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Who’s Behind US Downward-Mobility?

Who’s Behind US Downward-Mobility? thumbnail

President Trump blames Mexicans, Chinese and other foreigners for the plight of downwardly mobile Americans but the real culprits are his corporatist pals who grab the lion’s share of the wealth from U.S. global dominance, says JP Sottile.

By JP Sottile

Donald Trump kicked-off his presidency with the bold accusation that the “wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.” It was a logical follow-up to a campaign rooted in selling voters on a grand global conspiracy of wily Chinese, cunning Mexicans, lollygagging NATO welfare queens and nefarious “global elites” who’ve gotten fat and rich off of the weakness, stupidity and complicity of American leadership.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, Arizona. March 19, 2016. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

This international cabal of money-making interlopers has, according to the steroidal economic nationalism manufactured by Steve Bannon and peddled by President Trump, systematically denuded the American economy, liquidated American manufacturing, transgressed the Middle Class and wreaked a unique form of “carnage” on unwitting American workers. After he was inaugurated, Trump claimed the tentacles of this global conspiracy to deprive Americans of their economic “birthright” even reached into the world of prescription drugs.

Oddly enough, before he delivered his “American Carnage” speech, Trump campaigned against Big Pharma’s big profits from exorbitantly-priced drugs. He even said they were “getting away with murder.” In response, he promised to impose the type of “bulk buying” that makes drugs so darn cheap in places like Canada, France and the rest of the civilized world. But now that he’s got the Executive Branch under his tiny thumb, Trump now blames a “very unfair” cabal of international bulk-buying crooks who’ve connived to make American consumers pay high prices for drugs … so they can pay far less.

In effect, the world’s bulk buying system is a conspiracy to make Americans pay the high cost of developing the drugs they can then buy in bulk from the pharmaceutical industry at reduced cost. At least, that’s what he told a group of Big Pharma executives when they came to visit him.

That new bulk-buying enemy of the people joins Trump’s list of usual suspects, global gougers and assorted “enemies of the American people.” Public enemy number one is, of course, the horde of job-stealing immigrants who’ve displaced what’s left of America’s depleted employment market. They’ve come to wrest away the cooking jobs, the cleaning jobs, the agricultural jobs, the construction jobs, the landscaping jobs and all the other jobs Americans are apparently denied because countries like Mexico are purposefully sending their people across the border to take advantage of America’s stupidity.

This is the embittered narrative of “America agonistes” that Trump keeps on selling to his supporters. It’s a world in which Uncle Sam is the ultimate mark in a great global game of economic Three-card Monty. It’s a world where the global system of trade deals, capital flows, currency trades, high-speed financial transactions, hydrocarbon extraction and military alliances is, in effect, a giant wealth removal mechanism that specifically targets “real” Americans and forestalls America’s rightful return to greatness. But there is just one problem with Trump’s grand vision. It’s a funny little thing called “reality” and, thanks to this snazzy chart, we can see exactly how far from reality The Donald does not fear to tread:

That’s the world’s economy as tabulated by the World Bank and, thanks to, impressively illustrated into a starkly effective Voronoi diagram. As this breakdown clearly shows, Uncle Sam is not really getting taken to the cleaners by the rest of the world. Far from it, in fact. This World Bank data shows that America’s economy is the “roughly equivalent in size to the total GDPs of #3 through #10 (that’s Japan, Germany, the UK, France, India, Italy, Brazil and Canada – combined).” Although it is true that China is “catching up” with the United States, it is still well-behind America.

Could it be that Trump doesn’t know that America remains the disproportionately wealthy king of the global economic hill? According to this data, “the United States (24.3%) generates almost a quarter of global GDP and is almost 10 percentage points ahead of China (14.8%), in second place, and more than 18 percentage points ahead of Japan (4.5%) on three.” That means that Americans control nearly a quarter of the world’s GDP despite the fact that Americans only make up 4.4% of planet Earth’s total population. Sorry, Donald … but that’s a whole lot of what it takes to get along in the world.

And that total is eerily similar to the America’s energy consumption. According to the Worldwatch Institute, America’s 4.4% uses about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources — burning up nearly 25 percent of the coal, 26 percent of the oil, and 27 percent of the world’s natural gas. And how has America guaranteed access to the lion’s share of the world energy and resources?

Military Dominance

Surprise! It’s also home to the world’s largest military budget which is, not coincidentally, “almost as much as the next 14 countries put together and far larger than the rest of the world,” according to a 2016 report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies. So, 4.4 percent of the world’s population accounts for “more than a third of global military spending.” But that’s not all.

A Tomahawk cruise missile launches from the USS Shiloh against air defense targets in Iraq on Sept. 3, 1996, as part of Operation Desert Strike, a limited U.S. military engagement against Iraqi government forces similar to what is now contemplated for Syria. (DOD photo)

As CNNMoney reported, Uncle Sam is also “by far the world’s biggest arms exporter, accounting for 33% of all weapons exports in the five years through 2016.” The SIPRI report that story was based on also found that America is literally and figuratively making a killing by selling weapons to … Mexico! That’s right, those thieving Mexicans have been, as CNSNews aptly stated, on a “buying spree with transfers of weaponry and equipment into the country growing by 184 percent between the 2007-2011 period and the 2012-2016 period.”

