American Freedom, Fuck Yeah!

National Infrastructure and Americans, Not Included

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At SAST, we share with you a bunch of news articles which you might never get around to finding, let alone reading, to help you get a grip on just how precarious life is for everyone in the United States, even if you are among the richest of us. How is that possible? Because no matter how rich you are, if you live in this country, the possibility of any number of terrible fates can await you without making a single mistake or lapse of economic judgement.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick example. China is a hotbed of viral activity in the news. It always has been. Viruses are said to mutate there due to dense populations and very crowded living conditions. But did you know it can take a pandemic, contagious virus, should said virus find its way to an international airport, the capacity to go all the way around the world in less than 36 hours? Yes, not even two whole days and we could all enjoy the latest variation of SARS or Ebola or hemorrhagic fever.

Not me, says the rich man. I live in a mansion. Far away from diseases, he thinks. But his groundskeeper, lives in the lowlands and is very friendly with the help in the house. The groundskeeper has a son who has just returned on an international flight from Botswanna where he is engaged in Peace Corps work. Though he didn’t get Ebola while he was there, a person who was on the flight with him, did. The two chat and have a great time, though the Ebola-infected individual didn’t seem to have anything but a slight cough on the twelve hour trip home to Heathrow International Airport, which serves 78 million people per year, or about 200,000 people a day.

The young man comes home, hugs dad and goes to bed, a little wrung out from his trip. Dad comes to work and has been having an affair with a maid, who makes up the beds and comes into contact with the rich guys kids. Hey, people are human and you can’t account for every interaction you think you know what’s happening. The kids come to give rich dad a hug and share some friendly Ebola virus with dad, who thinks he has the flu, goes to sleep and since Ebola is the last thing on his mind, by the time the kids are looking sick, he is too and even with all his money, he may not survive the experience.

The world is a strange place. Far stranger than you know. Now back to that silly caption at the top of the page, which implies America, if you have something it needs, will send some freedom bombs your way, just in time to help secure that natural resource.

Laugh. It’s okay. I’ll wait. I thought the caption was darkly funny too. Then I considered more deeply what it really meant. This is what I came up with:

America fancies itself a keeper of peace, a deliverer of freedom and a fair arbiter of what is good and just in the world.

Or so they would have you believe. When I saw this graphic, I realized much of what has bothered me about the United States military is the very existence of said military and how it has been used since the forming of this nation. The military is the ultimate expression of “cognitive dissonance” and freedom.

  • How free are we if we spend more than the next 14 nations who are our allies to maintain our military superiority? Spending without consideration for the future of our nation, the lack of spending on infrastructure, whether it be intellectual or physical and the complete inability to prepare for the challenges ahead because of this unfortunate propensity for military spending.
  • How free are we if we are free to starve in the streets, while millionaires look on at the starving masses from the comfort of their personal super-yacht? Aren’t the companies these oligarchs run powered by the infrastructure they are neglecting every time they choose to find ways to evade taxes?
  • Who will work at their companies if schools close, or houses burn down, or hospitals are overflowing because of cuts to services. Will their workers fly to work when the roads are overcrowded, or will they just stay at work in the luxury accommodations like they do in many overseas companies? Or perhaps they’ll just live in cages like they do in Hong Kong. Seriously.
  • How free are we when we look down at the chicken we just bought from the market and have to wonder: “Is it safe to eat?” Well, is it? It is common knowledge that our Food and Drug Administration is overworked and understaffed (so understaffed that less than 1% of our food is being inspected), making our food preparation and manufacturing much less safe than it used to be. Food recall is becoming a way of life in America. Bon Appetit.
  • How free are we when our students leave school with more debt and less to show for it than any generation in 100 years. To have a chance at a decent job, some of them will leave school with what we once spent on a house. Or not.

A house. You remember those. Where people who live in tent cities across America used to live, in homes. Homes they have lost due to the collapsed financial market. A market where we have finally gotten around to slapping fines out but no executives of these banks who knew they were engaged in what should have been considered illegal activities have been sent to jail yet; if ever.

If you want to see a jail cell, then protest appears to be the way to go. Executives have to be caught eating a live human baby, on camera with at least 12 reliable witnesses and even then a good lawyer gets them “time served” and a napkin.

We say our military might is about maintaining our freedom. Freedom appears pretty expensive to me.

