Dystopia 4: The Trainee


“The privilege of creating and issuing money is not only the supreme prerogative of Government, but is the Government’s greatest creative opportunity. By the adoption of these principles, the taxpayers will be saved immense sums of interest.”

“The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country.”

“Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few and the Republic is destroyed … I feel at the moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war.” —Abraham Lincoln

The Trainee:

 

Jack’s plate was loaded with a stew made from root vegetables and some course bread. More than he had every received for rations before. He was a little suspicious of being fattened for the slaughter again, but noticed that the men in the cafeteria were more well fed and muscular than those outside.

Matt lead him to a table already populated by four men.  Some of them vaguely familiar to DJ.

“You hooked on to the Newbie, Matt?” asked a man with the angular features and almond shaped eyes of Asian ancestry.

“Yeah.  Boys, I’d like ya to meet DJ.  DJ this is Tony,” he indicated the man who had asked the question, “Murphy,” he pointed to a large, muscular, black man who was very busy with his plate but who paused long enough to smile at DJ, “Cirrus,” he pointed at a wiry fellow whose eyes swept over DJ quickly before he nodded to him, “and Theo.” a slightly older man who was busy scratching his beard and barely acknowledged DJ.

DJ and Matt took their seats.

“Bet you’ve been scared half to death.”  Matt began.

DJ quickly looked up from his plate, with his first bite of food arrested half way to his mouth.

Matt chuckled. “Don’t worry, I don’t think they’re going to be serving DJ stew anytime soon.” DJ gave him a wan grin. “Yeah I heard the rumors too when I was on the outside.” Matt added quickly.

DJ exhaled and took a bite of stew.  With is mouth full he asked, “So what is the big secret?  Why are we here?” DJ looked down at his plate again.  “And why are they feeding us so well?”

Murphy grunted but turned his attention back to his own plate.  He was more or less using his fork as a shovel and making his lunch disappear by the second.

Matt started out, “How much do ya know about the world DJ?”

“Not much to know, I guess.  I wandered some before I came here.  Most places like this one.  Talked with Gerry about maybe headin North to Canada.  Know there is an ocean west of here.  Know there is a desert ya can’t cross east of here….What did ya have in mind?”

Matt began to explain in between mouthfuls of food.  “Well seems like the desert isn’t going to stay where it’s at.  Its marching this way and the water in this area is running out.  It was the old man, Cheney, who put this fort here.  Seems he is about to breath his last and his kids want outta here.  This fort was essentially put here to stop the Canadians from annexing more than just Washington and part of Oregon back when this area was worth somethin. I guess they finally came to their senses and realized this scrap of ground isn’t ever gonna be worth anythin again. Canada doesn’t want it. No sense wastin resources on a fort to guard land no one wants, right?”  DJ had been a child during the war with Canada but he recognized the names of the states from conversations adults had had in his youth.

“Now old man Cheney, the head of this fort, has friends.  He’s got friends with more water then they can use, it seems.  So when he goes, the kids are moving the whole operation to where the water is.  But here’s the rub.  Apparently there is some disagreement about the water and who it belongs to. Seems the natives who live where the water is now, do not take kindly to it bein taken over by Cheney’s kids.  Apparently there is a war on and they need men to fight it.  So guess what you and I get to do.”

“So we were taken to fight a battle for this water?”

“Yeah-huh.  Apparently the price of moving to a place with more water is coming up with enough able bodies to protect that water.”

“What makes them think I’m goin to fight for something that ain’t mine and is never gonna to be mine?”

“Oh, I don’t know.  How thirsty do ya think a man can get before he don’t care who he needs to kill for a drink?” put in Cirrus.

“Good point.” DJ admitted. “So what happens to the rest when we leave?”

There was an uncomfortable silence at the table.  No one spoke and even Murphy stopped eating and stared down at his plate as though he were deep in contemplation.

DJ swallowed and asked softly,  “They’re gonna leave ’em aren’t they?”

Matt didn’t meet DJ’s eyes but he nodded slowly as he pushed the remainder of his stew around on his plate.

Jack saw the hard logic of this but he was still upset by it. People he knew would be caught off guard. They would die of thirst or starve trying to make it somewhere else.