America’s supermarket of military hardware is wide open for business and, like so many of the world’s nations, Mexico is availing itself of the Uncle Sam’s leading export — a bountiful array of weaponry.

So, to recap … America is 4.4 percent of the world’s population. It accounts for more than 33 percent of the global total of military spending and it sells 33 percent of all the world’s weapons while, at the same time, it is targeting Mexico with a profitable flood of military-grade arms and materiel. That’s the same Mexico the President accuses of intentionally sending bad dudes from drug cartels to infiltrate the America with drugs and ravage it with rape and murder. And, in the world according to Trump, that’s what his vaunted wall is meant to stop — the gangs, the crime and the drugs.

However, a recent CNBC investigation found that like everything else, Americans have a disproportionate appetite for drugs … but not drugs coming from Mexico. Rather, Americans consume “approximately 80 percent of the global opioid supply” of “300 million pain prescriptions” which amounts to a $24 billion market. Opioid addiction is widely seen as the leading catalyst of the heroin crisis sweeping many rural areas and small towns as users in Trump-loving Red States seek a cheap, readily available alternative to potent prescription painkillers.

Opioid addiction numbers have spiked to two million Americans who are, quite shockingly, often being treated by the health care system with … more opioid prescriptions. In 2015, overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers spiked to 20,101 and another 12,990 deaths we heroin-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

So, who are those biggest beneficiaries of this opioid-related carnage? Mexicans? The Chinese? Radical Islamic Terrorists, perhaps? Well, the “top five” beneficiaries are, as CNBC detailed, “Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Insys Therapeutics, Mylan and Depomed.” And where are these companies located? Purdue is based in Stamford, Connecticut. Johnson & Johnson is based in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Insys Therapeutics is based in Chandler, Arizona. Mylan is registered in the Netherlands, but their global headquarters in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. And Depomed is located in Newark, California. Somehow, that roster doesn’t actually look like a roadmap to uncovering a global conspiracy to stick it to American consumers or a swarthy cartel seeking to exploit an open border.

No, like so much of Trumps’ grievance-obsessed nationalism, all roads inevitably lead to home. And that’s perhaps the saddest part of this sordid tale. Because real people are really struggling in hard-hit places that used to hum along in America’s industrial heartland. But the amazing industrial engine that emerged from World War II and powered that glorious Middle Class moment in the 1950s and 1960s has long since run out of gas.

And although the unfettered capital flows of globalization hastened the decline in many places, the simple fact is that the people who benefitted the most from a global labor market were American corporate captains and Wall Street’s financial tricksters and big box retailers like Walmart. Some of those beneficiaries now populate Trump’s cabinet and many others are now riding high on the profitable wave of a trumped-up stock market.

To America’s Benefit

Frankly, since the end of World War II, the entire global system — the financialized economy, the alliances, the trade deals, the global network of military bases — have all overwhelmingly benefited America and its oil companies and defense companies and financial companies and retail companies and on and on and on.

The run-down PIX Theatre sign reads “Vote Trump” on Main Street in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. July 15, 2016. (Photo by Tony Webster Flickr)

The real problem hasn’t been the world ripping off the Middle Class. The problem is that the people at the top of these industries — and hyper-financialized go-getters in Wall Street who wheel and deal and leverage their debts — have increasingly hoarded the wealth so disproportionately created by America’s global spanning power and economic dominance.

This is not about a global conspiracy hatched abroad. This is about conscious decisions by high-powered Americans here at home to keep more and more of everything. They created obscene levels of wealth and income inequality by inflating their compensation packages, by gaming the market for short-term payoffs, by gutting collective bargaining rights and, just as The Donald did with his own vast array of branded goods, by seeking higher profit margins from cheap offshore labor.

The simple fact is that Trump’s scapegoating of global economic thieves is a big phony baloney that, in the end, only helps his cronies. That’s why he didn’t mention collective bargaining rights when he met with union leaders who, truth be told, seemed happy just to be invited to his table … even if all he’s really offering are the crumbs and scraps left over from an economic ideology rooted in the past. Sadly, that’s all they’ll get because, at the same time, Trump’s Republican allies plan to gut what’s left of unions with ever-expanding “right to work” laws.

But perhaps the worst of all is his crackdown on immigrants who, as the American Conservative’s Jon Basil Utley painstakingly detailed, drive so many parts of America’s economic engine — from undocumented workers on the dairy farms of Wisconsin to Indian-generated startups in California, Texas, New York and Massachusetts to “thousands of tiny lunch shops” to Asian and Latina child care workers and, most notable, to the “half of all the Fortune 500 largest companies in America” that were “founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.”

