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The American Empire Is Bankrupt

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Posted on Jun 14, 2009
Wikimedia Commons

By Chris Hedges

(Page 2)

“China is trying to get rid of all the dollars they can in a trash-for-resource deal,” Hudson said. “They will give the dollars to countries willing to sell off their resources since America refuses to sell any of its high-tech industries, even Unocal, to the yellow peril. It realizes these dollars are going to be worthless pretty quickly.”

The architects of this new global exchange realize that if they break the dollar they also break America’s military domination. Our military spending cannot be sustained without this cycle of heavy borrowing. The official U.S. defense budget for fiscal year 2008 is $623 billion, before we add on things like nuclear research. The next closest national military budget is China’s, at $65 billion, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

There are three categories of the balance-of-payment deficits. America imports more than it exports. This is trade. Wall Street and American corporations buy up foreign companies. This is capital movement. The third and most important balance-of-payment deficit for the past 50 years has been Pentagon spending abroad. It is primarily military spending that has been responsible for the balance-of-payments deficit for the last five decades. Look at table five in the Balance of Payments Report, published in the Survey of Current Business quarterly, and check under military spending. There you can see the deficit.

To fund our permanent war economy, we have been flooding the world with dollars. The foreign recipients turn the dollars over to their central banks for local currency. The central banks then have a problem. If a central bank does not spend the money in the United States then the exchange rate against the dollar will go up. This will penalize exporters. This has allowed America to print money without restraint to buy imports and foreign companies, fund our military expansion and ensure that foreign nations like China continue to buy our treasury bonds. This cycle appears now to be over. Once the dollar cannot flood central banks and no one buys our treasury bonds, our empire collapses. The profligate spending on the military, some $1 trillion when everything is counted, will be unsustainable.

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“We will have to finance our own military spending,” Hudson warned, “and the only way to do this will be to sharply cut back wage rates. The class war is back in business. Wall Street understands that. This is why it had Bush and Obama give it $10 trillion in a huge rip-off so it can have enough money to survive.”

The desperate effort to borrow our way out of financial collapse has promoted a level of state intervention unseen since World War II. It has also led us into uncharted territory.

“We have in effect had to declare war to get us out of the hole created by our economic system,” Lanchester wrote in the London Review of Books. “There is no model or precedent for this, and no way to argue that it’s all right really, because under such-and-such a model of capitalism ... there is no such model. It isn’t supposed to work like this, and there is no road-map for what’s happened.”

The cost of daily living, from buying food to getting medical care, will become difficult for all but a few as the dollar plunges. States and cities will see their pension funds drained and finally shut down. The government will be forced to sell off infrastructure, including roads and transport, to private corporations. We will be increasingly charged by privatized utilities—think Enron—for what was once regulated and subsidized. Commercial and private real estate will be worth less than half its current value. The negative equity that already plagues 25 percent of American homes will expand to include nearly all property owners. It will be difficult to borrow and impossible to sell real estate unless we accept massive losses. There will be block after block of empty stores and boarded-up houses. Foreclosures will be epidemic. There will be long lines at soup kitchens and many, many homeless. Our corporate-controlled media, already banal and trivial, will work overtime to anesthetize us with useless gossip, spectacles, sex, gratuitous violence, fear and tawdry junk politics. America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds. Those who resist will be silenced, many by force. We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon, for the gross malfeasance of our power elite. 


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By garth, June 16, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

I’m glad that this thread is getting around to the fact that corporations have moved jobs out of the US to anywhere in the world where they can get the cheapest labor.  I lost my job to two Indians a few years ago.  The only problem was that it didn’t work out as expected so the job was brought back to the US.  Now, it is in Oregon. 
As Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE who took over after Jack ‘The Jerk’ Welch, said at a meeting to discuss the future of GE, “I have three words to say, China, China, China.” He hinted at $100 a share.  The crowd roared.
Bush’s administration tried to define making a hamburger as a manufacturing job in hopes of hiding the hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs.
I remember reading a quip in the 80s that said the main product for the US in the future will be the PowerPoint presentation.  I think it was right.
On the other end of the production-consumption cycle, we have become China’s sewer.  Nothing they send over here to be sold in Wal-Mart, Target or all those Dollar stores can be trusted.  I have no idea what the chances are that the mouth wash might be poison, that the coffee cup might contain lead, that any of their products might do some harm, but I have decided to leave them on the shelves.  To me, it’s basically all shit.
We’ve hollowed out our manufacturing and now make nothing of use and we consume China’s shit.

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By WykydRed, June 16, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Oh crap! Just saw this on google news.
Chinese president urges further promotion of co-op among SCO members

Tick….tick….tick….

NOW Chris is smiling. hehehehehehe

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By Druthers, June 16, 2009 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

Just listen to all the serious economists, not the admininstration and banker boys…they are all waiting for the fall since nothing is being done to avoid it.

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By WykydRed, June 16, 2009 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

By ardee, June 16 at 8:05 am

“would be better served if you changed your name to Simply….That there are those who fit your description is true, that it is a sizable majority who fit such a description as “blind” or “lunatic” is less than truth , in my opinion.

That Barack Obama won with such a resounding majority should be proof of two things; firstly that the right wing fringe is still exactly that, a fringe, and secondly, that the majority can be easily fooled or made desperate.

My main problem with your hyperbolic and derogatory dismissal of most of this nation’s voters is that such pessimism leaves little room for hope, and lack of hope dooms us all.”

—————————

And as usual, it’s broken down by “political alignment”. Fine. The “majority” of Americans voted for Obama and Democrats generally, not because he touted “hope” or “change”, but only because they are pissed with the Republican party. Everyone in it.  Everyone I spoke to or posted on my boards didn’t have anything nice to say about ANY politician and their chimeric promises. “We’re gonna teach those fucking Neo-Cons a lesson!” They did. But they didn’t believe Obama would change shit. He hasn’t. 

You aren’t including the millions of people in this country who DON’T vote because they stood back and just see the bullshit lies and promises. Their voices mean nothing to ANY side of the political coin, and a coin seems to only have two sides. Join or die. And if you don’t, on your way to the grave, don’t bitch about anything because you don’t have the right.

I guess you couldn’t pick on the idea that small can in fact get big, or name a war that America has won single-handedly. Because that one thing has given American mentality the right to rule the world and decide that every single ruler of every single spot of land outside America is some “backwoods, no-shoe-wearing, no-toilet-havin’ idiot who has NO idea how to run a country so we’d best do it for them and make them run things like WE do! Huh. Barbarian idiots!”

Hope is only a concept created and held onto by humans who are at the end of their rope. But, I hate to tell you, you cannot FORCE anyone to have it, preach it or demand that anyone else hold onto it and adhere to its every tenet like you seem to do. Daydreaming a better world seems to be more relevant than standing back, observing without pre-determined dogma and calling it like it is, not like someone wishes it to be.

Sooo, what about that demand for gold-only trading with America?.... Let’s “hope” that never comes up! There, that should stop it ever, ever happening. Right?

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By Anarcissie, June 16, 2009 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

prgill:
‘Such dribble from Chris Hedges… How can you publish a supposedly “edited” article where there in the first sentence of the second paragraph there is a flagrant error in number between the subject “media” (plural of medium) and the verb “to continue”.

No doubt Hedges is unable to resist recalling that in Latin, neuter plurals can take singular verbs.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 16, 2009 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, June 16 at 4:00 am #

Inherit The Wind and Folktruther asked about making
things in US:

“Why don’t simply make stuff better?  Americans aren’t dumber than anyone else, it just seems that way.  Why don’t they improve the products to be competitive?”
_____________________________________________________

The answer to that is very simple. The MBAs e.g the bean counters decided that it is more profitable that most manufacturing has to be shipped to low cost labour and lax environmental and labor regulations countries, e.g China et al.
So, neglecting manufacturing good products is deliberate to have an execuse to close factories and shipping them slyly overseas.
So, the bankruptcy of GM is deliberate and was planned to ship most car manufacturing overseas with the added bonus of busting the Auto workers labor union and reneging on all previous obligations to the workers and retirees.
This is a very destructive poplicy and we are starting to see its destructive effects of decimating the working and middle classes in this country.

Folktruther, June 15 at 11:40 pm #

Those are good questins, Inherit.  I don’t understand it either.  Why don’t simply make stuff better?  Americans aren’t dumber than anyone else, it just seems that way.  Why don’t they improve the products to be competitive?

Of coruse I’ve never understood business.  When I meet a CEO and ask them what they do exactly, I never get an answer I can understand.  I am beginning to suspect they don’t know what they do.  I’ll ask one next time why they don’t improve the products, but maybe they don’t know either.

I won’t comment on your considering Hedges a marxist. I know you’ve read your Ayn Rand and know all about marxism.
******************************************

Crazy thread! Here I am in agreement with TD3, and FT is agreeing with me!

I have a real bias against Harvard BS and its MBA locusts that destroy every economic crop.  Or a pandemic industrial virus.

I LOVED FT’s line about asking CEOs what their companies do and not getting a straight answer!  “Why, we are going for ‘First in Class’ and emphasizing ‘Customer Service’”...HBS buzzwords that mean NOTHING.

The company that employed me for 15 years was sold to a group run by such a CEO.  An arrogant, cruel, stupid little man who had truly NO idea how our business ran, and neither did his team he brought in.  I was “downsized” (an excuse to shut me up and terrify my former fellows) a couple of months ago and now they are sinking that little company so fast it’s like it was deliberate.  They use all the standard buzzwords, but they are squandering all their best people because they don’t know how to value them.

My wife talks to CEOs all the time and the number of lying incompetent sleazeballs out there is amazing.

Why do we need our stuff? Well, industries help everyone’s lives…but we need industries now that don’t rape the environment and produce goods that don’t rape it either. 

