Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire was first posted on tripod on 6/19/2010; since then many things have occurred to indicate that this process is escalating one way or another. It isn’t clear yet which way it will go. On the one side there seem to be a lot of powerful people trying to escalate the corruption that is causing the problems and eliminate any accountability for themselves. These people are trying to suppress voting rights in many cases and increasing the control they have over the media. And they’re having a great degree of success.

On the other side there are a lot more people standing up to the most powerful people at the grass roots level. This has been so extensive that the Mass Media was no longer willing or able to completely ignore it. This has taken place both at home and abroad. These protests have been escalating on the state level in many locations; the most notable example may be Wisconsin. In the Mid-East they’ve also been protesting for democracy; in most cases against the governments that are being supported by the USA. However the ones that are getting the most publicity are the ones that are opposed to the USA like Libya and Syria. In most cases they are being portrayed, probably accurately, as being violent in clamping down on their own people. There are less widely reports to indicate that some of the countries that have supported the USA may also be clamping down on their people; however the Mass Media has put less emphasis on this.

Since these events have first occurred the coverage of them in the Mass Media has dropped off; in its place there have been a series of other events that may appear to present the USA in a better light like the assassination of Osama bin Laden, assuming you think that was handled well which I don’t as explained in a previous blog on the subject, and an increased veterans day round of celebrations. If the public allows these distractions to keep them complacent then the decline of society will only escalate in an uncontrolled manner that could lead to further disaster. If on the other hand the public educates themselves better and perhaps sets the stage for a well planned Truth and Education Commission, or something similar, that is controlled by controlled by the public then perhaps we can reform the system without causes much more damage than has already become inevitable. With Election Reform the public can set up a system that enables the public to control the interview process of candidates that should be required to fill out applications that are controlled by the public and answer questions in interviews or town hall meetings that are controlled by the public.

The Decline and Fall of the American Empire is inevitable one way or another; however it doesn't have to involve a collapse of society; instead it could be a transormation. Ultimately what it may come down to is whether society makes the most important decisions on a set of accurate facts, or whether we make our decisions that are based of the version of truth, which seems to be designed to maximize short term profits regardless of the long term impact, dictated by those with political power. Further more if those in power dictates a version of truth that doesn’t lead to environmental destruction they could still dictate a version of truth that maintains a class society that benefits the powerful at the expense of the majority; this may not lead to immediate collapse but it will lead to long term tensions that could escalate at any time.

Also this was created independently of books or commentaries that also used the title "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire" by Gore Vidal, Robert Murray and Alfred McCoy who have come up with similar concerns. Links for these are listed below.

The following is the original post as it previously appeared:

The current system of government is on an unsustainable path, for several reasons, and it a matter of time before the system collapses. This will either happen in an uncontrolled and destructive manner or we could reconsider the way our society is run and find a way that will be sustainable, preferably a way that is much fairer for the majority of the public which will no longer leave so many people disenfranchised. We are now in the process of repeating many of the mistakes that have been made by many other societies that eventually led to their own self destruction including the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Romans, Mayans, Angkor’s and more. These civilizations left behind many monuments and other evidence of their society; in some cases the records weren’t very well kept in others they were better kept but there is still evidence that they all collapsed for many of the same reasons. These reasons involve corruption, internal conflict, and wars with other countries. These things are all present in our own society and they are all escalating at an unsustainable rate for one reason or another.

There is one other element present that has never been present before, environmental destruction and technologies including nuclear that could destroy society entirely. This could lead to total annihilation; however there is also something else that is present that could avert this. There is now a better educated public in some segments of society that understands how to correct many of the biggest problems. Unfortunately these people aren’t the ones in power and the beliefs they hold challenge the authority of those who are in power. In order to avoid the self destruction of the current society it will be necessary to remove those who can’t be trusted to control society from power and allow those who make decisions based on a rational and accurate perception of reality. I’m not talking about a 2012 scenario where on any prophetic date destruction will come to society; instead I’m referring to the current events that those with the appropriate education should be able to see happening right now.