Instead, we get a self-described “military operation” under the guise of extricating “bad dudes” in drug-dealing gangs and Mexican cartels. This histrionic plan conveniently obfuscates the perfectly legal drug dealers of Big Pharma who are the real culprits behind the “carnage” decimating America. That, along with his attack on the bulk-buying ways of health care systems around the world, is yet another dangerous, if potentially profitable distraction from the stark reality being lived every day but people who struggle to afford medication or battle to live another day with a Pharma-engineered addiction.

Really, it’s no different than putting an oil industry shill in charge of the EPA, a slick oil salesman in charge of the State Department, a private school profiteer in charge of the Education Department, a health industry stock speculator in charge of Health and Human Services … and Goldman Sachs alums in charge of Treasury and the whole economic enchilada. These folks represent that same elite movers and shakers who’ve benefited from America’s position as the world’s richest nation, while also driving policies that make it the one of the developed world’s most unequal — right behind Chile and (of course) Mexico.

Even worse, the top 1 percent now takes home “more than 20% of all U.S. income” and the “bottom 50% went from capturing over 20% of national income for much of the 1970s to earning barely 12% today,” according to CNNMoney. But The Donald doesn’t talk about making America more equal again. Instead he’s blowing a smokescreen for the crony capitalists who see big profits and big tax breaks ahead while they leave those Americans struggling to keep up with the heady pace of technological change further and further behind.

Still, they got the hat and they’ve got some hope and, as evidenced by the chart above, America still enjoys the bulk of the world’s benefits. But If America was ever truly “great,” it was that fleeting moment when the fruits of America’s global dominance were shared more broadly with the parents and grandparents of the people who voted to make it great again.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. He blogs at or you can follow him on Twitter, http://twitter/newsvandal.

50 Comments on "Who’s Behind US Downward-Mobility?"

  1. Cthulthu on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 10:29 am 

    The standard libtard explanation… then some idiot will come along and give us the standard conservatard response.

    What so few want to admit is that the old liberal/conservative split is exactly what has fucked this country (and the rest of the world) up. Their inability to clearly see the issues we face due to their ideological (idiotological?) blinders.

    I pronounce a curse upon them all.

    They all deserve to die horrible deaths. May Cthulthu take them all.

  2. onlooker on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 10:30 am 

    Who is behind it? Nobody. It is the inevitable process stemming from a rule elite who value profits and power so much they have been pushing the planet and its people to a final and total collapse. Once upon a time they needed the American Consumer to be the backbone of the whole Consumer Manufacturing Industrial world. Well, the corporate and political elite have realized that the Earth will not be cooperating much longer with their dreams of endless profit and power. So, they have adopted and allowed the US to sink as it is not worth the trouble to avoid it now. On the larger scale, it is simply the consequences to overshoot of our species. It was always going to end because we cannot have so many trying to live in such materialistic ways. So now the rest of the world has nothing to lose in standing up the the US as the resource pie is ever shrinking and Everyone else outside of US said no your not going to get what is left and leave the rest of us with nothing. Limits to Growth

  3. Davy on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 11:06 am 

    Onlooker, maybe they need to stand up to the rich in Asia, Europe, and the anglosphere when they are done standing up to the US. Otherwise they are going to get whacked in the head by the same shit. In fact even worse because that group represent significantly more greedy consumers.

  4. Jan on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 11:23 am 

    The big lie, which many believe is low tax rates for the highest earners is the key to high GDP and prosperity for all.
    After 50 years of tax cuts for the rich, the evidence overwhelmingly tells us the opposite.
    The U.S. had the highest rates of GDP growth in the 1950s and early 1960s when tax rates for earnings over $400,000 was 91%.
    The GDP growth simply never happened and as tax cuts for the rich went from 70% to 50% the U.S. government had to start borrowing far more money.
    U.S debt to GDP had been going down after WW2 but after the 70% to 50% tax cut things started to reverse.
    Supply side economists undeterred claiming that more tax cuts for the rich was the answer.
    Today U.S. debt is nearly as high as at the darkest days of the war. Who has benefited?
    The richest people on the planet.

  5. onlooker on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 11:30 am 

    Yes Davy nobody exploits the poor around the world as systematically and egregiously as their own elite. Even as they look outwardly their biggest oppressors are among them. Sad that, we exploit each other so much as a species

  6. Hubert on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 11:59 am 

    All hell breaking loose in Europe.

  7. Davy on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 12:02 pm 

    There is more to it than supply side economics. We basically began hitting limits and economic diminishing returns. A significant amount of that issue is peak oil dynamics and consumption overshoot. The issue of tax rates on the rich is less significant in this bigger picture. It is significant in regards to fairness and social equality which is also a big factor in a strong social fabric. We simply could not afford 50’s and 60’s style growth and continued affluence for all hence the wealth transfer tendencies over the years. Half the current population of the 50’s and ’60’s is a significant factor. Doubling of the population has been devastating for sustainable development efforts.