DJ thought of Gerry.  He hoped he had taken the water and left but he would likely never know.  Then he thought of Andy and his mother.  There was no way that they would be able to make it to the next fort without provisions and stored water and he doubted they had any.  In fact most people would not be prepared to leave and trek to the next fort. If what Matt said was true about the water drying up, who was to say that you wouldn’t get to the next fort and find it as still and dead as this one was going to be.

“They’re gonna let all those folks die?”

“I believe that is the plan, yes.”  Tony stated coldly.

“Why don’t they at least give ’em a runnin chance?”

“They need them to work the fields.  If ya tell ’em the place is gonna close they will leave on their own when it is convenient for them and not the fort.  The bosses can’t have that.”  Murphy stated.  He had finished his plate of food and was eyeing DJ’s plate.

“Besides they don’t want a riot on their hands.” Cirrus put in.  “If they know what is going to happen the folks outside might try to stop them.  It is easier to just sneak away.”

“How are they gonna get us all outta here?”

“They get delivery trucks that come and go all the time.  They are taking all of us out of here in the delivery trucks a little at a time.  In fact some have already left.”

“Can’t we get a message or anythin to the outside?”  DJ was feeling desperate.

There was the uncomfortable pause again.

“They never let us near the walls and we’re guarded by the Blackwaters all day and night.” Matt said in a low voice.  “The Blackwaters are not very likely to pass a message that is just going to stir up trouble for themselves.”

“Bout time to finish up men.  Five more minutes.”  One of the Blackwaters yelled to the room in general.

Matt sped up his dining but DJ picked at his food.  He had been famished when he sat down but now he was not at all hungry.  He pushed his plate to Murphy who smiled at him and clapped him on the back before he began to shovel DJ’s food in his mouth in earnest.

“Where are they takin you to now?”

“We are goin to trainin.  They teach us to be soldiers.”  Matt said.

DJ nodded.

“It ain’t that bad.”  Matt assured him.

“Time to go.”  The Blackwater called and the men at DJ’s table got up obediently and began to line up for the door.   DJ began to follow Matt but Matt turned around, “Ya better stay here.  Rick is comin back for ya.  I don’t think your gonna get to do much today but I’ll see ya on the field tomorrow.  I’ll see if I can’t put in a word and get ya in my unit.”

DJ nodded and sat back down.  He watched the men go and felt alone.  Maybe it was better to be eaten then to know that you were leaving people behind who would most likely suffer and die.

The guards came back for Jack.  They walked him back and deposited him in his cell.  He sat there mulling over all that had occurred for several hours.  A few hours into this contemplation a plate of beans and rice was pushed under the door of his cell.  This time the needs of his body won out over the worry in his mind and he finished his dinner.

Soon after he began to hear noises.  Men were coming back to their cells.  A jumble of conversations were coming down the hall.

DJ came to the barred window in the door of his cell.  He could see the men being walked down the hall.  All of them in the same uniform that DJ now wore.  Most of these men he knew.  He called out to one of them.  “Samuel?  Is that you?”

“DJ?  I heard there was another Newbie.  That you?”

“I guess so.”  DJ was still uncomfortable with being called a Newbie.

Samuel paused by DJ’s door.  “You doin OK?  Word is ya broke old Larry’s nose and they roughed ya up a bit.”

DJ smiled at himself.  “Yeah.  I’m fine.”

“They feed ya?  Give ya water?”

“Yeah.  It hasn’t been too bad.”

“That’s good.  They can make it miserable when they want to.”  Samuel said in a hushed voice.  “Guess they took it easy on ya cause your new.”

“Move along Sam.” the voice of one of the Blackwaters boomed from behind Sam.

“Just welcomin the new guy sarg.”  then lower, “Just keep your head down and do what your told.  You’ll be alright.”

Sam moved away but DJ saw that he went to a cell kitty corner from DJ’s.  DJ waited for the other men to go to their cells and the doors to be locked.  The Blackwaters filed out carrying on their own conversations.  Then DJ saw Sam’s face appear at his door.

“What do ya mean ‘keep your head down’, Sam?”  DJ asked him.

“They can make it hard here when they want.  They can leave ya without food or water for a day.  Keep ya in a cell.  Beat ya.  Just do what your told and you’ll be OK.”

“How many men are here?”

“Bout 40 I reckon.  But they been shippin em off steady.  Who knows how many there were.”

“Do ya know anything bout where we’re goin?”

