Monday, July 28, 2008

Hitting the proverbial nail

The Fabric of America Is Fraying as the Economic Downturn Continues - AlterNet

The author here nicely points out some of the flaws in the standard pinhead social fiction, i.e., that crap equals happiness (we can probably thank the marketers and their inescapable 24/7 barrage of bullshit for that one). And more, that life is about--and only about--the buck turn, the dollar grab, the profit fuck, the pocket stuff. Moneymoneymoneymoneymoney. No art, no beauty, no family, no love, no thought or idea that isn't "practical," "utile," devoted to making the sale. "It's A Wonderful Life" becomes "Glengarry Glen Ross" in a never-ending movie-channel marathon brought to you by Yet Another Useless Widget That You Don't Need and That, In Fact, Will Probably Wind Up Killing You (R). Never mind that every fiber of our humanity makes it achingly clear that all the form-filling and errand-running and hunter-gathering were meant to be secondary, done to the least extent necessary to support life. Banish the thought, and the thinker. Because such an acknowledgement does not serve the snorking greed narrative of the narcissistic sodomizers who rule us.

Anyhoo, end of rant. Perhaps I should borrow Bill Moyers' more eloquent, less spittle-flecked, and entirely expletive-free expression of much the same notion: the need to foster "a moral vision of America based on the transcendent faith that human beings are more than the sum of their material appetites, our country is more than an economic machine, and freedom is not license but responsibility...."

But back to the original story:

The data compares the U.S. with 14 European Union countries in key quality-of-life indicators, demonstrating that many of our economic and cultural priorities are out of step with what humans actually need [my emphasis - CR]. Despite the familiar aspiration to be/appear optimistic, it's clear that health care, safety, personal security, equality, education, and leisure time are faltering in America....

Coincidentally, Americans are no longer the tallest population in the world; the Dutch are. (In fact, most European populations are, on average, taller than the average American). Researcher John Komlos of the University of Munich speculates that the EU's emphasis on social safety nets, especially in the critical childhood years, may be responsible. De Graaf, co-author of "Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic," agrees. "A 30-year trend of income tax cuts for the rich has decreased quality of life overall in the U.S. [my emphasis]," he says. "In contrast, Western European countries invested in their social contracts. Strategic investments in health care, education, transportation, and common space reduced the need [and desire] of individuals to maximize their own incomes."

In other words, as a nation, we're becoming wearier, sicker, shorter, and less happy. So what is all this socially contrived beavering FOR? Hint: not a better life for us--or rather, not a better life for most of us....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Economic roundup

Clark is right, and the Right knows it

Wes Clark Is Right - Credo Action

Gen. Clark and That POW Thing McCain Hates Talking About - The Huffington Post

Go left, young man

Lurching With Abandon - The New York Times

Surviving Bush

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency

It’s possible for a candidate to be more out of touch, but I don’t see how

McCain Thinks the Recession is All in Our Heads - AlterNet

Sure, the economy's just fine. The problem is all those whiners: "Oh, boo hoo, I lost my job and they're foreclosing on my house." "Boo hoo, I can't afford my cancer medication." "Boo hoo, my kids are going hungry because my crappy post-NAFTA job doesn't pay enough to support one person, much less a family."

For the record, I am all for the enactment of legislation that makes it legal, one day a year, to punch conservative jackasses like Gramm,, in the mouth. Actually, better make it a month--so many jackasses, so little time....

LATE ADDITION: Gaffe Alert! - Newsweek

Gramm Remark Adds to McCain's Difficulty Addressing the Economy - Washington Post

LATE LATE ADDITIONS: McCain Man Gramm to America: Stop Whining - The Nation

Phil Gramm Is Conservatism - Credo Action