Valenzuela's Veritas

In ominous times truth always finds a way out from darkness into light. Always. Through truth knowledge grows into the power and strength to question the actions of governance. In times that try men's souls it is those who seek enlightenment who are truly free. Given the choice of possessing ignorance or knowledge, even when ignorance would lead to an easier life, I would choose knowledge,thus escaping the life of sheeple, escaping the bondage of not knowing, not caring and not understanding.


Manuel Valenzuela is a social critic, commentator, Internet essayist and author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel now published by His essays appear regularly at various alternative news websites from around the globe. Mr. Valenzuela welcomes comments and can be reached at He encourages readers to surf the collection of over 100 essays he has written which can be found visiting his archives and by searching the Internet. He welcomes comments at

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Enter the Empire


Comfort and Masquerades

The wealthiest nation-state the world has ever seen has for the last sixty years been standing atop the upper crust of humankind, basking in the splendor of unfathomable richness, enjoying unprecedented standards of living, accumulating power and control at tremendous speed and becoming, at the expense of the planet and its inhabitants, the latest incarnation of Rome. America, that city on a hill, from where modern man’s guiding light emanates, that nation anointed by man’s imaginary deity, has, since the end of World War II, become the most powerful nation humankind has ever produced.

Today, 300 million people live inside its borders, enjoying levels of comfort and luxury never before seen. America has for the last two centuries become the nation whose attractiveness has become a magnet to millions upon millions of immigrants from all corners of the globe. No other nation on Earth has the wealth of the United States, and only a few countries come close to matching its immense power. It is this enormous wealth and comfort, leaps beyond that of most nations, along with myriad number of freedoms and rights for decades granted its people, that compel humans everywhere to try to migrate inside its borders.

Indeed, while most people of the world, billions strong, still struggle to subsist and survive on a daily basis, scrapping to eat, clothe and house themselves, living in shantytowns and slums and shacks and ghettos and cardboard huts, lacking the basic infrastructure and investments for adequate living, most citizens of the new Rome face no such hurdles or difficulties. To the millions residing inside the bowels of the Empire, the obstacles, anxieties and problems facing billions never become an issue or a reality that must be confronted on a personal and daily basis. Indeed, the gap between Americans’ standards of living and that of most of the world’s people is enormous to the point of absurdity.

Most Americans do not go hungry, they do not subsist on two or five dollars a day, or anywhere close to that, having to toil in sweatshops or relying for food on the scavenger techniques of family members combing through a landfill. They do not have to combat embedded corruption or the complete looting of their treasure. Americans have not had to live in tyranny, in dictatorship, in despotism, having to suffer the consequences of turmoil, of disease, mass drought and internal strife. They have not had to suffer through insecurity, war, and state sanctioned rape and murder.

Americans enjoy liberties, freedoms and rights that few peoples are allowed to possess in their native lands. In fact, it is those nation-states that are under the grip of America, those with puppet regimes loyal to the Empire and not their people, that paradoxically are prevented from enjoying the freedoms and rights and liberties that the Empire bestows upon its populace. It is those American sponsored dictators, royalty and puppet politicians that are often cited for fostering and nurturing the worst violations of human rights. It is in those foreign lands dominated by America where one is likely to find that democracy is non-existent and the rights of the people easily expendable.

Yet, it is those freedoms that Americans take for granted that are in many instances denied to billions, and it is those rights strongly desired by billions that are presently being eroded in America by the indifference of millions. For, in reality, the Empire has rarely, if ever, cared for the rights and freedoms of the peoples of the world, though to hear her words would be to believe the opposite. Actions, however, speak louder than words. And in her actions, the Empire has shown an indifference to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for billions of human beings. This truth can be seen in Africa, Asia and Latin America, where for years billions of people have been held captive – much to their detriment and suffering – to America and her puppets and proctors.

