The American Empire Part 4

Our next stop in the failing of empires is immorality.

Sex shop neon sign
Designed by Katemangostar

Our next stop in the failing of empires is immorality. In ancient empires immorality was usually the last sign that a civilization was in decline and falling fast. Books have been written about this fact and the first-wave American feminist intellectual, Camille Paglia, studied androgyny in ancient cultures and found that near the end of every empire that the art, and, one would also assume, the people became more androgynous. Men became more feminine, women masculine.  Does this sound familiar?

Chester Bennington

The pictured male is Chester Bennington of the band Linkin Park who I’ve written about before. He was found dead of suicide a little more than a year ago after struggling with substance abuse caused in part by his upbringing and the fact that he was raped as a child. Pedophilia was part of most ancient civilizations and American life has this fact as well. Those who’ve been taken advantage of sexually live with lifetimes of pain, anger, and hurt usually culminating in substance abuse as a means of medicating the pain and other destructive behaviors. Roman culture devolved into orgies, pedophilia, and sexual aggression whereby you could consummate any sex act as long as you were the aggressor. The rise of internet pornography in modern times has lead to immorality within the American landscape as well and too has devolved into more extreme sex acts over time to view for free online.

Another similar aspect between Roman days and American deals with blood sports. In the Roman Empire gladiators fought to the death along with other methods of dying for consumption by the masses. America is not quite at that level yet, but the road trod is closing in on it. Modern American society includes sports in its various and arguably violent forms and whereas the true blood sports of its age–boxing and professional wrestling–have now morphed into the Mixed Martial Arts fights that are usually very bloody and violent exchanges between combatants. Though MMA fights have rules and there hasn’t been a death caused by a match yet, eventually after the current incarnation of MMA fighting have become passe, much like its boxing and pro wrestling forebears, it’s not much of a reach to have fights to the death. RIP.

Part 5 to be delivered on Monday. A conclusion on Thursday of next week.

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The American Empire Part 2

One observation about historical empires deals with their economies.

Money

One observation about historical empires deals with their economies. Part of what we know today is that the Roman Empire began devaluing its money over time. This is due to ever expansion of the Empire and its governmental base. To pay for the foreign wars and expansion of the the Imperial state the government believed that the money from its conquests would bring in more money. But as is the case government always  overestimates how much it will cost any endeavor and how much will be made in return on investment. Over the span of 200 or so years the Roman Denarii went from pure silver to less than 1%. The idea came about during Nero’s reign. The thinking was that by slowly decreasing the amount of metals (gold and silver) in its coins that it could mint more coins to pay off its debts and to maintain the security and expansion efforts of the empire. (The Roman’s didn’t have the leisure and ease of using a fiat currency like we use today–they only used coins for currency exchanges.)

But like the Roman Empire the value of the world’s reserve currency, the United States Dollar, has slowly been eroded over time. If the United States needs money for whatever purpose they simply go to the Federal Reserve Bank and ask for them to print more money. Over time the US dollar will be worthless like the Roman currency of its day.

Money 3

So why do foreign countries accept the USD for exchanges of goods and services? I think it is simply because we have given them dollars for their goods over time and they have such a reserve of them that if the American currency collapses they will be stuck with dollars that are completely worthless while they will have given away products in exchange for essentially nothing. So it is in their best interest to keep propping up the United States by giving us goods and services for dollars hoping that in the long run the economy gets better and the currency doesn’t lose value. Robbing Peter to pay Paul comes to mind.

Money 5

Another element of empires’ economies includes massive income inequalities and they all tend to have top-heavy economies that become fragile over time. This occurs because the haves (the upper 1% having 90% of the wealth) have way more than they need or deserve and the have nots are left to fight over scraps. If enough people decide they will no longer be debt slaves and consume less of their master’s products the game will end…and so goes the American experience as well.

Money 4

Finally, taxation in empires usually run amok. Government works including especially those involving the military have to heavily tax the lower and middle classes in order to pay for their boondoggles. The upper crust makes the tax code and they make it so they don’t have to pay their share of using the government for their corporate welfare projects. The lower classes also need government handouts in the form of welfare in order to pay for their meager living.  We know that during the Roman days that in order to gain and keep political power in the empire that politicians gave the lower classes bread and circuses. Bread in the US empire is welfare. Circuses in America are the sports and entertainment industries.

Money 6

PART 3 OF MY AMERICAN EMPIRE SERIES WILL BE ADDED ON MONDAY. STAY TUNED SPORTS FANS, IT’S GONNA TO BE A STUNNER.

