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The Party’s Over

The Party’s Over

The September 11th, 2001 attack against the World Trade Center was an attack against our economy. The attack on the Pentagon was a challenge to America to respond with all her military might. Humiliated and enraged America took the bait. We collectively swallowed the poison pill of war and activated our military machine. We engaged al-Queda in a battle in the mountains of Afghanistan and in urban guerilla warfare of Iraq. We pulled out the stops of our military only to be bogged down in a twenty first century quagmire against a foe that used caves for shelter. Ironically, the greatest and most technologically advanced war machine the world has ever seen was being handed a generous slice of humble pie by a bunch of cavemen.

A couple of decades ago the Soviet Union was in a similar conflict with these same cavemen. The Soviet Union used their military against this elusive foe to the point of national economic ruin. Eventually, the Soviet Union had to submit to a humiliating withdrawal for its incursion into Afghanistan. The Afghanis, trained, funded, and supplied by the United States, were able to declare victory. The Soviet Union spent their next years trying to rebuild their shattered economy. We remember watching the images of the long lines and empty store shelves as people did what they could to survive some seriously hard times. The empire of the Soviet Union was devastated. Their attempt to rebuild their communistic economy in the mold of capitalism had created a chasm of disparity between the people who have and the people who have not which continue to date. Although more billionaires are being made everyday, Russia is suffering with some serious disparity.

But one thing Russia had in its favor is an abundance of natural resources. Russia was one of the world’s largest oil reserves, natural gas reserves, and coal reserves. And with the price of oil now topping well over a hundred dollars a barrel Russia is sitting very pretty these days. Russia has dialed back the investment on its military machine and is now able to invest money back into its long neglected infrastructure. The Russian government stared into the abyss of financial ruin and has bounced back in a better position than ever.

The administration of the United States learned nothing from this Russian example. With the arrogance of superpower status our enthusiasm to pick up Russia’s failed war was voracious. Our technology is greater and our will is stronger. The United States Army ditched the old slogan promoting the idea that civilians can be all that they can be and boasted a new slogan of joining an army of one. Watch out axis of evil because America is coming! No one on the planet has the ability to escape our wrath. You’re either with us or against us. Bring ‘em on! Bad guys have until sundown to get out of town. Weapons of mass destruction are evil and no one has more weapons of mass destruction than the United States. America will destroy anybody who defies the United Nations as we defy the United Nations and attack other countries with preemptive strikes with weapons of mass destruction.

Like a script from the book The Russian Guide to Losing Wars and Destroying National Economies In the Process we engaged in Afghanistan. And our arrogance was so huge we attacked Iraq at the same time. Five years and well on our way to a trillion dollars later in direct cost we find our economy in shambles. The dollar is plummeting in value against other currencies. And unlike Russia’s ruble, the dollar is supposed to be the economic standard of the world. Oil is traded in dollars. And as the dollar plummets the economies of the world are dragged down as well. Other nations have to support the dollar in order to keep their economies from collapsing. And as time goes on it is getting harder and harder for these other countries to support an economy that insist on concentrating the vast majority of wealth into a smaller and smaller pool of people. Something like ninety percent of America’s wealth is held by one percent of the population. With this type of financial malfeasance, the only way the average American can buy a television is to go into debt. We borrow money to support our lifestyle from other countries. Credit is the substitute for a descent wage. This arrangement cannot continue into perpetuity.

Economies around the world will abandon the United States dollar and will start trading oil in Euros. One country will start and the others will follow. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business. Without the exclusive trade of oil as a means to keep people interested in dollars the currency could drop even faster and lower. These days of recession and inflation will be a thing of the past. We will look fondly on this time as the good old days.

The Unites States was able to come out of the Great Depression largely because of our ability to sell our manufactured goods overseas. Germany was just beginning its invasion of the rest of Europe and this country was selling supplies to England as well as Nazi Germany and just about anybody else who wanted to buy our goods. The following world war was good for the American economy. Manufacturers were building weaponry on a scale the world has never seen. Tanks were rolling off the assembly line faster than they could be destroyed. Ships were leaving the docks faster than they could be sunk by U-boats.

But these days, our economy is no longer based on manufacturing. It’s cheaper for our manufacturers to pay Indonesia or some other nation to manufacture everything the global economy needs. Our economy is no longer based on the service industry. It’s now cheaper for corporate conglomerates to export call centers and information technology jobs overseas to nations like India. Our economy is now based on consumption fueled by credit. It will be a long time before our economy can change its current status.