You know there are nuts out there that insist fossil fuel is actually a renewable resource that’s expanding faster than we are draining it?  Of course, they also claim global warming is a fraud, the hole in the ozone layer is a myth, and CO2 emissions from cars are irrelevant.  Plus, of course, pollution should be an acceptable tradeoff for economic domination—and it isn’t that bad anyway.

They have been fed this crap by the GOP, and the HBS MBAs who are the CEOs of so many corps today.

And it all goes back to Reaganism.

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By ardee, June 16, 2009 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

WyckydRed


There is a group known as “Simply Red”, Mike Hucknell has an incredible set of pipes. Your moniker may be ‘Wyckyd’ but I fear statements like this:

There is a sizable portion of the population that grew up pledging allegiance and learning of America’s unbroken record of victory in wars.

———————
And that sizable portion is a blind, lunatic bunch, shouting about America being #1 because “we’ve never lost a war”.

would be better served if you changed your name to Simply….That there are those who fit your description is true, that it is a sizable majority who fit such a description as “blind” or “lunatic” is less than truth , in my opinion.

That Barack Obama won with such a resounding majority should be proof of two things; firstly that the right wing fringe is still exactly that, a fringe, and secondly, that the majority can be easily fooled or made desperate.

My main problem with your hyperbolic and derogatory dismissal of most of this nation’s voters is that such pessimism leaves little room for hope, and lack of hope dooms us all.

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By WykydRed, June 16, 2009 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

By idarad, June 15 at 7:57 pm

The days of the US dictating terms to the rest of the world are over, we can either learn to be a part of the world or we can go it alone. The sooner we accept a place in the world instead of on its back, the sooner we can begin to move forward as a society.
———————
Bingo!


By garth, June 15 at 6:27 pm

There is a sizable portion of the population that grew up pledging allegiance and learning of America’s unbroken record of victory in wars.

———————
And that sizable portion is a blind, lunatic bunch, shouting about America being #1 because “we’ve never lost a war”. Except in Viet Nam…But, none of them will stand still long enough or keep their mouths shut from shouting “Commie!” or “Hippie!” or even “Nihilist!” when someone asks them WHAT wars have “America” won? All by itself? The Revolutionary one? In which the French (Lafayette) came to our dire aid and saved the day? Or that first World War? Whew! Good thing no other country and their people were involved in THAT mess! Or the second World one? You know, the one we didn’t want to get involved with and Jews being sent to camps and exterminated just wasn’t good enough because Americans at that time were really up with the idea of “someone” getting rid of the Jews. What about that “Forgotten War”? You know… Korea? Oh. Never heard of it? Shucks then, never mind. Unimportant, really. What about the Gulf War? Or Iraq? Or Iran? .. oh. Wait. We haven’t started that one yet…

We have to kill our own people, or at least let them be killed by someone else before “Americans” will jump on the war bandwagon, right? A superior force? Against (gasp) America? No such thing. Tell ya what, we’ll drop an atomic bomb on the fuckers who outmaneuver us, fight their hearts out and never, ever give up. BOOM! And just for good measure, BOOM! again. There. That shut ‘em up. America wins! Yaaay! What? Well why are the British bitching? Nu-uh! We did TOO save them! Okay. Now we start making the rules for everyone who hehehehelped us out in this war WE won. Hey boys? Make some more of those neato bombs, k? Just in case.

And then they are surprised when “pissant little co-ops” of the world start getting together to “wave their tiny little balls at us” and—ooohhhh—scare us by threatening our currency.

I think Chris Hedges is seeing beyond the “little fanatic groups”. He’s seeing what all little “pissant little co-ops” are capable of upheaving into the world: BIG pissant co-ops who have had it with American Superiority groupthink and monetary rule. (See: pissant anti-smoking groups who circumvented the Constitution because they couldn’t go through it, Pro-Life groups who abandon their own children once they’re born and kill and bomb at will. For starters)

This is what you all get for my waking up and finding about a billion emails in my mailbox. smile

—————

By truedigger3, June 15 at 4:56 pm

Something is REALLY wrong with you. You need a lot of sychiatric help and I hope you get it and it will work for you.

——————————
A) It’s “psychiatric” and “psychiatrist”. Mine says hi and mind your own business. My Zen Master says hi too and just shakes his head at you. Haven’t figured that one out yet.

B) The first two psychiatrists killed themselves. I have been assured the first one’s suicide was not my fault as his life was in total shambles and he was just putting on a “normal” facade for everyone. The second one was indeed my bad. Sorry about that, but the truth is the truth. Don’t ask if you don’t really want to know. (No. I am NOT kidding about the body count. This one lets me color fairies and unicorns while we talk so I really like him, except when he makes me go out of the lines. snicker)

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By wondering1, June 16, 2009 at 3:20 am Link to this comment

Chris, I can imagine the sly smile as you finished your thoughts, “Well, that oughta get the readers’ panties in a bunch.”

Sorry, I’m not buying your premise: “The first formal step by our major trading partners to replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency.”

For some reason, you neglected to identify all the participants in the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Sure, this is tedious, but it’s important: Russia (host), China, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

These are our major trading partners?

Back to your premise. Russia is nakedly ambitious, but knows it’s corrupt. China is the new, rich kid in the locker room, but knows it’s not ready. The rest have poppies and oil.

If the U.S. doesn’t get its act together, yes, one day there will be a world currency based on all the industrialized nations, IMO.

If you want to sound some alarms, I wish you would address the root causes of our perceived demise.

Education would be a great start.

As one university professor wrote, “I teach university freshmen and the difference between our American students and their classmates who have recently arrived from India and China is amazing. It’s as if the American kids aim for the barest minimum level of effort, while the foreign students try to impress us with their ability. Perhaps what Americans need is a little less flattery.”

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By Mike3, June 16, 2009 at 2:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America couldn’t wait to get its hands on the crumbling British Empire. As Gore Vidal says; Roosevelt diplomatically suggested to Churchill that it was time to hand it over. And so the poisoned chalice was passed on to a grateful (and greedy) recipient.

There was no difference between American and British empires regarding arrogance and racism; Anglo-American arrogance is only now beginning to crack. But there was a difference in style. The British were proud of their empire, it was celebrated in every school, “Britannia rules the waves”, was sung by many an English school boy, but many if not most Americans are ignorant of the fact that they even possess one. The typical GI after completing basic training; is too dumb to question why he/she is shipped off to some far corner of the world. Americans are not famous for being good at geography, but the places they are normally sent to, are not only places they cannot spell, they are places they have never even heard of. Just drag your kit and sorry ass in C-5 Galaxy soldier, and off you go.

What Hedges says here is not new. The fact that America will one day lose its world reserve currency position is obvious; it’s just a question of when. He does however go into the gory details of what will happen afterwards, that seems to have depressed a lot of posts. But many that criticize Hedges don’t seem to get the message and might as well be in the C-5 on their way to the romantic Caspian Sea where there is still lots of oil for the taking. Americans will: “kick your ass and take your gas.” Well at least that’s being honest.

But just as Britain’s pound coming off the gold standard marked the end of its empire, Nixon’s abolishing the Bretton Woods Agreement in the mid 70’s (removing the dollar from the gold standard), was the beginning of the end for America’s. It was a Brit, John Maynard Keynes’s and his Bretton Woods, who brought prosperity to America’s middle and working class after 1945. From the mid 50’s to late 70’s Americans never had it so good in real dollar terms, even GM cars were cheap and most people could buy two.

Keynes prevented the casino speculation that has now destroyed the American banks. And America is about to slip back into its default mode. But Keynes like Jimmy Carter was a one off, an exception from the brutal American norm. And as the sun slowly sets on the American Empire, if you listen carefully, you may just here the rest of the world whisper quietly: “make sure the door doesn’t hit you in the ass on the way out.” Not me of course; I’m just sorry that the American people exchanged their Republic for a flat screen and right-wing anger. And pleading ignorance of the law is no defense.

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By liecatcher, June 16, 2009 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

I believe this is the best & most accurate description of what is going on.

I’m surprised that THE NEW WORLD ORDER / ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT wasn’t discussed, since the scenario describes the NWO /OWG perfectly, especially the role of the IMF.

It’s obvious now that Obama was installed to complete what his miscreant predecessors started, the destruction & enslavement of America.

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By truedigger3, June 16, 2009 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind and Folktruther asked about making
things in US:

“Why don’t simply make stuff better?  Americans aren’t dumber than anyone else, it just seems that way.  Why don’t they improve the products to be competitive?”
_____________________________________________________

The answer to that is very simple. The MBAs e.g the bean counters decided that it is more profitable that most manufacturing has to be shipped to low cost labour and lax environmental and labor regulations countries, e.g China et al.
So, neglecting manufacturing good products is deliberate to have an execuse to close factories and shipping them slyly overseas.
So, the bankruptcy of GM is deliberate and was planned to ship most car manufacturing overseas with the added bonus of busting the Auto workers labor union and reneging on all previous obligations to the workers and retirees.
This is a very destructive poplicy and we are starting to see its destructive effects of decimating the working and middle classes in this country.

Report this

By hippie4ever, June 16, 2009 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

Chris apparently believes that a falling dollar is a catastrophe and that the collapse of Empire will be very dire indeed. Dark Ages bad. I am unconvinced.

This economy pretends to be objective but isn’t; there is no social justice in salaries paid and corporations post profits without adjusting for associated costs. The rich have turned tax evasion into a national sport. All in all the economy is a fiction agreed upon by certain world players, purportedly driven by mysterious “market forces.”

Was it coincidental that the economy “collapsed” just in time for a Regime change that hasn’t turned out to be much of a change after all? When they wish, the American ruling elite can float the dollar; they can manipulate the stocks and futures and they always have control over the media.

