Deindustrialization, globalism and the US EQUALS lethal. “Deaths of despair” — proven by science. File under “Trump and the big fail, reasons for.”
From the intro:
In “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century,” Princeton Professors Anne Case and Angus Deaton follow up on their groundbreaking 2015 paper that revealed a shocking increase in midlife mortality among white non-Hispanic Americans, exploring patterns and contributing factors to the troubling trend.
Case and Deaton find that while midlife mortality rates continue to fall among all education classes in most of the rich world, middle-aged non-Hispanic whites in the U.S. with a high school diploma or less have experienced increasing midlife mortality since the late 1990s. This is due to both rises in the number of “deaths of despair”—death by drugs, alcohol and suicide—and to a slowdown in progress against mortality from heart disease and cancer, the two largest killers in middle age.
“The authors suggest that the increases in deaths of despair are accompanied by a measurable deterioration in economic and social wellbeing, which has become more pronounced for each successive birth cohort,” it continues.
Shorthand: Root hog then die. The economic model for the United States and its cost to the middle class.
As such the increasing mortality is a symptom of national failure. Of the installation of an every man for himself economy for the majority while the top slice has rewritten the rules governing the economy to redistribute all wealth into its own maw.
Unsurprisingly, it’s now difficult to overlook. And that’s primarily because of another symptom, the election of Donald Trump in what can be described as a scream of pain and revenge against the system, no matter how unproductive and disastrous the result.
Having said that, careful consideration would lead one to believe it is not a problem that can be quickly solved. If it can be solved by this United States.
As long as death rates continue to rise, the country will be essentially ungovernable, lurching from crisis to crisis to anarchy and breakdown as all faith in a shared prosperity and ruling institutions go up in smoke.
If the researchers continue their work I would expect them to find in the coming years that the entire white cohort, not just the non-colleged educated, experiences the same decline.
At this blog I had a category, not used often, for that cohort: Shoeshine. The Shoeshine were those colleged educated workers, living in the cities, still deemed necessary to do the gut administrative work for America’s plutocrats. In other words, the over-educated high button services help.
As per one obvious example:
Shoeshine: Those people you know on Facebook who’ve been spending their time clutching their pearls and condemning all the other white people, not them of course, who voted for Trump.
Another great example: Paradoxically, all those at big web media who’ve been allowed to write about the “deaths of despair.” You’ll have noticed that very few, if any, of those actually dieing the “deaths of despair” get chosen to write about their first-hand experience. That would be cutting too close to the bone. Only the social cosmetic services help gets the privilege.
So you see that it hasn’t yet occurred to most of The Shoeshine that they’re living on borrowed time. Eventually, the root hog then die economy will come for them, too, although it may take a few more years.
This blog has been called Escape from WhiteManistan. That needed revision. There is no escape.
Quote of the Day, from economist Dean Baker on his Beat the Press blog: “The main economic story of the last four decades is the massive upward redistribution of income that has taken place. The top one percent’s share of national income has more than doubled over this period from roughly ten percent in the late 1970s to over twenty percent today. And, this is primarily a before-tax income story, the rich have used their control over the levers of economic power to ensure that an ever larger share of the country’s wealth goes into their pockets. (Yes, this is the topic of my book, Rigged [it’s free].)”
I called it the 40 Year Slump, from living it in the Rust Belt.
It remains one of the best things from this blog:
I’ve been storing up the energy to for a review of “Slap Shot,” the Seventies movie with Paul Newman as the player coach of the Charlestown Chiefs (modeled on the Johnstown Jets) of western Pennsylvania. I have an old videotape and have had it on replay. “Slap Shot” can also be viewed through the lens of America’s forty year slump, a movie framed at the time big business resurrected a devotion to unrestricted preying on its human labor, and — as it turned out — hundreds of millions of future livelihoods.
The backdrop for “Slap Shot” is the perfect picture of it. The steel mill is set to close in “Charlestown,” laying off thousands.
