I understand the sense of loss these men convey and I share it. What we may not share is the belief that the loss can be put entirely on our government and those who profit off of it. Damn Nixon for removing us entirely from the gold standard. Damn the Clinton's for their corruption. Damn Bush (the son) for the "war on terror". Damn Obama for the leap towards socialism (now furthered by Biden). I could go on but I'll leave it there. Until we shrink dramatically the federal government, until we live within our means and until the majority of US citizens return again to embracing our Constitutional Republic, Bill of Rights and foundational principals the decline will continue. Lets hope more awake to the evils of big government and socialism.

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Could there be less incarceration in China and Russia because they “disappear” the dissidents and criminals?

I am nearly 75 yrs old and grew up in the gray times your anecdotes described. Such a full life and full of optimism! Now I do believe that America is done - and I am not sure why. What do the people trying to ruin the best country in the world hope to accomplish? If it is power and control, the shorter lifespans and lower birth rates will give them a lot less of us to control and fewer people to produce the foods and services that enable a good life.

Quite depressing! My father fought in WWII to stop exactly what is being done in our country. He is rolling over on his grave.

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Exactly how I feel. As a Canadian growing up close to the border I spent a lot of time in the USA. I don't recognize the USA now. It's populated by two armed camps who hate each other. Since 2016 we have actively avoided travel in the USA which is truly unfortunate because many of the most beautiful places on earth are there. Whatever happened to civility? Whatever happened to live and let live. I sincerely hope that America can find its way. It won't do so at gunpoint.

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Arrived in California in 1967 at the start of my career. So exciting to be in sunny Golden California. It was a feeling so full of promise and excitement. Now when I visit family still there I can’t wait to get back home. It has lost what it once was. Unfortunately much of the USA Urban centers have also. That’s why I like living in a rural area now.

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Freedom is what people want. Capitalism is what is symbiotic with Freedom. California used to be great. Now the people are not having such a great time. But still, apparently, they vote for Democrat- Socialists. Deep State prison cities are depressing. One reason however that China has fewer people in prison, if you don’t count the million plus Uyghurs in concentration camps, is because they kill a lot of their inmates. That’s a deterrent.

The leviathan government in the USA has become a metastatic cancer. We are destroying ourselves through a thousand cuts by bureaucracy and very few benefit. It’s not sustainable. If we can’t fix it, it will fix itself, but with a lot more collateral damage.

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Sep 15·edited Sep 15

Hello Mr Bonner. Today, your written words held a vice like grip on this native son of California. And, without exception, every word spot on for one who has personally experienced that arch of time.

Is America Destined to Fall Like Rome? Victor Davis Hanson addresses this in video form here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR40MYBjSm8 …replace the word America with a different country, a different state, province, place or people…

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Yes, America is in decline, but this quote from Bill's column today is almost laughable:

"China and Russia, said to be ‘repressive’ regimes, actually leave many more of their citizens at liberty than the US. China has more than three times as many people as the US, but only half as many behind bars."

Yes, I must have missed the transition as Russia and China are now bastions of liberty because their prison populations are lower than in the USA. Just ignore the fact that China was sealing its citizens in their apartments during COVID. And, of course, both countries have a free press and allow their citizens freedom of opinion without any interference from the government. Bill, did you ever think that both countries are just large prisons where their citizens can wander about in the prison yard as long as they don't criticize the "guards"? You see, it's the threat of being jailed for speaking your mind that keeps the number of citizens incarcerated low in Russia and China. Or maybe they are just terminated rather than incarcerated. Not that the Progressive/Fascist/Nihilists don't want the USA to head in that direction, but at least we have a vocal opposition who can speak out without being jailed. This is what happens when you look at one tiny part of the big picture and ignore the context.

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Make America Great Again! The fight against the USSR, ok, but when that ended so too should have USA "world policeman" and those peace dividends gone back home. But not to be. Also, it made some sense during the cold war to allow nations like Germany, Korea, Japan and Canada to eat some of the USAs lunch by way of advantageous trade to them. But then comes China and combined with massive unfair, unethical trade practices,that tipped the scale and witness rapid USA decline in their industries. People went from designing, engineering and making things in America to "made in China" with the associated destruction of communities left with no means for it's citizens to earn a decent living. Unless of course you had a government job, or even better a job connected to the military machine on one side or the "climate change" mandarins on the other spectrum. Now America is still number one...tech, innovation, Universities, but it CAN'T pay for both "guns and butter" without either big cuts or massive tax raises. The US Congress, Senate and executive branch need to actually face this reality and fix the nation. Otherwise the rich poor divide will get much worse and the Republic will exist in name only.