To the elite that control the Empire, the principles of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights are but a hollow illusion designed to wet the pants of human beings everywhere, especially to the citizens of the Empire itself. Like much of what America stands for, with its glazed and revisionist history, its self-created exceptionalism, its fictional values and beliefs, these documents are but a myth used as a tool to pacify and retain a compliant people. By offering the necessary amount of freedoms and rights, by allowing us to have liberties we demand, the elite placate the fire within us, containing a populace that is better controlled through calmness than by anger and animosity. Content with our conditioned illusions and myths, our belief that we live in the greatest nation the world has ever seen, we are less likely to stir trouble, even as the Empire decimates and subjugates the planet.

There is no doubt that those living inside the belly of the Empire have a much better life than most human beings, yet it is also true that because of this comfort level, because of our high standards of living, we are less likely to rise in anger or frustration. We are less likely to question the state or its elite, thereby helping to maintain a status quo where the powerful are free to grow in power not only over the rest of the world, but over us as well. Because we live in adequate comfort, with few worries of survival or fears of entering perpetual indigence, we are less likely to demand change or confront the criminality of leaders.

Indeed, the genius behind our silent passivity, our indifference to confront wrongdoing, our inability to detect what is being done to us, is in the elite giving us a bigger piece of the pie than has ever been given the masses. The elite of the Empire has found that by granting us slightly larger crumbs, bones and scraps than before, by willing to forego slight sums of change, the masses can be more easily directed and controlled. By giving us what amounts to a comfortable lifestyle, beyond the realm of squalor and subsistence, under the illusion that we own our own destiny, that we are not serfs or slaves to the system, the elite have discovered a formula that in essence is the gift that keeps on giving.

Not only do the masses remain passive and quiet, not only do they obey commands better and become more acquiescent to the dictates of the elite, they also become even bigger cogs in the system itself, becoming the spark plugs of Empire, the automatons of capitalism, consuming and producing, producing and consuming, returning all wages earned back to their masters, all for a little extra comfort, a little extra ego boosting. The elite formula for success is thus an attack on our human need to live in comfort, in attacking our inability to control our vices such as greed, gluttony and the desire to continue accumulating material wealth.

Thanks to the extra crumbs, bones and scraps given to us the elite are better able to unleash the machinations of the system upon our unsuspecting masses. Together with the continued and purposeful dumbing down of America’s youth and the incessant manipulation of our minds through television, the comfort level we have today – though never before attained by human beings – has created a populace slow to wake and slower still to question.

The genius of all three mechanisms mentioned above, intertwined and fused together like a new strand of mutated DNA, is that the modern day version of Rome is free to do as it pleases, both domestically and abroad, without suffering the repercussions and animosity of its citizens. With its most potent enemy – the people themselves – contained and in check, free of anger and the flames of dissent, the elite at the helm of the Empire can stay the course well into the future, heading straight to long-planned goals of continued exploitation, subjugation and control over billions of human beings.

Thus can be seen in this present incarnation of Empire building that, unlike most nations, domestic disturbance, protest and dissent in America remains a controllable nuisance bearing no threat to the system. Compliant and obedient, the American people have little to complain about, certainly no grievances to bear or demands to be made, unlike so many billions of human beings who take to the streets in united anger and resentment, their flames still lit passionately with the call of injustice or the shout of corruption. In many parts of the world, taking to the streets to demand change remains a power not yet extinguished. In America, this power of the people has for all intents and purposes been made obsolete, with the fire of protest and dissent now extinguished by a flame-retardant called greed, gluttony and the pursuit of materialistic comfort.

Empire Addicted, People Castrated

The materialist freedoms given over the last two centuries to the citizens of America have allowed the nation to prosper magnificently in the short run. However, these freedoms have been granted without seeing or envisioning the irreparable damage being done to it in the long term. It can be said that in order to secure short-term prosperity and unparalleled wealth accumulation, the long run success of the Empire has been sacrificed, for unsustainable accumulation of wealth cannot be maintained without destroying the very bosom that feeds it sustenance in the first place. Thus, in a battle between saving the environment and saving the Empire, the environment will sadly, and to our great detriment, always lose.

