrorist" or a run-of-the-mill criminal.
11. The Police State in the USA continues. Examples: the Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws cited above; FBI Agents now writing their own Search Warrants (euphemistically titled "National Security Letters")...our Constitution is clear---a Judge must sign a Search Warrant; monitoring of people not even under investigation (the National Surveillance State); the militarization of local Police [a problem because the Police then act as though all citizens are their enemy...they have to, it's policy, it's "safe" procedure]; the almost unrestrained use of TASERs...which have killed people; shooting people in the back...for minor infractions [e.g., a homeless guy in New Mexico was camping outside of town...he turned to walk away from the cops & they killed him]; and many other examples.
12. The Mega Banks, Mega Hedge Funds, and Mega Insurance Corporations have created, bought, and sold "Swaps" (Credit Default Swaps) to the tune of $550 trillion. [The entire world's annual GDP is about $75 trillion.] These Swaps do not make up all of the bizarre financial derivatives out in the Market (that total is about $1.25 quadrillion), but they are the ones that supposedly act as "insurance" against defaults on various contracts. Should that Swap Bubble burst, as many reputable economists all across the political spectrum say it will, the whole world will be plunged into a Great Depression. Who benefitted from the sale of these Swaps? Oligarchs did...in the billions and billions...and billions.
13. About 95% of world commerce is conducted either in dollars, the Pound, the Euro, or the Yen. Every one of those currencies purposely is being debased (devalued). That causes inflation in countries that don't have those as their currency...the emerging Markets, such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, etc. Because of that, China is engaged in a Currency War with us...and because of that (and other reasons), the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency most likely will not last much longer. Our Gov't tends to denigrate and blame China for all this. The fact is, China is only protecting itself and its economy. The U.S. is doing what many countries historically have done when they have way too much debt: our Gov't, in a de facto way, is purposely debasing the dollar in order to cope with a massive debt...a debt that never will be repaid in full. All gov'ts know that's what's happening. My point here is this: inflation is a currency event, not a price event. In 1961, I bought a pair of Levi jeans for $3.95; the price of jeans now is anywhere from about $25 to $40. In 1961, cigarettes were 25 cents a pack; now they're anywhere from $4 to $8 a pack. That's because the U.S. dollar is worth less; it has been debased for decades via creating "money" out of thin air. The chickens are finally coming home to roost, and the Fed Reserve is out of ammunition.
14. Whether Democrats or Republicans are in power in the United States, Edward Bernays style Propaganda reigns supreme regarding war, the economy, and the "value" of the Rich and Powerful. Again, please heed the words of Warren Buffett: "We are in a Class War in this country, and unfortunately, my Class is winning.". A big Amen to that, Warren.
Yes, I would say Humankind is in dire need of a Second Age of Enlightenment.
Not only my opinion. Be Well