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The subject of this lecture is tough choices for tough problems. It's the end of August 20, 2020 and 170,000 Americans have been killed by an enemy invader. We have been spending trillions and trillions and trillions on defense. We have been spending trillions and trillions on invading other countries and the so-called “Defense Department” has failed. More Americans have been killed by this enemy than all the military enemies of America since World War II. Let's just process that more. More than North Korea or Vietnam or Al Qaeda and so on. So what we’re doing in terms of national defense has been a disaster. This is the biggest national security disaster in the history of this country


What this means is we need to rethink national security and rethink national security soon. There's really no excuse for what happened. Our organization has been in business since 1995, and since 1995 we have followed an interviewed most of the experts around the world on pandemics. Virtually a hundred percent of them warned us about this. Virtually a hundred percent of them pointed out that America needed to get national health insurance for all its citizens and needed to stop being the only country in the world that does not have national health insurance for all its citizens. It needed to pass a national sick leave law.


The scientists were ignored and now we have had the greatest internal disaster in America since the Civil War, yes it is that bad. Not only is it that bad, but it's not over. It could get a lot worse and we don't even know when it's going to be over or even if it's going to be over. So it is that bad. Let's not have people say we don't think it's all that bad so let's stick with the status quo. It is that bad because the mismanagement of the response to the virus has created an economic and social disaster of truly epic dimensions.

How do we get out of this? No, we’re not going to get into all the details of what this person thinks or that person thinks about getting out of the virus crisis. What we will say is there is no free lunch. There is no magic solution. There is no pixie dust.

The problem is that the failure to prepare for the virus is part of a larger pattern of ignoring science. We totally ignore the scientists on climate change. We totally ignored the scientists on the crisis in the oceans. We've totally ignored the scientists on the bad sides of industrial agriculture. This could be a very long conversation, but in short, we have been living under a world system driven by America that's been based on ignoring science and running up debts from an environmental point of view.


Now we were told that this was all needed to be done to help the economy, except that the American economy is a giant upside down debt bubble. In 1980, America was the world's largest creditor, a position it held since World War I. Last year, it was the world's largest debtor, with a staggering $10 trillion of net foreign debt at home. The situation is bad news because the corporate part of America has been leveraging itself up to finance activities such as stock buybacks, artificially inflating stock prices so that executives can get stock bonuses and investors can get short-term profits so the corporate sector is not in good shape in the United States. Meanwhile, since 1980, the government has run chronic deficits which have just gotten worse and worse and worse and worse. There was a brief respite under Clinton, but the minute the Republicans came back in power, they plunged the country back into the red with some crazy tax cuts that they couldn't pay for and a huge campaign of imperialism overseas.

When Obama came in, he continue the campaign and really expanded the campaign of imperialism overseas and never really dealt with the internal financial problems and never dealt with the trade problems. President Obama observed that the $400 billion trade deficit with China was just the old economy and nothing to worry about. Well it was something to worry about and the jobs that were lost to China since the Chinese entered the WTO are real and they weren’t replaced by fairytale jobs that people such as Clinton and Obama predicted. No they were not. People lost their jobs and their jobs were not replaced. Now due to the virus, the budget deficit is just gone into the absolute stratosphere, losing literally $3 trillion.


So to dig out of this we’re going to have to invest on a planetary basis a huge amount of money in environmental sanity, yes we are. We are going to have to invest a huge amount of money in environmental sanity.

And that’s going to cost a lot of money. We also have to deal with paying back the debt that was run up to pay for all this nonsense, particularly the international debt, so that's going to cost a lot of money.

But it's not just money, we're going to have to cooperate on a global level to deal with problems. The rainforests in Brazil are a global problem, the use of plastic waste, China's dumping plastic waste into the ocean. This is a global problem that threatens all life on earth. The runaway behavior of China's enormous fishing fleets wiping out fisheries all over the world is a global problem. So we are going to have to cooperate whether we like it or not.


A particularly insane situation is under Obama, you have a huge expansion in America's nuclear weapons plans, which of course is fueling nuclear weapons spending and all the other countries the confrontational policies of Trump towards China are pushing China to expand its nuclear weapons spending and all this has a sort of a vicious circle. For instance, India for the first time is launching a fleet of ballistic missile submarines. So let’s just step back and look at this from a person from outer space looking at our planet looking at the whole planet afflicted. Afflicted by a virus, the whole planet afflicted by catastrophic environmental problems, how many people looking at this planet from outer space would say, “Yes, here's a great idea, I think you guys should launch the largest nuclear arms race in history and figure out ways to blow each other to kingdom come quickly.” We don't think many people who would be smart enough to get here from outer space with think that's a very bright idea.

America since Bush has been the number one violator and destroyer of nuclear arms control negotiations. Bush pulled America out of the ABM treaty the anti-ballistic missile treaty. Trump has pulled out of the Iran arms-control nuclear treaty, much more ominously and much more crazy, Mr. Trump and his Republican colleagues apparently thought that Ronald Reagan was some kind of peacenik, so they pulled out of the intermediate nuclear weapons treaty which now moves the prospect of nuclear war from about 40 minutes away to about 15 minutes away.



These are not sane actions. So let's sum it up. Nature and the financial markets are going to solve these problems no matter what. So you can have a global economic collapse and environmental collapse etc. etc. and to top it off we could be heading for a nuclear war, which, look at the bright side, if you want to call it a bright side, that would end things quickly. Would end the suffering. Would end all life on earth rather rapidly.



Does this make sense? We think it does. So we need to wake up and one of the things we need to wake up to is the severity of the problems. Unfortunately, around the world, but particularly America, there's delusion about fairytale solutions. More tax cuts on the left. You have some nonsensical modern monetary theory (let's have a free pony for everybody) and you know this kind of thinking is worse than absurd, it's extremely dangerous because it undermines the psychology that is needed for reform. Let's get real. To make up for decades and decades and decades of completely insane environmental and economic policies, you will have years of austerity. That's the real thing. Some may say, “I don't like austerity.” Nobody likes austerity. But that's not the point. Austerity is coming, whether you like it or not. The question is whether it’s going to be a disorganized austerity or organized austerity with some concept of social democratic justice. Those are the real choices. Austerity and deescalating the struggle for imperialism.
Relating to the arms race, let's take in an incident in question. The overwhelming majority of the people in Crimea do not want any part of the fascist infested government in the Ukraine that America helped to bring to power. They don't. So it doesn't really make sense to threaten nuclear war over that. We do not think so. What is it worth, blowing up the planet to argue with Russia about who will run Crimea.




So we need to have a bigger picture of what's going on and a bigger picture of reality. Disputes about imperialism by the various powers need to be put aside and we need to come together to face the common environmental and social enemies. That's the point. These enemies are going to win if change doesn't come, but there's no free lunch, there's no fairytale, there's no modern monetary theory fairytale here. It's going to be years of austerity. It's going to be tough choices. If people are aware of that problem, there is a chance that we can deal with the problems. It's doable, but it's not doable as long as we have fairytales on both the left and the right, from the right-wing supply-side economics to the left-wing modern monetary theory. If we have nonsense like that, the future is going to be very grim for humans. It's gotta be okay for the earth. The earth eventually will replenish itself. But for humans things are not going to look so good. So we need to come to terms with the reality of what's to come. The reality of the grim choices for grim problems. That's our basic message. Every time in history is a time of challenge. People say that's gloomy. Well boo-hoo. Life is not a bowl of cherries. And our ancestors have survived far more grim situations. So that's what's up ahead. It's time to get real and start dealing with reality.