An Immigrant's View of America
Ancient Wisdom Publications
"In time of profound change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."
Dedication and credits
I dedicate this book to Laszlo who taught me about "Fuckism" and showed me the finer points of the charade.
He had lived here for fifty years and his keen eye unveiled many points unknown to me before.
Also I dedicate this book to my daughter who was born in California and to whom I would like to create a better future by writing.
I like the thanks to all Californians and other social critics whom I have had a chance to interact and gain insights about the state of the nation.
"The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too. " - Oscar Levant
I like to view this work as a mirror to many who read it. I think I am a good candidate to write about the US as I have also lived elsewhere. Actually my experience living abroad had shaped my view and analysis of my adopted land.
This book was started at a cathartic experience when one day in January 2004 I was pondering about my life in America. This day was my 25th anniversary of arriving here in 1979. In 2012, during the presidential election, I re-read the manuscript and decided to publish it with some additions.
I must admit there were many bitter periods in the last 2 years and several times I wanted to through in the towel and move back to Europe. The realization that I feel no more at home there than in America was a sobering thought. After some thinking I have decided to write this book as my contribution to the people in America.
I owe them a lot, they acceptance and curiosity had given me a new home after escaping my communist birth country. My daughter was born here in California and my wife is a recent immigrant as well. I am a student of the world and I have lived in four countries in the last quarter century.
I feel I can offer a little dose of introspection and possible solutions to my adopted home. I also have a keen eye and travel gave me an obvious gauge to talk about cultural and socio-economic differences. This is why I wrote this book.
It may be that you will not agree with many things I see and that is fine. I do not write my thoughts as evangelizing message rather than a tool to search for new solutions.
I hope some criticism you find in this book will not make you angry but give you a new understanding and determination to change things.
I am a firm believer of grass roots movements and all and any change can only stem from this type of change.
I had been ignoring the issues this book deals with and only started to think about it when my own foot was held into the fire. Do not let this happen to you. You may be in a decent job or in a respectable business. However if you have kids I urge you to give some thoughts about what you read here.
The Start of the End
If you succumb to the temptation of using violence in the
struggle...your chief legacy to the future will be an endless
reign of meaningless chaos.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Many people think America's decline started during the Vietnam War. It is hard to pinpoint it to the date but it is also my belief. The saying from Sun Tzu "When you resort to violence you have already lost" certainly rings true.
It is hard to see why this subtle saying is so deep. Despite many people think it so - this does not suggest pacifism and non-violence. It simply states that "he who blinks first loses". There is no dishonor in defending one self.
However if one chooses to be the aggressor then he/she will lose moral high ground as well as the initiative.
Obviously in a free democratic society the populous must support the effort whatever that maybe. As we all know it by now, this clearly was not the case during the Vietnam War.
Some people suggest that it was during Vietnam that Russia and China decided that communism is not worth defending and started to turn towards the West. I disagree with this notion and I think it was President Reagan who broke that ice. But this is not an issue as far as the result is concerned, the US lost in Vietnam and 50,000 lives were given up in this sacrifice. It is hard to defend that record.
At any rate somewhere around this time people started to think about Pax Americana with some after taste in their mouth. It is clear that weapons were tested, military contractors were getting new contracts and bad communists were killed in the process. However Vietnam is still communist and we all of the sudden learned to do business with them? All of the sudden it was a 180-degree turn about face.
In my childhood I worshiped America and I hated everything communist, during the Vietnam War I secretly routed to the Americans and wished they wipe out the entire North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong. Of course I was a child and my mind was brainwashed by western films and American consumer goods seen only on the TV or in some western magazines. I was only 10 or 12 and the very effective propaganda had won me over.
My friends were appalled. Back in those days Hungary was a friend of the People's Republics of Vietnam we were told how much they had suffered and the atrocities that were committed by the American troops. All this fell on deaf ears with me of course.
I remember the Kennedy assassination and the news on the Radio. We had no Television of course.
I new nothing about Kennedy but people seemed to have loved him and I sensed a certain grief even in our Budapest apartment thousands of miles away.
My upbringing in Hungary was a strange yet delightful experience. My father was a country lawyer in Bicske a village only commuting distance away from Budapest. He took on civil cases and mediated many bitter family feuds. He had a chance to see the worst in people and by his self admission he hated his work. Lawyers were almost as despised by the communists in Hungary as there hated in America but for somewhat of a different reasons.
The communist government had ideological reasons to despise lawyers as parasites of a decadent and materialistic past not quite ready to be productive members of the collective. It is interesting that lawyers are looked upon as parasites for different less dogmatic reasons in the west. Certainly it is an uncanny similarity that these two politically opposing ideologues had equally bad opinion of lawyers.
Of course he had started out differently. After the war he became a member of the communist party and soon he was appointed a judge. After a while his caseload was becoming more political and much less based upon any civil law. In order to be trusted and fully give a political task he had to move up the party hierarchy even more. All of the sudden my father had decided to leave the bench and move into the private sector. This was a big and dangerous step for anyone but for a person of non desirable class lineage it could have been a suicide. Luckily it was not that bad.
Our family was ostracized and in school I had received discrimination which was manifested more in a form a benign neglect. I had been marked as a 'bourgeoisie' and received no special treatment like the workers and peasant lineage. The official policy was to help the under classes to get better educated and gain equal footing in society.
After school I went to work for IBM in Hungary, the 1960's hard line policies were replaced by Kadar Janos's goulash communism.
