SoCalDem's Journal - Archives
I am so glad to see a few people insisting on calling him "Boh-nur" instead of "Bay-nur".
Dave Letterman, Craig Ferguson & Jon Stewart are allies in this venture, as are we here at DU.
Why is this little thing important?
For a DECADE ,since we all have been paying attention (actually much longer if you do the research), republicans have been clever wordsmiths when it comes to re-naming us "the democrat party" or to identify individuals as "the democrat president, senator, congressperson".
Most of the mainstream media has gone along with them, as have even democrats who should know better, but who are too meek to speak up.
Why don't so many speak up?
Because after something becomes the vernacular, to suddenly object only calls more attention to it, and the person suddenly objecting becomes the "oddity".
It's like being named William, and wanting to be called William. Most people , once met, will call you William, but your "enemies" can easily demean you if and whenever they want, by calling you "Willie". If enough people hear you being called Willie (without hearing your objections) , you eventually BECOME Willie.
Republicans have made an art out of "re-naming, re-labeling, deliberately mis-pronouncing". It's what they do.
Eee-rock became EYE-Rack
Eee-Ron became EYE-Ran
Noo-klee-ur became nooo-Q-lur
Obama is often "oopsied" as Osama (not at all accidental, but laughed off as being an honest mistake)
So WHAT if John "wants" his name to be pronounced as "Bay-nur"? I'm pretty sure that Iraqis & Iranians prefer their countries' names be pronounced correctly, especially when they are being invaded/occupied/threatened.
If your name is Smith, most people will call you Smith..not Smythe. If John wants to be called John Bayner, maybe he should spell it Bayner. ..or he could just accept the fact that people "may" just decide to call him what they want to call him, or pronounce his name the way THEY want to, and he should not be so "touchy"..
Koehner = Koh-nur
Boer = Boh-rrr
Moe = M-ohhh
Schmoe = Sh-m-ohh
Roebuck = Roh-buck
toe = Tohhh
1144 words with "oe"
and more listed by length of word
In the run-up to '08, the ones "in the know" were keenly aware of the gigantic mess their Boy-George had made.
They did stage some resistance to the Democratic candidates, but it was tepid compared to what they are capable of, and we should have realized that.
This was their planning stage.
I think they may have been a bit flummoxed by the '06 rout they had suffered in the senate & house, and that was where they planned to concentrate for the immediate future. Obama's large turnout guaranteed that many gopers would be ousted, so they set their sights on '10. The GOPers they lost in '08 were not the most message-centric ones anyway, and they were probably replaced by dems who would be very vulnerable the next time around.
By immediately stating the obvious, as soon as Obama was elected, there was never any doubt of their plan. There was to be:
NO NOTHING from them.
All they had to offer the nation, after eight long, disastrous years, was NO HELP. How could they do this?
The focus would be on "the new guy" ...the one with all the hope & promise. The GOP was more than happy to hand him the giant load of FAIL they grew for eight years. In fact, they would ADD more fail onto the load, by using arcane "rules" in the senate, and by watering down whatever legislative measures that did get passed.
They knew they could count on the media to help them stifle any real attempts to clean up them mess they made.
There was ample time to nurture their bull-pen and help them prepare for '10. But it's not even really about 2010 entirely. It's about 2012. That's their Holy Grail.
The moneyed ones in the GOP, have always worked in the shadows, and they are very good at controlling "the message".
Time was on their side. They had plenty of time to close ranks and rouse their angriest supporters. Democrats have always had the mantra of populism, and republicans needed to claim it as their own. Sarah taught them a valuable lesson. Given a choice, people often prefer frosting to cake.
They set out to capitalize on her rabid supporters' blind devotion and eagerness to avoid truth & reality.
They were willing to throw the general populace under the bus, in exchange for a victory lap in '10 and an even bigger one in '12 if they could ruin what's left of "the black guy from Kenya's" term.
Oddly, "the bus" was a big part of how the planned to do it. What could be more interesting to the media-monster than busloads of angry people mobbing meek democratic congresspeople/senators trying to hold townhall meetings? The more screaming, the more airtime. August '09 was the Ft. Sumpter of their very own "war of aggression". Those trips in big ole buses that fanned out across America, were not randomly occurring events. It was a carefully orchestrated campaign to undermine legislators, and to pave the way for what was to come.
The "spontaneous" outbursts of "KILL HIM", at Palin rallies , "YOU LIE" at the State of the Union Address, and the gun-toting at rallies, were but precursors to test the water. Having sailed though those tests, are we really surprised that the election season of 2010, ushered in unlawful arrests, head-stomping and various & sundry "throwings to the ground" of anyone who dared to even attend a rally they were not personally invited to attend?
This is the season of the "stealth" candidate, and apparently it only garnered an occasional chuckle from the spurned media. These are candidates whose histories are so flawed, whose demeanor is so lacking, whose intelligence is so absent, that they decided to hide from all but their own coven of like-minded zealots.
WE know they are inept, the media knows they are inept...Hell..even THEY know they are inept, but it does not matter. What matters is plain old arithmetic. If they get the numbers they need, they can control the agenda. What they don't even realize is that while they are doing simple math (addition & subtraction), and gloating all the way to DC, their overlords..the ones with the money on the line, are lounging in penthouses & estates as they do their own math. Their math involves angles & formulas, but it's not geometry, calculus or algebra (or even Sharrons). They are angling to become even richer and their formula for success is the same as it's always been:
Coerce "small" people to reject cogent thinking
Deny "small" people real access to growth
Excite "the base" (base, in every sense of the word), by dragging raw meat issues amidst them whenever possible:
2010 will seem like child's play, unless a LOT of democrats start taking the GOP more seriously, and start treating them like the poisonous creatures they are. They have shown us their venom for decades, and we have tried to "tame" them , we have tried to ignore them, we have tried to shame them. Until we quit trying to change them, and start crushing them , they "win"...even when they lose.