“Well when they figure your trained up as good as they can get ya, ya go south of here.  That’s all I know.  None of us come back from there to fill in what happens next.  Its a one way ride.  We’re goin to fight with some brown skinned natives who have mistaken our water for theirs.”

“Yeah.  I heard.”  Jack thought for a moment.  “So if their teachin us to be soldiers then do we get guns?  Why haven’t we broken out of here if they give us guns?”

Several of the men laughed including Sam.  “They don’t give us weapons!  They just teach us to crawl through the dirt.  Shit like that.”

DJ had hoped that there might be a way out but clearly there was not.  He continued with his questions.  “Do they keep us in this jail the whole time?”

“Na.  We are in the cells for 4 months.  If we behave an they’re convinced we will do what they say we get to move up to the barracks where the others are.  I got ’bout a week left.”

“If we don’t get weapons how are we supposed to fight the people in the South?”

“Don’t know…Ya better get some sleep kid.  I am sure they mean to start your trainin tomorrow and the first day is pretty rough.”

DJ paused.  The air was stifling and hot.  He had no idea how he was supposed to sleep here.  “Sam?”

“What?”

He decided at the last minute not to ask advice about sleep.

“Night Sam.”

“Ya’ll do alright.  Don’t worry ’bout it.”

Sam’s face disappeared from the door.  DJ moved away from his own door and he sat on the mat in his cell.  For the first time in his adult life he felt close to tears.  He thought of Gerry again and wished him well.  He hoped he made it to Canada.

There was a faint click and suddenly DJ was plunged into darkness.  He stood up suddenly alert and braced for action.  Light disappearing suddenly was outside of DJ’s experience.  Light came from the sun or fire;  neither of which disappeared with a click.  He stumbled forward until he felt his door but then could not think of what to do next.  The cells were quiet.  He tested the door and of course found it locked.

“Go to bed kid.  You’ll be fine.  The lights go out at this time every night.  They’ll wake ya in the mornin.”  came Sam’s reassuring but somewhat annoyed voice.

DJ felt embarrassed.  Like a little kid afraid of the night.  Again he murmured “Night Sam.”  then as an after thought, “Thanks.”  He shuffled back to his bed and lay there with his eyes open staring into the gloom and thinking about every face he knew on the outside.

 

©

The Concepts Behind the Fiction

1.)  Death by Drowning unlikely due to Catastrophic Climate Change

Again and again I hear the news media connect sea level rise with Catastrophic Climate Change (CCC).  OK.  I have to admit that the sea level will rise and could rise as much as 300 feet.  Most of our cities are situated along the coast because this is how transportation and trade were achieved in days gone by.  If you have sea side property you may want to consider moving while housing prices are low.  By seaside property I mean all of Florida and most of New York of course.

But quite frankly, you will be able to out run the sea level changes.  The much bigger problem is that the majority of our food is grown in areas that are predicted to become deserts.  You will not be able to out run starvation or thirst.  Famine is one of the most horrible forms of death and one that we have never conquered.

Australia has already seen a decrease in its wheat production of about 50%, but Argentina has been declared an “agricultural disaster” this year due to a prolonged drought and reduced crop production.  We have already crossed a tipping point and global climate changes are here to stay for the next 1000 years.  How severe those changes are very much depends on our actions over the next few years.

2.)   What have ya done for me lately?

Last episode I discussed the connection between capitalism and continued environmental degradation, extinctions, CCC, etc.  Despite the fact that continuing down this road will undoubtedly cause the destruction of the planet’s ability to support us, our leadership can not let go of capitalism because all of our leadership are the slaves of capital.  You can only achieve high levels of political power in this nation by getting the support of major corporations and their campaign funds.  Therefore the interests of capital supersede all other concerns for Congress and the White House.

But what has capitalism done for you lately?  Should you be as grateful to capitalism as they are.  Should you love capitalism with the same zeal?  Is capitalism part of the American way and therefore you are honor bound by your patriotic duty to love and protect it?

Well, first lets be clear.  Capitalism is an economic system.  It has NOTHING to do with democracy.  In fact it is in many ways the enemy of democracy (one person, one vote).  Capitalism confuses democracy with plutocracy (one dollar, one vote).  So much so that it has somehow convinced the Supreme Court to redefine our democracy as a plutocracy.

Capitalism is not in our Constitution.  It is not in our Bill of Right.  It is not even in the 10 Commandments.  And I would contend it is not even patriotic.