Water works from Danielewski’s “House of Leaves”

“It begins with the birth of a baby, though not a healthy baby. Born with holes in its brain and “showing an absence of grey/white differentiation”—as Doc put it. So bad that when the child first emerges into this world, he’s not even breathing.
“Kid’s cyanotic,” Dr. Nowell shouts and everywhere heart rates leap. The baby goes onto the Ohio, a small 2×2 foot bed, about chest high, with a heater and examination lights mounted above.
Dr. Nowell tracks the pulse on the umbilical cord while using a bulb syringe at the same time to suck out the mouth, trying to stimulate breath.
“Dry, dry, dry. Suck, suck, suck. Stim, stim, stim.”
He’s not always successful. There are times when these measures fail. This, however, is not one of those times.
Dr. Nowell’s team immediately follows up, intubating the baby and providing bag mask ventilation, all of it coming together in under a minute as they rush him into the ICU where he’s plugged into life support, in this case a Siemens Servo 300, loaded with red lights and green lights and plenty of bless and whistles.
Life it seems will continue but it’s no easy march. Monitors record EKG activity, respiratory functions, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, as well as end tidal CO2. There’s a ventilator. There are also IV pumps and miles of IV lines.
As expected, nurses, a respiratory therapist and a multitude of doctors crowd the room, all of them there simply because they are the ones able to read the situation.
The red and green lights follow the baby’s every breath. Red numbers display the exact amount of pressure needed to fill his fragile lungs. A few minutes pass and the SAT (oxygen saturation) monitor, running off the SAT probe, begins to register decline. Dr. Nowell quickly responds by turning the infant’s PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) up by 10 to compensate for the failing oxygenation, this happening while the EKG faithfully tracks every heartbeat, the curve of each P wave or in this case normal QRS, while also on the monitor, the central line and art line, drawn straight from the very source, a catheter placed in the bellybutton, records continuous blood pressure as well as blood gasses.
The mother, of course, sees none of this. She sees only her baby boy, barely breathing, his tiny fingers curled like sea shells still daring to clutch a world.
Later, Dr. Nowell and other experts will explain to her that he son has holes in his brain. He will not make it. He can only survive on machines. She will have to let him go.
But the mother resists. She sits with him all day. And then she sits with him through the night. She never sleeps. The nurses hear her whispering to him. They hear her sing to him. A second day passes. A second night. Still she doesn’t sleep, words pouring out of her, melodies caressing him, tending her little boy.
The charge nurse starts to believe they are witnessing a miracle. When her shift ends, she refuses to leave. Word spreads. More and more people start drifting by the ICU. Is this remarkable mother still awake? Is she still talking to him? What is she singing?
One doctor swears he heard her murmur “Etch a Poo air” which everyone translates quickly enough into something about an etching of Pooh Bear.
When the third day passes without the mother even closing her eyes, more than a handful of people openly suggest the baby will heal. The baby will grow up, grow old, grow wise. Attendants bring the mother food and drink. Except for a few sips of water, she touches none of it.
Soon even Dr. Nowell finds himself caught up in this whispered hysteria. He has his own family, his own children, he should go home but he can’t. Perhaps something about this scene stings his own memories. All night long he works with the other preemies, keeping a distant eye on mother and child caught in a tangle of cable and tubing, sharing a private language he can hear but never quite make out.
Finally on the morning of the fourth day, the mother rises and walks over to Dr. Nowell.
“I think it’s time to unplug him,” she says quietly, never lifting her gaze from the floor.
Dr. Nowell is completely unprepared for this and has absolutely no idea how to respond.
“Of course,” he eventually stammers.
More than the normal number of doctors and nurses assemble around the boy, and though they are careful to guard their feelings, quite a few believe this child will live.
Dr. Nowell gently explains the procedure to the mother. First he will disconnect all the nonessential IV’s and remove the nasogastric tube. Then even though her son’s brain is badly damaged, he will administer a little medicine to ensure that there is no pain. Lastly, he and his team will cap the IV, turn off the monitors, the ventilator and remove the endotracheal tube.
“We’ll leave the rest up to…” Dr. Nowell doesn’t know how to finish the sentence, so he just says, “Well.”
The mother nods and requests one more moment with her child.
“Please,” Dr. Nowell says as kindly as he can.
The staff takes a step back. The mother returns to her boy, gently drawing her fingers over the top of his head. For a moment everyone there swears she has stopped breathing, her eyes no longer blinking, focusing deeply within him. Then she leans forward and kisses him on the forehead.
“You can go now,” she say tenderly.
And right before everyone’s eyes, long before Dr. Nowell or anyone else can turn a dial or touch a switch, the EKG flat lines. Asystole.
The child is gone.”
–A passage from Danielewski’s “House of Leaves

What in the World p1

A 16-year-old child was told to drink some of the liquid methamphetamines that he was smuggling across the U.S/Mexico border and died a few hours later.

A link and video of the story: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/07/29/video-shows-u-s-border-officers-telling-mexican-teen-to-drink-the-liquid-meth-that-killed-him/?utm_term=.eab6a47260e8

Does a child deserve to die for being a drug smuggler? Is the state too powerful?