“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses” – Juvenal – 100 A.D.



Juvenal makes reference to the Roman practice of providing free wheat to Roman citizens as well as costly circus games and other forms of entertainment as a means of gaining political power through populism. Roman politicians devised a plan in 140 B.C. to win the votes of the poor: giving out cheap food and entertainment, “bread and circuses”. The Roman politicians realized this would be the most effective way to rise to power and stay in power.

With the revolting display of political theater in the last few weeks, I couldn’t help but consider the parallels between the Roman Empire and the American Empire. The entire debt ceiling farce was a circus on an epic scale – The Greatest Show on Earth. The American public was treated to high wire acts of near debt experiences, Senators putting their heads into the mouths of lions, and hundreds of clowns riding tiny bikes with squeaking horns. In the end, American politicians did what they do best – pretended to solve a spending problem without cutting spending. Only in America could politicians put the country on course to increase its national debt from $14.5 trillion to $23 trillion by 2021 and declare they are cutting spending. For those that need to visualize the lies of politicians, take a gander at this chart and try to find the cuts in spending.

You have a better chance of finding a unicorn in your backyard than finding actual cuts in spending from the corrupt clowns inhabiting the halls of Congress. If you are driving your car towards a brick wall at 120 mph and you slow down to 118 mph, the ultimate result will be the same. The only way to avoid disaster is to jam on the brakes. But, the liberal and conservative politicians are both enjoying the ride fueled by millions in corporate, union, Wall Street and a thousand other special interest payoffs.  

The Roman authorities provided free wheat to the peasants as a superficial means of appeasing the masses and distracting them from the fact that public policy and public service had failed, as corruption and decadence engulfed those in control of government. Free bread, chariot races, and feeding Christians to lions kept the small-minded peasants satiated and ignorant of their civic duty. Today, the authorities don’t hand out bread they hand out EBT cards to 45.5 million Americans, or 14.6% of the entire population.

There are almost 5 million Americans on welfare. There are 50 million Americans on Medicaid. There are 8 million Americans receiving unemployment compensation. There are 10.5 million Americans on Social Security disability. This is the symbolic bread being provided to the masses to keep them tranquilized, pliable, satisfied and ignorant of their civic duty. The government has renamed bread as “social benefits” and now distributes $2.3 trillion of bread per year to the “needy”. This constitutes 15% of the country’s GDP and will continue to grow for decades or until the American Empire collapses.

Aldous Huxley in his 1958 assessment of his 1931 novel Brave New World – Brave New World Revisited said that “any bird that has learned how to grub up a good living without being compelled to use its wings will soon renounce the privilege of flight and remain forever grounded. If the bread is supplied regularly and copiously three times a day, many of them will be perfectly content to live by bread alone – or at least by bread and circuses alone. ‘In the end,’ says the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s parable, ‘in the end they will lay their freedom at your feet and say to us, make us your slaves, but feed us.” Bread is not the opiate of the masses, it is the cyanide. Huxley saw the Welfare state arising before it really got kick started in the late 1960s. By trying to support the less fortunate by transferring trillions to them, with no strings attached, we have insured the ultimate bankruptcy of our country. Americans have willingly sacrificed liberty, freedom and civic responsibility for safety, security and bread.

Huxley hadn’t lost all hope. He seems to have foreseen the rise of the Tea Party and the coming revolution, led by the youth of this country who are being left with the bill for the bread and circuses promised by myopic politicians over the last four decades:

“When things go badly, and the rations are reduced, the grounded do-dos will clamor again for their wings… The young people who now think so poorly of democracy may grow up to be fighters for freedom. The cry of ‘Give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty,’ may give place, under altered circumstances to the cry of Give me liberty or give me death.”

I hope Huxley is right. The welfare state is bankrupt. The rations are going to be cut. There is no choice. The money is gone. The jobs are gone. The do-do’s that haven’t flown in years are unlikely to clamor for their wings. They are already clamoring when even the potential of cuts in their bird feed are mentioned. The Millenial generation is our last great hope to reverse our decline. They have not become addicted to “social benefits” yet. Their parents and grandparents are handing them an un-payable bill as they graduate college with no jobs. A generational war is in the offing. I for one will side with the youth against the Boomers. The future of the country depends upon the outcome of this war.

Striking Similarities to Rome

“There are striking similarities between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”. –David Walker


David Walker, the former head of the GAO from 1998 until 2008, compared the U.S. Empire to the Roman Empire in August 2007. He has been warning the country about our unsustainable fiscal path for over a decade.

  • Since August 2007 the National Debt has increased from $8.9 trillion to $14.6 trillion, a 64% increase in four years.
  • We’ve increased our cumulative expenditure on our wars of choice in the Middle East to $1.3 trillion since 2001.
  • Our annual military spending rose from $653 billion in 2007 to the current $966 billion, a 48% increase in four years.
  • Federal government transfers for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment, Veterans, Food Stamps, and Welfare increased from $1.7 trillion in 2007 to the current level of $2.3 trillion, a 35% increase in four years.

It goes without saying that Mr. Walker’s advice was not heeded. And regarding declining moral values and political civility, I would point you to the fine examples of morality displayed by Wall Street since 2007 along with the display of civility seen in Washington DC over the last few weeks. The striking similarities that David Walker acknowledged are in full bloom for the world to see.

English historian Edward Gibbon wrote his masterpiece The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in 1776, ironically in the year the American Empire was born. He detailed the societal collapse encompassing both the gradual disintegration of the political, economic, military, and other social institutions of Rome and the barbarian invasions that were its final doom in Western Europe. Gibbon concluded there were five marks of the Roman decaying culture:

  1. Concern with displaying affluence instead of building wealth.
  2. Obsession with sex and perversions of sex.
  3. Art becomes freakish and sensationalistic instead of creative and original.
  4. Widening disparity between very rich and very poor.
  5. Increased demand to live off the state

Gibbon’s analysis captured the essence of what happens to all empires. It subsequently happened to the Dutch, Spanish and British empires and has been eating away at the greatest empire of all over the last several decades. Larry Elliot, writer for the UK Guardian, recently described the rot that has destroyed every empire in history:

“The experience of both Rome and Britain suggests that it is hard to stop the rot once it has set in, so here are the a few of the warning signs of trouble ahead: military overstretch, a widening gulf between rich and poor, a hollowed-out economy, citizens using debt to live beyond their means, and once-effective policies no longer working. The high levels of violent crime, epidemic of obesity, addiction to pornography and excessive use of energy may be telling us something: the US is in an advanced state of cultural decadence.

Empires decline for many different reasons but certain factors recur. There is an initial reluctance to admit that there is much to fret about, and there is the arrival of a challenger (or several challengers) to the settled international order. In Spain’s case, the rival was Britain. In Britain’s case, it was America. In America’s case, the threat comes from China.”

For the last forty years America has shifted from a society that created goods into a society that created debt. Displays of affluence like McMansions, Mercedes, BMWs, Rolexes, summer mansions in the Hamptons, designer clothes, granite and stainless steel kitchens, and 85 inch HDTVs, all purchased with debt provided like candy by the Wall Street banks and their sugar daddy – the Federal Reserve, have trumped true wealth building. The result is a nation with $52.6 trillion of debt outstanding, or 350% of GDP. The basic rule for maintaining a healthy economic system requires the population to spend less than they earn and save the difference. The savings can then be invested in domestic companies, plants and equipment which keep the country growing. Americans bought into the lie that purchasing cheap foreign goods with cheap credit was as valid as actually building wealth. The national savings rate, which exceeded 10% in the 1970s and early 1980s, dropped to less than 1% by 2005. Why save when you could whip out one of your 13 credit cards.

America’s obsession with sex and perversion of sex makes Caligula look like a Boy Scout. There are 4.2 million pornographic websites serving 72 million visitors per month and generating $5 billion of revenue for these fine capitalists. More than 40% of internet users view porn. What passes for art today is a crucifix in the artist’s urine. The true art of the American empire consists of reality TV shows like Jersey Shore and Housewives of NY, OC, NJ, Miami, and Atlanta. America has taken shallow, mindless, and superficial to an empire crushing low.

