Is America Going to Hell in a Handbasket?

Print Friendly

CliffBy Gary Brumback

[Photo courtesy of Jim Mead.]

Going to Hell in a handbasket” is a time-worn phrase, probably dating back a millennium or more and referring to captured and decapitated losers in wars. It could be an appropriate metaphor for America’s fate sometime later this century.

America is navigating a perilous course, facing enormous and ominous realities. America still hasn’t recovered from the Second Great Depression; and among industrialized nations has the worst socioeconomic conditions, education, and health care; highest prison population; and highest homicide rate by gun-toting individuals. As if that were not enough trouble, America is also the most militarily aggressive nation on the globe and is beginning to resemble a police state in response to the potential threat of counter terrorism.

Why all this is so is no mystery. The source of all those realities is the “corpocracy,” the collusion between big corporations and big government. It’s not a partnership of equals. Big corporations have the upper hand, handed to it by its servile partner. Within the corpocracy the banking industry, the chemical/agricultural industry, and the national security/defense industry with government as a captive enabler are irresponsible for the most ominous realities facing America. What happens do you think if those realities are allowed to continue?

When polled most Americans seem to realize that America is in trouble and then do nothing about it, a paralysis groomed by the corpocracy and reinforced by its control of the ballot box and its immense domestic security apparatus. All this is nothing new. Throughout history with the exception of a few revolutions here and there the power elite have known how to keep the masses in their place.

Confronting the corpocracy and more particularly the three industries just mentioned is thus left up to those nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups and individuals that have not been neutralized and are not apathetic. Let’s look briefly at each of the three industries and some cases of their being confronted and what the outcomes of the confrontations were. Doing so will give us a pretty good indication of how confronting the corpocracy is an uphill battle being lost.

 

The Banking Industry

Not since the Flapper era have the banksters been so unscrupulous and economically destructive. They precipitated America’s 2nd Great Depression in 2008. They help keep Americans in “debt slavery.” They launder drug money. They facilitate transactions to terrorist groups. They rip off mortgage holders and leave them homeless. They bankrupt foreign nations. And who knows what else they have gotten away with?

Why doesn’t our government lock up these robbers and hustlers in tailored suits? You know why. When the U.S. Attorney General admits “some banks are just too big to prosecute” you know that they have handcuffed the government, not the reverse. [1] And when these filthy rich banks are fined it’s an easily affordable cost of doing business. “The U.S. government,” says law professor William Quirk has “moved heaven and earth to prop up our profligate bankers, and it continues to do so.—The Department of Justice won’t proceed against a criminal conspiracy supporting drug dealers and terrorists for fear of harming the economy.” [2]

Targeting banks for reform while our government remains handcuffed is an uphill struggle against reality to say the least. Here’s a small sample of would-be reformers’ struggles and what they did or did not accomplish.

1. Occupy Wall Street. For awhile, Occupy Wall Street’s demonstrations preoccupied the news, but to what effect other than some publicity?

Outcome: Some short lived time in the limelight. Andrew Ross Sorkin, the editor-at-large of Deal Book, wrote in September, 2012 that Occupy Wall Street “will be an asterisk in the history books, if it gets a mention at all.” [3]

2. Moving Money Elsewhere. The monstrous banks hold the majority of America’s financial assets, but account holders have other options if they choose to use them. Two cases that illustrate that very choice are Occupy Buffalo and “Bank Transfer Day.”

Outcome: Was Sorkin’s harsh assessment a bit premature? Not long after he made it Occupy Buffalo, New York convinced that city’s comptroller to pull millions from the city’s account with JPMorgan Chase. It had been accused of a host of financial dirty tricks. [4] Then there’s the much ballyhooed “Bank Transfer” Day started by a single activist on Facebook who was angry over exorbitant bank fees and urged big bank customers to transfer their accounts to smaller banks and credit unions. How much impact did the event have on the financial status of the big banks? They didn’t break a sweat. The event was “largely symbolic,” said James Kahn, an economics professor at Yeshiva University in New York. [5]

3. Escaping Banksters’ Collection Agencies. Sorkin may not have known it at the time but Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street was being formed and soon thereafter prepared a “Debt Resistors Operations Manual.” The downloadable manual gives detailed strategies and resources for dealing with credit card debt, medical, student, housing and municipal debt, and tactics and information for dealing with and avoiding personal bankruptcy. Strike Debt also launched a project named “Rolling Jubilee.” Its purpose is to buy personal debt on the cheap from banks that would otherwise turn its debt over to usurious collection agencies and then simply wipe out the debt.