A few weeks ago it was reported that the United States economy lost almost five hundred thousand jobs in the month of February. Every month we hear about the evaporation of tens of thousands of jobs. But the good news was that the American economy has become weak enough where the cost of manufacturing products here is cheap enough to compete with third world countries in some areas. BMW announced that it will add two hundred jobs to its assembly plant here in South Carolina. Now all we need is just another five hundred thousand or so jobs to make up for what was lost so far this year. Hopefully, but not very realistically, our economy won’t lose any more jobs.

Just like in the depression we will have thousands of people trying to apply for a handful of jobs. The corporate conglomerates that exported jobs overseas will simply focus their attention to these other nations until it becomes more economical to bring those jobs back here to the states. And unlike the Russian example we don’t have natural gas or oil reserves to tap into to rebuild our economy. And even if we did make the choice to open up Alaska to the oil companies, the money that would come from selling this oil is more likely to go into the coffers of big oil the individual pockets of politicians instead of going into the public economy. The public will stand in long food lines waiting for our economy to recover while the top one percent will continue to get even richer during America’s depression.

If we allow everything to run its course, eventually the United States will be able to stabilize its currency. But instead of being on parity with the Euro or even the Canadian dollar we will probably be more on par with the Mexican peso or the Japanese yen. The United States is in danger of fading away as an economic superpower. It happens to the best of nations. No one can be on top forever. And our way of life will adapt. It is not doom and gloom. It is change. It can actually become a good thing for the United States to get its economic house in order. And as long as we faced it together as a nation of people we would do fine. We could stop worrying about the next American Idol or the America’s Next Top Model or whatever entertainment whims that adds zilch to our lives but are able to hold our collective attention. America could probably get back to working to live instead of living to work. We could actually learn to live as a collective for the first time in a long time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - Posted by | Capitalism, Life, Thoughts


  1. great thoughts great wisdom love it…BUT…your superiors have other plans…want an example my friend?…go read a memorandum published just one month prior to 9/11 and centering on america`s return to… domination;autors among others jeff bush george w.bush dick cheney donald rumsfeld paul wolfovitz and …well you know…basically the entire neo-con america…a.k.a. the people who run your beautiful country with all its wonderfully naive people…i would very much appreciate to hear from you…and of course 9/11 was an inside job…think about it

    Comment by dornenvogel0410 | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback dornenvogel0410,

    But the abyss of public deceit goes far deeper than anyone looking in from the outside can see. Although most people have an aversion to doing so, when the events leading up to the unfortunate events of September 11, 2001 are compared to events in Germany that led to the rise of the Nazi Party, things are eerily similar. A catastrophic attack leads people to believe that the only way they can protect their freedoms is to willingly surrender all their freedoms to the government. The governments start launching preemptive strikes against other countries. People being rounded up and going off to military camps that condone torture and using medical personnel to extract information. And even the patriotism that borders on fanaticism are similar. The swastika became synonymous with Nazi Germany because if you were not seen with one your patriotism was suspect. Eerily similar!


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

  3. The motto of capitalism is the few rise and the majority sinks to the bottom. And unfortunately I have NO hopes or thoughts that America will learn to live as a collective as that goes against everything that capitalists believes in. So all that will happen is the bottom will start to turn on each other even more than they do right now.

    People in this country are in denial thinking that we have endless capabilities to continue these wars and continue our endless gluttony through the use of credit. We are charging our way into a depression. Yet, this is exactly what the government wants an uneducated or at leas a complacent people. So that it is easier to dupe the fools into continuing their folly all the while thinking they have some sort of real wealth. When the proverbial boo boo hits the fan everyone will be sprayed. With exception to that 1% who have floated to the top of the barrel.