The disparity in wealth between the super rich and the working class has never been greater. The working middle class that built this country has been systematically destroyed as the super rich have used inflation and debt to lure them into servitude, while the unproductive parasites have learned it is easier to feed off their middle class host than work for a living. It is clear to anyone, except a Republican ideologue, that when the top 10% richest Americans abscond with 50% of the income in the nation through their control of politicians, Wall Street and the few mega-corporations that set the economic agenda, a convulsive change is necessary. It is not a coincidence  the heyday of the American Empire was from 1946 until 1971 when the working middle class was able to advance their station in life through education, hard work and a level playing field.

The playing field got tilted against the working middle class in the late 1960’s with LBJ’s Great Society welfare state and got turned upside down in 1971 when Nixon closed the gold window and allowed bankers and politicians unfettered access to money printing with no immediate consequences. The result has been a slow steady descent into hell as politicians have made $100 trillion of unfunded promises of bread to the masses and bankers have gorged themselves with riches from peddling debt to the same masses, so they could enjoy the circuses. We are now left with the top 1% hoarding 33.8% of the wealth and the top 10% clinging to 71.5% of the wealth in the country. The bottom feeders are thrown scraps of bread in the form of food stamps, welfare, disability payments, and unemployment compensation. They have grown dependent and no longer participate in productive society. With more than 50% of adults paying no income tax, they vote for politicians that promise to not “cut” their social benefits.  


When you see your leaders take actions that clearly are not in the long term best interests of the American people, you need to ask why. Since September 2008 your leaders have funneled trillions of dollars to the Wall Street bankers that nearly destroyed the worldwide economic system. They have funneled billions into the coffers of the mega-corporations that outsourced your jobs to Asia. They ramped up their wars in the Middle East to reward their friends in the military industrial complex. And lastly, they handed out a few hundred billion more to the masses to keep them from rioting in the streets.

We know for a fact QE2 was designed to prop up the stock market because Ben Bernanke told us so. And it worked. From the day he announced he was going to do it at the annual meeting of the ruling moneyed classes at Jackson Hole until it ended on July 1, 2011, the market went up 30%. The average American dealt with the 30% to 50% increases in food and energy costs, while the richest 1% partied like it was 1999. Considering they own 50.9% of all the stocks in the country, the last couple years of free money and stock appreciation created by the Federal Reserve have been a windfall for the privileged moneyed class. The bottom 50% who own 0.5% of the stocks in the country haven’t fared so well. 

When you watch the talking heads and contemptible pundits on Fox, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN and the other mainstream corporate media spinning our economic situation in a positive way, remember that every person you are listening to is a member of the top 1% richest Americans. They have large portfolios of stocks and will not let reality or truth interfere with their ambitions of further wealth and power. This country is controlled by the few for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many. Less than ten banks control more than 50% of deposits and 75% of the lending in the country. One private banking organization – the Federal Reserve – controls the currency of the country. A handful of mega-corporations control the commerce of the country. Less than ten arms dealers dictate the war spending in the country. A few media conglomerates control the message fed to the masses. A few hundred corrupt politicians pay off their corporate and banking masters with laws, tax breaks, and pork. These people make up the ruling class of America.

As their messages of “efficiency” and “job creation” have proven to be lies, the financialization of America by the ruling class is almost complete. Real earnings for real people are 10% lower than they were in 1972. They have transformed a productive society based on saving and investment into a hollowed out shell of a society based on financial manipulation and debt. The endgame approaches.

The moneyed interests have gone too far. The debts are too large. The burden placed on the middle class is too great. The Federal Reserve has proven to be the lackeys of the Wall Street fat cats and the slithering political class in Washington DC. QE2 was a miserable failure. The American middle class is angry. Their anger could lash out in many possible directions. Their benefits will be cut. Their home values will fall. Their 401ks will be cut in half. Their standard of living will fall. Will they accept this fate without a fight? I doubt it.

Democracy Never Lasts Long 

The decline of the American Empire may be a surprise to those who cling to the laughable American Exceptionalism dogma, but every previous empire in history has declined. The Dutch Empire lasted for just over a century. The Spanish Empire survived for just over two centuries. The British Empire reigned for just over three centuries. And the Great Roman Empire ruled for almost five centuries.

The American Empire has been expanding for over 220 years, but based on all indications has peaked. Were we destined to implode as all previous democracies have done, as described by Greek historian Polybius?

“Monarchy first changes into its vicious allied form, tyranny; and next, the abolishment of both gives birth to aristocracy. Aristocracy by its very nature degenerates into oligarchy; and when the commons inflamed by anger take vengeance on this government for its unjust rule, democracy comes into being; and in due course the licence and lawlessness of this form of government produces mob-rule to complete the series.” –The Histories 6.4.7-13

As a democracy this country was supposed to be governed by the people, for the people. We were supposed to have an equal say in how we were governed and participation in adopting the laws of the land. Over time civic duty was outsourced to politicians that promised the masses safety and security at the expense of liberty and responsibility. The general population has grown accustom to the bread and circuses provided by their “protectors”. The fledgling democracy has degenerated into a corporate fascist oligopoly that benefits the few in control. Recent events prove beyond a shadow of doubt the privileged few are losing control of the situation. A worldwide upheaval is brewing as the toxic debt is strangling the economic systems of the world. Confidence in this ponzi finance system is waning. The American population is beginning to realize their fatal mistake in trusting bankers and politicians to do what was right for the country.

Polybius believed that democracies always killed themselves:

“And hence when by their foolish thirst for reputation they have created among the masses an appetite for gifts and the habit of receiving them, democracy in its turn is abolished and changes into a rule of force and violence. For the people, having grown accustomed to feed at the expense of others and to depend for their livelihood on the property of others, as soon as they find a leader who is enterprising but is excluded from the houses of office by his penury, institute the rule of violence; and now uniting their forces massacre, banish, and plunder, until they degenerate again into perfect savages and find once more a master and monarch.” The Histories 6.9.7-9

The average American does not understand what is swirling around them. They have a sense of unease, but they are still receiving their government issued bread and their 52 inch TV is providing 24 hours of circuses. The monetary system upon which that bread and those circuses are based is collapsing as we speak. Ernest Hemingway captures what is happening to the American Empire in one brief quote from his novel The Sun Also Rises:

“How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways, gradually and then suddenly”

As the political theater of the absurd played out last week in Washington DC, it became clear to me the ruling class has no intention of changing our path. Politicians will keep spending and central bankers will keep printing more money. There are people like David Walker that will continue to sound the alarm:

“We are less than three years away from where Greece had its debt crisis as to where they were from debt to GDP. With the recent increase in the debt ceiling and continued higher budget deficits at the federal level, the US is on course for its own crisis. We are not exempt from a debt crisis. We’re never going to default, because we can print money. At the same point in time, we have serious interest rate risk, we have serious currency risk, we have serious inflation risk over time. If it happens, it will be sudden and it will be very painful.”

But, it appears we are destined to commit suicide as a nation. I doubt the American Empire will linger on for centuries. The world moves rapidly. The Vandals (Goldman Sachs) and the Huns (JP Morgan) are at the gates. The final battle is underway – the battle for the soul of America. When the existing social structure is swept away by the tsunami of un-payable debt, who and what will replace it? Will the American people turn to someone that promises them liberty and freedom with no promises of bread and circuses? Or will they turn to a strong demagogue that promises them more safety and more security?

What do you think?

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”  – John Adams, Letter, April 15, 1814


  1. “Will the American people turn to someone that promises them liberty and freedom with no promises of bread and circuses? Or will they turn to a strong demagogue that promises them more safety and more security?”

    Strong demagogue–it’s a no brainer. But before that we’ll have one more election with a choice between Wall Street puppets (Obama and Romney) who are each likely to raise around $1 billion to flood the airwaves with content-free ads next year.

  2. However, as someone pointed out, addressing spending cuts before productivity is like playing Putin roulette with all the chambers loaded.

    Hindrances to small business investing, as well as wealth and income disparity, must be addressed in addition to spending.

    One without the other is as meaningless as the supposed spending cuts.

  3. To me the game has become “the last man standing.” And the “men” in this charade is really about which currency will remain the dominant world bellweather? If the Dollar can outlast the Euro, then all the world (at least for a while longer) still bows to the Almighty Dollar.

