Musings of an American Refugee in New Zealand

Regardless of my uncommon title, I occur to be a lady. I’m additionally an American baby and adolescent psychiatrist with greater than 30 years of observe beneath my belt. Seven years in the past I emigrated from the US to New Zealand, primarily for political causes. I describe the weird occasions main as much as this momentous resolution in my upcoming guide – The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee.

Clearly lots has occurred in seven years. I’ve discovered I’m not alone in deciding to to migrate out of frustration with the Bush administration. It seems tens of hundreds of People emigrated between 2000 and 2008. Polls present most of them have been liberals and progressives. In November 2003 expatriate People led the London demonstrations protesting Bush’s London go to and the warfare in Iraq. Expatriates additionally fashioned main voting blocs for Kerry in 2004 and for Obama in 2008. An surprising results of creating a brand new life for myself as an expatriate is the distinctive perspective it has supplied on my former life within the US.

An Awakening: Militarism is the US Authorities’s Quantity One Precedence

Sarcastically it’s only in coming to a distant South Pacific nation, whose inhabitants has simply exceeded 4 million, that I can absolutely admire the way in which navy domination and management of the third world takes priority over all different US international and home coverage. Owing to vigorous censorship that happens within the company managed media, a lot of this data is not available to US residents. Previous to the mid-nineties the US relied on financial dominance over smaller international locations to extract a steady provide of low-cost sources they could not produce domestically – similar to gasoline, espresso, sugar, chocolate, nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers and platinum, nickel, chromium, cobalt and different strategic metals. With the decline in US financial power over the previous 15 years, the federal government has come to depend on its navy would possibly to amass the sources it wants to ensure People’ continued excessive lifestyle. It appears to be widespread information amongst many New Zealand intellectuals that that is the first US authorities agenda.

An Awakening: the Information Media Retains People within the Darkish about Their Authorities

It was solely on leaving the US that I acknowledged how efficiently the US media monopoly censors and sanitizes public details about worldwide occasions and authorities actions. Though Rupert Murdoch’s Information Corp controls a lot of New Zealand’s entry to worldwide information, we nonetheless have unbiased media shops that frequently problem and embarrass our authorities. Presently any such investigative reporting is extraordinarily uncommon within the American mainstream media.

An Awakening: the Value People Pay for World Domination

The very first thing that hit me on waking up in a brand new nation was the big private value, by way of high quality life, that People pay as residents of a regime intent on establishing and sustaining a world navy empire. For instance, though New Zealand ranks as one of many poorer international locations within the OECD (22nd out of 30), Kiwis take with no consideration that their authorities will use their hard-earned tax dollars to supply free well being take care of all New Zealand residents, a program the general public considers important for the long run effectively being and sustainability of their nation.

In New Zealand it’s pretty simple to help common well being care and the taxes that fund it, as a result of this nation would not invade or occupy different international locations and bans using nuclear supplies as weapons or for power manufacturing. Within the US, however, reaching consensus on becoming a member of the remainder of the developed world in offering common authorities sponsored well being care is subsequent to unattainable. There may be monumental resistance to rising federal tax to pay for such a program, provided that People are so closely taxed already to pay for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan and to keep up a US navy presence in additional than 50 international international locations it considers strategic to its pursuits. Up to now 5 years the variety of abroad navy bases has elevated from 700 to 1,000, because the US navy expands into Japanese Europe, Pakistan, North and West Africa (owing to the strategic significance of African oil reserves) and Columbia (owing to the risk posed by left leaning governments in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia).

An Awakening: the US is Much less Democratic than Different Developed Nations

Extra importantly People appear to have no say within the choices ensuing within the allocation of practically 50 cents of each tax greenback for navy associated spending. The truth is in some ways the US is much much less democratic than different developed international locations. Though polling exhibits People do not wish to spend their tax dollars spent on escalating the warfare in Afghanistan – that they wish to spend them on authorities sponsored well being care – the Obama administration does simply the alternative. Obama sends 35,000 extra troops to Afghanistan and persuades congressional Democrats to drop the general public choice and Medicare enlargement from his well being care reform invoice.

The New Zealand authorities would face large avenue protests for enacting laws opposed by the vast majority of New Zealanders. But for some cause People appear to take with no consideration that they don’t have any say in choices which are basic, not solely to their very own private welfare, however to the long run financial viability and sustainability of their nation. It is just in residing overseas that I’ve change into conscious of this a deep resignation and apathy within the American public. It is a mindset I consider stems from deep and pervasive political repression – which is important to keep up order in a society devoted to world navy dominance.

An Awakening: the Planet’s Latest Third World Nation

Clearly there are different essential the explanation why the US would not have publicly sponsored well being care like Zealand and all different industrialized international locations. The channeling of tons of of billions of tax dollars into navy enlargement is simply a part of the issue. There occur to be different highly effective company pursuits – led by the insurance coverage and pharmaceutical lobbies – who invested billions of dollars within the 2008 election to make sure that the Democrats and Obama shunned enacting publicly sponsored well being care. Nevertheless the prioritization of the navy conquest and occupation over the all home spending and the secrecy and deliberate misinformation over the outstanding value of warfare – a particularly unpopular public coverage to start with – make it very tough for People to grasp a lot much less have a voice in how their tax dollars are spent.