IBM was the only multinational company that I had ever cared for. I only liked it while the Watsons ran it because it was a very family oriented business that took care of their employees and never laid anyone of. Of course this was reciprocated by intense loyalty from their employees. I am still an ex-IBM'er at heart.
Sadly, IBM of the old was changed by the cookie man, after losing quarters and bad bottom lines the company was taken over by an ex Nabisco CEO. He took out his cookie cutter and started to trim, slice and dice. The employees as people were replaced by id tags and bloated personnel numbers were cut. Many people who were cut of course were those with seniority and before pension. The truth be told IBM even did the right thing in attrition because the severance and retirement packages were fabulous compared to today's layoffs by email and security guards escorting people off like some garbage.
Of course working at IBM in Budapest was a schizophrenic experience, I wanted to live in America since I worked for an American company and I was seeing my future in Hungary dimmer and dimmer. Yet I had a privileged existence compared to many. I had a decent pay, a family, my youth and a great city to grow up.
I was not even that political, I knew nothing about economics, and did not foster a great love for the unfortunate many. If one put a gun at my head asked why I had left my birthplace and family I had to answer, "It was because of my family". I wanted out and on my own.
The reality was that being on my own in Budapest was near impossible, I know I had tried. Living space was very scarce and subletting so expensive that it was prohibiting. My family tried to influence who I was seeing and I tried to move out for a short period and lived with my girlfriend for a few months.
All in all it was a disaster, due to struggle and lack of intestinal fortitude I broke up with my girlfriend and moved back home. My mother was thrilled and I hated myself and my life. However during this turmoil I learned that my girlfriend wanted to leave Hungary and expatriate to Switzerland. She had relations there and Geneva while not as accepting as America it is a desired destination to many to settle. She intensively studied French and even asked me if I wanted to go with her. I guess I had still bad taste after bickering and fighting and I said no.
The reality was that after the revolution of 1956 many had left Hungary but we had heard bad immigrant stories and propaganda about false promises and lives turning upside down and ending up in ruinous end at the hands of the decadent west.
There was even a book published, made up from collected stories of immigrants returning and facing the 'music' rather than suffer the indignation of the cold foreign land. I purchased this book nevertheless to prepare myself and learn about what I might face. I never took anything for face value and even then I have read this book with certain skepticism and booked the negatives as communist propaganda.
Actually my first years in the US were a charmed existence. I had worked for my sponsor in Ohio. My sponsor had been a great freedom fighter in 1956 and apparently he was never allowed to visit his homeland. He was also a protestant minister and had a nursing home in Akron. I worked there for four months before I move to Cleveland. I had yearned to be on my own. In Akron we had four guys share a one bedroom apartment and two was sleeping in the living room, two was occupying the bedroom. Lucky that we worked in 3 shifts hence we managed avoiding the apparent overcrowding.
Still I felt lucky. My sponsor family was very nice and pleasant. They encouraged me to go to the University and start a fresh life in America.
People who had never been here image America from movies. Pictures of New York City pop into once head and busy streets and sophisticated people fill your imaginary scene.
Akron and even later Cleveland could not be further from what I had expected. First, I have landed in a rather rural area in Akron.
There were no buses, trams or any public transportation systems that Europeans are used to. The wife of our sponsor gave us a lift every morning and took us home after the end of our shift. The Nursing Home was a good half an hour walk with no sidewalks. In the winter it was very hard to walk the road and constantly expected to be hit by a motorist. Getting a car had become our first task on the agenda. This first four month typified how most Europeans react to America, with strange fascination. In reality I could have landed the other side of the moon.
Europeans learn about cars, credit and housing very fast after coming here.
Despite the strangeness of the land, my youth and mental agility had enabled me to adapt to the new environment fast. I had expected hardships and some struggle due to my reading about immigrant stories and tales of the communists who wanted to keep the youth from leaving.
I had felt some guilt leaving my sponsor; after all they had invested money and time in me. They rightfully expected me to work there at least a year or two, preferably even more. The harsh reality of living on minimum wage was as apparent then as it is now.
It is impossible.
In order for me to afford the bare necessities I needed to work 18 hours and save every penny on minimum wage. If I remember right I made little over $400 a month. Our rent in the apartment was almost as much. So I made a move and started seeking work in the Computer field.
I have visited the IBM office in Cleveland. I remember they were very nice and extremely curious of the 22 year old who worked for IBM in the land of the communists and asked for they help. Of course they could do nothing; if I remember correctly I had filled out a job application for IBM and never heard from them again.
In 1979 computers were become a new fad in America, my timing and circumstances placed me the right place at the right time. I went to employment agencies and one found me a job in Cleveland in less than 2 weeks.
I wonder if somehow I had landed in Cleveland, as I was then, 25 years later, how long it would have taken to find a comparable job in Cleveland in 2004.
Yes, time changes everything; it is even accelerated in the US. There are no traditions and customs that hold us back here. The American motto is "adapt or perish".
Yet understandably adapting is harder as one grows older. You can not expect and demand that a person who had worked in computers for almost 30 years will learn to be a chef or become a construction worker. It is not reasonable. I know some people do it, but there are limitations of the workplace.
Many positions are for the young only. Even if a person goes back to the University at an advanced age the marketplace is typically for the young and age discrimination exist and constant reminder of the capitalist model - keep the cost low and sell the product high.
Older people are flipping burgers and working in other menial service jobs. Changing career in midlife is very difficult; those who put unfortunate people down and bark slogans and nonsense at them should only pray that they jobs will not become outsourced and they will not have to face the retraining idea at the age passed forty.
