by Stephen Lendman
Some are best guesses. Others are easier to make. For billions worldwide, 2013 was grim. Expect 2014 to be no better. For many it'll be worse.
Conflicts without end continue. Waging them threaten humanity. War profiteers never had it better.
Washington bears most responsibility. One nation after another is ravaged, destroyed and plundered.
It's the American way. Advancing its imperium matters most. So does benefitting the nation's privileged class.
War criminals and crooks run things. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. They're waging war on humanity.
They're ravaging the world for unchallenged dominance. Millions of lost lives don't matter. It's a small price to pay, they claim. So is unspeakable human misery.
Whole continents are carved up for profit. Resources are plundered. Ordinary people are exploited. America has been at it for centuries. Post-WW II, things accelerated.
Post-9/11, they spun out-of-control. Expect a bloody 2014. Expected more death, destruction and human misery. Expect it globally.
Expect merchants of death to keep profiting hugely. Expect corrupt politicians to get their share. Expect America's most disadvantaged to be left increasingly on their own out of luck.
Safety net protections are on the chopping block for elimination. In 2014, expect more erosion. Republicans and Democrats agreed. So did Obama.
He spent his entire tenure shifting wealth disproportionately to Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and super-rich elites.
He's a job destroyer, not creator. He's doing nothing to stop offshoring many of America's best jobs. He's letting them be replaced with low pay/poor or no benefit ones.
He's continuing America's race to the bottom. He's got more of the same in mind. He pretends otherwise. He says one thing. He does another. He scorns the rights of ordinary people. He's done it since his Chicago days.
He's pro-war, pro-Wall Street, pro-business, pro-privilege, pro-super-wealth, anti-dissent, anti-democracy, anti-civil and human rights, anti-labor, anti-environmental sanity, and anti-government of, by, and for everyone equitably and just.
He's polar opposite what most people want, need, and won't get with him as president. Nor with congressional Democrats in lockstep with Republicans on issues mattering most.
Only a Democrat president would do what Republicans on their own wouldn't dare. Obama is a stealth corporatist hardliner. He's been this way throughout his political career.
It elevated him to America's highest office. It's pay back time for power brokers who chose him. They wouldn't have done it otherwise.
On December 28, Congress and Obama cut off extended unemployment benefits. They harmed 1.3 million Americans. They did so when they most need help. They did it disgracefully.
In 2014, they'll end them for another 3.6 million jobless Americans. They'll lose out through no fault of their own. Emergency benefits were previously extended from 40 to 73 weeks.
They're now 26 weeks. It's when growing millions of Americans can't find work. Highly touted recovery is fake. Main Street Depressions conditions persist.
Bipartisan cruelty makes things worse. Help when most needed is denied. Imagine any country anywhere doing it. Imagine the world's richest one.
Imagine heartlessness writ large. Imagine criminals running today's America. Its wealth goes for warmaking, corporate handouts, and benefits for super-rich elites.
Ordinary people are betrayed in the process. Washington's FY 2014 budget deal benefits privileged interests. It does so at the expense of popular ones.
Winners include bankers, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, multi-millionaires and billionaires.
Losers are millions of unemployed, underemployed, and impoverished people, government workers, retirees, veterans and active duty military personnel.
Corporate handouts remain policy. So do tax cuts for the rich. In 2014, more are planned. Both parties agreed. So did Obama.
They conspired quietly. Media scoundrels said nothing. Corporate rates will drop from 35% to either 28 or 25%. Most large companies already pay less than half that amount.
Many pay much less. Some pay nothing. Others get rebates in profitable years. Tax breaks under Bush and Obama added around $10 trillion to their balance sheets.
Much was shifted to offshore subsidiaries. Doing so avoids US taxes altogether. It's unknown how much corporate wealth sits in tax havens.
A previous article discussed a Tax Justice Network (TJN) report. It's titled "The Price of Offshore Revisited." It explains what insiders won't discuss.
It estimates up to $32 trillion of hidden and stolen wealth stashed largely tax-free secretly. It was published in July 2012.
Huge profits and ill-gotten gains were accumulated since then. Perhaps $40 - 50 trillion remain hidden tax free today. It represents a black hole of unfairness.
It comes at the expense of billions worldwide. Ordinary Americans get lump of coal harshness. Expect more of the same in 2014. Bipartisan complicity assures it.
Expect 2014 to be tougher than ever for growing millions. It's planned. It's baked in the cake. It's coming.
Obama demands it. He's the Grinch who stole fairness. He's done it throughout his tenure. He's got lots more hard times in mind. Austerity writ large remains policy.
