Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 30, 2018

Seeing Social Decline As A National Security Threat May Change Conservative Policies

Micah Zenko, previously at the Council on Foreign Relations and now at Chatham House, is one of the sane analysts of U.S. security policies.

His tweet was in response to the 2017 CDC report on mortality in the United States. Its key findings include:

  • Life expectancy for the U.S. population declined to 78.6 years in 2017.
  • The age-adjusted death rate increased by 0.4% from 728.8 deaths per 100,000 standard population in 2016 to 731.9 in 2017.
  • Age-specific death rates increased from 2016 to 2017 for age groups 25–34, 35–44, and 85 and over, and decreased for the age group 45–54.

Last year was the third year in a row that life expectancy in the United States decreased and mortality increased.

This only happened once before between 1915 to 1918. The cause was the Spanish Flu, which alone killed 675,000 people in the United States, and the 1st World War. That drop in life expectancy was extremely sharp but so was the rise that followed when the epidemic and war were over. The current phenomenon is different.

For a '1st world' country like the U.S. one would expect that life expectancy increases each year because of scientific progress in medicine, a cleaner environment, a reduction of accidents and the absence of large epidemics and war. An increase is what we see in other developed countries. It is only the U.S. that experiences such a decline and that fall does not come from a high level. In the 2015 WHO and UN lists of life expectancy by country the U.S. ranks as number 31 and 43. The new data will likely take it even lower.

The main causes of the current decline are an increase in overdoses from opioids and a higher suicide rates:

Since 1999, the number of drug overdose deaths has more than quadrupled. Deaths attributed to opioids were nearly six times greater in 2017 than they were in 1999.
Overall, suicides increased by a third between 1999 and 2017, the report showed. In urban America, the rate is 11.1 per 100,000 people; in the most rural parts of the country, it is 20 per 100,000.

It is not only life expectancy that shows the U.S. as a-not-so healthy country. Maternal and infant mortality also increased during the last decade and are much higher than in other developed countries. All these social indicators describe a society in decline.

Absent of war the only other industrialized country which experienced a long drop in such social indicators was Russia in the early 1990s.

In 1976 Emmanuel Todd, a French anthropologist and demographer, predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, based on indicators such as increasing infant mortality rates. In 2001 Todd wrote After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order in which he analyzed similar trends in the United States and predicted its fall as the sole superpower:

Todd notes some disturbing American trends, such as rising stratification based on educational credentials, and the "obsolescence of unreformable political institutions." Increasingly, the rest of the world is producing so that America can consume.

Todd will surely see the U.S. current health statistics as a confirmation that the fall of the empire is near.

That is the reason why Micah Zenko calls the political indifference to social health "the gravest national security thread".

It was Bill Clinton's 'welfare reform' that systematically impoverished people. The current opioid crises developed under the Obama administration and it did nothing to stop it. Obama 'reform' of the health insurance system shunned the 'public option' which would have given insurance to anyone who can not afford the commercial offers. With many Democrats firmly in the hands of big pharma there is little hope that change will come from their side.

But if the social decline of the United States is viewed in terms of 'national security' then conservatives may start to push the issue.

A sign that this indeed might happen is a piece in the hardcore conservative National Review which recognizes that the decline of life expectancy and the opiate crisis require fundamental policy changes:

One group of well-meaning conservatives believes that taking our eye off the economic-growth ball will lead to ever-more stagnation, while others (like [Oren] Cass) believe we need to create an economy in which more individuals have the chance to be productive, even if that comes at the cost of some GDP growth.
Does more robust funding of, say, worker-training programs seem to be the ticket to address the kind of existential angst evidenced by the slide into opioid abuse? Should we expect the induced labor-supply growth from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to counteract the emptiness met by a bottle or pill jar? Is moralizing about civic society sufficient to rebuild a frayed social fabric that leaves too many isolated and alone?

Alone, none of these is sufficient, but the conversation Cass and others have started seems like a step toward responding to the challenge.

I do not agree with the piece or the Oren Cass book about the American worker, but find it refreshing that U.S. conservatives finally start to see the problems their policies cause and consider changes even with regards to their fixation on growth at all costs. It is the first step on a long road to better social and economic policies.

But will the institutionalized corruption of Congress, what Todd calls the "obsolescence of unreformable political institutions", allow for any change?

Posted by b on November 30, 2018 at 20:35 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Here is an interesting look at the issues that really concern Main Street America:

Despite what Washington may be telling us about the strength of the economy, it is apparent that the well-being of Americans is a mirage for millions of households.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Nov 30 2018 20:44 utc | 1

For a '1st world' country like the U.S. one would expect that life expectancy increases each year because of scientific progress in medicine...

Do you know the biggest killer in the US? Not guns, not car accidents but iatrogenic deaths i.e. deaths caused by medical intervention. Depending on how tightly that is defined the figure ranges between 250,000 and 750,000 a year. These are people that would not have died had they not gone to see their doctor. The 'sick business' is truly sick, and when you consider that that 'health care' constitutes 18% of US GDP you can see the motive. And that is not taking into account the autism epidemic, the diabetes epidemic, the allergy epidemic. Medicine in the US, and the west in general is very, very sick.

Posted by: Ross | Nov 30 2018 21:04 utc | 2

The problem of the "gravest national security threat" comes from the thoroughly polluted source of the rotten morality.

The US servicemen have been murdering people around the globe for no other reason but the enrichment of a tiny circle of psychopaths -- war profiteers, banksters, Israel-firsters, oilmen, big pharma, Monsanto and such.

Currently, the ZUSA is busy with initiating more "humanitarian" actions against Russia that is mostly white and mostly Christian:

Posted by: Anya | Nov 30 2018 21:05 utc | 3

"Sally Snyder" -

You're always the first to comment with a self-serving link to your own blog, yet you don't even have the decency to link to MoA on your blog. Hope you've sent b some mony during this fundraiser for the privilege.

Posted by: Mompey | Nov 30 2018 21:07 utc | 4

Existential angst is at the core of the problem. In the hypermaterialistic usa only economic strength counts and not the security to lead a dignified life even in times of failures. This has always tended to be the case, but it has continued to accentuate since Reagan, in the decades of neoliberalism. Unfortunately, the usa is only the most advanced country in this development. The next country to experience a decline in life expectancy is probably the UK, followed by continental Europe.

Posted by: Pnyx | Nov 30 2018 21:13 utc | 5

What everyone should take away from this is this:

They are only concerned for your well-being when it serves their interests.

"National security" is just a code word for emerging multi-lateral world order.

If there was no serious challenge from Russia+China, there would be NO CONCERN for ordinary people.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 30 2018 21:16 utc | 6

first off, re: #3's claim: no. it's third; and that's if you believe the numbers to begin with. the claim comes from one study with unclear methods that's hidden behind a paywall. if anyone has a link to a full version that would help.

to the main point: america's problem is its relative affluence and the diseases associated with such. i could go into detail and mention lifestyle and diet but that would just inundate the comment section with carntard spam. even putting aside the "standard american diet" and the pampered, sedentary nature of many stereotypical midwest fatties, opioids themselves are - for all their lethality - a luxury to which most outside the first world have little (if any) access. they're too busy dying of malnutrition and landmines to sit around on an oxycodone nod.

there is a common thread between drug abuse and fat/sugar/salt abuse - the well known misery leading to addictive behavior. the decline in mental and physical health of individual human organisms reflects the decline of the overall culture in its organic form. historically such decline is accompanied - again, as in the body of a single person - with senility, decadence and weakness.

["decadence" on the individual, personal level taking the form of "my life is shit and this _____ is the only (physical, tangible) pleasure i have so i'll just do as much _____ as i can until i die". the blank can be cigarettes, food, opioids or any mix of these and other purely temporal comforts such as sexual promiscuity.]

this is also reflected in the western aversion to "unpleasant" ideas. when your mind and spirit are rotted and dead the realms of brute force and chemical coddling become the only solace.

Posted by: the pair | Nov 30 2018 21:37 utc | 7

It's a lot more likely that conservatives, and liberals too, will respond to the opiate epidemic with increased punitive measures. And both conservatives and liberals have consensus that no matter what government does, it has to be centered on corporate subsidies and forcing all action through corporate tollbooths. Obamacare is the ultimate example, but also perfectly typical. That's the terminal state of the US "political" system, and I have zero expectation that anything will change short of the complete collapse/destruction of that system.

As for "growth", aka cancer, which has been nothing but accounting fraud for near twenty years now, the US system is absolutely dependent upon it economically and psychologically. Let that slip just a little bit, and it all comes tumbling down.

Posted by: Russ | Nov 30 2018 21:39 utc | 8

I've occasionally touched on this topic while commenting and linked to articles and suggested books relative to it, and we just had a dinner table conversation related to the root cause of this longstanding, endemic problem--It's driven by the official ideology of the Outlaw US Empire: Zerosumism. This topic had an item about it published today by the NY Times that my local paper ran on the front page under the fold. Last year more people died within the Empire than ever before--2.8 Million, almost 70K more than 2016. The article asks, "What's driving it?" and one disease prevention expert said he "sees a sense of hopelessness," with which I'd agree. To expand upon why I agree would take quite a lot of space, so I'll limit myself by simply agreeing with what "Micah Zenko calls the political indifference to social health"--an indifference that's been present within American society since the nation's founding thanks to the National Ideology.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 30 2018 21:43 utc | 9

Also, conservatives have never been convinced by the frequently made argument that climate change is a national security issue not served well by denial. That's even though the Pentagon itself takes it very seriously. (Which is ironic since the Pentagon is one of the world's worst emitters and ecological destroyers.)

Posted by: Russ | Nov 30 2018 21:46 utc | 10

The West is a failing social structure because others have and are showing humanity better ways.

The response of the West to those better ways is increased repression, control and calls for faith over reason and logic.

When the core of your social structure is private finance instead of public, folks are driven to be puppets for the elite that own all or become brainwashed downtrodden slaves for what they are given within the God of Mammon narrative.