Yet these challenges are facing all of us when we are the slaves of corporate interest and a bureaucratic system that helps grudgingly and without a heart. The government labor retraining program applies only to manufacturing and there are only limited resources available to other displaced workers. It is not all that difficult falling down between the cracks of the fabric of American society. Yes this have always been like this and not much changed since child labor was banned and union 'agitators' were often met with brute force and violence.
I have seen America change in the last twenty five years. I have seen books and political analysis that describes the symptoms and the ills of the society and offers no solutions at all. Satire is often used as a tool to show what is wrong with out offering some hope or a solution.
I am hoping that this book will cause people to pause and look at some of the solutions I am outlining and vote accordingly.
I am a populist who is highly interested in people. We are dependent on each other and we should be united as citizens of this nation. Unfortunately the US is more divided than ever. Issues, often fabricated and baseless such as gun control, death penalty divide this country like slavery divided the north from the south. It is quite a dangerous concoction.
My message is for everyone from the janitors to the millionaire investors, from the black person who for generations had been left behind and given substandard schools and neighborhoods to the recently arriving immigrants from Asia or Latin America.
We need to stick together now more than ever. If you are a millionaire worth less than five million dollars (and I am picking a number out of a hat now) you should be as much with us as the person on welfare. We are all "working poor" in a sense.
I know this is a hard concept to digest. Most millionaires would walk over to the other side of the street if they were facing a homeless or borderline derelict. It is natural. But this is exactly the reason that you Mr. Millionaire, realize that you are as much of a prisoner as the poor.
We are hostages of inequality and class warfare. We are hostages of horrible schools and unsafe streets. When Mr. Millionaire goes back to his gated community and turns off the alarm upon entering his spacious home he might as well be able to have entered into his jail cell in Attica. There is a fear and alienation - class warfare - the pundits call it.
I also know that money does not buy happiness (but it helps, I know) and it is hard to be rich. You have to face the envy and resentment every day. You must pay taxes and social taxes (inflated prices) for virtually everything that should separate you from the poor.
Would a more prosperous, socially even society be better for you and your children?
So this is the message. Why is our system so unequal and why so many have been left behind. I do not believe that all whose people are lazy and stupid like so many angry and bitter people would like to portray them. Of course some of them are, as some of the people holding middle-class jobs are lazy and stupid.
I do not believe that one can place blame entirely on the system or the people. That is unproductive demagoguery. That is politics. The blame can however be placed on the politicians - after all it is their job and responsibility to server all people - citizens of the United States.
So what is wrong with the politicians? Well, some of them can be bought, like a cheap hooker. Of course they likely will ask for a lot more money but it is hard to find a politician who will or can not be corrupted somehow. They are out there but slowly the system will grind them down. Wouldn't it be wonderful if laws were passed to make it harder to lobby and bribe politicians?
Campaign financing and 'pork'
I recall that Senator McCain from Arizona has tried to pass a legislation to fix the current system. (MCCAIN, FEINGOLD, COCHRAN INTRODUCE BIPARTISAN CAMPAIGN REFORM ACT OF 2001)
It did not go anywhere. Initially everyone was for it and people were made to believe that this is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I was not fooled; I knew it will fail from day one.
Do you seriously believe that the forces that support the 'status quo' will allow it to happen?
Unfortunately powerful propaganda exists to maintain and propagate the status quo. The whole Electoral College and two party system along with the media perpetuates that we are OK and nothing serious should happen to brake the system, God forbid.
When in reality the system has been broken for sometime by now. The American kids in school are thought about being OK. We are all special and we are all OK. That is fed to our children from kindergarten. After all Barney loves us all. This psychology is protruding into US politics.
The sacred Status Quo
The main US media is part of the problem, there are powerful messages and concepts fed to us daily that are half-truths and often outright lies.
You might ask me what evidence I have that things are wrong. It is an honest question and deserves an honest answer.
On surface the US is the most powerful economic machinery ever created. Globalization forced down our throats creates profits and oils world trade. Goods are cheaper in the US than in the countries that builds them. Oil is cheaper in the US than anywhere in the West and most people can afford to keep two cars even on 30,000 a year.
The problem is that we have little choice in these matters and lifestyles are forced upon is rather than taken up voluntarily. In a sense the US had created a forced market for automobile and oil economy by having an expensive and useless public transportation system that virtually no one uses.
We are using almost the quarter of the world oil production and killing our environment in the process. Globalization is killing the US labor market and displaced millions of US workers. These workers had middle class jobs and were working in marketing, IT, call centers and finance. These people not only were displaced in the shift but their taxes are missing from the US Treasury.
I understand that business will go where there is cheap labor and abundant resources but it appears that we the consumers are still expected to consume and spend at the same rate as before when disposable income levels were higher.
Consumer goods and products created by the multinationals offshore will not be sold to the US consumer but the Chinese and Indian raising middle classes. The problem is that these new middle classes will not purchase at the same rate with the same thirst for credit as their US counterparts. Certain problems already had manifested themselves. But these paradigm shifts had certainly placed the US worker and to some extent even the US investor at a disadvantage.
If India will do the world's IT and call centers and China will manufacture all the goods while Japan makes the world's robots and reliable cars what will be the US's role? Keep it in mind - we have ~300 million people to keep busy.
I would not like to see the US to become the world's policeman nor do I wish to think that we shall be the world's burger flippers.
I know there is more to flipping burgers - the US is the breadbasket of the world and my example was a little too simplistic. These are the trends and I am telling you that the "trend is not your friend" in this case.
