Oct. 24, 2013 By Jack Jodell.
We in these “United” States love to consider ourselves as being the “arsenal of democracy” and a “bright, shining city on a hill” supposedly serving as a beacon of hope and light for all the rest of the world to marvel at and try to emulate.
What a load of hogwash.
In many ways, we Americans have failed, and are still failing, to live up to the glorified and idealized image we are so fond of casting ourselves in. We often think of other renegade nations, such as North Korea or Somalia, as being rogue, lawless examples of failed states, when in realuty, we are not so far removed from them in a number of ways.
Wikipedia defines a failed state as a state perceived as “having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government….The definition according to the Fund For Peace is…
1). Loss of control of its territory, or of the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force therein.
2). Erosion of legitimate authority to make collective decisions.
3). An inability to provide public services.
4). An inability to act with other states as a full member of the international community.
Common characteristics of a failed state include a central government so weak or ineffective that ithas little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION AND CRIMINALITY; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; and SHARP ECONOMIC DECLINE.”
Looking at this point by point,
1). It is completely accurate to allege that we have lost control of much of our inner cities territory, where regular drive-by shootings, along with rampant drug use and drug dealing are the rule rather than the exception. Even in suburban areas, we are seeing a very disturbing rise in the number of murderous school shootings (with the NRA loudly proclaiming its preposterous assertion that the only solution is more, rather than less, guns being present at our nation’s public schools). Meanwhile, senseless mass murders by gun-toting fanatical morons are becoming more frequent each year.
2). One need look no further than the recent Tea Party-infested, reactionary Republican Party-induced shutdown of the federal government, and the continual Republican-led obstruction efforts on job creation and budget issues to see that we definitely DO have a severe lack of authority to make “collective decisions”!
3). The evidence that we have an inability to provide public services is mounting. The fact that drastic cuts in welfare benefits have occurred for many years, eligibility requirements have considerably narrowed over time, and the recent Tea Party drive to radically reduce available Food Stamps for those who need them the most, plus their relentless drive to privatize Social Security are all disturbing proofs of this ever-increasing inability. So is the fact that they have blocked pasdsage of numerous bills for the much needed and long overdue repair or renewal of decaying public roads, bridges, buildings, and other infrastructure items.
4). We have arrogantly disregarded the sovereignity of, and have made blatant attempts to control and dominate other nations repeatedly over the years, from the CIA-led overthrow of the legally elected democratic government in Iran in 1953, to the murderous overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1971, to the invasion of Grenada in 1983, to the brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq beginning in 2003, to the indiscriminate drone strikes murdering thousands of innocent bystanders in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, to the recently revealed internet spying attempts on Brazil, Mexico, and even France which were conducted by our paranoid and cimpletely out-of-control NSA. If this is not “an inability to act with other states as a full member of the international community”, then I don’t know what the hell IS!
Concerning “widespread corruption and criminality”, our government and major big business institutions are literally permeated with it! Lobbyists are literally crawling all over the nation’s Capitol, threatening or bribing hundreds of congresspersons into accepting their point of view or even introducing lobbyist-crafted bills for passage! Subsidies are routinely dished out to huge, already very profitable energy companies and corporate agriculture, because both of these are well lpbbied on Capitol Hill, and many of them don’t even pay a dime in taxes! Billionaires have set up the notorious American Legislative Exchange Council (also known as ALEC) ostensibly to advise and lobby legislators, but more realistically a driving force to ensure that a pro-business agenda is always set and passed into law. This shadowy group has been known to actually ghost write entire bills, some of which have unfortunately become law. Many corporations deliberately set up elaborate tax-shelter schemes which keep their huge profits safely offshore and well out of the reach of the IRS. Many even manipulate legislators so as to receive tax subsidies from the government and successfully elude paying any taxes at all, yet they continue to use taxpayer-funded roads and highways to transport their goods. Billionaires successfully avoid paying personal income tax by creating huge loopholes and by shifting the tax liability to those far below them on the income scale – those who can afford it least, by comparison. Then they waste millions of dollars on expensive ad campaigns to sway public opinions against legislation they don’t like, or try to buffalo the public into accepting legislation THEY like instead.
While it is true that we don’t have the severely malnourished populations that both North Kprea and Somalia have, we DO have an ever-expanding, record disparity in wealth – with the numbers of those slipping beneath the poverty line increasing all the time. Despite enormous gains made in worker productivity over the past three decades, workers’ wages have lagged badly behind those of their greedy corporate masters. In fact, nearly all of the economic gauns generated from that period have gone to the wealthiest 1% of the country, with incredibly little of this bonanza being shared with all of those below them! We are seeing an entire class of people, mainly congresspersons, lobbyists, and the wealthy corporate elite, becoming completely oblivious to the very real and pressing needs of their countrypersons all around them. Worse yet, they are not only ignorant of these needs, but many are becoming contemptuous of those beneath them on the income scale. They isolate themselves in gated communities and are becoming totally unaware, and even uncaring, about how the overwhelming 99% majority of the”other” population now lives.
That is why I maintain that this country is well on its way to becoming a dangerously failed state!