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A Humanist Vision of the 2nd Depression
Posted: 30 January 2009 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The year 2019 was turning into as tumultuous a year for Obama as 2010 had been. Now in the second year of his third term, unprecedented since the war years with FDR, he was struggling to maintain an atmosphere of calm within a nation that felt itself assailed from all sides.

The 2nd Depression of 2010-15 had seen the US revert back toward isolationism, with less influence or caring for foreign affairs. The currency devaluation race with Europe and Asia had resulted in the US dollar being worth just a third of what it had been in 2009, as all of the industrial nations printed paper money to grant them a competitive labour rate advantage.

When the Chinese Yuan finally rose sufficiently in 2014, largely from the influence of their domestic savings, that brought China’s manufacturing costs within hailing distance of those in the West for all but the most labour-intensive industries, and factories began to re-appear in Europe and America. Only England and Japan remained fully in a depression, and these were in relative terms as those societies continued to sell off overseas assets sufficient to maintain minimal social relief programs.

Obama was nonetheless confronted with governing a country that was grateful for his stewardship throughout the Depression, but sharply divided over the role and future of the military that had been so savaged by the world’s gravitation toward the stewardship of the United Nations.

Faced with the plight of millions of homeless and jobless roaming US cities, mixed in with a gun culture that was ubiquitous, streets after dark had become a bad dream from the lawless Wild West.  The situation was equally terrifying in England, which for two years had virtually subsisted on emergency grain and meat loaned to them by Argentina and Canada, which was itself bursting with British, Dutch and French refugees fleeing a bankrupt Europe.

What had begun as a reaction to militarism and the wars of the Bush era came to a head in 2012 when Congress reduced the Pentagon’s military spending budget to a fifth of what it had been during the previous decade, as all sympathy for government spending outside of social programs evaporated with the deteriorating economic situation and the rolling riots that plagued American towns – the escalating need for more police trumped high tech weaponry.

This reaction reached its zenith with the redrafting of the 2nd Amendment, to now stipulate that “The right of the People to keep and bear arms, or to forsake arms and war, shall not be infringed.”  The beginning of that provision “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” was removed.

The US Supreme court, in a sequence of judgements from 2014-17 had ruled that this compromise, drafted in response to a clamouring for gun control, meant that citizens could now declare themselves to be conscientious objectors when faced with military service, and had the further right to forward half of their national defence taxes to the United Nations as their contribution toward global vs domestic security. Similar legislation was passed by the European Community as a means of eliminating military spending, and the process was reduced to an option during annual income tax filings.

Fiscally destitute and legally emasculated, the US military had become a shadow of itself in less than a decade, and the rest of the world had quickly followed suit with their own demobilizations, driven by the privations of a harrowing five year depression and a growing distaste for the dangers and waste attending military spending, which became an uncompetitive practice with arms sales now universally illegal. The task of rebuilding the ruined economies following the 2nd Depression had traumatized a once complacent Europe and Japan, both now struggling to afford escalating food costs, and their citizens demanded a broader-based global security at the least possible cost.

When the UN offered to credit disarming nations a portion of their dues for decommissioned ships and major weapons systems, the ship breakers in China did indeed become busy.

Finally, the continuing legacy of the Bush era and the influence that the Christian religious right had enjoyed was in full rebuke by most of America, as it sought to rebuild its reputation within the world federation. Secularism and scepticism supplanted much of organized religion.

When Canadian humanists began a campaign that polled the citizens of major countries on whether they favoured becoming a “4N Nation”, a play on denigrating American jargon that stood for a “Non-Nuclear Neutral UN” protectorate, the press could not ignore the fact that every nation had resoundingly approved the idea. A tidal wave of tax funds flowed toward a UN stripped of its undemocratic Security Council, which had vetoed reform for generations. With it came a broad phalanx of Humanist organizations bent on formalizing this latest renaissance of awareness for our species and the planet.

The UN was thus enfranchised to displace all military bodies and their weapons systems, but it too was sensitive to the new economics of scarcity and each country’s voting power was weighted not by its population, but by its monetary contribution in the previous fiscal year. The perennial claim that a few banana republics could out-vote entire continents had been allayed.