2 yrs down the road, most of this is still true..and getting truer by the day
We've all been given another warning. Now we must choose..Unsustainability or an Unwinding?
Posted by SoCalDem in General Discussion
Sat Sep 27th 2008, 11:53 AM
The Wall Street Debacle is just another "clue" to us all.
The warp-speed of our lives is at the heart of the "problem". We have been cultivated to believe that we must always GROW, always crave MORE, BIGGER, BETTER, SHINIER...at any cost.
America has believed its own press for far too long. Our "experts" make up statistics all the time. We are told routinely that we are the most generous, the smartest, the most prosperous, the healthiest, and yet none of that is true.
Most Americans live with TWO truths....the truth they see every day where they live and the "truth" they see & hear on TV.
We have always been "major-urban" and "rural-small town" and although small town people now have access to more than they used to, their mindset has not changed all that much since the 40s & 50s.. They are the LAST to see much real progress, and the first to experience a serious downturn in the economy, since they live on the fringe...
"Government" has a vested interest in growth at any cost. The "bigger" things get, the more complicated they get, and the greater the need for more legislation and more government hiring to oversee that growth (even though very little real oversight happens).
Bigger companies mean higher paid and more lobbyists are available to donate MORE money to campaigns.
Workers during the Industrial Revolution were told that machines would lighten their workload, and give them more leisure time...It did..The problem was that leisure time turned out to be unemployment, since fewer workers were needed once machines took over many of the more mundane tasks.
In the 20' s& 30s, workers were told that the automobile would provide them with an easier life, and give them mobility. It did, but it also created whole new industries that fouled the air they breathed, and put a whole lot of people on the move to areas that were fragile and not all that hospitable to the farming that followed.. Over-farming, led to the Dust Bowl and the demise of many of them.
In the 50's & 60's we were told that computers would some day make our lives and jobs easier. I dearly love my computer, but truthfully, once many jobs were switched from pencil-on-paper or people face-to-face, it made it quite easy to find someone across the world, who would work for a lot less, to do those jobs.
Every "advancement" has come with its own "self-destruct" button built into it.
Malls and discount centers were wondrous to people when they first showed up, but those "big-boxes" and the stores held within them, were owned by people elsewhere, and all the money poured into them, did not stay in the community where it was spent.
The local businesses that had once managed to satisfy all the needs and wants of the community, were suddenly no longer "good enough", and many people went from being proprietor of their own business, to hourly-paid sales clerk.
Advertising has groomed us to want more and more and enough is never REALLY enough. Big business has to grow bigger and bigger, so we must continue to buy and buy and buy some more...even if we cannot afford it...and more and more of us can no longer afford to keep buying.
We have houses, FULL to the brim with "stuff" and the only solution to that is to buy even BIGGER houses, so we can buy more stuff. The bigger the house, the bigger the payment, so many people are paying thousands every month so their dog & cat have a great place to lounge in all day, as they sit stuck in traffic and huddled in a cubicle at work..and their kids grow up in daycare with strangers, or wear keys around their necks so they can hang out with the dog and cat for 3-4 hours until tired-Mom and tired-Dad show up with KFC or pizza, sometime around 7PM.
Most of us no longer even know HOW to live simply. Our lives , and expenses have spun out of control . We have "stuff" that we can no longer repair or service ourselves (even if we wanted to or had the time to). Things we watch, listen to, or use to call each other, often come with complicated long-term contracts, and we are always searching for better "deals" and more sophisticated "features", even though most of us either work too much to have time to really use them much, or we end up unemployed and unable to even afford them.
The bind we find ourselves in, is this.. We have allowed ourselves to be taken in, and while we were "sleeping", the rest of the world has caught up with us, and in many cases, passed us up entirely.
When we left "Main Street" in the dust, we gave the corporations permission to leave US in the dust too, if the price was right.
We allowed our labor to be diminished in value, to the point that now our economy is 70% "service".. This only works as long as enough of us have the "extra" money for all that "servicing".
In less than 40 years, we went from being the breadbasket of the world, and the major supplier of "things" to the world...to an importer of food (costly to us and the environment, in many ways), and importer of things we used to make here, but no longer do.
A relative few have gotten incredibly rich from this whole change-over, but millions more have gotten poorer and sicker from it. The people we hire to look out for our well-being, have sold out to their corporate-funders, and while they have free rein to speculate and enrich themselves, the taxpayers are always called upon to "repair" their damage they do to the economy every 20 years or so. This is all done while we , the people, are told to stand alone, be responsible, look out for ourselves, plot our own journey, be resourceful, be entrepreneurial, take responsibility for our own actions.
I truly fear for the younger ones among us. The unwinding will come..it always does, and I probably will be gone when it happens, but I'm not sure that our country will survive in a fashion we would recognize when it's all done..
The show itself is fun to watch for us Boomers (it was our childhood era) , and an eye-opener for the young'uns, but the real-life "ad men" (especially of that era) are largely to blame for our current troubles.
Immediately after WWII, when we were the manufacturing giant of the world, everyone wanted our stuff, and since most of the rest of the world was in re-build mode for at least a decade, to clean up the mess the war left in its wake, we would have prospered with or without the expansion of advertising.
The 50's were a time of mind-expansion and of "experts". Those early ads often relied on "9-out-of 10 <insert your favorite expert here>s say that "Product X" is healthier, shinier, stronger, better-tasting, etc".
