I’ve had an article in draft for some time — “The 16 Deadlines Facing America” — that details each deadline, describes the dangers, and states why each faces an end-point rather than just a periodic fluctuation. (Example of periodic fluctuation: The price of GM stock goes up and down — sometimes the number is good, sometimes bad — but GM stock continues to be traded on the market. Example of an end-point: The market price of tradable tulip bulbs goes up to impossible heights, then crashes so badly that the interest in trading them completely disappears. The market for tradable tulip bulbs is dead forever.)
I’ve identified 16 of these game-over situations facing America today, situations from which there is the possibility of no recovery — not the certainty, but the possibility. As I was working on that article though, looking especially what it would take to reverse each trend, I realized it’s really only one story writ 16 times on 16 separate canvasses.
That story? The song of the predator class, the rich and the rest — “All your money are belong to us.”
It’s the story, in other words, of worldwide billionaires and the one thing they’re doing — monomaniacly making money while telling each other tales of their Randian goodness.
America’s 16 deadlines
As I said, I see 16 individual, though interlinked, processes in the country today that have potential game-over, irreversible end-points. You may think there are more, or you may think some could be merged, but I think that’s tweakage, “in the noise,” not a useful distinction. For our purposes, this list is good enough.
Here they are, numbered in no particular order, but grouped:
1. Accelerating transfer of wealth to the .001% (“the billionaires”)
2. Accelerating transfer of manufacturing out of the country
3. Marginalization or destruction of effective labor unions
4. Destruction of the middle class (i.e., the consumer class)
5. Capture of government by billionaires of both parties
6. Capture of the Republican Party by anti-Constitutional billionaires via Tea Party-financed candidates
7. Constitutional changes, including changes in practice to rule of law and an ever-widening circle of elites with immunity from prosecution
8. Creation via trade agreements of a transnational state that enshrines corporate sovereignty
9. Permanent war and a permanently expanding military
10. Permanently expanding national security state, including militarization of police, widespread spying and punishment for political crimes
11. The ticking time bomb of increasing numbers of returning untreated war-damaged battle-trained veterans
12. Oil dependence without recognition of oil as a soon-to-be-depleted energy source
13. Deterioration of the environment, largely due to oil and carbon dependence, among other causes
14. Destruction of the integrity of our food supply
15. Destruction of public education
16. Climate catastrophe and the collapse of human populations and level of civilization
Every one of these has the potential to run to a destructive and permanent end-point.
I don’t want to discuss them at length here — that article is still in draft. I just want to present the list for your consideration. A few will be discussed below, but only for illustration. My bottom line, and the surprise discovery, is that every single one is driven by one common cause — internationalist billionaires.
What is a corporation?
Before we go on though, a brief reminder about the nature of corporations. As I wrote earlier:
Corporations are not people, and they don’t have ideas or will. They are empty vessels. … Modern corporations serve one function only — to make the CEO class obscenely rich, even at the expense (that’s a Bain link) of the corporation itself (yes you, Carly Fiorina). …
Don’t think of a corporation as acting. Think of its CEO as acting through the corporation. Thanks to the Reagan Era tax system — and the tax system of every era since, Democratic and Republican — it’s more profitable for a CEO to loot his or her corp than to plow the corporation’s money back into it, as used to occur.
Again, modern corporations serve one function only — to make the CEO class obscenely rich. Everything a corporation does, its billionaire owners, acting through millionaire top-managers, cause it to do. Every time you see a corporation, you should see its owners, the billionaires running and feeding from it.
What are our deadlines with respect to food?
As an example of the process of deterioration to an end-point, consider “Destruction of the integrity of our food supply” — number 14 on my list. This process has been going on since the 1950s, if not earlier, and has entered a new phase with the increasing use by Monsanto and others of genetically modified organic organisms (GMOs; so-called “frankenfoods”) as a cheap and patentable (thus wholly ownable and “dollarable”) replacement for traditional foods.
This process has been mainly one-directional, has recently accelerated, and has an end — at some point, people in the least wealthy 80% of this country won’t be able to get food that sustains their health. We already face an obesity epidemic, one cause of which is likely the change-over from natural starches and sugars to cheaper “modified corn starch” in its various forms (cheaper means more profit). Unless this reverses, eventually people will start dying at a younger age than their parents. If you don’t believe me, watch what walks around at the airport sometime; these people are suffering, yet many are making decent money.
The rich and the rest — only the rich and the smart well-off will eat well. Without disposable income, the rest will eat crap.