Outcome: Since its formation the project’s website says it has “raised enough money to abolish $11,236,570 Of Personal Debt.” [6] Well, that’s admirable, but do you know how much personal debt there is in America? Two and one-half trillion as of 2012, that’s how much. Rolling Jubilee on its own could roll on forever and never wipe out debt slavery, let alone keep up with corporate price gouging and consumer spending that is 70 percent of all economic activity.

Establishing Public Banks. I defer to Ellen Brown’s expertise on this strategy to foil the banksters. She never ceases to amaze me with her prolific writing and actions in the public interest. A lawyer and author of 11 books and countless articles, she is President of the Public Banking Institute and outspoken champion of public banks, cooperative banks, conventional banks committed to responsible lending and service to the local community, and Community Development Financial Institutions that include community development banks, community development credit unions, community development loan funds, community development venture capital funds, and microenterprise loan funds.

Outcome: Enough of these establishments now exist to justify what she calls the “public banking movement.” [7] It is one in which both community activist groups as well as individual citizens can participate (e.g., in cancelling accounts in big banks and transferring them to democracy-friendly depositories). But can the movement ever create enough establishments to put the banksters out of business?

 

The Chemical/Agricultural Industry

I put the chemical and agribusiness industries together because chemicals saturate the food chain and agribusiness thrives on chemicals. There’s an old nostrum that “we are what we eat,” which is why these two industries are so hazardous and potentially deadly, especially with their genetically modified organisms that are an assault on and gamble with nature that may ultimately have dire consequences for our species.

Within this pair of industries is the Monsanto Corporation. Mike Adams, chief contributor and editor of NaturalNews.com, says that “MonSatan—is now the No. 1 most hated corporation in America—and the destructive force behind the lobbying of the USDA, FDA, scientists and politicians that have all betrayed the American people—.” [8] Not surprisingly it is a lightning rod for all sorts of counter attacks, three of which are cited next.

1. A Mock Trial. The first of several mock trials planned was held April 21, 2012 in Iowa City. There was a crowd of about 100. It was partly public theatre. One man, who was dressed as a “superweed” sat up on the witness stand swigging from a bottle of Roundup and saying, “I don’t give a f–k about Monsanto, though they do make a good drink.” [9] But it was mostly conducted formerly and seriously, although not evenhandedly the five black-robed “judges” announced since Monsanto isn’t either.

Outcome: Mock justice, an entertaining event, and some heightened public awareness.

2. A Real Trial. Monsanto sued an Indiana farmer for patent infringement in district and appellate courts, winning both cases. Undeterred, the farmer upped the ante, taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which this last February heard arguments on the case.

Outcome: A decision is expect this coming June. A professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU said “she’s not optimistic that the farmer will prevail in this case.” [10] And if the farmer does prevail, Monsanto will find detours.

3. A Ballot Initiative. California, a state that’s home to a lot of social activists invariably has lots of initiatives on its election ballots. One of them in the last general election was Proposition 37 that would require mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. There was an extensive and expensive public campaign of pros and cons prior to the election, with Monsanto and other corporate interest groups outspending food safety and organic advocacy groups nearly seven to one. [11]

Outcome: The initiative was defeated.

Monsanto is simply too big and has too many allies outside government (e.g., American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology) and too many friends in government, both at the federal level (e.g., former Monsanto executives appointed to positions with the USDA) and state level (e.g., Secretaries of Agriculture) to be thwarted in its continuing drive to reap profit from its toxic products that threaten the health and lives of animals and humans alike. It was the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 that opened the sluice gate for GMOs by issuing the absurd ruling that nature could be patented. And it will very likely be this same captive, infamous court that bats down all lawsuits against Monsanto and the rest of the chemical and agribusiness industries. But whatever they unlikely lose at the Federal level they can try recouping at the state level. “Don’t count Monsanto out” concludes the co-editors of Vanity Fair in a long and detailed expose. [12]

 

The Defense Industry

Overall, the U.S. national security/military budget amounts to one-half of all worldwide expenditures and one-half of the federal government’s discretionary budget. The defense industry and its military/political partners justify this wantonness as achieving “peace through strength.” That’s a lark, nothing more than a self-serving rationalization at best. First, peace has never been the true objective of building America’s military strength. American imperialism and all its trappings and booty have always been the true objective.

Second, America has never gotten peace through her military strength. Over 300 (and counting) military interventions around the globe have been conducted by our nation since its founding. Military strength has always slammed the door shut on peace.

What military strength yields instead are corporate profit, political careers and warriors-in-chiefs. What military strength costs besides flushing trillions of taxpayer dollars down the drain are lost domestic opportunities to lift America off the floor and, over decades millions of lives maimed and lost. What are antiwar and peace groups doing about it?