    Think of the alternatives. Who wants to support Chinese or Russian currency? We all know that their governments are just as corrupt (maybe more?). Africa? Largely still in the stone age. Australia? Too remote and largely not a global player (and no army to back it up).

    It’s become a global game of Survivor: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. You decimate relationships during the process, but if you are the last one standing you still win. Of course, playing Survivor on a global scale, with participants that have armies and nukes, can only lead to world war at some point.

    Whether the U.S. finally runs out of road to kick that can further down, or others force our government to perform unthinkable acts, all of the roads eventually converge into one, nasty pile of shit.

  4. Our politicians are making history. Nobody bought the debt ceiling agreement/fiasco, the politicians just extended their credit line and can continue to spend like there’s no tomorrow (there isn’t):

    “This Congress is making history. It’s the least popular ever.

    A new CNN poll showed just 14 percent of people approve of the job Congress is doing, the lowest ever measured in more than three decades of data.

    The only other time that Congress even approached this level of disapproval was in the spring of 1992 when discontent with the two party system led to the rise of Ross Perot.”

    Our debt is making history:
    See chart above.

    The welfare state is making history, the number of food stamp recipients is a record.

    We are making history in all the wrong ways. I don’t see anybody able to pull us out of this mess, it’s gone too far. To say our best days are behind us is now a gross understatement. Younger generations won’t even have the benefit of having gone through the gravy decades of the 70’s and 80’s. The only way they will revolt is if their cell phones or the internet gets shut down (the e-circus). They are already so overloaded with debt, well into their debt-slavery years, that they will be too scared to revolt against anything.

    The only hope for this country is the people who remember how it used to be. We will never be able to go back there again, but we might be able to eradicate the disease in this country, versus the military state, the bankers and the corruption, I’d say our chances are slim.

    Great article, as usual. We are Rome on steroids. It will not end well, but it will end.

  5. More Boomer bashing. I thought I was reading Kunstler and his stupid rants about the South and NASCAR. Actually, it was an outstanding article that brought up many salient points concerning our coming doom. Actually, I think there is hope. How about a Paul/Rubio ticket. Rubio is an excellent speaker and he appears to have his head where it belongs. He voted against the deficit increase and gave an incredible speech the other day.

  6. We will rise from the ashes, dsburse the boomer swine and restore a new civic order based on responsibiliy and hard work…

    Awe, fuck it. Gimme some beer, burritos, Call of Duty and some boot-hay-hay to gawk over!

  7. “There are 4.2 million pornographic websites serving 72 million visitors per month and generating $5 billion of revenue for these fine capitalists. More than 40% of internet users view porn. ”

    I think this topic deserves more discussion than the small amount included in the article. What are the most viewed porn sites? Which ones generate the most money? Can these old farts put their hard earned savings into the porn industry and expect a good return?

    You are skimming over a potential investment here. Yeah, congress eats shit. Dumbass Americans eat shit. Get to the stuff about sex and money.

  8. This was on the Rush Limbaugh show 2 days ago. If you don’t like Rush Limbaugh, sorry, but this was so funny.

    Quote: Today, Russia announced that they are issuing postage stamps honoring Barack Hussein Obama. It is no wonder that a bunch of communists love Obama, because he is one of them.

    However, we here in the United States have already honored Obama with Stamps. They are called FOOD STAMPS! And now a record 45 million people are on them.


    How many of you good folks have compared Obama’s promises during his campaign with the reality of an Obama presidency?

    I dare you to.

  9. Stan, the real question is “How does Obama continue to survive?”

    Oh yeah. It’s because we have Biden waiting in the wings. What a fucking brilliant (clever?) insurance policy Obama came up with. And all this time I thought he was as dumb as a bag of rocks.

  10. All that is gold does not glitter,
    Not all those who wander are lost;
    The old that is strong does not wither,
    Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

    From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
    A light from the shadows shall spring;
    Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
    The crownless again shall be king.

    J.R.R. Tolkien, ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’

  11. John Adams was right. Democracy is self-defeating. We need to revert to a limited government republic, one that protects the minority against the stupidity and greed of the ravenous majority.

    We also need an amendment to the constitution that prevents people who accept welfare of any kind from voting in the next election. Public sector employees should also not be allowed to vote. It’s a blatant conflict of interest.

    Only those pulling the wagon should be selecting our representatives. The alternative is to watch the slugs in society vote themselves largesse at our expense. I, for one, am tired of pulling the wagon and watching demogogues like Obama harping about how I’m not paying my fair share.

    My message to Barack and his banker buddies: Stop stealing, stop lying, and for God’s sake, STFU!

  12. The collapse of this country was planned 40-50 years ago and that plan is working very well. The only was to stop it is to kill every fucking liberal do-gooder tree hugging asshole out there.

  13. Your Roman history is a little off. Roman “peasants” weren’t receiving wealfare, it was the landless city “mob” that was being fed. They were landless because the wealthy had taken their land through debt and other means over the two centuries preceeding Juvenal. So these people moved to the cities where they would have starved otherwise. The disappearance of the small independent farmer in Italy led to the collapse of the Republic. While the wealthy senatorial class screamed for austerity and used every means to acquire more and more wealth, the mob backed Caesar. Well, and why not? Concentration of wealth, an unaffordable empire, and mass poverty ended it all, but as you say, it took some time.

    A related question: why did people in the 70’s save 10% of their income? Maybe because taxes on the rich were twice what they are today, plus a few other things like strong unions and high wages. Duh! Simply put, people actually had money to spend after expenses. Take Germany today, great social safety net, strong unions, that eguals a high savings rate. Social safety net, strong unions, cradel to grave “nanny state” doesn’t seem to cause them any problems. Americans must be an inferior mongrel people after all as the Germans used to clain a generation or so ago. (sarcasm off now)

    Now listen to me, because you do have a lot of things correct: “Generational War” is a ploy to split the American people into pieces: Divide et Impera as the Romans used to say. Attempts to split generations apart, ie, in effect to split parents and children and place them in opposition to one another is itself an aspect of a decadent society, which America surely is. Think about that.

  14. The Fourth Turning marches on.

    What we’ll end up with is a failed economy, a deep credit correcting depression (x3 1930’s), CO2 at 400 parts per million in the atmosphere, water levels rising at 6″ a year, climate molestation at a peak, growing seasons and moisture patterns movings around like a pointer on a Oujia board, about half the world killing the other half for food, water and oil, civil unrest in most countries both developed and wild and it will all eventually be happening all at once.

    First one, then another, then two more, then a rumble as things come tumbling down.

    I think I’ll have a libation and dream lovely dreams about the future of my grandsons.


  15. unna – Generational war concept is definitely food for thought!

    Jim this was a masterful piece. I was enthralled throughout the article and loved the historical references. Thanks for your blog and the effort that goes into it.

    Stay thirsty (angry) my friend:)

  16. It’s all a matter of perspective. You, as an American worker see 50 million people on welfare and question why? On the other hand many workers of the world see 300+ million Americans on welfare and wonder, why?

  17. Exceptional post… Especially the 5 marks of a decaying culture. I wrote about the consequences of the parasite nation just this week. The similarities between our culture and the fall of the Roman Empire are eerily similar.

    The difference is that it isn’t just the U.S. The “5 symptoms” are a global phenomena — think Berlusconi and his bunga bunga parties.

    The destruction of the middle class to funnel money to a corrupt plutocracy at the top and an unproductive class at the bottom suggests to me that the “great reset” is nigh. We simply can’t continue as a society at current course and speed.

  18. AA+ negative outlook. A boomer who will stand with the young. I owe to those who came before me and after me. Some things are more important than life itself. You reckon or not? Courage, honor devotion to country. Mostly gone. What do you think? Done rambling have a great day my fellow deadbeat Americans.

  19. I’m with Hollow Man. S&P downgrades US credit rating to AA+. I’m a Tweener who will stand with the young. Boomer Admin needs to step up to the plate.

  20. i am fucking stunned s+p actually downgraded. didn’t think they had the balls.

    an article last week suggested s+p jawboning about a possible downgrade was retaliation for govt regulatory actions, holding s+p liable for their criminal failures during the mortgage backed securities crisis. from firedoglake i think, via yves at :

    could this be a desperate attempt to hike treasury yields, cause a selloff of t-bills, and drive that money into the falling equity market?

    yep, thinking like a criminal.

