Look into the future

Posted in Bombing Moe, Bombing Paupers, War On Terror at 3:40 pm by George Smith


Justice, not escalations or state-sanctioned atrocities rationalized as helping an ally. Piecemeal WWIII isn’t a strategy. It’s a description, worth thinking about as in how to undo. Either that or continue to reap the whirlwind.


The Future Looks Blight (Chapter 2)

Posted in Culture of Lickspittle, Decline and Fall, The Corporate Bund at 4:17 pm by George Smith

Welcome to the great blue collar die-off. That’s the name Barbara Ehrenreich has given to the health news that the life expectancy of middle-aged white people without a college education has decreased, the result of an increase in mortality now equivalent to the death toll due to HIV/AIDS. She knows, having done the definitive work on what has been done to this class in our lifetimes. (“How does one survive on six or seven dollars an hour?” asks one character in the linked video. A No-Prize if you can identify the smarmy guy who says it.)

The economy of the corporate dictatorship has come home to roost for a portion of white America, and it’s class based, a factor the New York Times linked piece doesn’t really get around to until near the end of the piece. Affluent middle class whites haven’t show up in the awful statistics so much. (Yet.)

Nevertheless, the life expectancy for this slice of America’s white tribe is still above that for African Americans, who’ve never faced anything but the grinding wheel of the national economy. However, life expectancy for the same classes in other Western developed nations is on the rise, It is only here where we are so exceptional.

None of this can really be much of a surprise although one of the doctors interviewed by the Times concludes, “It seems so sad.”

I’ve written about the bleak trends in WhiteManistan for a couple years. The Forty Year Slump entry sums up much of what I thought, having experienced it, first hand:

When I was entering college, Alcoa aluminum closed the biggest extrusion plant in the world in Cressona, PA, where my father worked. He escaped lay-off and was transferred to a small soda bottle-cap manufacturing plant outside Lancaster, a three hour drive every day.

The metal-working plants closed. A recession was in full swing when I graduated from college in Reading, PA. There were no jobs so I enrolled in a Ph.D. program at Lehigh.

During the Reagan years, the nation’s economic policies destroyed Bethlehem Steel. The center of Allentown and the south side of Bethlehem turned into slums. I saw it happen. The people voted for the man who was killing their future. So did the rest of the country…

When you rip the economic heart out of a community it takes a lot down with it.

I’ve never known a time when the road wasn’t downhill. I suspect most people have the same impression unless they’re of the top slice. The better educated, and with more good fortune, were better at clinging to the diminishing number of seats in the country’s economic version of musical chairs.

But give the statistics a little more time. As more scientists begin looking into the matter, we’ll see more. And in the next few years, perhaps even a little sooner, the same thing is going to come for the college-educated white class. The plutocrats are going to winnow them out and part with even less to those left over, for the privileged work of keeping the lights on and the toilets clean.

And then, like those described in this week’s news, they, too, will self-medicate until death with drink, drugs, suicide and other causes of mortality when masses are permanently ejected from ways to make a living. Dispair and distress will tighten their grip as the country descends into a paradise of all against all. Politically, there’s no reason to expect any change, no radical steps taken to reverse the serious systemic problems that have led us to this point, and certainly not in the next eight years, even if the not-insane party takes the White House.

From the Seattle Times, today:

The average age of the homeless people who have died this year has been 48. Most have been male and white. There were 12 deaths in January, more than in any other month.

Forty-four of the deaths have been by accident or natural causes, seven by suicide and four by homicide. There were 20 deaths classified as involving drugs, alcohol or both.

Murray and Constantine attributed homelessness here to several factors, including what the mayor described as a heroin epidemic “across this nation and in this city.???

The mayor also mentioned, “jobs lost during the Great Recession that have never returned??? and inadequate state funding to help people with mental illnesses.

Political theorist Sheldon Wollin died in late October, notes the New York Times, at 93.

In his last book, Wollin described the United States as an example of inverted totalitarianism.

Reads the Times, in its final paragraph on the man:

With time, he took the view that corporate power and political power were becoming so closely intertwined in the United States, and the public so apathetic, that genuine participatory democracy was at best a remote possibility, expressed in rare “fugitive??? expressions of the popular will.

“Democracy in the late modern world cannot be a complete political system,??? he wrote in a 1994 essay, “and given the awesome potentialities of modern forms of power, and what they exact of the social and natural world, it ought not to be hoped or striven for.???

His last book reflected this dark interpretation of politics in the United States. It bore a sobering title: “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism.???

Perhaps Wollin would say, too, that the decline in life expectancy of America’s white tribe is not at all unexpected, given his analysis of where we are.

Democracy Inc, is here for download, at Cryptome. (And, yes, your host has read it. Although a slightly heavy lift, you should, too.)