Was there ever a time as dark as the days of Dubbya shredding the Constitution, tapping citizens phones and computers, committing genocide in the Middle East, torturing at GITMO, plundering public lands for resources, exporting decent jobs overseas to promote slave labour?

So Chris, I’m sorry but I’m not frightened by the consequences of American greed and shortsightedness. Stupid people can obtain power, as demonstrated by the GOP; however they cannot sustain their rule indefinitely. My only regret is that my loved ones and I have to endure the consequences of living in a nation of, by and for The Sheeple.

America made some very bad choices and no longer can lead the world. We can’t even face the reality of not having a legitimate government; that corporate lobbyists run the nation for their selfish benefit; that we used KGB and Chinese torture techniques on unaccused prisoners denied Habeus Corpus.

Only a maniac or someone deep deep in denial could imagine the United States in the same light after the coup d’etat of 2000. The decendency of American Imperialism is a good thing for world culture generally and I look forward to it.

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By colin2626262, June 16, 2009 at 12:13 am Link to this comment

Chris,

You’re trying to predict the future.  You’re trying to be a prophet.  But can you be a prophet if you don’t mention God?  I enjoy your writing, but you write as if the world is going to end, like we’re in the last days.  At least the evangelicals have faith, or speak of their faith openly.  At least they’re trying to follow God’s will.  You just write a column and make a lot of dire predictions, without even mentioning your faith.  You make it seem to some of the unbelievers who read your essays that you’re one of them.  But you’re not, and you know it.  Write from your heart, just like you spoke from your heart at Rockford College.  And think about pacifism.  I’d like to see more articles dedicated to the pros and cons of pacifism.  Our military spending will only be reduced if there’s a change in values, a change from militaristic outlook on life to a pacifist outlook.  May God lead the way.

Best,
Colin

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By prgill, June 16, 2009 at 12:11 am Link to this comment

Such dribble from Chris Hedges… How can you publish a supposedly “edited” article where there in the first sentence of the second paragraph there is a flagrant error in number between the subject “media” (plural of medium) and the verb “to continue”.

If you want to insult other people’s intelligence or sensibilities (to wit, “the criminal class on Wall Street”), you should at least have the good sense to review your work for sloppiness, or, have your work edited by someone who speaks the language.

With this one-two punch I couldn’t bring myself to read any further. Too bad, the subject is important and worth exploring. Perhaps you write for those who agree with you. In today’s climate, who needs a chorus master?

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By For Liberty, June 15, 2009 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yeah we are all well aware that we have, as a nation, destroyed our currency by letting the Fed run amok and allowing China to buy up or debt. Sad but inevitable. Most people dont think they will see it in their lifetime….but the shock of reality can be devastating sometimes.

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By tahitifp, June 15, 2009 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment

Chinese curse:

“May you live in interesting times.”

I was going to make some remarks but now I forgot to whom and what I was going to say. grin

My next door neighbors (“I won’t vote for any baby-killers”) would give me food and shelter and any other kind of aid, should I need it; I would do the same for them.

This is the kind of human community we’ll need going forward…like the blackout in NYC in 1964 or was it 1965?  Anyway, the whole city came together in the crisis, crime dropped dramatically and the birth rate 9 months later was “noticeably high.”  grin  It was truly a magical night and one I won’t forget; seeing gang members in black leather and chains directing traffic across the bridge; and I forget which bridge now that it was.

The Mayan calendar is ending in 2012.  I lived with the Maya for four years and learned from some of the most intriguing people I’ve ever met.

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By idarad, June 15, 2009 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

Inherit the wind wrote -

“But why is this not reversible?  Japan and Europe can build BETTER cars with expensive labor and make a product SO good people buy it.  Why can’t WE have a whole new business paradigm?”

It is not the toys they produce that we need to address, rather it is what, as a species, do we need to exist.  At some point in time I think we need to truly shift our focus as a species from a consumption of….. as the basis for an economic model, to one that embodies a more integrative model of living.  We are soon to be 9 billion inhabitants in a very precarious balanced ecosystem.  We can attempt to include ourselves in the symbiotic condition of that system, or we can attempt to force our system on nature.  Guess who will win that one!  I know where I place my bet.

Arguing about some artificial monetary system is not going to address the long term viability of the human condition, and if that is not the true question at hand, than somewhere I missed the point, and you are all welcome to dismiss my comments.

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By Shift, June 15, 2009 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

How do you survive a trainwreck?  Don’t take the train!
Prepare yourselves.  You know the drill, you have read it here hundreds of times.  Denial will only serve you until the moment it doesn’t.

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By Folktruther, June 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm Link to this comment

Those are good questins, Inherit.  I don’t understand it either.  Why don’t simply make stuff better?  Americans aren’t dumber than anyone else, it just seems that way.  Why don’t they improve the products to be competitive?

Of coruse I’ve never understood business.  When I meet a CEO and ask them what they do exactly, I never get an answer I can understand.  I am beginning to suspect they don’t know what they do.  I’ll ask one next time why they don’t improve the products, but maybe they don’t know either.

I won’t comment on your considering Hedges a marxist. I know you’ve read your Ayn Rand and know all about marxism.

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By Lorenzo, June 15, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Hedges analysis oversimplifies many issues and ignores the dynamics of the Shanghai group.  Witness the unfolding protests in Iran once the citizenry got a little taste of democracy.  That type of genie isn’t easy to get back into the bottle. 

The world would prosper with a freer, more stable Iran and that would go a long ways toward eliminating the need for American presence in central Asia.  Americans could exit Iraq and Afghanistan more quickly and get their own economy back on track by spending a lot less on military.

Sadly, the domestic American agenda will get a workout as one entitlement and rectification after another is rolled out to eye-popping deficits.  Ask yourself who really benefits from those initiatives.

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By spudrph, June 15, 2009 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment

Scary stuff.

The trouble I have with the author’s notion is-as much as China and Russia are annoyed with our meddling, is it really worth it to them to wreak havoc within their own shaky economies?

The Iran situation should tell these autocrats that, like it or not, the toothpaste is out of the tube-you can’t repress your people openly and get away with it anymore. So, in 2009, the people’s opinion matters, because if they get desperate enough, they are going to storm the castle gates-and there aren’t enough bullets to kill them all.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

re: Virginia777

One of the more ridiculous aspects of this doom and gloom report is that it speaks of economic hardship as the equivalent of an end of the world. Try telling that to your fellow humans in Somalia, where inflation caused by bogus and out-of control currency, drives so many into a wall. Look at what is going on with farmers in India or Mexico, where the collateral damage known as their lives and livelihood are simply considered unfortunate collateral damage, in the neoliberal march of globalization. And this damage has been going on for years, but as long as Walmart has their unbeatable prices, most Americans could not care less, until it starts to affect their own personal scene.
Listen carefully when the entrenched speak of emerging markets in competition’s dawn. They are perfectly happy that the wretched of the earth, as Franz Fanon so melodramatically put it, will perform all those labor intensive tasks that make their consumerist empire possible.
As someone on this thread pointed out, there is still some very good stuff going on in this world, but most of that is nearly totally off the media grid… that same media grid that Chris Hedges continues to complain about. This situation require much more creativity than simply a moan. As James Cagney said in Billy Wilder’s movie, One, Two, Three: “Any world that can produce the Taj Mahal, William Shakespeare, and striped toothpaste can’t be all bad.”

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By Inherit The Wind, June 15, 2009 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

Wow! I find myself simultaneously agreeing with Ardee (which happens from time to time) and TrueDigger3 (which never happened before).

I think Hedges is like FolkTruther. He’s read a lot of Marxist lit and thinks that makes him an economist and a prophet able to predict the future.  Well, Marxists have been predicting the fall of Capitalism since the Communist Manifesto in 1848…

It’s not that America WILL fail, it’s that it CAN fail if we don’t take proper steps to rebuild our infrastructure and industrial base, allowed and ENCOURAGED to disintegrate going back to Reagan and the influx of Harvard MBAs who never learned that MAKING money and GETTING money are two entirely different things.

GM will NEVER recover unless it does one simple obvious thing: Stop building shitty cars.  If it does that, it can recover.  “Can”, not “Will”.  When there’s a Saturn plant in Tennessee being closed why isn’t it being converted over to build something desperately needed: Railroad freight cars.  Why are our cities buying their subway cars abroad?  Why are all the cruise lines catering to the US market but building all their ships in France, Germany, Italy and Scandinavia?

Why is there not one steel plant in Pittsburgh?

And why did we let ourselves get 30 years behind on developing domestic energy sources?  Jimmy Carter WARNED us in 1977 that we needed to reduce or end our dependence on foreign oil.  But Reagan & Co. drowned us in a sea of foreign oil and killed domestic energy sources.

If you look at it line by line, industry by industry, you see a pattern of Reaganism that killed these industries and shipped them overseas.

Even the personal computer was lost to overseas manufacturing.

But why is this not reversible?  Japan and Europe can build BETTER cars with expensive labor and make a product SO good people buy it.  Why can’t WE have a whole new business paradigm?

Closing the Harvard Business School may not fix things, but it may well be the place to start.  Look what happened when a Harvard MBA became President.

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By Jean Gerard, June 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, I made one comment several hours ago (time enough for it to get in) but it was omitted.  I wonder why?  Was it too “reasonable”?  Not argumentative or fearful enough to be “interesting”?
I’ll make it again, briefly, just so see what happens:  The world situation is so complex that nobody can accurately predict what will happen, good or bad.  Therefore it is probably better not to scare people into either doing nothing or doing the wrong things.  Panic doesn’t help.

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By mcthorogood, June 15, 2009 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

It is my opinion that everyone needs to watch the Crash Course, especially our politicians, who expect to re-inflate the asset bubble and to return to the previous years of prosperity.