  21. SSS – Regardless of our age, young or old, we all must prepare and stand together or we may all hang separately.

    Panem Et Circenses – The logo on the $1,000,000,000 US dollar bill. Picture of Obama smoking on the front, Bernanke printing money on the back.

  22. So if nobody believed S & P would do it, why did they downgrade? Is there something behind it or did they suddenly decide to have some integrity for a change? It’s almost too confusing to contemplate…

  23. SSS: Strauss and Howe rule…

    You’re a boomer.

    Admin’s an Xer.

    Remember “No rules on TBP except what Admin makes up”.

  24. I was very impressed with the artical written on 8-5-11,I wanted to send it to a friend and after I tried for a half hour I was so pissed of with that stupid fill in the two word crap I just gave up what dumb thing to do.

  25. [email protected] says:

    Masterful article. I wept as I read it.

    My daughter wants to be a historian, seriously. I would prefer she learn Mandarin or horse shoeing or the art of composting – skills that will be more valuable in the furture, IMHO.

    As she goes off to college I wonder: Will she be the Gibbons of her generation by writing the “Decline and Fall of the American Empire?”

    Because she is sure as shit going to spend her youth living (I hope) through it.


    In your title, Jim, you left out “SMOKE AND MIRRORS”. That’s all I could find to quibble with.


    1. Hope

      My original title was “Bread, Circuses, Spending Cuts & Unicorns Farting Rainbows”

      I thought the fart reference would keep it off some sites, so I changed it.

  26. I am still trying to recover from a remark on this blog a day or so ago suggesting that I fuck antelopes near my house.

    With that in mind you might just want to scroll down.

    In the early eighties I was cropdusting in the Palouse country of Eastern Washington/ Northern Idaho.

    Ran into guy named Leroy Schwietzer. He would get on his soapbox ever time the wind was blowing or rain was falling and we couldnt fly, and preach to us about fiat money, fractional banking practicises, the constitution and the bankers (the fed) in general.

    He first got in trouble with the WA Dept. of Ag for spraying the fairgrounds with bugspray while people were there. While having a “bad attitude” towards government in general, this thing escalating was not a surprise. Stripped of his wealth by IRS earlier, he was arrested some years later as one of the leaders at the Freeman standoff in Jordan, MT. That was 1996. He is still in federal prison.

    Since then, as the interenet grew, I have learned that much of which Leroy said was true

    So with that in mind, I applaud you admin, that was a good article. Not only are you smart (and lucid) you have got the balls to speak out. You sir, are a teacher.

    -His nephew Brian, is a second term Governor of Montana.

  27. Ivan… you are indeed crazy.

    Not an insult, just an affirmation of your self-description.

    Alas, it was I that proposed that Ivan, alone on the range, was apt to play with the deer and the antelope.

    Don’t take it to heart. I was responding to your seeking a date with cathy, the professed sadist and suspected man. I thought it was funny, and it was. Satire rules my mind… scenarios for movie scripts surround my perception.

    Admit it… a crop duster in montana, swigging vodka and accosting game would make a fine sub-plot.

    Much as a poor construction worker catching crabs in chile trying to obtain a file from a blogger’s girlfriend.

    I still believe that you, Ivan, should really use a respirator while dusting.

  28. Upon the breaking and shivering of a great state and empire, you may be sure to have wars.”–Francis Bacon

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.” -Samuel Huntington, Harvard Professor, “The Clash of Civilizations”

    “The Americans are filled,” says “with such an implicit and absolute confidence in their Union and in their future success that any remark other than laudatory is inacceptable to the majority of them. We have had many opportunities of hearing public speakers in America cast doubts upon the very existence of God and of Providence, question the historic nature or veracity of the whole fabric of Christianity; but never has it been our fortune to catch the slightest whisper of doubt, the slightest want of faith, in the chief God of America–unlimited belief in the future of America.”
    Emil Reich, “Success among the Nations,” ( 1904)

    Rome rotted internally over centuries, rising to dominance over an equally long period of conquest and effective management of their disbursed Empire. The American Empire, in many ways more expansive and more powerful than anything Rome could ever imagine, even on a relative basis, started it ascent with the Spanish American War where the words empire, conquest, “protectorate”, rose to prominence in the media and from the mouths of esteemed “statesman”. Mark Twain and others, including Andrew Carnegie and William Jennings Bryant, formed the Anti-Imperialist league in response to the American suppression of the Philippines democracy movements and the bloody battles that led to the loss of over 200,000 Filipinos lives.

    “There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it—perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives of those islands—but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives. I thought we should act as their protector—not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial. It was not to be a government according to our ideas, but a government that represented the feeling of the majority of the Filipinos, a government according to Filipino ideas. That would have been a worthy mission for the United States. But now—why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I’m sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation” Mark Twain, New York World, 1899

    The Empire ebbed and flowed in America’s consciousness, but with each eruption grew more powerful in its influence on America’s core myths, increasingly masked by more palatable and acceptable concepts and phrases, enhanced by the modern propaganda state following Wilson’s Creel Commission to induce anti-German fever in a contentedly isolationist America prior to our entering the War in Europe. The slogans have changed with time, adapting to the needs of the times and maintaining a topical front in order to justify the rapidly expanding Empire,” making the world safe for Democracy”–who could disagree with that, “War on Terrorism” against “evil” nations and their amorphous minions of terror–few could disagree, and now “humanitarian intervention”–who does not feel a moral duty to prevent genocide and atrocities against others, no matter where and what the circumstances–who could fight this grand idea? All, All of these visions, myths of America’s purity of intent–we are above the common foibles of lesser nations, resulted in and will result in, military and corporate expansion and territorial control, directly or through proxy.

    The American Empire rose in less than a century and it will fail, totally and unconditionally within a matter of a few short years. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, The Dark Ages, what happens following Americas chaotic decent, is up to us…no one can stand and just observe. We cannot change it for the die was cast many years ago, perhaps all the way back to the Battle of Manila in 1899, but we can return to our nation’s core principles for guidance as to how we should rebuild our society.

    I have a law I humbly created a number of years ago, I call it Straus’s Law of Hubris: the magnitude and duration of the period of Hubris is ultimately matched by the magnitude and duration of the fall from grace. We have many, many years of penance for the hubris of our Empire.

    We will have war, as the combination of a failing Empire and civilizations with long memories of our arogance does not lend itself to an orderly, peceful state of decline.We have many, many years of penance for the hubris of Empire.

    Excellent work, once again Jim.

  29. We need a 3rd choice; however, our political structure smothers 3rd party movements.
    The Republicans will nominate someone who will cut the throat of the middle class and Obama
    will bleed the middle class to death with endless small cuts.
    Labor Union executives should talk to corporate executives who are not far right wing and put
    an independent on the ballot in 50 states pronto if they love this nation.

  30. Spot on as the Brits say. We are near the time when the Millenial generation will resort to cannibalism to get rid of us Boomers. Or perhaps they’ll just feed us to the lions instead of Christians. In any event, keep a gun by your bed if you have kids. It’s going to be ugly.

  31. I like it! I like it! Brief and to the point. But, We don’t owe a dime to anyone, the “People” don’t own nor run the private federal reserve banks> Those Boyz privately owe their entire wealth as partial collateral for their mistakes in executing the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Congress is Oath bound to indict these banking Ponzi criminals for turning the U.S. dollar into pure “fiat bills of credit”. I don’t own a horse to “run on” but I will run if nominated by both Partys and I shall abolish the Federal Reserve and stop ALL WARS when elected by the “People” of the U.S., plus I have a valid birth certificate . WWII veteran , Doc. Let’s Go Get Um!!!

  32. Another great piece Jim,Kudos, but when do you sleep? Be careful, Stuck’s nemesis may turn you into Big Sis for being a Vampire. Remember 7 million died , but it wasn’t from starvation.

    Now about that “$2.3 trillion of bread per year to the ”needy”. Sure it’s the Grand Canyon filled with money,but the key word here is needy , of which I’m guessing roughly half could be cut from the roles. Old people with no income outside of SS should be cared for regardless. A small price to pay for being human.