  8. ________________________________________ on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 12:43 pm 

    The tards are

  9. penury on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 12:59 pm 

    The answer my friends is blowing in the wind: We all are. Humans are the ones, not only the rich, all humans. Yes my carbon foot print is low, but it exists. My contribution of children, grand children and so on down the years is the gift that continues giving. Increasing demands upon a shrinking resource base will lead inexorably to depletion. the end game has been written. and to quote someone famous “the moving finger writes and having writ moves on, not all your piety nor wit can cancel half a line, nor tears wash out a word of it.” In simple terms we is hosed.

  10. BobInget on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 1:43 pm 

    Over 200,000 oil workers were laid off during the 2015/16 O&G downturn.
    Fewer then 20% will ever be rehired (in the oil patch).

    Nevertheless, oil prices, getting stronger, US consumption never fell below 19.4 M bpd by spring consumption will exceed 20.2 M bpd.
    If more ‘rigs’ are put to work almost daily, why haven’t blue collar workers being rehired?

    Automation, AI, Robotics already replaced the most boring, repetitive, dangerous jobs in our factories, farms, military drones, land sea and air, out killing bad guys and gals. 50,000 long haul Trump backing truck drivers will in the space of 10 years be unemployed with no health insurance, future employment in sight,
    becoming narcotic dependent by the hour. Fifty Thousand Americans dead, overdosed, last year and this.

    Doctors, lawyer’s jobs are already in line. At least docs can still write prescriptions for the lawyers.

    An energy investor spills the beans:

    One reason oil companies can still profit at today’s
    anemic oil prices is exactly that… automation.

    Because advances in super computers, steerable drilling, 3/D look down tech, self driving trucks and earth drilling equipment.

    Another little item:

    Then, there’s the biggest job killing disruptive force to come along so far this century… The Electric Car.
    No need for heavy gearboxes and power trains: For that matter, so few moving parts I’m guessing a gang of robots can build the entire car, truck, locomotive from start to finish, ready for self driving, in a few hours.
    One by one auto repair shops go the way of black-smiths. (Don’t worry, one can still find black smiths)

    The big question young folks need to look at:
    With so few people working who will have money to get a car loan or home mortgage ?

    If interested, try a search for ‘automation in the oil patch’

  11. Davy on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 2:25 pm 

    Automation, artificial intelligence, and self driving cars are the acid trip of the techno’. It will take more people to cleanup up the messes and keep them functioning then they will replace. The economy will struggle to pay for it and the fact that the investment is made will result in the bad debt of malinvestment.

    There are a limited range of uses for robotics in specialized manufacturing. Here they excell and here and only here is were they will yield a return. This will likely increase as the economies of scale of robotics improves. That is IF the economy can avoid a strong decline. This type of talk is the typical sensationalism of our modern civilization. Just becuase we can do it does not mean it is wise and a good investment. It is a drug that offers a high to those who feel the depression of decline, decay, and deflation.

  12. Plantagenet on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 3:18 pm 

    Bernie Sanders got traction campaigning against Hillary’s and Obama’s PTT treaty. and thanks to Trump the TPP went down in flames.

    Anytime you get Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on the same side of an issue, thats a good thing.

  13. Hubert on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 3:20 pm 

    Earth 2100. Is there a future?

  14. eugene on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 4:38 pm 

    Saw this long ago. Reality is a bitch and Americans are screaming while blaming everyone but ourselves. Long fall off the arrogant pedestal.

  15. makati1 on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 5:07 pm 

    eugene. Keep saying that. Maybe some of the ‘blind’ Americans will make the climb down voluntarily now. I’ve been pointing this out for a long time. The ability to plunder and steal resources or to print ‘money’ to ‘pay’ for them, is fast ending. It will be a shock when they have to live on their 4%, or less, of the total, not 25%+.

  16. makati1 on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 5:10 pm 

    And they claim t he Philippines has a drug problem…LMAO

    “However, a recent CNBC investigation found that like everything else, Americans have a disproportionate appetite for drugs … but not drugs coming from Mexico. Rather, Americans consume “approximately 80 percent of the global opioid supply” of “300 million pain prescriptions” which amounts to a $24 billion market. Opioid addiction is widely seen as the leading catalyst of the heroin crisis sweeping many rural areas and small towns as users in Trump-loving Red States seek a cheap, readily available alternative to potent prescription painkillers.

    Opioid addiction numbers have spiked to two million Americans who are, quite shockingly, often being treated by the health care system with … more opioid prescriptions. In 2015, overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers spiked to 20,101 and another 12,990 deaths we heroin-related, according to the Centers for Disease Control.”

    At least the Prez here is doing something about it and has the support of the citizens.

  17. Apneaman on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 5:14 pm 

    Retards, on both “sides”, are so desperate to score their points – fake news & fake experts. Ratings and taking shots is all that matters.