The Crash Course attempts to tie together three topics in the news today; the economy, energy and the environment. Dr. Chris Martenson, who developed the course has a PhD. in neurotoxicology and an MBA from Cornell.

The early chapters focus on how money is generated in our debt based money supply, and explains about asset bubbles. Peak oil is also discussed in later chapters, along with environmental degradation. A common thread is the exponential growth evident in the economy, energy, and the environment, in the face of limited resources.  Dr. Albert Bartlett, University Colorado-Boulder, also explains exponential growth in his lectures.  Exponential growth is summarized by the “rule of 70”; seventy divided by the annualized rate of growth determines the doubling time.  While a 3.5% annual growth rate might not sound like much, it means a doubling will occur in 20 years.

This course concludes that the we’re living in an exciting time of change, and that the next 20 years will be completely different than the last 20 years.  The U.S. is accumulating debt at an exponential rate, while it is becoming physically impossible for future generations to repay the debt.  The U.S. reached peak oil production in 1970, and the world has reached, or will reach peak production in the near future.  While the issue of global warming is not explicitly addressed, the rate of resource depletion will require us to burn lower BTU (dirtier) coals to meet our energy demand.

We live in trying times and it’s foolish not to believe that a fundamental shift must occur in our society.

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By Anarcissie, June 15, 2009 at 5:09 pm Link to this comment

I don’t see much of a financial or economic argument backing up the dire predictions.  While being the world’s reserve currency has some advantages for the U.S., it is also a problem, because the government cannot always manipulate monetary policy in order to service domestic interests—it has to take its global role into account.  Thus, the desire of the U.S. government to greatly inflate the domestic currency is somewhat held in check by the urgent desire of its creditors that the currency not be inflated.  The Chinese have made a big, very explicit point about their loans being inflated out of existence.  Probably, the government will eventually move toward creating a two-currency system, hard currency for foreign investors and the rich, and soft, inflatable currency for the schmucks at home (us).  But it’s not the end of the world.  It just means you’re going to get a bit poorer.  I think we’re looking at a slow collapse, rather than something sudden as in the Soviet case.

All those guns, by the way, will most likely inhibit a fascist putsch, since the putschists could not predict the likely behavior of a large number of their owners.  A good many of them might be quite antagonistic to any sort of coup.

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By Horatio Green, June 15, 2009 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Other than financing personnel, supplies, and armament, all major international military writing is replete with the importance of economics in winning future conflicts. Much of it expresses the need to get a handle on information technology with a concentration on the ability to disable economic infrastructures as a viable winning strategy of engaging conflict by non-military means.

“Under the new conditions of our times, safeguarding peace is in accord with the fundamental interests of our country. History has shown that mankind can not solve every dispute by going to war. Based on years of observation and study of the international situation of social struggle, Deng Xiaoping creatively put forward new ideas on international dispute solving through peaceful means. He has said that we need to have new ways to solve the various disputes in the world today. New problems need to find new ways. He pointed out that we should use peaceful means and not war to solve problems. It would be most proper to solve international disputes through peaceful means. For example, on the question of Nansha islands, we have proposed that on the condition of their recognizing Chinese sovereignty, we could have joint development with relevant countries. With regard to the political and economic problems in the world, we propose that a new international political and economic order be established. Creating new ways to solve problems-which normally are pursued but not necessarily solved through war-by using nonviolent means is, in Deng Xiaoping’s words, quite unconventional and requires one to have strategic courage to make the suggestions.—It will be possible to destroy important military and economic facilities of the enemy without contact with the enemy at the front, and make the enemy lose its ability to resist. [i.e. destabilizing economic infrastructures]”  Chinese Views of Future Wars by Michael Pillsbury. 1997

Chris Hedges article, The American Empire Is Bankrupt, predicting doom and gloom, may or may not be in the cards, but it should act as a wake-up-call for action. Logically, it certainly is plausible.

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By idarad, June 15, 2009 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

If you haven’t read Michael Hudson’s article at
http://www.counterpunch.org/
then you need to if you want to understand what Chris wrote in his article.  It is not about Buffet, Trump, and the other fat cats, its about borrowing yourself into a hole and expecting the rest of the world to bail you out on the back of their economy and their people.  The days of the US dictating terms to the rest of the world are over, we can either learn to be a part of the world or we can go it alone. The sooner we accept a place in the world instead of on its back, the sooner we can begin to move forward as a society.

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By Tennessee-Chavizta, June 15, 2009 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WHAT WE NEED IS A UNITED SOCIALIST FRONT FOR 2012, COMPOSED OF POOR PEOPLE, SPECIFICALLY OF 9-11 TRUTH MOVEMENT, CONSPIRACY THEORY ANTI-FASCISM MOVEMENT, SOCIALISTS, COMMUNISTS AND LIBERTARIANS !!

IMPORTANT NOTE: THE UNITED-SOCIALIST FRONT WOULD HAVE TO BE COMPOSED OF PEOPLE WITH ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, EARNING LESS THAN 60,000 A YEAR, THE UNEMPLOYED AND THE ECONOMICALLY OPPRESSED OF USA.  THOSE EARNING ABOVE 50,000 TO 60,000 CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY WE NEED A CHANGE:

according to class-psychology why would a middle-class person who is earning like 60,000 a year (1000 a week) would want a total change toward a direct-democracy Norway and Venezuela style) in USA, a total closing of all US military bases, a stop of all USA wars; a Socialist Constitutional-reform, etc.  Remember that economically stable people think that any socialist-change would decrease their monthly incomes

so what happens is that the middle classe jones, are hardcore democrats and republicans to the bone. They would do any thing to crush, trash and destroy any potential candidate that is an electoral threat of Obama or Palin in 2012.  Against Ron Paul for example or against Nader

What the conspiracy-theory folks, independent americans angry at democrats-republicans, the socialists and the libertarians need to do is to unite into a united people party and front for 2012 elections because Democrat party and Republican Party are basically parties that only benefit rich people.  This United-front could be led by: Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, green party, Ralph Nader, Cindy Sheehan, Howard Zinn, Ray Mcgovern, David Ray Griffin, Noam Chomsky bob bar, Cynthia Mckinney, James Petras, Michael Hudson, Bill Van Auken (President of the Socialist Equality Party), Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Juan Cole, Seymor Hersh, Chalmers Johnson, Alan Maass, Michael Parenti, Alexander Cockburn, Paul Craig Roberts, Tariq Ali, Jimmy Carter, Chris Hedges, and many other americans who are moralists, humanists, altruists, and rational human beings. Instead of the monsters that USA has had for years like Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney, Richard Nixon, Wolfowiftz, and Bush.

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By garth, June 15, 2009 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

“How ever bad it gets, I have faith America will take it on the chin and that there is a Franklin, Edison, Ford, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, in the future.”

I think it’s waiting for Godot.  There was a time when Americans believed in themselves and in each other not so much in some Lone Ranger who’d come to save the day.

“Hell worse comes to worse tax at pre Reagan levels.  We have trillions tied up in private bank accounts.  Tax it.  Tax everyone worth over 2 million 50% and over a billion 70%.  Tax money made over seas.  Forbid tax loop holes.  What then?  What happens when America takes 5-40% of the dollars in circulation in one day?  LOL.  And then there is the nuclear option.  Tell China we won’t respect the Bills they bought.  LOL.  What would happen then? “
================
And therein lies the rub.  Your Gates’s and Buffets are not going to give up their lucre so easily as one grasping for a life line might expect.

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By PatrickHenry, June 15, 2009 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

China, Russia, South Korea and Japan are always free to bring that money to the U.S. and spend it.  All they do now is take currancy out of circulation. 

Balanced trade or fair trade is needed, not free trade.

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By idarad, June 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

“The dance band on the Titanic
playing nearer thy god to thee
While the iceberg on the starboard bow
saying won’t you dance with me.”

Harry Chapin

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By Old Geezer Pilot, June 15, 2009 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t burn your Yankee Dollars just yet, folks. 80% of the world’s commerce is denominated in them; 100% of all oil purchases are made using them (yes the Chinese are cutting deals with Brazil, but they are minuscule), and the US Military is stationed on the world’s last remaining reservoir of CHEAP oil.

Russia’s oil costs $60 a barrel to produce; America’s about $40; Saudi’s about $2, and Iraq’s about $1. So if anybody gets cute about the petrodollar scheme now in effect, the US can starve out all the other oil producers by a price war.

This is serious business, folks. Saddam Hussein had to go because he was selling oil for Euros, and that was a threat to Dollar hegemony which has INCREASED since 2003 when he was removed.

All the talk about SDRs and baskets of currencies is in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

CHICKENFEED.

This is ALL ABOUT PETRODOLLARS. We may be in decline, and one day the dollar may be replaced, but it took 400 years for Rome to finally die and it will probably take about the same for our Empire to disappear as well.

And Rome’s demise ushered in 1000 years of the Dark Ages. What a nice thing to look forward to for our planet.

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By bob pomeroy, June 15, 2009 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

This article smacks of the same old fear-mongering tactics employed by wing-nuts for the last couple of decades, yet no mention of the Plan for a New .... being put in place for inheritance by the new administration. As a conspiracy theory, it just doesn’t wash.  But is has just about enough of the essential aroma of truth scattered about here and there to make it seem credible. Why, please say, would it be assumed by co-conspirators in order to set themselves up?  No doubt capitalism has failed, and that herd times lie ahead just in time to absorb the burden of aging and increasingly dependent boomers.  But it’s really just an argument for fascism paraded by disaffected progeny.

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By sanderson, June 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

LOL.  You act like we are defenseless.  You act like the china’s currency value isn’t manipulated.  How much money will China lose?  Who is going buy China’s products?  Ever heard of tariffs?  How would China like that? Russia?