    “By trying to support the less fortunate by transferring trillions to them, with no strings attached, we have insured the ultimate bankruptcy of our country”

    I have to disagree with this statement on the grounds that the “less fortunate” possess no power to bankrupt anything. Having never owned anything , they have no purpose in bankrupting themselves.

    This Nation was set on the course to bankruptcy in 1913 when we the US allowed central bankstas to seize control of the US money supply. entitlement spending is just a cover for the behind the scenes thievery. Daily,I hear friends and family alike decry Welfare and EBT while never a peep outa’ em on the real crime of banksta’ thievery.

    I know you covered this extensively, but lets put it into context. 107 million people split roughly 6 trillion between themselves over the last 3 years,while globally a small number of Vampire Squid divvied up approximately 20 trillion US dollars between themselves and their Congressional lackeys. then there’s an overlapping report by

    Then there’s Dylan Ratigan reporting the cost of SIG/TARP to the US taxpayers as 23.7 trillion.

    How much of this overlaps with the 16 trillion loans made globally by the benevolent good ole’ boys at the Fed is anyone’s guess.

    I’m confident in saying, over a 3 year period , banksta’s took at least 30 trillion of US debt baked dolalrs off the table. ( but..but, they’re going to pay it back before the sun burns out)

    Add in another 60 billion to subsidize a handful of corporate farmers and the 8 trillion spent on the bullshit war on drugs and the paltry sum of feeding a clothing a 107 million people for a measly 2 trillion seems paltry indeed.

    But , but , we can’t let our fine upstanding , pillars of the community bankers fail!
    I say fuck ’em with a very long rope.

    Oh yeah and throw in another 6 trillion spent on the bullshit War on Terror by the medallion wearing ass kissing bitchez’ at the Pentagram and we the US have about 45 trillion dollars worth of low-life motherfuckers on stealing from we the US.

    Funny how the money spent on entitlements is so transparent in comparison to the money pilfered by banksta’s hidden behind the locked lead door protected by the kryponite armored plated .

    Transparent government my big hairy ass.

    Oh yeah .No one can see the gold. It is forbidden by the omnipotent Banksta’s who own US all.
    We are not worthy!!!!

    Oh sure you can call it a Republic , but you’d be an idiot.

    Subterranean Homesick Blues

    Johnny’s in the basement
    Mixing up the medicine
    I’m on the pavement
    Thinking about the government
    The man in the trench coat
    Badge out, laid off
    Says he’s got a bad cough
    Wants to get it paid off
    Look out kid
    It’s somethin’ you did
    God knows when
    But you’re doin’ it again
    You better duck down the alley way
    Lookin’ for a new friend
    The man in the coon-skin cap
    In the big pen
    Wants eleven dollar bills
    You only got ten

    Maggie comes fleet foot
    Face full of black soot
    Talkin’ that the heat put
    Plants in the bed but
    The phone’s tapped anyway
    Maggie says that many say
    They must bust in early May
    Orders from the D. A.
    Look out kid
    Don’t matter what you did
    Walk on your tip toes
    Don’t try “No Doz”
    Better stay away from those
    That carry around a fire hose
    Keep a clean nose
    Watch the plain clothes
    You don’t need a weather man
    To know which way the wind blows

    Get sick, get well
    Hang around a ink well
    Ring bell, hard to tell
    If anything is goin’ to sell
    Try hard, get barred
    Get back, write braille
    Get jailed, jump bail
    Join the army, if you fail
    Look out kid
    You’re gonna get hit
    But users, cheaters
    Six-time users
    Hang around the theaters
    Girl by the whirlpool
    Lookin’ for a new fool
    Don’t follow leaders
    Watch the parkin’ meters

    Ah get born, keep warm
    Short pants, romance, learn to dance
    Get dressed, get blessed
    Try to be a success
    Please her, please him, buy gifts
    Don’t steal, don’t lift
    Twenty years of schoolin’
    And they put you on the day shift
    Look out kid
    They keep it all hid
    Better jump down a manhole
    Light yourself a candle
    Don’t wear sandals
    Try to avoid the scandals
    Don’t wanna be a bum
    You better chew gum
    The pump don’t work
    ‘Cause the vandals took the handles

    The rations are going to be cut.

  33. I’ve wanted to read the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire for quite some time now but, alas, I fear it will seem like I am reading the daily news instead

  34. My country shit on thee,

    lost land of liberty, of thee I sting;
    land where politicians lied ,
    land where the people died ,
    from every bureaucracy thy tyranny ring!

    My native country, thee,
    land of the perpetual fleece, thy push turns to shove;
    thy love thy stocks and trills,
    thy banks and pompous shills;
    Your heart with malice chills, like that above.

    Thy lies drip with sleaze,
    and ring from all that’s’ wrong;
    let ignorant minds awake;
    let all that think partake;
    let the sheep their silence break, the sound prolong.

    Power is god, to thee,
    author of tyranny , of thee we sting;
    Thy turned our land to blight
    with greed and incorrigible might;
    and no protection from your smite, you corrupt everything.

  35. The rot that is eating this country from the inside out was put in place over dinner in Washington DC, usually between friends, generally a senior staffer of a congressman or senator and a senior lobbyist for a powerful moneyed interest.

    These friends sat together, ate good food, drank fine wine, and carved out a nice little piece of the American middle classes pie for themselves with a cleverly worded paragraph stuck into an unrelated bill.

    This process has been repeated hundreds of thousands of times of the last thirty years.

    In isolation these agreements are harmless. In their totality, they have brought the most powerful nation in the world to its knees.

    These friends talked and laughed over a good meal while basking in the guarantee of an advantage over others by means of carefully targeted, self serving legislation.

    What they chose to ignore is the fact that this process when repeated hundreds of thousands of times over decades is the very rot that destroys nations.

    How can anyone undo hundreds of thousands of agreements between friends, agreements by which each is benefited handsomely? They will not be undone. They were agreed upon and paid for. End of discussion.

    These hundred of thousands of agreements are each like a little cut, a wound in the financial body of America. And they are here to stay. That is a fact. What is done is done. The blood of the nation will continue to drip, drip, drip until death overtakes her.

    There are so many cuts now. The drips gather together and form a river of wealth pouring out of the nation. Death draws near.

  36. JohDog:

    “These friends sat together, ate good food, drank fine wine, and carved out a nice little piece of the American middle classes pie for themselves with a cleverly worded paragraph stuck into an unrelated bill.

    This process has been repeated hundreds of thousands of times of the last thirty years.

    In isolation these agreements are harmless. In their totality, they have brought the most powerful nation in the world to its knees.”

    Brilliant, as are many of the comments here. Why I love TBP. Of course, Admin gets the ball rolling, where else would we have to share our opinions and experience. Just can’t look away…

    These friends that sit around after having raped the American public are called LAWYERS. They are killers of our great country.

  37. I’ve had the pleasure and displeasure of working(non-political) for two former Congressman , both of which made off like bandits on the public dole. Whne i queried one about a certain bill , he laughed and revealed didn’t read it.”That’s what the staff is for” he sez.
    The other , a real asshole family value politician, used to call me shit-faced from talk about how high-class the whores were in Georgetown. He also told me of another family values Congress critter who would have a whore stop by his office everyday for a little taxpayers funded R&R.
    For the most part , people who seek office in America are the willing tools of sociopaths with an agenda and the money to back it.
    The power is behind the scenes
    Every regular reader of TBP already knows this , but maybe some JSP will happen by, read , learn and a light will flicker in the darkened recesses of their dimly lit minds and suddenly burst into the blinding light of reality.
    Once reality lights your path , darkness can never cast it’s shadow again.
    We the US have no representation in D.C. outside of a a handful aligned with Ron Paul.

  38. Excellent article. That being said, I disagree with the categorical denunciation of pornography as a whole, which to me comes across as little more than absurd prudishness.

    What is sad, certainly, is that most people are too dysfunctional and self-centered to be able to build healthy relationships (for love or friendship), and that it would be far better if people didn’t have to masturbate, but let’s face it: if you don’t masturbate, then you carry your urges during the day (it’s distracting) and you end up having wet dreams at night.

    What is perhaps more accurate, and in keeping with the 2nd point (“Obsession with sex and perversions of sex”), is that people are being encouraged to masturbate to very disturbing scenes (sadism, masochism, rape, absurd plastic surgery, children, etc.), instead of healthy imagery (eg: two people who love each other and are tender and caring in their lovemaking).