The need for the military and its purchases certainly appears to be more important than:

  • schools — we don’t seem to value education anymore; no money? No education. We don’t plan on you making any decisions anyway so who cares if you learn anything?
  • bridges — we haven’t had enough collapse to make anyone care, yet. With over 50,000 in a dangerous state of repair, its just a waitin’ game.
  • roads — we are turning them back to gravel. FDR would be so proud.
  • updating our electricity infrastructure — parts of the nation spend more time in the dark than the Amish
  • water — no one is mentioning this number one hard to come by resource, nationwide
  • waste management — take it to the landfill, no plan after that
  • research and development — we don’t do that here, anymore
  • manufacturing — precious little of this either
  • plumbing and city-wide sewer and sanitation for every major metropolis in the US.

Thank God [sarcasm] we are still privatizing prisons. American innovation at its finest. [/sarcasm]

Did I miss anything important? Wait:

  • industrialized food production — or how to create foods that will eventually kill us
  • genetically modified foods — no useful or specific testing before human use (and I know there are so many folks who will say there is not threat from genetically modified food. But I say, give it time…)
  • dying bee populations likely due to pesticide overuse (they’ll all be dead soon, and the point will be moot. We can all get jobs pollinating flowers by hand so we can have something to eat…)
  • antibiotic resistant disease management — welcome back to the age of dying-from-a-scratch. Penicillin, we hardly knew ye…
  • overpopulation — no need to stop now, we can break 10 billion by 2040.
  • climate change — yes, I know, its a myth, like Creation, right?
  • fracking and its poisoned waste water — we don’t need fresh water; fracking scientists assure me, flammable water IS still drinkable. Survivable? A completely different question.
  • oil production, oil sand extraction — moonscape anyone?
  • lack of transition to non-oil based technologies — solar panels? We don’t need no stinking solar panels, or wind farms or bio-gas facilities. Peak oil is a myth too.
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Just what we need, antipersonnel vehicles on Main Street.

The US maintains over 600 military bases around the world. We have more fighters and bombers than we will ever use. We have cargo planes coming off the assembly line and being scrapped in the same year. We have so much military hardware, we are selling it to the police in our local communities.

The military is a jobs program with a $600+ billion dollar price tag. Yes, I said it. That is the American way. We starve our schools while our fighter bomber programs roam free across the countryside, ensuring powerful defense contractors continue to get their piece of our “ignorant nation” pie.

American Imperialism is dead, I hear tell it. Now that there are almost no nations we can destabilize and then attack under the guise of “freedom.” We are being told that our president has no sense of foreign policy. In conservative speak: no sense of foreign policy means any policy which does not put boots on the ground and food in a defense contractor’s mouths.

It has been the American way for so long to deliver freedom from the barrel of a gun or the bomber bay of attack aircraft if your country needed “freedom”. Freedom meant we bombed you into freedom and then you spent twenty five years “recovering” and not being an economic threat to our hegemony.

Clever plan, eh?

I would say our experimentation with a Democratic Republic has had a rocky road and almost no one who has tried to embrace our freedom, particularly after we send them a dose of HE has been successful in its implementation. Could it be our brand of freedom comes at too high a price?

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The thing that a staggering amount of people in the US cannot comprehend is how the government works on a multi-level, multi-tiered, multifaceted framework nationally and internationally simultaneously. Few people ever get to see the ‘whole picture’ and even fewer can comprehend it when they do!

Most folks see one small aspect of what the country does and support or flip out over it based upon the limited info they get from news sources (often singular.) What the government does is crazy deep. When you get things going at such ‘depths’, there’s a lot of ‘dark’ activities going on. Rarely are those activities stuff you’d want to shine a light on.

What’s jacked though is the people of the US benefit quite a bit from those things ‘done in the dark’. For everything perceived as ‘good and above board’, an unknown (probably for the best) amount of shadowy events went down to push that ‘light event’ into being.

No one in this country wants to acknowledge or admit that the US is an Empire. You don’t get to be an empire or ‘superpower’ in the world without a lot of people getting covered in blood and dirt. It’s jacked up because we want the country to present the best face and intentions possible at all times. But, in the real world it doesn’t work that way.

At best, ‘We the People’ should be working towards keeping our government ‘honest as possible’. It will never be 100% above board because other nations aren’t playing by those rules. Plus, we’ll always have people in power who have their own agenda and those folks with the money and influence to push them along. We counteract those factors by being well informed as possible and do our individual best to not look at everything through ‘tribal filters’.

© H. Wolfgang Porter 2013, 2019, All Rights Reserved

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Is this a bad time to mention we still have 20,000 nuclear weapons rusting away quietly all across this nation, ready to keep us free (or begin to quietly fail) and be unable to launch with hunks of active plutonium waiting at the maybe secure launch facility. Nothing to worry about.

What’s the worst that can happen? An explosion of Freedom?

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© Thaddeus Howze 2013, 2019, All Rights Reserved

Bonus Round!

There is No Future — A cheery film talking about why we need to start changing how we do things around here. Or else.

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