1. Antiwar and Peace Groups. There are upwards of 100 if not more of them. They have several characteristics in common. They all say they are against war and violence and for peace. There is little teamwork or collaboration among them as they are mostly pursuing independently of one another their own agendas and those agendas are usually of narrow, issue-specific issues. Moreover, with a few exceptions they have limited resources.

Outcome: It’s plainly evident that even with some small tactical victories here and there, these groups are making little progress if any in ending war and violence. The nation’s warrior-in-chief still reviews weekly drone hit lists. His live warriors remain everywhere on the planet terrorizing and breeding counter terrorists. His defense contractors are still billing him for supplies. His domestic guard has not relaxed in making America more and more like a police state.

2. Other Opposition Activities. Are there any worth mentioning? Without a draft we may never have another widespread uprising against militarism and war like the one against the Vietnam War. The corpocracy in many different ways has masterfully programmed our culture to accept and even expect war. Some 70% of our society approves of the administration’s drone strikes. That is a morally repulsive and ominous finding. Does it make nearly three-fourths of Americans accessories to murder? I know what Martin Luther King, Jr.’s answer would have been.

 

The Only Way to Avoid an Even More Unpleasant Future

The only way to confront successfully the corpocracy and all the ominous realities it has created, not just the three highlighted is for the corpocracy’s opposition to organize and unleash “democracy power” on two interdependent tracks. I have already written exhaustively about it elsewhere. Its genesis was in my book, the “Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch.” [13] The model’s most recent rendition is described in www.uschamberofdemocracy.com, so only a synopsis of it is given next.

One track represents a “democracy strategy” that entails organizing, developing, and unleashing carefully planned political, legislative, judicial, and economic reforms across the entire spectrum of American life that the corpocracy controls. The nucleus of this track would be a virtual network of NGOs that have not been co-opted by corporate and political interests; that are concerned about the future, that share some goals in the public’s interest, and that might be willing to consider pursuing those goals through greater teamwork and with more resources. A few alliances and a few wealthy NGOs here and there with their issue-specific agendas are simply no match for the corpocracy.

Mobilization of enough NGOs might persuade wealthy donors with a social conscience and worried about America’s future to finance the start up and operation of the network.

The second track represents “democracy muscle” that entails building a massive coalition of social activists to apply political pressure behind the reform initiatives. This track would be a fusion of the many separate grass-roots movements and other segments of our society not fooled, not compromised, not apathetic and thus not resistant to being organized into a massive form of political pressure. They would need to be unified, organized, and led by one or more respected, nationally prominent persons. Clones of Martin Luther King, Jr. would be ideal.

 

Three Scenarios America Can’t Let Happen

Is America, and the world, for that matter, headed to Hell in a handbasket? What might carry us there? An economic apocalypse? An evolutionary apocalypse? A war apocalypse? What are their chances of happening sometime this century? “Unlikely?” “Less unlikely?” “Least unlikely?”

1. An Economic Apocalypse? Whitney Eulich, the Christian Monitor’s Latin America editor, published the journal’s list of “10 of the world’s most important economic protests.” The Boston Tea Party and two others were full-scale revolutions. [14]

But an economic apocalypse seems unlikely. From cover to cover Howard Zinn’s book, A Peoples’ History of the United States, demonstrates unequivocally how the power elite in America defuse economic unrest and stay in power. [15]

2. An Evolutionary Apocalypse? As already mentioned, the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed the corporate rush to tamper with nature through genetically modified organisms, better called “genetic monsters.”

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job.” [16] That was the defiant comment of a Monsanto director of communications in 1998.

And FDA’s job was giving Monsanto a pass and setting off a “ticking time bomb” says Colin Todhunter, an international journalist in one of his articles. In that article he quotes Rima E Laibow, Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation, as concluding that “we are playing with genetic fire.” [17]

The second apocalypse seems unlikely but less so than the first one despite the fact that evolutionary changes crawl, not race through history. What we are witnessing now are hints of what may lie ahead. We already have artificial animals and other genetically modified monsters. We are witnessing biodiversity shriveling from biopiracy. Will we witness the mutation and eventual disappearance of our own species from genetic bacteria in our food chain? We don’t know yet. Guess who’s in charge of getting the answer. It’s none other than the captive USDA.

3. A War Apocalypse? “Peace through strength” is imperialist hucksterism that drains the Nation’s coffers and moral resolve. Violence begets violence pure and simple. It’s akin to the law of physics that for every action there is a reaction. Because of her military presence, deadly actions, and biased policies in the Greater Middle East America has become almost a locked-down fortress to prevent retaliation seeping through or flying over her walls.