Experts told us that it was fun and safe to take a picnic lunch & go watch nuclear testing. Movies were filmed on the radioactive dusty soil because it was perfectly safe. Shoe stores x-rayed kids' feet for a "perfect fit". Sore throats were often treated with x-rays. Paint was leaded...so was gasoline. Science teachers encouraged us kids to play with mercury on our desktops.
"Better Living Through Chemistry" was the theme of the day. Redi-Kilowatt was our little buddy. Everything old/pre-war was just the thing that no one wanted to identify with anymore.
Most people in the US back then were still relatively uneducated. Millions of young men had had their educations truncated due to the war, and it was a time when women largely had a home-ec education.
As all those young men came home from war, eligible for government money, it was inevitable that big-business would notice, and advertising was right there waiting to pounce on the new plan.
The war was a pivotal point in advertising history too, because pre-war, people were too broke to care what was advertised...no money..no buy. During the war, advertising was haphazard, since so much was rationed. It made little sense to waste money on advertising, when supplies were so limited, and so much of people's time, energy & money was going to "their boys" at war. People may have wanted things, but given a choice, they could wait...and wait they did.
The old people who have run Social Security for all its years may have not "noticed" that the Boomers were among us (except for the fact that they noticed all the money we paid in for 50 years), but ad men noticed....in a big way.
They recognized that a two-decade long time of deprivation had come to an end, and that a pent-up demand had been created, and they were ready to take full advantage.
People were used to re-purposing old things, repairing broken things, and doing without many things. This had to change, for ad men to prosper (and to keep the job-engine for all those returning servicemen humming along). Millions of men left for war as common laborers, farm-hands & unemployed, and returned as prospective college men, factory workers with skills picked up the the military, and most of them planned on being much more prosperous than their parents had been. We were all ripe-for-the-picking, and the stage was set for major expansion.
Advertising knows the "seven deadly sins" inside out and had psychologists on retainer, to teach them how better to appeal to all the demons locked inside us.. ...Hungry demons who wanted "stuff".
They knew all the buttons to push. They knew how to make a housewife feel humiliated about her yellow floor wax...How to make a puny young man feel shame about his slight build. How to make us all feel fear about odors, hair, breath, tooth color, hair textures. They knew how to approach our children & trained those kids how to wheedle, beg, cry & even shame us into buying them stuff.
People associate greed with Gordon Gecko, but before Gordon Gecko, there were millions of others (on a smaller scale, though) who coveted "new" and "more". The people who were in the job-force in the 50's had had-it-up-to-here with old hand-me-down stuff, and ad men were happy to oblige us all with a daily field trip through the World of New.
Politicians took notice of the successes of advertising, and the old lapel buttons & placards were no longer enough. TV was an ad man/politician's dream-come-true. TV was new & shiny & everyone HAD to have one, and by advertising on tv, politicians were able to reach more people than ever before.
It was not long before the deal between advertising/corporate money/politicians was signed, sealed & delivered.
We have evolved into watchers, believers, supporters of what we are told to watch, to believe and to support. Who tells us? Advertisers, politicians & TV.
The consumer society we became , was no accident. If we remained content with what we had and were willing to do without the next new shiny, advertisers would make less, corporations would sell less, and politicians would have less campaign donation money. Those three entities are a complete circle around us all. We are hopelessly trapped in the middle. The money they have, comes largely from us, but once it's in their hands, it circulates only between the three of them, and what we get from the money is the trinket we buy with that money we worked for. The real action is in the line between the three entities...not where we are, inside the circle.
Home ownership is the ultimate leap of faith.. Faith in the future, and more specifically the individual futures of many people.
To take on 30 years of debt, often the largest debt any one person (or two, if it's a couple) will ever tackle, is just such a leap.
Buying a home is much more than just gaining "equity" and the cessation of paying someone else's mortgage, through rent.
Renting is seen as a failure by our society. People who rent, are seen as not quite "there". They are the people who cannot afford to own..they are less-than.
The whole image of ownership is the ultimate goal. It says you have "arrived"..you are a grown up..you have goals.....you have roots in your community.
Home ownership itself has morphed into an odd beast. People used to buy a home when they were secure, and settled into their career & their community.
Home ownership was about providing a home that would welcome your children home from the hospital when they were born, a home that would be the place where they brought their Trick or Treat goodies, where the pre-Prom pictures would be taken, where the Thanksgivings & December holidays would be celebrated, and weddings planned.
A home was where people saw themselves babysitting their grandchildren. It was their place in space & time, and then when they no longer were around, it was a valuable asset they left to their children.
What we have become , is a rootless society. We are just a better-dressed version of the Depression-era vagabonds who traveled from place to place, looking for work. They wandered around, carrying all their worldly goods with them. We park ours in the garages of family or in ugly garage-doored storage facilities, as we move from town-to-town..job-to-job, always chasing the dream.
When people try to become homeowners in such a climate, they are held hostage by the "housing market", always praying that when they "have" to move, they will sell in a "seller's market" , and then re-buy somewhere else, in a "buyer's market".
We have been turned into gamblers, always wagering for the next "win"..the big job, the big house, the next move.
There are always people in every era who like that life, but being unencumbered is what makes that lifestyle work. When people are still wanting the homeowner's lifestyle, and they are on-the-move all the time chasing jobs, the only "winners" are the people doing their paperwork and collecting commissions on the moves.
If a society loses faith in its own ability to provide an income for the family, where will the faith come from; faith that's needed to sign up for 30-40 years-worth of debt for a home?
When millions of people who "leapt", ended up in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the cliff, it sent a powerful message. The lemmings of the 80's & 90's ignored the message, but maybe the message is getting through now. When mortgage rates are at a 60 year low, and housing prices have declined steeply, and people are still not buying, there's a bigger reason.. a massive loss of faith in the future.