Say what you want but I see the world not drunk with private finance koolaid confronting the existential angst mentioned by commenter Pnyx above. I think of myself as one of those in WWII Germany wondering if/when the sickness in my name will end and continuing to see a glimmer of hope that it will.

I want to refer folks to my comments on the last Open Thread that pertain to this battle. I have a link there to an extensive article from Reuters about China and what they call its Muslim Gulag. I saw another big article on Reuters today about how Iran is influencing the world through the Intertubes. This pot calling the other kettles black propaganda is indicative of late stage empire failure. The end can't come soon enough, IMO

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 30 2018 21:50 utc | 11

Fortunately, I'm sure the technocrats will quickly propose a "solution" to the vanishing Americans... Perhaps something like AI "citizens" who can more reliably called upon to vote the right way, not get addicted to opioids, and be ready to interpret fuzzy drone images as terrorists that they can kill without crippling remorse that later drives them to suicide.

Posted by: worldblee | Nov 30 2018 21:57 utc | 12

Wanting to solve a problem is different from having the power to solve a problem. The Soviets also recognized they had a falling/stagnant life quality in the Gorbachev era.

The system which is in place in the USA is there for a reason. The USA is a capitalist country, so it depends of rising profit rates to survive. If the Americans try to introduce, e.g. the Scandinavian model, their profits will plummet, so they won't do it (albeit they recognize the problem).

The USA has reached a stage where it is unreformable.

Posted by: vk | Nov 30 2018 22:35 utc | 13

psychohistorian @11--

At the end of his article about the G-20, Finian Cunningham intones your mantra:

"What America needs to do is regenerate through a reinvented social economic order, one that is driven by democratic development and not the capitalist private profit of an elite few."

"Democratic development" = Win-Win. "Private profit [for] an elite few" = Zerosumism.

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 30 2018 22:40 utc | 14

Societal success, as measured by the U.N. Human Development Index (UNHDI) is correlated with a country's income distribution, measured by the GINI coefficient (1.0 = perfect inequality; 0 = perfect equality).

The most successful societies have a GINI coefficient of about 0.3. The U.S. GINI coefficient went from slightly below 0.4 in the 1970s to almost 0.5 now. The U.S. societal decline has its roots in this increasing income inequality.

The increasing income inequality is itself tied to the progressive transformation of the U.S. from a semi-democratic society during the mid-20th century, to what is now an almost pure oligarchic dictatorship. This transformation began in earnest with the election of Reagan in 1980 and today is virtually complete.

Unfortunately for the U.S., there is no solution to this progressive, and increasingly rapid, societal decline short of the population taking power back from the oligarchic elites. Such power the elites will fight to the death to keep.

Thus the prognosis for the U.S. is on-going societal decline, associated with increasing financial stress, leading to an eventual revolution to overthrow the existing system.

The only question is 'to what extent must the society collapse before the people revolt?' My guess is that, given the authoritarianism in, and militarization of, U.S. society, the decline still has a long way to go before the population becomes desperate enough to revolt.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Nov 30 2018 22:59 utc | 15

thanks b... your quote, to which i agree..-> "All these social indicators describe a society in decline."

capitalism isn't all it is cracked up to be, especially when it becomes unhinged from religion, which it was closer to at an earlier stage of it's development...

here is a quote from emmanuel todd, who you highlight above.. "The idea that, under the pretext that a country is democratic, its citizens, after an internal debate, can legitimately decide to bomb the citizens of another country is an idea that will end up killing democracy. The United States are a greater danger to peace than Iran."

when you have privatized the prisons, getting rid of the drug problem would interfere with the prison growth industry... it would also interfere in the pharma industry... i can't see any change happening..

Posted by: james | Nov 30 2018 23:30 utc | 16

It gets worse. Sometime between 2020-2025 every Chinese will have a home, a job, plenty of food, education, safe streets, health and old age care.  On that day there will be more drug addicts, suicides and executions, more homeless, poor, hungry and imprisoned people in America than in China.

By 2021, 450,000,000 urban Chinese will have more net worth and disposable income than the average American, their mothers and infants will be less likely to die in childbirth, their children will graduate from high school three years ahead of–and outlive–American kids.

As Kishore Mahbubani, former President, UN Security Council, says, "The key question the West must ask is: how was the relative over-performance of Western societies in the second half of the 20th century replaced by underperformance in the 21st century? The answer will not come from looking at China. It will come from looking in the mirror".

Posted by: Godfree Roberts | Nov 30 2018 23:40 utc | 17

Many of the commentators mention the core issue; That of a society largely mediated by money, rather than some form of group, cultural contract. Given the US is a "melting pot" of immigrants, with a cultural mantra of individualism, this seems a logical situation. Yes, on a personal level, for most of us, myself included, it does look like we are falling into the abyss, as those support mechanisms we were acclimated to, are proving nebulous, but that should only provide reason to study the situation and put together a better plan.
In terms of economics, I see the most clear cut issue is that our culture views money as a commodity to be mined from society and hoarded, rather than the social contract and voucher system enabling mass societies to function in the first place.
Money cannot be viewed as personal property, because it is a medium, not a store of value. In your body, blood is the medium and it has to flow freely throughout the body. The head and the heart cannot keep it from the hands and feet.
My views on this go back to the Reagan era. When the country had a choice between Carter saying to put on a sweater and Reagan saying to put it on the credit card, the current situation, with a bankruptcy skating con artist in charge, was inevitable.
Politicians cannot be in charge of money, because people experience it as quantified hope and politicians live and die on the hope they provide, so when other promises don't work out, it is easiest to print money/issue debt/make promises. Especially since those hoarding most of it naturally also have the most power over the system.
Consider Volcker is credited with bringing inflation under control with higher interest rates. Yet that reduced money to those wanting to borrow and grow the economy and thus the need for more money. Not those with lots more money than they knew what to do with, who were then showered with more interest on their piles of loot.
It was Reaganomics which put those piles of surplus money to work, much of it on a bigger military. How much of our "savings" are spent blowing up other countries?
The government doesn't budget, which is to prioritize and spend according to ability. Instead it puts together these enormous bills, adds enough goodies/pork to get the votes and the president can only pass or veto it in entirety.
The line item veto has offered as a way to cut the budget, but it never would pass, as it eliminated legislative authority.
Yet it offers a good starting point. Break the bill into all its items, have every legislator assign a percentage value to each one, put it together in order of preference, then the president draws the line at what is to be funded. "The buck stops here."
This would leave prioritizing to the legislature, with the president responsible for overall spending.
Think though, for a moment, what would happen to Wall St, without the continuous tsunami of government debt flooding through its canyons and you see why it's all farce.
I'm basically a grunt worker who barely made it through high school, yet after a lifetime of following the news, from the outside, I do think the reality the powers that be are trying to hide can be found and made public. The question is how to organize a movement where such ideas can be debated and incorporated into some larger movement? That is beyond my varied talents.

Posted by: John Merryman | Dec 1 2018 0:06 utc | 18

One word,"eugenics". The science of culling the herd. Perhaps some ruling factions are not eugenicists as this article suggests. However, it is clear to me that powerful factions are behind this decline and it is a socially engineered decline (designed with malice aforethought)

Posted by: Peter | Dec 1 2018 0:17 utc | 19

Surely the signposts are to a NWO and the agenda, population reduction? Recent research suggest that the 'Spanish' flu was a bacterial vaccination programme out of Fort Riley which infected 100s of American forces who then spread the infection. MILLIONS of normal people have been killed off in the last 100 years, millions and millions. I can't help but see anything coming from Chatham House to be anything other than laughing at us. We're killing you off and now we are going to tell you how bad things are - cue psychopathic laughter........

Posted by: Mikalina | Dec 1 2018 0:24 utc | 20

James 16

You can add that raising wages for those living in areas of little hope would cut into the desperation that causes young people to chose the military. Paying them $20 to $25 per hour would help bring back the draft and end Endless War.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Dec 1 2018 0:43 utc | 21

I cannot see death from 'opiod' abuse as being the cause of anything. It is a symptom of a much more egregious condition with a considerably longer history - poverty.

This isn't pedantry, identifying the root causes of social malaises is vital, if addiction to opiates is identified as the problem which needs fixing we know what happens next; fools in bureaucracy incapable of seeing past the end of their noses will start another war on drugs, causing violence, death and further erosion of individuals' right to a private existence. Even if the war were successful, an extremely unlikely scenario, nothing would change as since the root cause had not been addressed, the citizens will simply find an alternative means of self & social destruction.

Too many people have lost hope. Not only does their own life not amount to anything much, the common social interest which once motivated amerikans to look past their individual concerns, now carries nothing to be proud of.

I dunno how it would feel to be a part of a society whose actions sparked a horror story outrage every day - children starving to death in Yemen, Palestinians tortured, raped then stuffed into a concentration camp, the murder of Honduran indigenous activist Berta Cáceres being underwritten by the Wall St banks funding the dam she opposed, living off a new murder rape or genocide every day, yet worst of all aside from an indefinable aura of guilt you get sfa else from it, but I suspect that a blat of hammer n tack would be about the only thing that could dull the pain.

Many of these amerikans on the nod have likely concluded that the empire still has a couple more descents into vicious, vile foulness yet to play out. I don't believe that humanity will be so lucky as to see the empire collapse suddenly under the weight of is baseness.

Before that happens to worst of the arseholes will make a play to 'save' amerika from itself, there will be some form of open dictatorship where the crimes of amerika today will be doubled down upon. The ninnies will cry "liberty for all" as they tear apart, torture and destroy anyone who doesn't look, act or sound like an ignorant red-necked arsehole.

These amerikans who talk about inequality being a national security issue are no better than the 'war on drugs' types in that they want to repair the problem just enough so that the theft of the world's resources can continue. They will 'juke the stats', lie and shift symptoms around like deck chairs on a ship with a major hole below the waterline right up to the point where the ship plunges to the bottom.