International opinion polls of who likes and hate us are immaterial (most hate us) in the sense that it only takes determination plus technology for one terrorist from a victimized country to breech our fortress again (counting 9/11 as the first instance). A subsequent terrorist attack that did not happen, one that would have bombed New York City in 2010 Michael Crowely, Sr. Correspondent for Time Magazine reported, was plotted by Faisal Shahzad who “even cited U.S. drone strikes as a motivator.” [18]

This apocalypse seems the least unlikely of the three. Unless the U.S withdraws from the Greater Middle East and discontinues its military buildup in the Pacific region more blowbacks can be expected throughout the rest of this century. One or more of them could cause widespread devastation, death and misery or annihilate us completely.

 

The Scenario America Must Strive to Get

The End of Corporate Welfare and Immunity. Corporations can be a legitimate and appropriate form of doing some kinds of business. We would not want a cottage industry building our cars, for example. Corporations are not inherently corrupt. Starting out as a legal piece of paper, corporations grow corrupt in response to temptations and pressures, some self-made but most not. Almost all of the temptations, including the removal of certain external pressures come from government’s corporate welfare, negligent government oversight, government wrist slaps, and government stay-out-of jail cards.

The Reality of a Model Corporation. Because of the way they are structured and managed corporations would fail without a patronizing government. If and when it starts serving the public instead of corporations, we may witness the corporation reborn, one that is smaller and shorter, not large and hierarchical; has responsible ownership, governance and leadership; has an empowering rather than an oppressive organizational culture; does not allow its manner of doing business to be unscrupulous; and insists on pursuing business results that do not knowingly harm anyone. [19] This model may seem preposterously unrealistic today, but not I predict if and when corporations lose their government patron.

Reformed Capitalism. Neither is capitalism inherently corrupt and socialism the only alternative. Adam Smith, the putative “father” of capitalism was a moral philosopher and would have recoiled at the very idea of the corpocracy’s form of capitalism. He thought the emerging corporations of his time posed threats emanating from their unlimited life span; unlimited size; unlimited power; and unlimited license. A socially responsible, truly democratic form of capitalism without the corpocracy is entirely possible and the details of what it would be are known. [20]

Renaissance in Human Rights and Well Being. The United Nation’s Declaration of Universal Human Rights that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living, and the U.S. Constitution’s preamble to “promote the general welfare” need to become public policy in America and made a high priority. And just what is America’s general welfare? I can think of no better answer than the meeting of any human being’s “hierarchy of needs” postulated by the late psychologist, Abraham Maslow. [21] Those needs can be met through individual responsibility and initiative with support from a government that is no longer spending trillions of dollars and costing countless lives propping up corporate America.

 

In Closing

That my timeline for the three apocalypses stretches to the end of this century shouldn’t make it any more comforting to all American patriots who say, “my country, please do right and no wrong,” not, “my country right or wrong.”

Future generations of Americans will either benefit or suffer from the decisions and actions of this generation. Responsible citizens and their organizations must not be content with letting the future happen. We, not the corpocracy must shape it.

America is navigating a perilous course, facing enormous and ominous realities. America still hasn’t recovered from the Second Great Depression; and among industrialized nations has the worst socioeconomic conditions, education, and health care; highest prison population; and highest homicide rate by gun-toting individuals. As if that were not enough trouble, America is also the most militarily aggressive nation on the globe and is beginning to resemble a police state in response to the potential threat of counter terrorism.

Why all this is so is no mystery. The source of all those realities is the “corpocracy,” the collusion between big corporations and big government. It’s not a partnership of equals. Big corporations have the upper hand, handed to it by its servile partner. Within the corpocracy the banking industry, the chemical/agricultural industry, and the national security/defense industry with government as a captive enabler are irresponsible for the most ominous realities facing America. What happens do you think if those realities are allowed to continue?

When polled most Americans seem to realize that America is in trouble and then do nothing about it, a paralysis groomed by the corpocracy and reinforced by its control of the ballot box and its immense domestic security apparatus. All this is nothing new. Throughout history with the exception of a few revolutions here and there the power elite have known how to keep the masses in their place.

Confronting the corpocracy and more particularly the three industries just mentioned is thus left up to those nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups and individuals that have not been neutralized and are not apathetic. Let’s look briefly at each of the three industries and some cases of their being confronted and what the outcomes of the confrontations were. Doing so will give us a pretty good indication of how confronting the corpocracy is an uphill battle being lost.

 

The Banking Industry

Not since the Flapper era have the banksters been so unscrupulous and economically destructive. They precipitated America’s 2nd Great Depression in 2008. They help keep Americans in “debt slavery.” They launder drug money. They facilitate transactions to terrorist groups. They rip off mortgage holders and leave them homeless. They bankrupt foreign nations. And who knows what else they have gotten away with?