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Well my story is a tad different folks!

A 10 day fly in Fly out to Clearwater FLA late July to spend family time. Fifth time in country since 1986. Yes have been around different parts over the years, it’s a hell of a great country & I’ve met great folks white, black & brindle (fellow ex West Indians!)

DallasFW, entry hub after direct 15 hrs from Melbourne Aust.

- Queues 45 minutes long, Immigration & then 45 again customs.

- No one bitching or carrying on, just getting on with it - we were all moving along coz lots of folks were traveling.

- Same when leaving Tampa >Dallas to Sydney. Couple of delays but fixed without too much fighting.

Florida places, shops, walking streets was great where I was, folks polite, good and friendly.

Guess I must’ve been lucky, just in a regular dude suburb not McMansion, based on all the misery you folks chatting here have to now experience.

Maybe as a “G’day!” Aussie, was seen as an old-fella-weird-one, by still wanting to be Stateside despite you all down the drain!!

Yes ... will still stop by again, especially Red FLA.

We all got our own location challenges, Oz is no different, you just don’t hear about us much (or maybe ever!)

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It takes a special type of person to want that much control over a populace. A special type of individual that values their net worth, over those they rule.

Why send 40k troops to the jungles of Vietnam?

Money. It was a veritable testing ground for weapons, vehicles and ways to kill each other.

Why drop the connection between gold and the dollar?

Money. What better way to inflate the stock market, than with helicopter money printed on printing presses no longer tied to a tangible asset, and then fan the flames by keeping interest rates at or below zero.

Why drop the twin towers on 9/11?

That was an experiment to see if the entire planet could be made to buy into "fake news." And it worked. An entire new alphabet government agency was born out of that experiment - Homeland Security.

Not to keep people out. But to keep them in.

In prisons, under watch, keeping the circus going while giving us other things to worry about (gender, race, scandals, whether our shoes have bombs in them) instead of concentrating on what we need to be worrying about.

That the government should be run like a business. Instead of a circus. Full of clowns ready to make money disappear (mostly amongst themselves) as fast as they can print it.

Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of the clowns will be to burn the tent down.

Luckily, I will be living far away from that coming conflagration.

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I have lived in California since 1960 and my parents were both born here in the 1920s. Two basic problems with California today. Demographics and too many people. The phrase, “You can’t shove 10lbs of sh*t in a 5lb bag” sums it up nicely.

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I cannot remember the last time I heard a positive comment or read a flattering story about the USA. It may take a revolution to regain that luster.

I enjoy you columns!

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Interesting that 9/11 was picked. I believe our response to that event accelerated a trend of moral and fiscal decline dating to the assassinations (Kennedys, King); Great Society (massive over-expansion of government); and Vietnam (an evil, corrupt war). As P. J. O’Rourke noted in Parliament of Whores, the pigs have been bellying up to the trough since the country was founded. But over the past 60 years, the trough continued to expand while the slop thinned and diminished in nutritional content.

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Wayne Murray; LibertyAffair stole my thunder but I so, so heartedly agree...Your recounting those very important steps and the "freely elected" perpetrators of them speaks volumes. But lets forever not forget China is "Communist China". As far as free elections - don't hear the news and your uninformed, hear the news and your misinformed. Countless millions...

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In 1950, Western swing artist Bob Wills wrote and recorded his classic "Faded Love". Patsy Cline recorded a very emotional version in 1962. Both are great; I prefer the Patsy Cline version, but as they say, "Bob Wills is STILL the King". "Faded Love" states very closely my feelings about my country, America, to which I now refer merely as the USA. I use the designations as a delineation. Best always. PM

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I have to agree, spending time in California some 35 years ago. SF back in the day when bus tours of the City included a drive through the Castro district for a look at the local freaks. Who would have thought the freaks would take over the entire City including the government? A drive down the coastal highway, a ride on the cable car trolley, Carmel, Santa Monica, a few other spots.

I have no desire to go back, why let reality ruin the memories... paradise lost?

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