The "middlers" seem to be the key to the locked-up economy.
Poor people probably don't eat out much at places like Red Lobster, Chili's, CoCo's, Applebees, etc.
They probably also don't stay very often at hotels or travel that much by air or on cruises.
The probably don't go to "day-spas" or spend much on extras.
These seemingly insignificant "extras" are vital to the people who work IN those places. Without hours on the job, THEY have no money to spend for the little "extras" for their own families. They don't take that mini-vacation weekend or buy that new bedspread, or sign their kids up for sports. They rent movies instead of going to the theater.
The rich always do fine, no matter how loudly they whine about how tough things are for them..
Boo-Hoo, so they have to lay off the staff at their 3rd vacation home in the Hamptons, or maybe they lease the new jet instead of buying it...or they make-do with a 50ft yacht instead of the 80 footer.
They spend what they need for the things they want, and mostly do not want for anything, but they often "shop" in a tight inner-circle. Sure, someone somewhere makes the things they buy, but they probably contribute very little "shopping" to the mainstream retail economy.
Retail & Service is where most people work these days, and where the large bulk of spendable income is generated and recycled. The poor spend ALL their money in this arena, so they are more than "doing their fair share".
The middlers are the ones who are being "shy" these days...why?
If they HAVE a home, it's probably their one-and only, and is probably NOT "paid for". They are "renting" from a mortgage company or bank, and are probably paying a mortgage amount every month that is based on a value that has long-since dropped like a rock.
When they signed on the dotted line, they probably extended themselves as far as possible, being optimistic that their wages would keep up and the home-value would stay at least as good as then, or maybe even increase.
What they did NOT expect, was for them to be on the hook for payments on a home worth 1/3 to 1/2 less than their loans, or that they would be getting laid off or having hours cut dramatically. They did not count on having their 401-ks losing 1/4 to 1/3 value.
They did not expect their credit lines to be slashed or eliminated. They probably figured out pretty quickly that they had been relying on credit too much, but unlike banks, they had no bailout headed their way.
A logical response to all this, is to cut back on spending, and that's what we did.
The unfortunate part is that the "non-spending", in an economy comprised of 70% "service & shopping", took a mortal blow.
Without an massive infusion of aid to the middle class (and I DON'T mean tax cuts), nothing will change anytime soon.
No one in government has the power or guts to do what is really needed, so we will probably slog on as we are now, with foreclosures and layoffs continuing, for the foreseeable future.
What would/could help?:
1. Student loan forgiveness
2. Mortgage PRINCIPAL adjustment
3. Loan re-dos to eliminate the "adjustable" rates
4. Re-set of mortgage interest at 4% MAX..(big banks get $ @ 0%)
5. Cap credit card interest at 10% MAX, but reinstate realistic credit limits
6. Put vampire check-cashing/payday loan places out of business
7. Either "create" jobs, subsidize them or at least continue the unemployment benefits.
The goal is to PUT MONEY INTO THE HANDS OF PEOPLE WHO WILL SPEND IT.
That's in the here and now, but the long-range goal should be to get back into the business of actually making things we need. as long as we are hostage to doing each other's nails , serving food to each other, and shuffling papers for each other, we are always going to be insecure.
If we make the stuff we all need and want, we have a logical cycle again, and can earn, spend, save money derived from our own labors, and our own commerce. ( I know it sounds anti-globalization, but enough's enough sometimes, and if all our spending & buying is doing is generating profits for already rich corporate fat-cats, what's in it for US?)
I know that in the abstract, globalization sound great, but wasting fuel schlepping stuff made elsewhere all over the place is part of the climate change problem and the pollution problem, and the oil-hunger problem, as well as job insecurity.
they are referencing a "country" before affirmative action, a "country" where Jim Crow Laws were still firmly in place, a "country" where "wimmin-folk" knew their "place".
They are longing for a time when the middle aged white men ran the show (their fathers), and they are pissed about the fact that just as THEY "aged-into" adulthood, it all went away and they had to share. they could no longer use the "good-ole-boy" network to get a cushy job.
It always puzzles me why the women of this mindset would want to "go back", but maybe they liked the part about not HAVING to work, and maybe having a husband home after a 3 martini lunch made evenings nice & "quiet"..
It's not hard to see why so many of this particular type of man would "want it back". Men of that era pretty much did whatever they wanted to.
Apparently there's a big "Service Conference" about to convene.
Let's look at "service":
Kennedy's oft-quoted speech spoke to involving young people in the furtherance of their country's ideals & spreading the "word", all while bolstering the young people's connection to their society. We have to remember what was going on at this particular time in the world. There was a cold war (simmering hot, just under the surface). The rest of the world was only 15 years past the devastation of WWII. The Nazis were still being rounded up.Black people were still in the grasp of Jim Crow. There was no medicare for the older folks, who were pretty much poverty-stricken as they aged out of the job force. There were millions of people who still did not have telephones, indoor plumbing...here in the US.
The sprawl of America had not really started yet, and inner cities were ripe for the chaos that would start in a few years.
Young people were rather insulated, as the prized-possessions of the families created after the war. Kennedy was speaking to those kids & teens..to inspire them for the FUTURE. He knew that young people would be the perfect ambassadors abroad, because they had not been abroad, killing..They would go out as a new generation of Americans, ready to show a new way to view America. he did not want the next wave of Americans venturing abroad, to be carrying weapons., He wanted their brainpower, enthusiasm & adventurous spirit to be exported abroad.
There's that kind of "service:..
I don't think that Kennedy expected this service to be in lieu of American aid to those countries. In fact that kind of service Vista (inside the US) and the Peace Corps meant MORE money would be spent...not less.