That is the conundrum - amerikans and/or anyone else who amerikans deem suitable cannot possibly fix this mess as the types who will get access will only be those who have drunk the kool aid - who have been indoctrinated into the same fantasies of purity through profit, so they have no chance of changing anything.
Anyone who does understand what is actually happening will be kept well away, simply because their attitudes and mores appear to be so vastly removed from the false continuum of amerikan indoctrination.
"Hey it's your turn to go down to the exchange and grab another box of 'fits".

Posted by: Debsisdead | Dec 1 2018 0:46 utc | 22

Hope and Change!

Barack Obama told bankers they should thank him for helping them make so much money, and boasted of making the US the world's largest oil producer. The former Democratic president was speaking with former top Bush/Reagan official James Baker, at a lavish gala surrounded by rich elites in tuxes eating hors d'oeuvres This was at a fundraiser for the neoliberal centrist think tank the Baker Institute, in Houston, Texas on November 27.

full: Hope and Change! full ...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 1 2018 0:51 utc | 23

The reason for many problems is multifactorial. Certainly decining living standards for the majority and financial hardships do make very expensive health care out of reach for many. Financial hardships also cause stress and lead to unhealthy lifestyles, neither of which facilitate long life.

That said its very likely that vaccination is partly responsible for declining life expectancy and increased child mortality. While the statistics point to other factors such as drug use, suicide and alcohol related deaths , they may be increasing due to chronic medical conditions resulting from these vaccines. ADD, CFS, low level autism, certain tumors etc. All of which are expensive to treat and cause financial and emotional hardships as indicated above.

Starting from the 1950’s people have been been receiving vaccines contaminated with animal viruses and animal viral cellular debris (remaining even when the live virus is killed which can cause adverse immune reactions) caused by growing the virus in animal cells. In addition, added to these vaccines are known neurotoxins such as mercury and aluminum which may be behind the rapid increases in alzheimers and autism.

I would recommend reading Virus and the Vaccine which sheds light on SV-40 (a monkey virus) which has been shown to cause cancer in humans, and Judy Mikovits book Plague showing how vaccines carrying a mouse retrovirus may behind increases in CFS (aka non HIV AIDS) and autism. Its also very likely HIV was introduced inadvertently into the population via trial Hepatitis B vaccinations that took place in the gay population at the same time as other vaccination programs in Africa .

In addition to the contamination problem we have pregnant woman being vaccinated for flu with vaccines containing neurotoxins that affect the fetus and give Hepatitis B vaccines to infants of mothers who do not have Hepatitis B, not to mention the massive vaccine assault on young people during their growing years, many which provide only an imperfect immunity for diseases which are rare or treatable

I do believe vaccines that are safe are appropriate for some of the more serious and common diseases, but its clearly gone overboard and the result may well be generations of humans who are damaged, less healthy, dumber, have DNA polluted with animal retroviruses and who die off earlier. In other words, the deevolution of the human race, or at least a certain segment.

Perhaps out of this a segment of the population that survived the assault goes on to evolve. With recent gene editing experiments on live human fetuses in China the age of a Super Human may be coming who may live for hundreds of years while the rest of us go the way of the neanderthal.

Posted by: Pft | Dec 1 2018 1:13 utc | 24

@ #7

first off, re: #3's claim: no. it's third; and that's if you believe the numbers to begin with. the claim comes from one study with unclear methods that's hidden behind a paywall. if anyone has a link to a full version that would help.

Without a hell of a lot more evidence than was provided, I don't believe those numbers. And any claims which originate at Johns Hopkins must have twice the normal evidence - at least so far as I'm concerned.

Supposedly 2.6 million Americans die every year. The numbers provided for iatrogenic deaths would mean somewhere between 9 and 29 percent of US deaths are caused by doctors. I wonder about how many of those 2.6 million deaths were caused by no health care at all. I also wondered how the US fares in comparison with other nations, and wasn't awfully surprised at what I found. Over on the right side of the graph we're included among the nations which apparently allow doctors and hospitals to do whatever it is they want to do - and with no consequences. No matter what happens, we can't allow the damned government restrict the freedom of US doctors who work in the best of all possible medical systems.

Incidence and mortality from adverse effects of medical treatment

The Oren Cass fellow: in my opinion the fellow is a paid mouthpiece - a hired gun who will write whatever his Wealthy Patrons want him to put through his keyboard. The two negative reviews at the Amazon site told a tale, and so did some searches I made on him. Post Office = bad. Single Payer = bad. In theory Cass admits Global Warming "might" exist, but he denies there is anything which could or should be done about it. Paid Hack.

The National Review author has been forced to admit things aren't going well, for it's no longer possible to claim otherwise. IMO he spent most of the piece throwing out a fog of meaningless words to confuse the issue.

What worries me is that these paid *hores are getting the job done. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was gang tackled by relatives who are at least as bright as myself on the issue of Global Warming. I'd just explained that volcanic dust is a temporary "cooling" agent while carbon dioxide is a long-term warming one. (dust rather quickly falls or is washed out of the atmosphere) Well!, a search on the internet tubes found a site funded by Big Oil which said otherwise. The scary part was that they all believed that they could ignore what they'd learned in school (as well as everyday common sense) and declare me checkmated. That's because they've been conditioned to accept that "facts is facts", and an essay/article which says "not A" defeats a person or another article which says "A". No thinking required. Therefore we'll be forever in doubt until Exxon and the rest stop paying their hired *hores to contest the matter.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 1 2018 1:18 utc | 25

Emmanuel Todd is a very interesting guy...
Dunno if he did a lot of interviews in English, but if you find any I strongly encourage you to listen to them...

He did predict the fall of the USSR and of the USA decades before it actually happened.

But he's most interesting / important work isn't that. It is about family structures and how the type of family you were raised in is directly correlated to the way you vote.

"Some parts of the world are dominated by communism, others by Catholicism or by Islam and yet others by liberal doctrines. Why should this be? And why has communism triumphed in Russia, China and Cuba [the book was published in 1985], yet failed in Poland, Cambodia and Indonesia? Why should English society be distinctively individualistic, French egalitarian and Russian authoritarian? No one knows. Certainly no clear answer lies in variations of climate, environment, race or even economic development."

Germany has an authoritarian and unequal family type and gave birth to nazism.
Russia has an authoritarian and egalitarian family type and gave birth to communism.
France has an egalitarian and non-authoritarian family type and give birth to the french revolution...

More of that for those who are interested here : and here :

Posted by: SysATI | Dec 1 2018 1:37 utc | 26

This could be the most important topic you've ever raised, b. If it's not the most important, it certainly ranks high in the Top Ten.
This dis-ease can be traced back to, and laid at the feet of, the so-called Neoliberal crowd. Brazen pro-Neolib skunk, Grover Norquist summed it up nicely when he said...

"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Tough/smart as this may sound, it is a call to disempower The People because Government was created to represent and watch over the interests of the people.

Until every influential person in the US who has ever advocated Small Government has had his/her influence withdrawn, cancelled and been removed from office (no exceptions) things will only get worse.
The solution is simple. Implementation could be problematic - but well worth the pain.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 1 2018 1:44 utc | 27

This means the Evil Empire will be depopulated sooner than later.... That is great news. Next great news is we can decide via some new technology who to depopulate first.
How is Israhell doing, btw ?

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 1 2018 2:24 utc | 28

The anti-vaxxer strikes again.

That said its very likely that vaccination is partly responsible for declining life expectancy and increased child mortality. While the statistics point to other factors such as drug use, suicide and alcohol related deaths , they may be increasing due to chronic medical conditions resulting from these vaccines.

You use or want to use dope? It could be because of that measles shot. Feel like killing yourself? Maybe that's from the tetanus update you had. You got falling-down drunk last weekend? Better skip the flu shot this year. We have a genuine form of Pansophy here - it's a universal wisdom which explains everything. Oh, a few actual germs exist, but those loopy guys and gals with the needles are just wanting to get rich, and don't give a hoot about how much you suffer as a result of their evil deeds.

I would recommend reading {correction} The Virus and the Vaccine: Contaminated Vaccine, Deadly Cancers, and Government Neglect which sheds light on SV-40 (a monkey virus) which has been shown to cause cancer in humans...

According to my link that last claim is a canard:

Thirty-five year mortality following receipt of SV40- contaminated polio vaccine during the neonatal period

I think most people were surprised that anything would survive the formaldhyde treatment in the manufacture of the "killed virus"Salk vaccine, but it seems SV40 did just that. We're fortunate the contamination hasn't yet caused any detectable troubles.

But let's consider that you're back in 1955 and knew about the possibility. Would it have deterred you? Maybe not. Our ancestors had to make a dreadful choice with $mallpox (pardon my deference to Homeland Security and the American Police State for not googling this). Way back in time you might have been parked in Boston, and an epidemic of that 'pox is moving down the coast towards you. When it arrives, you have a very high probabily of being infected by the 'wild' virus. If you catch it, your chances of dying are at least 25%. If you go down to the doctor and get "innoculated" with pus from a survivor, you are guaranteed to get very ill and have a 2% chance of dying. (more invented numbers for the same reason as before, but they're in the 'ballpark')

Which will it be? Nothing is perfectly safe. I agree we ought to regulate Big Pharma so hard they'd not dare take shortcuts, but that would be hurting their corporate personhood "freedom" to maximize their profits. So we don't. Worse than that, laws have been passed to protect them from their screwups. That ought to end as well. Buy the vaccines from Europe or Asia or Africa if they make better ones. Good luck with THAT one, too.

Fact remains, even while we wait for some reforms from our politicians who are sunk into their corrupt and "collective indifference", we're still better off with the vaccinations.

Making up fantasy bogy men and waving them around is a very bad idea.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 1 2018 2:47 utc | 29

Decline in U$A population longevity? Probably not a big deal if we keep going down this road..