    Fox News’s ‘Swedish defence advisor’ unknown to country’s military officials

    After Donald Trump’s infamous ‘what’s happening in Sweden’ comment, Nils Bildt was billed on The O’Reilly Factor as Swedish national security advisor

    “Swedish military and foreign-affairs officials have said they know nothing about a man who appeared on Fox News in the US billed as a “Swedish defence and national security advisor”.”

    “But the Swedish defense ministry and foreign office told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter they knew nothing of Bildt. Calls to Swedish officials on Saturday were not immediately returned.

    Bildt is a founding member of a corporate geopolitical strategy and security consulting business with offices in Washington, Brussels and Tokyo, according its website.”

    Of course Bill O’Rilley is a career bullshit artist, so no surprise there. Bill O and Brian Williams should be Hollywood script writers.

    “ya, we was in Nam with seal team 4&1/2 and we took out Ho Chi Minh, then our chopper was shot down behind enemy lines and it took us 3 weeks to escape from the jungle”

    All the political losers (tribal monkey’s) should just get on with the inevitable fight. What’s the fucking point of all the hot air? Other than ratings for the fake MSM it’s a waste of time. None of you will every convince the other side that they are wrong with any amount of evidence, real or fake. Never happened in the history of the humans and never will. It will be the same as it’s always been. There will be blood and whoever wins is right.

  18. Hawkcreek on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 5:39 pm 

    Even the delayed revolution won’t make much difference. The ignorant majority of both sides will spend all their efforts trying to kill the lib-tards or the con-tards on the other side of the equation, and will leave the elite free to scuttle away into the dark. After a few years a new name system will be in place, gleefully stealing from the remaining population.

  19. makati1 on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 6:16 pm 

    It’s not just the economy on its way down.

    “The current American government is filled with war heroes or as I would put it, “war heroes in their own minds.” I have my own experiences as a combat infantryman in Vietnam to draw from and the utter incompetence and corruption of the American military in Vietnam is nothing compared to how it is now.”

    And the slide continues…

  20. BobInget on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 6:33 pm 

    Did you watch the entire doc?

    It’s terribly dated for one thing. Predictions of coming disasters viewed Today destroys credibility for the remainder of any well intentioned film.

    Due to growth destroying oil wars leaving 24 million unproductive refugees idle, restive and hungry. We face not yet shortages but an oil glut, oil prices so low, if continued, oil production will crater for lack of
    finance. Oil could stay in place with few willing to lose money extracting it.

    In 2014/15/16/17 Oil Wars continue, destroying both demand, in short order, supply*.
    *Iran, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, USA are at each others throats, not over weaponized oil but religious and political power struggles endangering the entire planet.

    I agree there’s nothing to be done around all those GHG’s already in the pipeline. What we humans should be doing is preparing for droughts, flooding, bizarro

    One little problem. To fend off the inevitable we’er
    gonna need millions of tons of concrete, steel and oil three of the biggest contributors to AGW.
    I for one never realized getting screwed would be so so painful.

  21. Mr. Pockets on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 7:01 pm 


    Right… It’s stupid to get caught up in the false divide, because we all know “both sides” support a ban on abortion, unfettered access to assault rifles, evisceration of environmental and financial safeguards, oil exploration at the polar ice caps, general expanded fossil fuel investment, suppressed renewable investment, slashed social services and on and on and on… and on. There’s “no difference” between cons and liberals. None at all.


  22. makati1 on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 8:56 pm 

    ” Is Russia a threat to the United States?

    Pleeez. It’s a nuclear power so in that respect it’s a threat to everyone but then so is the fat kid in Korea and he’s a lot less mentally stable than Putin is. Russia is currently an economically depressed country that hasn’t threatened the United States and won’t. Russia isn’t going to invade Europe as the establishment would have the rubes believe. Why would they, when all they have to do is bide their time a few years and then find a decent real estate agent to go buy it.”

    “Trump’s tipping the bowls over. He’d better watch his back.

    He’s threatened to pull out of NATO, pull out of South Korea, even Okinawa, and instead he wants to build a wall on the Mexican border. Pray tell how the establishment are going to make billions from that?

    This must be truly terrifying for them. How the hell do you frighten the rubes without a big bad foe? How do you keep the defence contracts in place and ensure the spigot is kept open on full throttle? Those homes in the Hamptons don’t clean themselves, you know?”

    Americans have been suckered for so long they like it.

  23. makati1 on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 9:16 pm 

    The Police State tightens its noose,as this citizen found out.

    “… my latest flight to Mexico, originating in Atlanta, presented all passengers with something I had never seen before. … We had already been through boarding pass checks, passport checks, scanners, and pat downs. At the gate, each passenger had already had their tickets scanned and we were all walking on the jet bridge to board. … This time was different. Halfway down the jet bridge, there was a new layer of security. Two US Marshals, heavily armed and dressed in dystopian-style black regalia, stood next to an upright machine with a glowing green eye. Every passenger, one by one, was told to step on a mat and look into the green scanner. It was scanning our eyes and matching that scan with the passport, which was also scanned (yet again). … Like everyone else, I complied. What was my choice? I guess I could have turned back at the point, decline to take the flight I had paid for, but it would be unclear what would then happen. After standing there for perhaps 8 seconds, the machine gave the go signal and I boarded. … I will tell you how it made me feel: like a prisoner in my own country. It’s one thing to control who comes into a country. But surveilling and permissioning American citizens as they leave their own country, even as they are about to board, is something else.”

