The establishment is finally acknowledging just how screwed up the Social Security system is. CNN and other mainstream outlets reported recently that for the first time in the history of the program, a married working couple who turned 65 in 2010, would on average receive less in benefits than what they paid into the system.
While a similar working couple, making an average income, would have received some $120,000 more in benefits than they paid, had they retired in 1990, the 2010 couple was set to get about $21,000 less than was taken from their paychecks over a lifetime worth of work. According to the same research, the problem is just going to grow more pronounced. A couple presently in their early forties can expect to pay more than $100,000 in payroll taxes than they will get back after retirement.
In the past, retirees could get as much as ten times what they paid into the Social Security and Medicare systems upon retiring. This was largely because payroll taxes were much lower during their working years. Even though payroll taxes have been increased over the past few decades, the simple fact is there are fewer workers to support the exploding number of Baby Boomer retirees. The system pays more out than it collects, and the so-called “trust fund” will be depleted by 2033.
The great “tax cutter” Ronald Reagan not only raised payroll taxes, he signed off on the odious proposal of the Greenspan Commission to start taxing Social Security benefits, beginning in 1984. The estimated windfall from this double taxation was supposed to go into the trust fund, but instead it was mixed into the general revenue, to finance endless no win wars and occupations of foreign lands, mindless foreign aid, still secret intelligence agency budgets and the like.
Payroll taxes, which are withheld from paychecks in order to finance Social Security and Medicare, are about as regressive as can be imagined. The Social Security part of the tax is only levied on the first $119,000 of income. If anyone can explain the logic in that, I’d like to hear it. Under this system, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and the rest of the One Percenters are taxed like someone making $119,000 annually. Few if any politicians advocate for all income being subject to Social Security taxes.
During his 1992 presidential campaign, Ross Perot kindly and gently suggested voluntary means testing for Social Security benefits. This suggestion was met with howls of protest, from the AARP and other lobbying groups. In reality, means testing must be part of any rational attempt to preserve Social Security for the majority of Americans who will truly need it. As Perot also explained, he certainly didn’t need it, but couldn’t even voluntarily turn it down.
In reality, retirement is fast becoming another privilege only the rich and upper middle class enjoy. An astounding 40% of Americans aged 55-64 have no formal savings in any retirement account. The number of employees with a traditional pension (the kind paid for by the employer, unlike 401Ks) was down to 31% by 2010. The median amount of retirement savings for those in that age bracket is just $14,500. Even those in that age group with formal retirement plans have an average of just $104,500.
The average balance in a 401K-type of retirement account for those in their late 50s to early 60s is a pitifully small $17,000. As in so many areas, we have regressed here to an embarrassing degree. By any measure, and by all statistics, Americans are far less prepared financially for retirement than they were in the 1980s or even the 1990s.
As I will go over in detail in my upcoming book Survival of the Richest, conventional pensions have been all but eliminated in corporate America. As recently as 1989, two thirds of Americans still had a pension through their employer. As of 2013, in contrast, a typical American couple only had $5,000 saved for retirement. Research from Boston College shows that the percentage of households who will fall short of being able to financially survive retirement has risen from 31% in the early 1980s to 52%.
Leftists continue to deny the giant elephant in the room that illegal immigration represents in terms of many issues, including Social Security. Since so many illegal immigrants are paid under the table, they obviously aren’t paying into the Social Security and Medicare systems. As the Washington Times and others reported last year, the IRS actually encourages illegal immigrants to steal Social Security numbers. According to these reports, some one million Americans have been victimized by this government sanctioned theft.
The Social Security Administration also issues millions of “non-work” Social Security numbers. Although these cards have “Not valid for employment” printed on them, their own audits have found that illegal immigrants use them widely. Those highly valued immigrant farm workers are not subject to withholding taxes, and neither are several other classes of visa workers. Even lawful immigrants have it better in many ways than those born in America. For instance, it’s not widely publicized that legal immigrants receive significantly more government benefits than the U.S.- born.
One of the countless advantages the wealthy have over the common riff-raff is a significantly higher life expectancy. Since Social Security pays benefits for as long as you live, obviously this tends to reward them even further, as they receive a benefit they don’t need for a longer period on average than the vast majority of retirees. Men with the highest 10% of incomes live an average of twelve years longer than those in the bottom 10% bracket, while the wealthiest women live ten years longer than their poorer peers.
More than 47,500 millionaires got Social Security benefits in 2010. 7.2% of beneficiaries reported a yearly income in excess of $100,000. The median beneficiary income for Social Security, meanwhile, is just $26,000 per year. 27% receive less than $15,000 annually. Since those at the bottom in terms of Social Security benefits almost certainly had no pension or savings to rely on, we can reasonably conclude that more than one-fourth of Social Security recipients are living in abject poverty.
Echoing Ross Perot, as he did so often during his presidential campaign, Donald Trump suggested his fellow One Percenters opt out of the system. “I have friends that are worth hundreds of millions and billions of dollars and get Social Security. They don’t even know the check comes in,” the loose cannon billionaire declared in 2015. Trump has declared that he will not support any cuts in Social Security, as the Paul Ryan-types of Republicans clearly desire. It remains to be seen what the president does on this issue, as well as so many others.
The math is very simple here. Unless means testing and taxation on all income is implemented, the Social Security system will eventually crash. There is an incomprehensible $107 trillion in “unfunded liabilities;” or the difference between promised benefits and anticipated revenues. According to the Cato Institute, that’s twice the world’s annual Gross National Product. With an exploding population of elderly Baby Boomers, who will rely even more upon Medicare, clearly that problematic program is doomed as well.
Then there is the Social Security Disability Fund. A favorite target of Ayn Rand- worshiping conservatives, SSDI has been teetering on the brink of insolvency for the past few years. With the frightening increase in both obesity-driven health problems, and mental illness-related issues (antidepressant medication, for example, increased an incredible 400% from 1988-2011), the definition of “disability” has been greatly expanded.
Before Social Security, nursing homes were a rarity in this country. Older family members were simply taken in by their children and grandchildren. The program was never designed to be a retirement program. With the disappearance of pensions for most workers, however, and the general lack of reverence for the elderly in America, Social Security has become an absolute necessity for most retirees. And besides, they’re simply getting the money back that they paid into the system.
The more financially stable Baby Boomers can look forward to becoming “snow birds,” and heading for the warm climes of Florida. Most Americans, however, aren’t that fortunate now, and far fewer will be that fortunate in the future. For them, along with the inevitable infirmaries of old age, will come a fearful financial impact.
As usual, I have no confidence in our political leaders to address this problem rationally. Their pensions are top-notch, and thus if Social Security is privatized or eliminated altogether, they will not be subject to any repercussions. What are possible solutions? I’ve advocated that any drastic changes to Social Security come with the option of a lump sum payout, with the entire amount paid into the system by workers being awarded to them. Actually, this would probably be an option many might take anyhow, in lieu of monthly payments.
To save Social Security, all income must be subject to taxation. This way, Bill Gates will contribute just a bit more than your local car mechanic. And there must be strict means testing. No One Percenter needs Social Security. But knowing our leaders, they’ll probably just raise the retirement age to 90.
Donald J. Trump not only is the most divisive political figure of my lifetime, he is also the most paradoxical. A billionaire populist is, after all, about as clear an oxymoron as can be found. Champions of the common people aren’t often born with silver spoons in their mouths. The upper crust is also normally a lot more articulate than Trump is.
The ouster of wild card General Mike Flynn is an ominous sign to those of us who are concerned about Trump being co-opted by the establishment that despises him. Flynn’s “crime” was evidently not telling the full truth to neocon Vice President Mike Pence, who more and more resembles Trump’s version of LBJ.
Flynn appears to want peace with Russia, something no one in the corrupt establishment wants. His son also just happens to be really awake politically. His on- target tweets about Pizzagate in particular seem to have fueled the real opposition to his father. In my view, Flynn was one of Trump’s few palatable choices so far for his cabinet. The two leading contenders, according to the dinosaur media, to replace him are Admiral Robert Harward, said to be chicken hawk extraordinaire Lindsay Graham’s top choice, and tainted insider David Petraeus.
Surrounded by neocon insiders like Reince Priebus and his assistant chief of staff Katie Walsh, who was a #nevertrumper and supposedly had the audacity to chew out Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner recently, it’s going to be difficult for Trump to get anything done that isn’t elite-approved. If Jeff Sessions can actually deport large numbers of illegal immigrants and remains strong on trade, then populists can hold their noses over his less than scintillating record on civil liberties.
While seemingly filling up the swamp with more alligators instead of draining it, Trump does continue to say things that no president has ever said. Watching his press conference today was surrealistic; I never thought I’d see a president treat the laughable mainstream reporters with the scorn and disrespect they so richly deserve. The more then keep trying to beat the drums for the “Russian hacking” scenario, the more their putrid approval ratings sink with the public. If Trump does nothing else, at least he has exposed these shills for the state for what they are.
