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Oh Say Can You See?

Public Policy

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

 ― Mark Twain  

As we celebrate the nation’s Independence, a virtual pallor seems to hang over the proceedings like a shitmist. There will be parades, fireworks, cookouts and picnics, and the attendant mindlessness of a hot summer day. There will be 21-gun salutes with appropriate solemnity. But in many ways, it’s almost as if it’s “Bizarro- Fourth of July–” similar, but a bit off. As if our hearts are not fully in it. Given that hundreds of thousands attended over 800 rallies demonstrating against government-sanctioned kidnapping of children and separation of immigrant families, they may not be. Now comes proof we’re just not as patriotic as we used to be.

New Low of 52% “Extremely Proud” to Be Americans- Gallup

For the first time in 18 years, a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of US adults are not “extremely proud” to be Americans. That’s an average across political ideologies, with the sort of steep differences on either side of the political aisle you might expect.

As the nation prepares to celebrate Independence Day, 52% of U.S. adults say they are “extremely proud” to be Americans, a new low in Gallup’s 16-year trend. Americans’ patriotism spiked after 9/11, peaking at 70% in 2003, but has declined since, including an eight-percentage-point drop in early 2005 and a five-point drop since 2013.

Trend: How proud are you to be an American -- extremely proud, very proud, moderately proud, only a little proud or not at all proud?

From a peak of 70 percent in 2003, the proportion of those “extremely proud to be Americans” has eroded consistently, leveling during the final years of the Cheney-Bush regime and most of former Obama. A slide started in 2015 and continues.

No surprise the numbers split along age and political affiliation. Young adults today are significantly less patriotic than in 2001. Also no surprise that liberals (36%) join young adults as the least patriotic major subgroup. Independents, Democrats, non-whites and college graduates are also slow to salute. In contrast are those major subgroups most likely to wave the flag:  Republicans (68%), conservatives (61%) and those 50-64 (64%).

The 23-point gap in patriotism between Rs and Ds is now roughly double what it was in January 2001.

What’s it all mean? Gallup suggests that Americans’ continued frustration with national conditions — likely tied to their concern about the economy and lack of faith in public institutions — are reasons patriotism is at an ebb. Not surprisingly, I can offer some other thoughts.

How about the erosion of the middle class? For years, we’ve read the headlines: the middle class in the United States has been in decline.

CNN May 18, 2018: “Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food”
Marketwatch June 2, 2018: “50 million American households can’t even afford basic living expenses”
Wall Street Journal February 13, 2018 : “US households shoulder record $13.15 trillion debt”

In Asia, government policies favor the emergence of a prosperous middle class. In China in 2000, according to McKinsey, just 4% of the population was middle class. By 2012, it had exploded to 68% of the population.

Meanwhile in the US, The Orange Lout has instituted tariffs against our friends, which will have the net effect of raising prices.  When prices rise faster than wages, the middle class struggles. And that’s what’s been happening. The coming round of price gouges will worsen the buying power of the dollar. Powerless workers will demand wage increases, which will further erode the dollar’s worth, producing the inflation which the Fed has so dearly wanted to create. The only ones who will suffer are the wage slaves and retirees. Happy days are here again for the swells and grandees.

Housing is a powerful example. Simon Black points out:

In late 2011, the average home cost around 3.56 times the average salary in the US, according to data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. By the end of 2017, the average home cost 4.73 times the average salary, even though mortgage rates were essentially unchanged.

In other words, even when you adjust for the fact that people are earning more, housing became 33% more expensive in just six years– and that doesn’t account for increases in property taxes, home owners association dues, insurance premiums, etc.

And of course, rents follow. So even though people are technically earning more dollars, those increasingly-worthless dollars purchase less and less house. And everything else. And we haven’t even addressed the medical-industrial wealth-extraction conduit scheme. Such long term inflation and value extraction is simply theft baked in to the system.

How about security? Consider that the postwar Marshall plan to rebuild Europe and institute a consensus of mutual trade and defense endured for 70 years. We’re busily thumbing our allies in the eye over trade, and toying with the notion of leaving NATO, the better to get those Eurochiselers to pay Their Fair Share.  While Trumpsuckers cheer, “America! Fuck, Yeah!” they ignore the fact that the nuclear-tipped arsenal purchases their standard of living, thus enabling them to have that chrome-plated eight burner Weber grill on the deck of their double-wide.

Reflecting on recent history,  Watergate shocked the system as we were exposed to our first criminal President. Then Reagan, and Iran-Contra, and Ollie North, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, and then Fox News. Plus we elected two Republican Presidents that lost the popular vote, and two Democrats that governed as centrist Republicans. A useless war, a PATRIOT Act, Citizen’s United, and the theft of a SCOTUS seat all reinforced by lawmakers who gerrymandered their own voters.