"The disappearance of common species
Insect die-off: Even common species are becoming rare"..

Posted by: ben | Dec 1 2018 4:02 utc | 30

almost a trillion USD per year for the war machine and the military-industrial complex is an awful lot of money, and if only 35% of that were given instead to funding education, health and social services, these numbers would surely be going in a different direction.

the Ruling Class and the other american power elites have made their decisions on where all the social wealth of the society is to go, and it will be difficult, to say the least, at this late point in history, to change that dynamic without a significant social/political/economic upheaval and change in social relations

Posted by: michaelj72 | Dec 1 2018 4:14 utc | 31

Pnyx @ 5:

Life expectancy in the United Kingdom has already started falling, and the fall began after 2011.

Danny Dorling, Stuart Gietel-Basten, "Life expectancy in Britain has fallen so much that a million years of life could disappear by 2058 – why?"

Posted by: Jen | Dec 1 2018 4:44 utc | 32

from RT: German Jews demand extra integration classes for Muslim migrants to avoid anti-Semitism attacks

It's not entirely clear to me how the merchant expects to survive after it completes its planned demolition of White countries. As best as I can tell, the learned elders plan to either flee to Israel or somehow attempt to rule over the earthly hells their anti-White mass immigration policies are rapidly creating.

It's hard to believe, but apparently the merchant honestly thinks it can somehow control the roiling dark mass and this situation will be somehow better for them than living among endlessly accommodating JUDEO-christian cattle.

Germany's federation of Jews has suggested tailoring extra integration classes for migrants, who may still be influenced by their home countries' anti-Jewish sentiments.

Translation: Your rapidly dying ancestral land has a "federation of jews" in it. Work hard in a terrible job, try to avoid becoming part of a street violence "isolated incident," struggle to protect your loved ones from the darkness encroaching from all sides, seek solace in denial and delusion. Meanwhile, your enemy works tirelessly to make sure everything is destroyed, organizing special groups and leveraging every last bit of power toward the coming collapse. You might have hopes and dreams, but the semitic rodent only lives to devour and destroy.

Official figures released this summer show that the number of hate crimes committed against Jews in Germany increased by more than 10 percent. While the majority of the crimes were committed by Neo-Nazi groups, in some cases the attackers were Muslim migrants.

We all know there's lots of neon not-see attacks in a country so beaten down by endless kosher attacks that the indigenous population will gladly vote for and cheer on their own annihilation.

Shockingly, muslim immigrants are also proving not to be huge fans of the (((poisonous mushrooms))) It's almost like the jew is universally despised because of its behavior and not "prejudice."

Though the migrant flow is not pouring into Europe with the force of previous years, Vice President of Germany's Central Council of Jews Abraham Lehrer believes that the “problem of immigrant Arab-Islamic anti-Semitism” still lies ahead.

Translation: A lot less blood is spurting out of your beheaded body then a few moments ago, so things must be getting better.

On the other hand, the foreign aliens brought in as a kosher cudgel against a dying native German population are proving less than circumspect with their violent pathology and occasionally even the merchants are being hit by friendly fire

full story

Posted by: Joana | Dec 1 2018 5:30 utc | 33

Zachary Smith

I have family members dead (leukemia, mesothelioma) , and with autism and alzheimers. All of which may be vaccine related. Key word “may”. Not an issue I take lightly. I did say I was all for safe vaccines depending on the severity of the disease and scope. Giving blanket immunity to manufacturers suggests there is a hidden problem.

As for SV-40, contaminated vaccine was allowed to be distributed “after” it was known to be contaminated. The government has consistently assisted in covering up the damage vaccines have done. They still deny SV-40 causes cancer and have only funded studies meant to prove their case.

Many of the scientists involved in the cover up end up working for Big Pharma after retirement at huge salaries as a reward. Government also has interfered with the science denying grants for studies which would expose this, pressuring journals not to publish papers which are inconvenient and when a paper slips through they arrange funding for studies by controlled scientists to refute the results. In the case of Judy Mikovits she was arrested, bankrupted and black listed. Another scientist had a convenient “accident” after being denied funding to support her earlier inconvenient results (Oslers Web). I am sure there are many other examples. Eisenhauer warned about governments influence on science in his MIC speech

Frankly the virus problem may not be an issue in current vaccines. Thanks to Judy Mikovits she was able to confirm that a new technology was effective in cleaning up the blood bank and vaccines and ensuring they had no live vaccines. Especially in light of her findings that blood samples from 6% of healthy patients had been exposed to animal retroviruses (much higher in the unhealthy population) . Thats almost 20 million people in the US today who might get sick as a result or pass it on to others. Government has since spent billions funding the clean up that they insist was not needed in other forums. However the issue with viral debris and neurotoxins still exist.

Anyways, read those books and decide. As for climate change I will engage in another thread

Leaving you with a Bill Gates quote from an interview a few years ago

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

Posted by: Pft | Dec 1 2018 5:45 utc | 34

But will the institutionalized corruption of Congress, what Todd calls the "obsolescence of unreformable political institutions", allow for any change?

This closing paragraph encompasses the key question/problem.
I've been watching from afar for 16 years; the decline exceeds its angle of repose for those 16 years.
Inertia (A property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.) will not be denied.
Todd is correct, IMO.

Posted by: V | Dec 1 2018 7:11 utc | 35

OT I know, but Bush Srj. has kicked the bucket. The last US Potus with a semblance of sanity.

Posted by: Den Lille Abe | Dec 1 2018 7:48 utc | 36

- There are more signs that our country is in decline. I look at the median household income (MHI) here in the US. Between say 1965 and the year 1999/2000 the MHI rose for some 35 years. It was NOT in a straight line. MHI fell in every US recession and MHI rose in every economic expansion. But the overall MHI over this some 35 years kept rising.
- But between 1999/2000 and 2007/2008 MHI didn't rise anymore.

- Another sign of decline is the birth rate here in the US. The US was already ageing before the year 2008. But after 2008 the birthrate fell even more by some 20%. Married couples, households simply can't afford to have children anymore.

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 1 2018 8:08 utc | 37

What matters is the explosive rise of disease chronicity. People still technically alive but ruined with Alzheimer's, diabetes, obesity - you name it. And the unending cost of useless treament by the ever greedy medical establishment. 20% GNP and rising. "We don't have a cure for anything!"

The U.S. could not sustain a military draft, can't recruit fit service personnel. The Army has over 100,000 'undeployables' meaning fat tubbies. These tendencies are deepening rapidly.

American eat a diet of garbage food, take useless and harmful medications and live in a toxic waste dump. The new term, actually coined by physicians is "Shit-Living". The cumulative effects that destroy a society.

But not China. Or Russia.

Posted by: Robert McMaster | Dec 1 2018 8:52 utc | 38

RM #37
The other term for the decline is, moral decay.
It used to be taught/inculcated from birth by the parents; who got it from their parents; and so forth.
That chain was broken in 1963, November 22.
1964 was another banner year for moral decay, with the early beginnings of war on the Vietnamese.

Yes, but not Russia or China.

Posted by: V | Dec 1 2018 9:13 utc | 39

- The demise of the US Empire was already baked into the cake in the early 1980s. We must look at the socalled Baby Boomers. From about 1935 up to 1961 the amount of babies born in the US increased. One Harry S. Dent has done much research on the relationship between demographic developments and economic cycles.
- I also look at the GIANT amount of debt the US currently is holding. That is also a LARGE danger for the "National Security" of the US.

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 1 2018 9:20 utc | 40

I must say that much like his viewpoint on the 2018 midterms, b's take is too simplistic and incorrect on some levels, while not necessarily wrong as a sweeping generalisation. "Social decay" in the US results directly from class warfare waged by wealthy, conservative whites primarily against the poor of all races, but mostly aimed at minourities, especially illegal immigrants.

The political manifestation has been through the conservative movement which since the 1980s has constantly reduced taxes and cut social spending for the poor in round after round of reductions justified by the deficits created by the tax cuts. Wash, rinse, repeat. Yes, Clinton is to blame also. He's a conservative for sure but also a political opportunist who bowed to the conservatism which first swept Congress in 1992. He signed the bills they passed. Conversely, Nixon, who was not liberal is considered a liberal by some netizens nowadays (delusionally, I might add), signed bills that were passed by the overwhelmingly liberal Congress of his time.

A strange historical conundrum of the US political system.

The most suffering white populations reside in the more rural, post industrial and agricultural flyover states ruled for decades by tax cutting conservatives. These populations increasingly reject conservative policy and accept progressive positions but have been so well taught to hate progressives, mostly because progressives are pointy headed urban white nerds, blacks and Mexicans. Ergo, Trumpism.

Lip service by a few rightwing think tankers notwithstanding, conservatism is the least compelling social and political force today in the US. Conservatism as a political movement is on the decline if not completely dead, and has been replaced on the right by Trumpism, which of course is nothing less than a form of nascent fascism.

Whether Trump is drummed out of office through scandal or voted out, the most interesting and existententially compelling drama for Amerikkka in the next several years will be what replaces this now dead Reaganist conservatism?

When we look at data solely for the white middle class the numbers become more on par with Europe. Rather than institute European social policy to raise up all classes and races, the Reaganist philosophy is as always: let them eat dirt. From 6 feet under. If they are white we will take what's left of their pittances to pay for the funeral. If they aren't white, who cares what happens to the carcass.

Trump has the power to kill Reaganism. He's basically already done so, or more accurately, he has ridden this wave of the flyover state rejection of Reaganism to his own benefit.

Will he ever become the true populist he presented himself to be?

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 1 2018 10:56 utc | 41

Change for more responsive social services? Not very likely.
We've (in the collective sense) been tamed.
So, our collective attitude is; Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; in The Little Prince says through the Fox: "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed,"
But "they" refuse that responsibility.
What's to be done? That is the real question!