I keep wondering at Trump’s naivete. Why would he continue to be loyal to chief of state Priebus (not to mention his assistant, Trump hater Katie Walsh), instead of replacing him with someone like Roger Stone? I can’t believe he hasn’t named Stone to any position. I thought maybe he’d reach out to conservative mavericks like Rand Paul or Pat Buchanan. Or even reach across the aisle to populist Democrats like Cynthia McKinney or Dennis Kucinich. Just this week, Kucinich launched a blistering attack on the intelligence community that is clearly trying to reignite the cold war, and came off sounding much more like a Trump supporter than many of those he has named to his cabinet.
I know personally that Cynthia McKinney would probably have taken the VP spot on Trump’s ticket. I actually suggested this to a high ranking official in Trump’s campaign, but it was quickly shot down without any further thought. Just imagine how revolutionary such a presidential ticket would have been. Instantly, the “racist” and “sexist” labels would have lost all their luster.
Trump has still been in office less than a month. Just getting America out of the odious Trans Pacific Partnership and signing the executive order banning foreign lobbying were revolutionary strikes against the corrupt establishment. If he launches a full audit of the Fed, rebuilds our embarrassing infrastructure, and actually allows Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to chair a commission that will undoubtedly expose the shameful links between autism and vaccines, then he will have done more good already than any president since John F. Kennedy.
Trump’s evident attempt to appease the neocon Republicans isn’t going to work. John McCainiac, Lindsay Graham and Paul Ryan continue to beat the drums for World War III. To his credit, Trump called them out on Twitter over this very issue. But he still continues to surround himself with too many insiders that appeal to these warmongering disciples of Ayn Rand. Trump has never been a conservative, and he isn’t playing a very believable one so far. His hot-button issues were all populist inspired, and he will be largely remembered by how true he remains to those pledges.
The hatred and vitriol directed at Donald Trump is unprecedented, and shows no signs of diminishing. Deluded filmmaker Michael Moore is now seriously proposing that Trump be removed from office and replaced with Hillary Clinton! The establishment “left” has been exposed as thoroughly as the mainstream media has. They are becoming more unhinged by the day, and don’t even attempt to formulate their never ceasing “protests” beyond calling Trump the same old tired names.
In fact, watching uncensored videos of these social justice warriors, one comes away with the inescapable impression that they cannot be reasoned with. As someone who read and was inspired by the great books The Myth of Mental Illness and The Manufacture of Madness, written by psychiatry’s greatest iconoclast Thomas Szasz, I always hesitate in calling someone crazy. However, after viewing far too many of these disturbing “protest” videos, I think it can be safely said that the most extreme of these social justice warriors are bat shit insane, if anyone is.
So Trump remains a paradox to me. One minute, he is lashing out courageously at the mainstream media and corrupt politicians in both parties. In the next, he seems to be listening to the advice of neocon advisers regarding more military intervention in far-flung lands. He needs to return constantly to the “America First” refrain that appealed to many of us. He teases us with comments about all the trillions we’ve wasted on senseless wars, but then seems to be gearing up for a battle with Iran.
It ought to be obvious to everyone by now just how entrenched the corruption at the top of our country is. Here we have a supremely flawed individual, who seems to be trying to reform just a few parts of the monumental mess in Washington, and he is being figuratively assassinated daily. If many in the government, big business and Hollywood get their way, this assassination is likely to become a literal one. Threats to assassinate Trump have become so common that they don’t even raise eyebrows at this point.
Half of this country is probably awake now, at least to some extent. And so we sit and watch our unlikely heroic One Percenter with the bad hairdo, to see if he becomes co- opted like everyone else, or if he actually battles the creatures in the swamp (including most of those in his cabinet), and succeeds in making this country just a little better.
The inauguration of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States ushered in a public polarization that has never been seen before in our history. The protests, and even cries for impeachment, are just as unprecedented. The “honeymoon” period every previous president enjoyed clearly does not apply to Donald Trump.
Trump has been an incredibly active chief executive thus far. A few of his Executive Orders have been outstanding; the one withdrawing the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership and the one banning officials from becoming lobbyists for foreign interests in particular. He vowed to launch a full-fledged investigation into voter fraud. And in his only really admirable appointment, he tapped Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to head a commission to investigate the links between vaccines and autism.
As always, Trump has said some awful things, too. He inexplicably sprang to Barack Obama’s defense and called Chelsea Manning an “ungrateful traitor” for criticizing the former president. He signed an Executive Order that senselessly eliminated a proposed cut in FHA insurance for lower income home owners. His appointments have too often been typical “conservative” types, presumably to appease a Republican establishment that still remains uneasy about him. It’s still unclear just what his replacement for Obamacare will entail, and if it will do anything to stop the dramatically rising cost of health care.
The hatred and vitriol directed at Trump is something no other public figure has ever experienced, outside of perhaps Adolph Hitler. India Knight, a “respectable” mainstream British journalist, tweeted out numerous anti-Trump comments, including “The assassination is taking such a long time.” Magnatone CEO Ted Kornblum wrote on Twitter, “Rest easy, people, it’ll only take 100 days till Trump gets a bullet in the head.” Madonna spoke of burning down the White House. Actress Ashley Judd inferred that Trump fantasizes about his own daughter. And a Saturday Night Live writer joked that ten year old Barron Trump was going to be America’s first home-school shooter. Another “comedy” show is in the works, in which the star will be an adult portraying young Barron.
This open discussion of assassinating a sitting president is something that would never have been tolerated in the past. I have noted before that I firmly believe a substantial portion of Americans would support the assassination of Trump. What passes for the “left” today has been exposed in all its glory in the post-election aftermath. The hysterical weeping, screaming, and threats of violence, on the part of the anti-Trump contingent, is embarrassing, and would be ridiculed by a sane society. If this election demonstrated anything, it demonstrated that we are not a sane society.
The anger and the hatred is ostensibly because the object of their scorn is a “hater,” a “racist,” a “sexist” and “intolerant” of others. Even if the most absurd charges against Trump were true, he could never hope to be as hateful and intolerant as these inflexible “protesters” are. What exactly are they protesting? Not even Hillary Clinton disputes the outcome of the election. They are exhibiting classic poor sportsmanship, and simply will not accept the fact their candidate lost. Just imagine how protesters against Barack Obama’s election would have been treated, in the media and by the police, if they’d been so aggressive and threatening in their behavior.
It’s difficult for me to imagine that the populist hero so many of us have longed for would turn out to be this egotistical billionaire turned reality television star. Trump certainly doesn’t look or sound the part. He still forms his sentences in a frustratingly inarticulate way, and takes to social media as recklessly as a twelve year old. His immature responses to so many of the countless attacks on him, especially from the entertainment world, don’t exactly seem statesman-like. It’s difficult to imagine a better example of not judging a book by its cover.
But Donald Trump is the first major party presidential candidate in my lifetime to talk about most of the forbidden topics, the ones that control the fortunes of every average citizen. He’s talked about auditing the Fed. He actually wants to place the interests of Americans first. He’s spoken the truth about the sorry state of our infrastructure. He’s condemned the Republican warmongers John McCainiac and Lindsay Graham for “always trying to start World War Three.”
Trump may be the first genuine “conspiracy theorist” to live in the White House. Laughably, the establishment has finally found a conspiracy theory of their own to promulgate, to explain his election. After decades of demands for peace and detente with the Soviet Union, even at the height of their domination over great parts of the world, they have charged that Vladimir Putin’s Russia somehow tipped the scales by “hacking” the 2016 presidential election. This word “hacking” just keeps being robotically chanted by Trump opponents, without any further thought. Exactly what did “the Russians” do to “hack” the election? This is truly one conspiracy theory that is utterly, completely ridiculous.
The court historians tend to love the most active, hands-on presidents. As I hope to show in Hidden History 2 down the road, the most powerful presidents have actually been the worst ones, because they invariably wielded that power against the great majority of the citizens. If he keeps all his campaign promises, Donald Trump could very well be the first aggressive president whose actions conflict with the desires of the elite leaders behind the scenes.
Even if he turns out to be just another garden-variety neocon, Donald Trump’s election has exposed the fraudulent nature of the mainstream media, and the hypocritical inflexibility of those who call themselves “liberals” today. Most Americans know where the “fake news” is coming from. No alternative outlet could hope to compete with the nonsense CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post and every other mainstream organ peddles on a regular basis.
I believe that, if Donald Trump had a different personality, he would not be so despised by so many. He simply is what he is; a vain, often juvenile seventy year old man who is thoroughly used to getting his way. He doesn’t have a lot of tact, and can’t seem to filter his views for public consumption. For many people, that kind of honesty is refreshing in a politician. His most attractive trait remains the incomprehensible amount of hatred he elicits from every pillar of the establishment.
After only a few weeks at the helm, it’s been a mixed bag, but I’m still generally impressed with Trump. Even if most of his appointments don’t seem to be outsiders, those inside the swamp are howling at him louder than ever. Only time will tell if he goes the way of Richard Nixon or the way of Huey Long.
The “progressive” label is affixed to public figures just as dishonestly as “liberal” is. Truly progressive thinking is obviously a good thing. But as used by the establishment, the label instead indicates the kind of narrow-minded authoritarianism most modern “liberals” are renowned for.
