END OF CONSENUS, COLLAPSE OF DEMOCRACY
The following report reflects facts know to me and analyses that have appeared at the edges of the public debate. These, however, have been excluded from the mainstream media because it is deeply mired in the developing crisis of global capitalism. The roots of the crisis extend back some forty years, but its immediate cause has been twenty-five years of corporatist government, dominated by global capitalism and particularly by global finance capital. This crisis first appeared with the 2008-2010 financial meltdown that followed the bursting of a speculative bubble in the residential mortgage market. The crisis intensified, and has now broken through to reveal deep divisions within the capitalist class. These divisions are reflected in widening conflicts within the U.S. government that extend outward to include foreign and domestic politics, and even the U.S. military.
The Presidential election is widely believed by the American public to be “fixed”, and the election itself will provide a platform for further dividing the public and the government. In effect, the U.S. has become ungovernable as a “liberal democracy”, with profound implications for the world economy and security.
As an American, it’s impossible not be transfixed by the unfolding drama of the 2016 Presidential election. Events and new revelations seem to pile one on another at a dizzying speed, and it is sometimes hard to extract attention away from these and begin to understand the powerful political and historical forces at work in the background. My views of these events have been informed by forty years immersed in American politics, which at one point included managing political campaigns for the Democratic Party, advanced studies in American politics and government, and offering ongoing political analysis covering U.S. Presidential elections from 1972 to the present. What has and is happening in 2016 is unprecedented in my memory, and may not be equaled in any other Presidential election in American history. It is hard to overstate its significance, given the construction of global capitalism and the global political order with the U.S. at its center. It is a sweeping picture, which I will try to reduce to its basics as a starting point for wider discussions and debate.
As of November 7, 2016, the day before the American Presidential election is scheduled, this is what I have learned about the election itself:
• There is no credible way of assessing the relative political strength of either the Democratic or Republican Party. All the polls are fundamentally flawed, either because they use past elections as a guide to their assessments, or because they are being politically manipulated.
• In the broadest sense, Americans are deeply divided; as it has been for decades, by identity politics. But in this election, those identity politics have been complicated by the rapid decline of the middle-working-class. Associations with either the Democratic or Republican Party carry little meaning, and the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the country is in a profound economic and political crisis.
• Both major candidates have demonized the other, and a majority of voters are voting not for a candidate, but out of fear for what they believe the other candidate represents. This is not simply opposition to this or that policy, but a visceral fear that the opposing candidate represents a personal threat to them.
• Even before ballots are cast or counted, voters are seeing open corruption in the manipulation of the voting. There are credible reports, particularly from cities controlled by the Democratic Party’s “political machines”, that large numbers of ballots are being generated that are not legitimate, while many early voters are reporting their ballots are being falsified. This is not a new phenomenon – the Presidential elections in 1960, 1968, 1992, 2000, and 2004, have all been decided by corruption. What is new is the awareness and dismay being generated among the voters because the manipulation is now seen by the public.
• The mainstream media has dropped all pretense of neutrality and is openly pushing for the election of Hilary Clinton. However, this follows the disclosures that the mainstream media collaborated with the Democratic Party leadership to ensure the defeat of Senator Sanders. Thus, political information, particularly for the young and better educated, is coming through social media, which strongly opposes Ms. Clinton.
• Both sides have assembled legions of lawyers to challenge the outcome, which will lead to increasing tensions over the results.
• The total popular vote is meaningless. Most Americans don’t realize that the real power to elect a President lies with “electors”, who are selected by state and meet in December to actually cast their votes. It is an 18th Century system that will add to discrediting what ever result formally emerges.
The economic context
As of November 7, 2016, this is what is known:
• The damage caused to the middle-working-class by the 2008-2010 has not healed, and the middle-working-class has become more and more insecure.
• The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare as it is sometime labelled, which was offered as a health care system for the middle-working-class is in a state of collapse with premiums going up 15-20% a year and most insurance companies withdrawing from participation.
• University education has become unaffordable, with costs rising at 10-15% a year and student debt now $1.2 trillion.