Why doesn’t our government lock up these robbers and hustlers in tailored suits? You know why. When the U.S. Attorney General admits “some banks are just too big to prosecute” you know that they have handcuffed the government, not the reverse. [1] And when these filthy rich banks are fined it’s an easily affordable cost of doing business. “The U.S. government,” says law professor William Quirk has “moved heaven and earth to prop up our profligate bankers, and it continues to do so.—The Department of Justice won’t proceed against a criminal conspiracy supporting drug dealers and terrorists for fear of harming the economy.” [2]

Targeting banks for reform while our government remains handcuffed is an uphill struggle against reality to say the least. Here’s a small sample of would-be reformers’ struggles and what they did or did not accomplish.

1. Occupy Wall Street. For awhile, Occupy Wall Street’s demonstrations preoccupied the news, but to what effect other than some publicity?

Outcome: Some short lived time in the limelight. Andrew Ross Sorkin, the editor-at-large of Deal Book, wrote in September, 2012 that Occupy Wall Street “will be an asterisk in the history books, if it gets a mention at all.” [3]

2. Moving Money Elsewhere. The monstrous banks hold the majority of America’s financial assets, but account holders have other options if they choose to use them. Two cases that illustrate that very choice are Occupy Buffalo and “Bank Transfer Day.”

Outcome: Was Sorkin’s harsh assessment a bit premature? Not long after he made it Occupy Buffalo, New York convinced that city’s comptroller to pull millions from the city’s account with JPMorgan Chase. It had been accused of a host of financial dirty tricks. [4] Then there’s the much ballyhooed “Bank Transfer” Day started by a single activist on Facebook who was angry over exorbitant bank fees and urged big bank customers to transfer their accounts to smaller banks and credit unions. How much impact did the event have on the financial status of the big banks? They didn’t break a sweat. The event was “largely symbolic,” said James Kahn, an economics professor at Yeshiva University in New York. [5]

3. Escaping Banksters’ Collection Agencies. Sorkin may not have known it at the time but Strike Debt, an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street was being formed and soon thereafter prepared a “Debt Resistors Operations Manual.” The downloadable manual gives detailed strategies and resources for dealing with credit card debt, medical, student, housing and municipal debt, and tactics and information for dealing with and avoiding personal bankruptcy. Strike Debt also launched a project named “Rolling Jubilee.” Its purpose is to buy personal debt on the cheap from banks that would otherwise turn its debt over to usurious collection agencies and then simply wipe out the debt.

Outcome: Since its formation the project’s website says it has “raised enough money to abolish $11,236,570 Of Personal Debt.” [6] Well, that’s admirable, but do you know how much personal debt there is in America? Two and one-half trillion as of 2012, that’s how much. Rolling Jubilee on its own could roll on forever and never wipe out debt slavery, let alone keep up with corporate price gouging and consumer spending that is 70 percent of all economic activity.

Establishing Public Banks. I defer to Ellen Brown’s expertise on this strategy to foil the banksters. She never ceases to amaze me with her prolific writing and actions in the public interest. A lawyer and author of 11 books and countless articles, she is President of the Public Banking Institute and outspoken champion of public banks, cooperative banks, conventional banks committed to responsible lending and service to the local community, and Community Development Financial Institutions that include community development banks, community development credit unions, community development loan funds, community development venture capital funds, and microenterprise loan funds.

Outcome: Enough of these establishments now exist to justify what she calls the “public banking movement.” [7] It is one in which both community activist groups as well as individual citizens can participate (e.g., in cancelling accounts in big banks and transferring them to democracy-friendly depositories). But can the movement ever create enough establishments to put the banksters out of business?

 

The Chemical/Agricultural Industry

I put the chemical and agribusiness industries together because chemicals saturate the food chain and agribusiness thrives on chemicals. There’s an old nostrum that “we are what we eat,” which is why these two industries are so hazardous and potentially deadly, especially with their genetically modified organisms that are an assault on and gamble with nature that may ultimately have dire consequences for our species.

Within this pair of industries is the Monsanto Corporation. Mike Adams, chief contributor and editor of NaturalNews.com, says that “MonSatan—is now the No. 1 most hated corporation in America—and the destructive force behind the lobbying of the USDA, FDA, scientists and politicians that have all betrayed the American people—.” [8] Not surprisingly it is a lightning rod for all sorts of counter attacks, three of which are cited next.

 

1. A Mock Trial. The first of several mock trials planned was held April 21, 2012 in Iowa City. There was a crowd of about 100. It was partly public theatre. One man, who was dressed as a “superweed” sat up on the witness stand swigging from a bottle of Roundup and saying, “I don’t give a f–k about Monsanto, though they do make a good drink.” [9] But it was mostly conducted formerly and seriously, although not evenhandedly the five black-robed “judges” announced since Monsanto isn’t either.

Outcome: Mock justice, an entertaining event, and some heightened public awareness.

