The Changed Face of America: The True Legacy of the Bushes and Obama
05 January 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
* The Coming of a 1% Economy and the 1% Politics That Goes With It: A singular reality of this century has been the way inequality became embedded in American life, and how so much money was swept ever upwards into the coffers of 1% profiteers. The country firmly and unequivocally entered a new gilded age.
* The Coming of Permanent War and an Ever More Militarized State and Society: Can there be any question that, in the 15-plus years since 9/11, what was originally called the “Global War on Terror” has become a permanent war across the Greater Middle East and Africa (with collateral damage falling in all directions on the west)?
* The Rise of the National Security State: In these years, a similar process has been underway in relation to the national security state. Vast sums of money have flowed into the country’s 17 intelligence outfits (and their secret black budgets), into the Department of Homeland Security, and the like. (Before 9/11, Americans might have associated that word “homeland” with Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, but never with this country.) The national security state has created a global surveillance apparatus
* The Coming of the One-Party State: Thanks to the political developments of these years, and a man with obvious autocratic tendencies is entering the Oval Office, it’s possible to begin to imagine an American version of a one-party state emerging from the shell of our former democratic system. Republicans already control the House of Representatives (in more or less perpetuity, thanks to gerrymandering), the Senate, the White House, and assuredly in the years to come, the Supreme Court. They also control a record 33 out of 50 governorships, have tied a record by taking 68 out of the 98 state legislative chambers, and have broken another by gaining control of 33 out of 50 full legislatures.
* The Coming of TV News Edutainment: Among the things that prepared the way for Trump, who could leave out the crumbling of the classic newspaper and the merger of news and entertainment, on TV and social media.There is now the search for anything or anyone (preferably of the celebrity variety) that the public can’t help staring at, including a celebrity-turned-politician-turned-provocateur with the world’s canniest sense of what the media so desperately needs.
*The Rise of Wall Street and Greed. Once only two and a half percent of the economy, Wall Street is now more than 15 percent and is fast rivaling our total healthcare industry. It trades in rents, gains and other non-productive opportunistic income that line the pockets of the top 1 to 5 percent and it gouges Main street and middle America at each and every opportunity. It goal de jur is to have its Dodd Frank policeman taken out and shot so it can continue on its merry illegal ways unchecked. It has become the enemy of the real economy and undermines it at every turn. It is the handmaiden of the 1%.
*The Continuing Assault on Government. Government is under attack by the emerging one party system which wants to undo the New Deal and atrophy goverment so it can not stand up for the public interest and impede the 1%. Government has been gutted by out sourcing, which continues today, and by stalemate and the guerilla tactics of subversion. Government has been shrinking under Obama. It is definitely on the wane as Libertarianism and bad economic policies ascend with the new one party system. America has become a paradise for greed, lawlessness and fools.
(Inspired in part by Tom Engelhardt)