You are right.  America’s days of its economic strangle hold on the entire world is over.  You want to make a big deal out of that.  Your choice.  If our culture decides that bling shouldn’t be your primary desire, and that improving one self is more important then upgrading your watch to a Rolex, then I think that is a sign of progress.  How ever bad it gets, I have faith America will take it on the chin and that there is a Franklin, Edison, Ford, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, in the future.

Hell worse comes to worse tax at pre Reagan levels.  We have trillions tied up in private bank accounts.  Tax it.  Tax everyone worth over 2 million 50% and over a billion 70%.  Tax money made over seas.  Forbid tax loop holes.  What then?  What happens when America takes 5-40% of the dollars in circulation in one day?  LOL.  And then there is the nuclear option.  Tell China we won’t respect the Bills they bought.  LOL.  What would happen then? 

Anyway.  Dial it down a notch.

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By garth, June 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

WykydRed wrote:

“Good! Frankly, I’m glad to see it. America needs a lesson and she’s about to get it. I don’t even care when the bombs begin to drop on us. I truly do not. There is nothing left to fight for in this country, and the people aren’t worth saving.”

++++
There is something in that statement that rings true.  Maybe it’s nihilistic, maybe it’s narcissistic, but in the last analysis there is some truth to it for a part of the United States population.  Fear of death, fear or poverty, of sicknesss, of living and dying on the street, we have seen it all come and sometimes pass.  There is a sizable portion of the population that grew up pledging allegiance and learning of America’s unbroken record of victory in wars.  Now, I think, a sizable portion of the population has come to realize that those anthems, those promises, those dreams are not going to come to fruition, and that they were simply chimeras that served as tools to be used to keep the workers in this country happy with what they had.
I can agree with WykydRed.  After what a study of the history of this nation reveals, maybe we deserve everything we get:  cocktails then shortages, then loss, and then in the end maybe a little revenge to quench the pallet, even if passively.

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By Virginia777, June 15, 2009 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

to beerdoctor:

Oh, I see now. I should know better than to doubt Ghandi, he always knows what he is talking about. Yes, to impose poverty on people (as is done all the time) is horrendous.

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By Folktruther, June 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

The meeting in Russia is being attended by MOST the major undeveloped countires in addition to Russia and China.  Including India, Pakistan and Brazil.  they can enforce what they decide on.  Whether they decide on something, and tell us what it is, remains to be seen.  Since it will be blacked out or distorted in the American media, we can get it from foreign media or Global Exchange when the meeting ends tomorrow.

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By Jean Gerard, June 15, 2009 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every word we write, every sentence we speak, is creating a constant story so complex it is impossible to predict its outcome.  You answer one question your way; I pose another question or answer according to my lights—or darknesses.  We “exchange information” or twist glory into terror, call it a day or stay awake all night. The truth is, nobody can see the whole picture, and probably we ought not pretend to do so. If we can weave in one helpful thread, make one wise suggestion . . .

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By nikto, June 15, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I wouldn’t take any of this bad news seriously.

America is indestructible.

We always get our happy endings.

We will rise forever!

Even God could not destroy America!!

 

 

 

 

 

(But Wall St could)

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By Mary Ann McNeely, June 15, 2009 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Depending on what source you believe, there are between 200 and 300 million privately owned firearms in the United States.  Should a collapse of this nature actually happen, along with hyperinflation which will destroy the savings of the middle class, the resulting social explosion in this country will be truly horrendous.  It will usher in an out-and-out fascist government, not some latter day FDR which is what we all thought Obama would be.

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By truedigger3, June 15, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

WykydRed wrote:

“Good! Frankly, I’m glad to see it. America needs a lesson and she’s about to get it. I don’t even care when the bombs begin to drop on us. I truly do not. There is nothing left to fight for in this country, and the people aren’t worth saving.”
_____________________________________________________

WykydRed,

Something is REALLY wrong with you. You need a lot of sychiatric help and I hope you get it and it will work for you.
This is not the right place for expressing death and destruciton wishes. The best place for that is a
sychiatrist office.

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By thebeerdoctor, June 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Just to clarify, Ghandi’s statement about the poverty is the most extreme form of violence, he was speaking of the oppressed. The sanctions against Iraq, enforced by the Clinton administration, is something no one cares to own up to. The half million children killed in this collective punishment? Even Slick Willie Clinton blames Saddam Hussein for that US sanctioned atrocity. I wonder if President Obama concurs with former Secretary of State Albright, although this decision was a tough one, in the end it was “worth it”.
Is it not strange that much of the argument concerning all of this, comes down to human values. The .001% actually in charge of this planet, do not give two hoots about the billions of their fellow inhabitants. That is why creating enemies of your fellow humans is desperately important to keeping this shit storm operating at full steam. How else can you justify destroying human beings you never met and will never know?
I’ll say it again: there has got to be a better way!

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By WykydRed, June 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

“By Night-Gaunt, June 15 at 11:58 am #

By WykydRed, June 15 at 4:56 am #

“Good! Frankly, I’m glad to see it. America needs a lesson and she’s about to get it.”

You do know that most if it will be paid for in blood, misery and death here by me and you,don’t you?”
—————-

Yes, Night Gaunt, I do. Your point? Because when it comes down to eating one another to survive another day, or crying all over tv while holding our dead children and everything invovled, maybe it’s just our turn. And I really, really do not care. I seemed to be the only one completely unsurprised when “the towers fell!” The guy who called me to wake me up and turn on the tv didn’t seem all that surprised either, really. But then he knew about all the deaths from at least 5 previous bombing attacks on the Towers.

It should all bring a smile to the face of the X-tians. “The world really IS going to end! Seeeeee! We told you, we told you! Nyaaaaah.”

The part that’s got me laughing is the world is NOT ending. Just America. The really fun stuff is coming outside the political bullshit, but I did always say I’d rather live in the times of the fall of an Empire, and not its rise. Considering the state of the American mind-hive, I can’t imagine anyone NOT surprised at the world taking advantage of our fall. Or did everyone forget the OPEC Bourse? No oil to American dollars. Jesus, didn’t anyone ever play Risk?.....

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By TAO Walker, June 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

What’s coming to its inevitable catastrophic CONclusion here isn’t only the short-lived allamerican empire, it is the entire “global” feedlot operation, with lethal CONsequences for all the inmates who can’t find and escape-through the hole in its CONfinement regime.  Here and there are still some who are not so far removed from their organic roots as those in the self-styled “first” world.  So their chances aren’t too bad.

Even for americans, though, the benefits of organic community remain accessible….if only barely, by now.  They can let go of all this toxic shit, including its ideological and institutional excrescences, and look to each other where they live and breathe for what they actually NEED.  Of course the ‘rub’ is all this ‘stuff’ they’ve been CONditioned to WANT that they’ll have learn how to LIVE without.

So watch out for this last ‘step.’  It’s a doozy!

HokaHey!

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By garth, June 15, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

I think the most telling item in this piece is the following:
“There are meetings being held Monday and Tuesday in Yekaterinburg, Russia, (formerly Sverdlovsk) among Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and other top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United States, which asked to attend, was denied admittance. Watch what happens there carefully. The gathering is, in the words of economist Michael Hudson, “the most important meeting of the 21st century so far.”

I wonder if the US oligarchs are feeling a little left out?  Boo hoo.

Samosamo is probably right, this is ultimately between the elite classes, the top 0.001 % or some such small percentage of the populations.  The Wall Street and City of London financiers probably have more guile and more experience in these types of dealings, but perhaps, after being screwed, blewed and tattoed once too often by western elites, the others have finally decided that this time, Wall Street et al was too smart by half.
In the end, though, the ones who pay with blood and privation will be us. 
For Bubba, Yeah!  Where do those Iranians get off stealing elections?  Why you’d think they were from the US or something.

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By AWM, June 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

While I believe that the basic premise of this article to be accurate and eventually unavoidable if people dont accept some acute pain in the short term. The collapse of the American dollar is not upon us yet
Just today Russia has come out in defense of a strong greenback.

As many posters have said world economies are too dependent on the US dollar.However many nations are taking steps to lessen their dependence on the greenback. there is still time to fix the situation, how much time? who knows

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By CSH_SanDiego, June 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While I agree with the overarching sentiment that American hegemony is on the wane, Mr. Hedges should fact check his article before posting. The truth is that the leaders at the Cooperation Organization have all decided that there is no other viable replacement currency for the USD and that there is no plan, in the foreseeable future, to move away from the USD as the world’s reserve currency.

Also, while Mr. Hedges may disagree with the Obama administrations policies (join the club), it is naive and wrong-headed to lay blame for the current US debt situation, currency madness, and economic turmoil at that door. Rather, it is the fault of American consumers and investors.

Let’s examine our, and Mr. Hedges, homes for cheaply made Chinese goods and our portfolios for Blue Chip stocks.

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By Night-Gaunt, June 15, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

It was cunning of our traitorous class to use the Russians, Chinese, British, etc to fund their military machine they intended on using against their adversaries wasn’t it?

Of course if they succeed here to get their corporate theocracy then we will become the traitors and they the new patriots. We are in a precarious position that as I see it, was manufactured for just that purpose. To weaken the republic. There has always been a strain of people in this country who hated any idea of equality for any but themselves and even now wish to re-instate it in one form or fashion. I fear they may get their wish.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a republic fell and became an empire. But no empire to be ever had the reach of this one. All set in place like a chess game with the final moves to mate the king…literally kill the king. “Yes Virginia, it could happen here.” One of George Lucas’ major points in the whole Star Wars saga.

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By AWM, June 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

I dont know where MarthaA gets her info but Canada does not get its marching orders from London we get them from washington we have put all our economic egg in the US basket.

As a former Prime Minister once stated when a mouse gets in bed with an elephant if the elephant rolls over the mouse gets crushed.