Yet another President-without-a-plurality institutes policies at clear variance with our stated “values” and which flout both international law and human decency, such that hundreds of thousands are moved to take to the streets in sweltering summer heat. Little wonder the ‘proud to be a ‘Murkin'” contingent continues to shrink.

How about the fact that public sentiment and voting seems to have almost no effect on national policies? A 2015 study shows the US is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. As the authors put it,

“Economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”

Who does? Major donors and lobbyists. Your cynicism is well placed.

Never forget that Grover Norquist’s avowed goal was to shrink government to the point that he “could drown it in the bathtub.” A good way to do that is to vitiate support for government, especially among its natural constituency. As well as to demoralize the general populace, the better to depress voter turnout.

The current adminstration’s policies are designed to immiserate and outrage. Border atrocities done in our names, attacks on the rule of law, insulting democratic leaders while praising thugs, and breaking up trade agreements are all about turning American exceptionalism on its head even as our “President” brays the words.  The so-called “leadership of the free world” is something we are gleefully throwing away. For what? And who benefits?

When Trump declares war on Mars, where are the young people whose patriotic ranks will swell the all-volunteer Space Force?

Doomstead Diner


banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.

79 Comments on "Oh Say Can You See?"

  1. Makati1 on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 9:43 pm 

    Yes, MM, they all do. Not one is innocent. Well, maybe those who are not old enough to see what is happening. Say, those under age 12 with no internet access.

    YOU can get out and protest. YOU can organize a protest. You can get off you ass and do something useful to overthrow the current mafia you support by your taxes and inactivity. YOU are a perfect example of why the US is as it is. “Let someone else do it!” should be on the dollar instead of “In god we trust”.

    Since you reached age 12, the Us has only become more the police state dictatorship it is now. The last 17 years has taken the Us down to banana republic levels, below even most 3rd world nations.

    BTW: “…you foolish old has been.” is NOT the sign of intelligence or maturity. Maybe you are not 12 years old yet? Certainly not mentally. Any other excuses for your inaction? You already live in a 3rd world state called Illinois, correct? LMAO

  2. MASTERMIND on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 9:47 pm 


    What can I do to stop it? And why should I have to clean up a mess your generation made?

    Nobody is more entitled than you Madakt..

  3. Makati1 on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 9:54 pm 

    “What can I do to stop it? And why should I have to clean up a mess your generation made?”

    The past cannot be changed, but the future can and it is YOUR future, not mine. I am not there and no longer support the empire in any way.

    OH, that’s right! You are a coward and plan to off yourself at the first sign of pain. Keep that pistol handy. The time is fast approaching.

    OR, you could do something useful and get out and protest. Do something worthwhile with the life your mom gave you. Loser!

  4. GregT on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 10:31 pm 


    “And why should I have to clean up a mess your generation made?”

    The real mess began back in the 1700s, with the advent of the industrial revolution. Yet now that it looks like it might be coming to an end, all you can do is cry about it.

  5. MASTERMIND on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 11:03 pm 


    You think protesting will change anything? Great idea..

    Which proves my point..There is nothing someone like me can do..

  6. GregT on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 11:09 pm 

    “You think protesting will change anything?”

    That all depends on what you want changed.

    What do you want changed MM?

  7. Cloggie on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 11:19 pm 

    “(Macron is a Soros strawman if there ever was one) was a pretty dumb one by the French. Then again what can you expect from the cheese eating surrender monkeys. France will fall to Islam….”

    Your London is the worst, joe. London is the only capital in Europe that is no longer majority white. And I am not aware of a single white country that lets its little girls be a prey for Islamic dicks to the scale the British do.


    The French have the oldest and largest and best -organized grass-roots nationalist party in Europe, where the British merely had the tiny NF and BNP. UKIP is mostly anti-European, anti-white and Farage is mostly interested in increasing colored immigration from the Commonwealth. Good-luck with that.

    I trust the French to eventually make their guilliotines operational again. And if not, there will be tens of millions ready at the eastern side of the Rhine, all the way to Moscow, to help clean up douce France, after the impending end of the Anglo-Zionist era, the worst disaster in the history of European civilization.

    The kikes and their Anglo water carriers may have been victorious in 1945, but now the Anglos world-wide are going to be on the receiving end of history. And hence the kikes.


    Anglosphere will simply dissolve. Down Under goes to China, Scotland Europe-direct, North-America will balkanize. London will become a Caliphate.

    And low-caps joe gloats about the French while using that neocon expression “Cheese eating surrender monkeys”.lol

    joe will never be anything else than a neocon water carrier, while hoping that Europe will fall apart at the first opportunity, like every Brit does, a mentality probaby rooted in the destruction of Celtic civilization at the hands of the Germanics, millenia ago, plus island mentality. In history nothing comes nothing.