“Ten thousand people put on waivers,” says Ned Braden (Michael Ontkean), the Charlestown Chiefs’ leading scorer, to Paul Newman, as both stand outside the steel mill waiting for a ride from Lily (Lindsay Crouse), Braden’s wife.
“What’s going to happen to them?” Newman, as Reggie Dunlop, the Chiefs’ player/coach asks.
It’s every man for himself, replies Braden.
They realize it’s the end for the Chiefs. No money, no ticket sales. What there are of the fans won’t be spending what they have left at War Memorial ice hockey arena.
I grew up through that systemic result in Pennsylvania.
From the mid-70’s to today, one unrelenting slump.
It never got better. More jobs were always lost. People made less and less money. There were no moments when anything turned around.
Occasionally, because of presidential propaganda, people felt better about it.
Largely, we bought the swill about “trickle down economics,” the need to squash labor unions, that firing thousands of people was “right-sizing” to get lean, mean and efficient, that life would be a different set of opportunities in which you’d go back to school or be trained four or five times, every ten to fifteen years, this so you would fit the workforce of the glorious future!
All convenient lies. And that’s only a fraction of it.
Two pieces of news on Marvel properties have some relevance to our current national predicament this week. First up, news that nobody cared about the horrid reviews Iron Fist on Netflix gathered during its roll out. Almost unanimously condemned for not casting the lead character, Danny Rand, as an Asian American, subsequent viewing statistics seemed to indicate it was a Netflix blockbuster:
“Marvel’s Iron Fist” drew some of the most scathing reviews that any Netflix series has earned. But the critical dog pile apparently did little to dampen enthusiasm for the show.
The superhero drama’s March 17 premiere was the most binge-watched this year for a Netflix drama, according to data from research firm 7Park Data, which measures number of streams on subscription video services. The company found that 54.7% of “Iron Fist” streams on the premiere date were of episodes three or higher. The average hour-long show on Netflix has a binge score of 46.9%.
“Iron Fist” also accounted for 14.6% of all Netflix streams on March 17 — the highest percentage of any series premiere that 7Park measured, topping “Stranger Things” (4.0%), “Marvel’s Luke Cage” (12.8%), “Marvel’s Daredevil” Season 2 (13.8%), and “Orange is the New Black” Season 4.
You’ll recall the hilarious Guardian opinion by Kendra James last week. Iron Fist was rotten because all its white characters sucked. But not its two not-white supporting women.
“Iron Fist was the first Marvel TV series to receive critical scorn,” reads The Independent.
The paper’s original review: “A rich, privileged white guy with more arrogance than brains loses everything.”
As a rich, privileged white guy he immediately did what we know most privileged white guys do at big corporations: make their lifesaving drugs available at cost and vow to shutter a plant that was said to be dumping carcinogens into the locals’ water.
Fast forward to now. Sales of Marvel comics are off and one of its managers opines:
[Speaking] at the Marvel retailer summit about the studio’s falling comic sales since October, David Gabriel told ICv2 that retailers had told him that fans were sticking to old favourites. “What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity,” he said. “They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not.”
He added: “I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales … Any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up.”
The piece is accompanied by clip art of Riri Williams, the African American teenage girl who’s the new Invincible Irom Man while Tony Stark lies in a coma.
Williams makes for a dull Iron Man (she’s named Ironheart) and since classic Iron Man generally depends on its brute force approach, Stark in armor beating adversaries half to death with his fists and repulsor rays, you can see this news from sales must have some Marvel editors breathing a sigh of relief. Stark’s coma will be shortened and Riri Williams quietly offloaded to a separate intermittent title or reduced to sidekick status.
And make no mistake, Riri Williams’ Iron Man is a poor one. Totally unready and unbelievable as someone who wins battles with armored fists, so far her trick has been to write computer viruses that cause her foes to crash. It’s not sustainable in the classic Marvel sense.
None of this matter in the moment, though. Social media and features writers immediately forced Marvel’s David Gabriel to say he really didn’t mean what he said. The wise people of the web insisted diversity isn’t what’s hurting Marvel in 140-character chunks. Too many titles and Captain America as a Hydra Nazi were. Never mind that the multiplication of Marvel titles has been mostly clustered around diversity characters.