    Thanks, great post.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

  4. Wow, this is a deep and wide ranging yet very intertwined post. So today I will address the military side of it, as I am more adept with military issues than any of the other. I am a former member of the United States Army, and have studied over 2000 years worth of military combat, strategies for well over half of my short life.
    We’ll address Iraq first. The argument for WMD obviously flawed, however Saddam, if he was to be taken out of power, should have happened immediately following Gulf War I. There would have been more multilateral support (not that this is a necessity), but would have left less issues with possible power vaccuums created, lesser costs of waging such a war, even with a greater scope of power to be wielded. We spend way too much money contracting out jobs that used to be done by military personnel, now at exhorbitant costs to the taxpayers as well as to soldiers themselves for everyday activities such as water purification, laundry and food service. While I’m not much on spending more and more public dollars, I am damn sure we should have kept those particular dollars in the public realm (i.e. the military) instead of funneling them to few selective private organizations.
    As for Afghanistan, we should’ve initially, after helping the mujihadeen (sp?) defeat the Soviets, we should’ve helped them with reconstruction in the form of schools, infrastructure, etc. That being said, and we go in again in 2001, we should’ve committed our resources there. The problem with our operations within Afghanistan were not our forces themselves, so much as our politics guiding it all. Tactically speaking, the Russians had supply chains and the ability to bring much higher numbers to bear on the Afghans that we couldn’t, however our forces, head to head with the Russians, would win a no holds barred engagement everyday of the year. When you allow politicians who have no actual combat experience calling the shots, over the heads of combat tested commanders and strategies, it makes the job much harder to do. Effectively we took Afghanistan in a joint task with the Northern Alliance (anti-Taliban deposed afghan forces) as we should have in “field of play” tactics, but failed to meet other goals of eliminating leadership, including the seemingly “elusive” bin Laden (who ironically should’ve been out of play as far back as the late 90s, but that’s a whole different discussion). We should’ve gone in with greater numbers to begin with (although with the right units, we could’ve gone in with half of what we did and accomplished as much if not more), and kept our focus solely on the Afghan/bin Laden mission through completion, which could have been taken care of within a matter of 2 years maximum, IF the military officers and soldiers were allowed to do their job as trained. Unfortunately, it seems that politicians after granting and/or being granted war powers, seem to think they know something about and should be in total control of these situations. Troop reductions in a a relatively peaceful Europe, would have very easily allowed us to maximize troop usage through theater redeployment without actual depletion of existing forces, regardless of the Iraq front opening up. Again, another politically and two-way economically motivated decision that prevented this.

    As for the economy in general, limited opening up of natural resources within the U.S. coupled with mandatory alternative energy initiatives, closing of loopholes in tax code for overseas based U.S. companies could encourage return of manufacturing and other service industry sector jobs back home, increasing jobs, tax bases, et al.
    To the Black Sentinel: I love your blog and respect your opinions, but if you believe collectivism as a form of government will ever work better than capitalism, I think you’re swallowing somebody’s way too old KoolAid. In all known collective societies, approximately 90% of the wealth was controlled by the upper 1/10th of 1 percent, while the rest of society was equally poor, with fewer rights and benefits than we have now. Clearly we need to make some changes, but the greed pervades the collective society’s rulers just as bad as it does capitalism’s.
    Anyways, thanks for letting me comment, and I hope to hear back from you on what I’ve written here today.

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

  5. Mike,

    I did not discuss collectivism. And most of us know that a collectivism society where 90% of the wealth is owned by 1/10th of 1% is NOT a collectivist society. To see any REAL collectivist society you might need to go deep into the jungles of the amazon rainforest or deep into the jungles of Africa or somewhere that supposed civilization has NOT touched. There you will find people who work for the common good of the people. Meaning they don’t bother themselves with money or wealth since it is counterproductive to a society working as one. They usually just eat what is hunted and gathered. No one lives in a mansion sized hut they all live in collective huts which are the same. And that goes for whoever leads the tribe.

    You are probably focusing on supposed collective societies that tried their hand at it AFTER having already been tainted by capitalism. Therefore they are already in the mindset of I and ME having more than anyone else.

    I think that you like a lot of people overstate what they THINK we have as freedoms. We are by far NOT the freest nor most benefit having society. We don’t have near the benefits nor freedoms of say Norway or Sweden but we THINK we do. Also, capitalism is by design a means for greed to reign supreme. TRUE collectivism is not. So if capitalism is NOT based on true greed then what is it based on? Because it is NOT based on the majority of the people having a fair share. It is based around the few who can profit from the rest. People are so bamboozled that they don’t realize we are living with rich and poor. If you look at our society you have those that are living very well. You have those that believe they are living very well yet are doing it off of credit and are just a paycheck or two away from the gutter. And we have those who know full well they are in the gutter and can’t even use credit to pretend they aren’t.