War is one of the biggest reasons that past empires have collapsed and we are following that path right now. It has often been said that the truth is the first casualty of war. There is certainly something to this however a closer look at history may indicate that the public hasn’t been given the truth even before the wars start. Those who don’t seek out the truth or the closest thing available to it won’t get it from the mass media or in most cases from the education system available to the majority without college educations in the right subjects. This is true about current wars or past wars. In most cases the truth comes out about the deception used in past wars and it routinely indicates that the public has almost always been lied to in order to lead them into war. In the current circumstances it is no different. In fact a closer look at past events will indicate that past conflicts and the way they have been handled have led up to the current war on terror. The USA has been dominating the world with their military power and they have been giving preferential treatment to the multinational corporations. The USA has been maintaining control over client or dependent states around the world and they have claimed that this is democratic. If this was democratic they would start by educating the public so they know how to participate in the most important decisions; however instead they routinely use deceptive tactics and war to maintain control. The USA and the CIA have been overthrowing governments since the end of WWII at least. In many cases instead of supporting democratic movements they have been suppressing them.

Many people may doubt this for one reason or another; if so it may help to review the most basic principles of democracy. In order to have a government by the people for the people and of the people the people have to understand how the government operates and they have to be involved in the decision making process. In order to do this in the most effective way possible the public has to have access to a good educational system to develop the skills to understand the basics of many of the most important subjects that effect our lives. This education system isn’t available to most people even in the USA and certainly not in many of the third world countries the USA is routinely “liberating” and converting to “democracy” for the sake of “freedom”. If the USA was defending freedom against tyranny the most important thing is to allow the public to have education. In some cases it may also be necessary to protect the public from violence but the country with the most powerful military today is the USA and no other country can come close to competing with it in most cases. The biggest exception may have been when the country fighting the USA was doing so with the support of their own people in their own territory. If this was the cases then it would indicate that it isn’t them that is invading the USA but the USA that is invading them.

The biggest example of this is of course Vietnam but their have been other examples where this has occurred in a lower profile way where the USA wasn’t sending nearly as many troops and in many cases they have trained the forces of other countries to do the fighting for them like when they supported the Nicaragua Contras, the overthrow of Salvador Allende and the re-installment of the Shah in the fifties. In some cases including the support of the Contras they suppressed efforts to educate the public for propaganda purposes. One of the former members of the Contras admitted to reporters that he was trained to target schools. Many people will doubt the claim of a single person but if you think about the basic principles of democracy then this shouldn’t be the strongest evidence to indicate the USA isn’t supporting it. The strongest evidence is the fact that there is much more effort to sell weapons abroad and provide military support for one reason or another than there is to provide educational aid abroad. The USA is the biggest supplier of weapons and they have often supplied the weapons to their own enemies or to both sides of a conflict like the Iran Iraq war. In many cases they support tyrants presumably because they are on our side but then they turn on us and we have to fight against the same military machine we helped build.

A couple more of the biggest examples are Iraq in the eighties as well as Noriega both of which turned into the enemy in 1989/90 and the Shah of Iran in the fifties through the seventies and his weapons fell into the hands of the Islamic regime that never would have arisen if not for the fact that the Shah was using torture to suppress his people and restricting education preventing the moderates from taking power. To list all the examples where former allies turned into enemies would take a much longer time. By declining to acknowledge the fact that this method of maintaining control isn’t working and changing it is guaranteed to lead to nonstop war unless either we learn to change tactics or the wars eventually lead to our own self destruction as a society or the decline and fall of the American Empire. If this keeps the public distracted from other problems like the environment then it could lead to a escalating path to self destruction that can’t be reversed at some point but there probably won’t be a clear warning sign to indicate when the point of no return is like the movies which is why we should try to reverse the nonstop wars and other problems in the most effective way possible regardless.

The capitalist approach to the environment that is currently taking place alone is enough to destroy civilization if it goes unchecked long enough. The business community routinely tries to maximize their profits in the most effective way possible and in the past this has often involved suppressing the rights of workers and the destruction of the environment. When it comes to the destruction of the environment the price is still accumulating for all the destruction they are doing they just aren’t being held accountable and forced to pay for the damage as they go. A clear example of this is if they go into a area and strip the timber of all the wood and do nothing to restore it then there is a cost to the ecology that isn’t being figured into the profits. This is repeated in many other ways where they either strip resources without sharing the benefits with anyone or they uses destructive and polluting ways to destroy the environment in other ways. The people without political power in the locations that are being devastated are the ones that pay the price. There is one simple principle they are not taking into their beliefs. Without the environment the human race can’t survive. Without the human race there will be no economy to protect. When they claim that the economy is more important than the environment they are clearly ignoring this obvious fact.

