I remember my uncle Duke well. A tall and handsome figure he cut, in his Air Force blue uniform. Silver oak leaves he wore on his lapels, back when I was a kid in El Paso, Texas. A member of an elite corps, Duke Wolfe went to work each week at Biggs Air Force Base. In 1962 the B52 pilot-navigator for the Strategic Air Command (SAC) was a major and in his prime, just like America was. Back then preserving our “American Way” meant fending off the threat of nuclear annihilation from the Soviet Union. Since then not a lot has changed, except the truth of the matter, that is.
Understanding the crises in the world today requires understanding the truth of how we got here. Not many experts are willing to tell you the real truth of world conflict though. The gist of the matter is stunningly simple though, only it’s always seemed unpatriotic for any American to utter it. The world is in crisis for the defense of an impossible American Dream. It’s the same dream of conspicuous consumption and want we were deluded by back in the 60s, the vision of endless possibility. However idyllic that dream may have been, it was the endlessness of want that was impossible. Americans benefitted back then, largely for their innovation and hard work, it is true. But the elites in charge never told us the bitter cost of their “cut” of the economic pie. Growth, you see, is a finite master. Let me elaborate.
The simplest equation I can give you to prove my assertion here is this – in the last 70 years Americans have consumed 25% of everything used on this planet. Food, oil, coal, copper, tin, forests, iron ore, titanium, you name the commodity, and we’ve used it up. Once you come to grips with this fact, it will be far easier to see the truth in any news. In a bit, I will explain the impossibility of our economics, but for now quoting a most conspicuous US President George H. W. Bush will frame it for you. At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro back in 1992, Bush the senior said:
“The American way of life is not up for negotiation.”
While you ponder the significance of this, let me fast forward you to 2014 and the ideas of billionaire Tom Perkins, a man fittingly symbolic of our difficult times. Perkins is one of the founders of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, or the people who have funded and fuelled the biggest money shell game the world has ever known. By “shell game” I mean the largely useless Silicon Valley technology mega-structures consumers waste trillions on today. AOL, Google, and a hundred other hollow ventures have made Perkins and others filthy rich, while providing only a flash in the pan value for the world. Perkins is the poster boy for all that is wrong with this American Dream.
A Wall Street Journal Perkins wrote certifies all that I am saying here. In a letter to the editor about the growing dissent over the 1% and their unsustainable profits in Silicon Valley, Perkins wrote:
“I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.’”
The growing concern among Americans that the 1% is taking too much, it solicits the same old rhetoric used to protect human kind’s most ghastly policies. “If you criticize us, you are anti-Semitic, a jew hater, a Nazi,” or whatever guttural label can be placed upon the needy, the downtrodden, the people. Outrage at Perkins’ assertions was predictable, but it has died down now. Ironically, his comparison of current events in America with the horrible Kristallnacht, (Night of Crystal) in Nazi Germany is probably valid. Kristallnacht , for those unfamiliar, was when a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms took place on November 9 and 10, 1938 in Germany. In the same way Perkins ignored the root causes of causes of Kristallnacht, the new billionaires of this world trudge blindly toward unlimited growth.
Moderate capitalists called Perkins’ letter vulgar and disgraceful, as it set the wall in between haves and have-nots even higher in their estimation. But this was not the real reason for their admonitions. AdWeek and all the other Silicon Valley owned media leaped on Perkins for his diatribe. They called him the “village idiot” and distanced his ideas from theirs. As disdainful as the upper crust criticisms of Perkins may have seemed, these too were contrived. Perkins set the idea, and the owned media cemented just how “evil” the 99% can be. Subterfuge is not a word for nothing, I remind you. AdWeek, as an example, is owned by Prometheus Global Media, which is owned by Pluribus Capital Management and Guggenheim Partners. I will not delve into the collusion and control in between big money and media here, for the economics are more crucial to understand.