The "new" service seems to be an entirely different beast.
We expect teachers to spend their own money & time to supply what used to be considered normal operating expenses for any school
We expect nurses & doctors to give up their own off-time tending to the people our country seems uninterested in medically.
We expect ill people & their families to hold car washes & bake sales to help defray costs of lifesaving medical treatment provided by mega-million dollar corporate hospitals, and millionaire specialists.
We expect parents to take time off work (if necessary) to "volunteer" at their children's schools.
We expect students to accept mandatory volunteerism, as a part of their requirement-to-graduate.
I am NOT saying that volunteerism & service are bad. I am saying that when they SUBSTITUTE for services that should be (and are provided by most civilized nations) provided as a routine consequence of being a citizen. Many of these "services" are being outsourced to individuals so that the government can then re-direct the money they would have cost, to "other things"..Anyone want to venture a guess, what those might be?
They also mask a need to raise taxes to pay for the necessities. The money NOT spent on the continual increase in cost-to-provide services suddenly becomes "available" to use for taxcuts to the "friendlies", who immediately set out to demonize anyone who dares to expect a service for their tax money.
There was never a problem with farm wives busting their asses next to their farmer-husbands, or wives of store-owners, but women in the workforce were another issue.
Women often took IN work...sewing, ironing, washing, etc.. or they did after-hours cleaning. The immigrant women were relegated to sweatshop work, because they were timid, & many did not speak English well, or they had no room in their tenements to DO take-in work.
Women were expected to do all the child-rearing, keep the house, cook, clean, do laundry and of course be "available" to their man whenever he wanted.
That schedule is pretty daunting, without being "out there" competing in the job-world for less money than a man would make, doing the same job.
Men were paid more because the perception was that THEY supported a family, and women worked because they were bored housewives, old-maid spinsters, too homely to "catch" a man, or just wanted "extra money".
No one took note of the fact that for DECADES now, one salary has not been enough to support a family, OR that MILLIONS of women re now MORE educated and qualified than a lot of men, and that many men have bailed on families & Mom IS the sole support of the family.
The movies & books still play up the angle that women do not "need" to work, and the ones who do are often "in it" for self-gratification...not from necessity.
For the young ones here who were not around bck then, take a hard look at "Mad Men". That's as true a representation as there is, of how it really was for women ..and that whole thing continued WAAAAY into the 1970's.
The one quibble I have about Mad Men is that they are almost too nice to the women. Most women I knew in the labor force back then were totally dismissed by the men they worked with, and other than the few who were hit upon mercilessly, and treated like workplace whores, most were just as valuable as the carpeting, drapes or furniture in the place.. totally replaceable.
Teaching was one of the few occupations (the other one was nursing) that "respectable" young women went to college to do.
Being unmarried was often a part of the requirement, because then they would always be available to do extra after-hours tutoring & mentoring, and they could also be paid less because with no family to support they did not NEED to earn more.
Until the late '70's it was pretty common for women to go to college to find a husband, and failing that, they would have a teaching certificate or nursing degree to "fall back on" until they DID find a man.
The Women's Movement was ALL about changing this perception, and it has, to some degree, but all you have to do is go to the movies, and the "olden days" are still there.. Even the brightest, cutest, most successful woman is still portrayed as unhappy, unworthy, and downright neurotic, until she meets "Mr. Right" & has (or tries to) have a baby.
The old myth of women being the "weaker sex/fair sex/delicate flowers of womanhood/etc" persists, and is the bedrock of rightwing philosophy. The LAST thing these people want is a bunch of capable women in charge and running things.
In an odd way, this could be at the heart of the "troubles" we are having now...and have been having for at least a generation.
Every job we apply for (for a very long time) has a section on the application that asks us what our goals are.. 5 years down the line.. "What do you see yourself doing in 5 (10-15) years from now..what are your professional goals?..
College applications ask us to "tell us about yourself..what are your personal goals?..What do your see yourself doing in 10 years?"
The child cannot wait to become a teenager
The young teen cannot wait to turn 16, so they can drive
The 17 year old cannot wait to become "legal" at 18
The 20 yr old cannot wait to become 21
We can barely wait until we get a chance to "be on our own".. to buy a home, to get married, to fall in love, to get that great job, to have a child, etc.
Our society evolved as a "forward-looking" society, so it's not unreasonable for most of us to live this way. We have portrayed ourselves as a hopeful society..always on the verge of the "next big/better thing"..so why NOT be goal oriented?
We spend most of our today, thinking about how great our tomorrow will be, while we block out the "bad-stuff" from our yesterday, instead of learning from it.
Perhaps each generation thinks it has found the perfect way to live, and chooses to ignore the warnings of people who have "been there before"..and perhaps we always think that new technology will always swoop in to save the day.
What separates us from many third-world societies , is that we have the luxury of being secure enough in the today, to even plan for tomorrow. We can take time to focus on where we want to be in 5 years or 10 years , but they spend most of their lives planning on where they can find enough water or food for one day. They have few "goals" that are reachable by them. Their goals are mainly dreams or even fantasies.
And now we are where we are.. Our goals we planned on reaching, have turned out to be pretty unreachable for many (most?) of us. Will our children see the futility of planning?
Could the anger( real or trumped up) be from the mass-realization that we have all been had?
Could the masses be awakening again , to the fact that a few clever people at the top are holding aces in the High Roller Room, and we are at the penny-slots..afraid to even play "max-bet"?
The goal of retiring "well-off", morphed from defined pensions, to the Wall Street Casino version of Wheel of Fortune.
The goal of getting a good education, morphed into leaving school with a staggering amount of debt, and into a job-market that only values paying as little as possible for as much work as possible.