    So unfortunately the only KoolAid drinkers are those who are using Visa, Master Card and American Express as a way to support a lifestyle they don’t have the cash to achieve. And as we see this is starting to crumble and soon enough these fools will be in the gutter with their brethren and we can truly live as the landowners and peasants we are becoming.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

  6. “And unfortunately I have NO hopes or thoughts that America will learn to live as a collective as that goes against everything that capitalists believes in.”
    comment by theblacksentinel

    This is what I read, maybe I read more into it than was there. If so I apologize.

    “You are probably focusing on supposed collective societies that tried their hand at it AFTER having already been tainted by capitalism.”

    Or Czarism…

    Most of your follow up I can agree with. Although the premise behind capitalism itself, you and I disagree on. I believe, and this is merely my opinion, is that capitalism is designed to encourage development for the greater good of all. Greed is definitely a motivator, I’ll grant you that. Want and desire is a softer, gentler form of greed no matter the subject matter. Just as you desire TRUE equality for blacks amongst the dominant society, as any rational and caring person would (Lord knows we need more people who think along these lines), one could surmise that you are greedy for fair play- in this case the term ‘greed’ is not a pejorative.
    I see capitalism as the economic vehicle in which everyone can get everything they want in their hearts and minds. That there isn’t just one pie to get your slice of, but that one can make his own proverbial pie.
    Now, the problem with capitalism, which is the same problem in modern ‘civilized’ communism, socialism, what have you, is the human element, which unfortunatley tends to take pure idealist forms and corrupt them. Afterall, money itself is ammoral, and just a tool for trade essentially. Instead of gaining plenty of this money and using it for greater purposes, many willingly grab as much of it from everyone else, specifically to keep others from having it. This is absolutely wrong in my mind.
    I particularly like collectivism in its truest form, as it can still be a driving force that advances all around you, as you mentioned the untouched societies deep in the rainforest and such. Everyone works together, so that everyone benefits. Government intervention to force the redistribution of wealth, while well intentioned, I find equally offensive as the collective few that refuse to help without direct economic benefit (ie- those who donate to charity strictly because they can get a tax write off) rather than being giving out of the goodness of their hearts. I find that this forced issue, in taking on these selfish ones, also punishes those of us who willingly give to those around us, as well as other charities that help those afar, by giving us less to work with to start, all so the government can take that money and put it towards a few noble ideas, and a lot towards empty pet projects of politicians (i.e. the Robert C Byrd Memorial [name your project] or the ‘bridge to nowhere’).
    I see some of it having come about after the church failed in its responsibility to care for the poor, and the government had to intervene. And over time that government has become far too large and overly intrusive to be as effective in advancing its people, or allowing them to advance themselves.
    I myself, abhor credit and everything it stands for. And while I have no problem with people wanting some excesses, I think the first responsibility of the individual should be towards helping others before going after these excesses like fancy cars and big mansions or whatever tickles one’s fancy.
    Personally- I’m still trying to figure out my own financial plans to put together a contingency scholarship fund for poor and minority students that requires no credit backing and no interest on any loans. Still trying to work past the raw deals and sort the red tape that comes with starting anything like this. Would like to run the basics past you at some point, to get your thoughts on it, if you’d email me at my address:

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

  7. Mike,

    I like you take on those refusing to help without some incentive and yes that is a big problem. Now what I see with capitalism is that everyone can’t get everything they desire. Simply because in order to “make” it so to speak in a capitalist society you have to get your wealth off of the backs of those around you. Do you really think that we as a society can survive each and every one of us taking each others money? None of us will get ahead we will be giving as much as we are taking and end up with nothing more. So with this system you have to have those who are putting in without getting much out. Those people are the poor and the takers are the rich.

    I couldn’t just come out with a car that makes the oil companies obsolete which would be me trying to make my own pie or get a slice or whatever. The oil companies would surely find a way to make sure that my product never came to market. Which has been done and is documented. This is because most things done in the name of getting a slice of the capitalistic pie are rarely done for the good of anyone but the person or people who stand to make the most amount of money.

    So personally I agree with you that the collectivism (true) is a great deal that none of us could partake in because we are now tainted. But I guess when capitalism works for someone it really works for them. But unfortunately it doesn’t work for the majority. Also, your scholarship fund sounds interesting I would like to hear the details as well.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | Reply

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