Increasingly, the world’s currency was becoming the UNo, a silver bullion coin the size of a Euro and bearing the logo of the UN, that could be minted by any UN-licensed party. It constituted its own collateral, which people came to demand following the devaluations of paper money. With the growing scarcity of silver, the UNo currency appreciated and a gold UNo came into bank circulation as well.

The UK, the US, Holland and Israel had rejected the UN’s schedule for removing nuclear weapons, along with its expanded provisions prohibiting the manufacture of any war materiel, made illegal throughout the rest of the world, and the 4N boycott was born to isolate them until they complied. the remaining nations with nuclear weapons had to accept on site inspectors immediately or face the boycott as well.

President Obama was having to deal with a US economy no longer hamstrung by high wages, thanks to the deep dollar devaluation, but now the country was in danger of succumbing to another wave of anti-American sentiment around the world that threatened to return the US and its “allies” to world pariahs caught in a ruinous world trade boycott.

It was a revisitation that disgusted him, along with many decent Americans, and its growing menace was the main reason he had been afforded another term. Three generations of Americans had grown fat, uneducated and profligate in the decades following WWII, with a belligerent sense of undeserved entitlement that had come crashing down to everyone’s horror in 2010. That had largely been set right within one hard decade.

But once again, the President would have to face his own citizenry and convince them to embrace the new world order…

[ Edited: 30 January 2009 09:22 PM by Martinus ]
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Posted: 30 January 2009 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t believe in reading long posts, but right at the beginning there’s an error.  After FDR’s four term presidency, the Republicans pushed through a Constitutional amendment limiting presidents to two terms.

Occam

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Posted: 30 January 2009 07:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s what I was thinking too, Occam.  A president can’t serve anymore than 2 terms- 2 1/2 at most, IF something happens to the pres they were VP for.  I had to really twist my mind around that first sentence to even imagine Obama being pres in 2019.  It’s not possible unless there is another Constitutional Amend. to amend the one limiting the number of terms.

I read the whole thing and I’m wondering where you got this crazy stuff, Dwight?

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Mriana
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Posted: 30 January 2009 10:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Mriana - 30 January 2009 07:50 PM

That’s what I was thinking too, Occam.  A president can’t serve anymore than 2 terms- 2 1/2 at most, IF something happens to the pres they were VP for.  I had to really twist my mind around that first sentence to even imagine Obama being pres in 2019.  It’s not possible unless there is another Constitutional Amend. to amend the one limiting the number of terms.

The extension beyond two terms would be via a “wartime” dispensation, given the constitutional questions that would arise in such circumstances. Hey, if he can write a check for a trillion in non-existent money tomorrow, he can be a 54 year old President ten years from now… Work with me..

Meanwhile, back to the future:
“I read the whole thing and I’m wondering where you got this crazy stuff, Dwight”

From my buffer, Myrnie, 65 years on. My mother advises me re: what it was like in the 1st Depression.

Most depressing, actually.
Canadians actually starved more than Americans then (I am the former), this time it may be reversed, but I worry not about the fact that in 1929 both countries were rural and full of hardened farm people- and are not so today. Their problem.

I worry plenty instead (I’m political..) about the Pentagon and your gun culture, because I’m motivated- I’m an anti-militarist and I think this will be the great reckoning between militarism, nationalism, and the emergence of the UN. You may think the red states will go quietly, I do not.

The US today is not what it was- it’s a shadow of itself. And it will take a Black Lincoln to resolve another civil war, this time between the Pentagon and democracy and Humanism. See also this note: http://man.org/five-things-the-us-press-wont-discuss/

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Posted: 31 January 2009 12:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I gather you aren’t an Obama fan and agree with that Russian guy that the U.S. is going to break up into 6 areas- one area going to Canada (Northern Midwest), another to Europe (New England area), another to China (West of Texas on to California), another to Russia (Alaska), and lastly Mexico (which from what I gather is my area)?  I personally think we are bigger than that and won’t break up so easily.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 31 January 2009 02:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Martinus - 30 January 2009 09:37 AM

The year 2019 was turning into as tumultuous a year for Obama as 2010 ..........
..........

Geez,
you’ve watched way too many Hollywood movies! 
I hung in there for about 2/3s, but after that had to skim ~ I’m sure I didn’t miss anything of import.

So what are you predicting?

Do you actually believe the next years are going to run along the lines of our societal self delusions?

