Bill Buckler On How The US Morphed From A "Global Beacon Of Freedom" To A Symbol Of Political And Economic Repression

Tyler Durden's picture

In his latest edition of the Privateer newsletter, Bill Buckler confirms that he is one of the premier politco-economic commentators, with one of the most devastating expositions on how America, once the land of the brave and the home of the free, and truly a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world, has entered the death spiral of its cilivizational curve, which "beginning of the end" started in 1913 with the introduction of the income tax and the ascent of the Federal Reserve, and now, a century later, has morphed into what can poetically be called the "ending of the end." Recent events in the Middle East and Africa only underscore how rapidly the sun is setting on the world's once undisputed superpower. That China is merely biding its time before it disconnects its mutual life support system to the US (which contrary to conventional wisdom, is far more important to the US than vice versa, now that the Fed is by the far the biggest owner of US debt), and ends its symbiosis with US fiscal and monetary policy, should not be a reason for optimism to anyone. With each passing day, Chinese superiority is becoming ever more palpable (even despite the massive loan bubble currently in process in China), even as desperate US attempts to cling to the last trace of its former superpower status are getting increasingly ignored by virtually everyone. If Buckler is correct, the final nail in the US superpower status coffin could come as soon as the unwind of events in MENA, where the people have made it all too clear the US is no longer welcome. What happens next will indicate just how rapidly the complete fall from grace for the US will transpire: "The Middle East is again in strife. This time, the conflict is between
the regimes which have been installed and supported by the US government
in their march to empire and the people who those same regimes have
ruled with an iron fist. To these people, the US is not looked upon as
an “exemplar” of anything - except political AND economic repression.

There is much more in this week's full Privateer newsletter, but the following segment should be read by all

“They Hate Us For Our Freedom”:

There are two supremely ironic aspects regarding that now famous statement made by President Bush as his justification for everything from the “war on terror” to the Patriot Act to the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. In the first place, it was made almost 100 years too late. In the second place, it was aimed in precisely the wrong direction. In both cases, that statement and the actions of the US government which it “justified” have come back to haunt the present US government both internationally and at home.

In 1913, the final nails were driven into the political coffin of what was once the nation which approached the ideal of freedom more closely than has any nation before or since. The time was right for those who would wield power OVER the people as the world reeled unthinkingly towards the catastrophe which was to become WWI. In 1913, the US government introduced an income tax, thereby asserting a FIRST CLAIM upon the lives and freedom of their citizens. Later on that same year, the US government set up a central bank - the Federal Reserve - thereby asserting the right to full control over the medium by which a previously free people could exchange with one another. There was opposition to both these engines of government aggrandisement. The opposition was overcome. The rest is history, a history made inevitable by the simple fact that these two acts of government, above all others, made a mockery of any pretense by the US government that they presided over a free country.

Because they were not directly affected by these two events, the US remained a “paragon of freedom” to the rest of the world long after 1913. It was not “hated” by the downtrodden masses. It was hated by their rulers, all of whom feared above all else the example that the US set by simply existing. That hatred survived until the aftermath of WWII, but not for much longer. At the end of WWI, the US troops came home. At the end of WWII, they did NOT. That was the second turning point.

The Global Dissolution:

By the end of the 1960s, the global beacon of freedom which the US had held aloft to shame the tyranny engulfing most of the rest of the world was growing very dim. The US had not joined the League of Nations set up after WWI. It HAD joined the United Nations (UN) set up after WWII. By the late 1960s, the UN had comprehensively proven its hypocritical impotence. The US government was up to its neck in Vietnam. Tragic and ill-fated revolts both inside the Soviet Union and behind the “Iron Curtain” had come and gone with nothing more than pious platitudes emanating from Washington DC.

Twenty years later, at the beginning of the 1990s, the US had what proved to be its last chance to redeem the legacy of the great men who presided over its birth. The “enemy”, the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Eastern Europe, collapsed like the “dominoes” that US policy had warned against for decades.

So what did the US government do? They could have led the rejoicing for the (almost) bloodless liberation of hundreds of millions of people from the yoke of Soviet rule. They could have taken the opportunity, as they actually did after WWI, to systematically wind back their military spending and thereby their chronic deficits. They could have removed their physical presence from the rest of the world and with it the growing resentment of peoples living under regimes propped up by the US.