    Far more important than the masturbation is the stuff happening in real-life. The widespread use and abuse of prostitutes and cocaine by Wall Street is well documented, and Berlusconi’s bungabunga parties are another example of how these sick f*cks need to distract themselves from their own misery and angst in order to keep themselves going. Their egos are so utterly destroyed (they know what they are doing, and how close they are to total self-destruction) that they need to constantly get ‘positive’ reinforcement. They are addicts.

    The banksters and their cohorts are the real degenerates, and they effectively control the mob (look into how our institutions have been caught providing weapons and laundering the money of their favored drug cartels), so it’s no surprise to me that so much of the porn that is available is degenerate and degenerative: destroying people and making sure they never develop into health and self-empowerment is at the core of their method.

  39. Dear Administrator, you said that 50% of adults pay no income taxes. I have heard this figure from radio talk show hosts. I am single and I grossed $23,500 last year. I had to pay 15.5% federal income tax on that income. How is it possable not to pay any income tax on your income and where did this figure come from?

    1. Claymobile

      You must have one dumbass accountant doing your taxes. If you grossed $23,500 and have no deductions, you would still get a standard decduction of $5,700 and a personal exemption of $3,650, bringing your taxable income to $14,150. The tax is 10% on the 1st $8,500 and 15% on the rest. This would bring your tax to $1,698 or 7.2% of your gross income. You may have been eligible for the earned income tax credit too. Being married with a couple dependents will wipe out all taxes for people making less than $40,000 per year, which is a huge chunk of the population.

  40. Buckhed says:

    Names Flash…we need names !

    Sorry ,no can do. I”m thinking more of protecting my anonymity than theirs.

  41. colma-

    -Ivan… you are indeed crazy.

    Not an insult, just an affirmation of your self-description-

    I have never descibed myself as ~crazy….others have, much like you

    You might consider that crazyivan could be referancing the quick and nasty u-turn a soviet boomer would do to clear it’s accoustic baffles.

    Cropduster to organic wheat farmer is such a u-turn.

  42. Claymobile

    You made $23,500 last year, but you didn’t say what portion of that income was taxed at 15.5%. Everyone gets deductions from their income. Everyone.

    The people who paid NO federal income tax does in fact amount to about 50% of the population. Many of those are married, have children, and a host of other factors that are tax deductible. You are single. If you were married with children and had the income you stated, guaranteed you wouldn’t pay a nickel in federal income taxes.

  43. SSS…if the guy is single is is possible to pay 15%….but that would include 6.2% SSI and 1.45% Medicare tax. Otherwise there’s no way he’d pay 15% . If you are me or are married with no kids…you kinda’ get the short end. I had great deductions when my wife and I owned a business .

    Dang Flash….wish you could give us a hint ?

  44. @ Dave “The only was to stop it is to kill every fucking liberal do-gooder tree hugging asshole out there.”

    Let’s talk about decadence. Not out there but in here. Dave’s Nazi-like sentiments have garnered him 14 likes to 11 dislikes (including mine). What is the matter with you people? Did it ever occur to you that killing the “other” is pretty much a feature of all totalitarian regimes? I generally agree with most of the comments here. Things are bad and they’re going to get worse. But if you think the cure involves killing people you don’t like, you are scum.

  45. As an aside on sexual perversion: CEO’s, and especially the British elite, are widely known to often be masochists, and to visit or have relationships with dominatrix.

    Sadly, that is but the tip of the iceberg, as the banned documentary “Conspiracy of Silence” clearly demonstrates:

    Covering up a child prostitution ring that was used by the White House (G.W. Bush’s), sending one of the poor victims who dared to testify to more than 17 years of solitary confinement, murdering one of the investigators, etc. All this to feed their terrible perversions (children!), as well as to help ensnare and corrupt our disgusting politicians.

    I hope all the readers here are actively talking to colleagues, friends and family about this and the many problems affecting our nation and world. We need to REVOLT. Expecting a political solution from a system that has been entirely corrupted is absurd – just look at the voting machines the defense contractors built…

  46. Today, a day after the AA+(neg) from S&P, China official newspaper scolded the US administration, quoting report as follows:

    “BEIJING, China – China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, demanded Saturday that America tighten its belt and confront its ‘debt-addiction’ in the wake of the Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating from AAA.

    China currently owns $1.2 trillion of U.S. Treasury debt, the largest stake of any central bank. The commentary carried by the Xinhua News Agency was Beijing’s first official response to S&P decision.

    It said the rating cut would be followed by more “devastating credit rating cuts” and global financial turbulence if the U.S. fails to learn to “live within its means.”

    “China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets,” it said.

    Xinhua said the U.S. must slash its “gigantic military expenditure and bloated social welfare costs” and accept international supervision over U.S. dollar issues.

    It also suggested a new global reserve currency might be necessary to replace the dollar, a position China has frequently advocated.

    There is no need to say much. Because anything I want to say is already self-evident in the report. We have a developing country called China, still backward in many areas, run by the world biggest Communist one-party government, is SCOLDING the USA on mismanagement of fiscal fundamentals, on vast irresponsibility, on debt addiction. It is LECTURING America on how to repair itself, how to be successful.

    A decade ago, within a month after GW Bush became president, there was an international incident with China. China Air Force jets intercepted US spy plane in its air space, forced it down and captured the crew members. GW Bush, facing first test of his presidential powers, first test of US unquestioned world dominance, issued an ultimatum without so much as bothering to use even the lowest level of diplomacy. He basically said to the Communist government: release our guys by this deadline or we kick your butts so hard you cry like a baby. China complied.

    Ten years after that incident that was so insulting to the Chinese, we have a de facto ultimatum issued from the Chinese government. ‘Mess with our $1 trillion plus Treasury holding we will start kicking butts.’ As to the baby part, America is already crying like one without foreign assistance.

  47. You left out that the government was doing it’s job of protecting the American people from the rich until they started lowering the taxes that where stooping them from transferring the wealth into their pockets from the workers. All you have to do is compare the tax rates and incomes since 1913.

    To fix the problem we need those same tax rate put back to prevent it from continuing, as well as other worker protections. The way I see it if the tax rate had not been lowered from the 90% on incomes greater that $200,000 the world would be coming here for cheap labor.

    1. Thanks Daniel

      That sure is an uplifting website. But Obama tells me we’ve added millions of jobs in the last year.

  48. What do you get with uncontroled incomes you get out sourcing, products made in cheap labor countries, illegal immigrates hired instead of citizens, pleople working so hard that more are starting quailfy for disability, fewest number of workers that the companies can get by with and get the job done. All this and you wonder why we are in a recession with high unemployment. Why do companies need to hire when they make the people that they do have working do more than they should have to do for no fair compensation. With all the tech out thier we should be working few hours and hiring more people not less.

    Most of the problems in this country today is because the top get what they want at every American’s exspence. No person is worth $200,000 a year let alone millions. If it wasn’t for the workers there would be no millions for them to take. So why is it that everybody is so supportive of these people that do nothing for the business but take close to 30% of the profits of the company?

  49. USA needs a limited term for its congressmen and senators so that they are there to serve, not to be troughter. (pigs with their trotters in the trough)

  50. Timothy Straus

    You are definitely on the right track — you just haven’t gone back far enough. The theft of Hawaii in 1894 was just another brick in the wall of empire.

    When John L. O’Sullivan, wrote in 1845, apparently coining the term “Manifest Destiny”, probably the first to respond was Polk with his false-flag incident. Surely the Monroe doctrine of 1823 was another factor. And what of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803?

    Of course, there was always the mercantilist thread from Hamilton via Henry Clay to Lincoln. And Hamilton, who suggested Robert Morris as Minister of Finance for the Continental Congress. Morris proposed the bill for a private central bank, which was chartered at the end of 1791. The Bank of North America — his — which was also in effect a central bank. That concept was always a facet of the grand plan of equal parts ambition and hubris.

    The seeds of empire go back a long way.

  51. WhatsTheTruth

    Ah yes, the original tax table … progressive! 1% on the lowest tier (but sold to the ordinary working man as “you’ll never have to worry about it” and … (deductions, you see.) and 1% on each increasing step to 7%.