    And you ask why I don’t want to come back to the U$. LMAO

  24. GregT on Sun, 26th Feb 2017 10:14 pm 

    “The ignorant majority of both sides will spend all their efforts trying to kill the lib-tards or the con-tards on the other side of the equation, and will leave the elite free to scuttle away into the dark.”

    Divide and conquer. One of the oldest strategies in the book, and to think that the people still fall for it after all these millennia. Those who ignore history, are destined to repeat it.

  25. Jan on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 1:58 am 

    We did not hit peak oil in the 1970s, nor experience diminishing returns on oil. Nearly all the oil used globally in the 1970s, 80, and 90s was from high energy return sources. What happened over that period of time was the largest shift in wealth from the low and middle income to the richest 10%. Billionaires now keep most of the money which before went to fund hospitals, public transport etc. Now poorer people have to pay more for those things. It is rather obvious.

  26. Cloggie on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 6:12 am 

    President Trump blames Mexicans, Chinese and other foreigners for the plight of downwardly mobile Americans but the real culprits are his corporatist pals who grab the lion’s share of the wealth from U.S. global dominance, says JP Sottile.

    Trump is right. It is an absolute no-brainer that if you put Nigerians in a country called Nigeria, Mexicans in a country called Mexico, Germans in a country called Germany, etc., you get very different cultural, technological and economic output. Not because of “morals”, or “history of slavery” or more of these leftist lies, but because of different innate ability.

    These are forbidden thoughts in racial-communist pre-2016 America and by ignoring these truths, America almost destroyed itself.

    Who is promoting these racial egalitarian thoughts? Obviously those who (behind the scenes) gradually took over America 100 years ago (hi George!). The very same people who promoted economic egalitarian ideas in Russia, turning it into the USSR after 1917 and after 1933 conspired together to play out European nations against each other, so they could be taken over.

  27. Davy on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 7:30 am 

    Come on Jan, it is peak oil dynamics not peak oil that matters. POD is about a broad range of peak oil issues not just that one peak oil issue of declining production. It is the fact we built out a car and consumer culture with an exploding population that is the problem. Overconsumption and overpopulation were combined with horrible results at the same time our resources base and especially oil economically declined from depletion. Substitution and technology only partially offset this. You can’t double the global population and take more from the planet and expect good results.

    The results have been increasing social injustice from too many people and not enough earth. The rich have always been rich and the more rich we got the less they would yield. Once you make more people wealthier they make arrangements to hold on to their affluence even as affluence stagnates. The whole society got wealthier but with a tendency to corruption and privilege. The system became one of increasing wealth and also of decreasing opportunity for all because of limits and diminishing returns. It became a revolving door of those in control to promote and lock in their wealth. It was more like a stagnation of the poor and middle class and a continued growth of the upper class because they controlled the engine of growth.

    It is rather obvious yes but it is the “not” obvious that you are missing. The “not” obvious is the corruption of the entire system in malinvestment and bad behavior. All of the population is wrong now. Our consumerism and car culture are killing the planet. All classes want that. The attitude of “more” and “yes” to progress instead of the wisdom to say “no” to destructive change of more and progress.

    We now have billionaires who are paper billionaires. What do they really control? A lot of paper and a yacht, private jet, and big house on some land. It is the huge paper asset portfolios that make them billionaires. That is abstract wealth and not real. There is a handful of super rich that is horrible but they are mostly paper rich. One person cannot physically control much it is a law of physics. You cannot kill the 100 richest and spread that wealth out to a billion people because the earth is already limited. Just wait around until the collapse of their world comes and look around at these rich in their rapidly decaying McMansions. There is serious wealth inequality but a more serious planetary crisis.

    The 80’ and 90’s saw high energy sources but declining high energy sources in an economic climate of rapidly accelerating “fake growth” of debt based financialization, suburban sprawl, 3rd world urbanization, and the tragedy of the commons. We gutted our world and our social fabric for fake and destructive affluence along with bigger populations. This was across the board increase in living standards at the expense of the biosphere. There is a deeper reason for inequality than just the usual lame excuse it is all because of the rich. This is because of the human drive towards more without considering the consequences of cancerous growth. It is about too many people that all want to live better. Yes the rich are the problem too but it is mostly a dysfunctional human civilization in relation to a planetary system.

  28. Ghung on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 9:13 am 

    Meanwhile: Global sovereign debt to hit new all-time high – S&P

    “Worldwide sovereign debt is set to reach a new record high of $44 trillion (35 trillion pounds) this year despite a slight reduction in governments’ annual borrowings, an estimate from credit ratings agency S&P Global said on Friday.

