Headlines and Hostility

Posted: June 24, 2014 in Behind Phoenix Republic, Current Events, Opinion
Tags: , , , ,


A big part of writing is talking to readers about your book.  Actually, in my opinion, the most interesting part of writing is about talking to readers about what they think about the world.  As Phoenix Republic is a dystopian novel about a financial collapse of western culture, my discussions tend to be about what inspired me to write such a gloomy novel, or is something like what happened in Phoenix Republic really coming to America?  I often answer by asking people to scan the headlines and ask themselves if what they see gives them a feel for life in America today.  In the last couple of weeks we had some of the following headlines about stories that any one of which would have been earthshaking only a few years ago.  Today they are more or less all happening all at one time.  Here are just a few examples.

US Media Restricted at Border, Federal Agent Cites Safety Concerns

Bobby Jindal: ‘People Are Ready for a Hostile Takeover of Washington, D.C.’

Iraq Update: Air Force Runs Out Of Missiles, ISIS Controls The Border; Shiite Clerics Threaten US Troops

Think about it, there are signs posted in some areas of the US where authorities actually inform American citizens that the area is dangerous to travel in.  Tens of thousands of people are crossing our borders with no way to determine who they are.  As a nation the US has spent trillions of dollars on Iraq, which now appears to be collapsing almost overnight.  The Middle East could descend into civil war any day now.

Zero Hedge Map

If that happens, the price of oil will almost assuredly skyrocket. America burns 15 million barrels of oil a day while only producing 8 million barrels of oil a day.  Obviously we are bringing in 7 million barrels of oil a day from other places.  One of those places is the Middle East.  Instead of Washington DC working feverishly to secure oil from Canada and to dramatically increase our own production, it is working to reduce our capability and has killed the keystone pipeline project.  If war does break out, western nations will be in deep, deep trouble.

If this isn’t enough, consider that our National Debt is growing at an unsustainable rate.  Think about it.  Compare the percentage of GDP American leaders have committed us to now and what we were on the hook for just a few short years ago.  Come on.  Regardless of politics we all know this doesn’t work.  It isn’t magic.  If nothing else, think about it as if the numbers below were personal.  If you had a relative that borrowed $1,000 dollars on a credit cards every month in 2008 and were now borrowing $1,700 dollars a month today, or 99% of what they earned, you would think they were completely delusional and would be thinking about intervening.   Regardless of the scale of the problem, it is the same paradigm.

2008   $10,000,000,000,000,   or about 68% of America’s GDP

2014   $17, 000,000,000,000   or about 99% of America’s GDP

Where am I going with this?  I will tell you.  In my opinion, our country is too broken in too many places to ever fix unless we can find a way to address our issues honestly very soon.  As I have written about in other articles, there are two Americas.  We are dangerously divided and sadly, this is our biggest challenge.

In 2008 the economy came dangerously close to collapsing because crony capitalism / crony socialism is failing.  The federal government encourages people to spend foolishly and lenders are more than happy to borrow money at zero percent interest and loan it out risk free to borrowers.  Prior to 2008, Wall Street was all about selling mortgage derivatives which basically amounts to fractional ownership of a home loan.  The problem with this idea is that things can become unpleasant if the loan isn’t paid, and the owner of said derivative is using their stake in that asset as collateral on yet another loan.  The bottom line is that ownership become hopelessly conflated.  Good loans were packaged together with bad loans, resulting in a mortgage market where no one knew what something was worth.  As the bubble popped and prices plummeted, it became a death spiral.

Companies collapsed, Americans lost jobs, and in an effort to retain political power, politicians rushed in to pass legislation to make it look like they cared and had a plan.  It would not do to have Americans panic. Washington rushed in to create money out of thin air to throw at the problem.  Americans were incentivized not to work as unemployment was extended and extended again.  The thing is this.  As Washington DC desperately tries to retain power by bribing Americans, they mask the real issues so that they become impossible to fix.  Worse yet, they actually contribute to the problem.  As regulations and taxes increase anyone who actually is productive is forced to fail by the additional burden of government.

