Friday, February 21, 2014

Trending: 2014-2024

From time to time I feel the need to share with my readers some of the TRENDING (nice word) in the different areas of life that appear to be of concern to some of the more enlightened human beings. Things like economics, politics, religion, and so forth. Those things that have real impact on daily lives.

While nobody seems to be able to put their finger on exactly what it is that seems to be bothering people these days there is a real sense of concern -- no, concern isn’t the correct word -- it’s more of a deep-seated feeling, a gnawing on an almost subconscious level that all is not right with the world and the direction it is heading into is troublesome. That brain ache is barely perceptible but like that irritating dull thud behind the eyes, it won’t go away.

This agitation, for lack of a better term, all began in earnest after the alleged terrorist’s attacks of September 11, 2001. After fanning the flames of uncertainty with President Bush’s invasive and questionable Patriot Act the United States, the world’s stalwart of liberty and leadership since the end of World War I, began a covert slide from its founding principles that in just thirteen years has become overtly obvious to those bothering to take the time to notice.

Over the last one hundred years the freedom loving citizens of America have seen their elected officials and judges begin the reconstructive process of jack-hammering the U.S. Constitution so that by 2014 their efforts have left so many cracks in that foundational document that some are publicly calling for it to be revised or totally rewritten. Instead of demanding their leaders fall back into the Constitution’s groove they are calling on those same destructive forces to come up with a new plan for this nation, as if, today’s bought-and-paid for corporate cronies in D.C. could come up with something greater than the most liberating form of governance this world has ever seen in the entire history of human existence.

The “Trend” currently on the horizon within the United States doesn’t look promising to me, at least not for the next decade or two. Economically the thinking is that Wall Street cannot continue to sustain its current phenomenal track record and some kind of massive correction is due within the next two to three years. Everyone in the know realizes that gold, silver, platinum and other precious metal prices are being artificially manipulated to keep the real value of those investments lower than their true worth in the market, while the stock prices on Wall Street are being manipulated upward. With those two scenarios in place and the Fed printing worthless paper money at a maddening rate and Congress' monotonous habit for borrowing and spending more than it takes in the outlook isn’t bright for the economic stability of the United States.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that President Obama signed into law a few years ago, while it did forestall another Great Depression saving this nation from financially plunging over the fiscal cliff of economic ruin; at the same time became a political albatross tied around the neck of politicians on both sides of the aisle that has aided in the continued malaise, miscommunication and downright hatred between certain members on Capital Hill and at the White House leading to the most inefficient, at least in the public’s eye, Congress since its founding over 227 years ago. Currently members of Congress in both Houses have a lower approval rating than pimps and drug dealers in this nation -- around 8%, while the President is at his lowest approval from the citizenry that elected him twice now at around 42%.

Politically speaking this nation seems to be at an impasse. Out of a population of 395 million people the best it can come up with for future Presidential candidates are the likes of a Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, or a Rand Paul. What is sad is that it is almost a foregone conclusion that one of those listed above will be in the Oval Office after the November 2016 elections. I have only one question -- Why them? They are all failed and totally flawed characters in this political stage play. Why would anyone in America want to follow the lead of any of these horrendously corrupt and heavy-handed demigods? All four are damaged goods, especially Clinton, Bush and Christie. They have proven beyond all reasonable doubt that they are not the kind of leaders that will bring this nation back to its firm Constitutional footing. So the question remains -- Why them? All questioning aside the money is on another Clinton/Bush fight for the White House in 2016. Will we ever tire of this American monarchical feud?

Religiously for America the picture isn't any rosier. From the trending over the last decade the future over the next decade will see a further and deeper divide over the spiritual haves and have-nots. While the battles over those issues that divide these two vastly different world views will continue - issues like abortion, definition of marriage, gay rights, what constitutes freedom of religious expression, etc., the rift will become so prominent that political candidates in their lust for power and control will prostitute themselves to appease one side over the other to the point of bringing these two factions to overt violence that will spill over into the streets especially in the strongest right-wing and left-wing cities throughout the nation. The Rodney King wisdom of “Can’t we all just get along” will be thrown out and fully exchanged for the chant “If you can’t change them, kill them!” Over the next ten years the trend for intolerance will reach fever pitch before finally abating, hopefully to never raise its ugly head again in our society.

I can foresee the abolition of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), at least the current ObamaCare that was designed to fail as bad as it has. In a rare bipartisan move in Congress the ACA will be overhauled into a national single-payer healthcare system that will incorporate all Medicare/Medicaid participants into the plan so that the entire nation will be insured under one government run law. How well will it work? By comparison to the current state of affairs it will work well enough to make those living at the time totally forget there was ever any other means of insuring health coverage. However, I do not see how this will ever succeed on any level until nearly all baby boomers currently on Medicare have moved on to their next lives. Once the 1945-1961 generation have moved on to their eternal reward the success of a fully government controlled healthcare system will be assured since those remaining will have never lived under anything remotely resembling freedom of choice.

Environmentally speaking the reliance on fossil fuels will not abate, but the affordability will continue to be an issue. The greed/need for Middle Eastern oil will fomite this nation's seemingly insatiable need to battle its worldly neighbors for their resources. Friction in the Persian Gulf region could ignite into full scale war between Israel and Iran by as early as this Spring. However, the current negotiations going on between Iran and the U.S. over its development of nuclear capability could forestall the conflict until a later date. Like the budget, the American government may see fit to kick this can down the road to an unspecified future date instead of adequately finding a solution that could save humanity from another devastating World War. Regardless of which occurs the trending is pointing to some kind of heated battle between all parties over this region of the world. The only question is not IF, -- but WHEN?

There is, of course, some good trending as well. Technology will see some of its greatest advancements since the introduction of the automobile. Computing will become even more mobile, faster and more efficient. President Obama’s promise to ensure the entire nation, from the largest city to the smallest hovel will have fast and reliable WiFi connectability will come to fruition. Entertainment will be as close as a pair of glasses on your nose and just as accessible. The downside to these technological marvels will be the cost of more intrusion on one’s privacy. Yet again, once the baby boomer generation has gone those left will accept this intrusion for the benefit of “being plugged-in.”

The next decade will be one of the most troubling for the world at large since the first World War, yet it will also be one of great opportunity for going good. Doing good for family, friends, neighbor and those less fortunate. The real bottom line during this time of upheaval will not be what is left standing in one’s bank account once the economic, political, religious and environmental dust settles; but, what is the total sum of one’s character. That will be the commodity the world will be hungering for then.

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