The destruction of the environment, from where natural resources are derived, later becoming the wealth and capital of the Empire, will thus continue unabatedly until it can be exploited no longer, for the environment is a finite resource, not an unending stream of dollar bills coming off the printing presses. With the depletion of the world’s environment and its resources already under tremendous strain and pressure, the Empire will not be able to sustain its wealth and power, forcing it to confront the reality that the same short-term thinking that engendered its power has now guaranteed its collapse. To combat this potential threat to its hegemony, a nation already saturated in arrogance will become even more predatory, more imperialist, forced through greed and gluttony to target regions of the planet whose resources, both human and natural, it desperately craves.

Like a heroin addict desperately in search of a fix, a rising Empire whose vision and greed only allowed it to see in the exploitation of the short term will find itself in need of an ever-greater hit, for like an addict, ever more quantities are needed to satisfy an ever-increasing craving for a high. Therefore, in its pursuit for the last vestiges of wealth accumulation through resource exploitation, the Empire will be forced to become ever more authoritarian, both at home and abroad. It will become ever more desperate, ever more willing to push the limits of human morality. To sustain itself, to attain the same level of gluttony that only increases with each passing decade, the world entire will become fair game to the war machine of the Empire. This will of course include its citizens as well, for most have been, are and will become expendable in the pursuit of global hegemony.

The very freedoms and rights of the citizenry will in the approaching future become hindrances in sustaining and expanding the Empire, for to maintain and enhance its power well into the future, the Empire must inevitably become even more imperialist, more predatory, more criminal in nature. In short, in order to sustain its ever-growing appetite, its addiction to comfort and wealth, it must dominate ever more egregiously the nations, peoples and resources of the world. The quest for Empire is akin to making a deal with the devil, though the demons you create along the way are not beholden to any deal. And, as invariably happens, imperialism and the quest for Empire abroad results in the loss of freedoms, rights and liberties at home, for Empire and freedom are mutually exclusive and diametrically opposed concepts.

In order to dominate nations and peoples, in order to rape and pillage and exploit foreign resources and land, the Empire must make extinct democracy at home, for the will of the people must not be allowed to be heard. It must destroy freedoms and rights, the better to control a population, the better to rule an Empire. Inevitably, the Empire fears its own people most, for only the people can put a stop to it and its imperialist machinations. Therefore, the power granted the people must be methodically altered or abolished, whichever is easiest to accomplish, whichever is cheaper to implement.

Done gradually, over the course of years, quietly and without debate, the elite thus succeed in castrating the means by which the people can light the flame of change. Once the masses wake to a nation without rights and freedoms, once they open their eyes to a state without democracy and liberty, it is too late to rise in unity. The damage has been done, the laws have been erased, the rights have been eviscerated. Before the masses know it, under the rubric of fear and insecurity, under the guise of patriotism and defending the fatherland, democracy has been replaced by authoritarianism, rights and freedoms have given way to a police state, and liberty's death knell has begun to sound the last cries of a nation that is no more.

In 21st century America, the so-called New American Century, the fireworks ushering in the rise and further pursuit of Empire began on September 11, 2001. On that day, as anybody with an IQ of over 80 can plainly see, as has become quite apparent to anyone still not blinded by faith or vested interests, the World Trade Center was demolished by elements of the American government and the military-industrial-energy complex. Corporatist America had risen from the ashes and pulverized concrete of lower Manhattan, unleashing the psychological war on the American people needed to embark on a course for naked imperialism. What had for decades been done clandestinely through market colonialism and economic genocide would suddenly be made visible through the unleashing of American military might.

While imperial building through clandestine domination had succeeded brilliantly over the years, it would only be through military might and conquest that Empire could continue its heavenly dictum of manifest destiny. Only through the acquiescence of the masses could Project Empire be allowed to flourish. Using the fear and insecurity of the people against themselves, using the chosen Arab scapegoat as America’s new evildoer extraordinaire, marketing the much needed protection of the nation against dark-skinned bogeymen, the usurpation of our freedoms and rights commenced, just as the elite had always wished, just as had been planned.

