As 2010 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on everything that has happened. In my personal life, it really hasn’t been a bad year. I’ve had two books published, a novel and a political book. I guess that seeing my novel in print (Kimchee Days or Stoned-Cold Warriors) after 15 years of rejections, it was the best thing that has happened this year. People that are closest to me are healthy so I’m happy about that also.
I can’t really say that the entire year has been a joyride. This has probably been the most frustrating year I’ve ever experienced. I knew that the Democrats were going to let us down, but knowing they would didn’t make the experience any better. I was amazed at the way Obama continued Bush’s foreign policy.
The only good thing that came out of 2010 was that most of the people who still believed in this fractured two-party system finally understood just how corrupt and deceitful the system is. I can only surmise that those who still believe that the Democrats are the “party of the people” and that there is any significant difference between the Republicans and the Democrats only do so because they have nothing else to believe in.
The United States has become “An evil empire”. Everything we said that we stood against we have become. The National Security State has replaced the Democratic Republic we once had. The Constitution has been torn to shreds. There is no longer any guarantee of “Freedom of Speech”. The case of Bradley Manning is a perfect example of this. When the My Lai Massacre came to light, the Army gave us formal classes on what was expected of every soldier. They taught us that it was not only immoral to follow orders that were against the Geneva Conventions or International Law, it was also illegal. They taught us that if we carried out illegal orders, we would be prosecuted. It didn’t matter if you were a General or a Private.
This is one reason I have a hard time with the treatment Bradley Manning is receiving from the Army. If he would have taken a different route and took his concerns about the illegal use of deadly force to his chain of command, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have put himself in mortal danger. We see him locked up in solitary confinement with no blankets or pillows and no exercise or human contact except for maybe an hour long visit every other week. This happens even though he has become the center of attention throughout the nation and the Army. Could you imagine how they would have reacted towards him if it were only the Army that knew the story? If you believe that what I’m saying is overreacting, just think about Pat Tillman, shot in the forehead at point-blank range.
Every day I read about yet another nation that we have signed a military pact with. This nation not only has the most massive military on the planet, we are now the World’s largest arms dealer. This month the president signed off on the largest military budget in our history. There s almost nothing that surprises me anymore. Almost all of the former member States of the Soviet Union are now either NATO members or are on the waiting list under the “Partnership for Peace” program.
We now supply India with most of their military hardware. We have a military presence in almost every nation in Southwest Asia. One development that has evolved is that now we have tactical nuclear weapons under the “Command and Control” of regional commanders. Now a decision to use a nuclear weapon in a theater of war is left up to a military commander in the field.
We are a nation that has replaced our manufacturing sector with a military industrial complex, indulging in a practice that President Dwight D. Eisenhower specifically pointed out in one of his last speeches as the single greatest threat to our democracy and world peace. Somehow this situation is no longer considered to be something we should be wary of. Maybe there is something happening somewhere that negates all the warnings Eisenhower believed was the greatest threat to our republic.
What is truly amazing is the seeming lack of concern displayed by so many of our so-called leaders. I used to become despondent when I would write an article and get comments that suggested that I was some kind of alarmist and maybe I was becoming a little too paranoid. At least, even if our public figures won’t talk about it, the average citizen is becoming very aware.
We are at a point where we must either take a stand on the issues we’re facing or watch everything go to hell in a hand-basket. The mainstream media will gladly give us ways to occupy ourselves as our government plots to secure the World’s resources. We can now live in an “alternate reality” that has nothing to do with the real world.
While all that’s happening in the world that involves wars and threats of war, don’t you wonder why most people really don’t want to talk about it? The economy is in tatters, the unemployment rate is hanging at around 9.5%. People are being foreclosed on and jobs are scarce, yet the Dow-Jones keeps rising. How can this be justified? The truth is that the financial markets are STILL nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme. Even after Trillions of dollars are pumped into the financial coffers on Wall Street and the automotive industry is underwritten by the taxpayers of America, the sharks that run the banks and investment houses keep inventing new investment vehicles they can sell to justify making crazy profits for each other.
Meanwhile our manufacturing base has been disappearing; States are closing agencies and social programs and firing teachers, the stock market keeps rising. This has got to be a neat trick.
The United States has been trying to goad North Korea or Iran into a war with us so they can get people back to work. Bullets, bombs and missiles we can keep replacing. We continue to underwrite the nation of Israel while they humiliate us by kicking sand in the Palestinians faces as they keep building settlements on the West Bank. Does anyone see any rhyme or reason with our foreign policy? I sure don’t.
This is not a pretty picture. The only constant in U.S. foreign policy is that we are involved in some military adventure or another, constantly. At this particular time we have about 150,000 NATO troops (with about half of them ours) and we are engaged with about 25,000 Taliban and around 100 al Qaeda and we are not even close to any kind of victory. The only reason we are there is so that we can set-up an oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea. Another interesting fact is that Afghanistan now produces 90 percent of the world’s illicit opium, and its opium production has increased 40X. It seems that wherever the U.S. military sets up shop for any extended period, drug production rises.
So in conclusion, I see a year coming that will not be much different than the one we just went through. The only way I see the American Middle Class surviving is if we stop this transfer of wealth from the Middle Class to the rich. So far, since 2008, it has been the largest transfer of wealth in history. The only way that the American Middle Class will survive is if we act in unity. The two political parties that are in power will do nothing for those that don’t have the money to pay for it.
The average American will do nothing as long as there is food on the table and the rent or mortgage payment and utilities are paid. The outlook for the economic climate of 2011 is bleak. If the ranks of the homeless increases along with high unemployment, the current economic situation where the Middle-Class dwindles and people continue to lose their homes and their jobs, the only way to stop it is if the people show some unity and act with direction by forming unions and boycotting those companies that are cutting salaries and hiring part-timers so as to reduce benefits.
Americans must realize that the only way we are going to keep the things we have fought for, things like being paid for overtime, a 40 hour work-week, and benefits, it will mean that we must continue to fight to keep those things. The minute an employer believes that they have the upper-hand you will see salaries and benefits drop.
The same things apply to American foreign policy. If the government (as long as we stay with this two-party system) we will continue to see wars for resources with those resources being delivered to the American Corporate System (Fascism). We really need to pay attention to what is going on. A great many corporations don’t really operate with any patriotic motive. As long as the shareholders make money and as long those high on the corporate ladder are getting paid well and collecting their bonuses, bringing jobs to the U.S. isn’t a priority. If we can understand what motivates people, from people in the government to those on the corporate boards, we can continue to survive by threatening their profits and keeping a close eye on them.
Good luck in the coming year.