The US government did none of these things. Instead, they chose to consolidate an empire which the Soviet Union could no longer contest. Their means was a war in the Middle East to “liberate” Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. This was done six months after a US State Department official assured Saddam to his face that the US government: “...Had no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts”.

The US won the war. Again, they did NOT go home. Ten years later, the inevitable “blowback” occurred with the 9/11 tragedy. Ten years after that, the Middle East is again in strife. This time, the conflict is between the regimes which have been installed and supported by the US government in their march to empire and the people who those same regimes have ruled with an iron fist. To these people, the US is not looked upon as an “exemplar” of anything - except political AND economic repression.


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living on the edge's picture

We really are "living on the edge" bitchez.

alpds's picture

I cannot understand why ZH, who is so skeptical of leading financial news, fed and gov., is so naive!

US Government's mandate since inception:

John Jay: "The people who own the country ought to govern it." 

Beacon of hope? NO BEACON OF BS!

James Madison, father of the constitution: 

"The man who is possessed of wealth, who lolls on his sofa or rolls in his carriage, cannot judge the wants or feelings of the day-laborer. The government we mean to erect is intended to last for ages. The landed interest, at present, is prevalent; but in process of time, when we approximate to the states and kingdoms of Europe, — when the number of landholders shall be comparatively small, through the various means of trade and manufactures, will not the landed interest be overbalanced in future elections, and unless wisely provided against, what will become of your government? In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability."

alpds's picture

This frame work of people who own the country ought to govern it has existed since inception. Current policies simply make it much more blatant. Let's not glorify the past and call a spade a spade, TD! If you doubt the statement above please read Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787. It is available for free on google books.

alpds's picture

"once the land of the brave and the home of the free, and truly a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world..."

TD, do you believe this? Since inception of the union government BY, OF and FOR "minority of the opulent!"

It is one of the freest countries on earth but let's not forget who has ALWAYS governed it. 


dick cheneys ghost's picture

does it help to have a $1.2 trillion military budget?

thefedisscam's picture

+ 1 million!! very well said!

essence's picture


There were differences of opinion amoung the founders of the U.S.
John Jay was at one extreme. So too (albeit.. to a lesser extent) was James Madison

Why make them seem mainstream of the opinions at that time.
Anyone can pick a founding father closest to their philosophy and run with it.

Let's focus on the article by Buckner as he (rightfully) calls the institution of the Fed and Income Tax as dreadful mistakes.

And he's correct... they were/are mistakes.
The federal government became insufferably powerful at that point.

So why don't we finally correct those mistakes and restore balance.

The Federal government is a failure. It's project creep on a massive scale.
Time to downsize and the best method is to defund it by axing the fed.





alpds's picture

Why don't you look at who framed the constitution and wrote Federalist Papers for support of the union, then answer your own question?

Did the government of the founders resemble that of the people? The founders were some of the wealthiest men in the country. 


Ray1968's picture

We hold these truths to be self-evident.....

knavechild's picture

How do I get off this ride?

JohnG's picture

Get.Gold.Now! and silver as well.

Gully Foyle's picture


"Get.Gold.Now! and silver as well."

Yes, gold is a good investment, but only after you’ve covered your "basic bases", when food and shelter and access to water are taken care of. And when you can afford to sit on it for 5-10 years, or even longer. That will work for some of us, but not for most. Sitting on gold when you're hungry, cold, or thirsty doesn't make a lot of sense.

Our point of view at The Automatic Earth is that in the near future there will be far too many people who hold gold, but will have to sell to cover losses and/or necessities, and into a buyer's market to boot, to keep the price of gold up. Not a popular view, we know.

Where and how do we differ from the 'priests of gold'? It all comes down to the extent to which the world as we know it today is going to change. That extent is in our view greatly underestimated. In the world of finance, there is hardly any recognition of even the mere possibility that owning stocks, bonds, or even gold may not necessarily be the best way to go forward.

The main thought remains that if you have enough of something "fungible", you can always trade it and buy whatever it is you need. But that's not necessarily true. It may be the model we have grown up in, but it's by no means universal. Besides, even if you own a ton of gold, and you have water and food covered, but those around you where you live have not, what exactly is it that you have bought yourself? A prison?

