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What are You Going to Do About the Empire?

by THOMAS NAYLOR

Then what are you going to do about the Empire?  More specifically, how will you deal with the following:

Governance

The complete loss of moral authority of a government owned, operated, and controlled by Wall Street, Corporate America, and the Israeli Lobby.
An empire which is economically, militarily, politically, morally, socially, and environmentally unsustainable because it is too big.
A nation governed by a single political party disguised as a two-party system.
Congressional gridlock ? an ungovernable nation which is, therefore, unfixable.
The fantasy of campaign finance reform as a panacea for solving most of our problems.
A populace which still believes that only the U.S. government can solve all of our problems all of the time, failing to realize that the U.S. government is the problem.

Foreign Policy

A foreign policy based on full spectrum dominance, imperial overstretch, might makes right, and the proposition, just be like us.
The disproportionately large influence which the Israeli Lobby has on American foreign policy.
Our inflammatory policy towards Iran.
Our lack of commitment to an Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The support we provide to dictators and authoritarian leaders in the Middle East, North Africa, and the rest of the world.
The Cuban embargo.
Our predisposition towards the use of the military option in resolving international conflicts.

Military Might

The never ending, highly racist war on terror (Islam).
Our immoral, illegal, undeclared wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine (via Israel), and Yemen.
The 1.6 million American troops stationed at over 1,000 military bases in 153 countries.
The 80,000 American troops stationed in Europe, the 36,000 in Japan, and the 30,000 in Korea.
NATO, the 27-nation Cold War relic which has lost its way.
Ronald Reagan’s fantasy of a strategic missile defense system.
The American led proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The unconditional military support provided to the right-wing Likud government of Israel.
America‘s unchallenged position as the world’s leading arms merchant.
American pilotless drone aircraft spreading death and destruction worldwide.
The outrageously expensive F-35 fighter jets which cost $115 million a pop.
The trillion-dollar plus military and national security budget.

Civil Liberties

The Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the proposed Detainee Security Act.
The highly intrusive, money-guzzling Department of Homeland Security.
Prisoner abuse and torture.
The rendition of terrorist suspects.
White House ordered assassinations.
The Guantanamo prison.
Citizen surveillance and the suppression of civil liberties.

The Economy

A moribund housing market.
An inability to create enough real jobs to compensate for those exported to China, India, and elsewhere over the past two decades.
Stagnant real incomes for all but the super-rich.
An ever widening income gap between the rich and the poor.
Increases in the number of people who find themselves to be among the poor, homeless, or uninsured (no health insurance).
A multi-trillion dollar national debt.
Increased dependence on China, Japan, and other foreign countries to finance our national debt.
A government which prints money as though it were going out of style.
Uncertainty about the future value of the U.S. dollar and the rate of inflation.
An unreliable system of public and private retirement pension systems.
Uncertainty over the sustainability of Social Security and Medicare.
A financial regulatory system which favors Wall Street mega-banks at the expense of ordinary citizens.
An organized labor movement which has been rendered impotent by two decades of hostile, anti-labor employers such as Wal-Mart.
An economy driven by our intense psychological need to fill our spiritual and emotional vacuum with more and more stuff and the illusion that the accumulation of wealth and material possessions can provide meaning to life.  Whoever dies with the most toys, wins the game.
Wal-Mart with its seductive low prices and the promotion of the idea that what life is all about is unrestrained personal consumption.

Social Services

A health care system driven by fear of death on the demand side and greed on the supply side which is spiraling out of control.
Over two million people in prison.
An international war on drugs that is a complete failure.
A federal education program committed to a one-size-fits-all corporate model of education.
A social welfare net that is woefully inadequate.
Patronizing, racist programs of support for Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Eskimos, and Inuits.

Energy and Environment

Unabated dependence on imported foreign oil and its inherent price fluctuations.
Under investment in alternative energy sources by government and private industry alike.
A failure to confront the problem of climate change.

Infrastructure

Widespread aging infrastructure including highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, dams, levees, and public water systems.
Obsolete air traffic control system.
Grossly inadequate railroad passenger train system.

Summary

A government that is too big, too centralized, too powerful, too undemocratic, too intrusive, too materialistic, too environmentally destructive, too racist, too violent, too militaristic, and too unresponsive to the needs of individual citizens and small communities.

Thomas H. Naylor is founder of the Second Vermont Republic and Professor Emeritus of Economics at Duke University. His books include: Downsizing the U.S.A., Affluenza, The Search for Meaning and The Abandoned Generation: Rethinking Higher Education

 

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