                                            Bud, we are going to get hit from directions you obviously can’t even imagine.

Your fiction novella machinations are going to be trampled into dust!

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The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus is not formed by scientists !
The Anthropogenic Global Warming Consensus IS formed by the data being gathered !

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Posted: 31 January 2009 02:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Martinus - 30 January 2009 10:20 PM

I worry plenty

me too.
ps. your second post made more sense than your first
sincerely, a grumpy not quite old guy

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Posted: 31 January 2009 08:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Mriana - 31 January 2009 12:08 AM

I gather you aren’t an Obama fan and agree with that Russian guy that the U.S. is going to break up into 6 areas- one area going to Canada (Northern Midwest), another to Europe (New England area), another to China (West of Texas on to California), another to Russia (Alaska), and lastly Mexico (which from what I gather is my area)?  I personally think we are bigger than that and won’t break up so easily.

I’m a total Obama fan, he is as I mentioned the Black Lincoln. Also, this a Utopian novel I am writing, as Humanism finally becomes the one voice of the world, not nationalism. Interesting how you would construe the decline of militarism and the Pentagon as bizarre.. now I am worried…;-)

There is a breakup scenario later, whereby any population of Humans anywhere on earth, if genetically mapped to be distinct from their surrounds, can declare themselves to be a deme, and have that territory become a Canton (like Switzerland). A Canton is a small UN protectorate that splits its taxes the way a US state does. It provides a mechanism based on science for territorial issues.

The coming Depression will be a good thing for everyone, and rationalize things, unless the Pentagon uses the remaining resources to plan a war with China, and destroy funds needed for relief programs. That’s where Obama steps in.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 12:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Yes, but here is the problem…  I’ve read a psychological study that when times are tough, religiousity increases and when times are good, it decreases.  I fear the Religious Reich will once again gain power on a State level, which is what they are attempting now.  With Prop 8 they got a foothold in California.  The Religious Reich has a foothold in Missouri.  In Texas, they tried to sneak Creationism back into the school system (looks like they lost).  In Kentucky, there is this bit that got slid in, in which, briefly stated, everyone needs to believe in God for national security.  In N.C., I believe it was, they were giving away license plates that said something like “In God We Trust” or “I believe in God”, something wacked.  The list goes on and on.  Now the Republicans, not a one, didn’t vote on an economic bill because it included birth control for the poor or something to do with birth control.  rolleyes  Now I believe they did that because they want to stay in good with the Religious Reich.

The other thing is, it seems, not only the NRA people, but religious people love their guns.  I wonder why.  I’m having a go around with a guy else where, whose religion seems to be collect as many guns as one possibly can and people who are anti-gun are anti-American.  We know that is not true, but he’s an idiot because he truly believes that.  LOL

Now, I don’t know if the psychological study is accurate, but it does disconcern me in these economically hard times, esp with the Religious Reich trying to keep their hold in gov. on some level.  The other thing is, you are forgetting, Obama is not a humanist, he is religious.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Mriana - 31 January 2009 12:20 PM

The other thing is, it seems, not only the NRA people, but religious people love their guns.  I wonder why.  I’m having a go around with a guy else where, whose religion seems to be collect as many guns as one possibly can and people who are anti-gun are anti-American.  We know that is not true, but he’s an idiot because he truly believes that.  LOL

Now, I don’t know if the psychological study is accurate, but it does disconcern me in these economically hard times, esp with the Religious Reich trying to keep their hold in gov. on some level.  The other thing is, you are forgetting, Obama is not a humanist, he is religious.

Obama in his Inaugural speech did mention “non-believers” I think? He had to appear to be religious, and to support the military etc to win the election, and can now grow into the job without those posings.

On the FRDB.org forum I mention that Americans will feel more secure during the 2nd Depression because they all have guns to protect each other. I mentioned that to my mother, yesterday, in contrast to the 30’s when she said people had guns but just on farms. She’s 93, but she did get mad at me ‘for making such comparisons..” wink

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Posted: 31 January 2009 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Actually, he is being put upon to chose a church.  Not sure if that is of his chosing or not.  If not, let’s face it, Martinus, he is religious, he is just accepting of those who do not believe.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I know that much of that scenario was based on a dwindling military.I can’t see that happening.Somewhere in that timeline of Dire future,the powers that be would do what they always do-WAR.Big War.The kind that are effective at reducing population,and stimulating growth.It’s sick isn’t it?And you mentioned plenty of things in that scenario that would be more than “Just Cause"for war.
When things look that bleek for the common populations,then they will blindly follow the bugle call,“Herd Frenzy”.Automatic.