    Poor Brits, no allies, nobody around to start a third world war against Europe. WW2-buddy Russia is now on the side of the populists, the US is at the verge of CW2, yesterday Orban dominated poor little Merkel. Fortress Europe is a fact, in 2022 the hard-right Marion Marechall will take over from Macron. History will be back in spades after the end of Pax Americana. There will be war everywhere, in Europe and North-America. This time, after the cleanup in Europe, continental European troops will appear in North-America rather than the other way around, to end CW2 and break the country up.

  8. MASTERMIND on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 11:31 pm 


    That is a good question..And to be honest I don’t think we have enough time left to change anything..Even if we had the power to do so..

  9. GregT on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 11:37 pm 

    “Anglo sphere will simply dissolve. Down Under goes to China, Scotland Europe-direct, North-America will balkanize.”

    Interesting take Cloggie.

    So in a few decades time, who do you think will get the new tropical paradise North, Alaska?

  10. MASTERMIND on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 11:46 pm 

    US started biggest trade war in history, China forced to retaliate – Beijing

  11. Cloggie on Thu, 5th Jul 2018 11:48 pm 

    Alaska won’t be tropical, but “more temperate”, yes.

    Alaska, the Northern Territories and Siberia could become more attractive, indeed. Humanities plan B, so to speak.

  12. Makati1 on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:01 am 

    “You think protesting will change anything? ”

    MM, think 1776. If you do not recognize the date you really are a stupid American.

  13. MASTERMIND on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:05 am 


    Whats the point its going to collapse in next decade on its own..

  14. MASTERMIND on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:06 am 

    Trump just started a global trade war.

    Welp. See y’all at the bread line.

  15. Makati1 on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:14 am 

    “When a baby is born, its parents teach it how to eat solid foods and walk and talk, which generally works out fine. Then they start teaching the baby all the lies their parents taught them, and things start to get messy.”

    The family/country/region you are born into is the key to your beliefs. When those beliefs are false, it is difficult to break them. Few mange to do so. Some do and they are the really free ones.

    “When the baby is old enough, they send it to school, where it spends twelve years being taught lies about how the world works so that one day it will be able to watch CNN and say “Yes, this makes perfect sense” instead of “This is ridiculous”

    ““Uhh, guys? We’re marching off a cliff of ecocide and homicide. Maybe we should turn around?” or “It’s all a lie! We’re being exploited and deceived by an Orwellian oligarchy!”, that baby will usually sound crazy to all the other babies.”

    “Shut up you crazy conspiracy theorist baby,” they might say.

    “We all agree on our story about what’s going on. Our parents told us the same story, our teachers told us the same story, the news man on TV told us the same story, and the politicians told us the same story. We can’t all be wrong!”

    But of course they can, and they are.

    Sound familiar Americans? Slip slidin’…

  16. MASTERMIND on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:15 am 

    Now that Trump has put tariffs on China..

    Does this mean Trump products will cost more?

  17. GregT on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:17 am 

    “And to be honest I don’t think we have enough time left to change anything..Even if we had the power to do so..”

    Who would be the ‘we’ you are referring to MM? Unless you know something that I don’t, I doubt very much that anybody else’s plans include you. I know mine certainly do not.

    “See y’all at the bread line.”

    Say Hi to everyone for me, I don’t stand in lines.

  18. Makati1 on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:20 am 

    Ah, but, MM. Maybe it will not just collapse but slowly decay until your masters have you chained so tight you cannot protest. It may take decades to reach bottom in the US. It sure looks that way today, no matter what lies the financial “experts” and banksters say.

    You are the perfect ass licking puppy dog they want to bleed and rule over. If the colonists had thought that way you would be bowing to the queen and kissing royal ass instead. The Us would be another 3rd world colony.

    The Us was not built by cowards like you.

  19. MASTERMIND on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 12:28 am 


    The US was built by elites who owned slaves, but preached the gospel of freedom..

    Geez, they brainwashed you well in school..

  20. GregT on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 1:18 am 

    People do not become elites by building stuff MM. They become elites by exploiting and capitalizing off of the labour of others who build stuff.

    Not being taught that in school is part of your brainwashing.

  21. Makati1 on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 1:18 am 

    No Mm. The US was built by pioneers who built homes and farms and produced the basics of life. The South had slaves, to some extent, but the North didn’t. See “US Civil War” for more about that.

    “Geez, they brainwashed you well in school..”

    HYPOCRITE! You don’t even see yourself in every disparaging remark you make. We do.

  22. Makati1 on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 1:20 am 

    BTW: Avoiding a rebuttal to anyone’s post is admitting that you agree with them.

    “You are the perfect ass licking puppy dog they want to bleed and rule over.”