Fortunately I see that cracks are appearing in the propaganda machinery and people realize that these times are comings are taking steps to alleviate them.
The Europeans still like to wear hand made shoes and use hand made furniture. Cheap, disposable goods are often not desirable and do not make us feel good about ourselves.
I do think these ideals will slowly return and American ingenuity will somehow prevail.
I also hope that we can somehow remedy the political and legal system that virtually shuts out most citizens from decision making.
There is much work to be done and for that unison and self-education are the keys.
The two-party-system is clearly not working. Upon careful examination of the political donations from multinationals and special interest groups it becomes painfully obvious that powerful interest give to both Democratic and Republican candidates. The money is not even but the status quo is maintained that virtually every time a corporate interest or environmental issue is raised the special interest and big business wins out despite the promises the Democrats made and pledged to the people.
Democrats are Republicans with a conscience.
This pun statement was never truer than in the current years. There were times when unions and workers groups had wielded greater powers. If course these powers were slowly eroded as US business needed to compete and push down quality and costs.
Of course I am not entirely sold on organized labor as it was practiced in the US. Organized crime and corruption tainted the good and useful role organized labor exerted on big business. Without those Unions we would perhaps still have child labor and no health benefits.
Of course not all corporations are created equal. Luckily there are watchdog groups that keep some companies in line and shape corporate America. The problem is that US business has a very short attention span. Quarterly results are everything and long term goals are not place as high priority. If management does not have a stake (major interest) why would thy bother? The old option (compensation scheme) is now revealed as virtual theft from the stockholder and serious effort is being orchestrated to remedy the situation.
It would be nice if laws were upheld and created to enforce good corporate citizenry and it would not be bestowed upon volunteer groups and whistle blowers to act.
Some facts to ponder on
Big Corporations pay less than 20 percent of the tax revenue and employ less then 20 percent of the US workforce. Yet they have a virtual lock on American life and policymaking. I used to dislike trial lawyers pandering to idiotic lawsuits in America but now I have realized that is a safety valve, a last freakish equalizer in this society. Lawsuits are the only outlet for the little guy to fight this overbearing and undemocratic system.
In Old Europe at the times the United States where the buffalo roamed and Indian tribes lived and scalped in harmony we were practicing capitalism the old fashioned way. It was feudalism yet free market reigned. Even in those days boom and bust cycles existed and it was a wise thing to equal out the playing field every 30 years or so.
If some families controlled too much wealth some famine, war or down cycle made the playing field even by redistributing wealth and creating. During the bubonic plague quarter of Europe died yet after the plague was subsiding spiritual and economic boom started. We are thought about it in school as Renaissance
We tend to keep these cycles from occurring in the US by fooling the masses and by monetary policy. Even if a brutal down cycle manifests itself you seldom hear the truth about it and there is a good reason. Government statistics and economist are notorious of bending the truth. The last down cycle happened in 1929 and the subsequent years following. This was almost 70 years ago.
The Federal Reserve made sure that by careful tweaking the money supply and taxes this severe down cycle will never happen again.
This is wishful thinking however, it reminds me of the person who never want to grow old and die. With careful lifestyle and medication you can avoid stress and prolong the inevitable. Many people think that the severe down cycle can be alleviated and made smoother by the Federal Reserve and indeed there is some truth in that.
I certainly would not wish The Great Depression II on myself if I was not somewhat certain that we are in the beginning phase already.
I mean let us look at the staggering numbers of foreclosures, personal bankruptcies and people locked up in jail. After this gloomy picture let us look at the job situation and the possible remedies. What industry is hiring now?
Due to terrorism security fields, police and private police security is growing but that is hardly enough to sustain the whole nation. Further you will need to work for less and less money despite raising costs in healthcare, housing.
If you are striving for a better more prosperous life there is always a boom after a bust and these booms are usually solid and long lasting.
To dispel any doubts in your mind bust i.e. severe downturns usually come after a speculative bubble. We just had one in 2001 and perhaps the second leg the Real Estate part will commence and place the final nail into this coffin.
A severe downturn can manifest itself in two ways hyperinflation or a depression. It can also happen with a combination of the two. I suspect that we shall have a serious inflation coming soon. This inflation can be foretold by looking at the value of the dollar. Indeed recently the dollar has lost over 30-percent it value and there is no signal for any reversal soon.
In Hungary before the war people took money and weighted it before exchanging it into goods and services. It took a truck to transport currency to the marketplace. What do you think will happen to real estate based on interest rates? Mortgages and construction loaning will cease to exist temporarily and only paid up properties will be somewhat immune. Banks will lose billions.
New building and the American home buying zeal will not exist, as well as car buying and any other credit based commerce will be hard to maintain.
This is one possible scenario and by all means it is not going to be the end of the world. History repeats itself but as our forefathers have weathered thorough their share of disasters we shall have to endure ours. One can also flourish and even prosper in time like this, it is all in the manner with which we cope and adjust.
People's Republic of Berkeley
Corporations are lifted to a higher esteem according to the federalist lawmakers than average citizens of flesh and blood.
Recently Berkeley city voted on a resolution to amend the Federal and California constitution to clarify that rights as they pertain to a citizen human being are not applicable to Corporations.