The easiest way to distinguish a true progressive or a true liberal from a fake one is to study their views on war and peace. The court historians tell us that Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt were the ultimate “good guys,” deeply concerned for their fellow human beings and only driven to war by despicable foes.
Study the actual historical record, not the widely publicized propaganda pieces written by well-publicized establishment historians. Wilson obeyed his masters and steered America into a disastrous foreign conflict that changed the world forever, in a very bad way. As a true progressive, General Smedley Butler described it, “war is a racket.” Butler detailed the incredible fortunes that were made just from “the war to end all wars.”
Franklin Roosevelt did everything in his power behind the scenes to move America into Europe’s new conflict, and succeeded when Japan launched a “sneak” attack on Pearl Harbor. But anyone who even suggests that FDR had prior knowledge of the attack risks the kind of scorn the mainstream media and court historians direct to those who question the divinity of the establishment’s secular saint, “Honest” Abe Lincoln.
Looking at establishment “progressives” today, the one thing that distinguishes them from actual progressives or populists is their persistent support for any and every war the United States involves itself in. Virtually any Democratic party nominee since LBJ fits this profile perfectly. They bought into the Gulf “war,” and every subsequent excursion into the middle east. Even more laughably, they support this undefinable “war on terror,” and the restrictions of civil liberties that go along with it.
Genuine populists like William Jennings Bryan, Robert LaFollette and Huey Long are generally ignored by the court historians. If Bryan is mentioned, it’s to inaccurately ridicule him as a Bible-thumping clown who made a fool of himself at the Scopes trial. He isn’t associated with “peace,” despite resigning in protest from Wilson’s cabinet over American involvement in WWI. Long, of course, is labeled a “demagogue” and accused of corruption, based exclusively on second-hand accounts of a “deduct box.”
It is hard for those who are not fully awake to understand the differences between a Howard Dean and a Dennis Kucinich, for instance. It’s the same kind of difference that existed in the 1968 campaign, regarding a Hubert Humphrey and a Robert F. Kennedy. The Democratic Party has always stayed away from any true populist presidential candidates. They had a great populist in Congress, James Trafficant, and railroaded him into prison on truly absurd criminal charges.
Donald Trump is not my idea of a populist. But he has taken stances on vital issues that border on the subversive, in the eyes of our corrupt establishment. His boldest move, and one of the boldest nominations any president has made in modern times, was tapping Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to head a commission studying the impact of vaccines. This was a revolutionary middle finger to the state; not only has RFK, Jr. been vocal about the connection between vaccines and autism, he is a Kennedy. He’s the son of JFK’s brother, Attorney General and right-hand man. The establishment doesn’t want him near any lever of power.
Establishment “progressives” like FDR, Harry Truman, LBJ, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama delivered speeches about alleviating poverty. Their rhetoric has never come close to matching their record. Huey Long (an entire chapter will be devoted to the Kingfish in my upcoming book Survival of the Richest) actually made the lives of the poor in Louisiana demonstrably better. If Americans had elected RFK in 1968, or Cynthia McKinney or Dennis Kucinich in more recent years, they would almost certainly have taken real, direct action against poverty.
“Liberal” Bill Clinton’s push for mandatory sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” policies didn’t help the poor. On the contrary, it resulted in far more poor people doing to prison, for much longer sentences, than ever before. “Liberal” Barack Obama’s “affordable” health care act provided free health care to no one, except perhaps for illegal immigrants, which is probably a fitting epitaph for his administration. Real populists recognize that our healthcare system is beyond repair in its present state, and advocate for a single-payer system. They certainly wouldn’t support Obamacare’s mandate that forces everyone to purchase insurance or face exorbitant penalties.
The establishment Left, like the establishment Right, supports every horrific measure proposed, from NAFTA to TPP to corporate welfare, which creates the sinful disparity of wealth we see in America, and around the world today. It’s impossible to effectively solve this problem without focusing on where all the money is going, which I do in Survival of the Richest. Just during the course of writing that book, the already incomprehensible statistic that the 80 richest individuals in the world have more wealth than half of the world’s population, fell further to 62 individuals.
Unless America wants to become a card-carrying member of the Third World brigade, we absolutely have to narrow the unprecedented gap between the haves and the have nots. We not only have to deal with outsourcing, immigration and foreign visa workers; mass automation will eliminate an untold number of jobs as well. Increasingly, I am thinking that some kind of guaranteed income is the only viable solution here, but I don’t expect that idea to fly in this country, until we experience a total collapse and are fighting in the streets over food.
Where is any “progressive” leader in America, calling for a guaranteed annual income? It’s doubtful our always inept leaders have any idea of how to deal with the birth of automation, much as they never dealt intelligently with immigration, trade, healthcare, foreign policy, or any other critical issue. Their approach to the inevitable Social Security crisis is to keep raising the retirement age, which perfectly reflects the short-sided perspective that has all but destroyed this nation.
We need a new generation of populists like Huey Long and William Jennings Bryan. There is no real alternative when the establishment “left” is just as hawkish on war and disinterested in civil liberties as the establishment “right.” This is again why Donald Trump has incurred the wrath of the entire establishment. He isn’t a Reagan opposing “liberalism.” He has ranted specifically against “globalism.” Virtually every major political figure of the past fifty years has been a die-hard globalist. This is why they agreed not to disagree on foreign policy, to make it “bipartisan.” In other words, to never speak out against the continuous wars.
Huey Long’s “Share the Wealth” society attracted millions of members. As I hope to show in my book, he was assassinated by powerful forces because of the tremendous threat he represented. Despite all the talk about eradicating poverty in the decades that followed, including LBJ’s ridiculous “war” on it, which was just as unsuccessful as Reagan’s “war” on drugs, not a single politician ever thought to pick up Huey Long’s mantle, and demand redistribution of the wealth. Not even a true demagogue, exploiting the poor for his own purposes, appeared on the scene. Even Long’s own son, Russell, never made it an issue in all his years in the U.S. Senate.
Our corrupt establishment needs a substantial underclass as much as it needs perpetual war, in order to maintain its illegitimate power. Even a few populist stances, such as Trump has taken, threaten this criminal state to its core. Take away the massive illegal immigration and awful trade deals, and a crucial plank of globalism is destroyed. Merely rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure is Populism 101, because it represents an expenditure that directly benefits all the people, not just the plutocratic elite.
Establishment “progressives” appear to define “progress” as a draconian Banana Republic-type of world, where austerity and authoritarianism reign together. Huey Long spoke of sharing the blessings with everyone, while “progressives” today advise “sacrifice” and dramatically lowered expectations and standards of living. The “new normal” is an ever widening disparity in wealth, no pay raises, benefits or retirement for the great mass of workers, and the death of both empathy and idealism.
John F. Kennedy’s idealistic speeches would be appreciated by very few in our cynical modern world. Establishment “progressives” appear to be restricting their idealism to increasing the number of transgender bathrooms. No one talks of the simple solution Huey Long advocated; to take from those who have too much and give to those who have too little. The legend of Robin Hood resounded with the public for a good reason; most people recognized that he was a hero, not a villain.
No honest system permits such a concentration of wealth as we see today. Survival of the Richest will examine this dishonest system in depth. It is indeed rigged against the common people, and in favor of the wealthy. No one honestly “earns” billions. As the great socialist Eugene Debs put it a century ago: “I am opposing a social order in which it is possible for one man who does absolutely nothing that is useful to amass a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars, while millions of men and women who work all the days of their lives secure barely enough for a wretched existence.”
To paraphrase what was once said about slavery; if this kind of distribution of wealth isn’t wrong, then nothing is wrong. If only we had some true progressives, some high profile populists, to point the obvious out to the people.
Ross Perot warned Americans, during his 1992 presidential campaign, that if present trends continued, we were about to become the first generation whose children have a lower standard of living than their predecessors. His prediction has come true in spades.
Reports surfaced in mid-2016 that, for the first time in 130 years, more young people aged 18-34 lived with their parents than in any other living arrangement. In 1960, 62% of that demographic lived with a spouse or romantic partner, but by 2014 the number had dipped to 31.6%, as opposed to 32.1% residing with their parents. In 1960, 84% of young males were employed. By 2014, only 71% were.
These are alarming but predictable statistics. The cost of housing, combined with a bleak employment market, made this situation inevitable. One of the primary reasons home-ownership in America is at a 26 year low of 64% is the undeniable fact that Millennials simply can’t afford to buy real estate. Home ownership rates for those aged 18-34 fell 7.3% from 2005 to 2015. In a recent survey, 80% of Millennials reported that it was hard for them to find affordable housing.
For those Millennials that are lucky enough to have a full-time job, upward mobility is difficult. One ugly aspect of the “new normal” was reflected in a recent Bloomberg headline: “Say Goodbye to the Annual Pay Raise.” The fortunate souls in the Top 20 percent of wage earners are given bonuses and other perks that the mass of employees can only dream about. All of these mind-boggling disparities will be discussed in depth in my upcoming book Survival of the Richest.