Our western economic thinking is Flatland 1- (or maybe 2-) dimensional, in the sense that we think we can always buy what we don't have or can't make. That's not how it works, though. In Sri Lanka, or Guatemala, or some small town in the US in the future, you can't just come into a community and offer them a bunch of gold in return for the scarce or only water they have. There are circumstances in which water trumps gold, hard as that may be to believe living in Flatland. In a world in which water purification plants are ever more energy extensive and that energy ever more hard to come by, communities even in locations (think cities) in the US will find it increasingly harder to maintain them.

One question: where you gonna get your water? You can go weeks without food (in my case more like a year; in fact I’d probably be better off after starving for a year or so) but you need water every day. Let’s take California. Last I heard there were 24 million people in So Cal. You know where they get their water? From a tap, yeah; but when the taps stop flowing? Flick that ball socket faucet in your townhouse and a spider drops out? That’s what’d scare me, not armies of zombies or gangbangers.

There are no rivers in So Cal. Ever see the LA River? Sure you have; it’s in about a million movies. It’s where they stage those fake drag races, where T2 drove that semi. It’s a culvert with a trickle at the bottom. 23 million yuppies are going to go from worrying about hydrating every hour to slurping algae from the last puddle in that culvert.

When I was a kid there was a crazy old Okie named Cecil who used to dig wells. I haven’t heard about that job in a long time. If anyone lives long enough and has something to pay them with, the last surviving well drillers will be kings. “Here, how about I trade you my daughter here for a well, sir, your honor, your crustiness?”?I don’t even know where Fresno gets water from; I’ll google it now, see what I get. (Better google while you can, too; internet access will be restricted when the power dies.)

Rogerwilco's picture

Good points that fall on deaf ears in many of these forums. Gold is a meaningless commodity without a working exchange market and price discovery. In situations where the "market" consists of several armed men and one goldbug, the goldbug may discover that the current exchange rate equals one human life, namely his.

trav7777's picture

huh?  gold functioned for centuries without exchanges.

Price discovery self-expresses...thus, "discovery."

chumbawamba's picture

That's the curse of these finance people.  They can't imagine a world without a constantly moving stock ticker and a chart to tell them what the current price of something is.  There's will be a populous hell.

Think of it this way: if you've been awake, conscious, and sane over the past several years, you have no excuse for not being prepared.  You have no excuse for not owing even one ounce of gold, or a bag of seeds, or some form of protection.  You have none.  People from all walks and corners of life have been braying incessantly for years now about the impending doom.  Come time for the hammer to fall, if you get caught unprepared then, quite frankly, you not only should perish, but you deserve it!  When common sense called, you shouldn't have let it go to voicemail.

So yeah, there's going to be a lot of hurt, and a lot of hate, but I did my part, and I tried to warn you.  So as I'm sitting atop my pile of canned and dried goods, guarding over it with a shotgun while my wellpump fills my tank and my animals graze peacefully in the meadow, just remember that I have an angry trigger finger, and I will remember those who scoffed and mocked.  No, not the ones who didn't prepare: hunger, disease and madness will be your reward.  No, I will remember in particular those who scoffed and mocked when I warned them that the road of Empire ultimately ends at the Abyss.

The good news: it's not too late.

I am Chumbawamba.

akak's picture

Pure poetry.

Social and financial Darwinism, bitches!

Flakmeister's picture

  C'mon, tell us how you really feel.... 

I am reminded of a great movie about the birth of the oil industry

"There will be blood"

tarsubil's picture

Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

You know I heard about some guys living on a life raft for months with a hand pumped reverse osmosis water filtration system but I for the life of me cannot find one. Do these things actually exist?

tarsubil's picture

Why thank you sir. I'm sure we have the same taste in movies.

lynnybee's picture

i've told my adult children to get ready for a new way of life.  .... that the life they knew as children, full of easy times, easy money, houses & cars was over  ..... i've discussed all of us leaving the country together ......... no where to run .       SIGN ME UP FOR THE REVOLUTION.

Long-John-Silver's picture

I just wonder when States start seceding due to economic conditions.

buzzsaw99's picture

China, yeah, right. Cheap disposable labor under a layer of toxic filth. Yeah baybee, China is winning the kewpie doll! LMAO!

