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The Suicide Banker

Think back to New Year's Eve 1999. The US was the strongest nation in human history, economically, politically, militarily, and most probably spiritually. The new millennium was going to bring great things for the world. Discovery of the human genome was opening new avenues to cure horrible diseases. American money was being used all over the world to improve living conditions for people previously without clean water to drink, safe shelter, medicinal support, and healthy sources of food. There was peace around the world. Russia was cooperating with America. China was growing economically but still not a threat militarily. The European Union was going to bring peace and prosperity for all. What happened?

Today, America is a divided country. Rich vs. Poor, liberal vs. Conservative, educated vs. the unschooled. Is this Obama's change?

Our Medicare and social security programs are collapsing. Our retirement pension funds have been decimated. Our jobs are not secure. Divorce and drug/alcohol abuse are poisoning our society. Our noble military is stretched thin and ravaged by post-traumatic stress and suicide. What happened?

GREED. Greed at all levels of society. Rampant greed led our financial systems into ruin. Confidence in our political and economic systems has evaporated. No one trusts anyone anymore. Cynicism controls our actions. Everyone is out stealing from everyone. Protectionism has taken over in our country and in our homes. People are hoarding food, gold, and ammunition. What happened?

Because of the national debt, we can't trust that Medicare and social security will be around for our children. Young people can't get jobs. Their dreams and hopes are vanishing. College education has gotten so expensive, that a movement has started to minimize it's importance. Where's the rational thinking? A college education is not so important? Are people crazy? What happened?

Medicines have gotten so expensive that patients can't afford them. As a physician, I see this every day. Many of my patients are dependent on office samples. They can't fill their prescriptions without a job and money in the bank. What happened? Where's the change?

The collapse of 2008 was predicted by many. Americans were spending like there was no tomorrow. Banks were irresponsibly loaning money to everyone, whether they could pay it back or not. Loan responsibilities were passed down the conveyor belt of greed. Everyone took their shares of the spoils. Hyenas ruled. It was a "free for all". What happened?

The mind of the suicide bomber is unidimensional. Ideology rules his decision-making. In order to kill his hated enemy, he or she is willing to kill himself. They feel that their life is not important enough to prevent the ultimate devotional sacrifice to their ideals. They generate terror in their enemies. But that terror is limited. Societies continue to function with safeguards. The world keeps on spinning.

The mind of the suicide banker has also become unidimensional. Greed rules his decision-making. In order to acquire personal wealth, the modern "investment" banker is willing to blow up civilized society. The casualties of his mistakes include our pension plans, our health-care system, our national security, our moral values, our families, the future of our children. These are crimes against humanity. How did our political system allow this. What happened?

Somehow, somewhere, we lost our beliefs in honor, courage, love, hope, justice, and even freedom. We lost our way. Our moral compass betrayed us all. Our "American Amaranth" melted away. This can not be our final fate as a nation. We owe it to all the previous generations of American patriots who gave everything for this country, the greatest land the world has given. I love my country. I want it to be strong and proud. I want it to be humane and just. I want her honor back. We must regain our virtues and righteous principles. We need a rebirth of our "American Amaranth". Our children are waiting patiently for us to save them. Don't let them down!


The Eyes Have It

Both Russian President Putin and US Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke shared a similar facial expression this past week. In televised press conferences from the G20 conference in Los Cabos, Mexico and the Fed in Washington DC, both Putin and Bernanke shared a similar mood. Their eyes expressed fear, worry, insecurity, and impending doom.

Watching Putin in Mexico made me feel that he will withdraw his support for Syrian President Assad in short time. He knows that he has been diplomatically defeated and is unlikely to continue to throw his weight behind a murderous regime. He will make concessions to the US. China and Iran will continue to support Assad.

Bernanke appears to be physically and emotionally stressed like never before. It was painful to watch his recent press conference on the state of our economy. He seems to be more worried than before. There's fear in his eyes. It's not comforting to see fear in your country's economic leader at a time like this. I suspect that more financial pain is coming our way.

Bernanke is a scholar in the "Great Depression". His face and eyes reminded me of a great physician mentor I once had, after diagnosing his own terminal illness. The realization of what's coming is enough to depress the most hardened warrior. I hope it's a misdiagnosis.