The subsequent Patriot Act and its progeny, the acceptance of torture and false imprisonment, the decimation of habeas corpus, due process and the Constitution, the shredding of the Bill of Rights, the burning of the Geneva Convention and the marginalization of the United Nations has utterly and devastatingly destroyed the last 200 years of human enlightenment. Yet not surprisingly, the American people have remained silent and passive to a one sided war against their freedoms and rights, choosing to believe their protection from fictional enemies is worth the complete destruction of their cherished freedoms.

Such is the genius of comfort, materialism, television, dumbed down education and the inside job of 9/11 that today most Americans remain oblivious to the present state of their country, and their lives. Through the horrific acts of 9/11, the people consented, under the spell of hatred, in an orgy of warmongering rapture, to the continued assault both of their last remaining rights and to an undeclared war to build and maintain Empire.

The consequences of this submissive act will haunt the world and us for years to come.

Extinction and Usurpation

With every war for resources, quest for land and battle for geostrategic and geopolitical territory the Empire will face growing opposition from many of its own citizens, most tired of and opposed to war, tired of sacrificing, both treasure and blood, and many outraged at the crimes of their government. With growing unpopularity at what is being done, with growing strains on the masses and with the resulting blowback from nations and peoples being threatened, attacked and decimated, the state will erode all those powers granted the people.

Over the course of time, the state will make extinct the freedoms and liberties and rights that no longer serve the interests of the Empire and its elite. For to the state and its Establishment, those powers given the People over 200 years ago have no more relevancy in the modern world, in the modern America, a nation simply fulfilling its heavenly mandate of manifest destiny. To those in power the corporatist element now running the nation, democracy, freedom, rights and liberties are an outmoded inconvenience, having become a hindrance in governing what is invariably turning into an authoritarian state. For we have become the Pax Americana, an empire to rival and surpass Rome, fulfilling a mandate sent from the imaginary god above.

In its pursuit of Empire, America is only laying claim to a path she has taken since its inception, that of taking the logical giant leap beyond her shores and borders, creating a reality far beyond the known, or expected, creating for herself a righteous seat beside the great empires of history, following manifest destiny to the upper reaches of human achievement, fulfilling the destiny her delusional elite undoubtedly have concocted for themselves. This path to Empire, to the detriment of billions, including millions within her borders, seems like the next step for a nation-state that since its inception has never stopped expanding, either economically or territorially, incorporating greed and gluttony into its mantra, in the process laying waste to man and land in unfathomable measures, caring nothing for environmental degradation, carbon dioxide emissions, economic strangulation, mass death, untold suffering and the inescapable poverty for billions of human beings.

The United States of the Founding Fathers, of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has long since vanished over the last century, victim to its own success, its own addictions and greed. It is no more, even if it ever was, even if we believe it to still be. Capitalism, in its most toxic stages, along with unrestrained power and control by the elite, has made sure of that. Like a greedy, pathological corporation, America has grown by leaps and bounds, becoming addicted to its own hubris, its own wealth, arrogantly wishing the destruction of competition and the monopolization of its culture. It has undertaken a hostile takeover of the world, exploiting, oppressing, invading and subjugating both people and land, caring only for power and profit, reaching out to new markets for cheap labor and resources. Like a predatory corporation, it has bought out regulating bodies, today controlling all aspects of the World Bank, the IMF, WTO and the United Nations, dictating to the world how reality will be run.

The America we believe in is no more and this reality must be understood by the people residing inside its bowels. The America of our youthful brainwashing, of our lifelong conditioning, of fictional television shows, of our dreams and ideals is a myth, a fantasy that, while ingrained deeply into our minds, must be understood for the reality that it at present is. It has become a Grim Reaper for millions, an economic torturer to millions more, using both economic and financial methods to ruin the lives of billions whose only faults lie in being born in lands the Empire covets, underneath resources her insides crave.

It destroys families and livelihoods through its control of banks, corporations, governments and neoliberal institutions, creating mass poverty and hunger, mass unemployment and oppression, mass migration north. For it is easy to blame brown skinned immigrants for crossing as undocumented workers, traversing scorching hot deserts to reach a better life, risking death and crime to seek the pursuit of happiness. For when food runs out man must go in search of it, lest he stay to die of hunger.