Canadas economic well being is totally dependent on the health of the US economy.What happens in England is totally irrelevant to us.While it is true that the Queen is still our head of state this is tolerated only as a sop to our heritage. thr Queens rep in Canada always does what the PM tells her for fear of the republican movement

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By Night-Gaunt, June 15, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

Only “self loathers” on the right, against the republic and the Bill of Rights, and for more war of conquest would be “popping the corks…for Iran” in pleasure. Just like those like minded in Israel are doing right now for the same reasons.

To the likes of them, war isn’t a sin, it is a God annointed virtue, of the Blessed Class here. Those “real Americans” who love empire and want more of it. Who look upon diplomacy as a fiction used to fool those rubes who should know that humanity is “fallen” and that only force of the righteous can prevail over the “evil” hordes of the pagan. Just like the Crusaders and the Inquisition of the past they glorify. Both are the “way they roll” in this context. There is no Bill of Rights for humans in the Bible. Both slavery and torture are okay too in that vile book of stories. They wish to implement them all. To some extent they already have. What they do overseas they will eventually do here.

We are seeing the final stages of the fall of our Republic and for an imperial theocracy waiting anxiously to replace it. One they have been working on since their last failure in 1934. Will there be cheers or sorrow? The Shock Doctrine used against us. It was only a matter of time as long as the seeds were nurtured in our own garden Liberty. [Liberty for some to begin with poisoned the experiment from the beginning.]

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By ardee, June 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

“The way I see it Ardee it is a revolution, a counter one. Against the very idea of the Enlightenment and the spirit of the Bill of Rights. What they want is a theocracy more in line with the Massachucettes Bay Colony than Rhode island.”

I agree ,Night-Gaunt, insofar as forces inside America work as you so eloquently note. But the battle here is to end the dominance of the American Empire ( a good thing) upon the world economy, and replace it with an Empire of a different ideology but the same old capitalism ( a very bad thing).

As truedigger3 noted, both Russia and China have billions of reasons to prop up our economy, but many trillions more to put their own above ours.

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By MarthaA, June 15, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

If all the regulations had been kept on capitalism, there would have been no way for what has happened to have occurred, but the conservatives/moderates in both parties conspired to deregulate ALL usury regulations and every regulation holding FREE capitalism back, and capitalism ran rampantly amuck to the demise of the economy, which is what the right-wing EXTREME intended to do, because as Phil Gramm said, conservatives/moderates were weakening the liberal network of the liberal nation, so that the conservative/moderates could drown their liberal social structure in the bathtub; the liberal nation being the 70% MAJORITY COMMON POPULATION. The Common Population is All who aren’t aristocrats.  Within 20 years this nation will be the equivalent of Mexico and the Mexicans will have no reason to flee Mexico, and Canada will have to build a big wall to keep people out; because Canada won’t actually join the coalition because a coalition of the west would not be in the best interest of England, so when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, England’s aristocrats’ won’t give permission for Canada, that is still in England’s Commonwealth, to join a coalition with the United States; that would be giving away the store and England won’t actually do that.

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By tp, June 15, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought I commented on this once:)dejavu OH well here we go agin:
What I said was that maybe the world will not be as unkind to us as we’ve been. I think it might be obvious to other country leaders that our general population, here in the US, has been kept in utter propped up propaganda garbage. It’s not our fault the world economy has tanked. Hugo Chevez actually gave assistance to the poor in our own country. He gave it to those who couldn’t afford gas prices when our greedy Oil companies started raising the prices because of their wild speculation and not a so called shortage. Other leaders who want to make a positive change in the world may well put it together that our greedy ruthless system has been a bad example and the general population isn’t responsible. We might consider holding our war criminals and Banksters and Wal-Streeters responsible for ruining our reputation and the world economy. There are lots of petitions and protests around the country with just that purpose in mind. Ordinary people of the world will not be like our ruthless dictators who are hidden behind the curtain, as in the Wizards of Oz, of the past 100 plus years. Surely not.
  We the people should wake up, learn what’s been going on and choose the only side that makes moral sense if the world is going to get through this paradox. I know that we are going to experience hunger, pain and choices that aren’t very appetizing.
  We’ve got to realize who got us into this mess and spread the word. It is the banks that are too big to fail. They are the wizard. It is the same wizard that we have been fighting since the beginning of our revolution – way back before 1776.
  We have the power to create our own future. It will have to do something a little different after ridding ourselves, once and for good, of this wizard. Check out this U-tube educational video on Money: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8.
  This should not end our capitalist competitive ways but it should be the beginning with more of a humanitarian angle and with regulation.
  The scary thing is that the wizard has the keys to our nuclear arsenal. He/it/the beast/they will kill us all without a moments thought if he/or they think for a moment by doing so that they will be able to hold on to their precious power. We can’t let that stop us from trying to take our country back. The alternative is worse than an instant bright light with a sudden impact and the fall out that will exterminate most life around us. It will be a slow starvation in an agonizing life style totally foreign to our ways. We will be the third world in the future.
  But, the good news is that we can fix this. We could use the power that Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln used to pull us out of the mess we are in – the mess that the too big to fail banks got us into. We could take back the power to create money from the Banks which we gave them in 1913 when the Feds was created. Only the government should be able to create and regulate money not these private banksters. And it should as during the Civil war greenbacks were printed by the government. The Industrial Revolution followed as a results. Check out the above link on Money!
tp

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By Bubba, June 15, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment
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More wishful thinking by the self-loathing anti American left.  China holds about 7% of us t-bills, and has more to lose by dropping them than by holding them.  Foreign treasury buyers have influence, but it is limited to determining interest rates as the market expects them to keep buying.

Have fun wallowing and seething fellas, I’m going to be popping some champagne this evening to celebrate what’s going on in Iran.

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By Spiritgirl, June 15, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately, Mr. Hedges, I believe that you are right.  I know a couple of people that have been saying the same thing for the last few years.  Wasn’t it Eisenhower that warned us about and against the Military-Industrial-Complex?  Yet the corporate oligarchy has distracted us with the shiny toys of “individualism & consumerism”, and the political right has divided the electorate with “faux political issues” all as the oligarchy and the politicians are reaping more and more monetary rewards at the expense of we the people!! 

The neocons have distracted us by the specter of peoples “fear of another attack”, even as the continued lies of those “weapons of mass deception” continue!  When will Americans realize that it really was all about the OIL!!  With all of the money spent on “the military” (read: Defense Contractors), and “war” this nation could have fully funded single payer health-care, a massive investment in our future via public education, and true public transportation (including light-rail)!  Maybe it is not too late for all Americans to unite and work together to both take back our nation and put the oligarchy out to pasture where they belong!!

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By samosamo, June 15, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Another thought, quite possibly these wall street terrorists and their over generous feeders, our government, are printing and scooping up every last dollar and are quickly buying all those much stronger currencies to keep them ‘in the money’.

I am not sure how such a scenario really works but I would definitely bet that anyone in the top .01% or top 2% of the wealth are making arrangements to minimize their losses however it be done.

And the end result, america may just have to nuke its own country to quell the uprisings.

Whatever, I am definitely for any country that can or will force our financial terrorists to adhere to sound fiscal responsibility and confound even obama by going after and prosecuting and punishing those that created this grand larceny which is truly a MOST disappointing attribute(or lack there of) of obama, our first black president whom I would have thought was better than what he has by action, shown.

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By dr wu, June 15, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

I thought it was just Bush—the guy with a reverse Midas touch—everything he touched turned to shit—with his three failed businesses, Iraq, Katrina. Now Obama,—with his empire of bases, his battle carrier groups that patrol the 7 seas, the nuclear subs that are impregnable to a first strike nuclear attack, the trillion dollar a year military machine—Obama inherits his predecessor’s wants (empire) and his means (attack anyone who stands in our way).

Bush and Obama agree? Why yes, they both work for the Wall Street/Pentagon complex. Our oligarchs and their enforcers, though, are short on money and their smoke and mirrors economy is not working. So like other once powerful empires (England, Spain, the Dutch) we recede.

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By mfva, June 15, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
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the problem is far from just US imperial overstretch. The western industrial civilization in its present form is not suitable for 6 Billion people. It needs radically retooled, if such retooling is indeed possible. Chris hedges is right, that the criminal wall street class basically ruined the US. He may, or may not, be right, that China/Russia/Brazil/... axis can replace the US. Particularly China has embarked on fundamentally unsustainable development path. I will make a prediction that, in five years time, China will be the most loathed nation on earth. She will have a choice between pillaging the rest of the world to get resources, or suffering a social convulsion due to its own dispossessed masses, who can not be lifted out of poverty without some new approach to development. Perhaps the most poignant symbol here is a chinese company acquiring Hummer. Hummers for the people? And oil for them will come from?

The real issue is whether we end up with global war over resources, or whether the civilization can still innovate its way out of overpopulation. This is a dynamically unstable situation, and it is dangerous to make linear trend extrapolations (US down, everyone else, supposedly wiser, up). Economic globalization is collapsing. The world may be splitting into hostile trading blocks. We may see a retreat from universal currency convertibility, effectively back to international barter arrangements. In response, what we call today the western world will have to change and adapt.

The US is down story is a bit simplistic, methinks.

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By Virginia777, June 15, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment

I’m not sure about poverty being the most extreme form of violence. I think the creators of poverty use the most extreme form of violence. Poverty itself may breed violence, but as we have seen in (formerly) rich America, the greatest violence comes from the oppressors, not the oppressed.

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By johannes, June 15, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

This is where the Bilderberg group is very afraid of, their world is build on Dollars, Gold And Diamonds, and the best part of the Energie industries, plus the new gold mine, the medical industries.