The “Night of Crystal” in 1938 led to the most horrific inhumanities ever undertaken on this world. The internment and extermination of millions of innocent human beings by the Nazis is a stain darker than any in our history. It is a horror well publicized, but its horrors are also a tool. I won’t get into the Holocaust in propaganda here. The point of Kristallnacht in a 21st century context is crucial to understand. The distribution of wealth in Germany that allowed Adolf Hitler to enrage an entire people, it mirrored then what we see happening now in America and the world. The cause of the “Night of Crystal” was not an inherent hatred of Judaism or any religion or race. The root cause was inequality, disparity, the gulf in between the fabulously wealthy and the utterly poor. The Jews were the easiest catalyst for the Nazis.
“A child born in the United States will create thirteen times as much ecological damage over the course of his or her lifetime than a child born in Brazil.” – Dave Tilford, Sierra Club -
Today, as we see resources grow more and more scarce, as economies struggle, the “margins” of profit for these billionaires tighten. Growth, the American Dream, they are no longer possible without squeezing more from those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. Dr. Brian Czech of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy explains in this report. How structural economics foretell of the coming crises. Czech says Perkins’ Kristallnacht is actually an uncovering of a kind of new Lebensraum, the Nazi plan to conquer Russia and the east for “the people”. And he is correct, Perkins’ rant, and the likes of the Guggenheims astonishment tells us how afraid the 1% are that history will repeat. Reading Czech we find some answers:
“To understand the logic of Lebensraum, we need a quick review of structural economics. The economy has three basic sectors: agricultural/extractive, manufacturing, and services. (The “financial sector” is fairly distinct, but falls within the general category of services.) It seems like this basic structure ought to be conventional wisdom, but in the age of the Internet, economic wisdom is disappearing by the bitcoin. If we’re not careful we’ll end up like King Midas, a foolish one percenter if there ever was one.”
Is Thomas James Perkins’ “Progressive Kristallnacht” upon us after all? Well, Perkins did not live to see it, but I believe his seeming madness was more lucid than his contemporaries would have us believe. Perkins died in June of this year at age 84, but the fearful message he sent from the land of the elites resonates. I began my report with a personal note about America at its zenith. Since then I have observed much, as have my contemporaries. I had three cars once, my attic was full, as was my garage, with the fruits of this American Dream. I know ordinary middle class Americans with boats, cars, motorcycles, jet skis, vacation homes, and extra storage rooms rented just to hold all of their American Dream.
“Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last 40 years.” – 2014 Living Planet Report -
The Ad men back then told us the world’s wealth was unlimited. Our leaders waged war with our lives, wasting our blood like there were vast rivers of it for the risking. We built monuments to ourselves, and wasted enough food, oil, and trees to last 10,000 years in a reasonable world. Let’s return now to former President Bush’s assertion that Americans will never give up on “the dream”. Now let’s assume this is a function of the 1% being forced to supply that dream, while at the same time providing growth and profits to stockholders.
Assuming all I have suggested is true so far, understanding Perkins’ fear, and the fear of the 1% becomes crystal clear. For one thing there is no ordinary “Jew” to blame for the world going broke. No synagogue is populated by the resident evil Hitler ranted about. The elites have no scapegoat this time. Well, except for Russia or Iran or some other distant Cold War nemesis. So there is only one way to preserve this convoluted American Dream…
Will there be a Progressive Kristallnacht, or will we be in a perpetual war to end all wars? This is the anxious moment most of us sense. This is the reason 100% of western media propagandizes us. This is why we have the choice of two narcissist puppets for president. We have reached the zenith of conspicuous consumption and growth, there is no more leeway. And the choices come down to dragging the perpetrators of all this before the people, or feeding their coffers forever more in a useless struggle against inevitability. The billionaires are afraid we’ll finally drag them into the streets and empty their vaults to feed the poor of this world. I for one am afraid that we won’t, and that World War III will leave a scarce few alive, a little tribe led by their savior elites. In 1962 I thought my uncle and his comrades protected a place that was the light of the world. We all did. 54 years later I am wondering who is helping us protect us from ourselves.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.