The resolution reads, in part: "Whereas, 'corporation' is not mentioned in the United States Constitution; our founders did not grant corporations rights; rights were reserved for natural people; historically corporations were created as artificial entities, chartered by state governments to serve the public interest, cause no harm, and be subordinate to the sovereign people; and yet by judicial interpretations, corporations gained personhood status, free speech and other protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment;
While some would be surprised of the necessity or even the thinking behind this law and dismiss it as a typical leftist idea that we are used and accustomed from Berkeley, it is not.
The hidden agenda behind this move is the documentary movie The Corporation that explored the legal ramifications of corporations equated with a natural person.
Corporations - Public or Private
In his book The Dream Deferred Phillip Slater exposes
this private public masque exchange from the corporate entity to
place them in the most favorable light whenever that suits
"The private citizen mask is the one that corporations like best and employ most often, especially when the public expresses concern over some potentially nefarious activity, or one with a destructive social or environmental impact: corporate leaders react as if the police were peering in their bedroom windows and talk of their privacy being invaded. They want to "get government of 'our' backs"--as if they, the corporations, and we, the people, were all in the same boat.
Yet let one of these giant "individuals" begin to lose money and the Private Citizen mask is whisked away faster than you can say "bailout" to be immediately replaced with the Public Institution mask. Suddenly the corporation is not private at all, but a noble service organization providing the community with employment and a product which has long been part of the American tradition and should be treated with all the respect due an endangered species. As a "public Institution," it obviously deserves a handout from the government: the failure of a badly managed bank would threaten the stability of the entire community: and if a badly run manufacturing company was allowed to collapse, what would happen to all the workers? The success of this mask is apparent: small businesses may rise and fall by the thousands, but above a certain size no major corporation is allowed to collapse, no matter how badly it performs.
But suppose we were to take them up on this pose and say, "Yessiree, you surely do employ a lot of workers, and maybe you ought to give us sixty days notice before you suddenly pull up stakes and transfer your whole operation to Mexico or Taiwan where the labor's so much cheaper." Whisk! The Public Institution mask is gone faster than you can say "profit margin," and we find ourselves contemplating a brand new face: the struggling-small-business-that's-gotta-do-what-it's-gotta-do-to-make-a-buck. If they have to bother about the welfare of their labor force, they protest, it's good-bye to profits. They are a private business, and they shouldn't have to be forced to contend with all these rules and regulations. "
The several misconceptions associated with Democracy and Capitalism is explained in Slater's book. One of the notable one is that Democracy can only exist with Capitalism as some interchangeable ideals dependent on one and other. The other notable myth about our conditions is even more starting when we insist that we are living under democratic conditions now when in fact "our corporations, professions, and educational institutions have yet to feel more than the palest breath of democratic influence";
Printing money while trees left
I know that the US currency is not using any paper in it so accept this as a metaphor a - symbolism of money without any backing of value and production. As a nation we consume far more than we produce and we give IOU's and "paper" currency in exchange. This can not go on without causing inflation. Sooner or later the reality check will arrive and more and more realize that the piggy bank is empty.
I know perhaps that these words are harsh and lot of people rather read about happy things and think positively than accept what I am saying for face value.
That is fine. You may choose to discard what I am saying in this book. But please believe me that I care and my motives are neither defeatist nor anti American. I care about the people and only wish that what I am seeing would not happen. I will show you my ideas and solutions in this book in more detail.
Since certain facts are covered up I will not show links of other perhaps even more extreme papers and books as my basis. I simply tell you what I observe, point out facts and some statistics and leave the conclusion to you. Certain ideas I have a conspiracy flavor and it is only a coincidence.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. But since certain events in our pop culture are still laced with mystery I have some theories of my own.
The Kennedy Assassination
It is becoming widespread fact now that Castro may have had something to do with the Kennedy affair. The fact is that the United States had tried to assassinate him several times with the full knowledge of the Executive Office.
Castro and indeed other fringe powers had said that if assassination of political and religious leaders is becoming a mainstream and accepted practice - US presidents and other power figures are not going to be immune either.
It is very important that we in the United States do not sink into the levels of those who fight and oppose us.
During the cold war indeed we were the guys wearing the white hat. Any shenanigans done by the CIA and FBI were pale in comparison the 20 million kulaks starved to death under Stalin and the further millions killed under Mao.
So now that the bad guys are different and stealthier it is still important to maintain civility and democracy. The people will not have it any other way.
The US as a police state is unmentionable and will be hard to implement.
The European people are bred and primed to be tame. Indeed the ugly and violent history and the thousands of years of culture have tamed the people against authority. I still feel this way after 25 years in this country.
My wife sees a police and anyone in uniform or in authority she has a reaction. This is our upbringing and even in our genetic code.
I am afraid that the United States this "tameness" is missing. People are very me oriented and authority is not easily accepted and adhered to.
What do I mean by "tameness"? It is hard to explain and quantify. Think of the wild horses and the tame horses. The human animal is not all that different.
Everything is fine and dandy as long as there is food and shelter for all. Even if a certain fragment of society is left out the situation is manageable somehow. There is room in the prison system.
However more people being out of work - more people have time to think about their situation. The daytime soaps portray life very different from the ordinary American life. Even the Romans understood that people need bread and circus.
Circus (the TV, Sports etc) with out bread (money) will not do. There are implied promises made and lies propagated about the economic might and the opportunities in the US. So I am a little afraid if the employment situation and livable wage situation is not corrected we shall be facing a ticking time-bomb.
Yes there are some opportunities still but let me illustrate an example from my own.
I am learning about real estate investing. After years I have spent with the stock and commodities markets I need something safer for my age. The how-to market is exploding and many people enter the arena and learn to cope. The real estate forum I frequent someone made this following post after finishing a course and starting out.