Maby we are on the eve of the battle, on the treshold of great things to happen.

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By Jack Stevenson, June 15, 2009 at 9:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Presenting possibility as certainty is a disservice.

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By Fadel Abdallah, June 15, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

By thebeerdoctor, June 15 at 12:13 pm #

As Mahatma Ghandi once said: “poverty is the most extreme form of violence.”
==========================
I read your comments on this topic and concur with your views on it.

In relation to the statement of Mahatma Ghandi on poverty you quoted above, I would like to add, as a support to the dangers of poverty, that many centuries before Ghandi, Omar ibn Al-Khattab (586-590 A.D), the second Caliph of Islam
has said something similar to the Ghandi’s statement yet with different wording. He said, “If poverty was a man, I would be the first to volunteer killing him!”

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By Virginia777, June 15, 2009 at 9:42 am Link to this comment

Exactly!!

Also, lets make life hell for the MSM - via boycotts, pressure, blogs, satire, Youtube, etc.

Why are we letting ourselves be lead by the nose?

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By thebeerdoctor, June 15, 2009 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

re: Virginia777

Making a racket out of pessimism is just as crazy as making a racket out of optimism. What is actually needed at this time? A tall order to be sure. Perhaps a cultural shift where the people who actually perform the work that makes the oligarchs so wealthy are actually listened to… not only here, but in China, Russia, and India as well. Capitalism, as extolled to be a virtue amongst the corporate controllers, is nothing less than abstract human savagery of the highest order. This is the sorrowful burden which billions of people in this world must endure. As Mahatma Ghandi once said: “poverty is the most extreme form of violence.”
Strangely, when exactly did the “robbery with violence” that Joseph Conrad referred to, became not only justifiable (and sustained only by an idea, it was once said) but now has undergone a metamorphosis where it has become the actual reason for existence?
There has to be a better way. A good start would be if the United States would stop pushing the world around to suit our deluded whims.

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By shemp333, June 15, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Another great comment by Night-Gaunt.  Great discusion going on here.  I’m really enjoying this one.

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By shemp333, June 15, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

beerdoctor,
Nice work.  Great comment.  Doc Strangelove is another favorite of mine!  Cheers!  It is already happening from what I hear like you say.  I’m in Iraq right now though!  Not military though.  I’m a chef and opened several New York style pizzerias for soldiers, contractors, and yes Iraqis as well.  It’s great to see them all come together and share a great pizza!  They’re so happy to be able to get one and it makes me happy to provide them one.  I love my work!

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By Night-Gaunt, June 15, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

By WykydRed, June 15 at 4:56 am #

“Good! Frankly, I’m glad to see it. America needs a lesson and she’s about to get it.”

You do know that most if it will be paid for in blood, misery and death here by me and you,don’t you? Not the elites who planned for this from the beginning. And that military will be used to gain the resources they need and want from most any place they wish to get them. The Middle class will be gone and just a few levels of hierarchy will remain. Like the good old days (to them) pre-New Deal.

The way I see it Ardee it is a revolution, a counter one. Against the very idea of the Enlightenment and the spirit of the Bill of Rights. What they want is a theocracy more in line with the Massachucettes Bay Colony than Rhode island.

I still say that the only thing that will fall is our Republic and a new lean and mean Empire will arise to threaten the world. Their plan, as I have deduced, is that they will trash us to the end*, then build upon its ruin their new shiny empire. Already well equipped for war and resource extraction. With 913 bases, most of in other countries. They will use them aggressively to make that profit. Fund the empire with tribute or these days called a “tax payment” from the subject nations. As to whether it will ultimately work for them is problematical. It could last for 50 years or 150 years before it would fail. A long time in human terms.

* Dmity Orlov‘s 5 stages of civilization collapse: http://www.cluborlov.com/ to read about them in detail. I say that it will be at state 3 when the Dominionists will make their move to “save” us.

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By Virginia777, June 15, 2009 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

I agree with you, beer doctor, Chris Hedges apocalyptic vision, is just that. The big problem with this, is that it feeds cynicism and defeatism,

and not Action (which is what is most needed now).

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By thebeerdoctor, June 15, 2009 at 8:36 am Link to this comment

I have to commend Mr. Hedges for writing some of the best apocalyptic fiction disguised as essay ever! You got to love the doom and gloom of this thing. The boarded up shops and long lines at the Free Store… say pal, where in the hell have you been? This has been going on for years in this country, all over the place. But I guess the point of this article is to KEEP YOU IN SUSPENSE, as they use to say in an old radio show.
I also love the disconnect when it is not mentioned that the military arms racket is just as much a concern with Russia and China, even if their spending level is nowhere near our “too big to fail” defense budget. But Chris baby, those countries got a lot of hardware they would like to unload too, along with loads of funny money.
But there is one area that Mr. Hedges seems to leave out of the equation, and that is the terrorism factor. The United States is the only country that has used the bomb (yes that’s right Dimitri, THE BOMB) twice on civilian populations. Harry Truman thought a handy demonstration of “the gadget” would show Joseph Stalin what kind of cold blooded balls the U.S. really has. That is the United States’ ultimate iron fist, and everyone to this day is aware of this.
Keeping with the flavor of this scary entertainment, it would be good to remember: There is nothing more dangerous or ruthless than a wounded animal.

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By Folktruther, June 15, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

We should understand that this is a historical fall of imperialism that has occurred many times in the past to former imperialisms.  A large book by the Yale historian Paul Kennedy THE RISE ADN FALL OF THE GREAT POWERS, essentially predicted this fall in 1985.

Great world power is based on economic wealth, especially industrial production, which is necessary to support a military.  But if you put too much money into a current military, as the US has done, it decreases future investment in the economy, allowing other countries to out strip you.  In this case, notably, China.  In the last stage of imperialism, the imperialist economy becomes militarily top heavy, focusing entirely on the present rather than the future.

The reason is that the US has inherited military committments made when it was economically ia a relatively better position, ending WW2 with half the world’s industrial production.  As its world production has declined, the military burden becomes increasingly heavy.  And it has been drastically and stupidly increased even more by the Bushite military adventures.  Incredibly, this did not allow for the occupation of Iraq after the invasion, Rumsfield assuming this wasn’t necessary.

Obama has been chosen to refurbish Bushite policy with his soaring rhetoric.  Incredibly, he has expanded the Bushite wars, which now include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, i.e. the Irafpak war.  Borrowing unsustainable amounts of money to do so.  The obsvious solution is to lessen the military burden, but this is dangerous from a deomestic view.  The withdrawal of the Soviets from Afghanistan was followed by a revolution.

I don’t know what is going to happen now, except that China is replacing the US as the leading power. It is allied with Russia increasingly in some ways not disimilar to the way the US is allied with Canada.  And they both support Iran. I am beginning to suspect that Obama doesn’t have any plan for managing the US decline, and possibly no such plan is possible.  It is as Chalmers Johnso predicted in his trilogy, US militarism is defeated historically by bankruptcy.

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By MarthaA, June 15, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Jason!!,

It is not called corrupt, it’s called playing the game—- it’s all about me.

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By garth, June 15, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Hedges is right again.

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By garth, June 15, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

In Hedges’s last Truthdig piece, War Is Sin, he described the views of a sentient human being, a member of the human race.  However, in the United States, the truth is that War Is King.  We are either in one or not far from one. Now, we are in two or three depending on who’s counting and we’re itching for another.  William Kristol, a spokesman for the Neocons, said on Fox yesterday that he couldn’t rule out military intervention in Iran because of the stolen election there.  And Bebe the Yahoo told the Knesset that the Palestinians have to bend over and kiss his ass before he’ll negotiate with them to allow them to bend over and kiss his ass.
+++
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!
” The women of the United States are nothing but brood sows, having sons to be put into the army and made into fertilizer. “—Kate Richards O"Hare, 1915, feminist
+++
Hussein’s threat to move from the dollar as the reserve currency was one of supposed reasons we toppled him.  Soooo, in typical oligarchical thinking, the elites could be saying to themselves, “Why stop there.”
It was reported that the Chinese laughed at Geithner during his visit there when he said that there are a lot of good investments in the states.  Don’t you think they know that?  They also know that the US citizenry is very docile and gullible, and will roll over and be glad to have a job if the Chinese bought-up companies or pay a toll hike if the Russians owned the highways.  We are a kind and docile nation.  Just look at the reports of any Delaware Corporation.  All the companies report that they have weak to no support of unions.
It seems the Russians and the Chinese don’t want to pay for the missiles and the bases that will eventually encircle them. It’s sort of like digging ones own grave and the providing the bullets for the fatal shot. Maybe Chinese and Russians are playing that game to make the US-British Oligarchs think, “Maybe, they are crazy enough to do it.  And maybe the Chines and Russians have just made up their minds and have said, “Enough is enough.”

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By espaz, June 15, 2009 at 8:01 am Link to this comment
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goddamn, this is a bleak article. should i just hang myself in a closet now or wait till later??
  the people of america have proven themselves to be resilient in the past.  perhaps all is not lost.  my opinion is that we shore up our boarder to the south and throw our money into wind and solar. control our population growth and start manufacturing our own goods here at home.  don’t we have plenty of natural resources ?

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By Ivan hentschel, June 15, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
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Properly calculated and reported, but Chicken Little told us the sky was falling several days ago. It is time to stop yelling, “Fire, Fire!” while people crowd the exits. Time to start some discourse about new ideas to address new problems, like dismantling a failed, aging banking structure and find the correct broom to sweep out aging thinkers and money mongers like Geithner and Summers. The POTUS is clueless and someone needs to tell the emporer he has on no clothes.