American Amaranth

America, the world's lone superpower, had overcome many dangerous foes in the twentieth century. Surmounting the challenges of the Great Depression, International Fascism, and Soviet Communism had led the United States to believe in a bright future for her people. However, the twenty-first Century began with an ominous tone for all Americans. The Terror attacks of September 11, 2001 had exposed the soft underbelly of America's civil liberties and the potential power projection of international radical Islamic Terrorism. 9/11 had also revealed the future risks to America from rogue nuclear regimes in Iran and North Korea and uncovered their close supportive relationship with the People's Republic of China.

The Great Economic Collapse of 2008 in the developed world followed successively by the destabilizing Arab Revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East, and the Euro Meltdown in 2011 with its consequential implications to the future world economy have brought the planet to the brink of chaos. National austerity measures in the Western democracies are leading to progressive protectionism and isolationism. Currency wars are expanding into trade wars. Natural resource, economic and demographic competition between nations with vastly different cultural and political ideologies is leading to increasingly more belligerent relations and inflammatory rhetoric. The development of a nuclear weapons program in Iran and her theocratic government's public statements of annihilating the state of Israel have generated great paranoia throughout the Middle East and disrupted the region's balance of power. The Persian Gulf's critical oil reserves have potentially become open to coercive blackmail. In addition, China's illegal claims on the oil riches of the South China Sea have created disharmony among her Southeast Asian neighbors and put in jeopardy the future of the free commercial sea routes through the region. The world's fragile economic condition is susceptible to further collapse with rising oil prices. To say that the world is advancing towards international military conflict would be a great understatement. The novel you are about to read is of love and war in the new American Century. It is set in the near future when the disposition of nations will likely be more aggressive and intolerant.  It is told in a time which possibly could be America's most challenging and dangerous in her history. It is a story of a man's love for his country, family, and most of all his wife. It is a story of the eternal nature of love and faith in one's moral values. It speaks of loss, revenge and redemption. It highlights the pereverance of the American Spirit in the face of danger and sorrow. It reveals how people remain dutiful under extreme stress; moving forward  against perilous adversity when there is no other choice. It shows how love truly conquers all in the end.Above all, this story shows how "American Amaranth" will be a required essential in all of us if we expect to keep our great nation free and prosperous for our children.


Libertas Americana

Of all the complex creatures in the animal kingdom living on planet Earth, human beings are the only ones with a conscious mind. When mature, the human mind understands its own mortality. We all eventually must accept that one day, we die. In undertaking many of life's duties, people are sometimes asked to risk their lives in the process of attaining a specific critical social goal. Courage comes from proceeding with these tasks knowing full well that one may die in the process. As Aristotle once said,"Courage is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor."

In Homer's classic Greek epic poetry, the heroes were dramatically idealized to the extreme with respect to their courage. However, they remained mortal. Courage in an individual or character is not perceived if the subject is not mortal. A champion's courage is measured by his actions when knowing and still accepting thoroughly their dangerous potential consequences to life. A hero is what he is only when he perceives his own mortality.

Human history is composed from the acts of courageous valor and honorable sacrifice which have been required in man's eternal struggle for freedom. The instinctual need and drive to live free has literally written the "Epic of Man". A steady state equilibrium in the freedom of man has never been attained in the several thousand year history of "civilized" mankind. It appears that freedom, like life itself, is fleeting and not eternal. Nevertheless, human beings continue to strive and die for it.

In the first two decades of the twenty-first century, America had experienced the horrors of the 9/11 Terror attacks and the subsequent "Global War on Terrorism". Years of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq had bled America dry, economically, politically and socially. The "Great Economic Collapse" of 2008 and the subsequent European Union meltdown led to the fall of governments around the world and numerous trade and shooting wars. Revolutions in several Arab nations in North Africa and the Middle East eventuated in the poisoning of relations with the United States. The rise of nuclear terror regimes in Iran and North Korea, and their support from the People's Republic of China, finally ended in global war against the United States and her allies in 2016. America's victory in the world war spurred the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.

Unfortunately, these years also saw the resurgence of Fascism in Central and Eastern Europe. Radical ultra-nationalist right-wing extremist movements spread like a wildfire throughout the region. Fascist ideology consumed the political process in Russia and Germany and led these nations to form a "Friendship Alliance" against the interests of the United States. In conjunction with similar movements in other European nations, an anti-American, anti-Globalist bloc was formed to rid the continent of American influence. A complex plan of Terror against America was formulated by fascist militants and put into action.