Posted by: V | Dec 1 2018 11:01 utc | 42

And of course, Obamacare reversed the trend by extending Medicaid/CHIP coverage to more people, adding coverage for 14.5 million in the process. Of course, subsequent political opposition, most notably the SCOTUS decision, kept many more millions in the poorest, white-GOP controlled states from accessing expanded Medicaid.

As we have seen recently, several of these states have reversed course, some through statewide ballot initiatives and more are expected to sign on to Obamacare Medicaid in the near future.

Even as the Trump agenda for its first year in office tried repeatedly to kill Medicaid expansion and is still trying to do so through the courts now that it no longer has control of Congress.

As for the "public option," this was always something of a chimera, since nothing of the sort existed in the US system and would need to be created from ground up out of nothing in order to be offered. The goal of Obamacare was always to be a first step in the bridge to a truly national healthcare system.

So, the real deal of a "public option", which is to buy into Medicare or expanded Medicaid for greater numbers, is now on the table and gathering popularity in the public and in Congress. This will eventually occur, most likely in a highly cost regulated "health isnurance market," such as exists today with private "Medicare Advantage" Plans offered by the largest insurance companies.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 1 2018 11:18 utc | 43

And by "highly cost regulated" what I mean is the reimbursement to healthcare providers is regulated under Medicare, Medicare Advantage (private Medicare plans), and Medicaid, while a form of competition exists perversely in the private health insurance market, where hospitals often receive anywhere from 200-800% of the Medicare reimbursement from the same large insurance companies for non-Medicare patients.

Under a Medicare for all scenario, the reimbursements to providers would match Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement or become much closer, such as 120% of Medicare.

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 1 2018 11:37 utc | 44

Certainly the money "corruption of Congress" and mass media will not "allow for any change." Constitutional amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited personal contributions cannot be passed because these tools of democracy are no longer ours.

The US pinned its last hopes on a rogue quasi-populist who might destroy oligarchy and of course he did not. We await a series of disasters, pushing us further into fake industries of markups, extortion, and fraud, until the US is rewarded with poverty for its ideology of greed. It will remain corrupt for centuries.

Posted by: Eglantz | Dec 1 2018 11:56 utc | 45

@ 17 how to organize.. means first to model the ideal situation (what would your constitution look like and how would it work), and to use the model to compare all that is wrong with each element in our society.. After that is done, you will find all the support you need.

What is the ideal society? How should it function? How should is should it be managed?

My on topic comment addressed to the guts of the article is that privatization accounts for nearly all aspects of the report. yet privatization is not mentioned except in the meaning of the word capitalism. If you look at the major privatization scams real estate ownership, copyrights, patents and public service franchises, and license to work, you can easily show how the earnings and profits of the masses are transferred to the wealthy few Oligarchs.

Without government to make laws that steal the earnings and savings of the masses and allow thieves to keep it, there would be very few wealthy people indeed.

Oligarchs would not be wealthy beyond all means and they would not be able to pass their wealth to the next generations..

In order for land ownership to be private (that is privately owned land) a government has to exist that can write a law to provide for the recording of claims of ownership and to litigate title disputes and to criminalize and enforce trespass ( see the enclosure acts beginning right after Martin Luther nailed his stuff to the church door).

Simultaneous with the enclosure acts(government again) was the development of copyright (king did not want something printed that would cause concern for his kingdom) and patents. Copyrights and patents (inventions of law) were traded in Coffee Houses throughout Europe, had infinite lifetimes until the British People up in arms, forced the monopoly powers in copyright and patents to end after 7 years.

Ben Franklin, Ambassador to England France, transferred this rule to the US Constitution Art. 1, The Congress shall have Power ..
Sec. 8, para 8. "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Joe acquires land that produces corn, instead of everyone on the land making corn for their own use, the land proprietor uses the people who live on his land to over produce the corn so it can be sold, He even makes those who live on the land buy it at the store.
This transfers nearly all wealth to the land owner.

Mac writes a great story and a publisher (Ben Franklin) copyrights it and sells it. the publisher makes the bread, the author gets a few bucks, and once again the copyright holder builds his wealth as each book is sold. That wealth came from the masses.

Frank, a farmer is lazy. He rigs up a method to use a horse to do the plowing and patents the idea. Now anytime a farmer wants to use a horse to plow he must pay Frank. This transfers farmers wealth to Frank.

In simple terms Joe, Mac and Frank are wealthier, because everyone else has been made poorer (the rule of law generated wealth for the few out of thin air); Worse if someone invents an improvement to Franks horse driven plow, he or she cannot sell it, unless Frank gets a cut, because the improvement (add on) still requires Franks technology to work.

This is what is happening to cause the life expectancy to decline. and to make the very few extremely wealthy at the expense of the masses. (capitalism depends on laws that steal from the masses and the deny the masses the right to compete).

Posted by: snake | Dec 1 2018 12:16 utc | 46

People dying prematurely from alcohol abuse also contributes mightily to this problem.

Posted by: Mister Roboto | Dec 1 2018 12:18 utc | 47

Do you know the biggest killer in the US? Not guns, not car accidents but iatrogenic deaths i.e. deaths caused by medical intervention. Depending on how tightly that is defined the figure ranges between 250,000 and 750,000 a year. These are people that would not have died had they not gone to see their doctor. The 'sick business' is truly sick, and when you consider that that 'health care' constitutes 18% of US GDP you can see the motive.
Posted by: Ross | Nov 30, 2018 4:04:28 PM | 2

Several scientific studies - in several countries including the US and the UK, and spread over quite a long period of time - have shown that when the doctors/hospitals are on strike/closed the death rate goes down. I.e. your chances of dying are higher if/when you go to see the doctor. No scientific journal has disputed the effect. Also specifically with respect to cancer there are several very large and well-regarded scientific studies that show that the average life expectancy from the time of diagnosis for people with cancer is longer for people who undertake NO treatment at all from western medicine, and shorter for those that do. If I recall correctly, the average is 5-7 years for those who are treated by western medicine, and about 12 years for those who avoid western medicine. It is the treatment that kills more than the cancer itself. This is especially true for chemotherapy - the treatment is deadly and designed to be deadly. It causes the original tumors to subside, but it is so toxic it causes new and uncurable secondary tumors within 5 years. That is the reason why the medical industry measures "success" of cancer treatment within 5 years - the period is deliberately designed to exclude most of the iatrogenic deaths, the majority of which are slightly outside the 5 year window. Many alternative treatments are very successful and cause long term remission, but alternative treatments are viciously attacked by Big Pharma who have an unlimited budget for exactly the same type of totally dishonest fake news campaigns as we see in Russiagate, Skripalgate and Syria-Chemical-Weaponsgate. Governmental bodies, intergovernmental bodies and even universities are deeply corrupted by exactly the same cash-bribe corruption and institutionalised vested interests as we see with the military industrial complex, and has the same revolving doors. The entire medical industry is MASSIVELY corrupt - from the medical schools (and the most prestigious are the worst) to regulatory authorities to medical research to institutional management. The Pharma industry starts targetting medical students with targetted "incentivisation" from the very first day in their studies.

Big Pharma is guilty of genocide on a much larger scale than the MIC, and supported by medical schools, the "regulative" authorities, and the insurance industry. The entire industry is profoundly immoral.

The medical industry brings massive profits. Profits from cancer treatment alone is trillions of dollars per year. The medical industry does not profit from curing you - IT PROFITS MOST BY KILLING YOU - that way they get a higher turnover for their expensive treatments. The medical industry have a very large financial incentive to kill you - it increases their profits. The medical industry is one of the most profoundly corrupted industries in the world.

It is sick, yes, it is morally degenerate. But you could also say the medical industry is "healthy" - "healthy" in giving massive profits for shareholders. But for patients it is terminally ill.

Science, too, is highly corrupted, and at a profoundly deep level. The biggest problem with science is the funding sources and funding structures, which are deeply corrupting. Since the 80's most science is funded by industry - with strings attached. Especially in medical research, scientific studies that give the "wrong" results (results not desired by the funding industry) are suppressed, and only cherry-picked results are published. Large numbers of medical deaths each year result from toxic treatments that have only been approved by cherry-picking results and suppressing much stronger negative results by not publishing. Modern science as a whole is highly un-scientific, profoundly corrupted by funding structures, compounded by careers structures.

There is a small but highly effective campaigning organisation called Alltrials or Sense about Science and which has been campaigning to get a database of scientific studies and legislative changes to force registration of all scientific studies, and publication of papers. They have had major successes both in Europe and in the USA. I can recommend subscribing to their newsletter because it is one of the few sources of good news you can find!

Posted by: BM | Dec 1 2018 12:49 utc | 48

Sorry, that should be not .net. And

Posted by: BM | Dec 1 2018 12:54 utc | 49

The ZUSA spreading its morals to Ukraine, full force:

"Over the past 24 hours, Kiev military forces fired over 80 heavy shells upon the Lugansk Republic, as tensions rise in the aftermath of the Kerch Strait battle incident."

The intentional shelling of the civilian population by the US-installed neo-Nazi junta is also a violation of the Minsk Agreements of 2015.

Similar to the "most Christian and exceptional" nation of ZUSA, the nazified Ukraine does not do diplomacy.

Posted by: Anya | Dec 1 2018 13:02 utc | 50

Posted by: snake | Dec 1, 2018 7:16:21 AM | 45

The US talks about "Intellectual Property Rights" as though it is a natural law, but it is not, it is a purely artificial construct. According to natural law information is free for everybody. Intellectual property rights are an artificial device by which the wealth of the rich and privileged can be increased at the expense of society.

Posted by: BM | Dec 1 2018 13:03 utc | 51

Zenko is right to be concerned. But like Debsisdead said, his worries are about the symptoms and not the cause. Todd didn't make that mistake. You can't just cure the opioid and suicide epidemics and things will then be great and rosy; you first have to cure the deep causes, and a good many of them are of a socio-economic order. Unless you reform the whole economic system in the US, things will go down, just like USSR went down.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 1 2018 13:07 utc | 52

In the West, patients pay their doctor to cure them when they are sick. If everybody is healthy, the doctor gets no income. It is not a very good system, it incentivises the doctor to prolong your illness, and de-incentivises preventative treatment.