The goal of paying off a house, morphed into paying taxes & insurance based on "high value" homes, that are worth less than is owed on them..and that sit empty for months (years?) after the would-be owners throw in the towel and leave.
Even the "small" goals are leaving.
How many people had a goal of just enjoying free time with the grandkids? or spending time puttering around with a hobby? For many older people, there will be no puttering or hanging out with grandkids. There will be a series of low-paid, part time jobs, because without them, there will not be enough money to pay the bills.
Goals set, require a stable enough "now", so the plans for the goals can be met
I think people are realizing that the focus they thought they had on their personal & professional goals, is fuzzy at best, if not totally gone.
Their focus is on survival, and any goals they may have had, are looking a lot more like dreams these days.
Is it any wonder why so many people are angry, upset, bewildered, confused, despondent, <any number of other feelings here>?
Both parties are said to have "fringe" elements.
Let's examine that fringe a little closer.
The left fringe is always associated with progressive ideas. Progressive is not a "bad" word. I thought America was all about progress.. Most people embrace progress.
To be fair, there are some negatives that can accompany progress, but for the most part we have always been in a progression.. from here to there..from childhood to adulthood.. from apprenticeship to journeyman.etc.
If there is not progression, there is either a static position or regression. That's all there is, folks.
Stasis is not all that great of a goal for the "world leader/bestest country in the whole wide world".
Regression is also not all that great of a goal, if we plan to be an innovative forward-thinking country.
The left fringe is often associated with ideas & goals that are intended to to have an equalizing, uplifting theme..things like:
These ideals only became "fringe" though a deliberate effort. They should be mainstream ideals, but have become little more than talking points and misspelled topics of cardboard signs.
Right wing fringe could just be the opposite of the left, but they are MORE than that. they have moved beyond the yang to our yin. they have "progressed" from benign stasis to toxic regression. A group that clings to the worst ideas, deserves scorn, not praise. Their doggedness may be something they are proud of, but when we look at the ideals they espouse, it's not hard to see just how dangerous these ideas are.
It's almost as if these people (as a group) have made a conscious decision to embrace the things that destroy a nation..
They embrace warlike behavior..personally, as well as nationally
they step away from educational advances
they turn away from science (until someone in their own family gets very ill..then they like those geeky "science-y" doctors)
they wear their ignorance like a luxurious cashmere coat
they are more than willing to gamble with their planet's future if it means they might make a buck or two in their 401-k
they claim righteousness & family values, but can't live up to most of the tenets of either in their personal lives
they prefer to limit wages for poor people, while berating these same people for being poor
they begrudge schools the funding necessary to teach kids, and then complain when children are falling behind
they cloak themselves in the flag & clutch the constitution when they protest others, yet refuse others the same rights
they claim to love Jesus, the Bible, & their churches, but somehow missed the part about generosity of spirit & the "love-thy-neighbor" parts, and feel free to attack-at-will
some of the right- fringe schizophrenically demand that "we" forget all about the Bush-years and all its follies, because "that was then, and this is now", and that was "a long time ago"..and yet they proudly brandish the artifacts of the Confederacy, and still joyfully talk about secession & toss around the hurtful words from that debacle.
they claim to love babies, so much that they want EVERY baby to be born..no matter what..but once born, those babies lose any status, and are expected to thrive with little or no assistance.
Frankly, the people in the "middle", who claim neither fringed-sleeve are complicit because in their lack of choice, they become part of the problem. By not committing to progress and uplifting, they are giving "cover" to the right wing fringe, and are giving them a legitimacy they do not deserve.
The left-fringe is not really "fringe" at all. It's just that the middle has become so muddled, they no longer recognize themselves as participants, and are adrift in a sea of rhetoric that does little more than make them more confused as time goes on.
The far-right would have us believe that the "left" fringe wants to embrace anarchy, communism and or socialism, but that is not true, and they know it, but they love the fear & smear so much they cannot, or will not see the truth. The "right" fringe, for all its bible-worship and science-bashing cannot see that their purported "beliefs" are little more than feudal Darwinism.
I've always approached bold ideas with a "what if" approach, to help me make up my mind.
What IF the far left is correct?
What's the WORST that could happen?
Cleaner air, cleaner water, more trees, more fish in the sea, more critters in what's left of the wilderness, more teachers? are these bad things?
People marrying whomever they want, regardless of the gender of the other person? How does that make things worse for me?
Women paid on par with men? how's that bad? don't the righties ever have daughters? sisters? Moms?
Health-care for every American? do right wingers never get sick? are their children, parents, family members immune from illness? What if a right winger's family member needs medical care during a time when they are not insured? should they just die?
When we look at the ideals that the right-fringe stands for, and use the same "what's the worst that could happen?" approach, there's a whole other "reality" .
Their ideas lack ingenuity, thought or purpose. They are destructive ideals. they HURT people, the national image, the planet.
The saddest part about the whole movement, is that they cannot even own up to their ideals in public.
They welcome with open arms, the "bomb-throwers", the blowhards, the blatant racists, they prop them up, prod them and then when the inevitable happens, many of the leaders scurry like roaches when the light's turned on.. they want the radical ones in their fringe to be bold and to yell out words put to pasture decades ago, to spit on people, to throw money at handicapped people, but when confronted with the fruit of their own poison tree, they feign ignorance & slither under the baseboard.
These are the "brave" stalwarts who are so gung-ho about militancy & who never back down when sending other people's children off to war, but when asked to "man-up" & claim their own, they will not.
Ours is not a jacket with two equally-fringed sleeves..it's a jacket with a left sleeve that is frayed from slashing at it for decades..and the other one with carefully coiffed, pristine fringe... Surely there's a thread somewhere that can be pulled....to shed that right sleeve altogether.