Let’s face it, America is primarily a statist nation masquerading as a democratic republic.  Beginning in 2008, the United States political leadership was shocked by a near collapse.  Political and corporate elites rushed to the breach.  They realized that their lifestyles depended on convincing Americans of three things.  They had to find ways to maintain the illusion.  (1) As with Rome, a nation in decline must find ways to pretend that things are not as bad as they appear.  (2) In similar fashion these leaders must find ways to blame someone for the problems faced by the country.  (3) Finally, it’s critical to increase federal power in order to maintain order.  Political leaders in a nation in decline must maintain the status quo to retain power.  These so-called leaders must make us all believe that they must increase the size of the federal government in order to be able to solve the problems facing the country.  They of course fail to mention that they are the ones that caused our problems in the first place.

Most Americans are so busy trying to make their individual lives work that they fail to appreciate the situation on the macro level.  In a nation approaching decline, not only must government have a scapegoat to blame citizen’s problems on, it must find reasons to control citizen’s behavior, to control people’s speech and their voluntary interactions, always with democratic sounding titles.  Things like Net Neutrality become a necessity.  Things like The Affordable Care Act must be imposed to not only control what you do, in this case control your health care, but they must control how you do it.  In other words, they must in some way control every thing citizens do because if they for any reason lost control their dominance would quickly be threatened.

In Phoenix Republic three sisters, Catherine, Megan, and Annie experience first hand what happens when an economic disaster strikes. Phoenix Republic is fiction, but the question is how long will the back story remain so.

  1. 1familyman says:

    Reblogged this on PAST YESTERDAY and commented:
    Does history repeat? It does if we keep trying to solve economic problems by letting politicians solve our problems by making promises which they fulfill by having their central bank print more and more money. Paying off war debts was the harbinger for post WWI Germany (Weimar Republic) and the fertile soil for tyrants to arrive as protection and leave with blood.

    12 January 1922 Adolf Hitler sentenced to three months.
    24 June 1922 Hitler Incarcerated. Also:
    Walter Rathenau assassinated.
    German mark was 272 to 1 American dollar
    27 July 1922 Hitler released.
    July 1922 670 marks = 1 US dollar
    August 1922 2,000 marks = 1 US dollar
    27 October 1922 Benito Mussolini establishes his Fascist dictatorship in Italy.
    October 1922 45,000 marks = 1 US dollar
    22 November 1922 Dr. Wirth leaves office
    November 1922 100,000 marks = 1 US dollar
    27 December 1922 France occupies the Ruhr to ensure payment of war reparations in kind. The Weimar government responds by funding ‘passive resistance’ of the workers through printing Papiermarks, further fueling hyperinflation.
    30 December 1922 500,000 marks = 1 US dollar
    February 1923 Reichsbank buys back Papiermark; stabilizes value at 20,000 to 1 US dollar
    May 4, 1923 ℳ 40,000 = 1 US dollar
    May 27, 1923 Albert Leo Schlageter, a German freebooter and saboteur, was executed by a French firing squad in the Ruhr. Hitler declared him a hero that the German nation was not worthy to possess.
    June 1, 1923 ℳ 70,000 =1 US dollar
    June 30, 1923 ℳ 150,000 = 1 US dollar
    August 1-August 7, 1923 ℳ 3,500,000 = 1 US Dollar
    August 13, 1923 Dr. Wilhelm Cuno (No party affiliation) Leaves office
    August 15, 1923 ℳ 4,000,000 = 1 US Dollar
    September 1, 1923 ℳ 10,000,000 = 1 US Dollar
    Around September 10 to September 25, 1923 Prices reportedly rise hourly in several German cities.
    September 24, 1923 Chancellor Stresemann ends the passive resistance in the Ruhr; infuriates the nationalists.
    September 30, 1923 Major Fedor von Bock crushes a coup attempt by the Black Reichswehr. Also:
    ℳ 60,000,000 = 1 US Dollar
    October 6, 1923 Dr. Gustav Stresemann (People’s) forms 2nd cabinet
    October 20, 1923 General Alfred Mueller marches on Saxony to prevent a communist takeover. Also:
    General Otto von Lossow in Bavaria is relieved of command by Berlin; he refuses.
    October 23, 1923 Communist takeover of Hamburg
    October 25, 1923 Hamburg uprising suppressed
    November 8, 1923 Beer Hall Putsch
    November 9, 1923 Beer Hall Putsch quelled.
    November 12, 1923 Dr. Hjalmar Schacht was named ‘’Reichswaehrungskommissar’’.
    November 15, 1923 Rentenmark issued, with value backed by mortgage payments on state property; Rentenmark 4.2 = 1 US dollar; at this time:
    Papiermark 4,200,000,000 = 1 US dollar
    November 30, 1923 Dr. Stresemann leaves office.

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