The traditional pension is going the way of the annual pay raise as well. As another recent article stated, “Will the Youngest Ever Get to Retire?” We’re all familiar with the impossible financial logistics involved in Social Security. As huge numbers of Baby Boomers begin collecting their benefits, the system will become more overdrawn than ever. As usual, our clueless leaders can only push “solutions” like raising the retirement age again. No one seems to want means-testing, or taxing all income, not just the first $119,000 as under the present regressive system.
We know from polls released last year that some 62% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings. In a less reported poll, it was discovered that Americans under 35 have a collective savings rate of negative 2%. With only a slight possibility of a 401K plan (which they largely fund themselves), no yearly raises and no traditional pension, how can Millennials ever hope to advance in life? Like most Americans, they aren’t being paid enough to save anything. Without savings, not only are inevitable emergency expenses problematic, but home ownership is a virtual impossibility.
Millennials on average are 29% less likely to buy a car than those in Gen X. The average cost of an engagement ring these days is nearly $5,000. The average wedding costs $26,645. This is just part of the reason why marriage rates in America hit a record low in 2015. Based on current trends, about one fourth of all Millennials will forego marriage. Just from 2008-2015, the marriage rate for young women with only a high school diploma or less dropped 13%. Meanwhile, the marriage rate for young women with a college degree rose 6% over the same time period. I think we’re confronting financial reality here more than a massive cultural shift.
While the disparity of income and wealth in America continues to grow, this gap is especially noticeable among Millennials. While so many of these younger Americans are unemployed or underemployed, one third of those who make over $500,000 a year are Millennials. That is startling, considering that 90% of Millennials make less than $60,000 annually. While many Google employees start at six figures and get free organic meals, free haircuts, nap pods and other incredible amenities, numerous Millennial peers are filling out vague psychological questionnaires online just to be considered for an $8 hourly retail job.
Student debt has overtaken credit card debt in America. Young people are paying exorbitant tuition fees and not receiving their money’s worth. The job market has changed dramatically in the past twenty five years or so. Many of the jobs that used to require only a high school degree now demand at least a Bachelor’s. Not only this, but they pay less than they used to. And, of course, the benefits have been slashed across the board for working-class people.
As I will detail in my book, the poorer you are, the more you pay for nearly everything. If you fall behind on your credit card payments, your interest rate goes up. Your credit score will impact your ability to get a job, and if it’s too low, you’ll pay more for things like insurance. If you’re rich enough, you get incomprehensible amounts of corporate welfare, from lucrative contracts and tax breaks, to valuable swag bags for celebrities. The average celebrity gets $100,000 in free stuff every year.
We all should want our children to do better than us. Too many of my fellow Baby Boomers have faulty memories, and ascribe to the popular mantra that they worked especially hard, walked fifteen miles to school every day, etc. I was there. We had it easy compared to the situation most Millennials must deal with today. A college degree was worth something then. Yearly raises were a reality for nearly all workers. And it was much easier to earn promotions and move onto other jobs than it is now.
Society responds to any valid complaints by Millennials by calling them “Snowflakes,” and joking about them “living in their parents’ basement.” The selfishness and greed on the part of too many old people now is uglier than it has ever been. I know Baby Boomers who’ve written their adult children off for no good reason, for making the same kinds of mistakes our generation made. They’ve disowned them, and appear to have forgotten all the illicit sex they engaged in, and all the rampant drug and booze- fueled parties they regularly attended in the 1970s and 1980s.
It’s sobering to think of what the generation after the Millennials- their children- will face. Unless Donald Trump can stop the approaching tidal wave of draconian austerity, they will be full-fledged citizens of a Third World nation that resembles the historical United States little more than a colony on Mars would.
Ralph Waldo Emerson offered this timeless gem: “To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived- that is to have succeeded.” In his greatest speech, John F. Kennedy said “we all cherish our children’s futures.” Does it really seem at this point in time that older Americans are concerned with making anyone breathe easier, or that all of them cherish their children’s futures?
If older Americans truly cared about the world they are leaving to their children, their grandchildren and future generations beyond that, then they’d be enacting policies that reflected that concern. They’d educate themselves on the current job market, the relative worthlessness of many college degrees, the limited path to upward mobility, and start showing some empathy for the younger generation. None of them would bark, “You’re out the door when you turn eighteen” or similar remarks.
I used to worry about how I’d react to having an empty nest. I don’t think about that very often now, because fewer empty nests are a part of the “new normal” world we’ve created. My generation grew up spoiled, in an unusual era where jobs were plentiful and opportunities were greater. America is morphing into a Waltons-style system of living, wherein 3 or even 4 generations living together under one roof is becoming more commonplace. Families being driven closer through financial necessity is perhaps the only bright spot in this “new normal” set of circumstances.
As far back as 1999, the head of the Australian Human Rights Commission called Baby Boomers “the most selfish generation in history.” Polls show that while Baby Boomers label themselves responsible and self-sufficient, Millennials have negative self-images and feel pressured by expectations that are becoming increasingly hard to meet. In a word, our children by and large consider themselves failures. Not only have autism-spectrum diagnoses soared among Millennials, a full quarter of them struggle with mental illness.
Successful Baby Boomers swear by the essentials that brought them their secure standard of living, and especially place great value on a college education. Mention the “college conspiracy” or crushing student loan debt to them, and you’ll get the kind of vacant look most human beings have always been known for. They’ll brag about working in a restaurant or at construction when they were young, and bemoan how little they were paid, without the least bit of knowledge of the present employment market. They act, much as their own parents did, as if the world hasn’t changed dramatically in the last fifty years.
I’m impressed by how insightful so many Millennials are. They question everything, as young people should. But unlike previous generations, I don’t think most of them will outgrow this intellectual curiosity. In the past, when people attained a level of financial security, they stopped questioning the system that granted it to them. The undeniable reality is that, for an alarming number of Millennials, they will continue to see themselves as existing outside a system where opportunities are shrinking daily.
If “Snowflakes” are not maturing into adults, accepting responsibility and paying their fair share of taxes, it’s largely because our collapsing economy has forced them into their parents’ basements. If they spend inordinate amounts of time playing video games or smoking dope, can we blame them? They understand how bleak the future is for them. What else would we expect them to be, other than perpetual adolescents?
Love your children. If you treat them the way you should, maybe they’ll take care of you in your old age, instead of dumping you into one of our odious nursing homes. Take the time to learn about our present economic reality. Most of the hard-nosed Baby Boomers are completely unfamiliar with the “new normal” in even applying for a job. They are anxiously looking forward to a leisurely retirement, and their attitude appears to be that the “Snowflakes” are lazy and entitled.
Our leaders love to advise us to “think of the children.” Is life about dying with the most toys, or leaving the world a better place for our descendants?
When John Podesta’s emails were recently found to contain an inordinate number of references to “pasta” and “pizza,” it should have alarmed every American. It certainly should have alarmed some of our crack “journalists” in the mainstream media. “Pasta” and “Pizza” are long rumored to be code words for sex with children, and as someone who covered the Franklin Credit and other child sex scandals in my book, I know how common this ugly perversion is among the rich and powerful.
To cite a particular example from Podesta’s emails, consider how one of his friends was strangely concerned about a handkerchief which “has a map that seems pizza-related,” that had been left at a property. How can a map possibly be “pizza-related?” A disturbing photograph of two women and a little girl with pizza was sent to John Podesta, to which he replied, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” The women just happened to be reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who’d been arrested in North Korea while investigating child trafficking. Shangrli-La Entertainment’s Steve Bing sent his private jet to pick up the two women, and none other than Bill Clinton flew back with them to the United States. You can’t make this stuff up.
John Podesta’s brother Tony is perhaps even creepier than he is. In one of Tony’s emails, he makes the curious statement, “Would love to get pizza for over an hour.” If that isn’t some kind of code, what is it? The email about the “pizza-related” map was sent by someone with the Sandler Foundation, which pays the very wealthy Tony Podesta some $7,000 per month.
The number of references in these emails to “pasta” and “pizza” is utterly staggering. These are One Percenters- they don’t eat like the common riff-raff. Do these elitists really hold that many pizza parties? And why always use the generic term “pasta,” instead of specifying which type of pasta dish? If you’re inviting someone for dinner, wouldn’t you say something more descriptive, like spaghetti or lasagna, instead of just “pasta?”
Instead of attracting the interest of erstwhile Lois Lanes in newsrooms all over the country, “Pizzagate” was “debunked” by the likes of The Washington Post, The New York Times, online establishment bodyguard Snopes and even Scott Adams of Dilbert fame. Adams admitted there was a “mountain of evidence” in the case, but attributed it to “confirmation bias.” Some of us, of course, would attribute the failure to accept such lurid allegations, by Adams or anyone else, to “normalcy bias.” The Washington Post kindly reminded us that “fake news hurts real people.” The normally feisty internet site Reddit banned all further discussions on the subject.
The whole “fake news” mantra threatens to supplant longtime establishment favorite “conspiracy theory” as the top means of discrediting the questioning of authorities. The “real people” the Post was so concerned about referred to James Achilles Alefantis, owner of the pizza parlor in question, Washington D.C.’s Comet Ping Pong. Alefantis is the former boyfriend of one of the mainstream media’s most reliable “journalists,” David Brock.