It is not the only system. In China, according to what I have read, there is a tradition (mainly in rural communities? I am not sure) by which the patient pays the doctor regularly when he is healthy. As soon as he gets sick he stops paying, and the doctor is obliged to treat him; he only resumes paying after he is cured. It is a very good system which incentivises high morality, whereas the Western system incentivises immorality.

In India and Sri Lanka there is another system - traditionally, ayurvedic doctors do not charge for their services - both treatment and (? maybe not always?) medication are free, but the patient gives a donation for good treatment. It also incentivises high morality. The traditional view is that a doctor who charges for his treatment is deeply immoral, like a prostitute.

Posted by: BM | Dec 1 2018 13:15 utc | 53

Unless you reform the whole economic system in the US, things will go down, just like USSR went down.
Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 1, 2018 8:07:20 AM | 51

Sounds good, I can't wait!

Posted by: BM | Dec 1 2018 13:17 utc | 54

BM, are you joking when you recommend that corporate lobby and propaganda clearinghouse?

They're especially ardent when shilling for the agribusiness, biotech, and Big Pharma sectors.

Nothing says scientific integrity like this funder list!

Association of the British Pharmaceutial Industry (ABPI)
Amersham plc
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
The Biochemical Society
Blackwells publishing
British Petroleum plc
Mr J. Browning
Mr D. Brydon
Prof A. Dixon
Dixons Group plc
The Society for Endocrinology
The Society for General Microbiology
Halifax Bank of Scotland
Health and Science Communication Trust
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA)
John Innes Centre
The John Innes Trust
Mr. J. Moynihan
Mr M. Livermore
Oxford GlycoSciences plc
Pfizer plc
Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain
Blackwells Publishing
Dr M. Ridley
Social Issues Research Centre
Unilever plc.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 1 2018 13:39 utc | 55

@ james, 16

“capitalism isn’t all it is cracked up to be, especially when it becomes unhinged from religion…”

l think just the opposite. I believe religion takes the emergency out of the idea of prosperity for all on earth. Religion promises the illusion of ‘pie in the sky when you die.’

The exploitive one-percenters are as happy as a dog with two tails in seeing poor folk finding solace in the “hereafter.”

Posted by: A. Person | Dec 1 2018 14:15 utc | 56

"Unless you reform the whole economic system in the US, things will go down, just like USSR went down.
Posted by: Clueless Joe "

This suggests that the USSR failed because its economic system was unworkable, essentially because only capitalism, with its market incentives etc, works efficiently. We often see this or variations of this argument but it is merely crude capitalist propaganda.
In fact the pressures that the USSR succumbed to were largely external- from the intervention wars after 1917, including the German invasion under Hoffman, until the Al Qaeda-NATO-Pakistan backed war in Afghanistan the USSR was under constant outside pressure. And during the entire length of its existence it was under economic sanctions, boycotts and unable to mobilise capital from outside.
In fact the economic history of the USSR was astonishingly successful in many ways, and the mere fact that starting, from scratch, as it were, not only in 1921 but in 1946 as well, it managed to lift itself up by its bootstraps and both feed its population and maintain its position in the arms race is testimony to the robust nature of the Soviet economy.As well as to the efficiency of socialist distributive measures in providing for popular necessities, from medicine to food and education.
This is not to say that the USSR was not very flawed and inefficient, merely that even a crude authoritarian socialist system, under immense international pressure for decades and constantly needing to prioritise its defences, is less inefficient, wasteful and socially suicidal than capitalism.
What b's post does is to draw attention to the process which is bringing the USA and the UK- and many other countries too, including one suspects Russia- to the verge of a massive social crisis which is inevitable in capitalism. Something akin to the prophecies that Marx made and which, in the C19th, were shared by most conservative as well as socialist thinkers. Capitalism, after all, is the first system that humanity has ever devised in which the welfare of the masses is not held to be the first priority of those governing. Even slaveowners made sure to feed and medicate their labourers; feudal lords understood that the welfare of the serfs was crucial to social stability and economic development; capitalism is unique in leaving lives to the vagaries of the markets and the whims of the psychotically greedy.
Capitalism is committing suicide and wagering that its victims are too brainwashed to understand what is happening. It is not a bet that rational players would make.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 1 2018 14:26 utc | 57

Correction to donkeytale @ 41

Conservatism first swept the House in 1994

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 1 2018 14:34 utc | 58

BM says:

The traditional view is that a doctor who charges for his treatment is deeply immoral, like a prostitute

well, if you wanna traipse down that road you'd better muster all the intellectual honesty you can, 'cause taken to its logical conclusion you can't but not admit that doing ANYTHING for money is immoral.

Posted by: john | Dec 1 2018 14:38 utc | 59

@ A Person 55

You're talking about one type of religion among the vast range of religiosity. Through the natural history of humanity the great majority of religion wasn't of the Western monotheistic Earth-denying strain*, and I suspect that the reign on Earth of this strain will turn out to have been very brief once it's over and humanity returns to traditional beliefs that actually work amid the ecology. And of course there's still lots of religious practice today all over the world which isn't of that Western strain, and these traditional modes are gaining ground all the time.

*Christianity includes, as offshoots, all the modern "secular" civil religions: Civilizationism, productionism, capitalism, communism, "progress", scientism, technocracy, electoralism. These are just as hierarchical and Earth-denying as Christianity at its worst.

And of course Mammon always has been extremely aggressive, but especially in the modern era.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 1 2018 14:40 utc | 60

I find it doubtful that the international economic elite and their brain trust are not aware of what they have wrought, especially in the USA. This then should lead those with an interest in what these economic elites have in mind as to the future that human history is to take and to explore their vision These writings and appeals to morality are likely fluff meant to misdirect and obfuscate while leading the larger public down another rabbit hole under the adage that while we watch they create another whole new reality. Of course they still have to get our blessings, in whichever manner they can, before achieving their goals but to date this does not seem much of an obstacle to their incremental and simultaneous implementation of events and agenda that lead to the achievement of their plannings for the future they desire.

Posted by: BRF | Dec 1 2018 15:11 utc | 61

BM @ 48

Do you have links to these various studies which you cite at some length?

Posted by: donkeytale | Dec 1 2018 15:20 utc | 62

- In this article "B" mentions Emmanuel Todd who predicted the fall of the Soviet Union (SU). One of the characteristics of the SU was also that the average age of the leaders was very high in the 1970s and the 1980s. All these leaders (with the exception of Gorbatschow) were in their 80s when they died. I see a similar thing here in the US. People like Pelosi, Trump, Feinstein, H. Clinton are all over 70 years old.

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 1 2018 15:41 utc | 63

If Monsanto/Baxter control of seeds via Patent Law ( an absurdity by itself ) the spectre of increased use of pesticides because it does not kill the plants on which it is used ( and saying it is not demonstrated harmful to people is interesting both because 30 nations do not allow importation of US 'food' - and because it is a mile away from saying it is nutritious and beneficial ) is a symptom of a culture in which the use of toxins is more important than the preservation of life. If it's dead, it won't rot. So we have a ridiculous situation where a nation deliberately infects infants with dozens of diseases ( 74 at last count ) to bolster 'herd immunity' in a great public experiment where criticism of the agenda is mocked and damage not demonstrably monitored. I can even note sites that are listed as malware hosts because of 'politically incorrect' thought about the putative virtues of using techniques originating as desperate measures to protect adults from deadly epidemics as a model for modifying immune systems of children - known 'safe' without precedent. In such a circus healthcare rapidly becomes a 'Punch and Judy' show which might provide entertainment for pundits, but will not aid longevity. Add to that mandatory 'health insurance' for services which were previously rejected as unsatisfactory and even dangerous and you have a near 'Perfect Storm' depriving people of health. Sedentary lifestyle provides the crowning touch.

Posted by: John Farnham | Dec 1 2018 15:53 utc | 64

Where you see "social decline" just put "white decline" and you will understand everything much better.

And if you are white, you might even begin to see who your real enemies are and what is to be done.

Of all political, social, economic, moral and cultural issues, the first question any white person should as is: "Is this good for us?"

Whites must begin to play identity politics as, say, Jews, or they will go under.

Posted by: Random Observer | Dec 1 2018 16:29 utc | 65

BM, are you joking when you recommend that corporate lobby and propaganda clearinghouse?

They're especially ardent when shilling for the agribusiness, biotech, and Big Pharma sectors.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 1, 2018 8:39:28 AM | 54

I have followed Alltrials for over 4 years, and they have done nothing but good work. They are most certainly NOT "shilling for the agribusiness, biotech, and Big Pharma sectors" - the exact opposite. They necessarily have dealings with Big Pharma - but only in twisting their arm to be more accountable and to support the publication of all medical trials. As to Senseaboutscience I have to admit I was not aware it was a separate organisation, nor of what else they are doing besides Alltrials. In response to your post I took a quick look at the senseaboutscience website and could see nothing adverse, but I had only a very brief look and don't have time to look more closely at the moment.

Alltrials I can unequivocably recommend. For Senseaboutscience I have to plead ignorance.

Posted by: BM | Dec 1 2018 17:09 utc | 66

- The following article gives - IMO - an interesting view on what the (National Security) agenda is behind the Trade tariffs.

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 1 2018 17:11 utc | 67

well, if you wanna traipse down that road you'd better muster all the intellectual honesty you can, 'cause taken to its logical conclusion you can't but not admit that doing ANYTHING for money is immoral.
Posted by: john | Dec 1, 2018 9:38:34 AM | 58

There are some things you can do for money which are morally neutral - for example building a house, repairing a car, or a myriad of other actions. But there are also some types of activities which some cultures - especially very highly developed societies - would consider to require moral responsibilities. If you come from a morally degenerate society such as the USA that reduces everything to money you might find that difficult to understand. In which case I cannot help you. Try broadening your horizons through reading.