"I have tried to get pre-foreclosure list at the country courthouse and drive around to each address on the list. There was no available parking as it were a McDonald's. All these people were trying to do the same thing - picking up that house from the poor owner."
After a short time the post was deleted from the discussion despite the fact it infringed upon no rules at all. I still do not know who removed it and why?
The fact is that we are getting crowded in the US. There are too many people chasing too few dollars. All these gurus and opportunity masters find it more easy and convenient to learn and teach rather than learn and do.
I caution you all from starting an expensive business and money making schemes started and promoted by others it is often a trap to liberate you from your last remaining dollars.
I do not know the true statistics of the death and injuries caused by trades and construction. The fact is that likely millions die in workplace accidents and in car related accidents each year. The fact is these people are not missing is the result of immigration - legal and illegal.
The US labor system is like a large pipe moving people in and out. Production overrides safety and proper training is very often not available and sought out.
In Europe if people die in the construction trade due to accidents for example eventually they will be missed. There will be a labor shortage and wages may have to go up temporarily. We do not even notice in the US. Wages are constantly pressed down and immigration is the cause. Sadly people are treated like so many cattle.
The bourgeoisie and the proletariat
Supposedly in America there are no classes. This is however not quite true. We just have different names for them. Middle class is the bourgeoisie and underclass is the proletariat using the classical terminology.
The importance of the bourgeoisie can only be seen when studying the French Revolution. There is a historical theory that states - no power or system can sustain itself if the bourgeoisie is unsatisfied and angry. Further there is logical and compelling evidence that without a bourgeoisie the danger of autocracy and plutocracy is greater and almost assured. Plus any healthy capitalistic society must have a flourishing middle class.
During the Reagan administration the middle class declined six percent;
2-percent made it into the upper class and 5-percent fell though the cracks.
If we all work for the same entity, corporation whatever they have us in their pockets and as workers they can mold us like putty. The following example is a good demonstration why;
During Fascism (and war) in Hungary however brief period that was a short totalitarian pro Nazi government existed. Even Hungarian industrialists who happen to be of Jewish origin were coerced and collaborated. Heavy industry was important to Hitler so he left alone certain Jewish industrialists.
Baron Weiss Manfred
The Weiss Manfred Aircraft and Motor Factory made aircraft to the German military machinery. Aircrafts such as the Fokker C.V, F.VIII, Heinkel HD 22 Messerschmitt . Me 210, Udet U 12 were manufactured there.
The island of Csepel where this factory was is situated just south of the capital - Budapest. At the rise of the Third Reich all employees were to become members of the Nazi party. Since the customer was the German war machinery this much was taken for granted. If you resisted you were laid off.
Now let me again remind you that this was a Jewish business. Yet they were powerless to do anything. All the people they employed were all of the sudden Nazis. Imagine the feeling of the owners.
Do you see where I am going here?
In a society where eventually we all work for either the state of some corporate giant open and free society becomes an endangered species. This is already happening only not openly political arena but in the fight as we know the culture wars.
Religious and charitable causes are often forced down on the employees.
In Soviet Russia they killed the bourgeoisie instead of appeasing them. Look at how long they have lasted. There are two pronged problems for having a plutocracy such as we are having. Eventually we all going broke and the remaining middle class will not take it and will replace any dictator or pseudo dictator (a corporate puppet)
There is no strong open society with out justice, flourishing capitalism and happy and prosperous middle class.
George Soros knows this, he pledged all his money and power to create open society and he is for a change in America as well.
Whether he will be successful and we remain an open society with flourishing middle class remains to be seen. There is one thing to be clear the upsurge of alternative media, radio and the Internet challenges the monopoly of sanitized news and outright censorship that is taking place. People are no longer docile and uninformed. We are fighting back and the demographics are on our side.
Some people presuppose that the US in the end will become like Brazil a third world country where the middle class is tiny and revolt only manifests itself in crime and death squads. I do not believe this. The logic is partially right but the geopolitical importance of the US is far greater than any other nations and it can not just become a larger Brazil.
Ultimately this uncertainly helped me decide to stay here and try to change things for the better.
The Two Parties
"The political machine triumphs because it is a united minority acting against a divided majority." - Will Durant
The two-party-system is a biggest con job the propaganda machinery ever orchestrated.
These words may sound harsh but think about it and use a little critical judgment. Try answering to some of these questions.
What is the biggest source of power for either party? Where is the money coming from and who really benefits from decision made by either democrats or republicans?
Of course many millions are duped into thinking that they are doing the right thing by campaigning to Kerry or fighting for George W.
Even I support Kerry for the 2004 Presidency. He will have my vote but proceed of this book; $1 for each sale will go to a third party grass-root movement. I vote for Kerry now because there is too much at stake now.
Unless you have rose colored glasses you will see that standard of living and the employment situation will be increasingly better in China and it will decline in the United States. How come that we have not seen more evidence to this lifestyle change?
Being poor in the United States is still better than being a prison laborer in China. Even as some experts expect the US standard of living decline in the next century.
It is amazing because I always thought the first and foremost job and responsibility of our government is to ensure prosperity and equality as much as possible. The US decline will be dependent on who is in the majority in the House and the Senate and to some extent who is running the White House.
The problem is that most scholars see that the decline will accelerate or slow depending on whether the 'blue' or the 'red' team has majority.
The third party movement
Right now things are not that bad so people are afraid of change and the multiparty system. The third party or actually number of parties will gain momentum as the standard of living declines and/or some other catastrophic event natural or mad made might occur.
