A little late today.  Been busy wrapping up my honey collection and taking care of my bee hives.  Below is Chapter Eight.


 “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”

 John F. Kennedy

 When the calendar turned to February and the occasional nice day of weather allowed people to spend a bit more time outside, Cliffson found himself regretting winter’s passage.  Like most people, the Cranks were holed up for the winter and Cliffson had not been forced to deal with them for many months.  Now he was certain spring would bring about the inevitable clash.

But it was a clash of another kind commanding his immediate attention.  The collapse of Europe and subsequent Chinese occupation was bringing the United States to its economic knees.  Staggering under the weight of its own bloated entitlement programs, and printing seven dollars for every dollar collected in taxes, the American economy fell face down in a dead cat bounce like the fat boy it was.  The U.S. was reaping the disaster of seed sown over decades of debt and deficit spending.  Forced to go on a diet, cuts in welfare, food stamps, Medicare and unemployment benefits were initiated.

In a world dependant on government, few people in the U.S. knew anything about being self-reliant.  The principle of work or starve was ancient history.  People believed society owed them and they were entitled to the wealth of others.  At least that’s what they’d been taught in the public schools, universities and by their own government.  The values of hard-work, honesty and personal integrity were lost on generations taught to look to government for their needs.

When the third and fourth generations of youth raised up to depend on government saw the cut backs reduce welfare, food stamps, and other so called benefits of being enslaved to government, their reaction was perfectly predictable.  They rioted and the nation’s cities were rocked by levels of violence previously unseen.   Envy and greed would bloom along with the spring crocus.

The next domino to fall brought China to the shores of the U.S.  With Europe under their control, China moved quickly to protect its interests and began demanding payment in gold or natural resources instead of America’s fiat currency.  The arrogant and imperialist American president responded in the only way he knew.

First he threatened to make no payments and default on the entire amount.  For days the heated rhetoric rocketed back and forth across the Pacific, growing more extreme and threatening with each passing hour.  In the end the U.S. threatened China with war.  It was the standard response from an American nation accustomed to bullying others.

Under the threat of war China backed down, stating there were other ways to solve the problem.  They proposed a three month cooling off period and the United States agreed.  Privately the Chinese were seething over the public embarrassment. Diplomatic efforts went into high gear and both nations began a series of hurried trips across the Atlantic for meetings in Paris and then in Washington.

Within days, the U.S. government made what appeared to be a good faith effort to reduce its spending and make good on their loans with an across the board fifty percent spending cut.  The president took to prime time television in an attempt to sell the cuts and explain the situation to the public.  It was a complete flop.  The Zombies knew what they’d been promised and were not about to be denied, even if it meant being paid in worthless pieces of paper.

When the hogs at the public trough found food stamps, welfare, housing subsidies, Medicare payments, unemployment benefits, and other federal programs cut fifty percent in addition to the cuts made by the cities and states, riots spread across the nation on a massive scale.  Chicago was gutted by fire, gangs turned L.A. into a war zone, and other U.S. cities burned.

The northwest remained comparatively calm and for that Cliffson was thankful.  Naturally there were protests in Eugene, Portland and Seattle, but nothing approaching the scale of what was happening in other major cities.

Cliffson and his friends lived well below their means and knew they could survive on less, but it took no time at all for the pain to register on the faces of their neighbors.  Debt financed consumerism was the American way and Cliffson’s neighbors were fully entrenched in this perverted version of the American dream.

After gathering eggs one evening, Cliffson returned to the house and found Jean sitting on the couch with the TV on.

“Honey you should see this.”

News helicopters were showing live shots of riots in Miami, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit.  Colossal fires and rioting in major cities had become so common place, Cliffson paid little attention.  Images of police fighting with crowds were nothing new.

Glancing up while washing the eggs he noticed there were far more people involved in these riots than he’d seen in previous news clips.

Then a newsflash appeared across the bottom of the screen about fires burning in New York City.  The announcer said they would soon be going to a local reporter there.

New York was broke and the government had shut down numerous times over the past couple years.  Now it was shut down again.  Garbage filled the streets, unemployment was nearing sixty percent and crime was rampant.  Approximately sixty percent of the police force had been laid off.  Citizens were told the police couldn’t respond to most calls for help.

“Government can’t protect us but they still want to take away our guns,” Cliffson mused.