Comet Ping Pong was described by New York Magazine’s David Sax as “a hipster-heavy pizza parlor in the Upper Northwest with rough concrete walls, bathrooms hidden behind secret panels, and table tennis galore.” Hidden bathrooms? Doesn’t quite seem to fit in with a “kid friendly” restaurant. Alefantis’ Instagram account contained some disturbing posts (and comments). In one case, he called a picture of an infant a “hotard,” or combination whore and retard. In a truly appalling photograph, a very little girl was shown with her hands fastened to a table with masking tape.
In another Instagram picture, the bartender at “family friendly” Comet Ping Pong shared an image of a couple in the “69” sex position, nestled on top of a slice of pizza. Alefantis also posted lovely photos of a man french kissing an apparently dead dog, and a closeup of the eye of a dead pig. In a frightening image, Alefantis shared a photo of a large empty room, and the comments included one which said simply, “#killroom,” and a reply from Alefantis himself of “#murder.” Another comment mentioned “washing the room out.” According to some sources, this depraved businessman is the 49th most powerful person in Washington, D.C.
Marina Abramovic, who runs in the same circles as the Podestas, also made headlines recently with her “spirit cooking.” This “cooking” is related to the philosophy of satanist Aleister Crowley, and involves the use of menstrual blood, urine and sperm in the recipe. In a truly troublesome photo that graced the cover of Dust magazine, Abramovic was pictured with her hand covering the eyes of a small shirtless boy.
A screenshot of John Podesta in his office being interviewed revealed a frightening painting on the wall, depicting a man about to eat another. Tony Podesta’s home features a bizarre sculpture of a man bent over backwards, in a position identical to the way serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer posed one of his victims. There is also a seeming cage beneath their stairway, photos on the wall taken by Katy Grannan, “known for documentary-style pictures of naked teenagers,” and an excavated basement where they show “very complicated video pieces” on all four walls.
Alefantis also posted strange pictures of construction being done somewhere in his establishment. On one picture, which showed a large hole being dug at Comet Ping Pong, both Alefantis and others issued suspicious comments about “filling it” and having “lineups” there, while one joked that his hole “has been full for quite some time now.” The commentator referenced earlier, who responded to Alefantis’ picture of an empty room with “#killroom,” appears to regularly construct child-sized coffins, judging by his own Instagram account. There are, of course, different ways of interpreting these remarks, and these pictures, but the pattern is clear and cannot help but lead to frightening kinds of speculation.
Internet researchers- certainly no professional journalists- have discovered that James Alefantis never filed for a construction permit for the mysterious “holes” he shared photographs of on Instagram. They’ve also done some interesting work in tying the extensive system of underground tunnels in the same area together. The rabbit hole goes very deep here- with photos of the likes of John Podesta, Barack Obama and George W. Bush with a band aid on their left middle fingers, which connects to the legend of Hiram Abiff and the murky world of the Freemasons.
The late Dave McGowan wrote a terrifying series about the worldwide child sex trade, called “The Pedophocracy.” I devoted a chapter to this lurid subject in my book Hidden History. We know that this ugly predilection exists, and that it exists disproportionately among the rich and powerful. Child prostitution was rampant in upstanding Victorian London for instance, and there, as has been the case wherever they existed, they cost more than adults. Thus, only the wealthy could afford them.
What are we confronting here? The recent Wikileaks disclosures seem to hint at a secret elite interest in cannibalism, of all things. This takes the corruption well beyond pedophilia. The artwork the Podestas of the world possess, and their boldness in hinting of such depravity online, seem to provide textbook examples of the popular phrase “hiding in plain sight.”
Of all the subjects I’ve researched, none is more frightening than this one. None illustrates more clearly the extent of the corruption, and indeed the evil which good and decent people are confronted with here. Normalcy bias is very potent, and prevents most human beings from accepting such a diabolical reality.
Could there be an innocent explanation for all this? Well, it’s not entirely impossible. It’s also not entirely impossible that the most powerful men in America get together every summer in the mountains of California to worship a giant owl and conduct occult-tinged ceremonies, as an innocent means of relieving stress. Maybe this is all just innocent fun, that the unwashed masses can’t relate to.
Maybe the Podestas just have wildly eclectic tastes in artwork. Maybe James Alefantis is just one of those “real people” who have been slandered by false allegations. Fake news and all that. Wealth tends to breed eccentricity, so perhaps this is all beyond the comprehension of those who aren’t wealthy.
Pizza is probably my favorite food, and sometimes a pizza is just a pizza. But where there is this much smoke, there has to be some fire.
Donald Trump pulled off one of American history’s most stunning upsets, defeating establishment favorite Hillary Clinton decisively in the electoral college. Hillary is said to be far ahead in the popular vote, and her lead is further said to be growing. As a clueless American outside the corridors of power, I find it surprising that votes are still being counted a week after the election, and that the post-election vote seems to be so tilted in Hillary’s favor.
The response on the part of the mainstream media was predictable, but the reaction of Clinton supporters across the land was embarrassing and juvenile. Crying parties? Students being given passing marks on midterm exams because of their grief? Has any student ever been given such an important pass over the death of even a close family member? College kids being consoled with play dough and crayons, even pacifiers? Students generally just walking out of class in protest with no repercussions?
On social media, I’ve asked for an explanation regarding just what it is the protesters are protesting. Obviously, they don’t like the outcome of the election, but nothing appears to have been amiss in the electoral count, and Clinton conceded the next day. It appears that the protesters simply want the election results overturned. “Not my president” and all that. They are tantamount to a spoiled toddler kicking and stamping and trying to scream loud enough to get their way.
The authorities appear to be totally unresponsive to the protesters, despite numerous instances of violence directed at Trump supporters. I know, this contradicts the narrative that Trump’s supporters are the ones “hating” and causing the violence, but then reality always seems to contradict the mainstream media’s official narratives.
I’ve been open to the electoral college being abolished for a long time. The problem here is that you can’t abolish it post-election and then change those election results to suit your whims. I think it’s pretty obvious that if the results had been opposite (as many of us thought they’d be), with Hillary prevailing in the Electoral College and Trump winning the popular vote, those same protesters would be backing the old system to the tilt. They’d also be relentlessly ridiculing any Trump protesters as whiny cry babies and poor losers.
Hollywood in particular is distraught. The film industry may completely grind to a halt. How will America survive with Cher blasting off into space? Should Trump be “tolerant” and just allow Robert DeNiro, George Lopez and countless other celebrities to come to the White House and punch him? After all, we’ve been told that Trump opponents are in “fear” of what his presidency will mean. They need time to process the election results. They need to release a lot more videos of themselves explaining how upset they are. Miley Cyrus will probably need to get even more naked.
Now as for Trump himself, he has sent mixed messages so far to his supporters. Naming Bannon as Chief of Staff seems to have been a good move, judging by the histrionic reaction on the part of the establishment. Preibus was a predictable bone thrown to the mainstream Republicans. Most of the names being bandied about as Cabinet choices are exceedingly distressing to hear. John Bolton? Jamie Dimon? Apparently, warhawk extraordinaire Frank Gaffney is a part of Trump’s national security team already. That’s a troubling choice for someone who proclaimed that he wanted to put “America first.”
I’m hoping that most of these establishment, neocon names are just wishful thinking on the part of the mainstream media. In other words, they are names they’d like to see picked. I will be worried if no real outsiders show up in his cabinet. How about Ron Paul for Treasury? Pat Buchanan for Secretary of Defense? I’d really love to see Trump extend an olive branch to left-wing populists like Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader. Giving them a voice in his administration would go a long way towards quelling the nonstop howling from the inside the beltway crowd.
If Donald Trump reneges on his pledges to the American people, I will be the first to lash out at him. In many ways, that would be a greater betrayal that the typical broken promises of mainstream Republicrat candidates. Most of us are astute enough by now to understand that there is no point in “reading the lips” of these hack stooges. We expect their promises to be broken, and since most of their campaigns revolve around the same tired political rhetoric, they usually don’t even make any promises.
Trump needs to remember who it was that elected him. It wasn’t neocons wanting war with anyone and everyone. It wasn’t the sort of Rockefeller Republicans who seem to be all too visible a part of his transition team. It was those “forgotten Americans” who have seen their job prospects diminish, when they have jobs, and have grown tired of the special interests of a myriad of groups taking precedence over the welfare of all. In Trump, they saw a symbolic figure that seemed to maybe, just maybe, have their interests at heart.
I will studying with a keen interest the final popular vote tallies. As a “conspiracy theorist,” I naturally am suspicious of such things, especially when they take so extraordinarily long to count. Much of this late vote appears to be coming from California, where Jerry Brown’s law allowing non-citizens to get drivers licenses effectively opened to door to them voting, since only a drivers license is required as identification in that state. Some “conspiracy theorists” think some three million illegals and undocumented people voted in this election. Needless to say, that was more that enough to tip the scales towards Hillary.