Obama's waging war on ordinary people. He heads a homeland police state apparatus. Expect meaner and nastier year ahead policies.
He wants vital safety net protections eliminated. They're coming when longterm unemployment, underemployment, hunger, homelessness and human misery are growing.
On November 1, $11 billion in food stamp cuts over three years took effect. It's the first time since Franklin Roosevelt instituted the first Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It began in May 1939.
The program ended temporarily when conditions warranting it no longer existed. In 1959, Eisenhower reinstated it.
Jack Kennedy's first Executive Order expanded it. Lyndon Johnson enacted the 1964 Food Stamp Act.
He called doing so "a realistic and responsible step toward the fuller and wiser use of an agricultural abundance."
It's vitally important. It provides food for growing millions unable to afford enough. In the 1980s, cutbacks began. Clinton continued them.
They're prioritized more now than earlier. Recipient benefits drop to under $1.40 per person per meal. Imagine the impossibility of proper nutrition on that amount.
Imagine the effect on children. Imagine the harm to America's elderly, ill or weak. Imagine too little food leaving millions hungry most days.
Imagine the unimaginable in the world's richest country. Imagine it because it's official policy.
Imagine agribusiness handouts growing at the same time. Imagine bankers and other corporate favorites getting theirs.
Feeding America's poor doesn't matter. Nearly 50 million need food stamps to eat.
Since 2008, recipients increased over 70%. Perhaps 80% by end of 2014. It comes at a time hunger in America is growing.
Privately run food banks are more than ever hard-pressed. A previous article discussed AP headlining "Exclusive: Signs of Declining Economic Security." It said:
"Four out of 5 US adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives."
It's a disturbing "sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream."
"Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized US economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend."
Government data are manipulated to distort. Conditions are much worse than reported. America is the United States of Unfairness, Cruelty, Inequity, and Injustice.
Throughout Obama's tenure, things got worse, not better. Ordinary Americans today suffer more than at any time since the Great Depression.
Year 2014 promises worse. Increased austerity assures it. Imagine force-feeding it when vital aid is needed more than ever since the 1930s. Imagine anti-populism becoming official US policy.
Imagine Obama and Congress mandating it. Imagine them leaving America's most disadvantaged hung out to dry.
Imagine them wanting vital safety net protections destroyed altogether. Imagine them thirdworldizing America. Imagine them turning it into a dystopian backwater.
Imagine kleptocrats stealing the nation blind. Imagine corrupt politicians letting them. Imagine paradise for America's privileged class. Imagine Kafkaesque harshness for all others.
Imagine deepening repression. Imagine America's war on Islam continuing. Imagine its war on terror waged more ruthlessly than ever. Imagine state terror institutionalized as official policy.
Imagine harder than ever crackdowns on nonbelievers. Imagine America's surveillance society operating more lawlessly.
Imagine freedom increasingly disappearing in plain sight. Imagine America more unfit to live in than already. Imagine constitutional and international law protections no longer helping.
Imagine police state harshness replacing them. Imagine full-blown tyranny approaching. Imagine the unimaginable.
Imagine 2014 potentially being America's worst year ever. Imagine conditions becoming too intolerable to bear. Imagine harder than ever hard times reaching new depths.
A Brief Summary
Expect 2014 to include:
• direct and proxy wars continuing without end;
• new ones beginning;
• America's wealth increasingly transferred to corporate and privileged interests;
• ordinary people increasingly on their own sink or swim; a race to the bottom continuing;
• America's disadvantaged harmed most;
• poverty, unemployment, underemployment, hunger and homelessness worse than ever in modern times;
• bipartisan complicity assuring it;
• social safety net protections increasingly eliminated;
• freedom disappearing in plain sight;
• police state harshness increasing;
• local police collaborating with federal authorities;
• NSA watching everyone more closely;
• Washington increasingly waging war on ordinary people;
• full-blown tyranny approaching;
• America more than ever unfit to live in;
• 2014 exceeding the worst of Orwell's 1984.
It does already. It's not getting better. Washington's criminal class is bipartisan. Obama heads its police state apparatus. He plans the worst of all possible worlds.
Expect 2014 to be grim. Expect growing millions to suffer horrendously. Expect greater global misery. Expect despair to replace hope.
Expect the American dream to disappear altogether. It's more illusion than reality for most people. George Carlin once said you have to be asleep to believe it.
Nightmarish conditions persist. Expect worse ones next year. Happy tidings await better times. Maybe some day. Not now. Not next year. None whatever in sight.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.