Perhaps it's time to just become a vest.. Don't we all have a "vested" interest in becoming the best we can be?
This is the biggest "challenge" we are facing, as a society.
Many of us grew up in a time when people did things in a very proscribed manner.
There were "rules".
Young people had their schooling & then their apprenticeships, and the "reward" for their diligence was a career, and a stable lifestyle.
They may not have wanted to replicate their elders' lives , but they at least wanted the opportunity to have a lifestyle at least as good as their parents'.
Parents let their children know that , at first, they would have to skimp & struggle a bit, but the payoff would be a comfortable life.
All bets are off now, and have been off for a very long time.
Students "graduate" with an unmanageable load of debt, into a marketplace that does not value their education, and sees them as low-paid wage-slaves, eager to do anything for any paycheck.
Saving is not even an option for most young people starting out today. If part-time work is all that many can even find, or some combination of internship/paid work is the other option, they won't even make enough to support themselves.
Many experts comment on how so many young people do not marry as young as in previous times. In some ways, I see this as a self-preservation reflex. "25 yr old woman, with $40K school debt, marries 27 yr old man, with $50K school debt"... How many people here think that's a marriage "made in heaven"?
Young people in that predicament may never be able to maintain the creditworthiness necessary to buy a home, or afford a family, or even a good loan rate for the cars they would need to get from job to job.
No matter how far we have come, we still see our own debt as a bit shameful..as something we don't really want to share with others. It's got to be a daunting thing to be dating someone, and to fall in love with them,. and then to have to have "that talk"... you know.. the "talk" where you tell them how much money you owe, and how broke you really are..
I had a friend who said that the way you could tell if it was "true love" was when you could throw up in front of that "other" person, and they would not be grossed out. I think the modern version might be , when you tell them how in debt you are, and they do not run for the hills, never to be seen again..
But having said that, love will not "cure" debt....but debt can (and will) kill love.
Even people who manage to find full-time work...work that pays well.. can never be comfortable, since every day there is news about companies being bought and sold and jobs being eliminated. Everyone goes to work with a sense of dread, every time a few people go into an office and close the door, a chill falls over the office.
People who thought they had careers, are finding out that they are 40-something, and unemployed...and possibly forever (in their former line of work).
Humans are inventive creatures, but we are being asked to re-invent ourselves multiple times, all-the-while trying to manage lives & raise families. This calls into question the whole purpose of a higher education. Why waste time and money to get a degree in something if the "payoff" will only last a while, and then you will be expected to start all over?
18-25 yr olds may be in a position to go in many directions at once until they find their true calling, but it's really unfair to ask people to do this over and over and over and over.
Daily living costs are pretty much fixed for most people. There are basics that have to be paid for: rent/mortgage...food...transportation to and from work..clothes on your back...shoes on your feet..seeing a doctor when you're sick..
If you cannot find full-time work that provides enough money for the basics of life, how can you even begin to manage on part time jobs?
I know there are millions of people who are doing this (or trying to), but falling further behind, month after month, is no way to live....not for the long haul anyway.
The public has lost faith, because too many of us lived by the rules..we played fairly, we did our part, and every time we thought it was about to "pay off", the rules were either re-written, or simply thrown away.. We keep passing "GO", but the "Collect $200" part is not enough.
Even now that there is a plan to help small businesses borrow money for "new hires".. Well that's just ducky, BUT what about re-hiring all the people laid off BEFORE those "new-hires"?
And if a small business hires/re-hires? ...then what?
Demand drives the economy. If there is no demand, making more "stuff", will not solve the problem..
Stuff is a big part of our problem. Money spent for "stuff" is used to pay low wages to the people who stack & sell the "stuff", and to the operators of the big-box corporations, but the lion's share of the money spent does not recirculate within the communities where it's spent. The only money that circulates, is the wages made by the people who live there...and if they spend their money for "stuff" at other big-boxes..well the law of diminishing returns comes into play pretty quickly.
A society of part-time workers selling foreign-made "stuff" to other part-time workers is no way to run a vibrant economy...especially when houses cost "full-time" money..so do cars & washers & dryers & dishwashers & college costs "full-time" money too...so do medical care premiums.
Well, that worked out well, didn't it? Middle class workers gave up (not their choice) those boring old defined benefit pensions, but they were "promised" that they too could be rich..rich..rich I-tell-ya..
It had to appear better than sliced bread, to get MOST eligible people IN it.
Much like the charter school thing & vouchers, the rush to GET IN, created a vacuum that "proved" that there was no longer even any need for regular old boring pensions, and that would drive more and more companies into 401-k plans..
Companies were freed up from having to keep track of pension money and to account for the shenanigans that often occurred..so it was a win-win for companies.. give out 2% pay raises (if any) and then just plop in 2-4% into the 401-ks...knowing that as people get strapped for cash they often reduce their participation percentage or drop out altogether, letting the boss off the hook as well..
People all over the country with high school educations (many with less) that probably did not even teach them how to successfully balance a checkbook, were suddenly "investors"..
Don't understand it?.. well never fear, the cable TV people will hook you up with the likes of Jim Cramer & his cohorts..and the online folks will offer you their website
How could this plan possibly fail?
For a while, many people did ride the bubble successfully (on paper..even Bernie Madoff sent out glowing statements), and some managed to pull their money out in time, by retiring at just the right moment in time, but for many many many more, all that money faithfully deducted every payday & matched (somewhat) by their employers...over all those years, was little more than a huge wad of "walking around casino money" for all the wall street hotshots. They were supposed to invest your money over the long haul, so you could retire with MORE than that stodgy old pension would have given you.
