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Thursday, April 18, 2013

America: Running Out of Time

America: Running Out of Time



By (about the author)     Permalink      
OpEdNews Op Eds


Commander-in-Chief by Trutout.org

I'm going to ask you to read this with an open mind. The hardest thing to do is to take our preconceived notions and ignore them. The fact is that every one of us is steeped in preconceived notions and faulty belief systems. Writing for a progressive audience doesn't mean that the average reader is "open-minded". In fact, there are just as many progressives and liberals that tend to have as many rigidly held beliefs as our more conservative cousins.

I have a few concerns that seem to dominate my thoughts more than others. I'm going to keep these to a minimum as I could probably fill volumes if I let myself have free reign. Since I'm not writing a book here, I'll just bring out those things that I see as the most important stumbling blocks to the success of our American culture.

I've written scores of articles about our imaginary democracy and how we are manipulated into believing that we as a people have some kind of choice in what direction we should be going. The truth is that in its present structure, we the people, have very little choice in what kind of laws are introduced, at least on the Federal level. This doesn't mean that the American people are powerless; it only means that we shouldn't expect any type of quick changes that conform to the will of the majority anytime soon.

The first thing I would like to discuss is the lack of any real transparency in government. Most Americans are realizing that they are only getting a fraction of the truth from the major media outlets. This is nothing new; this situation is as old as mankind itself. Everyone has heard the old axiom "The winners write the history". This has never been truer than it is right now. Compounding this problem is this so-called "information age" that we have entered into. There is so much information hitting us from every conceivable source that it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell what is important and what is not.

One way to filter out some of the more extraneous information that we receive, is to look at trends, instead of just facts. I've heard it said that a healthy, functioning brain is incapable of making a mistake as long as it has sufficient information. I don't know if that is completely true, but consider how well we can judge what has happened in the world as compared to what we think will happen. They say hindsight is 20-20.

The media likes to believe that it reports the truth. In reality, they don't have the time or the resources to report the truth. We like to believe that at an earlier period in our history the media was more honest and forthcoming when in reality, it never was. The assassination of JFK is a good example. Most people were told that one man was behind the assassination. It wasn't until years later that alternative versions of the same event came out. The same can be said about the Vietnam War. In the beginning it was a very simplistic: "America fights Communism" scenario played out in the media. It wasn't until the late 60's when vets started speaking out and the support for the war faltered among Americans that the narrative then changed.

Yet, things have not changed. The Iraq War is a good example of American "Collective Amnesia". The pretext in the run-up to war in Iraq was that Saddam Hussein had, and was ready to use, "Weapons of Mass Destruction". These WMD's were never found, and not only that, The Downing Street Memo's and other documents were uncovered showed that beyond a reasonable shadow of a doubt, the U.S. and the United Kingdom planned for that war long before those governments started beating the war drums. Still, in America today, no charges have been brought before the courts indicting anyone for war crimes. This is one of the more important issues we still must address. The people that caused the war are still alive and they are still influencing decisions being made today. As long as we remain silent about this important miscarriage of justice, we will continue to make similar decisions in the future. It's time that Bush, Cheney and company came to terms with what they did in our name.

Today, the Senate failed to pass a bill that would have made it mandatory to conduct background checks for individuals purchasing guns from the internet and at gun shows. If the legislation had passed, and gone through the House and been signed by the President, would that have made this nation a safer place?
Well, if you have a civic minded criminal that would have allowed a merchant to submit the paperwork to the ATF instead of paying cash for his weapon from the trunk of a car or a back alley, I guess it would have. Actually, there are so many weapons floating around this nation that the impact of background checks would have been minimal.

Why the hue and cry for background checks? As much as I hate to say this, I personally don't support gun control legislation that has been proposed. It's too little, too late. I believe a much smarter approach such as the stop and frisk law on the books in NYC with mandatory jail time for the possession of an illegal firearm would be a much better move. I think that anyone buying a buying a firearm should go through a check, but I also realize that it probably wouldn't help much.

Why is the NRA in such opposition? Why do proponents of the bill think it is so valuable? This is just an exercise in the appearance of "democracy". This is just another meaningless debate to bring people around to the opinion that what they believe matters. If they really wanted to kick this debate up a notch and make a real difference in crimes committed with a firearm, they would release 1st-time offenders for non-violent crimes and start locking people up that use firearms in the commission of crimes.

Of course they won't do that. It would be much too controversial. Of course most Americans wouldn't think twice about seeing a gang-banger get locked up for a decade if someone were hurt in a robbery, but the bill wouldn't have a chance. The reason being is that this type of legislation would actually put a bite into gun sales. In fact, almost any legislation that hurts special interest groups is ignored. There is a long list of side issues that are proposed from time to time to make Americans believe that they have a choice in how this nation is run. Usually these issues come up when the government has spent too much money, either bailing out special interest groups or spending too much on war and the so-called "defense" budget, or when the administration is in trouble for doing something illegal or unconstitutional.