    But of course, the fig leaf of the 16th amendment was only the latest ploy from the Populist movement that had wanted to resurrect Lincoln’s ‘income tax’ (actually an excise tax, clever!) to punish those damned ‘robber barons’. Poor populist fools, never thought to ask why the federal government gave those magnates all that land — and a subsidy for track mileage, which they took more advantage of.

    Never mind those old movies, the transcontinental railroad in fact did not meet up as expected.

    And the original plan did not last long. Wilson needed more money for the war of choice, never mind he campaigned for re-election on the slogan “he kept up us out of war”, even as his controller, Col. House was arranging the secret treaty to get the U.S. into WW1 And the poms whined because it wasn’t fast enough. They worried if they lost sooner, their ability to pay back war loans would be a bit of a bother, you see.

    So, except for Lincoln, there had not been a direct income tax in America. And, gasp, how did the federal government survive?

    Then the populist movement wanted to ‘soak the rich’ … and guess what? They NEVER forget.

    Anyway, $200,000 .. that’s the damned rich today? So, for example, a senior surgeon would earn $20,000 after tax, uh huh. How long you reckon he would keep people alive before he threw in the towel and just played golf?

    (2nd msg) … immigrates … exspence … thier … (last possibily a simple error but) … not picking on your, my profile suggests you are a young, unfortunate example of our federal Department of Education … government schools ES!)

    Incidentally, this is not the usual business cycle boom-bust recession, this is a debt-deflation outcome of 40 years of prolifigacy.

    “With all the tech out thier we should be working few hours and hiring more people not less.”

    And how many people have you hired? Tonto says, “What you mean ‘we’ … ?”

    “No person is worth $200,000 a year … ”

    I already covered that. But, are you a baseball fan? Perv on Miley Cyrus? Have any empathy for the next big break in biotech from the mind of one man?

    “If it wasn’t for the workers there would be no millions for them to take.”

    Ah, yes. “The means of production.” Heard that before. Take away the machinery the pigmen supply, and the workers have nothing work with, not even a pigsty. Did that ever cross your mind?

    “So why is it that everybody is so supportive of these people that do nothing for the business … ”

    From nothing, comes nothing. Too zen for you?

    While you are busy one handing clapping (one can surmise), productive people, pigmen and real workers are producing, creating wealth that spreads through the economy. As for me, I’ve had my time on the Wheel, so for amusement, maybe I teach or maybe I taunt. “When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper … “

  52. Buckhed says:

    Dang Flash….wish you could give us a hint ?

    We used to call them Southern Democrats, but now they slither under Lincoln’s Republican moniker. I’m sure you have more than a few of your own.

    Deo Vindice

  53. Timothy Straus says:
    “There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and yet I cannot for the life of me comprehend how we got into that mess. Perhaps we could not have avoided it—perhaps it was inevitable that we should come to be fighting the natives of those islands—but I cannot understand it, and have never been able to get at the bottom of the origin of our antagonism to the natives. I thought we should act as their protector—not try to get them under our heel. We were to relieve them from Spanish tyranny to enable them to set up a government of their own, and we were to stand by and see that it got a fair trial.

    Everything is about the gold, even the need for more resources leads back to the craven demonic desire for more and the conquest of the near defenseless Filipino villagers was no exception.
    MacArthur returned for the gold. What else bitchez.? …for the men he abandoned?
    And why write fiction when the truth is more dramatic? see link below.

    As more and more silly rabbits acquire the shiny ancient artifact known as gold there is that grave possibility that the shit-eating vermin that masquerade as government will resurrect the ghost of Frankie D. and and again confiscate gold form those hoarder who think it money.
    For the “greater good” of the economy don’t cha’ know.

  54. hmm. i never knew poppy bush did damage in the phillipines. the scion of a family that was close to mine growing up served at length over there, and the story of american intervention there is interesting. the dude, walter loving, was the first black army intelligence officer. his main job, which served as a cover, (but his intelligence duties were truly secondary), he was a gifted musician who was an army bandleader, and was in charge of the philippine army band. he also set up music education programs for civilians there. he served in the philippine army, as did mcarthur during that interwar period. the japanese killed loving, as he didn’t get out of manila in ’41.

    anyway, shocking that gold was involved as a colonial motive.

  55. @ howard,
    You should get the book and read it. It’s is absolutely the most mind-blowing and engaging read I”ve stumbled upon in quite some time.
    I highly recommend it.
    The chapter tying the Poppy into the Watergate scandal is the most eye-pooping expose’ of skullduggery you’ll ever read in anywhere , fiction or non-fiction alike.

    Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America [Hardcover]
    Russ Baker (Author)
    4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (139 customer reviews) |

    About the Author
    Award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker has written for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Esquire, and served as Columbia Journalism Review contributing editor. Baker’s appearances include NPR, Fox News, and Air America. In 2005, he founded the Real News Project, a nonprofit investigative news organization. His exclusive reporting on George W. Bush’s military record received a 2005 Deadline Club award.

  56. the little bit i know about poppy bush, i’m kinda afraid to learn more.

    when does jenna turn 35, so the fourth generation gets their turn?

  57. Flash..if it was ole’ Strom…I wouldn’t be surprised. I have a friend who was tight buddies with Strom…he said he never met a man who loved women more than Strom. He said Strom had a “Lady Friend ” in every town .

  58. Novista – that is outstanding stuff. I find it difficult to understand why I ever found reason to argue with you. Well done.

    What’s the truth. – you ignorant slut. I really do not know where to start but I will begin with one of the stupidest comments wver on this site i- Lno one is worth $200k per year”. Obviously you are one that isn’t because you have no idea what is required in skill/education/talent/intelligence to run a business. The fact that you cannot see this means you are to stupid/untalented/uneducated/lazy to be successful in your own right and want to drag everyone to your own level.

    The truth is that only a very small fraction of the population is capable of being a great manager. And one of them is worth thousands of average folks when it comes to business. Management by committee just doesn’t work. One highly skilled and motivated individual can change he world. Look at Gates and Jobs as examples. Yet you want to compensate these folks like Joe Average? Please don’t be such a fucking retard. Take your socialist idiocy and jam it up your ass. Go back to standing in line for your next welfare check and quit bitching about the folks that are feeding you. You are too stupid to understand that by targeting the aspirational you are cutting off the hand that feeds you. Fucking morons need to get a clue. .

  59. llpoh

    I reckon, early on, it was mostly misunderstanding of viewpoints. Like the foreclosures argument — you probably thought I was defending the defenceless from their mistakes, which was not the case. My focus was never on the liar loans, speculators and greedy or even the naive. They deserved what they got. But the smaller number of egregious cases, and the processes of the various frauds, like the Florida mills, MERS, and braindead judges, was my interest. Not all foreclosures were justified.

    And the time difference and archive hell didn’t help. WPES.

  60. All the name calling in the world will not make you people any smarter. Collage only teaches what someone else thinks is the truth not reality. In reality if it was not for the workers their would be no rich, They just hand their work over to someone else that makes far less. As the old saying goes power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and the same goes for money. A CEO is just a worker for the company not GOD. But he is allowed to tell the workers if you don’t like all the additional work put on you there is the door and that there more than a thousand other people waiting for your job. That is nothing but blackmail (Mafia tactics).

    Any way if you don’t like my way of thinking just don’t read it, plain an simple. For me I am tired of having all my hard work turned over to management and the stock holders. Have you even wounlder why only big businesses get to sell stock? Why not the little guy trying to get his business started? and why is that after they sell their stock they turn around an start borrowing so much money that they can’t pay back when things get hard? I was told that the money from the investors was for expanding the company not money from the bank.

  61. WhatsTheTruth

    Why are even here? Still. I didn’t call names, my bad, but wasted my time giving you some points to consider. Pearls before swine, eh?

    “Collage” … heh. Well, your sad tale of woe sounds quite like someone who would like CEO money but no work to justify it. Why did you even take the job? Why do you even stay? If your work is unique and has value, why put up with blackmail? Go for the door and spread you wings!

    Here’s some more reality: If it were not for the rich, there would be no jobs. Putting it in your frame of reference. Another reality is, not all CEOs are rich. Of the six million employer firms in the U.S., 5.4 million at the last count were small businesses — averaging 20 employes, some on the low end of the scale with but one or two. And like as not, those bosses have been plowing their own money into that small business, often working 70 or more hours a week.