In Libertas Americana, Book Two of the American Amaranth Anthology, brothers Julius and Michael Stansfield are brought together by CIA Director Joseph Mitrano in a mission to Europe to stop a terror plot destined for the American homeland. Assisted by other CIA and US Naval Intelligence officers, and agents from France, Switzerland, Poland and the Ukraine, the Stansfields take the reader on a high-risk odyssey along the Danube, Main, and Rhine rivers in a classic tale of "Good versus Evil".

As in Homer's idealized epic heroes, the mortal fears, strengths, and weaknesses of a diverse cast of champions are studied philosophically. The villain antagonists are also morally investigated in detail. The virtues espoused in American Amaranth are seen in the actions of the various individual proponents of liberty throughout the novel.

The journey on which you are about to embark follows a cast of freedom fighters as they risk their lives to stop a human calamity. Their thoughts and emotions are dissected to better understand the concepts of honor, courage, hope, love, justice, and the need for liberty. It explores the human mind and all its complexities in the eternal struggle for freedom. I pray that the reader comes to better understand the values which make America the greatest land the world has given. I hope you enjoy this journey into self-discovery.


The Long Road Home

The world is in the midst of an economic war of attrition. As in a marathon road race, countries, like runners, try to position themselves to survive the race and win it, if possible. The stronger and better trained one is prior to the start of the race, the better your chances for success. Winning requires careful planning and an understanding of your opponents' weaknesses. Weaker opponents will try to sabotage the stronger competitors to even the odds. The stronger competitors study the weaker and capitalize wherever possible.

All of America's enemies depend completely on the American and Western European economies in order to thrive in this world. Russia, China, and the oil producing radical Islamic nations are all ultimately dependent on Western consumption to survive as political entities. North Korea, being subservient to big brother China, is in this group as well.

If America consumes less due to recession, Chinese factories close, and the Chinese national economy grinds down. Chinese workers lose their ability to provide their families a decent life and begin to protest against their oligarchal communist regime. With 1.4 billion people, Chinese leaders can never feel safe in their ability to control the masses. If the masses rebel, the regime falls and the country splits apart.

Russia and Iran depend on high oil and energy prices to maintain their governments in power. Their people were unhappy when the price of oil was over $100/barrel. Let's see what happens when the price comes down to $60 for an extended period of time. How safe are these regimes from their own people? Their leaders will have to sleep with one eye open. Their cultural survival will be at stake.

In essence, America is disproportionately damaging her enemies with the global recession. It's a machination to weaken those who wish for the destruction of democracy in this world. "The Western Way of Life" will survive this, our enemies will not.

Not ignorant to the facts, our enemies will initially do everything in their power to weaken the Western World. They will try to divide Europe from the US politically and support anti-American programs in the United States. China will threaten to sell their US government debt. Russia and Iran may attempt to coerce decreased oil production to drive up prices. None of this will work in the long term, and they know it.

In the end, Russia will need to come over to our side. They know that negotiations on Arctic energy policy and future energy sales to Europe hang in the balance. If they don't support the United States in her plans for global peace, they will pay a high economic cost for the next 100 years. The better part of their nature will eventually force them to agree and cooperate with America.

On the other hand, China, North Korea, and Iran are much more ideological players. They will resist at every turn. They sense that America is slowly going to strangulate them. The recent US "Pacific Pivot", consisting of increased American naval and military appropriations to the Western Pacific and South China Sea regions, tells China in no uncertain terms that America is ready for war if necessary. China will increase their own naval buildup in the region and may even strike in the South China Sea before America's position is complete by 2020. Tensions will rise dramatically over the next few years.

As the Iranian economy dies, Iranian military extremism will increase. Their plans for control of Syria and Lebanon will be directly contested by the US, Britain, France, and Israel very shortly. The stage is being set for a showdown in the Middle East. The full process may take a few years to reach a climax, but a crisis point will occur unless Iran falls from within beforehand.

So as you see, we are in a marathon race with our enemies. This long road of economic attrition will have numerous casualties, many of them friendly. It is an accepted part of the process to weaken those that want our national demise. In the end, they will suffer much more existential damage than the "Freeworld". American capitalism and democracy will survive and be stronger than ever before. American ingenuity will outlast all others. There may be ugly offshoots from this process in Europe. Radical extremist Fascism is likely to re-emerge during hard economic times. America will deal with that as it has dealt with all her problems throughout her history. The virtues of "American Amaranth" will stand the test of time. Honor, courage, love, hope, freedom, and justice will guide our way, as they have done in the past. God bless our great country and our unique "American Amaranth".