Spalding_Smailes's picture


..... " On a per capita GDP basis, China remains a poor country. As rated by the CIA on a PPP basis, the China per person GDP is $7,400 per person. This ranks China at number 128 out of 230 countries. If the official exchange rate were used, the ranking would be even lower. China is thus ranked on a per capita basis with countries like Albania, Algeria and Turkmenistan. This is hardly anything to get excited about.

The reason for the large Chinese GDP is simple: China has the largest population in the world. It is therefore rather easy for China to have a large aggregate GDP. On the other hand, it is difficult for China to have a large per capita GDP. Pushing true wealth down to the people is one of the challenges China faces over the next ten years. This provides a partial explanation for China’s continued strong growth rate. China continues to grow from a very low base. It also explains why foreign companies have an interest in the Chinese domestic market. Prospects for growth appear to be unlimited within the normal business planning time frames.

• China is not only a poor country; the distribution of income is extremely uneven. Income disparity is measured by the Gini coefficient. The higher the number, the greater the disparity. As measured by the United Nations, the Chinese Gini coefficient is 46.9. This number indicates a high disparity in income distribution. For comparison, the Gini for Japan is 24.9 and the Gini for Germany is 28.3. Even the U.S., a country of great income disparity, does better than China with a Gini of 40.8. China’s 46.9 Gini ranks it number 94 out of 128 countries measured by the UN. This places China much worse than the U.S. and on the level of countries such as Rwanda and Guinea-Bissau.

China thus faces two significant issues in the area of income. The first is that on an absolute level, the per capita income of the Chinese people remains quite low. The second is that the distribution of the meager income that is earned is distributed in a very unequal manner.This issue is discussed with great clarity in a recent article by Professor Huang Yasheng of the MIT Sloan School of Management, entitled "Rethinking the Beijing Consensus." Figure 2 on Page 11 of this article uses China's own statistics to show a truly shocking development: In Guangdong, from 1992 to 2008, real GDP per capita increased by a factor of ten. However, real income of factory workers did not increase at all. In other words, the increase in GDP did not benefit the workers. " .........


reader2010's picture

The China Story is what the Street wants the Sheeple to buy. China is a fucking joke and a timebomb. Last time I checked, they even block access to Wikipedia.

Spalding_Smailes's picture


.......... " ( March 4 2011 ) - All internet phone calls will be banned apart from those made over two state-owned networks, China Unicom and China Telecom. “[This] is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country,” reported the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are already blocked in China and Google closed down its Chinese servers last year after heavy government pressure." ................


While the arguable non-story of China’s “Jasmine protests” enjoys excited and widespread coverage internationally, boiling over into a tug-of-war over the very real harassment of foreign journalists in China, there is one potentially great big story missing from everyone’s agenda — the mysterious death of Chinese college student Zhao Wei (??). And yet, the chilling story of Zhao Wei, who was very possibly murdered by railway authorities on his way home to Inner Mongolia during the Spring Festival rush more than a month ago, goes to the very heart of the issues and anxieties that are of most immediate relevance to all Chinese, and could contribute to demands for change.

For those of you fishing around for another news hook, let us remember that China’s powerful Railways Ministry,subject right now to one of the biggest corruption probes in memory, is involved in Zhao’s case too. They are, Xinhua reports, now charged with the official investigation, despite the possibility that their own local authorities in Daqing are culpable.

Zhao Wei’s story drew a firestorm of interest online earlier this week after a link to an open letter written by his desperate parents emerged through Sina’s microblog, or “weibo,” platform [WARNING: this link includes a photo some may find disturbing].

*Zhao, 23, a fourth-year student at Hebei University of Technology, boarded the 1301 train from Tianjin bound for Inner Mongolia on January 22, 2011. He sat in Car 12. A classmate and companion sat in Car 11.
*According to Zhao’s classmate, Zhao was taunted by a train attendant over the issue of a seat change. Zhao complained about this matter to the train conductor. *Later that night, Zhao traded seats with someone in Car 11 so that he could sit next to his classmate. He told the classmate it seemed he had somehow gotten on the train conductor’s bad side.
*At around 3 a.m. the railway police came and led Zhao away from Car 11. Zhao’s parents received a call at around 8 a.m. on the morning of January 23, 2011, saying that Zhao had jumped from a building at the Daqing Railway Station and was being treated. Unable to get clear confirmation of the hospital where their son was being treated, the parents went directly to the Daqing Railway Station, where police told them their son had already died.
*Zhao parents asked to see police photographs from the report on the alleged jump — the police said there were none and the crime scene had not been properly secured. The parents asked to see video surveillance footage — they were told the station was not equipped with video surveillance (which apparently is false).
*When family members were finally allowed to view Zhao Wei’s body, they found wounds that apparently could not be explained by his alleged jump from a building.
*All attempts by the Zhao family to petition various government offices in various jurisdictions for further investigation failed.