There is some statistic already in place to show low voter turn out and general dissatisfaction among the voters. Eventually the tide will turn. Somehow campaign financing will be fixed, rezoning and the Electoral College will be evened out and a grassroots movement will sprout up all over the country.
I already see evidence to this and it will not come a day too soon. The only solution for the US is a true multi party system and true choice in the voting process. When people are educated and exercise their choice in government than and only then will true democracy flourish.
The Nader Effect
I like Ralph Nader. He has done a lot for the US consumer and now he wants to do more. I am saddened to see people who think and understand what he stands for attach him personally over short term self-interest and sometime out of spite and purer partisanship.
One problem is with the Nader candidacy and in fact the most third party candidacies that they have forgotten history. Typically American political party starts up as a grass root movement. It is always from the bottom up.
This is how both the Democrats and Republicans started out.
There must be a grass root movement, county, town hall elections and when the party has established itself according to these rules, they can move after a bigger goal.
Ross Perot thought that he can just run for the Presidency without any grass roots movement in his party. We all know what happened. He has lost and lost big.
Ralph Nader preceded the current movement of Senator Ron Paul. It is interesting the Dr. Paul's most fervent followers are young , energetic people with something to lose. They see that the status quo is leading the Nation to the abyss.
The mistake of mud slinging
When democrats attacked Nader and his supporters they were actually admitting that they are unable to send adequate messages and generate trust among Nader's constituency. The reason is blatant as is the hypocrisy. They know that the people are not satisfied with the Democratic Party's performance.
The democrats were equally guilty of alienating most of their constituency and turning over on some major issues. Everybody knows this.
The problem is that there are laws to discourage and eliminate competition. The fans of status quo would not want a third party to contend with.
Political issues and the divide and conquer strategy
I am certain that some of my readers will get offended by the suggestion that gun control, gay marriage, abortion and a number of divisive issues are not of national importance. Yes these issues are symptoms of the culture war that is raging across the nation. I even accept that these issues are very close to the heart of some of you due to personal experience.
It often feels illogical why republicans wish to own guns and why democrats wish to ban them. After all it is the republicans that have reason to fear an armed citizenry. It does not matter that republicans often themselves do not own firearms. They know it will only get them killed. It goes both ways.
As if the puppeteers have evenly distributed these false causes and slogans to divide the nation. If we were not busy watching daytime TV and reality TV we would start focusing on where is our nation headed?
Violence and nudity on TV is the other big issue. It polarizes the country and people's heads are spinning trying to figure out what is what. When in reality we are enslaved and we do not even know by whom.
Sadly, critical thinking and analytical measurement is not fostered and encouraged. Schools teach our kids to be individualistic (self-centered) and placid (we are OK). They teach how to backstab and kiss up to the bosses and kick those under us.
The rulers are the corporations
The only beneficial of the status quo are the investors and multinationals. The stock markets likes predictability and so do the multinationals. It is not important to them that certain change is badly needed and the majority of the people are unhappy, overworked and underpaid. Stress is so rampant that it is number one killer in the US. Stress is linked to cancer, heart attack, stroke and a number of other illnesses.
There is no relief at sight unless big changes will occur.
The other parties
There are many parties founded on the principles that majority of the people are alienated from the two party chokehold on America. Some are very kooky and based on some ideology that appeals only to fringe elements. Some are more popular based but the ideology they support is hard-line and negative to many Americans.
The Constitution Party was founded by a former Nixon Administration officials and Conservative Coalition chairman Howard Phillips in 1992 under the name US Taxpayers Party.
It was meant to be a potential vehicle for Pat Buchanan to use as a third party vehicle in case he was ready to bolt from the Republican Party and run as a third party candidate.
Green Party of the United States
This party is the informal US equivalent of the European Greens Movement.
The party gained prominence when it convinced the well known consumer advocate Ralph Nader to run as their first Presidential nominee on 1996.
The anti corporate message and the pro environmentalist stance had made the US green party a voice to be reckoned with.
This party is a result of feuding between Jesse Ventura and the allies of Ross Perot originally in the Reformed Party. After two years of bickering Jesse Ventura started the Independence Party in 2000.
While this splinter party shared the Reform Party's call for campaign finance and other political reforms, Ventura's organization disagrees with the more social conservative and trade protectionist views espoused by the leaders in the Reform Party.
The Reform Party
The Reform Party was once a growing populist third party. In the recent years the party has shifted to the right.
America First Party
The party was founded by a large group of Buchanan supporters mainly coming from the Reform Party. The party is very socially conservative and has strong ties to religious fundamentalism. The party mainly voices the same views as Pat Buchanan who is a commentator on the mainstream Television.
There are many more parties such as Trotskyites, Marxists and followers of Mao. Many of them small and their ideas and ideology are ever shifting in the sea of popular culture and world events.
The commonplace words of social structures are fascism, communism and socialism and capitalism.
We have a brave new word. If the reader has weak sensibilities, for that I apologize. The sock value and the truth behind it should easy your fears. It is also meant to be a joke.
The 'ism we use today to our system is capitalism. In a true sense we do not even have capitalism because our huge government in both size and deficit spending. Also social programs and welfare is maintained despite the recent cutbacks.
We have a weird socialistic, plutocracy and it is not at all capitalism in the true sense. Indeed according to the rule of capitalism and redistributions of money we should have had a major correction (depression). As I have mentioned this earlier the some companies are struggling and valuations are high. This is from the oracle of Omaha himself. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates has expressed misgiving of the future of the current system.
