Is America in Decline?
It is if we keep letting lawmakers be bought...
It hasn't always. But it does right now. And it doesn't have to stay that way. You can change it...
Of course, some people won't agree with me. They'll say it's the greatest nation on earth. The freest. Home of the brave.
To them I ask: Would the freest nation on earth publicly execute a wheelchair-bound double amputee at a home for the mentally ill?
It happened last week in Houston. The courageous men in blue there opened fire on the man who was wielding a pen after he demanded a cigarette and a soda.
This guy had one arm and one leg and was mentally ill. Houston cops shot him in the head.
How brave they were. How free we are.
Six Michigan police fired 46 bullets at a mentally ill homeless man in July.
Michigan's finest, well-trained, and noble officers hit the man 11 times — with fewer than 25% of their shots.
Two of those fine Michigan men have been reprimanded; one has been demoted. Their names were not released.
These are the kind of militarized morons policing our country. Protecting us no more, their job is to instill fear and keep the populace at bay.
But that's how it is, isn't it? A veil of secrecy has been erected between the government (and its enforcers) and the people.
You vote for a candidate who pledges to do X or to repeal Y, and what do you get? Nothing. Their agenda is their own, formulated at the request of the highest bidder, meant only to further entrench their power and line their pockets...
Big Pharma. Big Retail. Big Tobacco. Big Health Care. Big Oil. Big Agriculture. Big Banks. Big Government.
Take Two Every 8 Hours, Stay Off Drugs
Prescription pills kill 140,000 people every year in the United States, severely injure one million, and send two million to the hospital.
Side effects include brain damage, stroke, pulmonary disease, cardiac arrest, perforated ulcers, cancer, liver failure, and addiction.
Those are legal drugs.
Illegal drugs kill about 5,000 Americans per year, mostly from cocaine and heroine.
Tell me, on which drugs should we wage a war?
The facts are clear. But Big Government and Big Pharma — which spends $100 million per year lobbying (bribing) politicians — can't get a cut from the “bad” drugs.
So 1.5 million Americans are locked up each year for illegal drug-related crimes, while Big Pharma drug reps make great livings taking doctors out for expensive lunches every day so they push their pills.
And 80% of those 1.5 million arrests are for possession, so those fine cops mentioned earlier aren't even getting the distributors.
What's more, 44% of possession arrests are for marijuana — which kills no one — rather than for the harder stuff that does.
Yet since the 1980s over a quarter-trillion of your taxes have gone to fight a war on drugs that kills millions fewer people than the legal ones executives and congressmen are profiting from.
Drug dealing isn't drug dealing when it's state sanctioned.
To quote Gerald Celente, whose book What Zizi Gave Honeyboy inspired this essay: “It actually all makes perfect sense in a system in which justice is measured by the size of political campaign contributions."
And it's not only pharmaceutical drugs; the hypocrisy is multiplied when you inspect alcohol and tobacco, which do tens of billions each year in sales and spend hundreds of millions bribing so-called 'lawmakers.'
Smoking kills about 450,000 Americans each year. Alcohol kills another 150,000.
But remember, kids, Altria (Philip Morris), Anheuser-Busch, and Pfizer bribe the government. They have sales goals to meet. Pot growers don't.
Shit: It's What's for Dinner
Lamar Carter is a cattle farmer. He feeds his cows shit.
He's cited in a U.S. News & World report as buying 745 tons of chicken scat and stacking it 12 feet high on his farm. After it sits for seven to 10 days, it's mixed with a small amount of soy bran... and fed to his hundreds of cows.
He's quoted as saying: “My cows are fat as butterballs. If I didn't have chicken litter, I'd have to sell half my herd. Other feed's too expensive.”
You may have also heard the recent story going around about another cattle farmer feeding candy to his cows.
And I shouldn't have to recount the squalid conditions your beef and chicken inhabit while alive, injected with hormones and antibiotics (half of the antibiotics made in the U.S. are for animals), starved, and then force-fed to produce bigger eggs, wading in their own feces until they die.
I won't even tell you where millions of euthanized dogs and cats end up.
Is it any surprise 80 million Americans contract a foodborne illness annually (over a quarter of the population), 9,000 of them meeting their maker because of it?
Have you noticed there were no warnings for eating undercooked meat or eggs 20 years ago?
But like drugs, where does the regulator's hammer come down?
Surely not on the Hormels, Cargills, Tysons, and Perdues who are so profit-hungry they feed the animals you eat feces... but on the small mom-and-pop farmers trying to make it on their own selling all-natural beef, chicken, and vegetables.
In many states, it's illegal to sell raw milk. In others, small farms have been raided at gunpoint. (By whom? By those lovely militarized police we talked about earlier.)