It is not sustainable.  It is not humane.  It is the reason there is world hunger and starvation when food goes to waste in our country.  It is why there is homelessness while foreclosed homes wait empty.

But the fans of capitalism will tell you that for all its faults it is the best system and rewards those who work the hardest.  Is that true?  What has capitalism done for you lately?

Do you remember in one of the first episodes when I discussed the doubling of the nation’s GDP in 25 years, and the fact that most of us did not see a benefit from that?

In 1980 the average CEO’s pay was 42 times what the average American made.  Last year it was 344 times what the typical American made.  That’s an average of $10.5 million.  The hedge fund and private equity fund managers made an average of $588 million.  That is only 19,000 times as much as the average American.  Do you think that these men worked that much harder than the average steel worker or auto line worker?  These are the men that caused the economy to crash.  Was their work more valuable to us as a nation?

Well where did the money go? Turns out it mostly went to the already rich.

If the minimum wage had kept pace with CEO salaries since 1960, reports Executive Excess, the 1997 minimum wage would have been nearly $41 an hour.

When George W. Bush talked about making “the pie higher” that is exactly what happened.  The pie was higher, but you didn’t get a slice.

So when the cost of living went up, and you were not able to make ends meet, what did you do at that point? Did you take out a second mortgage or borrow money using a credit card? So where did the money come from that you borrowed? Well that was the money that was your share of the profits of America’s hard work and increased output that was not given to you in increased wages but kept by the major corporations and CEOs. The people at the top held on to the money and then had the gall to loan it back to you when you could not make ends meet because they also created inflation.

Now they add insult to injury by blaming you for the problem because some of you actually tried to better your family situation by purchasing a home before you lost your job or got sick and had out of pocket expenses.  By asking you to pay taxes, while many of them are not.  By asking you to bail them out of trouble with your tax dollars.  And if you have not lost your job and your home then you are expected to continue to pay on the loans that should have been wages. And we are doing it.  Even with Obama in charge we are doing it. And it is not working for us.

We as a nation have taken our first few steps toward a feudal society. The Landlords are the CEO’s of major corporations and banks that treat most of us like chattel. They boldly steal from the nation’s coffers and party with the money. They have more money and therefore more power in Congress to write the laws than you do. It is they that make the laws of the nation not the masses as evidenced by a lack of health care and the presence of bank bail outs. Yet when they wish to acquire raw resources from another county (imperialism) you are tasked to fight the war and not them. This is achieved by making you a debt slave. More accurately a debt vassal. There is no respect for you, your life or your loved ones. If you live or die, as 22,000 do for lack of health insurance in this country, it means nothing to them.

So when America starts to face severe shortages and starvation, how do you think that will play out? Will we all share equally. Will there be concern for the least among us? Not if we continue down this road.

 

 

 

 

3.)  A Brief History of Money in the US:

Colonies: Colonies issue “Colonial Scrip” which is strictly regulated by the various  colonial states.  The colonies state in advance how much they will print per year. No third party interest is involved.  The colonies flourish under this system and attract the attention of the cash strapped British government. The British government forces the colonies to stop printing their scrip and accent the British money.  This money can then be taxed. This causes inflation in the colonies and the colonies suffer financially. This is the touch stone for the Revolutionary War.

1776:  American Independence: The government is allowed to coin money but the new country is essentially broke after the war. Additionally, the British government prints counterfeit money to dilute the real American currency. Inflation develops quickly.

1791: Alexander Hamilton convinces Congress to create a Central Banking system of the US which is mostly owned by private interests. Hamilton subsequently becomes a very rich man and the Manhatten Company that he created eventually becomes part of Chase Manhatten Bank.

1792:  The dollar is adopted as America’s Currency.  It is redeemable for 24 g of silver or 1.6 g of gold.

1811:  The charter of the first Central Bank comes due while Thomas Jefferson is president.  He denies to renew the charter and the first Central Bank dies. This is instrumental in starting the War of 1812.

1816:  James Madison creates the Second Bank of the United States.

1828:  Voter backlash leads to the election of Andrew Jackson.

1832:  Andrew Jackson cancels the Banks charter.  He is censured for the act by Congress in 1834.

1863:  Abraham Lincoln finances the civil war without bankers by selling bonds to investors.

