Steve Lendman – Thoughts On New Year’s Eve – 1 January 2015

StevelendmanHeading into 2015, things look grim. Domestically and abroad. US presidents able to govern like despots. Unilaterally claim emergency powers.

Declare martial law. Suspend constitutional rights. Rule by diktat. With or without congressional and/or judicial authority.

Based on alleged national security threats. Real or contrived. Deploying US combat troops on US streets at their discretion.

Unheard of in so-called democracies. Wage naked aggression on their say. Order anyone killed anywhere for any reason. 

Including US citizens. Or detain them indefinitely. With no formal charges filed. No trial. No habeas rights. No judicial fairness.

Presidents can exercise judge, jury and executioner authority. Targeting anyone they wish. Have Big Brother watch everyone.

Wage war on freedom. Eliminate it altogether at their discretion. Based on so-called national security priorities.

Scapegoat Muslims as enemies of choice. Wage war on Black America. Target whistleblowers for exposing government wrongdoing.

Threaten press freedom. Public assemblies. Peaceful protests. Secret evidence can be used to convict.

Withheld from defense lawyers. What better definition of police state lawlessness.

Serving monied interests exclusively. Handing America’s wealth to Wall Street. War profiteers. Other corporate favorites.

Letting popular needs go begging. During protracted Main Street Depression conditions. Economist Michael Hudson’s newest book is titled “The Bubble and Beyond.”

From “industrial capitalism to finance capitalism and debt peonage.” Including chapters on “fictitious capital, debt deflation and global crisis.”

Fueled by money printing madness at near zero interest rates. Benefitting investors at the expense of ordinary people.

Creating a “new neo-feudal rentier class.” Financial elites demanding debt-strapped cities like Detroit sell off their crown jewels.

At fire sale prices. Using cash raised to service debt. The same dynamic occurring in Europe. Rentiers buying roads. Charging tolls.

Privatizing Chicago’s parking meters. Ticketing irresponslbly. Revenues accruing to city authorities.

Scared parkers feeding meters with quarters. Benefitting Chicago Parking Meters LLC. Ripping of people for profit.

Buying prisons. Schools. Bridges. Other basic infrastructure. “(B)uilding financial charges and tollbooth rents into the prices charged for access to these essential, hitherto public services,” Hudson explains.

“Prices are rising not because costs and wages are rising, but because of monopoly rents and other rent-extraction activities.”

Today’s environment reflects “debt-strapped austerity. (E)mpowering the financial sector…”

Operating like oligarchs. Like 19th century landlords. Making money not by lending.

By direct ownership. Charging “economic rent.” Hudson explained the ” ‘economic collapse’ stage of the financialized bubble economy.”

“Coping with this legacy and financial power grab will be the great political fight for the remainder of the 21st century.”

Disproportionate wealth concentrated in economies’ top tier reflects “the dysfunctional result of economic parasitism.”

“(D)ebts that can’t be repaid won’t be…” When things eventually collapse, ordinary people will suffer most.

Inequality and economic despair will be greater than ever. It can happen any time. Maybe next year.

Imagine what young people today have to look forward to. Imagine grim futures they face. Imagine opportunities older generations had no longer available.

Imagine highly educated people pumping gas. Waiting on tables. Driving cabs. Many unable to find any steady remunerative work.

Imagine grim futures no one should face. While US waged wars rage without end. Wall Street crooks manipulate markets for profit.

America’s middle class disappearing entirely. Poverty at third world country levels. Growing homelessness and hunger.

Social services disappearing when most needed. Organized labor a shadow of its former self. Public education commodified into another business profit center.

Benefits eroding. Wages not keeping up with inflation. US streets turned into battlegrounds. Militarized police terrorize America’s most disadvantaged.

Freedom disappearing in plain sight. Poverty, hopelessness and despair replacing it.

America being transformed into a ruler/serf society. Resisters declared enemies of the state. Facing gulag imprisonment.

While monied interests never had things better. Profiting like never before. Washington’s criminal class aiding and abetting them.

Fascism has America in a death grip. Concentrated wealth and power greater than ever.

Tyranny is the coin of the realm. Wrapped in the American flag. Democracy is pure fantasy. Existing in name only.

Powerful elites run things for their own interests. At the expense of ordinary people shut out entirely.

Mass media a propaganda bullhorn. Suppressing what people most need to know. Substituting managed news misinformation rubbish.

Manipulating people irresponsibly.

Force-feeding austerity when stimulus is needed. An earlier article discussed John Maynard Keynes “Open Letter” to Franklin Roosevelt. During Depression era hard times.

Urging “spend, spend, spend.” Supply “cheap and abundant credit.” Stress “speed and quick” recovery.

Focus on “increas(ing) the national output.” Boost purchasing power by “put(ting people back to work.” On good high-paying jobs.

“(I)ncrease aggregate purchasing power.” Undertake “a large volume of loan expenditures under government auspices.”

Choose projects able “to mature quickly on a large scale.” Roosevelt, in part, followed Keynes’ advice.

Obama is no Roosevelt. Benefitting business at the expense of people. Making America more than ever unfit to live in.

Things already unbearable for many. Perhaps 2015 will be a watershed year. Expect things to be worse, not better.

More wars. Death and destruction. Human misery. Deepening poverty, deprivation and despair. In the world’s richest country.

Using its resources for ill, not good. Business as usual persists. Next year perhaps worse than ever.

America’s criminal class makes anything possible. Harder than ever hard times looks likely.

Revolutionary change urgently needed. The alternative is too grim to imagine.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

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