jeff montanye's picture

horrible story.  why is it that our president, building on the prior president, seeks powers so similar to these and indeed asserts most of them already?  probably not for an attempt to change a train seat but perhaps for trying to tell the people of the crimes of their servants.  ask bradley manning about this, if you can. 

johnQpublic's picture

they were told the station was not equipped with video surveillance (which apparently is false).


same as the pentagon on 9/11...


             just looks like there are a hundred cameras covering every angle..

Diogenes's picture

As George Bush said "dictatorship is great... as long as I'm the dictator".

That is how these asswipes think.

akak's picture

May I suggest you change your handle here to "CutandPasteMaster"?

Spalding_Smailes's picture

If you change yours to "No•insight•or•helpful•info•just•trolling"


Are you Chinese or a Socialist ?

akak's picture

If you change yours to "No•insight•or•helpful•info•just•trolling"

You clearly have problems with reading comprehension, or have not been paying attention --- but of course that much was already abundantly obvious.

Are you Chinese or a Socialist ?

Random neuron misfires are such a bitch.

cosmictrainwreck's picture

he's is such a punk, that one......smarty-pants, too. Quite the Mr. Know-it-all for a kid, huh?

Michael's picture

Thanks for the story Spalding. This is the only way some of us get this kind of news. You just keep posting whatever you feel needs to be said and they rest of you who don't like it, Fuck Off.

Bay of Pigs's picture

You can't surf the net? Are you handicapped or just a fucking douchebag?

Michael's picture

The Street wants everyone to have China Envy. Why in God's name would anyone want that?

Here's my China Envy.

printing money to make the stock market go higher

buzzsaw99's picture

Good stuff. I don't care how much clownbux or technology China accumulates, the bulk of their people will always live in squalor. Even the top 1% over there don't live as well as I do and never will imo.

Spastica Rex's picture

Huh. How do the top 1% in China live? I don't know much about China. How do you live?

Spalding_Smailes's picture

The top 1% in China have tons of cash. I think they have the most millionaires in the world. 

But its the other 1.45 Billion who live like dogs.

Spastica Rex's picture

There's that Gini Coefficient!

I wonder, though, if that metric even makes any sense. Look at the map: it's all those crappy socialist European countries that have the low coefficients:

Maybe it's better to be purple. 

reader2010's picture

You fucking kidding me? China has the most billionaries in the world?

reader2010's picture

In Zimbabwe, everyone is at least a fucking millionaire.

MountainLotus's picture

Not True. Though, Chinese government is communist, when they do a good job - give them credit, when they do something bad - give them critic. Don't always look away from the truth just only that they are communist.

Breaker's picture

"...Chinese government is communist..."

No they aren't. They are fascist. In fact, it's fair to say the world system is converging on fascism as the most common way to structure political and economic power. The US has moved hard in that direction over the post 4-6 years.

Regrettably, it's almost impossible to use the word fascist precisely. The word has been so misused by the Western left over the years to describe anyone who disagrees with them about anything. Fascism is a form of socialism in which private ownership of corporations is allowed (and large profits therefrom are allowed) as long as the "owners" do what the government wants or, more nobly put, as long as they conform their behavior to the social and economic goals of the state. Also, large chunks of those profits need to end up in the pockets of those who govern. It's is therefore, a much more lucrative system for the ruling class than traditional socialism.

It should sound familiar to anyone living in China or America.





Flakmeister's picture

Nicely put.... Unions are also put under pressure in fascism...

An easy way to visulize it is as a three-legged stool consisting of

1) State

2) Corporations

3) Labor

Communism is when you kick out 2),  Fascism is when you kick out 3)

The success of modern Germany is in part due to the rough balance between all three legs...

buzzsaw99's picture

How do you live?

Well. It isn't always a matter of money, also, I don't have to fork over my fortune to keep from being executed:

I would not trade places with any of the millionaires who live in nyc most of the time.