Guess which operations have enough to bribe the lawmakers you elected?
And then those politicians have the gumption to decry the loss of small businesses during their election campaigns when it's them putting them out of business.
I could go on and on about the current injustices plaguing the American system. (And I will next week... and the one after that.)
Like how your Nobel Peace Prize-winning president increased troop levels in Afghanistan, a so-called “troop surge,” who are now coming home and “leaving behind an uncertain landscape of rising violence and political instability that threatens to undo considerable gains in security,” as the NYT reported last week.
Last year was the deadliest year for American troops in Afghanistan since the war began. This year could rival it.
Soldier suicides are at an all-time high, and are beginning to outpace deaths on the battlefield. That's some kinda peace.
There was once a time when leaders like Washington and Eisenhower actually led wars. And they knew the desperation it caused — and that it should be used only as a last result.
Now we carry on wars for years, the suffering felt only by the lower classes, while draft-dodgers, community organizers, and Mormon teachers decry its necessity having never witnessed first-hand its atrocities. If they want a war so bad, I say give them a rucksack and rifle and send them out there.
Try to guess how much money Lockheed and Raytheon and Northrup Grumman spend taking your elected officials out to dinner. (It was up 11.5% in the first quarter this year to just under $16 million.)
Or how about the constant flow of banking scams at the highest level, only to never see any major prosecutions or law changes...
You might understand why if you knew the banks and their political action committees (bribe squads) spent nearly $20 million on political candidates — Democrat and Republican — in 2010.
Banks like JPMorgan, Citigroup, and Bank of America have spent $16 million since 2011 trying to get people elected who make or bend laws in their favor. Congressmen, on average, get $20,000 per year from the banks. Senators get about $30,000, but it was up near $100,000 leading up to the implosion of our economy.
No wonder they continue to bill this as "the greatest nation on earth"...
They're making money hand over fist while everyone else struggles.
What I don't understand is why the majority continue to buy into it.
It was Hitler who said if you repeat the same lie often enough, people will eventually believe it.
So How Great Is It?
It's great enough that Americans now work 160 more hours per year than they did 20 years ago.
And for what?
How's your purchasing power? Your home value? Your savings account?
It's no wonder a majority of people think the country is suffering from a moral breakdown.
To quote from Celente's book:
If the “American way” was working so well, why was “stress” cited as the primary cause for the 25% increase in sick days? Why do stress-related problems account for 60% to 90% of doctors' visits in the United States?
If “life has gotten better,” why are 5% of our children being fed Ritalin to calm them down, and why are we gulping down more than a million dollars' worth of Prozac a day to keep steady?
I think it's because they're chasing a dream they know they can't attain — or worse, no longer even exists.
Almost one-third of Americans say they've been on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
For years now there's been a growing sense of something being truly wrong with our country. The Occupy Movement has been the most vocal about it, but they aren't fully representing the problem.
Bankers, for all their faults, are only leveraging the system they live in; the Supreme Court, after all, has affirmed that companies are people, and can donate limitlessly and anonymously to political campaigns.
We've allowed our country to reach a point where we've sold our happiness and sense of community to the highest bidder, and only those at the top of industry and top of government get true profit.
A family of four could once live well on one salary. Now two aren't enough to scrape by.
As Celente concludes in the chapter entitled, “Make money your God and it will plague you like the devil”:
If the facts show — and the people say — they're unhappy and morally starved, and large numbers are on the verge of cracking up, is the “American way” delivering on its promise?
When the media and politicians talk about other nations that don't have the financial and material riches of the United States, they tell us the people in those countries are “living in poverty,” but as any seasoned world traveler will tell you, “poverty” is a relative term. It can be argued that while people living in poor nations lack our material comforts, many of them possess the wealth of community and the family prosperity that has dissipated in America and among her people.
A close friend of mine, a mid-level derivatives manager at Citi, recently quit his job to move to South America. An accountant here in my office is heading to Melbourne next month.
Departing isn't the only option, though it is increasingly appealing. I'm going to stick it out here for a while, perhaps on a remote farm, if I can swing it...
Of course, no matter where you choose to live, acquiring and growing capital always makes it easier.
I'll continue to try to help you do that every week — while also wading through the events and policies of a stranger and stranger world.
And I'll be taking the stage at the New Orleans Investment Conference next month for the same reason.
Call it like you see it,
Nick is the Founder and President of the Outsider Club, and the Investment Director of the thousands-strong stock advisory, Early Advantage. Co-author of two best-selling investment books, including Energy Investing for Dummies, his insights have been shared on news programs and in magazines and newspapers around the world. For more on Nick, take a look at his editor's page.