One clear example of how this could lead to disaster may have been Easter Island where they allegedly cut down the trees to move the Moai and then they were no longer able to support themselves because they relied on the fruit from the trees to survive. This hypothesis is worth considering even if it turns out to be true because we are doing the same thi9ng on a much larger scale. Thanks to modern technology we now have the knowledge to repair and perhaps in some cases even improve the environment but instead we are destroying it at an escalating pace. Efforts to create cities in Las Vegas, Israel, and the other parts of the Middle East have clearly indicated that when the efforts are being made for the right purposes they can improve the environment but this comes at a great cost in all these cases. Ironically in the case of Las Vegas it is being financed by vice which provides little or no benefit to society and in the middle east where they are using it to drill for oil the cities they are building there are coming at an even greater cost to the rest of the world since the oil is a major part of the reason the environment is being destroyed through pollution either when it is used as intended or when it is being spilt.

In most cases when the environment is being destroyed it is happening in the third world so there is an enormous amount of damage that has been accumulating for decades. The human race has already been paying a huge price for this destruction but it is mostly those without much if any political power so the government and the Media mostly ignore it in their policy making and in their reporting. This is beginning to change due to the Gulf spill but not nearly as much as it needs to. They haven’t provided more than a token amount of reporting on the other disasters during this crisis and have been exaggerating the damage being done to one area at the same time. This essentially leaves the public with little or no sincere understanding of what is going on. On one report from CNN they briefly mentioned the fact that there have been 2,500 other oil spills without elaborating on what timeframe, how big the spills were or where they were. Another report from sixty minutes introduced an expert that worked on at least twenty other oil rig disasters indicating this is more common than most people realize and the media isn’t providing more details. They also fail to explain why the leak is still ongoing as well as they could or should. This leak shouldn’t be continuing to happen at a high rate unless there is some force pumping the oil out. They haven’t made any attempt to explain to the public why this is happening. If you turn of the pump to a country home the water will stop coming out. City water may be different since it may run on gravity or they may have a city pump which could be turned off. This should work the same way in the gulf. They wouldn’t be relying on gravity so either they are pumping it out or there is some other force causing the oil to come out. The only other possibility that I can think of would be that there is natural gas putting pressure on it which would lead to an even bigger problem with natural gas pollution than with oil pollution but they rarely if ever mention that.

One possibility worth considering even though it is almost certainly false is the chance that they are using hype to motivate the public for political reasons to protect the environment. This is unlikely but they aren’t providing an accurate explanation for one reason or another so it is worth considering different ideas until there is a rational on that makes sense and can be confirmed. If those with political power realize that their own environment is going to be destroyed they may finally want to do something about it but they may want to do so without surrendering their own political power. By creating a lot of hype and propaganda without a rational understanding of the problem they may advance enough environmental protection for their own purposes without devoting more resource than necessary to protect the rest of the environment. This would be a foolish idea but it is still worth considering because what they are doing is foolish no matter what the explanation; so ruling out foolish ideas would be inappropriate. If this is the case they may be thinking of trying to control the way people perceive the problem so they can control the reaction from the public for their own best interest. This won’t seem quite so unbelievable when you consider the behavior of some of the people in the political world including Lawrence Summers who once wrote “Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]?” (Link below) This could be dismissed if not for the fact that this seems to be exactly what they have been doing for decades. Regardless of whether this hypothesis is true or not some aspects of the most effective way to solve the environmental problem should be the same. The public should be educated on the most important aspects of environmental damage of all types in the most effective way possible starting with the basics then they can help make rational decisions about how to solve the problem in a way that benefits everyone not just those with political power.