Of course to millions of the Empire’s citizens, themselves products of migration, it is much harder to accept that it is the Empire itself, and its consumer gluttony in particular, that demands the exploitation of third world labor and resources, of cheap foodstuffs, timber, oil and minerals. It is the Empire itself that creates the conditions by which the poor of the world are forced to migrate inside America. Unable to compete with unfair trade practices that make farming unprofitable, unable to secure employment because the Empire’s tentacles destroy a nation’s safety net, unable to afford the Empire’s products and prices, unable to make a living due to privatization of the state’s enterprises, forced to accept the slave wages offered by the Empire’s corporations, the poor of a nation, especially one bordering the Empire itself, must make a decision that to anybody with an ounce of empathy, is quite obvious.

Such is reality for billions of humans who stand not a chance at having a fruitful life as long as the Empire dominates and controls human reality, all throughout the world, as long as its citizens continue to believe it is American exceptionalism, not its market colonialism and economic genocide, that are the true reason for the migration of today’s undesirables and untouchables into America. It is this delusion, that America is the great city on a hill, the true beacon of light for the world, and not the reality that it is the great birth mother of human suffering and indigence, that must be made extinct.

Empire or no empire, whether from developed or undeveloped lands, we are all humans, bleeding the same color, suffering the same fears, experiencing the same emotions. We, all 6.7 billion of us, are stuck in this little planet. We are all in this human reality together.

Delusions of Manifest Destiny

What began as a great experiment in human enlightenment has turned into a genetically modified monster, going from late 18th century miracle to a phenomenon on steroids, catapulting beyond its own age, wisdom and control, becoming an overgrown Frankenstein now unleashing terror upon the world. Once a state among nations, America has become an Empire among client states, its massive tentacles reaching to all corners of the planet. America is indeed an Empire, transforming itself over the last sixty years into a giant monolith, becoming a schoolyard bully, an insecure tyrant, pretending to be humankind’s salvation, clandestinely assuring our collapse.

Its militancy continues to grow, with 750 military bases worldwide. It invests more on military spending than the entire world combined, obviously preferring the nurturing of soldiers than the education of its people. For years it has abandoned the needs of its people, showing the world that its priorities lie in expansion, exploitation and in dumbing down its citizenry than in providing healthcare and education, even as it is the wealthiest nation on the planet. It has made it known that it prefers to lead through aggression and military might than in the ability and intelligence of its people. It has shown that it cares nothing for its citizens, seeing them as expendable automatons, mere cogs in a system of unsustainable production and consumption. To the elite, we are collateral damage in pursuit of Empire, whether we die in new Pearl Harbors or in the inevitable blowback of an Empire gone awry.

The Empire, thinking itself exceptional and omnipotent, has begun overextending itself throughout the world. It has begun to rub shoulders with powerful and potential adversaries. It has unleashed forces in Central Asia that might invariably become the harbinger of armed conflict between itself and Russia and China. The world’s last remaining oil fields will soon become battlefields between the world’s heavyweights, for the age of resource wars is upon us. Soon the dwindling supplies of natural resources, with oil and water being the most important, will create violent competitions among nations and peoples, for embedded in our nature is the instinct of survival. In the next few decades we will witness war like we have never seen it, with the Empire at the helm, eager to conquer and destroy, eager to defend puppets and tyrants, ready to exploit and control the last vestiges of humankind’s resources.

The exploitation of Africa, central Asia and perhaps South America is setting the world on a collision course with an enormous iceberg whose giant size we cannot yet see, or fathom. Wars between the Empire and would-be superpowers, with the potential to end all life on Earth at the push of a few buttons, could be an inevitable result of the confrontation that is slowly, but surely, growing and heating up. This trend can be seen, and is readily apparent, through a pattern of behavior that the Empire is exhibiting, thinking itself the heir to Rome, an unbeatable entity whose reign will last a millennia. This hubris can be seen through threats, intimidation tactics, over-extension into lands controlled by others and through its reckless endeavor to upset the global balance of states. With such arrogance, greed and an addiction to its consumerist and capitalist system, with so little regard for history and its many lessons, can war with Russia or China be far behind? Will future wars of aggression against third-world nations rich in natural resources continue?