    The firm calculated that this year’s sovereign borrowing was likely to be $6.8 trillion, down around 4 percent or $315 billion on 2016’s amount and to 9 percent of global GDP.

    Absolute debt levels will continue to increase however. S&P projects an almost $1 trillion rise to $44.3 trillion, is up 2.3 percent at projected market exchange rates.

    The United States at $2.2 trillion and Japan at over $1.8 trillion, will again be the most prolific borrowers this year, accounting for 60 percent of the total, followed by China, Italy, and France…..”

  29. Davy on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 9:37 am 

    Meanwhile, Chinese debt from all sources is approaching 300% making it the biggest systematic risk to the global economy. Europe is by far the next greatest risk because of its excessive debt levels combined with the unworkable European Union arrangement.

  30. BobInget on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:30 am 

    DJT is asking congress for an additional 54 Billion $
    for his ‘defense’ budget. Next step, tax cuts for billionaires.

    Americans, Israelis, have been teasing Iran for so long it appears DJT may succeed where 3 past presidents failed.

    Try to spend more time with your children.

  31. BobInget on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:31 am 

    Davy. China ‘owes’ that debt to the Chinese people.

  32. Cloggie on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 10:53 am 

    Europe is by far the next greatest risk because of its excessive debt levels combined with the unworkable European Union arrangement.

    Don’t dance on our grave for joy just yet:

  33. BobInget on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:09 am

    Sixty-six percent of Americans are “worried” that President Trump will lead the country into a “major war” in his first term, according to an NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released last week.

    The high level of anxiety over the president is also evident in his low approval numbers, just a month into his first term.

    With the president set to address a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, the voters are making it clear — both in polls and in town hall meetings — that they are nervous about Trump. They are trusting in Congress’ power to stop him from taking the country on a wild ride that might veer out of control.

  34. Davy on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:24 am 

    Bob, all that debt is internal Chinese debt? I don’t think so. You, do realize a significant amount of the US debt is owed to the US public, right? Also what does your lame defense of China matter Bob? If China ruins its economy with internal debt then that will take us all down. So what is your point bob, anti-Americanism?

  35. Davy on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:26 am 

    Bob, who made that poll figure because polls today are massaged according to party goal seeking. This is especially true of your rabid left media.

  36. Sissyfuss on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 8:21 pm 

    Trump is an elitist appointing elists who will serve elitists interests. The sheeple are evermore on their own.

  37. GregT on Mon, 27th Feb 2017 11:20 pm 

    Careful Bob. By quoting The Hill, an American news publication, you run the risk of joining the rest of the ‘gang’ here, and becoming an ‘anti-American’.

    No true red blooded patriot would ever question the direction that his country was headed in, and he sure as hell wouldn’t say anything positive about China.

    What were you thinking Bob?

  38. dooma on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 3:48 am 

    The way that maniac orang-utan (who admitted that he would marry his daughter if not related) played the ” fat, cap-wearing, never been out of the country, dumb as fuck average Joe” was a stroke of genius pulled off by an army of shadow men

    This glowing goon, couldn’t give a single fart when it comes to caring for the working man.

    He is from an entirely different world so far removed from the average person. What did the people think when they went into the booths? If you think about it for a couple of minutes, you will fully appreciate just how far removed he is from the average person with a mortgage and a wife & kids. Living from pay check to pay check. He could be from a different dimension.

    Last time I mentioned it I got accused of wealth envy. Let me make it crystal clear. There are many people out there who have amassed a fortune by living off the backs of others. I am NOT talking about a businessperson who has worked hard and built a company up. I am referring to the parasites of this world. And, honestly, they need to be liquidated.

    Liquidation is your last chance America. The orange clown is going to swing a wrecking ball through your life as he is only warming up.

    Mark my words.

  39. Davy on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 4:54 am 

    Dooma is an Australian Anglosphere hypocrite that never talks about his own dirty laundry. I though it wonderful how Trump bitch slapped your leader in a short phone call because it shows just how insignificant your country is. I also like how the twink from Canada came running to the US to pay homage to Cheeto. The Anglosphere talks big until they have to walk big then they are a joke.

  40. Jan on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 5:05 am 

    Making derogatory remarks about other people’s fact based arguments does not make you clever. It just shows how insecure you are about your own understanding of what is going on.

  41. dooma on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 5:16 am 

    Ah Davy, you are the perennial flag-waving patriotic American. Your articles are very predictable. Always start by talking about how America is going bad but then they take a turn into, “but it’s still the best damn country in the world and China took our jobs.

    What, what is it that you want me to say? Because I will never hear it out of your mouth because you are a died-in-the-wool patriot.

    My country is just one big piece of shit quarry. We sell out to anyone with a chequebook. Our leaders are self loving turds. We are in bed with China.

    Any more? this is the second time I have agreed that my country is no more special than the other western countries who rape this planet. I am getting pretty tired of it Davy.