And that’s just two of our food-related problems, obesity and the replacement of real food with manufactured “food.” An associated food problem is the spread of GMOs-as-food around the world. If this isn’t stopped, eventually the GMO food — grains, for example — will drive traditional foods out of most fields forever. It doesn’t take much thought to come up with other, similar problems with the food supply, all accelerating in the wrong direction. A longer food article could easily list them.
Why is the destructive process not being reversed? In the case of the two problems mentioned above, there’s just one cause. The cash-flow of Monsanto (a corporation controlled by a small group of billionaires, remember) is backed-stopped by the U.S. government and both political parties. The cash-flow of all Big Agriculture companies — Archer Daniels Midland, for example, which produces much of our corn — is backed-stopped by the U.S. government and both political parties. The U.S. government and both political parties are owned and their operations directed by billionaires.
The government would have to interrupt the flow of money into the hands of Monsanto and Big Ag billionaires — and their millionaire associates and friends — in order to begin to reverse this process.
Said more simply, unless billionaire profits are interrupted, this process will accelerate toward the end-point — degradation of food to worse-than-worthless “food” for a vast majority of the population, and its attendant longevity consequences.
Can the process be stopped? Of course. But billionaires are the sticking point.
What about public education?
Number 15 on the list is “Destruction of public education.” Does that really have an end-point? If so, what does it look like? Extrapolate the charter-school / “for-profit school funded with public money” process — which is, again, both uni-directional and accelerating — to its end-point and you get a two-tiered school system with a sloppy middle. One tier is an aging, decrepit, under-funded, useless-for-education factory-school system for the middle and lower classes (most of the country). The other tier has bright shiny (private) charter schools for the billionaires and their millionaire administrators and friends.
A good example of this bifurcation is the charter school that Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel sends his children to, in which music and the arts are taught, which he supports at the same time he’s destroying public school funding for the poor and middle class of his own city.
The rich and the rest; one system for the wealthy and another for the rest of us. The wealthy private-school owners receive funding from the government — via vouchers and other payments — and book for themselves the profits of the successful schools they create. Because of the prices charged for these schools, the vouchers that parents receive won’t be enough, so better incomes are needed to afford the better schools.
At the same time, the lower income parents (most of the rest of the country) will either use their vouchers for the fly-by-night or less-good charter schools or they’ll have to send their children to increasingly useless public schools. Public schools will not disappear, except as a means of education. Only the poor will eventually use them, and they will become more like jails and youth rehab camps than actual schools. They will operate on a fraction of the money they have now. And the teaching profession, stripped of union rights and incomes, will be gutted of anyone but the desperate.
In between those two permanent systems, in what I called the “sloppy middle,” will be a changing list of middling private charter schools, some of which will be decent, many of which will be run as profit opportunities and abandoned, for that portion of the country with vouchers who live in okay neighborhoods and have just enough extra income to pay a little extra for education.
But government money dedicated to public education, if it continues to shrink, will create the two-tiered system described above.
What will anyone who wants to reverse this process be forced to tackle? The billionaire-financed and millionaire-marketed (looking at you, mass media) draining of money from government (because “All your money are belong to us”) — combined with an expanding push to convert public education for the many into private revenue streams for the few. This means that privatization must be reversed (it’s now expanding) AND that government must be refunded, not looted.
In other words, unless billionaire profits are interrupted, this process will accelerate toward the end-point — public “schools” that aren’t schools for the masses; private schools that are schools for the few; and a floating, changing middle selection of variable quality for the rest.
Can the process be stopped? Of course. But billionaires are the sticking point.
It’s the same throughout the list
Now look at the list again. All of the items have solutions blocked by billionaires in their mad rush for more. Climate catastrophe is an obvious one, and I discussed it here. The billionaires are the roadblock.
But how about veterans, the increasing flow of war-damaged PTSD individuals — all with armament training, all with standard military desensitization to killing (that’s what basic military training is all about, folks, making people willing to kill) — who wander our cities and towns untreated and unhelped? We have to refund the VA and cut back our warfare to reverse this trend. Billionaires are blocking both parts of that solution.
Can you find a problem on that list of destructive processes that isn’t blocked by billionaires? I can’t.
Amazing world we live in, isn’t it? At least we know one thing; if we don’t solve our “billionaire problem,” we won’t solve anything.
But there’s another important aspect to this line of reasoning. Let’s mentally allow all of the processes to run to completion (a horrible idea, but this is a thought experiment, nothing more). Not all of the deadlines are timed to the same rhythm, the same clock. Some will hit sooner than others.
Now scan that list again. Which one do you think will hit first, making make all the others moot? Can you spot it?Thought so. That’s why I’ve been working on it so much, and why I’ll return to it full-time very shortly. If we break the power of the billionaires there, or anywhere, we break it everywhere.