Will the American people ever wake up to the destruction of their cherished rights and freedoms, knowing that one more 9/11 false flag type incident will be enough for the elite to make extinct all remaining illusions of liberty and democracy? The lust for Empire in America has blinded the elite to reality, and its people to the approaching storm. The world entire has realized the danger to the world of the unrivaled superpower, hijacked by greed and addiction to vice.

Rising superpowers are aware they are being targeted and threatened, for what was the Iraq invasion turned debacle but a preemptive move against Russia, China, India and the European Union, designed to control Iraq’s vast oil fields? What is the approaching storm in Iran but the continuation of the Empire’s power grab of natural resources, of putting in place those nations who have not fallen in line with the Empire’s vision of the future? What is Afghanistan but a beachhead into central Asia, a pipeline route to vast oil fields, a grand prize in the great chess match between nations?

In the grand chessboard of geostrategic and geopolitical realpolitik, the invasion and occupation of Iraq served notice that the Empire was declaring the 21st century America’s century, fully willing to embark on a most ominous journey of resource acquisition and control, through war, if it had to, through peace, if rivals acquiesced and submitted, bending down to kiss the royal ring of Empire. Iraq was and is seen as a new American colony, its oil now belonging to the Anglo-American enterprise, its 100 acre embassy, larger than Vatican City, serving to remind the world that Iraq will never be abandoned, it will never be relinquished. Its prize, besides the oil fields, is the geostrategic location it provides, opening up a giant military presence in the Middle East and central Asia. The availability of its two rivers, providing enormous amounts of water to the Arab world, assures America of control over the Middle East in this respect as well.

The endgame, of course, is Empire, the inevitable continuation of manifest destiny, begun long ago, traversing through time and space, exterminating everything in its way. The opportunity to be recorded in history as a rival to Rome has also become a large incentive to those whose egos are larger than their intellect. The endgame, as always in the system called capitalism, is resource control, human exploitation, wealth maximization, competitor extermination and power unrivaled.

This is the new ideology of the new America, not your grandfather’s or mother’s nation, not the country of innocence, of yesteryear, of tradition, altruism and virtue. The new America is the Pax Americana, where to see its reality one must look at its actions, not its public relations, its trends, not its words. In this new America you and I are mere numbers, cogs in the system, the collateral damage in the pursuit of Empire. In this new America, profit is put ahead of people, the rights of corporations are placed in front of those of humans and the freedoms and liberties we once enjoyed are mere hindrances and obstacles to those wishing to destroy the very fabric of what once was a great beacon on a hill.

Enter the Empire, but be made aware, through its door lies a new paradigm, a new America, land of the meek, home of the slave. Through rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air nations are attacked, thousands of people are killed. In the dawn’s early light can we see the carcass of dying freedoms and rights, of a democracy that is but a mirage of control, a predetermined manipulation. In the new America We the People have become We the Sheeple. The government of, by and for the People is now a government of, by and for the Corporations. We are ruled by corporatists and criminals, and soon a police state we will have.

Enter the Empire at your own risk, for she cares not an ounce for you or me, her beauty destroyed by greed and gluttony, her virtue made extinct by fascists and elites. Her foundations have crumbled, her pillars have collapsed. Where once was a city on a hill today only ruins of a once great nation stand, buried in the indifference and laziness and passivity of her once great people. The beacon of light that once shone bright no longer lights the world, for its flame now stands extinguished, its warm and comfortable glow made extinct by our own delusions of exceptionalism.

America is the Empire called, inevitably destined to fall, just as all Empire’s fall, a result of her greed, gluttony and arrogance, of her ignorance and her abandonment of the People. For while in the short term the Empire may seem prodigious and powerful, unrivaled and unmatched, history and the human condition teach us that in the long term she will overreach, overextend, become ever-more corrupted and become, invariably, the latest victim to her imperial hubris, the last creature to suffer her unwelcome fate.

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