2. A Real Trial. Monsanto sued an Indiana farmer for patent infringement in district and appellate courts, winning both cases. Undeterred, the farmer upped the ante, taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which this last February heard arguments on the case.

Outcome: A decision is expect this coming June. A professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU said “she’s not optimistic that the farmer will prevail in this case.” [10] And if the farmer does prevail, Monsanto will find detours.

3. A Ballot Initiative. California, a state that’s home to a lot of social activists invariably has lots of initiatives on its election ballots. One of them in the last general election was Proposition 37 that would require mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. There was an extensive and expensive public campaign of pros and cons prior to the election, with Monsanto and other corporate interest groups outspending food safety and organic advocacy groups nearly seven to one. [11]

Outcome: The initiative was defeated.

Monsanto is simply too big and has too many allies outside government (e.g., American Farmers for the Advancement and Conservation of Technology) and too many friends in government, both at the federal level (e.g., former Monsanto executives appointed to positions with the USDA) and state level (e.g., Secretaries of Agriculture) to be thwarted in its continuing drive to reap profit from its toxic products that threaten the health and lives of animals and humans alike. It was the U.S. Supreme Court in 1980 that opened the sluice gate for GMOs by issuing the absurd ruling that nature could be patented. And it will very likely be this same captive, infamous court that bats down all lawsuits against Monsanto and the rest of the chemical and agribusiness industries. But whatever they unlikely lose at the Federal level they can try recouping at the state level. “Don’t count Monsanto out” concludes the co-editors of Vanity Fair in a long and detailed expose. [12]

 

The Defense Industry

Overall, the U.S. national security/military budget amounts to one-half of all worldwide expenditures and one-half of the federal government’s discretionary budget. The defense industry and its military/political partners justify this wantonness as achieving “peace through strength.” That’s a lark, nothing more than a self-serving rationalization at best. First, peace has never been the true objective of building America’s military strength. American imperialism and all its trappings and booty have always been the true objective.

Second, America has never gotten peace through her military strength. Over 300 (and counting) military interventions around the globe have been conducted by our nation since its founding. Military strength has always slammed the door shut on peace.

What military strength yields instead are corporate profit, political careers and warriors-in-chiefs. What military strength costs besides flushing trillions of taxpayer dollars down the drain are lost domestic opportunities to lift America off the floor and, over decades millions of lives maimed and lost. What are antiwar and peace groups doing about it?

1. Antiwar and Peace Groups. There are upwards of 100 if not more of them. They have several characteristics in common. They all say they are against war and violence and for peace. There is little teamwork or collaboration among them as they are mostly pursuing independently of one another their own agendas and those agendas are usually of narrow, issue-specific issues. Moreover, with a few exceptions they have limited resources.

Outcome: It’s plainly evident that even with some small tactical victories here and there, these groups are making little progress if any in ending war and violence. The nation’s warrior-in-chief still reviews weekly drone hit lists. His live warriors remain everywhere on the planet terrorizing and breeding counter terrorists. His defense contractors are still billing him for supplies. His domestic guard has not relaxed in making America more and more like a police state.

2. Other Opposition Activities. Are there any worth mentioning? Without a draft we may never have another widespread uprising against militarism and war like the one against the Vietnam War. The corpocracy in many different ways has masterfully programmed our culture to accept and even expect war. Some 70% of our society approves of the administration’s drone strikes. That is a morally repulsive and ominous finding. Does it make nearly three-fourths of Americans accessories to murder? I know what Martin Luther King, Jr.’s answer would have been.

 

The Only Way to Avoid an Even More Unpleasant Future

The only way to confront successfully the corpocracy and all the ominous realities it has created, not just the three highlighted is for the corpocracy’s opposition to organize and unleash “democracy power” on two interdependent tracks. I have already written exhaustively about it elsewhere. Its genesis was in my book, the “Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch.” [13] The model’s most recent rendition is described in www.uschamberofdemocracy.com, so only a synopsis of it is given next.

One track represents a “democracy strategy” that entails organizing, developing, and unleashing carefully planned political, legislative, judicial, and economic reforms across the entire spectrum of American life that the corpocracy controls. The nucleus of this track would be a virtual network of NGOs that have not been co-opted by corporate and political interests; that are concerned about the future, that share some goals in the public’s interest, and that might be willing to consider pursuing those goals through greater teamwork and with more resources. A few alliances and a few wealthy NGOs here and there with their issue-specific agendas are simply no match for the corpocracy.

Mobilization of enough NGOs might persuade wealthy donors with a social conscience and worried about America’s future to finance the start up and operation of the network.