America Chavez, a Latina and lesbian superhero, saves an alien planet, enrolls at Sotomayor University and punches Adolf Hitler in the first issue of her new Marvel comic book series. But what’s being celebrated as most fantastic in this comic is that Gabby Rivera, a young-adult author who is gay and Latina herself, is writing the adventures of America.
Keep in mind the New York Times didn’t get excited at all about the resurrection of the Iron Fist comic title. In its premier issue the character, angry, middle-aged and white, spends most of the page time breaking the jaws and assorted bones of other unnamed martial arts gangsters in dingy bars. And that’s not critically cool at all.
So here’s one possible interpretation and it’s guaranteed unpopular. Diversity comic titles get good press. They’re guaranteed clickbait. But the titles don’t sell like Marvel’s old white legacy stars.
The sooner Marvel sends its social outreach to the bench, the better for sales. Not to fear, no character’s loss is ever really permament.
The mainstream rags on Marvel.
I enjoyed Marvel’s “Iron Fist” on Netflix. Since the early reviews were all horribly negative I figured I’d like it. I could care less Danny Rand wasn’t Asian. Doesn’t the script make it obvious? Rand was the first “outsider” Iron Fist.
Iron Fist’s maker, the character is four decades old and minor in the Marvel pantheon, said he didn’t care, either. It was apparently the worst thing he could do: Another Stan Lee age white guy reiterating that the kung fu master was white, yes, and he didn’t care that it was cast that way.
Currently, the new Iron Fist comic — on issue number one — well, the hero is still very white and old school Marvel. Like almost all decades old Marvel characters.
So someone named Kendra James writes another hit piece at the Guardian, so over the top it’s to laugh.
Here are some of the better lines:
Marvel’s latest Netflix show is a staggering disappointment but despite its star’s assertions, it can’t be blamed on our growing distaste for rich white privilege …
No one in Iron Fist has earned anything – whether it’s their money, their powers or even our grudging respect.
(Actually, Danny Rand, once he inherits over half his dad’s company, immediately declares the firm’s drug that cures elephantiasis in Africa will be sold at cost, a move that horrifies board members. That’s worth respect considering the way corporate America prices drugs. And he pays to improve his girlfriend’s dojo.)
Avengers: Age of Ultron was a movie entirely about why more white men should be told “No.”
[All the white characters] stand in stark contrast to Claire and Colleen, two women who wield skills that they’ve had to perfect over the course of their lives. The idea that Colleen has had to work at her skill, martial arts, while Rand relies mostly on a given power is obvious throughout the series. (According to the story he was in a plane crash that killed his parents and spent many years as a kid getting beaten with sticks during martial arts training before he became Iron Fist).
The Guardian publishes often great investigative journalism. And Owen Jones alone, infrequently in the opinion section defending the working class and ridiculing England’s toffs, is reason enough to turn to it daily.
But the Iron Fist takedown is lousy reviewing and so late to the party it’s only a me too. It’s such a poor piece of work it crosses over into unintentional humor. The critic’s analysis: Iron Fist is a terrible show, not because Danny Rand is distastefully white and wealthy but because … uh, he’s white, rich and undeserving, compared to the girls. And all the other white characters stink, too. But the not-white girls are great. Did I tell you that?
By the way, the new Invincible Iron Man, who is an African-American teenage girl named Riri Williams, has nothing on the original. I’ve read this is a lousy opinion to have. Eventually it will flop and Stark will be back from the near dead.
The Democratic Party hasn’t begun to accept how badly the bottom has been ripped out.
Quotes from the New York Times, yesterday:
They are part of a growing movement in rural America that immerses many young people in a culture — not just conservative news outlets but also home and church environments — that emphasizes contemporary conservative values. It views liberals as loathsome, misinformed and weak, even dangerous …
While many blame poor decisions by Mrs. Clinton for her loss, in an environment like this, the Democratic candidate probably didn’t matter. And the Democratic Party may not for generations to come. The Republican brand is strong in rural America — perhaps even strong enough to withstand a disastrous Trump presidency.