Posted by: BM | Dec 1 2018 17:30 utc | 68

- What A LOT OF people overlook is that EVERY economic system has a number of dynamics of its own that make it impossible to actively manage an economy by e.g. politicians. They think they can move an economy in one or the other direction but an economy has "a mind of his own". And that means that, no matter, how much one tries countries will go through an economic upturn and an economic downturn. And an economy is also a system driven by people (demographic developments). And demographic developments are EXTREMELY hard to "manage", if not impossible to manage. And now the US is learning that the hard way, AS WELL.
- Looking back, one can say that the future of the US was alreaday determined by (demographic) developments that ended in the 1960s. (Read the work of one Harry S. Dent).

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 1 2018 17:38 utc | 69

Leaving you with a Bill Gates quote from an interview a few years ago

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s heading up to about nine billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

At some point a person has to deduce that his communication with another person is not a rational one. Gates has been spending literally billions of dollars to try to reduce third-world diseases. A single article at his site listed severe diarrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, polio, measles, malaria, and meningitis. You have obviously concluded this effort is a sneaky and nasty way to murder the impoverished people and thus reduce population. Worse than that, you cap it all with a direct and verifiable quote from the man where he proudly and publicly admits his desire to do a genocide which will beat out Hitler by a factor of a thousand.

Plainly it hasn't even occurred to you that Gates had a public brain fart during his TED speak. That has happened to me, and to most everybody with whom I've had close contact. It's worst when I'm trying to speak in public. Gates is not a polished speaker. He screwed up. That's obviously something you cannot imagine happening. And you clearly don't have a clue about the history of how forcible population-reduction campaigns haven't worked. Convincing poor people that it's in their own interest to reduce the number of children they have is now seen as the only really promising way for that to happen.

As noted by and Snopes Bill Gates is not interested in using vaccines to reduce the population by using them as an agent of death or a tool to sterilize unsuspecting masses. Rather, Gates is interested in keeping more children alive in order to reduce the need for parents to have more children, thus limiting the overall population growth rate. In society after society, he saw, when the mortality rate falls - specifically, below 10 deaths per 1,000 people - the birth rate follows, and population growth stabilizes.

You'll either dump the crazy crap or you won't. In the meantime, I see no point wasting my time in any additional conversation, and promise to try to avoid your lurid fantasies, same as with the other resident forum troll.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 1 2018 17:52 utc | 70

@ Zachary Smith

You're as grotesquely ignorant of the vile Gates agenda as one possibly can be. He's the worst combination of cynical global predator and technocracy-fundamentalist fanatic and is committed to destroying hundreds of millions of small farmers and their communities across the global South and replacing them with further consolidated corporate plantations drenching the Earth in poison and driving the climate crisis to its worst extreme. His genocidal rhetoric could only have been a "brain fart" in the sense that he exposed more of his agenda than he intended.

We've been through this for over eighty years now: Commodification only destroys small farmers and consolidates agriculture into ever bigger and more industrialized plantations. Gates and his lackeys are nothing but bald-faced liars.

No one who wanted to help small farmers, let alone humanity as a whole, would recommend anything having to do with commodity productionism. But the Gates Foundation fixates in a fundamentalist manner on nothing but commodity production via technocratic means and control. This proves their ecocidal-genocidal goal.

And then of course there's the intensive Gates partnership with the US military to develop more virulent biological weapons.

It's ironic you mentioned Hitler, since I'd say Bill Gates is the closest thing to playing Hitler's role today: The Gates Foundation has superseded the Rockefeller Foundation (which also openly touted its Malthusian population reduction agenda) in serving to coordinate big business on the one hand and ideological fanatics on the other (Hitler coordinated nationalist-racist fanatics, Gates coordinates scientism-technocratic fanatics; of course both kinds are fervent eugenicists).

Here's the Global Justice report on the Gates Foundation's many crimes against humanity and the Earth. Also how it's a massive tax dodge for Gates.

As for Malthusians like you, there's only two kinds of "overpopulation":

1. The kind you generate by driving millions off their land and into shantytowns, the small area of an effective concentration camp which you then dub "overpopulated".

2. Those living your Western kind of extreme-footprint lifestyle are certainly obscenely overpopulated. This group, indeed, already has vastly overshot any capacity of the Earth to sustain it and will be reduced with extreme prejudice (if your corporate masters you worship don’t liquidate you first).

Posted by: Russ | Dec 1 2018 18:15 utc | 71

i want to draw attention to my 3 favourite posts on this thread so far - @22 debs, @46 snake and @57 bevin...

it seems to me the root cause is capitalism as it's presently practiced.. let me quote bevin "Capitalism, after all, is the first system that humanity has ever devised in which the welfare of the masses is not held to be the first priority of those governing."

i don't have an answer for all this, other then to acknowledge the observations that i and others make that seem to go into the heart of what is at hand here...

@21 bart hansen... i tend to agree with debs in that unless the root cause is addressed, all the rest is mostly short term lipstick on a pig type fixes...but i agree with you in the short term.. increasing wages would soften things for many...

@56 a. person... please read @60 russ comments, as that is more in line what what i was getting at.. thanks russ!

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2018 18:16 utc | 72

ot - speaking of agriculture, i tend to think that when people have control over their own well being, they are able to produce food for themselves and not dependent on agriculture corporations.. western civilization - usa, canada and etc - have gone in the exact opposite direction.. it is the corporatization of everything with weasels leading these corporations having undue access and influence on a different set of weasels - the politicians..

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2018 18:23 utc | 73

sorry for casting weasels in such a bad light... maybe i could find another term for these types..

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2018 18:24 utc | 74

@ BM

Here's one of many exposures of Sense About Science as a corporate front group, and its links with other front groups. This one is about its pro-cancer propaganda on behalf of Monsanto.

A sample:

a Monsanto internal document released as a result of US cancer litigation describes SAS and the GLP as “Tier 2” “Industry Partners” in Monsanto’s public relations campaign to “orchestrate outcry” about IARC’s cancer designation of glyphosate weedkiller as a probable carcinogen. It is significant that this was in February 2015, before IARC published its verdict on glyphosate. This suggests that Monsanto fully expected that IARC would decide that glyphosate was at least a probable, if not a known, carcinogen. Monsanto also names the controversial pro-GMO organisations Biofortified and Academics Review as “Industry Partners” in the same category.

SAS began in the UK, where it has consistently promoted and defended GM crops. It opened a US office (SAS USA) in 2014 under the direction of Trevor Butterworth, who has a long history of spinning science for corporate interests. In an exposé in The Intercept, journalist Liza Gross wrote, “Sense About Science claims to champion transparency” but “does not always disclose when its sources on controversial matters are scientists with ties to the industries under examination”. Gross called SAS a group of “self-appointed guardians of ‘sound science’” which serves to “tip the scales toward industry”.

As for Alltrials, that's the kind of empty exercise designed to prop up faith in the corporations reforming themselves, faith in the notion that modern technocratic scientific practice could be liberated from the corporate science paradigm, and faith in the very model of "clinical trials" which this mode of science touts in a circular way as justifying itself and justifying its authoritarian demand for obedience from the people, based on nothing but its disproven claim to "authority".

But the reason e.g. drug trials are such a complete failure isn't just systemic and venal corruption and lying, though of course there's plenty of that. It's that the very model doesn't work. Here, like everywhere else, to dream of "reforming the system" is a vain faith.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 1 2018 18:24 utc | 75

@23 Exactly...because looking forward into a dynamic future to find solutions isn't half as easy, or necessary, to the American psyche as looking back into a static past to place comforting blame.

Posted by: Summer Diaz | Dec 1 2018 18:30 utc | 76

@ 71

You're as grotesquely ignorant of the vile Gates agenda as one possibly can be.

As for Malthusians like you...

Those living your Western kind of extreme-footprint lifestyle...

Posting insults as a strategy - what a novel idea. Perhaps your superior virtue is based on your living in a grass hut you rebuild every year with your own hands as well as your carrying water from the creek in a salvaged plastic bucket.

I suppose I ought to be grateful for your statement/notification of the situation.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 1 2018 18:53 utc | 77

RUSS @59.

Your words, -’“secular” civil religions,’ -is an oxymoron. Religion is defined in dictionaries, case law, and theology as belief, reverence, or worship of a ultimate supreme being.

If you substitute “true believers” or ‘“fanatics” for the oxymoron, then I would be merry, rather than pedantic.

Posted by: DineroDProfit | Dec 1 2018 19:06 utc | 78

it is unfortunate when misunderstandings get in the way of a good conversation where different viewpoints are expressed.. can't we all just get along?

and, i am the first to misunderstand too, lol... zachary.. i generally like your posts and input.. i do get confused when you quote someone without mention where the quote came from.. i see the bill gates quote was from @34 pft... oh well... it seems you don't necessarily agree with bill gates either! but it seems russ thinks you do, lol.... maybe chalk all this up to my misunderstanding when trying to read others posts.. sometimes it makes no sense whatsoever...

what i have never understood is how someone who seems quite calculating and ruthless in business, to the point that they would climb to the top of the heap monetarily, can after all that, have an insight about helping the world to be a better place... that is some transformation! it can happen... there are a lot of do gooders out their in the world.. this post is my attempt at it, lol...

it goes back to trying to figure out what is not working and if it isn't working, how to get a different system going that would be better.. i don't have an answer, but i feel like talking this morning, however ot it is..

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2018 19:11 utc | 79

@74 james - "sorry for casting weasels in such a bad light..."

We know you meant well. As a reward for your contrition, please enjoy this wonderful short story by a superb writer, Annie Dillard:

Living Like Weasels -- by Annie Dillard

Sorry for the OT.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 1 2018 19:20 utc | 80

Reading this thread it does seem that Capitalism is the rot in the US. The antidote is Socialism, in which the benefit of the people is a goal.