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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Posted: 31 January 2009 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Mriana - 31 January 2009 01:08 PM

Actually, he is being put upon to chose a church.  Not sure if that is of his chosing or not.  If not, let’s face it, Martinus, he is religious, he is just accepting of those who do not believe.

He’s just doing as the Romans do, he has the sensibility of a Humanist, and true Humanists do not preclude religious people from their ranks, and if he’s both that’s fine with me. He’s bireligious, until proven otherwise. 

I think he’s under stronger scrutiny for his upcoming choice of dog..wink

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Posted: 31 January 2009 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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VYAZMA - 31 January 2009 01:50 PM

I know that much of that scenario was based on a dwindling military.I can’t see that happening.Somewhere in that timeline of Dire future,the powers that be would do what they always do-WAR.Big War.The kind that are effective at reducing population,and stimulating growth.It’s sick isn’t it?And you mentioned plenty of things in that scenario that would be more than “Just Cause"for war.
When things look that bleek for the common populations,then they will blindly follow the bugle call,“Herd Frenzy”.Automatic.

Sometimes the only way you can get rid of something is just plain make it unaffordable, like cigarettes. So too will military budgets be eliminated, IF nations cease participating in the arms trade, because then countries like the UK couldn’t make a profit from weapons manufacturing.

My ambition is to be able to organize national polls with respected pollsters that ask questions like “Should international arms trading be made universally illegal?” If 75% of respondents agree, then it will be up to people like ourselves to drive that home and introduce that legislation, nationally and via the UN. It may take a people’s boycott to get there though, most politicians would not address this directly.

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Posted: 31 January 2009 06:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yes but Martinus,most of these nations manufacture their own arms.The big nations.They either are currently producing their own arms,or can readily adapt industry to create their own weapons.As for raw materials,usually enough are allied or subjugating,other nations to procure the necessary materials,ie:steel,chemicals,metals,petroleum etc..China,Russia,US,Europe,India are already tooled up to produce copiuos amounts of weaponry.
When we introduce Nukes into this discussion,then it becomes really crazy.But no less crazy than what people would have lamented over if they could have forseen the horrors of WWII.It’s all a little bit cyclical,and definitely relative to the current technological status.
Nukes for example are looked upon as a world ender.And they could be.But most likely their usage would result in a cataclysm that we couldn’t imagine.Again,just like all the thinkers and pundits,couldn’t have imagined the effects of WWII.

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Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

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Posted: 31 January 2009 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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VYAZMA - 31 January 2009 06:07 PM

Yes but Martinus,most of these nations manufacture their own arms.The big nations.They either are currently producing their own arms,or can readily adapt industry to create their own weapons.As for raw materials,usually enough are allied or subjugating,other nations to procure the necessary materials,ie:steel,chemicals,metals,petroleum etc..China,Russia,US,Europe,India are already tooled up to produce copiuos amounts of weaponry.
When we introduce Nukes into this discussion,then it becomes really crazy.But no less crazy than what people would have lamented over if they could have forseen the horrors of WWII.It’s all a little bit cyclical,and definitely relative to the current technological status.
Nukes for example are looked upon as a world ender.And they could be.But most likely their usage would result in a cataclysm that we couldn’t imagine.Again,just like all the thinkers and pundits,couldn’t have imagined the effects of WWII.

If you can’t sell the arms at a profit, then it’s dead loss to your economy, raw materials or not, monuments to your stupidity and enmity, absent war of course.

Others will say arms wring “benefits” just to possess them, though. Regardless, a very expensive gamble, it would be, to keep building arms if 75% of the world was united against you via the UN and initiating sanctions. I fully expect that this will indeed occur within twenty years, Depressions are great at these shakeouts.

WWII was shocking, but so was the Depression, maybe more so to western societies. We didn’t win the Depression…well, maybe the Germans did, .. but they kept building weapons and…

[ Edited: 31 January 2009 06:19 PM by Martinus ]
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