On the positive side, Trump continues to stress the restoration of relations with Russia. This has incensed the warhawk “liberals,” and cranky old John McCainiac, who basically dared Trump not to pursue peace. McCain was inexplicably re-elected, by voters who returned 90 percent of our putrid representatives to the Senate, and 96 percent to the House. Common riff-raff like me find it hard to juxtapose these head- shaking numbers against the less than 10% approval rating Congress receives in virtually every poll of these same voters.
I hope that none of the countless Americans, some of them high profile, who have threatened Trump with assassination actually carry out their plans. I hope that Seattle’s District Representative Kshama Sawant doesn’t succeed in her goal to disrupt Trump’s inauguration. I hope the guy who held up the “Rape Melania” sign doesn’t do that. I hope that the same “comedians” who devoted far too much time to making fun of Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome son don’t start attacking Trump’s youngest son; it has already been speculated that he is autistic.
It’s pretty clear at that point that the country is divided like never before in our history. No matter how many celebrities stress its importance, for instance, you are never going to get a substantial portion of the population to support, or even care about Transgender bathrooms. What’s just as obvious is the fact that the side whose candidate lost this election will never be willing to “come together.” Remember, these are the same people who demanded Trump promise to stand by the results of the election. To a disinterested observer, it looks very much like all those people in the streets, and screaming on narcissistic videos, are refusing to stand by those results.
These are frightening, breathtaking and unprecedented times. Like the unexpected Brexit election results in Great Britain, the election of Trump gives us some hope, for the first time in many years. Will he disappoint, creating even more disillusionment and cynicism, or carve out an honored place in our history?
With the most interesting election of my lifetime only days away, it is appropriate to consider the way Donald Trump has changed the political dynamic in America. Never has any political candidate, at any level, been the subject of such continuous hatred and vicious attacks, including numerous physical threats, than Donald Trump has.
Trump is no traditional Republican. Regardless what happens on November 8, the old GOP is dead. If Trump is elected, it will signal the birth of a new Republican Party, one that is more populist in nature, and open to hordes of independents. If he loses, there will never be another Republican president. The demographics are simply against it.
I have lost too many friends on social media because of my support for Trump. A lot of good people, who certainly ought to know better, have been relegated to defending the thoroughly corrupt Hillary Clinton, and fantasizing that she hasn’t always lusted for war, been addicted to chicanery, been in bed with large banks and corporations, and supported anything else her fellow One Percenters want. Her entire career is an advertisement for special interest/identity politics, and her every action has been against the interests of the common people.
This election season has uncovered several uncomfortable truths. First, anyone who trusted the mainstream media in the least bit has seen incontrovertible proof that they are an updated version of Pravda, little more than mouthpieces for the state. Second, anyone who believed in the fantastic “left” and “right” paradigm, which produced milquetoast “opponents” for the chosen candidates in each presidential election, has had their illusions forever shattered. The Bush family and every other neocon Republican hates their own candidate and are publicly supporting Clinton.
The slew of important disclosures by Wikileaks and Project Veritas have been met with silence by the kept establishment press. They do, however, have a burning desire to uncover the identities of those who leaked the information. Their favorite culprit is Russia, in conjunction with Trump. At any rate, they have no interest in the massive corruption being exposed.
Just what is it that the “left” hates about Putin? His ironclad stance against GMOs and Big Pharma? His ban on the Rothschild banking elite entering Russia? His attacks on military and police corruption? His encouraging Russians to have more children, which has angered every eugenicist in high places all over the world?
What does the establishment “left” offer us at this point? Their attacks on Trump are illuminating; nothing about his blowhard comment about executing Edward Snowden, or about his heavy handed “stop and frisk” mantra. Instead, they focus on things he may or may not have said at some point in his career, that were not politically correct. Or his alleged involvement with several women, who were so traumatized by Trump’s “harassment” that they waited years, sometimes decades, before going public shortly before the election. Or the fact the KKK leadership supposedly supports him. Is Trump supposed to stop David Duke, or the KKK, from voting for him?
Have Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden, or Tim Kaine, or Nancy Pelosi, or any other prominent “liberal” today, ever done anything remotely populist? Have they even said anything that indicated they’re concerned with protecting our civil liberties? Have any of them opposed our non-stop foreign escapades in far flung tiny nations? Have any of them shown the slightest indication that they agree with any part of John F. Kennedy’s timeless, immensely powerful American University “peace” speech?
The establishment “left” has devolved into a messy mix of identity politics, social justice warring and authoritarian control freaks. They not only care nothing about protecting free speech and press, they are constantly attempting to suppress ideas they find offensive. I don’t think there is any chance that the Bill of Rights would be approved by either house of Congress today. If it somehow were, any of our recent presidents would veto it, and any of our recent Supreme Courts would declare it unconstitutional. It survives in the tattered state it does simply because it hasn’t become politically expedient for our leaders to officially discard it.
Because of my support for Trump, some people think I’m a right-winger, even a “conservative.” Nothing could be further from the truth. My all-time political hero is Huey Long, who accomplished more in his short life, before the corrupt elite of his time assassinated him, than all of our modern “liberal” politicians put together.
Genuine Liberals like Thomas Jefferson are smeared today as “racists” by authoritarian social justice warriors. Patrick Henry is mostly forgotten, as is John Hancock and many other Founders. The great William Jennings Bryan is recalled chiefly now as a Bible-thumper who embarrassed himself at the Scopes trial. In reality, Bryan’s opposition to evolution was mostly based upon his belief that it would lead inevitably towards the growth of eugenics.
Because the present-day establishment is nominally “liberal,” using a bastardized definition of the word, its heroes were as flawed as they are. Thus, Huey Long is castigated as a “demagogue,” and Eugene Debs is nearly forgotten. Few remember the great anti-war crusader General Smedley Butler. But Woodrow Wilson, a chronic warmonger and genuine racist, is extolled as an early example of “liberalism.” FDR was every bit as corrupt and war-loving as the Clintons and their ilk are today. But the court historians love them, and claim they represent true “liberals.”
LBJ’s chronically rude nastiness is swept under the rug by a media who considers him favorably in comparison to our last great president, John F. Kennedy. Rob “Meathead” Reiner- a loud mouthed Hollywood “liberal”- makes a film extolling the hopelessly corrupt LBJ, while the mainstream media continues to paint all the Kennedys as reckless, mafia-connected womanizers. As we all know, the medium is the message. Whatever message the sheeple hear the most, becomes the truth to them.
The “left” that is desperately trying to steal this election for the Queen of Corruption now proclaims that there is “no evidence” of voting fraud. Many of them supported Bernie Sanders, and presumably maintain a straight face while saying this. Wikileaks documents proving the DNC conspired to deny Sanders the nomination be damned. Other documents proving the DNC paid “protesters” some $1500 each to cause violence at Trump rallies be damned. The man is “dangerous” and must be stopped.
My point is there is a huge difference between “leftist” historical heroes like Wilson, FDR, Truman and LBJ, and genuine populists of their respective eras. There are still a few honest Liberals in public life today. Ralph Nader. Cynthia McKinney. Dennis Kucinich, for example. The list is short, however. James Trafficant was another one, and he was run out of Congress via a political assassination that rivals few in our history.
True “liberals” would not have supported odious trade deals like NAFTA. They certainly wouldn’t support the horrendous TPP, and would have been aghast at the secretive, undemocratic way that bill was presented and passed. They wouldn’t have voted to bail out the bankers. They wouldn’t support “free speech zones,” or believe there is a such a thing as “hate speech” or “hate crimes.” They would have strongly opposed every modern “war” of my lifetime. They would be protesting the very idea of drones, and certainly would have been horrified at any American official publicly supporting assassination.
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and most other leading members of the “liberal” establishment consider Edward Snowden a traitor, not a hero. Have any of them spoken out about the unjustly incarcerated Bradley Manning? Now they are turning on Julian Assange, because his revelations reflect poorly on their candidate of choice.
“Liberalism” today, in contradiction to the inane quote from the sappy old movie Love Story, means always being willing to say you’re sorry. Authoritarian “leftists” foam at the mouth over any vestige of “racism,” “sexism,””homophobia,” that they can detect emanating from the mouths or fingers of some unsuspecting soul. Then there is a furious crescendo for the poor offender to be fired, excluded from polite society, and most of all to apologize. These apologies serve only as excessive vengeance, as they never save the victim from losing their job and their reputation.
Populists oppose corruption on any level. They are against excessive power concentrated anywhere, in government or business. They support what is best for all the people. The establishment “left” supports every globalist notion ever devised, and whatever concentrates power further and improves the lives of the One Percent.
America stands at a crossroads. I firmly believe we are on the brink of economic and cultural collapse. Memories of Rome burning and the Titanic sinking come to mind. The election of Donald Trump may accomplish nothing. But symbolically he represents a good portion of the population, who are tired of decades of politics as usual, empty rhetoric, broken promises, and a decreasing standard of living.
We will never have another Huey Long. Or another William Jennings Bryan. But we can stop swallowing the nonsense spewed out by career politicians, especially overtly corrupt ones like Hillary Clinton. We can stop re-electing our putrid congressional incumbents. We should expect better and we should demand better.