The second track represents “democracy muscle” that entails building a massive coalition of social activists to apply political pressure behind the reform initiatives. This track would be a fusion of the many separate grass-roots movements and other segments of our society not fooled, not compromised, not apathetic and thus not resistant to being organized into a massive form of political pressure. They would need to be unified, organized, and led by one or more respected, nationally prominent persons. Clones of Martin Luther King, Jr. would be ideal.

 

Three Scenarios America Can’t Let Happen

Is America, and the world, for that matter, headed to Hell in a handbasket? What might carry us there? An economic apocalypse? An evolutionary apocalypse? A war apocalypse? What are their chances of happening sometime this century? “Unlikely?” “Less unlikely?” “Least unlikely?”

1. An Economic Apocalypse? Whitney Eulich, the Christian Monitor’s Latin America editor, published the journal’s list of “10 of the world’s most important economic protests.” The Boston Tea Party and two others were full-scale revolutions. [14]

But an economic apocalypse seems unlikely. From cover to cover Howard Zinn’s book, A Peoples’ History of the United States, demonstrates unequivocally how the power elite in America defuse economic unrest and stay in power. [15]

2. An Evolutionary Apocalypse? As already mentioned, the U.S. Supreme Court unleashed the corporate rush to tamper with nature through genetically modified organisms, better called “genetic monsters.”

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the F.D.A.’s job.” [16] That was the defiant comment of a Monsanto director of communications in 1998.

And FDA’s job was giving Monsanto a pass and setting off a “ticking time bomb” says Colin Todhunter, an international journalist in one of his articles. In that article he quotes Rima E Laibow, Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation, as concluding that “we are playing with genetic fire.” [17]

The second apocalypse seems unlikely but less so than the first one despite the fact that evolutionary changes crawl, not race through history. What we are witnessing now are hints of what may lie ahead. We already have artificial animals and other genetically modified monsters. We are witnessing biodiversity shriveling from biopiracy. Will we witness the mutation and eventual disappearance of our own species from genetic bacteria in our food chain? We don’t know yet. Guess who’s in charge of getting the answer. It’s none other than the captive USDA.

3. A War Apocalypse? “Peace through strength” is imperialist hucksterism that drains the Nation’s coffers and moral resolve. Violence begets violence pure and simple. It’s akin to the law of physics that for every action there is a reaction. Because of her military presence, deadly actions, and biased policies in the Greater Middle East America has become almost a locked-down fortress to prevent retaliation seeping through or flying over her walls.

International opinion polls of who likes and hate us are immaterial (most hate us) in the sense that it only takes determination plus technology for one terrorist from a victimized country to breech our fortress again (counting 9/11 as the first instance). A subsequent terrorist attack that did not happen, one that would have bombed New York City in 2010 Michael Crowely, Sr. Correspondent for Time Magazine reported, was plotted by Faisal Shahzad who “even cited U.S. drone strikes as a motivator.” [18]

This apocalypse seems the least unlikely of the three. Unless the U.S withdraws from the Greater Middle East and discontinues its military buildup in the Pacific region more blowbacks can be expected throughout the rest of this century. One or more of them could cause widespread devastation, death and misery or annihilate us completely.

The Scenario America Must Strive to Get

The End of Corporate Welfare and Immunity. Corporations can be a legitimate and appropriate form of doing some kinds of business. We would not want a cottage industry building our cars, for example. Corporations are not inherently corrupt. Starting out as a legal piece of paper, corporations grow corrupt in response to temptations and pressures, some self-made but most not. Almost all of the temptations, including the removal of certain external pressures come from government’s corporate welfare, negligent government oversight, government wrist slaps, and government stay-out-of jail cards.

The Reality of a Model Corporation. Because of the way they are structured and managed corporations would fail without a patronizing government. If and when it starts serving the public instead of corporations, we may witness the corporation reborn, one that is smaller and shorter, not large and hierarchical; has responsible ownership, governance and leadership; has an empowering rather than an oppressive organizational culture; does not allow its manner of doing business to be unscrupulous; and insists on pursuing business results that do not knowingly harm anyone. [19] This model may seem preposterously unrealistic today, but not I predict if and when corporations lose their government patron.

Reformed Capitalism. Neither is capitalism inherently corrupt and socialism the only alternative. Adam Smith, the putative “father” of capitalism was a moral philosopher and would have recoiled at the very idea of the corpocracy’s form of capitalism. He thought the emerging corporations of his time posed threats emanating from their unlimited life span; unlimited size; unlimited power; and unlimited license. A socially responsible, truly democratic form of capitalism without the corpocracy is entirely possible and the details of what it would be are known. [20]

Renaissance in Human Rights and Well Being. The United Nation’s Declaration of Universal Human Rights that everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living, and the U.S. Constitution’s preamble to “promote the general welfare” need to become public policy in America and made a high priority. And just what is America’s general welfare? I can think of no better answer than the meeting of any human being’s “hierarchy of needs” postulated by the late psychologist, Abraham Maslow. [21] Those needs can be met through individual responsibility and initiative with support from a government that is no longer spending trillions of dollars and costing countless lives propping up corporate America.

