Some Basic Truths
by Wayne Spencer - 02/12/2010
Sometimes when all seems to be confusion such as the times we are in now it helps if we just take a step back and take a long look at who we are and where we are before proceeding.
We are indeed very small creatures in a very large universe. We can only see a very short distance even with the aid of the most powerful telescopes that man can devise. We call what we can see the universe. Yet we know there are probably more universes than grains of sand on earth.
We are standing on a very small piece of rock, dirt and water traveling through space and time at an alarming speed. We have evolved an amazing brain that is unlike any on earth. We have the means of understanding where we are and how insignificant we are.
Yet, in spite of our understanding we act as if each of us will be here forever and that the earth has infinite resources. If we really think about it we collectively have the ability to make the lives of all of the people on earth better. But instead we are increasing the speed of the demise of the human race. We are on a speeding train going faster and faster while knowing that the track comes to an abrupt end at the edge of a cliff. There are a few who are trying to warn us of the doom that awaits us all.
The answers are there for anyone who wants to consider our plight. The answers have been there now for many many years. We have to control our population growth. We have to begin on a path to sustainable energy use. We must reduce the release of carbon into the atmosphere. And most of all we must end competition and begin working together collectively for the common good of humanity.
Somehow, in spite of our great knowledge we are deliberately placing ourselves into a new dark age of Darwinian madness. A new dark age not unlike the previous one built upon fear. A new feudal system that enslaves the masses for the benefit of a few.
The United States spends approximately $1 trillion per year on so-called defense. That amounts to half of all of the military spending in the world. But, if we take into account the military spending of our allies it is actually about 80% of all of the military spending in the world.
Every crisis is turned into a reason to increase the amount of resources diverted from the people into the hands of the wealthy and powerful. I think of it as a pipeline of money from the pockets of the poor and middle class into the pockets of the rich and powerful.
Nineteen men were directly involved in the hi-jacking of the planes on 9/11/2001 that were crashed into the twin towers in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. A total of 3,000 lives were lost. Millions of dollars in property damage. A tragedy caused by nineteen criminals yes, but small in comparison to the damage done by our own government to our economy, to the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in the Middle East, to the thousands of our own soldiers lives sacrificed, to the loss of our human rights that were fought for over the years and for the loss of our integrity as a country.
Since 2001 we as a country have spent nearly $10 trillion on the military. We have 1,000 bases in 123 countries. We have 10,000 nuclear bombs and are now proceeding to build many more. The military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about is devouring our entire economy. The signs of it are everywhere. The industries that serve our military needs have never profited more.
The devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina was another example of how a disaster was turned into a pipeline of money from the people to the pockets of the rich and powerful.
$88 billion was spent to provide disaster recovery for the City of New Orleans. Yet, years after the natural disaster much of the City of New Orleans is still uninhabitable and lies in ruin. Certainly, $88 billion should have been enough to rebuild the city. Where did the money go? It went to private contractors who had both the knowledge and the experience of fleecing the government. Companies like Halliburton and Black Water did a fine job “Mickey.”
More recently we have experienced the financial crisis of 2008. Financial institutions on Wall Street were using investor money to gamble on commodities. Oil was the big one. Prices were artificially bid up to $140 per barrel in spite of lowering demand and build up of surpluses. At the height of the oil bubble there were no more places to store it all.
When the price tumbled in September 2008 from $140 to $30 per barrel, speculative loses in the trillions of dollars brought the financial markets to their knees. Government leaders then provided the financial markets not only with $700 billion in emergency aid and another $11.5 trillion in loan guarantees from the Fed. but also provided them cover by blaming the crisis on the bursting of the housing bubble. If there ever was a housing bubble it started a gradual decline from January 2006. Even by 2008 the total dollar amount of mortgages in trouble according to the government's own figures were between $80 billion and $300 billion. Why would we give $700 billion plus loan guarantees of $11.5 trillion to Wall Street bankers to solve a problem amounting to no more than $300 billion. For $11 trillion the U.S. Government could have paid off every residential mortgage in the entire country.
On top of it all none of the $700 billion was used to do anything to prevent a crisis in the housing market.. not to this day has a penny gone into helping the housing market recover. Just like in 2001 trillions were poured into the military industrial complex with no results. Just like New Orleans where $88 billion was poured through the pipeline to major corporations without any money going to help the city.
Now our leaders are working on another pipeline of money from Americans to the rich and powerful. We are now being told by every pundit on TV, radio and newsprint that the financial problems that the United States faces are caused by Social Security. I would like to remind everyone that the Social Security System is the only part of the government that is solvent. While the total budget for Social Security for 2010 is $562 billion, the amount of revenue generated by Social Security taxes is $734 billion.
The latest scheme would cut Social Security benefits and privatize the system with an even bigger gap between the revenue and spending allowing Wall Street bankers to skim 30% off the top in fees. This would be another pipeline of money from the American public to the rich and powerful of about $220 billion per year.
It's now been reported that the usual government contractors are drooling over the prospects of “lucrative” contracts to help Haiti. I cannot imagine anyone looking to make huge profits under the pretext of helping the starving and homeless people of Haiti. But it is beginning to look a lot like another pipeline of money from the American taxpayer to the rich and powerful.
Today it was announced on Bloomberg that the health insurance companies have reported record profits up 56% over last year with 2.7 million less customers. These profits will be even greater next year now that any hope for meaningful health insurance reform is dead. Again a pipeline of money from the middle class into the pockets of the rich and powerful.
Somehow we have to organize for the common good. We have to use our highly developed brains to sustain the resources of the Earth in order to maintain the human race. There are enough resources if we use common sense and stop the greed and competition and start working for the common good.