True Liberals want reform where reform is needed. They stand up for the little guy, regardless of race, religion or creed. They don’t want to punish someone, or see them lose their livelihood, because of something they said. They don’t side with big banks, or international corporations, against the people. Huey Long used to brag about never taking a case against a poor person. True liberals are magnanimous, and possess plentiful amounts of empathy. They will defend to their dying day someone’s right to say things they disagree with.
The campaigns of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prove that populism is the wave of the future. Power to the people. This election represents a referendum, with the voters having the ability to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to our corrupt establishment. Any poor or working class citizen cannot possibly approve of the way our country has been run, for a very long time.
Already, we’ve seen indications that voter fraud is rampant, even before election day. There have been several reports of votes being changed automatically from Trump to Clinton (never the other way around). Is this the kind of electoral system we want?
On election day, vote thumbs down. Tell the establishment that we want better.
With the recent, nonstop disclosures of official chicanery and corruption from Wikileaks, it’s fair to ask if most Americans care about the conduct of those who lead them. Julian Assange, once the darling of the Left, has become increasingly demonized by an establishment desperate to deflect attention from their own misdeeds.
Despite giving them a dreadful approval rating of under 10 percent, Americans routinely re-elect some 96 percent of all congressional incumbents. Barney Frank was sent back to Congress for decades after being exposed for running a call-boy ring out of his home. After leaving office, former House speaker Dennis Hastert was revealed to have had improper sexual relations with male students while coaching in high school, and paying to keep the scandals quiet.
Just in the past few years, bully thug Republican Rep. Michael Grimm was indicted on twenty counts of improper use of campaign funds. Jesse Jackson, Jr. pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds as well. Both of them resigned from Congress, but does anyone doubt that they would have been re-elected, even from a prison cell, if they’d chosen to stay in office?
There are few if any public officials who don’t have the aura of corruption about them. They are often glistening with it, like greasy gangsters in expensive, tailored clothes. Many powerful business leaders fit this same profile- average people simply don’t dress and act like they are affiliated with organized crime.
Our history is replete with corruption in high places. Tammany Hall, Mayor Daley’s Chicago, the old Irish pols who advised their constituents to “vote early and often,” with a rakish wink; the examples are endless. Americans have seemingly always tolerated corruption, and many appear to view wrongdoing as something “everyone does,” as merely a reality of life. Unless they themselves, or someone they love, is directly impacted by all that charming corruption, of course.
The old adage about “stuffing the ballot box” has applied even to rapid sports fans, who have been known to vote multiple times for their hometown favorites to make various All-Star teams. We are living in a society where it is now said to be “racist” to require a voter to present identification. Without identification, exactly how does one prevent someone from “voting early and often?” Can Americans vote in any foreign elections, like illegal immigrants apparently can here? No other country would tolerate a single tourist, let alone an illegal immigrant, voting in their elections.
There is now video proof of Democratic party officials confessing to paying people to disrupt Trump events as “protesters.” This is not a “conspiracy theory.” It’s cold, in-your-face corruption. But the mainstream media simply glosses over these exposes, if they cover them at all. You will never hear any “journalist” or celebrity apologize to Trump or his supporters in light of these new revelations. The establishment never apologizes for anything.
When a Trump campaign office is firebombed, CNN blames Trump himself for his “over heated” rhetoric. This is similar to how Trump was blamed for the violence at his rallies, always incited by “protesters,” whom we now know were largely paid employees of the DNC. Wikileaks or Project Veritas could have video confessions from Clinton campaign officials about lighting the torches themselves, and it wouldn’t matter to the mainstream media, or die hard Clinton supporters.
When O’Keefe filmed Planned Parenthood officials saying some truly awful things, he was blamed for invading their privacy. Our leaders are perfectly fine with undercover agents instigating everything from drug sales to flirtations with imaginary minors online, but a real journalist simply asking questions that expose skullduggery and misdeeds is portrayed as more dishonest and reprehensible than the wrongdoers being exposed.
Those who are running this country, from elected officials to highly paid “journalists” to corporate leaders, absolutely despise whistleblowers. Thus, Bradley/Chelsea Manning sits in a prison cell for long as most murderers will, for exposing the horrific actions of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Edward Snowden remains in exile for revealing how our government spied on all of us. And now Julian Assange becomes a target of the Left who once revered him, for daring to expose just a portion of the lifetime of misdeeds associated with Hillary Clinton.
It isn’t a “conspiracy theory” to question why the dead are allowed to vote anywhere. It isn’t a “conspiracy theory” to be appalled at illegal immigrants registering to vote. It isn’t “racist” to want all voters identified, in order to make certain they aren’t voting more than once. Is it “discrimination” to limit every citizen to one vote?
This country is divided like never before. What Pat Buchanan identified as a “culture war” in 1992 is over. The side he was opposing largely won that war, as is evidenced by everything we see in the world of entertainment today, and much of what we are increasingly seeing in school systems. The new divide is a real “Us vs. Them” thing. More and more people simply don’t trust the establishment. They recognize that those who have been entrusted with running the system are largely either hopelessly incompetent or criminally corrupt.
Most of Hillary Clinton’s voting base is motivated out of sheer hatred or fear of Donald Trump. They’ve bought into the continuous loop of Goldstein-like rancor directed at the renegade billionaire. They believe he is “dangerous” and will cause a war, even though he repeatedly counsels restraint and wants to get along with Russia, while the less “dangerous” Clinton threatened to war wage on Russia over alleged cyber attacks. She has never met a war she didn’t love.
Women coming forth thirty years after the fact, with vague allegations of improper touching by Trump, are being taken seriously by the same dinosaur media that needs to thoroughly “vet” every clear cut video confession by a corrupt official tied to Clinton. The idea that Hillary would choose to make Trump’s treatment of women an issue, when her own husband has been accused of literal rape by more than one victim, while she has been accused of leading the attacks against them, is akin to Chris Christie trying to make the weight of his opponent an issue.
When Joy Behar trashed the victims of Bill Clinton as “tramps,” she spoke for too many feminists. The ones who agree with journalist Nina Burleigh that women should be on their presidential knee pads, in order to pay homage to Bill Clinton for keeping abortion legal. That’s an outright politicization of sex, and legitimizes rape and sexual assault, as long as the rapist is someone who agrees with you politically. Behar, Burleigh, and others like them ought to be ashamed. But I know they never will be ashamed, and they represent the extent to which this country is divided.
The same comedians who have joked relentlessly about Sarah Palin’s “retard” son, or about her being raped, try to claim they’re outraged over Trump’s comparatively mild comments. This is the social justice warrior mindset in a nutshell; what we or anyone we support does is irrelevant. What anyone we oppose says is cause for social and professional ostracization, and even criminal prosecution. One side of the divide appears to have rejected completely the notion that the ends don’t justify the means.
If the revelations from Wikileaks and O’Keefe’s Project Veritas cannot open the eyes of Americans to the massive corruption all around them, what will? Do they really want to have a legislative body that, in the words of Mark Twain, represent America’s only native criminal class? Do they really approve of cheating, and violence, in order to obtain a goal? Has “by any means necessary” gone far beyond what Malcolm X meant? Is anything fair game, for simple political expediency?
Americans seem to have an innate love for the “bad boy.” Witness the continuing popularity of films about organized crime. What is the perpetual fascination with brutal murderers, who have ruined untold numbers of lives over the decades? There is nothing “cool” about hit men, or squeezing business owners. “Bad boys” and girls cheat to win. They are not averse to harming, or even killing, others in order to achieve their goals. Is this a collective case of Stockholm Syndrome?
Bruce Springsteen warned us that Trump is “dangerous,” and the first example he mentioned was the fact he was daring to suggest our elections are rigged. The late Collier brothers revealed just the tip of the iceberg to voting fraud in their excellent book Votescam, as I detailed in my own Hidden History.
American history is replete with dubious election results. The 1876 presidential contest between Democrat Samuel Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was the first one to demonstrate the fatal flaws in our Electoral College. Tilden, like Al Gore would over a century later, “lost” the election despite winning the popular vote. That should never happen. But “Landslide” Lyndon Johnson and countless other corrupt political hacks in both major parties have profited from this electoral fraud for a very long time.
We’ve all heard the old expression “you can’t fight city hall.” This was an admission that the system has long been rigged against the common people, at all levels. The slowly rising number of awake Americans are trying, in effect, to beat city hall here. This phrase was supposedly originated during the Boss Tweed-Tammany Hall reign of corruption in 1800s New York. Those nineteenth century Americans would be flabbergasted at the level of corruption their ancestors are confronted with.
Americans not only re-elect the representatives they seemingly hate, judging by approval ratings in polls, virtually all the time; they also swallow the ridiculous official narratives spun by the mainstream media they claim to distrust, as in the same polls, they receive less than a 10 percent approval rating.
This election will be a real litmus test, to determine just how far America has devolved into a Third World Idiocracy. It is about a willingness to approve of corruption or to at least demand some semblance of honesty. Trump is a supremely flawed candidate and individual, but to vote for Hillary Clinton- the Queen of Corruption- is to give a thumbs up to the systemic wrongdoing that has all but wrecked this once great country, and to wholeheartedly cheer corruption.