The fact is that exponential will increase in US navy spending over the previous thirty years have resulted in deep cuts in home spending for schooling and essential social applications. Many of the developed world understands and accepts that unmet social issues, similar to homelessness, psychological sickness and drug and alcohol abuse, illiteracy, unemployment, baby poverty and baby abuse critically compromise the standard of life for the whole society. But right here, too, the US is extra like a 3rd world nation than a sophisticated industrialized society. I solely noticed this clearly after shifting overseas.

Because the navy price range has elevated exponentially over the previous thirty years, the dedication to common schooling, job coaching, housing and full employment as important to significant participation in a sophisticated industrial democracy has vanished from public consciousness. The one “antipoverty” applications that persist are federal and state prisons. The US now exceeds China in its incarceration fee. Which represents a particularly uneconomical use of presidency funds in a recession. At a mean value of $29,000 every (totaling practically 100 billion dollars yearly), there isn’t any query that locking folks up is the costliest option to deal with social issues that result in felony habits.

An Awakening: the Lack of Civil Liberties within the US

The damaging impact of our authorities’s drive for world navy domination will not be restricted to damaging financial penalties – specifically our incapacity to fulfill primary well being, schooling, housing and social welfare wants. The lack of civil liberties during the last eight years can be extra typical of a 3rd world navy dictatorship than the participatory democracies loved by many of the developed world. This, too, was one thing I solely absolutely appreciated after shifting overseas.

Many of the covert actions I describe in my guide – the monitoring of my calls, emails and monetary transactions, the theft of enterprise and private mail and even the clandestine break-ins – was unlawful within the late eighties. Nevertheless the US authorities engages in all these actions legally now, due to successive variations of the Patriot Act.

Worse nonetheless Obama has left most of those legal guidelines, which violate primary Constitutional rights, basically intact. He has additionally preserved the best of police and federal authorities to arrest and maintain US residents with out cost – a violation of the best of habeas corpus assured within the Invoice of Rights – an basic characteristic of civilized society relationship again to the 1215 Magna Carta.

This lack of civil liberties additionally occurred in Rome, when its leaders have been compelled to desert their democratic type of authorities to pursue the wars of conquest that resulted within the formation of an enormous Roman Empire. Usually, navy conquest and occupation of international territory solely advantages a tiny elite on the highest degree of society. Bizarre persons are naturally repulsed by the concept of warfare and virtually universally count on their hard-earned tax dollars to be spent on public applications that instantly profit them.

If allowed any significant enter, they hardly ever willingly comply with squander authorities funds on navy enlargement. This is the reason a marketing campaign of navy enlargement can solely succeed if the federal government is efficient at suppressing dissent within the ruling nation.

An Awakening: How US Militarism Impacts the Means People Suppose

Probably the most alarming discovery I made in acculturating myself to a brand new nation was the extent to which I unconsciously purchased into all of the brainwashing and propaganda I used to be uncovered to as a baby in class and as an grownup by way of the mainstream media. After I first arrived in New Zealand I genuinely believed that the US was not solely the strongest navy and financial energy on the earth – it was additionally the very best at practically every little thing else.

I write about this discovery in my guide. Clearly New Zealand has no navy ambitions, and Kiwis would really feel fairly foolish about selling their nation as essentially the most democratic, productive, environment friendly, cleanest, healthiest, clear, simply and scientifically superior nation on the earth.

I personally really feel fairly foolish that as a dedicated leftist I continued to consider – as just lately as 5 years in the past – that the US was approach forward of different international locations in these areas, in addition to in navy and financial power. At some degree I’ve identified for at the least 20 years that the US was much less democratic than different industrialized international locations. I additionally knew that US firms had considerably weakened American financial affect by shifting its industrial base to sweat retailers abroad. Likewise I knew that air and water are critically polluted within the US and its meals provide one of the vital contaminated on the earth – with its reliance on poisonous sludge fertilizers, in addition to infestation with Mad Cow, E Coli and different illness-causing organisms that the highly effective meals foyer prevents the federal government from regulating.

I knew from my very own analysis into different AIDS therapies that the US lags far behind different industrialized international locations in scientific analysis. Primarily as a result of it offers highly effective firms the facility to dictate most of analysis People scientists have interaction in and to suppress any damaging findings which may affect company profitability.

Sarcastically the US can not declare to be essentially the most highly effective financial pressure on the earth, a truth hardly ever acknowledged by the US media. Though they nonetheless characterize the world’s largest economic system, the US has much less and fewer sway over the Asian financial powerhouse represented by China, India, Japan and South Korea. The world media incessantly experiences on examples of the US authorities caving in to China and India throughout commerce and local weather change negotiations.

The lack of American financial affect needs to be apparent from the regular drop within the US greenback in relation to worldwide currencies. Nevertheless as a result of the mainstream media by no means makes this connection, it’s uncommon for many People to make it. It by no means happens to them that the primary cause for the surge within the worth of gasoline, meals and different imported commodities is the greenback’s loss in worth on the world markets.

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