Musings of an American Refugee in New Zealand

Regardless of my uncommon identify, I occur to be a lady. I’m additionally an American youngster and adolescent psychiatrist with greater than 30 years of apply underneath 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 choice in my upcoming ebook – The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee.

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

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

Mockingly it is just 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 overseas and home coverage. Owing to vigorous censorship that happens within the company managed media, a lot of this info is not available to US residents. Previous to the mid-nineties the US relied on financial dominance over smaller nations to extract a steady provide of low-cost sources they could not produce domestically – corresponding to gasoline, espresso, sugar, chocolate, nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers and platinum, nickel, chromium, cobalt and different strategic metals. With the decline in US financial energy over the previous 15 years, the federal government has come to depend on its navy may to amass the sources it wants to ensure Individuals’ 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 Individuals 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 recurrently problem and embarrass our authorities. Presently this kind of investigative reporting is extraordinarily uncommon within the American mainstream media.

An Awakening: the Value Individuals Pay for International Domination

The very first thing that hit me on waking up in a brand new nation was the big private price, by way of high quality life, that Individuals 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 nations within the OECD (22nd out of 30), Kiwis take as a right that their authorities will use their hard-earned tax to supply free well being look after all New Zealand residents, a program the general public considers important for the long run nicely being and sustainability of their nation.

In New Zealand it’s pretty simple to assist common well being care and the taxes that fund it, as a result of this nation does not invade or occupy different nations and bans using nuclear supplies as weapons or for vitality 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 inconceivable. There may be huge resistance to rising federal tax to pay for such a program, provided that Individuals 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 overseas nations it considers strategic to its pursuits. Prior 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 International locations

Extra importantly Individuals appear to have no say within the selections ensuing within the allocation of practically 50 cents of each tax greenback for navy associated spending. In reality in some ways the US is much much less democratic than different developed nations. Though polling exhibits Individuals do not wish to spend their tax spent on escalating the struggle in Afghanistan – that they wish to spend them on authorities sponsored well being care – the Obama administration does simply the other. Obama sends 35,000 further 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 road protests for enacting laws opposed by the vast majority of New Zealanders. But for some purpose Individuals appear to take as a right that they don’t have any say in selections which might be elementary, not solely to their very own private welfare, however to the long run financial viability and sustainability of their nation. It’s only in residing overseas that I’ve develop into conscious of this a deep resignation and apathy within the American public. It is a mindset I imagine stems from deep and pervasive political repression – which is crucial to keep up order in a society devoted to international navy dominance.

An Awakening: the Planet’s Latest Third World Nation

Clearly there are different vital the explanation why the US does not have publicly sponsored well being care like Zealand and all different industrialized nations. The channeling of a whole bunch of billions of tax 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 within the 2008 election to make sure that the Democrats and Obama shunned enacting publicly sponsored well being care. Nonetheless the prioritization of the navy conquest and occupation over the all home spending and the secrecy and deliberate misinformation over the outstanding price of struggle – an especially unpopular public coverage to start with – make it very troublesome for Individuals to grasp a lot much less have a voice in how their tax are spent.

The truth is that exponential will increase in US navy spending over the previous thirty years have resulted in deep cuts in home spending for training and vital social applications. A lot of the developed world understands and accepts that unmet social issues, corresponding to homelessness, psychological sickness and drug and alcohol abuse, illiteracy, unemployment, youngster poverty and youngster abuse significantly compromise the standard of life for your complete 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 finances has elevated exponentially over the previous thirty years, the dedication to common training, 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 an especially uneconomical use of presidency funds in a recession. At a mean price of $29,000 every (totaling practically 100 billion yearly), there isn’t any query that locking folks up is the costliest approach to handle 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 international navy domination will not be restricted to damaging financial penalties – particularly our lack of ability to satisfy fundamental well being, training, housing and social welfare wants. The lack of civil liberties over the past eight years can be extra typical of a 3rd world navy dictatorship than the participatory democracies loved by a lot of the developed world. This, too, was one thing I solely absolutely appreciated after shifting overseas.

A lot of the covert actions I describe in my ebook – 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. Nonetheless the US authorities engages in all these actions legally now, because of successive variations of the Patriot Act.

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

This lack of civil liberties additionally occurred in Rome, when its leaders have been pressured to desert their democratic type of authorities to pursue the wars of conquest that resulted within the formation of an enormous Roman Empire. Generally, navy conquest and occupation of overseas territory solely advantages a tiny elite on the highest stage of society. Bizarre individuals are naturally repulsed by the thought of struggle and virtually universally count on their hard-earned tax to be spent on public applications that immediately 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 Approach Individuals Assume

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 at school and as an grownup by way of the mainstream media. Once I first arrived in New Zealand I genuinely believed that the US was not solely the strongest navy and financial energy on the planet – it was additionally the perfect at practically all the pieces else.

I write about this discovery in my ebook. 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 planet.

I actually really feel fairly foolish that as a dedicated leftist I continued to imagine – as not too long ago as 5 years in the past – that the US was method forward of different nations in these areas, in addition to in navy and financial energy. At some stage I’ve recognized for at the very least 20 years that the US was much less democratic than different industrialized nations. I additionally knew that US companies had considerably weakened American financial affect by shifting its industrial base to sweat outlets abroad. Likewise I knew that air and water are significantly polluted within the US and its meals provide probably the most contaminated on the planet – 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 remedies that the US lags far behind different industrialized nations in scientific analysis. Primarily as a result of it provides highly effective companies the ability to dictate most of analysis Individuals scientists have interaction in and to suppress any damaging findings which may influence company profitability.

Mockingly the US can not declare to be essentially the most highly effective financial drive on the planet, 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 often studies 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 must be apparent from the regular drop within the US greenback in relation to worldwide currencies. Nonetheless as a result of the mainstream media by no means makes this connection, it’s uncommon for many Individuals to make it. It by no means happens to them that the primary purpose for the surge within the value of gasoline, meals and different imported commodities is the greenback’s loss in worth on the world markets.

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