    Prove me wrong. But, you cannot. LMAO

  23. Makati1 on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 1:29 am 

    Amerika today:

    “America Celebrates Lateral Transition From Monarchy To Corporatist Oligarchy”

    “The Gathering Storm”

    “America the Failed State”

    Slow decline into the 3d world. Slip slidin’…

  24. MASTERMIND on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 1:32 am 

    Journalist Envisions Horrifying Future In Dystopian Novel About ‘Donald Jesus Trump’

    The future isn’t pretty in journalist Jonathan Greenberg’s new dystopian satire “America 2034: Utopia Rising,” where two-thirds of the population is enslaved in debtor labor camps to work for the oligarchs of the renamed nation the United Enterprises of America, ruled with an iron fist by president-for-life “Donald Jesus Trump.”

  25. Antius on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 2:42 am 

    “The US was built by elites who owned slaves, but preached the gospel of freedom..”

    Very few Americans actually owned slaves. It was mostly wealthy agriculturalists in the south. In the early days, there were a lot of (mostly white) indentured servants, which is for practical purposes, slaves with an agreed termination date. Still more people employed servants on what would seem to be pitiful wages by today’s standards. In theory they were free men and women; in practice there was often nowhere else to go. Marriage was a common way for women to escape a life in service.

    It was a different world. The rise of industrial manufacturing has changed not just the way we live, but our ethical values at the same time. Much about the 17th and 18th century would appear cruel and exploitive by our standards today. You simply cannot usefully employ modern ethical opinions when forming judgements over a different era.

  26. Cloggie on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 3:27 am 

    “The future isn’t pretty in journalist Jonathan Greenberg’s new dystopian satire “America 2034: Utopia Rising,” ”

    Greenberg, you said?

  27. shoal on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 5:35 am 

    “Analysts Brace For “Serious Disruption” As Trade Growth Tumbles Ahead Of Tariffs”

    “As WSJ notes, the data signals that the synchronized world-wide growth that sustained global markets and company earnings for much of last year is already starting to run on empty. And that slowdown is likely to have a greater impact on trade than the developing conflict among the U.S., China and other major economies, analysts and investors say. The global trade moderation helps explain the recent sell-off in emerging-market bonds and equities better than any fears of rising protectionism, BCA Research, an independent Canadian research firm, argued in a report last week. Any fall in trade is likely to first hit economies integral to globalized manufacturing processes, such as those of several emerging countries in Asia. “When global trade expands, weak parts of the chain do well. Conversely, when global trade growth dwindles, these same weak links are the first to break,” said Arthur Budaghyan, chief emerging markets strategist at BCA Research.”

    “It might be that companies are anticipating trade becoming more difficult with China or with the U.S. and are adjusting their supply chains,” said Joanna Konings, senior international trade economist at ING in Amsterdam. But one thing seems certain, it is not about to improve anytime soon as ‘actual’ tariffs are enacted…and retaliated to. “If the trade dispute becomes more complicated, if both sides are not willing to change their stance, you could end up with a much more serious disruption,” said William Yuen, investment director at Invesco.”

  28. shoal on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 6:18 am 

    “Economists Won’t Predict The Next Crash… Because They Can’t”

    “Economics is not a science that provides you with the means for forecasting the future. As Ludwig von Mises puts it: “This is not to say that future human actions are utterly unpredictable. They can, in a certain way, be anticipated to some extent. But the methods applied in such anticipations, and their scope, are logically and epistemologically entirely different from those applied in anticipating natural events, and from their scope.” Mises’ statement might require some further explanation. Rightly understood, economics is the science of human action, or, to be more precise, economics is about the logic of human action.”

    “To give some examples: Human action, which is always the action of an individual, is purposeful; action requires means to attain goals; means are scarce; human action presupposes the category of means and ends, that is causality; time is an indispensable means for action; human action implies time preference”

    “science has so far failed to come up with a definite relation between external factors and human action. In fact, there is a logical reason why such a relation cannot be discovered: Man undeniably has learning ability, meaning he can learn.”

    “Now we have come full circle. Economics – if and when rightfully understood as the logic of human action – does not, and cannot, provide you with insights predicting future human action. Any attempt to use economics for making predictions runs counter to logic and is thus bound to fail. This by no means suggests that economics is a trivial undertaking. On the contrary! What economics can do is outline (with absolute certainty) the qualitative results of human action taking place under certain conditions and circumstances.”

    “Economics is not a forecasting science, it is a reconstructing science:”

  29. GregT on Fri, 6th Jul 2018 10:05 am 

    “Economics is not a forecasting science, it is a reconstructing science:”


    Economics is a failed ideology, that completely ignores physics, biology, ecology, and the limits to growth in a finite environment, which we are all going to eventually find out, the hard way.

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