The way they are currently handling the gulf spill doesn’t indicate they are serious about holding the oil companies accountable. President Obama has appointed Kenneth Feinberg to handle the reimbursements for the damage being done and he has indicated that he may be more concerned with minimizing they damage to BP than he is holding them accountable. In an interview with PBS he said "So, BP is trying to do the right thing. They're well-intentioned." And he goes on to say "But any talk about BP going out of business or being bankrupt, that would be a horror. That would mean that eligible claimants would now have to wait. That -- that is simply not an alternative that I find acceptable." (Link to interview below) He is using circular logic and ignoring many other oil spills and environmental disasters. They shouldn’t be driven into bankruptcy by forcing them to pay claims because then they wouldn’t be able to make the payments on the claims. This is absurd, he seems to be more concerned about making sure that “small people”, as one of the BP reps call the majority, don’t have the opportunity to runs scams or perhaps collect o legitimate claims but big people like BP and many other oil companies and other multinational corporations should be allowed to continue running their much bigger scams on the whole world. If he was sincere he would mention the vast majority of the damage all over the world and he wouldn’t limit it to BP. To hold the multinational corporations accountable and force them to pay for reparations for it all would cost them hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars. They only seem to be willing to hold these companies accountable to a limited degree when they do damage to the few people in the world that have a little political power.

The damage in the gulf is almost certainly trivial compared to the damage to other areas like Nigeria, Columbia or if you take into consideration the damage done by the military as well Viet Nam. The damage done to Viet Nam during the illegal invasion by the USA created an enormous amount of devastation to the environment in addition to killing hundreds of thousands if not millions of innocent people because they didn’t choose a government satisfactory to the USA and the ideology they routinely fight wars over. The fact that they have appointed Admiral Thad Allen to address the problem should also raise some questions. This gives the impression that the military is the source to call in to solve this problem or just about any other problem. This isn’t the type of thing the military is trained for and the military has an atrocious record when it comes to protecting the environment. Presenting them as the ones to solve the problem is almost as bad as presenting oil drilling Bruce Willis as the hero saving us from an asteroid. This is pure propaganda.

There are similar problems with the economy and the corruption that seems to be escalating due to the current political structure. Part of this problem involves the belief in the capitalist system and the way the corporations have much more influence on the running of the government than the public. I have covered this more in other entries so I’ll just provide a brief review. The current system allows the politicians to make decisions with little or no input from the public. Once those decisions are made they decide what to tell the public so that they can believe the politicians are looking out for their best interests. They rarely ever actually look out for the best interest of the public; instead they are more concerned with those that contribute to campaigns and control the major corporations and the media system. The result is that there is little or no investigation by either the government or the Mass Media into corporate corruption. This enables scandals like Enron, WorldCom, Bernie Madoff to escalate until they are way to big to hide. At this point the Mass Media and the government start posturing and patching together an investigation that they should have done before these scandals got so big and they attempt to portray themselves as the ones solving the problems without making major changes. This cycle has been repeating itself for decades if not hundreds of years. Past corruption periods include the savings and loans scandals of the eighties, the Teapot scandal of the twenties, the corruption during the Grant administration and many more as well as a steady degree of lesser corruption in between. This steady state of corruption could lead to distractions that could prevent other problems like the environment and wars from being addressed properly and they could escalate.

There has been a history of coercion to develop the current system and it involves allowing the multi-national corporations to control the information fed to the public and it used scare tactics that have often escalated after big wars like WWI and WWII when people were more inclined to be paranoid and respond with strong emotions. This pattern has been repeated to a lesser degree after the 9/11 attacks. This enabled those with political power to manipulate the public in a more effective way. However for one reason or another they did it in an overly exaggerated manner which many people with a reasonable education should be able to recognize. This provides an opportunity that could be used as an educational moment for the majority of the public if the educated people take advantage of it and the less educated people are more willing to learn and see how they have been manipulated in the past. However there are also a lot of people acting out of anger and making decisions based more on emotions than on the most effective way to solve problems. This is apparent in many cases where people are responding out of fear to the scare tactics being used by the media to the terrorist and also against immigration.

