[The following post is by TDV editor-in-chief, Jeff Berwick.]
Many like to watch movies or read fiction novels as a way to relax and get away from work and other stresses of day-to-day life. I, on the other hand, find non-fiction to be much more interesting than almost anything dreamed up by a fiction writer. So, when I want to relax and get away from things I like to read and watch non-fiction books and documentaries.
Given what is going on in China lately I have been nearly obsessed learning about China's history. It is easily one of the most interesting cultures on Earth with thousands of years of dynasties, warlords, communism, capitalism, wars and atrocities.
Of all the atrocities the worst, by far, was committed during Mao's Communist China revolution and the typically Orwellian named, "The Great Leap Forward".
That leap eventually ended up with the deaths and starvation of somewhere between 20 and 45 million people. Despite this devastation, American oligarch David Rockefeller said this of the period: "Whatever the price of the Chinese revolution, it has obviously succeeded not only in producing more efficient and dedicated administration, but also in fostering high morale and community of purpose. The social experiment in China under Chairman Mao's leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history."
As I watched a recent documentary on this period it struck me how eerily similar the early years of Mao, leading to those deaths, were to today's USA and Obama.
Hope and Change. As with Obama, Mao was swept into power under great fanfare as a savior by a society of people who had been so impoverished and wartorn to put their faith in this man with his ideas. As with Obama the first few years didn't go too terribly giving some people hope. But, soon after taking power, in 1950, he quickly got China involved in the Korean War.
Land Reform. During that same period Mao went to work on taking away land from landowners and "giving it to the people". Done differently, but with the same end goal, the US has been decimating small farmowners through regulations, taxes and even armed raids ending up with large corporations owning more and more of the productive land. The large corporations, through the US blend of fascism and socialism, end up owning more and more of the land. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the number of farms in the United States has fallen from about 6.8 million in 1935 to only about 2 million today. According to Farm Aid, every week approximately 330 farmers leave their land for good. This isn't done as overtly as it was during Mao's time of just killing landowners as the US government has perfected propaganda but the end result is essentially the same.
Suicides. In Shanghai during this time, suicide by jumping from tall buildings became so commonplace that residents avoided walking on the pavement near skyscrapers for fear that suicides might land on them. In the US today, even the New Yorker writes about the "suicide epidemic". Between 1999 and 2010 the number of Americans between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four who took their own lives rose by almost thirty per cent. Among young people in the US, suicide is the third most common cause of death; among all Americans, suicide claims more lives than car accidents, which were previously the leading cause of injury-related death.
Media Suppression and Targeting. Mao launched the "Hundred Flowers Campaign" urging all those with different opinions to express themselves. It was a ruse, however, and he used this to target opponents eventually killing 500,000 landowners. In the US it is done differently but groups, like the Tea Party, have been targetted by the IRS for having oppossing views. And it is well known in the mainstream media that you cannot speak out against the current regime. Journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye was imprisoned under Obama's orders for speaking out about US involvement in the Middle East. And, currently, according to Reporters Without Borders, the US stands at #46 on the World Press Freedom Index just after Romania and one ahead of Haiti.
Only Those In Government Prospered. During Mao's time it was said that only those in government and those in the capital cities connected to the government prospered. This is very similar to what is happening today in the US. Government workers currently get paid 45% more than their counterparts in the private market. And, while most of the country languishes in depression level conditions, Washington D.C. is flourishing. The Washington metro area includes a whopping six of the 10 most affluent counties in the nation.
Lies And Statistics. As things got worse in Mao's China the government took to overtly lying about nearly every statistic. They lied egregiously about crop production and the amount of deaths by starvation. Doctors were not allowed to list "starvation" as a cause of death. In the US it is similar in that nearly all government statistics are heavily manipulated to paint a better picture of what is really going on. Unemployment figures, for one, are adjusted so that if people give up looking for work they are not counted as being "unemployed" anymore. The US government currently says that the current rate of unemployment is 7.3%. However, the percentage of the population which is employed is at lows not seen in 40 years. And, just by computing the unemployment numbers the way they were computed prior to 1994 (before they took out "long term discouraged workers" from the figures) as computed by Shadowstats.com, shows an unemployment rate of 23%.
Famine and Starvation. As things got worse, by the end of the 1950s, tens of millions of Chinese died of starvation. The US has much more past wealth to live upon and still has the printing of the US dollar to keep things more afloat temporarily but even with these advantages there are now 1 in 6 Americans on food stamps… and 1 in 4 children in the US on food stamps. In other words, already, a very large percentage of the population cannot even afford food to eat without assistance. Without government assistance, they would starve.
It should be said that China in the mid 20th century and the US in the early 21st century are two very different places. China, at that time, was a very poor and backward place. Whereas the US, due to semi-free markets for past centuries, is incredibly advanced and has built up a lot of wealth.
As well, communication technologies such as the internet do not allow most government's today to wholesale slaughter people. In the US today these same goals are undertaken through fines, taxation, regulation, inflation and criminalizing nearly every human activity. Nearly half of all people under the age of 23 in the US today have been arrested and the US has the world's largest prison population with 25% of the prisoners with only 5% of the world population. Through these means the US government can look to be less heinous than outright murdering thousands or millions of people but essentially with the same results.
Because of these differences we should not expect to see the US follow the exact same path of Mao's China. But the similarities of the two times are striking.
We have published this cartoon from the Chicago Tribune in 1934 on numerous occassions because it so perfectly explains what is going on in the US today.
Spend! Spend! Spend! The US government has been spending and going into deficits at rates that would have shocked people even 15 years ago. The debt of the US government has increased $6.666 trillion since President Barack Obama took office. When Obama was first inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt of the U.S. government was $10,626,877,048,913.08, according to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt. As of Jan. 31, 2014, the latest day reported, the debt was $17,293,019,654,983.61—an increase of $6,666,142,606,070.53. The total debt of the United States did not exceed $6.666 trillion until July 2003. In the little more than five years of the Obama presidency, the U.S. has accumulated as much new debt as it did in it’s first 227 years.
Blame The Capitalists. Fomenting a class war the heavily socialist indoctrinated youth and poor are constantly told it is "greedy corporations" causing their problems. This can be seen clearly in all the recent "minimum wage" rhetoric.
Junk The Constitution. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights have been all but ransacked in recent years… specifically since 9/11 and the Patriot Act. People collecting rain water or building a pond on their own property or living sustainably off the grid have been deluged by federal agencies threatening them with massive fines or jail time. And, the rising police state and the endless accounts of police brutality is just another example of this.
Declare a Dictatorship. Barack Obama continues to wage wars without approval from Congress, issue Executive Order edicts, create kill lists and in his most recent State of the Union address even went so far as to say that he was going to go around Congress to get things done… all to wild applause. That is a dictatorship.
THE FALL OF AMERICA
Those plans, as laid out in the Chicago Tribune cartoon from 1934 are falling exactly into place. That, combined with the fact that Barack Obama's US is following a very similar path to Mao's China should be enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Unfortunately, it only keeps getting worse. Capital controls are coming into effect in July of 2014, under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and so if you don't have yourself or your wealth well outside of the US by this point your time is running out.
For this reason we have again set-up an urgent conference called the Crisis Conference this time scheduled for April 30th-May 4th in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. If you still have significant assets inside the US I urge you to seriously considering attending.
The US is currently similar to the early days of Mao. How it ends up is anyone's guess but it isn't going to be pretty.