I don't want to offend anyone with the list I'm going to write about. I know that some of these issues are near and dear to some people's hearts. Still, they are issues that could be decided at the State or local level, or they matter to a very small minority. Yet, these issues are brought up time and time again.

Abortion, same-sex marriage, contraception, sex-education, creationism, evolution, and homosexual Boy (and Girl) Scouts along with gun control and taxes, these are hot-button issues that never get resolved and take the focus away from what the real major problems are. Some of the real problems we should be grappling with:

Military Spending (We spend almost as much as all nations combined).

Climate Change

Erosion of our Civil Liberties

Our plummeting healthcare statistic compared to the rest of the industrialized world.

Pollution of our planet

World population



At any given moment, you can turn on your television set and tune into Fox News and get more than you ever wanted to know about abortion, same-sex marriage and the assault on our second amendment rights from the likes of Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly. If their particularly biased opinions don't suit you, you can tune into MSNBC and get the opposite side of the fray from world renowned intellectuals such as Chris Matthews or that Rhodes Scholar Rachel Maddow.

Either way, they'll be talking about inane side issues that have no real ramifications on the average American citizen unless you happen to be gay and want to be included under your partners healthcare insurance or have a 15 year old daughter that has no idea of what sex is all about yet and is attending a secular school in Kansas and they want to tell her before you get around to giving her "the talk".

The truth is, there are two issues out there that the neither the government nor "The-Powers-that-Be" (TPTB) want you asking questions about. These two issues lurk in the background and color every narrative, and yet, they are not openly talked about. They are the driving force behind our political and economic system. These two issues determine the difference between a real dissident and one who has been duped into the false flag rhetoric both of the major political have woven into a tangled web.

The two prime issues that every American should care deeply about is the disparity of Wealth in America and The Two-Party System, both are interconnected and usurp democracy in any form. As long as money influences government and the people that are elected to run that government, democracy is impossible. It isn't moral obligations or personal beliefs that fuel the debates in Washington, it is the markets. Everything has a price. 

This is the prime motivation for the lightning speed in which the different law enforcement and intelligence agencies shut down the Occupy Movement. Occupy was asking the questions that TPTB didn't want answered. The Presidential election that pitted Twiddle-Dee-Dum against Twiddle-De-De couldn't have happened the way it did if there was a strong Occupy presence in the American electorate.

The miracle of modern day Socialism that emerged in Venezuela under the personage of Hugo Chavez could not have happened here in America. In America we are told that we have a choice of whom we vote for. That choice is an illusion. Here in America we have two corporately controlled political puppets for the military industrial complex and they are called Democrats and Republicans. We have other political parties here in America, but they are largely silenced by the laws and practices put in place by the two major political parties.

We are led to believe that the voices of 350 million Americans can be heard through the narrative of only two men corruptively nominated by these two political parties. We are led to believe that more than two views will make us a weaker and more divided people, that we are not capable of understanding more than two concepts of political thought. We are instilled with the belief that within the ranks of the Democrats and Republicans, the best of these will rise like cream on milk to the top and that American will wisely vote for the one that has the best qualities.

Meanwhile, many Americans openly voiced their discontent with the status quo by refusing to vote for either candidate. The major media outlets tried the best they could to substantiate the last election by pretending that there was a difference in the two candidates, but that difference was revealed to be side-show hysterics that portrayed Obama as the lessor threat to the rapidly disappearing middle-class of America.

All Americans are becoming acutely aware that a full-time job with benefits is not the "new-normal". Many citizens of the greatest economy on Earth (according to every economist) are working two part-time jobs with no benefits. Most Americans are barely paying their bills and have significantly "downsized" their lifestyles. In the meantime, the salaries of the CEO's have risen more than 370% in the last two decades.

Americans are told that Social Security is on the brink of collapse. This lie is perpetrated even though economists tell us that the system is fully solvent through 2054. Social Security payouts are labeled as "entitlements" even though Americans have been paying into the Social security fund all their working lives.
Calling Social Security payments "entitlements" makes it seem as if the system is some kind of government run welfare system. This is a deliberate ploy to get the American people to believe that because of the "kindness" of the government and its "entitlement system" to those unfortunate enough to depend on that system is undermining the financial structure of the nation and somehow adding to the "deficit problem". The more they repeat this line of thought, this faulty reasoning, the more real it becomes in the minds of Americans.

This is of course the fundamental theory of "The Big Lie". Sociologists and propagandists agree that if a lie is told over and over (especially a big lie), it eventually gets accepted by the people as the truth. After all, even the truth is just another perception of reality. Everyone's truth is different; this is what TPTB are banking on.