The picture on the screen changed and the camera shot went to an aerial view of a fire burning in the capital building where thousands of students gathered.  Millions of twenty-somethings with college degrees and tens of thousands of dollars of debt were out of work and living at home.  These young lions had been caged too long and were angrily unleashing their vengeance.

Educated in government run colleges, they’d been taught to believe the problem was capitalism and in rallying against it, unknowingly demanded more of the same socialism that already bound them.  The middle class was a shell of itself and middle class jobs had largely been replaced with the great socialist equalizer—low income jobs and government handouts.  Untrained in the wisdom of Bastiat, Von Mises, Hayek or Rothbard, they unwittingly demanded more bondage.

When a throng of thousands rushed a building immediately adjacent to the capital with more fire bombs, the news helicopter camera zoomed in on new fires and the cheering youth.

Without warning, military vehicles appeared on the west side of the grounds and began firing into the mob.  The female reporter in the news helicopter shrieked when machine gun fire cut into the crowd.  While attempted to regain her composure the chopper moved closer and the camera zoomed in.

“This is unbelievable,” she began.  “Four armored vehicles are firing into the crowd of students and hundreds of them are down.”  The camera focused on the pools of blood forming around those on the ground.  “This can’t be happening.  This is America,” she went on.

“What a fool.  Hasn’t been America for a long time lady,” Cliffson muttered.

Then the woman began shrieking again and the screen went blank, returning momentarily with a view from the ground that showed the helicopter billowing smoke and plunging towards the earth.  “They shot down our chopper!” the announcer yelled,.“They shot down our chopper.”

Across the mountains on the other side of the state, Thomas Jefferson watched the riots with his family.  He quipped that “at least it’s an equal opportunity riot as I see lots of blacks and whites there in the street standing shoulder to shoulder.”

His wife Mary smacked him in the arm.  “Don’t even say such a thing, this is serious.”

“I’m sorry honey but these things make me angry.  I’m just trying to hide it by joking,” Thomas said.

“Angry?  Those people are hurting and their government’s let them down.”

Thomas was on his feet now gesturing wildly.  “They should all be locked up.  Look at that, they’ve set the capital building on fire.  The Governor needs to call in the National Guard and put an end to this.”

At that moment scenes of military vehicles entering the grounds of the capital building and firing into the crowd spread across their screen.  This was followed by film of a news helicopter being shot down.

Regardless of the shootings, Thomas still backed the president and believed the government was doing what was necessary to work through the crisis.

A few days after the shootings Cliffson eased himself into an Adirondack chair on the front porch, sipped his morning coffee and rubbed Welfare’s ears.  It was one of those stunning spring mornings when the sun is so intense it bleaches the color out of things.  But the weather wasn’t the only thing on his mind.  The state of the nation and growing level of violence were.  After the shooting deaths of more than three hundred people in New York, civil war appeared imminent.

April riots continued to blossom across the nation and in each case the government aggressively put them down, leaving hundreds dead.  Many of those killed were teenagers and it grieved Cliffson, for the real crime committed was teaching these people to depend on government.  Until now, the simple principles represented in the nation’s founding documents had held the tyrants at bay.  Now the nation was burying those who’d never had a chance to learn them.

The world was in shock over the military’s actions.  Things like that just didn’t happen in America, but the American public didn’t feel safe and demanded something be done.  A rising level of hysteria to get “control” of things became the administration’s first order of business.

More importantly, the Chinese were not impressed.  With the U.S. economy at a standstill and the nation teetering on the edge of revolution, the Chinese feared a complete loss of their three trillion dollar investment.  Negotiations continued, but there was little progress.  Privately the Chinese believed the U.S. was stalling while maneuvering for a military strike.  Something had to be done and China began making demands for payment in gold.

The U.S. made a good showing with further belt tightening.   Mail deliveries were reduced to one day a week and obscure government programs such as the helium storage site in Texas, were terminated or sold to private corporations.

Of course the Langs and Wests felt the reduction in social security payments, but one of the benefits of thinking independently meant you didn’t suffer the same problems as the masses.  The Langs, Wests and Monk had forgone vacations and fancy toys so they could pay off their homes.  They all owned them free and clear, though Monk loved to tease them they didn’t really own them.

“Just try not paying your property taxes for a couple years and see who really owns your house,” he would jab.  It was a sore point with him and it galled Cliffson too.  You could work all your life, be responsible, pay all your obligations so you owed no one and the government could still come in and confiscate your home. It wasn’t right, but there was little they could do.


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