• Two of the four largest banks – JPMorgan-Chase and Wells Fargo, which control 40% of the nation’s banking assets, have recently been fined billions of dollars for committing fraud in their management of consumer accounts. There are now numerous state and federal investigations of all the major banks, and it is likely many others will be found to be corrupt. These banks lie at the heart of the U.S. controlled global capitalist system, and are now exposed to potential “runs” by angry and disillusioned depositors.
• The U.S. national debt is said to be somewhere around $20 trillion – nobody really knows because of the way the debt is structured. That puts the U.S. near the top of countries with excessive national debt.
• The U.S. stock market has been buoyed because big companies are using cheap money from the Federal Reserve to buy up their own stock so that they appear profitable.
• “Quantitative easing” by the Federal Reserve, which involves the Fed buying back its bonds at market price, then reissuing it at a lower rate, has pumped as much as $8-10 trillion into the bank system without any noticeable improvement in the economy. Added to the several trillion dollars given to big U.S. corporations in the form of the Toxic Asset Recovery Program, below-market loans and other giveaways means that the U.S. government has spent $12-15 trillion to prop up the economy over the past six years.
• There is a general belief among more credible economists that the U.S. economy is now unsustainable and will suffer another, and perhaps greater economic crisis than that of 2008-2010.
The political context
As of November 7, 2016, this is what appears to have happened:
• There has been a major split between the global capitalists, who now control the U.S. government and media, and the “main-street” capitalist, who have suffered major losses over the last 25 years as the government has catered to the “globalists”. Hillary Clinton is the candidate of global capitalism, and Donald Trump the candidate of main-street capitalism.
• Evidence has now emerged Ms. Clinton was deeply involved in selling access to the government in exchange for millions of dollars of contributions to the Clinton Foundation and to ex-President Clinton personally. She did this while Secretary of State, where in exchange for millions of dollars she approved $80 billion in arms sells to Saudi Arabia, which she knew was financially and militarily supporting ISIS.
• Ms. Clinton pushed for the overthrow of the Qaddafi government over the objections of the U.S. military and even President Obama. Then used the collapse as a way of channeling military supplies to ISIS in Syria through local ISIS affiliates. (These from the Wikileaks disclosures.)
• Ms. Clinton is now pushing for a no-fly zone over Syria, which the Army Chief of Staff has warned would involve a direct military confrontation with Russia.
• It appears that many senior Army officers are now organizing to oppose Clinton, both within the military and outside. The Navy and Air Force support Clinton because of their close associations with the arms industry and how it has benefited their economic and political status.
• The political “right” in the U.S. is well-organized and defining this election as a test of American democracy. If Clinton is declared the winner, they will react very strongly.
• The political “left” is both disorganized and lacking leadership. The former supporters of Senator Sanders are divided between supporting Clinton, voting for a third-party, or sitting out the election. However, further to the left are several small, militant radical-anarchist groups, which are threatening to burn down U.S. cities if Trump is elected.
• 2-3 million people are said to be preparing to leave the U.S. if Trump is elected.
• Elements in the government are organizing a witch-hunt to track-down and attack government critics. I was told Friday that they are now looking for me, and telling people I’m a Russian agent who they believe is Russia. It’s a strategy they adopted over the summer to discredit critics, including Donald Trump and several of his high-level advisors.
It appears likely that tensions will rise following the announcement of the results of the election. There is considerable evidence that indicts Ms. Clinton for crimes, and there could be an effort to arrest her or charge her before she takes office. There is a large potential for violence, and the possibility that the government will declare martial law and suspend rights, at least in some parts of the country. Some states may threaten to secede from the union if Ms. Clinton is elected. There has been talk of this before over the last 10-12 years, and the Governor of Texas actually formed a committee to study it.
The greater concern is that Ms. Clinton will attempt to follow through and provoke a confrontation with Russian and/or China. There are several flash points, and not all of them are in the Middle East. I will write more on this later in the week as the situation in the U.S. begins to take on more definition.