Ok, so some advanced ideas from a world in which to stage books.
Somewhere in the near future. I’d estimate the range at +50 years at least, if not more, and there’s nothing stopping me from writing books from the different ‘stages’ of this, happening during the course of events.
A series of presidents in the US become increasingly more powerful. All part of the same family. The name ‘Trim’ struck me as amusing (bush/trim). After several presidencies of this family, they become powerful enough to rewrite some of the more fundamental laws of the manner in which the country is governed. Presidents can serve more than 2 terms. More power to the president with less checks and balances. Things become increasingly corrupt in the various houses until the party system deteriorates and devolves into just the people who supported the Trim family. Lobbying becomes the main mechanism by which laws are passed. The initial ‘cover’ of conservativism and family values eventually recedes to expose the core: greed. Anything for money. If you have enough of it, you can buy the gov’t and its laws. Education budgets continue to wane, military spending continues to increase. Natural resources continue to be plundered. Global warming accelerates. Oil is simply taken. Countries that oppose the US in getting what they want are simply squashed under the military might.
The UN eventually becomes a complete figurehead/pawn of the US gov’t. European Union governments are quietly brought under control and managed through new foreign policy committees. International trade organizations are eventually subsumed as well. Terrorism increases, despite best efforts, and become rampant in all parts of the world, regardless of ideology. They seem to all center on US interests, and no longer on religious backed efforts (although the core religions still play a part and some endorse these tactics).
Industrialized interests in the US are released from their confines from ECO-groups, and no longer worry about waste disposal and pollution. Smog is prevalent in all large cities, and even in smaller ones. Disposal services become to form, and end up dumping wastes in oceans and on remote islands that become ‘radiated zones’. After a final dispute with the US over shipping lanes and other interests, Cuba eventually becomes such an island, and is no longer populated except by the robotics running the waste disposal.
Crime rates rise, many cities institute a diluted form of martial law, and the local law enforcement turns to National Guard out of necessity, giving the high level gov’t even more control over the population at large. The DHS (Department for Homeland Security) eventually becomes responsible for all internal security in the country, ‘hiring’ private security companies all over the country to assist with monitoring the population. Information privacy and personal privacy becomes things of a clouded and vague past. Routine investigations into seemingly innocent people turn up arrests for very vague crimes, and very often disappear without any other information becoming available. All in the name of national security.
The Internet and information flow inside the US becomes heavily monitored, and (as a result), very slow. Liesure usage of that resource trickles down to a standstill. The trend of having every household connected eventually reverses, and personal internet connections are reserved to only the wealthiest citizens. The core backbone network providers eventually cave in to political pressures and are managed resources open almost exclusively to big business and military projects.
The health care system in the country continues to deteriorate. Eventually, only the wealthiest citizens are able to afford health care, and the large HMO and Pharma companies go under due to a lack of customers who can pay what they mandate. Doctors stop participating in national programs, and practice only locally, since they couldn’t pay the insurance premiums anyway. They begin implementing a bartering system for medical care, taking payment in money, food, goods, medical supplies, etc. This will eventually be the system used by everyone after the collapse.
The only pharmacological research that continues is in bio-weapons divisions of military projects. Ethical practices in testing are abandoned, and human trials (on criminals and otherwise terminal patients of other diseases) become commonplace.
These same trends are also mirrored (to a lesser degree, perhaps, and maybe lagged behind by years or so) by all first world countries, throughout the european union, and even into second world countries as well (whose laws were already lax enough to allow much of this type of activity).
At some point, at a time I still need to pick, one of the bio-research facilities has a problem (this might be one of the books?). Due to some disaster or other accident, the contents of one particularly potent virus or bioweapon is released into the general populace, and spreads by many vectors (airborne, water, animal and human carriers) to the entire population of the globe. Although some geographical areas are not touched (lack of exposure … maybe another book or two on these areas?), nearly 100% of the world population is exposed and infected. The disease manifests in a 2 week incubation period (where carriers are spreading the disease), 1 week of increasingly severe symptoms (talk to Ella on this. Get something particularly bad and trump it up some), and then eventually death. No known cures at all.
While all of the world is affected, there is a segment of the population of the world that is immune to its effects. Everyone is still a carrier, but roughly 20% of the world’s population doesn’t die (have this vary slightly by ethnicity).
During the final stages of the panic that surrounds the outbreak and spreading of this disease, the final president, Jeremiah Trim, makes his last decision. He decides by executive decision to turn our own nukes on several US cities to halt the spread of the disease. Several other nuclear capable countries do the same. Although not everyone called on to do so actually fires their nukes, several US cities are completely annihilated (New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Seattle). Rioting and mayhem in the remaining populace ensues, the military forces also end up with mass desertion and the current political regime is removed. Very few of the current political players survive (if any). The country (and in fact, most of the world) loses coherency, and things devolve into a particularly brutal few years of almost no order at all.