In Closing

That my timeline for the three apocalypses stretches to the end of this century shouldn’t make it any more comforting to all American patriots who say, “my country, please do right and no wrong,” not, “my country right or wrong.”

Future generations of Americans will either benefit or suffer from the decisions and actions of this generation. Responsible citizens and their organizations must not be content with letting the future happen. We, not the corpocracy must shape it.
_____________
Gary Brumback, PhD, a retired psychologist is the author of The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch and creator of the website, www.uschamberofdemocracy.com.

__________________

Sources

[1] Eric Holder Admits Some Banks Are Just Too Big To Prosecute. By Mark Gongloff/ Huffington Post/ March 6, 2013.

[2] Good Fences Make Good Bankers: Too Big to Fail Becomes too Big to Jail: An Update. By William J. Quirk. The American Scholar, Spring, 2013, 29-35; p35.

[3] Occupy Wall Street: A Frenzy That Fizzled. By Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times Deal book, September 17, 2012.

[4] Occupiers Convince City Of Buffalo To Ditch JPMorgan Chase. By Beth Buczynski, The Truth is Now, June 3, 2012

[5] Bank Transfer Day: How Much Impact Did it Have? By Gloria Goodale, The Christian Science Monitor, November 7, 2011

[6] See, e.g., Occupy Wall St. Offshoot Aims to Erase People’s Debts. By Ariel Kaminer, New York Times, November 13, 2012; and Occupy Wall Street Has Raised Enough Money To Abolish $11,236,570 Of Personal Debt March. By Diane Sweet Crooks and Liars, March 5, 2013.

[7] Cooperative Banking, the Exciting Wave of the Future. By Ellen Brown, OpEdNews.com, May 26, 2012.

[8] The GMO Debate is Over; GM Crops must be Immediately Outlawed; Monsanto Halted from Threatening Humanity. By Mike Adams OpEdNews.com, September 22, 2012.

[9] Taking Monsanto to the People’s Court. By Blair Braverman, April 24, 2012 Waging Non Violence;

[10] The GMO Fight Rages On: Implications of Bowman v. Monsanto. By Lonnie Shekhtman, Triple Pundit, February 22, 2013 www.triplepundit.com/2013/02/bowman-monsanto

[11] California GM Food Labeling Initiative Defeated. By Meghna Sachdev, Science Insider, November 7, 2012.

[12] Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear. By Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, Vanity Fair, May 2008.

[13] The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch. Bloomington, IN: Author house, 2011.

[14] Ten economic protests that changed history. By Whitney Eulich, Christian Science Monitor, November 5, 2011

[15] A People’s History of the United States. By Howard Zinn. NY: Harper Perennial, 2005.

[16] Genetic Engineering and the GMO Industry: Corporate Hijacking of Food and Agriculture. By Colin Todhunter, Global Research, January 1, 2013.

[17] Todhunter, op cit.

[18] So, Who Can We Kill? Michael Crowley, Sr Correspondent for Time Magazine, Monday, April 01, 2013.

[19] The Corpocracy and Megaliio’s Turn Up Strategy. By Gary Brumback, Palm Coast, FL: Democracy Power Press (Kindle Edition), 2012.

[20] The Devil’s Marriage, op cit. See particularly Chapter 10, Ending Undemocratic Capitalism and Appendix C. Creative Economic Thinking from A TO Z Minus E for Economists.

[21] Motivation and Personality. By Abraham Maslow, NY: Harper and Row Publishers, 1970. See also, Toward a Psychology of Being. By Abraham Maslow, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons, 1999.

3 comments on “Is America Going to Hell in a Handbasket?
  1. I disagree that we’re going to hell…. I think we’re already there. And the heat is going to be turned up drastically in the coming months, anything to distract the sheeple from the planned implosion of the economy and the hyper-inflation of the USD, thanks to the bankster gangsters at the illegal and immoral FED.

  2. No, capitalism is inherently corrupt. It cannot be reformed and the longer people dally about thinking it can be, the worse things will become. Is socialism the answer? I don’t know but I do know that any type of reformed capitalism is not.

  3. I think that perhaps not even socialism is the answer, but to return to the concepts of “traditional” economies, or at least infuse socialism with them. I think that we to think more organically about “economy” as part of the whole of social organization, rather than as a part that can be swapped out for an equivalent part of a different manufacture. But then I am a sociologist. :~)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Categories

From Punto Press


PuntoPress_DisplayAd_REV

StatCounter

wordpress stats