In 1976, like many Americans, I smoked cigarettes regularly. I could smoke virtually anywhere, including inside most hospital patient rooms. All stores permitted smoking inside. It wasn’t until the 1980s that smoking was first banned in elevators.
I attended lots of rock concerts in the 1970s and 1980s. At every event, the strong smell of marijuana permeated the air. Attendees freely passed joints and pipes among themselves. I never once saw a police officer at a concert.
In the 1970s, the notion that one would pay for a bottle of water would have been scoffed at. The trend probably started in discos like Studio 54, with celebrities touting Perrier. Of course, buying pure spring water seemed reasonable considering how polluted our public tap water had become.
There were no computerized time card systems for workers in 1976. For all but the most menial jobs, employees were trusted to enter their own start and end times, and often filled in the dates all at once, at the end of the time period. Many shift workers left when their relief arrived, and still were paid for the entire eight hours.
I knew several fellow young people who smoked dope on the job. Older workers tended to keep a bottle of liquor in their desk drawer, and wouldn’t hesitate to imbibe while on the clock.
I’m not advocating for workers being allowed to drink or smoke dope on the job. But it was undeniably common forty years ago, and what is truly amazing is how things still seemed to run so much smoother then. Even while being drunk or stoned, employees somehow seemed more competent.
Forty years ago, there were few if any security cameras in workplaces, on street corners, or attached to stoplights. There wasn’t the same sort of Big Brother atmosphere we’ve come to know and love. Hate speech and hate crimes had yet to be invented. There were no free speech zones. One heard the term “victim less crimes” bandied about all the time.
The “n” word wasn’t the “n” word yet. Racial relations seemed much better. It was possible to flirt on the job without being automatically charged with sexual harassment. Sensitivity training had yet to be invented.
A good portion of the girls in my high school graduating glass had boyfriends who were in college, or at least a few years older. By today’s standards, these young men would have been considered guilty of statutory rape. The film Taxi Driver promoted twelve year old Jodie Foster as a sex symbol, and just two years later Pretty Baby would be lauded at the Cannes Film Festival, featuring nude scenes of twelve year old Brooke Shields in the title role. Today that movie would be considered child pornography.
The films of Cheech and Chong were incredibly popular, and driven exclusively by drug humor. Popular magazine National Lampoon and the original cast of Saturday Night Live featured numerous references to drug use. Buck Henry, who hosted numerous early Saturday Night Live shows, played a recurring character known as Uncle Roy, who was a pedophile but portrayed in an almost lovable light.
When Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, there was an abrupt, dramatic cultural change. A public that had been fed Cheech and Chong, George Carlin, National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live, was suddenly advised to “Just say no.” The very term “victim less crimes” was flushed down the memory hole. Prepubescent sex symbols became a thing of the past. In some ways, a new Puritanism was born. Rocky and Rambo took the place of Cheech and Chong.
With all its flaws, the 1970s permitted young people like me far more personal freedom and liberties than Millenials enjoy today. As noted, even with an inestimable amount of workers drinking or smoking dope while on the job, things got done quicker and better. Roads were repaired on a timely basis. Snow plows actually cleared the way in inclement weather. Patients didn’t worry about contracting an infection when entering a hospital. There was the feeling that, even though they were hard asses and often corrupt, those in charge of everything were at least competent.
In 1976, even non-college graduates could find a decent job. It was still possible to work your way up the corporate ladder to at least some extent. Many of the jobs that now demand at least a bachelor’s degree were done proficiently forty years ago by high school graduates or even high school dropouts.
I was always a dreamer, but lacked a practical sense of ambition. Still, I never disputed the reality that, if I put my nose to the grindstone then, I could and would be able to make a better life for myself. Baby Boomers and Millenials often argue on conspiracy forums. I invariably take the Millenials’ side. I was there, and there is no question that things were easier in almost every way for us. Jobs were plentiful, and training was still provided to anyone willing to learn.
Finally, as I have pointed out numerous times in interviews, President Gerald Ford (a member of the Warren Commission no less) was pressured into signing an Executive Order in 1976, which banned assassination as an American political resource. Less than forty years later, “liberal” Barack Obama used a drone to assassinate an American citizen who hadn’t even been charged with a crime, and bragged about it. Hillary Clinton boasts, “We came, we saw, he died.” Our leaders have crossed a huge moral line in the sand by publicly endorsing assassination.
In 2016, we are all dealing with a perpetual “war on terror.” The enemy could be anyone or everyone. We aren’t fighting an identifiable country, and the foe is not wearing a uniform. We are advised, “If you see something, say something.” And President Bush, like other leaders before him, warned us that if we aren’t “with” the government, then we are “with” the terrorists.
Since the events of 9/11, which have never been properly investigated, Americans live under the edicts of the Patriot Act. The Homeland Security Department has become yet another monstrously unconstitutional branch of the federal leviathan. The unconstitutional roadblocks, which were meekly accepted by the public, led to the odious reality of free speech zones, hate speech, hate crimes and the obscene groping by TSA agents.
Security cameras are everywhere now. Every business establishment has them. An increasing number of traffic lights feature them, and citizens have grown accustomed to receiving their tickets for running red lights via the mail. An essential component of Orwell’s 1984 is clearly here, but few seem to have noticed. The one good thing to come out of this increased surveillance is the exposure of rampant police brutality. But some of the same people who want average citizens under constant video scrutiny want to ban the filming of police officers doing their “thing.”
Drug tests and drug screenings are routine now, for almost any job. Not only is smoking banned nearly everywhere, many companies openly advertise that they will not hire smokers, period. In other words, you are not free to consume a perfectly legal product, even in your own leisure time.
In 1976, few people worried about a medical crisis destroying them financially. Healthcare costs have risen more sharply than anything else over the past four decades. A young person could work almost any job and be able to afford their own apartment. Nowadays, rental costs have become prohibitive for all but a few well- paid Millenials. Adult children living at home is not a mere punchline, but a sad reality that is solely dictated by the madness of our modern economy.
The popularity of fart comedies and casual standards of dress, which have resulted in people sometimes wearing pajamas outside, seem to represent a more relaxed culture. But the presence of social justice warriors, with their aggressive authoritarianism, serves the opposite purpose. Our speech and thought are being policed like never before, incredibly enough, in the name of “tolerance.” Even without any literal Big Brother posters, the Thought Police have become all too real.
With our industry being effectively outsourced, and massive waves of immigration taking jobs and lowering wages for blue collar workers, job-seekers today face a much more daunting task than we did forty years ago. The future is bleak in every way for Millenials, not to mention those who are just being born. Young people today will have to deal with a toxic mixture of authoritarian political correctness, continuous militarism, foreign visa workers, illegal immigrants, dramatically lowered standards of living and a constant plea for “sacrifice.”
Perhaps I’m just getting old. Previous generations have always tended to recall the past as the “good old days.” But I’m not claiming we walked fifteen miles to school each day, or that we had it inordinately rough. On the contrary, I maintain it was much easier for my generation. We had greater personal freedom by any measurable standard. Jobs were easier to get, and careers were there for the asking. You had a chance to learn on the job, and benefits were far more plentiful than they are now.
The term CEO was unknown in 1976. Huge executive bonuses and outlandish disparities in wealth didn’t exist. The rich were rich, and the poor were poor, but neither was quite as rich or poor as they are now. No one had heard of golden umbrellas or golden parachutes. Yearly pay raises were a reality for nearly every American worker, and they left everyone better able to meet the costs of living than today, when many receive no raises while the costs of everything continues to rise.
While some states have legalized marijuana to varying degrees, the mandatory sentences implemented in the 1990s have created a prison population boom, most of it from drug-related offenses. If the social justice warriors get their way, thought and speech criminals may soon be imprisoned alongside them.
I remember thinking that the World War II generation, who were still largely in charge as I entered the workforce, were harsh task maskers. I thought there were too many rules and restrictions back then. I could never have imagined how much more controlling the Baby Boomers would become, once they took over.
Every new regulation creates a slew of new offenders. Every new law creates a slew of new criminals. As the great Ernest T. Bass once said, there are “too dad burn many rules.” Somehow, the world seemed to run smoother, and things were more laid back, forty years ago when there were fewer regulations and fewer laws.
I have often lamented the lack of civil libertarians in our society today. Where are the Nat Hentoffs when we need them? The libertarian in me will always bemoan the prosecution of “victim less crimes.” Every one of us should want the government to stay far, far away from our personal lives. Forty years ago, even when many of us were protesting against the comparatively small infractions on our civil liberties, neither the government or the business world was as intrusive as they are now.
My generation helped to build this horrific, decaying culture. Bad decisions and bad legislation on the part of our leaders constructed this nightmare. The only aspect of life that can said to have improved over the past forty years is the fact we now have more technologically advanced toys. Perhaps the greatest of these advances is the internet, which permits alternative thinkers like me to share my thoughts with others electronically. Sure, smart phones are cool, but how did everyone get along without them for so long?
I have great empathy for young people today. Although, like the vast majority of Baby Boomers, I had no influence over what transpired over the last several decades, I apologize on behalf of my generation. You deserve better, and I hope the Millenials are able to reign in the authoritarianism and restore our liberties and freedom.