Rural conservatives feel that their world is under siege, and that Democrats are an enemy to be feared and loathed.
Loathsome and loathed. There are no stronger words.
An interesting sidenote is that the column’s writer, Robert Leonard, references J. C. Watts, an exCongressman.
That’s Julius Ceasar Watts, an African American, who was a star football player for the Oklahoma Sooners.
There are two social tides running here, both bad for the Democratic Party.
If the Party ever sends its current staffers and stars, the people who were all inspired by Barack Obama, out to the heartland shires, they’re going to get fried. (Not literally. More a possibly permanent persona non grata-type thing, a shunning.)
Or if they think a coalition including a smaller number of the we/us college-educated whiteys from the right colleges can eke out a win if just enough of the rest of white America dies, they’re done, too.
Before posting the contemptuous crap-dumpling picture meme of white trash who voted Trump on Twitter or Facebook, always remember to type “love trumps hate.”
Heard today on Fox radio news after listening to the Penn State game: A march on Trump Tower in NYC by Michael Moore and “a cast of thousands.” Moore promised the people would not allow Trump, who was “illegitimate,” to take office.
No takebacks. No reversals. HRC lost her alleged “firewall states.” Unless you actually want a constitutional crisis, the US government to fall and for you to be regarded as indistinguishable from those who threatened Barack Obama with the same thing over the last eight years.
No #calexit. And beating people over the head with the Brexit borrowed symbolism of safety pins won’t win a revolution. If you use your head, hard at this point, it’s like asking everyone, every one of the good people, that is, to wear an arm band, so they can know who to cluster with in public against the bad people. Quite the ideal. And when you’re finished with that you’ve found you’ve lost your moorings.
The culture of lickspittle is not fertile ground for cultivation of a revolutionary army.
Eat your plate of bugs and worms. And if you think the song is about you, it’s not.
From the archives, the old field recording of Link Wray’s Rumble. Listen close for the smashing of the trash cans and screams of pain.
I win at Google Fu.
“My kid beat up your honor student.” — seen on a bumper sticker.
An old field recording from the archives. Perfect for any device in the culture of lickspittle as well as fostering more social division and unrest.
From the Guardian today, two of the six-figure swells go full Hitler: “Accusations of betrayal. Demagoguery and hatred. The bunker in Berlin. Comparisons with Adolf Hitler have been tempting throughout Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign for the presidency – never more so than at its mad, destructive climax.
“The Republican’s presidential bid appears to have become the campaign equivalent of the last days of the reich, when Germany’s leadership raged at bearers of bad news from the battlefield, ordered non-existent divisions to launch counteroffensives, and embraced a nihilistic plan to burn it all down and take everyone along.”
Real close to our predicament, huh?
Berlin was in ruins, encircled by three or four tank armies, not Americans, but the Red Army which had been left to take down the Fuhrer for obvious reasons. It had born the vast weight of casualties inflicted by the Fuhrer’s armies in the war.
And Germany’s leadership, plural, was not involved. It was the Fuhrer and only the Fuhrer who moved “non-existent” units, OKW — the supreme command of the Wehrmacht, and OKH, the general staff of the German army, had given up. There’s was to stand idly by and send out the Fuhrer’s senseless commands.
In the US, the capital is not rubble. And young school boys are not everywhere, manning 88’s at street corners and jumping out of hiding places to fire Panzerfaust’s (rocket propelled grenades) at the Red Army. The GOP higher ups are not going to be captured and tried as war criminals. And the entire country is not in ruins.
There are no real similarities between the last days of the Third Reich and election 2016. C’mon. Tthe digital flights of fancy are just a matter of the pampered taking the time to make themselves the center of attention, in comparing the catastrophe of the election to what was the climax of the inferno of World War II.
No, collectively, we’re just not that important.
This is going to pass and after November and when Barack Obama finally leaves the scene, the United States will still have no effective government. And there will be no fighting of global warming because the global chemistry is in, we’re way too late. Wall Street will go on as usual because the new President appreciates that they live successful, sophisticated and complicated lives there.