I haven't studied this, but my impression is that only a revolution can bring about a socialist society. Ruling classes don't give up their ownership of capital willingly.

If so, then these would be the stakes for the US.

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 1 2018 19:31 utc | 81

It is white people who are seeing decreasing life expectancies in USA, and minorities who are seeing increasing life expectancies in the US. This is what the latest CDC data shows. Thus clearly here there is a racial angle. This isn't about the "system" being bad - after all minorities are living longer and longer.

This is about something racial. Only one group is affected, the others are not.

Maybe white people are dying off because they are under attack by certain (((forces)))?

Posted by: Passer by | Dec 1 2018 20:10 utc | 82

- A few headlines about the declining life expectancy of the US population.

FOX News has its own spin on this new: "Blame Obama(care) and the migrants".

Posted by: Willy2 | Dec 1 2018 20:35 utc | 83

@80 grieved.. the story is quite good!! thanks... we have mink and pine martins here where i live.. i don't know if they are related to the weasel, but they look something similar... they are pretty private animals...

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2018 20:50 utc | 84

Seeing Social Decline As A National Security Threat May Change Conservative Policies

I think the conservatives already have this problem under control. Fascism and a police state are working out just fine. As they say in the software industry, reduced life expectancy is not a bug, it's a feature.

Posted by: Glen | Dec 1 2018 21:04 utc | 85

@ James 84

Mink, martens and weasels all are similar mustelids. I've never seen a mink or marten but I've seen weasels in the Wyoming mountains, scurrying among the rocks.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 1 2018 21:30 utc | 86

BM says:

There are some things you can do for money which are morally neutral

you lost me, dude…

if accepting money for fixing up your broken leg is immoral, and accepting money for sexual favors is immoral, then why is accepting money for repairing your car AOK?

what we call money is just paper created out of thin air, backed by nothing, and issued as debt. i don't see anything neutral about fact, i'd say it's patently immoral.

p.s. reading is swell, but if your comprehension is lacking…?

Posted by: john | Dec 1 2018 21:36 utc | 87

Thank you for a perceptive post on the ailing social demographics of the US of A, where I live, b. I heartily agree that during Bill Clinton's terms of office, he began the more rapid decline, with his 'welfare reform' program. This was accompanied, we all remember, by the stripping of regulatory oversight on the banks - win/win, as they must have chuckled on Wall Street.

You followed with the appropriate denunciation of Obama with respect to opiod use in general, and I will also say he is responsible for cataclysmic shattering of the hopes of the younger generation at the time, which turned out in droves for him.

I was left considering what would have been the effect of Bush Jr. I decided it was the clear and unalterable fact that he stole the election. For those of us older ones but not yet retired, that probably loomed greater on the social horizon of this country than did even his invasion of Iraq. From that point on we knew that elections, the Constitution itself, were not to be counted on as expressing the real choice of the citizenry. It was blatant; we all saw it. We lost our voice, along with the need for the oligarchs to accede to our wishes. We lost our country.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 1 2018 21:36 utc | 88

I want to briefly (if I can) address the comment by V @39:

"The other term for the decline is, moral decay.
It used to be taught/inculcated from birth by the parents; who got it from their parents; and so forth.
That chain was broken in 1963, November 22.
1964 was another banner year for moral decay, with the early beginnings of war on the Vietnamese.

Yes, but not Russia or China."

I don't know about China, but Russia certainly had its period of 'moral decline' as you put it, after the Soviet Union dissolved and the West moved in to 'help'. Putin has often mentioned it. That to me points to failure at the top percolating down, so your blame of US parents is not well founded. I myself was beginning to raise my family in 1963, and if anything, the tragic death of the president then, followed by assassination of King and Robert Kennedy certainly was a 'shock and awe' period in which the powers that were rapidly brought on the Vietnam tragedy, but that was not the fault of American parental guidance. That was them, the powerful. Moral decay? Americans still believed in their slain leadership, through all that followed those events. I know; I was there.

Don't blame the parents. Blame the policies. b is correct; that is where it is at.

Posted by: juliania | Dec 1 2018 21:49 utc | 89

@ Posted by: Passer by | Dec 1, 2018 3:10:19 PM | 82

It seems that, of the minorities, only the Hispanics weren't affected.

Posted by: vk | Dec 1 2018 22:34 utc | 90


While my post was #18, I had the sense your #46 might have directed at it.
I'm not trying to devise a society, in the sense of a top down constitution, lists of do's and don'ts. What I'm trying to point out is the basic misconceptions in our current model of capitalism, so that we can build societies from the bottom up.
First, that money functions as a voucher system and as such is a contract. What is a contract? A written promise. Necessarily a note in a larger social and legal system, intended to facilitate transfer of value. As such, it is a public utility, like roads are a public utility to facilitate movement. Much of the ability of the elites to siphon value out of the larger society involves treating money as personal property, which people mine, like gold, or bitcoin. There is nothing wrong with personal property, as society cannot exist without granting rights, along with responsibilities.
A free market requires a "level playing field," but money and finance are the playing field, not just one of the players. If people want to store value, they can do it as some form of material, or intellectual property, but piling up enormous amounts of abstract wealth requires siphoning it out of other sources, social and environmental.
We mostly save for the same general reasons, from raising children, to retirement, so if we invested in these as community projects and assets, rather than trying to save for them individually, with our bank account as our personal economic umbilical cord, we would have stronger and healthier societies and the environments they require and take that power of mediating all of society away from the banking system.
We could have local, regional and national banks, just like we have local, regional and national governments. They would plow value from their respective networks, back into the services and functions those networks need. rather than through Goldman Sachs and the rest. Money is a tool, not a God.

Posted by: John Merryman | Dec 1 2018 22:45 utc | 91

@ 79

i do get confused when you quote someone without mention where the quote came from...

Thanks. I'll try to be more careful in the future. As for Bill Gates, I know almost nothing about him except for his being involved in setting up a company I despise. Don't suppose I'll ever again go online with a computer running any form of Windows. Even when I'm installing or reinstalling Win7 or XP on an old machine I nearly have a fit when I'm forced to go through the tedious talk-to-the-robot procedure for activation.

One more incidental thing about Gates: he's filthy rich. Earlier I was wondering if I had could recall hearing of a super-rich man having any human decency at all. There may be such critters, but if so, none of their names came to mind.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Dec 1 2018 23:22 utc | 92

@86 russ... thanks.. i thought that might be the case, but i wasn't sure.. the mink are sea mink i guess, as they live in the salt water around vancouver island.. the pine martin is making a comeback in this area where i live.. apparently they eat squirrels, which i was unaware of...

@ john merryman.. thanks for posting.. i do believe the financial system needs to be rebuilt to be public, as opposed to private.. not sure how this will come about, but that is kind of how i see us moving forward... yes - money is a tool, and not a god... belief systems are what we are fall back on.. whether it is private or public, i suppose it can be taken advantage by some.. i tend to think a public system that is open and transparent would be much preferable to a private system that is neither open or transparent and typifies what we have now...

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2018 23:29 utc | 93

@92 zachary.. thanks.. i was writing while you posted!!!

i don't know much about bill gates either.. he is bridge playing partners with warren buffet... buffett, i believe was influential in encouraging gates to take a more philanthropic approach to life..

one has to have faith that redemption can happen to anyone, even someone who has screwed over others in the past, or worse.. i don't know much about bill gates, but i did read a biography on buffett.. - cheers james

Posted by: james | Dec 1 2018 23:36 utc | 94

Thanks. There is no good, without bad. The alternative to ups and downs would be a flatline. We are always going to be tribal, group oriented creatures, but then we will always see the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. The more we learn about reality, the more we can appreciate it and not just get suckered by the most flamboyant preachers.

Posted by: John Merryman | Dec 1 2018 23:50 utc | 95

In the US what has happened is the people have internalized the rapacious drive for profit. That is how people function in every area of their lives. Having the most you can get is the teleology. Of course I am speaking mostly about the 28% of citizens who have a stake in the stock investors. These people are the only ones that count and most of them do not consider the other 72% in any other way than to use them when convenient.
For anybody with a sense of right and wrong, a belief in justice, a basic love of mankind, the US is very hard to live in. So many of the individuals are corrupt or corruptED and basically ignorant. I can not see a way out unless there is a cataclysm that does not kill everyone off. THEN it is possible for a change of soul as currently the US is souless. Until then I expect current conditions to continue deteriorating. I do see people organizing some at local levels. That is positive.

Posted by: linda amick | Dec 2 2018 0:29 utc | 96

@ Zachary 92

As for Bill Gates, I know almost nothing about him except for his being involved in setting up a company I despise.

Well, it sure sounded @ 70 like you wanted to fellate him on account of a shared malign religious commitment. You even cite the corporate media launderer Snopes, sure mark of a corporate troll.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 2 2018 1:13 utc | 97

Posted by: james | Dec 1, 2018 6:29:50 PM | 93

"the pine martin is making a comeback in this area where i live.."

That's good to hear. Is the logging attack letting up? (I can't follow everything, too depressing if I were to try.)

Posted by: Russ | Dec 2 2018 1:17 utc | 98

juliania | Dec 1, 2018 4:49:24 PM | 89
"The other term for the decline is, moral decay.
It used to be taught/inculcated from birth by the parents; who got it from their parents; and so forth.

A thousand pardons for those horribly constructed sentences.
"Morality" used to be taught/inculcated from birth by the parents; who got it from their parents; and so forth.
There, fixed it.

As to; Yes, but not Russia or China.
That was referencing the present. Presently both Russia and China exhibit a superior, IMO, moral character to the world.

Posted by: V | Dec 2 2018 1:41 utc | 99

Money is not neutral.

Money is power. Including food, clothing and shelter.

Which is why it needs to be a publicly managed resource.

Posted by: financial matters | Dec 2 2018 3:53 utc | 100

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