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On January 15th, at Kane Hall, on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle, former L.A. cop and self-described 9/11 investigator Mike Ruppert told a standing-room only crowd the obvious:
"[Ruppert] believes that no sanctions, indictments or criminal prosecution [against the Bush warmongers] will ever be handed down. Rubicon [Ruppert's book], he says, remains a base map of the decades before and the years since 9/11. But now he says we must look at the herd of elephants charging at us, instead of the one elephant that just ran us over," Ken Levine summarizes on Ruppert’s From the Wilderness website.
Of course Bush and Crew will never face indictment or criminal prosecution, at least not under current conditions. That’s not how it works. Evidence of this abounds: Henry Kissinger, one of the most notorious war criminals of recent history, walks around a free man, as does Bill Clinton, responsible for invading the former Yugoslavia, imposing murderous sanctions on Iraq—killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, mostly kids—and blowing up a pharmaceutical factory in the Sudan (el-Shifa), an especially vile war crime that resulted in massive suffering a death. Bush Senior is responsible for deliberately bombing Iraq’s water purification system, an act of premeditated savagery resulting in untold disease and death, and yet he walks around a free man too. Instead of war criminals, these guys are considered "elder statesmen," the substance of best selling books and CNN and Fox News interviews. Millions of Americans revere them.
Dispensing more dubious information, Ruppert told the crowd to put their money, "or whatever cash we have left, into precious metals; that we must rid ourselves of debt, get out of the stock market and begin to think about a more self-sufficient living style. We must reduce personal consumption."
Said just like a wealthy Libertarian.
It was obviously an evening tailored for the middle class, the sort of people who have enough money to buy Ruppert’s book and apparently have problems with "personal consumption," that is to say buying things they don’t need with credit cards. Precious metals aside, millions of Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to pay for shelter and food. Millions of Americans, living hand-to-mouth on Walmart wages, have absolutely no money to put into gold or silver and thus feed themselves after "a tremendous devaluation of the dollar" hits, as predicted by Ruppert and more than a few economists.
For instance, as an unemployed web designer and photographer, I have no money for gold ingots or silver coins. I have lived a more or less Spartan lifestyle for years and do not rush out to the mall to buy the latest consumerist thingamajig as advertised on television (in fact, I don’t watch television). I do not own a home–sorry, no mortgages for the unemployed–and own a car only because I have little other choice in this society as presently arranged (unless I want to walk five or ten or however many miles every day to a job I can’t seem to find, thanks to Bush’s war economy). Mike offers no solution for people like me, living precariously near the economic periphery. As Mike apparently sees it, I am cosigned to a fate of pushing a wheelbarrow down Main Street, piled with useless greenbacks to buy a loaf of bread, like German paupers of yore.
But enough about me.
For many Americans–an increasing number of Americans–Mike Ruppert offers nothing except scary predictions of "peak oil" and a weak palliative while hawking his latest book and "treating" his audience to "some very important and poignant ‘new releases,’" likely soon available to Ruppert fans who have credit cards and can afford to shell out the bucks for additional "personal consumption," be it Ruppert’s book or Nintendo Gamecube Platinum. Instead of urging political action, he tells Americans to invest in gold, sounding oddly like an investment banker or somebody from the gold industry. Ruppert may call Dick Cheney "a murderer," again stating the obvious, but offers no concrete solution for getting rid of such multiple and repeat felons beyond slimming down the consumption habits of middle class Americans in preparation for the Grapes of Wrath, the sequel. If he did offer other political alternatives, they were not mentioned in the article penned by Mike’s agent, Ken Levine. But then, I suppose, to get the whole story we have to buy Mike’s book.
Finally, until Americans wake up from their corporate media induced somnolence–taking the utterances of right-wingers at Fox News as the gospel truth–many of them will not only support Bush’s up-coming invasions and occupations of Iran and Syria (or at least his "shock and awe" bombardment of these countries), but they will blissfully continue to drive gas-guzzling SUVs and consume useless consumer junk right up to the moment the economy crashes, as Ruppert correctly predicts.
Unfortunately, precious few of them will have stockpiles of gold and silver, presumably stuffed in their mattresses, metal we are to assume they will use to barter for food and shelter. If the impending collapse of the U.S. economy–precipitated by a falling dollar and deficits run up by Bush’s war machine and the unconscionable greed and squander of rich people and multinational corporations–translates into anything positive, it will be massive and unrelenting activism on the part of average Americans, same as the last time the economy tanked and people were pitched into misery and suffering. For as Howard Zinn notes, during the so-called Great Depression social activism reached a fever pitch, threatening government and the ruling elite, although this is not a story you will read in corporate published school textbooks.
Of course, in order to save predatory capitalism and stave off serious reform, if not the trashing of the entire system, Roosevelt hurriedly passed a few amelioratory laws–including Social Security, now under attack–and, more importantly, embroiled America in the largest and most destructive war in modern history, effectively channeling anger directed against a parasitical system in another direction, namely against foreign enemies who were, as the Bush family history attests, supported and financed by the very people responsible for the Great Depression.
Instead of urging a few hundred middle class people to buy gold and stop frivolous consumption, Mike Ruppert should tell them to prepare for the struggle ahead–a social revolution that will either result in change of a predatory system, lorded over by "murderers" such as Dick Cheney, or yet another diversionary tactic, a shuffling of the deck that will result in more of the same, albeit with a few minor "reforms" put into place.
No amount of hoarded gold will make a whit of difference.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org