The real reason the government is coming for our Social Security fund is because they have nowhere else to turn to get the funding that they need to keep this whole corrupt military industrial travesty alive. They have set the stage for further military growth by replacing the Soviet Union with Muslims and they are setting the stage for conflicts that will be never-ending in Asia. The time is ripe for Americans to ask the age-old question: Cui Bono? (Who benefits?) The simple answers to that question are the military defense contractors, the bankers that finance them and the politicians that do their bidding. Indirectly, the American people also benefit slightly because of the jobs that are produced, but the amount of employment due to procurement of military hardware has decreased dramatically with the use of automated assembly lines that have replaced workers.

The last few decades have seen a steady erosion of worker's rights here in America. The global workforce has largely replaced the American worker. Workers overseas cost less and expect little in the way of benefits. This situation has largely decimated the power of labor unions in the United States. There are many politicians that have championed this state of affairs and celebrated the dismantlement of worker representation. The Democrats, once the staunch supporters of trade unions, have been active participants in their dismantlement. This is a portrait of the "democracy" that our soldiers are defending from the 800 plus military installations we have globally.

Why is it that America is constantly under attack from forces outside of our borders? The "new normal" here in America is that when one meets a serviceman or vet is we say "Thank you for your service". What I wish to know is just what they are "protecting" us from? The answer I get from the media is that we are fighting a "War on Terror". This is very disturbing. If the world is chock full of terrorists that seek to destroy us, what is it that causes them to feel this way?

Could the reason possibly be that our military, along with our intelligence agencies, have continually interfered in other nation's internal affairs? The United States has overthrown more than 50 different governments around the globe since 1945. Many Americans know this, many do not. What I would like to know is where in our Constitutions does it say that we have the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations? We helped destroy Libya and we are presently involved in military operations in Afghanistan, Yemen, Chad, Rwanda, Mali, Syria and god know where else. Meanwhile the government cries poverty and tells us that we must face austerity because our government is operating under a deficit.

The reason for this article is to expose the ridiculousness of this entire charade. It is readily apparent to anyone that has a modicum of intelligence and looks at the facts before them, that our government is hell-bent on some form of world domination. Unfortunately, the people that must bear the brunt of this, the American people, are not privy to this information. Even though the evidence is there for all to see, the American people seem to be blind to what is really going on.

We spend 39% of the planet's budget for the military. Our basic military budget is 682 Billion Dollars (That's what we admit to spending without adding additional allocations for different military expeditions like Afghanistan or funding for the 12 military defense agencies).  We currently have 10 Nimitz-Class nuclear Aircraft Carriers that cost between 4.5 Billion Dollars and 6.5 Billion Dollars. Each aircraft carrier comes with a carrier group. A typical Strike Group may include, in addition to an aircraft carrier: up to six surface combatants, including frigates, guided missile cruisers and guided missile destroyers (used primarily for anti-aircraft warfare and anti-submarine warfare); one or two attack submarines (for seeking out and destroying hostile surface ships and submarines); and an ammunition, oiler, and supply ship of Military Sealift Command to provide logistical support.

I could go on, but I believe that I have provided a snapshot of what the real problem is. I will go on to say this; this nation has been on a constant war footing since the beginning of the Second World War and this state of affairs continues to this day. War is now America's largest business. The President is better known as The Commander in Chief, not the Chief Executive. The two political parties in the United States are owned, lock, stock and barrel by the people that control the military industrial complex. Our elections are not free and fair, they are won by the highest bidder. We have no democracy in the real sense of the word. The sad truth is that most Americans know this and accept this sad state of affairs.

We have the capability to change the direction of this nation. We have the knowledge of what went wrong since the end of World War II and we have the capability to compete with the other nations of the World by other means than war. We have an infrastructure that can be developed to manufacture goods that will add to the global economy instead of manufacturing weapons that can destroy it. We have proven that the United States is the most powerful nation on Earth. It's time to get over it.

This preoccupation with ruling the World is something that being done on the backs of the average American citizen. We are seeing the gradual destruction of the American Middle Class. We are rapidly approaching the point when there will be but two classes of people in America, the rich and the poor. Somehow, and in some way, there exits in our constitution a way to take special interest money out of the American electoral process, it's called a Constitutional Amendment. This is a drastic measure, but these are drastic times. The American people have a choice, they can see the Middle-Class completely destroyed while the nation continues to find excuses to maintain a war economy that benefits the wealthiest amongst us, or it can use the power of the people to lawfully change the direction in which we are heading. The choice is ours to make, but time is rapidly running out.


Former Chairman of the Liberal Party of America, Tim is a retired Army Sergeant. He currently lives in South Carolina. A regular contributor to OpEdNews, he is the author of Kimchee Days or Stoned Cold Warriors. Tim's political book, "From (more...)

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