    You really think that it was “swell” that your leader, the statesman of your nation, has the diplomatic skills of a 4 year old child? That pretty much sums you up quite well. You probably support a war on Iran and believe in “Russian aggression”.

    Time to go wave that flag again. And post to me when you are prepared to call your aggressive, corrupt, culturally intrusive county a spade. Come on, tell it like it is? I dare you to….

  42. Jan on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 5:24 am 

    Wealth inequality is not just social talking point, it is fundamental to why the world economy is doing so badly.
    Billions of people earn so little they could not afford to pay water rates, so large areas so not have any fresh water and sewerage. Only when laws bring in minimum wage will water and electricity supplies be universal. Factory owners in most countries will continue to pay the minimum possible unless forced to change.
    Evil people like Green are so rich because millions are paid slave wages.

  43. Davy on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 5:29 am 

    Jan, it is very effective at drawing out hypocritical cockroaches. This board is a nonstop one of “derogatory remarks” and generally involve the hypocritical and pathetic Anglosphere anti-Americans. I love for you guys to squirm. The biggest hypocrites squirm the most. Dooma is a prime example. Jan, where are you when the remarks are not directed towards you? Where is you righteousness then? See, you can’t have it both ways that is too comfy. As for me when you guys throw rocks it doesn’t matter because you guys will throw rocks anyway. You always do so I am going to lob some back. Just man-up you will grow to like it. Why, it will help you grow out of being a pussy.

  44. Davy on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 5:51 am 

    “Wealth inequality is not just social talking point, it is fundamental to why the world economy is doing so badly.” Jan, how fundamental? Is it the reason, one of the reason, or just a symptom? Whose fault is it? I think the reasons for a deteriorating global economy are many and varied with wealth inequality at this point as just a symptom not a major reason. It is symbolic of civilizations near their end when limits and diminishing returns kick in. The privileged have the power and can arrange the system to benefit them. They quit sharing when they are facing less affluence. These actions then paradoxically ensure their end by gutting the system.

    This also involves overpopulation and the failure of sustainable development. Sustainable development became a failure because it is built on a way of life without a future. Modern life is not sustainable so how is sustainable development in the 3rd world going to succeed? As you can see it is a vicious circle. Wealth inequality is going to end with decline of the global system not its increase. It can’t increase because it is trapped in unsustainability. It work for a time and everyone patted themselves on the back when the reality is they were robbing Peter to pay Paul. Paul being the planetary system and a human economic system. Much of the wealth inequality within the rich nations is paper wealth that will evaporate quickly in a financial depression.

    The wealth inequality with the 3rd world and 1st world is one of power makes policy and policy benefits the 1st world. The 3rd world is locked into a spiral of poverty from overpopulation and exploitation from the 3rd world. If you think social justice is going to change this you are sadly mistaken. The pie is shrinking and when pies shrink nationalism kicks in. People are not going to make major sacrifices for people they do not know and perceive to be a threat to their livelihood. The pain that is in the pike is so great this will likely lead to conflict and disenfranchisement of those states who do not possess the power to defend themselves. This is the unfortunate result of a system such as ours that is based on competitive cooperation. It works great until the pie shrinks then the harsh realities of human nature kick in.

  45. makati1 on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 5:52 am 

    Bob, “China ‘owes’ that debt to the Chinese people.” Yes, you are correct. It is borrowed from their savings, not printed like the U$ does and then bills the serfs. Chinese debt is not the same as U$ debt. Not even close. The China debt hype you see everywhere in Western media is propaganda. The U$ is the mega debtor of the world with a total of some 250% of GDP total. Not to mention quadrillions in derivatives waiting to explode.

    I cash in my U$Ds as soon as I get them for Philippine Pesos. Thanks to the current “strong” dollar, I have gotten an 8% raise in the last 4 months. I’m not complaining, but I know that will end soon, when the SHTF.

  46. Cloggie on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 9:06 am 

    Large increase of real minimum wages in the EU:

    (converted in euro)





    Conclusion: for deplorables the best place to be is Western Europe.

  47. GregT on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 10:10 am 

    “My country is just one big piece of shit quarry. We sell out to anyone with a chequebook. Our leaders are self loving turds. We are in bed with China.”

    Davy thinks you are from Australia? Is that true? From your above description Dooma, it sounds like you live in Canada.

  48. Jan on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 1:04 pm 


    Your arguments about overpopulation and an ever decreasing pie are correct. They don’t explain why there was such wealth inequalities in the Victorian times when the pie was getting ever bigger for Britain.

    The rich were not losing their share of wealth they were becoming ever richer.
    Building vast estates while millions lived in slums. Yes social laws made a vast difference.
    Taxing the rich, paid for schools, hospitals, mains water, electricity and sewerage.

  49. Dooma on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 3:12 pm 

    Ich bin Australia Greg.

  50. Dooma on Tue, 28th Feb 2017 3:13 pm 

    Australian I should say

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