The situation in Arizona where they are creating one law after another to suppress the rights of aliens is one example where people are making decisions based on a selective set of facts. Whether the current system collapses in a destructive manner or whether the system is reformed in a rational manner may depend on whether or not the public is educated in a rational manner or not. If the people who have done their research in a rational manner are allowed to get their point across to the public in a calm manner and there is a rational discussion that checks facts carefully before making important decisions then there is a good chance that the system can be reformed. If on the other hand the people in power are allowed to maintain their divide and rule tactics and continue distorting the information given to the vast majority of the public then this will guarantee that many of the most important decisions will be made based on lies and it is virtually guaranteed that there will be a large price to pay and this could escalate to massive destruction.

A truth and education commission could be one way to enable the more credible and educated scholars to get their messages across to the public and expose some of the covert activities that have led to these problems. In order to accomplish this it may be necessary to provide some form of immunity for some people and to include some form of reparations in some cases. If this is going to work it should be thought out carefully and done with the input of members of the public. There should be some form of media reform so that we have more opportunities to hear from people with different points of view. The current media is controlled by the multinational corporations and it is being used as an indoctrination tool to flood the public with only their point of view coercing the most naive people. This is leading to massive corruption. There also needs to be a much better education system to inform the public how to make rational decisions. This should be done on a global basis as soon as possible; if it isn’t possible to do this on a global basis immediately then it should be done wherever possible then expanded elsewhere as soon as possible. Right now the most important place to educate the public may be the USA where the Mass Media is manipulating the public into electing some of the most corrupt politicians in the world and they have the most power around the world. This is supposed to be the defender of democracy but it is often doing the opposite. If the USA could educate the public and elect a new batch of politicians that are serious about reforming the system, including election reform, education reform and media reform as well as other reforms, then they could go a long way to reversing the current trend and repair the damage being done at a rapid rate. If this is done and the public receives the education they need then instead of a decline and fall of the American Empire then environmental problems, social problems, economic problems and war can be dramatically reduced if not eliminated and the quality of life for the majority could improve dramatically or if it isn’t done then the opposite could happen.

Partial lists of oil spills, this doesn’t cover the vast majority of smaller spills which surely have an enormous cumulative effect nor does it cover other types of pollution:  

Statement from Lawrence Summers and reviews from several sources:

PBS interview with Kenneth Feinberg:

For link to Alfred McCoy’s review of the “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire”

For link to Gore Videl’s book excerpts of the “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire”:

For link to Robert Murray's book “The Decline and Fall of the American Empire”:

For link to Edward Gibbon's book  “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”:

After typing in just a few words like oil spill, tanker explosion many more disasters turned up from the google search engine see the following

In Democratic republic of Congo July 2010:
In Nigeria July 2010:
In Singapore May 2010:
In Perth Australia 1991:
On Great Barrier Reef off coast of China April 2010;
In Corona California May 2010:
In Oakland California April 2007:,2933,269118,00.html
In Los Angeles California 1947:
In Los Angeles California 1976:
In Foxboro Mass June 2010:
In San Antonio Texas May 2010:
In Galveston Texas 1990:
In Texas City 1947:
In Deer park Texas 1979:
Texas oil refinery May 2010:
In rural Texas June 2010:
At Port Arthur Texas Jan 2010:
In Houston Texas Oct 2009:
In Indianapolis Indiana Oct 2009:
In Nashville Tennessee march 2010:
(For more information on Blog see Blog description and table of context for most older posts.)

The following are the original replies when this was first posted on Open Salon.

Excellent. This is about as important a topic as it gets. We are rushing head-long to repeat the same mistakes that have led other world powers to their demise, only this time we have the technology to bring the rest of the planet down with us.

Kemstone June 01, 2011 09:26 AM

We also have the technology to provide dramatic improvements for everyone, creating a society better than any previously experienced if only we educate the public instead of protecting the corrupt.

zacherydtaylor June 01, 2011 09:41 AM

Long read, but, well, worth the time - excellently documented.

Thank goodness for people like You, Zachery, who are able to distill the truth from so many different angles.


markinjapan June 01, 2011 11:55 AM

Will have to come back to this, there is a lot packed in here. Great post, appreciate the hard work and thought you put into this Zach. Rated.

Rolling June 01, 2011 12:10 PM

Thanks for the input, a lot of the work came from many other people most of whom I haven’t cited and this was mostly old material for me since it was a re-post but I think this does deserve more attention.

zacherydtaylor June 03, 2011 09:21 AM

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