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By tp, June 15, 2009 at 7:41 am Link to this comment
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Maybe the world will not be as unkind to us as we’ve been to them. I think it might be obvious to other country leaders that our general population, here in the US, has been kept in utter propped up propaganda garbage. It’s not our fault the world economy has tanked. Hugo Chevez actually gave assistance to the poor in our own country. He gave it to those who couldn’t afford gas prices when our greedy Oil companies started raising the prices because of their wild speculation and not a so called shortage. Other leaders who want to make a positive change in the world may well put it together that our greedy ruthless system has been a bad example and the general population isn’t responsible. We might consider holding the real war criminals and Banksters at Wal-Street responsible for ruining our reputation and the world economy. There are lots of petitions and protests around the country. The ordinary people of the world will not be like our ruthless dictators who are hidden behind the curtain, as in the Wizards of Oz, of the past 100 plus years.
  We the people should wake up, learn what’s been going on and choose the only side that makes moral sense if the world is going to get through this paradox. I know that we are going to experience hunger, pain and choices that aren’t very appetizing.
  We’ve got to realize who got us into this mess and spread the word. It is the banks that are too big to fail. They are the wizard. It is the same wizard that we have been fighting since the beginning of our revolution – way back before 1776.
  We have the power to create our own future. It will have to after ridding ourselves, once and for good, of this wizard. Check out this U-tube educational video on Money: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVkFb26u9g8.
  This should not end our capitalist competitive ways but it should be the beginning with more of a humanitarian angle and with regulation.
  The scary thing is that the wizard has the keys to our nuclear arsenal. He/it/the beast will kill us all without a moments thought if he/they think they will be able to hold on to their power. We can’t let that stop us from trying to take our country back. The alternative is worse than an instant bright light with a sudden impact and fall out that will exterminate most life around us. It will be a slow starvation in an agonizing life style totally foreign to our ways. We will be the third world in the future.
  But, the good news is that we can fix this. We could use the power that Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln used to pull us out of the mess we are in – the mess that the too big to fail banks got us into. We could take back the power to create money from the Banks which we gave them in 1913 when the Feds was created. Only the government should be able to create and regulate money not these private banksters. And it should as during the Civil war greenbacks were printed by the government. The Industrial Revolution followed as a results. Check out the above link on Money!
tp

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By RdV, June 15, 2009 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

But

It can’t happen here!

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By Jason!!, June 15, 2009 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Bottom line - Obama is corrupt.

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By everynobody, June 15, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, aside from heavy censure by this site’s mods, this is hardly “truthdig”. I can’t register to avoid 12 to 24 hour delays in posts and they also censure what I opine. Bollocks to them.
On an other note; the U.S. will not allow itself to slide into second place; rather it will nuke anyone who threatens it’s “position” and thus continue it’s path to perpetual war; a policy started in earnest by GWB. This ride is just beginning and G.W. Obama will be at the helm. If this makes it I’ll be amazed and if it doesn’t, you’ll never know. Fear is a strange thief, don’t let it steal from you.

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By jackpine savage, June 15, 2009 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges has a very real and valid point. However, it would be surprising to see the SCO (or anyone) actually crash the dollar.

Several nations have the ability to do that now and have had that ability for some time. Any major dollar reserve holder would only have to dump all of their dollars on the market to start a chain reaction.

The problem is that a severe collapse in the dollar would have a multitude of negative consequences for everyone. Not the least of which is that other nations can easily predict the socio-political-economic chaos that would certainly descend on America…which remains very well armed.

Yes, the days of the dollar reserve are over…no more paper for oil economy for us. But we’re in the process of ending it ourselves anyhow. The only way out of our debt is a dollar devaluation, which we’re currently doing through debt monetization anyhow.

And yes, the empire is falling. But we shouldn’t assume that the irrationality and pathology of American politics is the global norm. The other nations in question don’t want to see a collapse…at least not until they are in position to handle that collapse.

Expect a long, slow slide into “second world” status, rather than a Soviet Union like collapse.

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By truedigger3, June 15, 2009 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges wrote:
“They don’t have any choice but to recycle the money to buy U.S. government debt. The Asian countries have been financing their own military encirclement.”
_____________________________________________________

For the foreseeble future, this situation will continue because the economies of these countries are dependent on trading with the US.
China has almost 800 billion dollars in US treasury
bonds, and Russia has almost 120 billion dollars
in the same bonds.
Trying to undermine the dollar or the US economy is
like cutting their own throat with their own hands.
Most likely, that meeting in Yekaterinburg is about
how to help each other during the current economic
mess and not about how to undermine the dollar.
Yes, these are, and will continue to be, hard times in the world and US for the average folks but not for the moneyed class which will come out of this much richer and with fatter bank accounts.
Chris Hedges should concentrate on preaching and
pontification about war and torture and leave writing
about economics for people who know economics.

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By shemp333, June 15, 2009 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

I recommend a great album to listen to…
Roger Waters CD “Amused to Death”  It goes right on all this article is about.  One of my personal favorite CD’s of all time.

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By WykydRed, June 15, 2009 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

Now, can anyone say, “We will deal with America ONLY in gold payment.”

He who controls the Spice, controls everything….

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By Jim Yell, June 15, 2009 at 5:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So what you are saying is the Republicans and the Libertarians have succeeded in what they set out to do which was to destroy our democracy and our country?

Well I agree. Our founding fathers had a great mistrust of standing armies, which always devolve into agents of domestic oppression. Like a plague of locust they consume all of the treasury and nothing is left over for the people or the nation.

Thank you Cheney and Bush for having been so completely successful.

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By MarthaA, June 15, 2009 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

Hedges,

Did you just now figure this out>?

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By idarad, June 15, 2009 at 5:03 am Link to this comment

Chris hits it again, it goes back many years, but Reagan was the linchpin
Aside from the economic mess, having China, Russia and their likes controlling the natural resources will be even more environmentally devastating than the US control.  Chris has but part of the picture, the full scenario plays out worse.

  Hang on

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By ardee, June 15, 2009 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

prole, June 15 at 6:11 am

Might I interject into your someone zealous welcoming of the revolution that this is no such thing. What we are seeing is a changing of the guard, not an end to capitalist imperialism. Instead of the dollar we might see the Ruble, the Renmimbi
(yuan) or the Euro as the standard currency. What we will not see is an end to inequity, to poverty , to profit at all cost, to war for profit and death of innocents.

Meet the new boss , same as the old boss.

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By prole, June 15, 2009 at 3:11 am Link to this comment

“America will be composed of a large dispossessed underclass and a tiny empowered oligarchy that will run a ruthless and brutal system of neo-feudalism from secure compounds” - rather like the six nations that make up the Shanghai Cooperation Organization already do, today. So maybe the United States, which asked to attend, won’t be “denied admittance” much longer; they’ll fit right in too, soon. If “The United States will begin to resemble the Weimar Republic or Zimbabwe”, it’s perhaps only appropriate. Obama is endowed with the qualities of an American Mugabe. “The class war is back in business. Wall Street understands that” - and always has understood it, because it never went away in the first place. Only the pig-headed American public is too obtuse to understand that, so they’ll go on taking whatever their rulers dish out, and liking it. “Once the dollar cannot flood central banks and no one buys our treasury bonds, our empire collapses”. Three cheers! That has to be the best news since the collapse of the Third Reich. “The architects of this new global exchange realize that if they break the dollar they also break America’s military domination.” If economic profligacy can do what the Left has never been able to do, then bring it on. Lenin once wryly predicted that the capitalists would sell them the rope to hang them with. He may have the last laugh, yet. But there are actually four “categories of the balance-of-payment deficits”. “Trade… capital movement…Pentagon spending abroad” have all had considerable consequences. But the “most important balance-of-payment deficit for the past 50 years has been”  - ecological. Species loss is greater now than at any time since the Mesozoic era 65 million years ago. The biosphere is being rapidly depleted and degaded everywhere. Neither the U.S. nor Shanghai Cooperation Organization have any real answers for this other than token gestures which are turning out to be much too little, much too late. If “the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket” that would be welcome if it helped to abolish the car culture, consumerism and the wantonly wasteful American way of life. “The balance-of-payments deficit is mainly military in nature” and that’s bad enough, but the ecological crisis is nature in nature and that’s decisive. This, more than anything, has “led us into uncharted territory.”  Even $10 trillion won’t be enough to save us. “We will pay a terrible price, and we will pay this price soon”, not only “for the gross malfeasance of our power elite”, but for the larger economism of all classes and races of our ecocidal species.

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By ardee, June 15, 2009 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

A conflicted opinion frankly….

The single most radical article from Mr.Hedges in my memory, but that doesn’t make it a false opinion. I can see his points yet also see the benefit of continuing to prop up the dollar by those nations that have a huge amount of those dollars. Devaluating the dollar imperils not only America’s economy but that of other nations as well, Russia and China included.

I see the great hardships should such a step be taken but wonder if this is the only way our nation can rid itself of the corporate controls that have led us to the brink?

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By knobcreekfarmer, June 15, 2009 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

Limbaugh says we are the “entitled”... and it’s all “Obama’s fault”

Personally, I say we all did it to ourselves. It makes no matter who is in political power. Our greed and laziness are second to non. We allowed corporations to take over media, food/water/energy supplies, control of money. Hell, I can’t even legally grow my own organic wheat from my own seed. We are 21st century slaves, working for our masters.

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By WykydRed, June 15, 2009 at 1:56 am Link to this comment

Good! Frankly, I’m glad to see it. America needs a lesson and she’s about to get it. I don’t even care when the bombs begin to drop on us. I truly do not. There is nothing left to fight for in this country, and the people aren’t worth saving.

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By shemp333, June 15, 2009 at 1:49 am Link to this comment

Very informative.  Well said Chris.  Disturbing and true.  We have played this game with the bravery of being out of range,  while the ones we attack improve their sights.  Scary does not begin to describe this and I knew this was coming for years.

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