    I quite like reading your ramblings, the sense of entitlement wafts through the words. But your implicit plea to not be criticized cuts no ice here, only makes you look like an ineffectual wimp. Mean kids may pull the wings off flies; here, it is just as likely for someone to pull the wings off an angel. And though you do not qualify, exceptions can be made.

    Re “the little guy ” … obviously, you have never heard of venture capital.

    Now, you can either man up and debate, argue, throw shit like a monkey or go where victimhood is cherished. Do you feel lucky, punk?

  62. What’s the truth – go out and start your own business and quit whining like a little pussy. If it is so damn easy, then even a shithead like you can do it. Then you can decide how much to pay your employees and how much to pay yourself. But it is obvious you have neither the balls nor the ability to set out on your own.

    I guess you will just have to keep whining instead and hope you can vote folks in that will pull money from the brave and talented and give it to you – the cowardly and inept.

  63. Novista – I think we just liked the battle at times! But it is obvious now that tho you are a worthy adversary you are instead a finer ally.

  64. llpoh

    I rather suspect you are right about the battle, LOL. For me, sometimes I just can’t resist teasing SSS; I disagree with his position on one thing but I respect the man.

    Thanks for your conclusion. I reckon we can be both. On some things, in agreement; others, not. As it should be, from different perspectives, experience, research. Hammer and tongs, shurikens, crossbows, napalm, flintlock pistols at ten paces, and still with respect. Let the games begin!

  65. Admin, Just got back from a backpacking trip in the Rockies and I come home to such a powerful and timely piece. I don’t know how you keep hitting home runs. Amazing.

  66. @Ilpoh, Novista

    Are you two having a love-in now? Jim will be so upset at this sudden burst of civility between you two!


  67. Smokey would be hocking a big loogie in disgust right about now. For him once and adversary always and adversary. I think he thinks middle ground is for pussies.

  68. Ah Admin, I missed you so. Thank you.

    “…As their messages of “efficiency” and “job creation” have proven to be lies, the financialization of America by the ruling class is almost complete. Real earnings for real people are 10% lower than they were in 1972…”

    Just a small point, but becoming ever larger, those “wages” include HEALTH INSURANCE. When you factor in the dramatic rise in health insurance coverage over the past decade, then realize it is included in this bogus “hourly wage” figure, one (should) quickly realize that the American middle class is beyond fucked. My company has experienced increases of OVER 35% annually since Obama took office. Yep, more than doubled in less than three years. According to the BLS my employee is making more per hour than she was in 2007. She actually is taking home less than ever even with the bogus “bread” of the temporary FICA reduction. No raises coupled with 20% of the health insurance means she is taking home less now than she did a decade ago.

    For the first time since 1984, my husband’s company is canceling employee (and our) health insurance. The reality is with sales still down from peak by more than 50%, plus the additional cost of multiple new regulatory compliance issues, plus the increase in steel, insurance of all kinds, utilities and freight, then the insult of the TAXES I pay on my own health insurance policy (no one else in America pays a tax on employer paid for coverage except us small S corps) there is nearly nothing left.

    The only bright spot is the fact that China believes they have a lock on our products and are raising their prices. If they keep it up and we can keep staying barely ahead of inflation, soon the price disparity will bring back former lost customers. Well, if they are still around, so let’s just say “some” lost customers.

    With over 17% of our GDP being sent directly to banks, more than that is sent to the health insurance barons, throw in the 7.65% FICA, plus the income tax you end up paying, plus the millions of hidden taxes you pay with your meager take home pay, and it is obvious that this crap cannot last must longer. The golden geese (productive) are surely bleeding a death from a thousand cuts.

    Survival for my child(ren), will be the ability to self-survive, because mass-produced, Chinese consumer goods will soon be only available to the “rich.” The rest of us will be learning an immediate, and hard, lesson in the reality of printing presses and true purchasing value.

    China owns our asses when it comes to many of our everyday necessities. Processed foods (and how many people can truly cook from scratch anymore), medicines, over the counter pills and potions, the majority come from outside our borders.

    As the rest of the world figures out how to survive without the great American consumer, or thanks to our politicians and mega-nationals they corner the market on a product, we are going to see prices skyrocket and our hourly take home pay become strangled to the point of breaking.

    Already formerly productive citizens – including the savior youth – are figuring out that doing LESS, creating LESS, working LESS brings a better life.

    If our little $24k a year friend above hooks up and impregnates his girlfriend, depending on how they play it, they could be entitled to food, free health care (equivalent small biz cost of $1500+ a month), rent subsidies and, if they could get off their asses, a free education.

    The corruption of America is pretty close to complete, from the local city councilman to the President of the United States, from the “baby’s daddy” undeclared income, to the (major) corporate “leaders” have bought and paid for it all.

    Thanks Admin for continuing to shed the light.

  69. most other nations do *NOT* vote on max. debt limits eh?
    gd site. . . skip the graphic images. see: debt clock
    Kot. Li.
    Cough “uncle sugar’s total borrowings $199t (tril=T), 12x+ yearly gdp $14T”

  70. TeresaE – really glad to see you post. People like you who run businesses understand what is happening, as opposed to dickwads like What’s the Truth, who have no clue whatsoever. I appreciate your struggles. Running a business is a very difficult and thankless task. In the end, a great many come to the conclusion of why bother. Small businesses are for the aspirational and those who do not want to work for others. People like What’s the Truth would even like to kil off the aspirational aspect, and leave small business people (or skilled managers, for that matter) with no incentive whatsoever.

    I do not have any great wisdom to impart to you – the small business world is full of pitfalls and foes and virtually no friends. It is to your great credit that you continue to perservere.

  71. Mikey

    All will be sweetness and light until some issue llpoh and I both strongly disagree on — then a cage match, followed by a respite of cordiality. The variations make things interesting.

  72. Hey … you’re linking to a graph from our site ( and eating our bandwidth. Could you save the graph and use it that way instead of using our bandwidth? It’s also cross-posted at zerohedge.

  73. OH! The bottom 50%! OH! THE HUMANITY!

    Other than young folk who are just getting started, this “class” is in their present condition largely by their own choices; illegitimate children, divorces, failure in school, refusal to develop job skills, choosing low paying professions, excessive debt early in their working lives, attraction/addiction to government subsidies, crime and outright laziness. Intelligent and motivated folk may wind up in this category due to accidents and reversals of fortune, but they tend to not stay there very long.

    People can whine all they like, but it will not change the truth about why the bottom 50% is in their present condition. Furthermore, the reason this country is in the shape it is in is largely due to politicians catering to the bottom 50% in an effort to buy votes, and to buy jobs for blathering young marxists with degrees in “social justice”, psychology, etc. in administering programs to “help” the bottom 50%. One example is the USDA, which many here seem to believe all goes to farmers. However, the vast majority of the budget does not go to farmers, but (75%+) is spent on FOOD STAMPS!

    “NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION” is a concept worthy of founding a country.

    “NO REPRESENTATION WITHOUT TAXATION” is a concept which could help save this country.

    Yes, I said it. If people have not been able to manage their own lives well enough to succeed economically, why is it considered moral for them to help decide the course of the nation?

    Furthermore, speaking of taxation, I’m talking about being NET TAXPAYERS (with the exception of military personnel). Government employees and government beneficiaries (welfare, medicare/medicaid, social security, food stamps, Job Corp, etc.) should not be allowed to vote. Stopping county deputies from being able to vote for sheriff and public school employees from voting for county commissioners would remove a great conflict of interest from our voting pool.

    If disenfranchisement of these parasites is too distasteful, let everyone keep their one vote, but give people an extra vote for every $50K they pay in income taxes, limited to a maximum of eight votes per person.

    As for the bankers, I consider Aaron Burr a hero, regardless of Hamilton’s table manners. The last Democrat worth his air, Andrew Jackson, would heartily agree.

    Flame away.

  74. I hate to think it or admit it but the US is on a downward spiral without much hope of coming out of it now. Politically it won’t happen unless real change is adopted. Real taxation on the wealthy.

    Another thing not mentioned in this depressing article is that 25 Million Americans are in prisons growing at approx 1000 new inmates per week.


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