But our lives will continue to be boiled down by tech in synergy with corporate America. The police will continue to kill African Americans at will and acquire armored fighting vehicles.
Eighty percent of evangelicals will have voted for the man, in spite of everything. The majority of the US military will have voted for him, in spite of everything. Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Arizona, Indiana and quite a few more states will have voted for him, in spite of everything. The six figure swells will be stunned, just stunned by the number of people who, even in losing, voted for Trump. And there will be no more mood to join together and accept things, even if only for a little while, than there is now. There will be less, much less.
The most expensive global military in history will keep behaving as if nothing is going on at home and continue to bomb the poorest places. That is, until maybe we stumble into a war with Russia, that country that took down the Fuhrer. And then we’ll have a great new series of events to write stupid similes and metaphors about, up until rubble-ization comes home.
They’re never going to get it until things begin to get torn down right around them.
From Taibbi, at Rolling Stone:
Trump’s shocking rise and spectacular fall have been a singular disaster for U.S. politics. Built up in the press as the American Hitler, he was unmasked in the end as a pathetic little prankster who ruined himself, his family and half of America’s two-party political system …
That such a small man would have such an awesome impact on our nation’s history is terrible, but it makes sense if you believe in the essential ridiculousness of the human experience. Trump picked exactly the wrong time to launch his mirror-gazing rampage to nowhere. He ran at a time when Americans on both sides of the aisle were experiencing a deep sense of betrayal by the political class, anger that was finally ready to express itself at the ballot box.
The only thing that could get in the way of real change – if not now, then surely very soon – was a rebellion so maladroit, ill-conceived and irresponsible that even the severest critics of the system would become zealots for the status quo.
In the absolute best-case scenario, the one in which he loses, this is what Trump’s run accomplished. He ran as an outsider antidote to a corrupt two-party system, and instead will leave that system more entrenched than ever.
Translated, another plug for Old White Coot, still under construction. But a great 20 minute listen with the hit, “Ricin Mama,” featuring Blind Poison CastorSeed on blues harp.
Two people have tried to commit suicide by castor this year. One, in Boulder, was successful.
The country has changed radically since Bill Clinton was president. Is he annoyance or nuisance? You decide.
Today he’s taking it in the teeth for dissing Obamacare. In doing so he pits people like me, who have health care for the first time in decades, against a middle class he says is being ripped off by it.
You’ll recall Bill and the person currently running for President, his spouse, failed abysmally at getting healthcare for everyone decades ago.
In the intervening period, Bill has been the president most successful at monetizing his time in office. Which also happens to be why the Clintons are so detested by so many at this point in time.
From much earlier in the year here:
Bill Clinton’s legacy is trashed. Out on the stump he’s been dogged by protesters who’ve pointed out his tough-on-crime administration led to an explosion in the prison population, ruining the lives of millions of black Americans. So he loses his temper, wags his finger and looks worse. Others point out his trade deals and bank deregulation accelerated inequality and the destruction of middle class jobs.
So the Big Dog is now a bit rabid. He jJust can’t accept others don’t share the belief he’s the American hero he thinks he is.
Campaigning yesterday, he tried to make a joke:
“One of the few things I really haven’t enjoyed about this primary: I think it’s fine that all these young students have been so enthusiastic for [Hillary’s] opponent and [he] sounds so good: ‘Just shoot every third person on Wall Street and everything will be fine.’”
Probably not something to say when Bernie Sanders just got after his wife for her three-quarters of a million buck speeches to Goldman Sachs. Again.
“The inequality problem is rooted in the shareholder-first mentality and the absence of training for the jobs of tomorrow.” This is Bill Clinton’s answer.
Bill Clinton ran an administration that custom-designed policy that just happened to serve “shareholder first.”
Paradoxically, Clinton won with many white voters who will almost universally vote for Donald Trump on election day.
While West Virginia voted for him by “large margins,” according to Wiki, in 1992 and 1996, today it’s radioactive to the Clintons.
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