 

“He obtained from Congress the right to borrow from the people by selling to it the ‘bonds’ of States … and the Government and the nation escaped the plots of the foreign financiers. They understood at once, that the United States would escape their grip. The death of Lincoln was resolved upon.” –German Chancellor 1876

1873, 1884, 1893, 1907, and later 1920:  Financial panics which were initiated by Morgan Bank.

 

1900:  Silver is abandoned as one of the precious metals that backs the dollar and the dollar is exclusively on the Gold Standard.

1913:  Congress passes the Federal Reserve Act 2 days before Christmas when many of the members were out of town.

1914:Gold standard temporarily suspended due to WWI and a large prewar out flux of gold from the U.S. It was restored before the year ends.

1915:  The Federal Reserve becomes fully functional.

1929:  The Stock Market Crash and the beginning of the Depression.

1933:  Due to runs on banks paper money is not trusted by the citizenry.  Gold is horded by the population further deflating the dollar.  All gold coin is withdrawn from circulation by President Roosevelt, and the gold standard is suspended for domestic transactions. People are required to turn in their gold and it is illegal to own significant amounts of gold.  The value of gold was set at $35/oz.

1944:  Bretton Woods Agreement links many foreign currencies to the US dollar and thereby links them to gold.  IMF is created.

1972:  The Vietnam war and the importing of larger and larger amounts of oil causes inflation in the U.S.  The value of gold is reset to $38 per oz.

1973-1975:  Recession

1975:  Richard Nixon removes the gold standard from the dollar as a response to a prolonged recession.  The dollar becomes a fiat currency.  Nothing but the word of the U.S. government backs the dollar to this day.

1981-1982:  Paul Volker raises the interest rates as high as 20% as a response to the “Stagflation” recession.  The manufacturing sector of America collapses and creates the “Rust Belt”.  The third world plunges into starvation due to its inability to repay loans.

1987:  Oct 19 known as “Black Monday” and the “Black Swan” the Dow Jones drops 23%.  This starts the recession in the early 1990’s that is fed by the Gulf War and the increase in Oil prices.

2000:  The Dot-Com bubble bursts.  Greenspan lowers the interest rates and deregulates the market to start a new bubble in mortgage securities to replace the Dot-com bubble.

2001:  September 11 attacks causes market crash.

2007:  Summer, mortgage bubble bursts and beginning of current market troubles.

2008:  Congress declines the bank bailout and on September 30 the Dow loses 777 points (7%) in investor retaliation.

Lessons to learn from looking at the big picture:

1. This list contains 14 major crashes/recessions in our economic system.  There is no reason to expect that after the economic system recovers from the current crisis it will remain stable in the future.  Indeed instability seems to be the norm for capitalism.

2.  We have survived without a Federal Reserve before and done quite well.

3.  We survived without inflationary money systems in the past.  We even did well with that system.  We even paid for wars without inflationary money.  We do not need the Fed.

4.)  Who are the Fed?

So who are the people who are controlling the economic crisis at the moment?  Are they a federal organization of elected or appointed officials with the best interests of the nation and the world at heart?  Hardly.  They are a private institution of bankers with their own interests at heart.  Meet the Fed:

 

“This group decides whether or not to buy and sell government securities on the open market. The Government buys and sells government securities, mostly through 21 Wall Street bond dealers, to create reserves to make the money needed to run the government. The Committee also determines the supply of money available to the nation’s banks and consumers.” These interests control the Federal Reserve through about 300 stockholders:      

The Secretary of the Treasury is supposed to counteract the greed of the Fed by being the voice of the people.  However, lately the Sec of the Treasury has come from the Fed.  This includes Tim Geitner of Obama’s cabinet.

Plutocracy.com

Beyond Plutocracy

Make the Pie Higher

 

Suggested Reading:

Blue Gold by Maude Barlow

Blue Covenant by Maude Barlow

When Corporations Rule the World by David Korten

Revolt Against Plutocracy by Jay Baldwin

Arrogant Capital by Kevin Philips

Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Philips

Greed and Good by Sam Pizzigati

The Great 401K Hoax by William Wolman

Free Lunch by David Kay Johnston

Perfectly Legal by David Kay Johnston

Audio/Visual Selections:

The Secret Birth of the Federal Reserve

Science Fiction Selection:

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

2 comments

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  1. Excellent!

    If I hit the lottery I want you on staff.  Benevolent Order,  Knights of the Veils.

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