The other slur often used to describe our perilous situation is "corporacy", this implies corporate rule, lack of impact of the individual and definitely the lack of democracy in the US.
The situation of the US reminds me of the communist era in Budapest.
Upon my eighteen's birthday I was supposed to vote in Hungary. Actually what I did not know that it was compulsory to be a good voting citizen and it was mandatory to vote.
So I failed to show up at the polls. Not much later a man showed up at my door and asked me why I did not vote. I said I did not know but I did go next day. As it turned out there was only one candidate and one party to vote for.
Now, tell me how this is any different in the US. Don't you see, the blue team and the red team are actually the same? They serve corporate America and do nothing to benefit you!
Many people are finding that the standard economic model no longer works for them. Even after obtaining an education, gathering skills and training, hard work and paying their dues, achieving success or merely comfortable survival has become very difficult for them.
Those that have reached a certain level of material comfort via a "Corporate Job" are often insecure and must work manic hours to try to preserve it.
Forces beyond our control have changed the economic rules while we continue to play the old game. Jobs that allow one to live decently is scarce, benefits evaporate, healthcare costs skyrocket, job security is nonexistent.
Lowest common denominator
I find that many people and businesses make it their life's goal to find dumb people and exploit them.
This following story will show you what 'Fuckism' is really like:
We have decided to buy a digital camera so we went to Best Buy. We have found a camera we liked and it was apparent that we can have it for zero interest for one year if we apply for a line of credit. We did fill out a form and got a line of credit. We go the camera and a week later I get a credit card and a letter for am credit protection agency that indicated out credit protection was in effect.
I called up the credit protection people and promptly cancelled the service. The lady on the phone was very nice and told me that this happened to a number of Best Buy customers as the forms are tricky. We apparently signed three places where we should have on one.
The other signatures were for the credit card and the credit protection agency. So I have asked her about the card and she told me that she knows nothing about that and I should call the customer service.
After the call I have noticed the person's accent and immediately ascertained that he was in India. My credit card customer support was outsourced. I have asked the person on the other end what interest rate is the card charging for me.
He told me that he will give me this information after I answer some further questions. Now by this time I was fuming. I imagine the question of what rate never enters to people's mind upon asking for a loan or a line of credit.
This cheeky guy in India had the nerve to duck my question (which by the way I find very reasonable) and attempted to further interrogate me.
I have told him that unless he tells me the rate immediately I will cut the card up. He said that I should do so.
So this is the way we are treated, like some stupid cattle. As soon as someone gets up the nerve to ask some questions we either get the cold shoulder or worst. And to add insult to the injury all this from a job that should rightfully be filled by an American citizen.
The Value of Citizenship
I am a Naturalized American citizen. The reason I applied early and became a citizen because my native land was under communist rule and occupied by the Soviet Union. I had no reasonable travel document and the green card laws were obsolete and silly.
My father was very ill and I wanted to visit him urgently. So I needed a travel document and same assurance that I will not be bothered by the communists.
The American bureaucracy was staggering even those days. I had everything arranged by the swearing in ceremony. Some influential friends using every venue arranged that I will be on the next ceremony to be sworn in as citizen of the United States. It was a happy but nervous moment in my life. My parents were old, sick and dying.
Diebold and Voting
After the 2000 election mess some people decided to have electronic voting. Without paper based audit trail this is an open invitation to fraud and mischief.
The CEO of Diebold is a big contributor to President Bush and he even made a statement that he will "deliver votes" in Ohio (battleground state) where Diebold is based.
He of course regretted this and it was booked as another 'foot in the mouth" from a powerful figure in our "Fuckism".
It is a bipartisan issue. Both parties agree that in order to democracy to work we need reliable and fair election technology. Majority of the people are fair and want the process to be efficient and clean. Unfortunately upon examining the code and the whole process Computer Scientist and watchdog groups realized that there are major flaws and holes in the system.
We must be vigilant and do not let this issue be 'swept under the rug'. I am certain that academia, watchdog groups and the majority of the people will keep this issue alive and make the necessary steps to ensure that elections are not going to be events as they are in third world countries.
The world runs on oil. No only the US where we consume a quarter of the world production but Japan, China and Europe are all dependent on the prices to some degree. We made ourselves far more dependent that we had to.
We conduct foreign policy exclusively on oil politics and ignore the rest. This conduct is very obvious if one looks a little closer and with some critical thinking and shut off the noise and propaganda.
Yes it is very convenient to shop once a week for groceries and not to carry in on the bus or on the subway. Going to work everyday by car is not desirable nor is it economical.
There is website and serious studies conducted on the oil crash and its repercussions. The theory is called "Oil Crash" or "Oil Peak":
The main theme is that we are within 5 year of the peak oil production. Oil is also the basis of food production and transportation and plastics even medicine hinge on oil.
I will not make substantive comments on the truth or the merits of the theory, you can so some reading and research. (Google search Peak Oil) and draw you own conclusions.
Retooling and change of economies
It would cost a bundle and make some people irrelevant like some fat, white powerful guys all the Mr. Bush's buddies in Texas.
They are fighting it...we would have been long better off with decent public transport (if the municipalities would subsidize it...)
GM and oil companies have been buying up technologies to prolong the inevitable the same way oil companies ruined California rails (bought them up cheap just to dismantle them) and ruined LA and much of the Ca countryside let alone the cost of two cars for every family - insurance and maintenance - you have no choices - or if you thi