It's no surprise that the 401-k came along as the Boomers entered their prime earning years. Those were also the merger & acquisition years, so it made the 401-k seem like a fantastic way to avoid losing a pension as some companies merged & others flopped dead in their tracks.
Substitute "Health Insurance corporations & Pharma" for "Wall street" and we've got pretty much the same deal going on here, folks.. with a twist ..
fines if you do not participate, unregulated cost increases if you do.
Corporations NEVER operate for the good of mankind.. They serve the bottom line...the BIG-investor class.
Our nation has a saddle on the Boomer Generation..and they've ridden us our whole lives (for optimum extraction of money).. This is the final act..
REAL health care will start after most of us are gone. Why? Economics
The instant the election is called for the "winner", the focus shifts into "what went wrong" for the "other guy", and who will run in 4 years.
Every president has his (or her, someday) detractors, and the press loves to bash whomever ends up in that comfy chair in the Oval Office, but the vanquished, in recent history, has refused to accept that fact. they plot and scheme, and undermine, and whimper and whine.. they look for every bit of unused "dirt" they can find, to poison the administration of the newly-elected president.
They delight in public humiliation and have fine-tuned the art of ridicule.
The "honeymoon" period is non-existent.
we don't have a legislature.. we have 535 individuals, all vying for the same pot-of-gold, aka campaign loot and cushy "jobs" for their family members.
They are too afraid to actually legislate, because they fear any votes they may have cast, being used "against" them in the next election. Winning an election no longer matters, because once won, the next one is immediately "in-progress"....no majority is ever strong enough to counter the boisterous minority completely, and plans are always afoot to strengthen the next election's results with a BIGGER majority.
The party that lost (especially if it's the republican party) merely has to refuse to BE losers. Anyone who has ever watched football knows that most of the points are scored by the agile running backs, and NOT by the 300 lb front line behemoths. To "win", it's easier to be on the offensive side of things (in all senses of the word...lord knows that republicans are among the most offensive beings on the planet).
There used to be a denouement that happened after an election.. there was a time when the winners were allowed to actually govern. Sure, the politicos were constantly focused on the next hurrah, but for most of the public, they settled in and let history unfold.
We were patient enough to understand that four or eight years of policies-gone-awry could not be instantly "cured".
Somewhere along the line we got addicted to campaigns & elections, and stopped allowing governance to occur.
Imagine if this happened in real life:
a job opening is posted.. 5 people apply..one is chosen, and every day at work the 4 losers run to HR complaining about the "new guy", they send off scathing "appraisals" of his job-performance to headquarters, and try to convince other co-workers that he's doing a shitty job and needs to be fired, they email rude cartoons of him to everyone, they egg his car in the parking lot, they crank-call his wife, they sabotage his work...some bring guns to work, just because it's their right..
would this be acceptable behavior at a workplace?
Sometimes I wonder why anyone would even want to be president.
Their formerly thriving economies got stolen right out from under them.
They used to have a three-pronged economy:
1> heavy industry
Now they have very little of any of those three, and they were all inter-dependent.
The middle class guy worked in the factory with union wages & full benefits.
His family could afford to send their kids to summer camps that once dotted the countryside..these were middle class kids, whose family could afford to send them to camp for weeks at a time. The "rich-kids" had their camps too, but there were a LOT of not-rich kids who went to camp too.
These same families often had a fishing boat, and many had a "cabin on the lake" somewhere. It was probably a pretty dismal little place, but it was theirs, and it was a haven for them in the summer time.
Before A/C was everywhere, Mom & the kids often were dispatched to "the lake" during the hot summer, and Dads worked in offices with A/C or at a place that was hot year round (so they probably did not notice the extra degrees)..Dads drove "out" on the weekends, or "Batched" it , while the Moms & kids vacationed in the nature areas....and they did it without credit.
Many 50 & 60 year olds from those areas remember how all those little towns all over Michigan & Ohio & Pennsylvania came alive with city families escaping the heat.
The tourism of these states was built on MIDDLE CLASS vacationers, not the 5th Avenue types... those folks went to the Hamptons or to Europe.
Before there was Con Agra & Archer,Daniels,Midland gobbling up all the orchards & farms, or the land being sold off to build suburbs, there was a bustling economy every spring & summer at the orchards, and again in the fall when it was apple season.
Exit heavy industry, and the floors fell out-from-under the other economies as well. People who have sketchy incomes and shaky family-finances, no longer send their kids to camp or take vacations like they used to.
When the lakes are only used for high-cost fishing expeditions & the Great Lakes shore-fronts are "reserved" for the "mansions-only" people, the economy base gets tipped on its axis, and never recovers.
Every motel closed, every restaurant closed, every summer camp closed, every ticky-tacky bait shop closed, causes ripples across that community, and beyond.
It's been happening for a very long time, and it's hit critical mass.
The family whose financial lives get "gutted" at a particular time in their lives, NEVER recovers.. If you have adolescent kids, and you have been saving for their college, and dad loses his job, that savings gets used for rent or house-payments or food, and it never gets "paid back". Add to that, the fact that tuition has doubled & re-doubled, and many kids who might have gone to college before, will now NOT go. College no longer guarantees much, but it used to be a "marker" for many families. It proved that you had "made it". There were many "markers".. odd things like braces & contact lenses for the kids, that summer place, 2 cars, etc.
Markers are being given up, all over the place, and as people retreat from where they are, or where they thought they were... to a place they tried so hard to NOT be, it takes a psychological toll as well as a financial one.
What marked us as a people, was our optimism, and that's fading fast. True, over 3/5 of the population IS employed and seems secure, BUT when they look around and see others around them succumbing, through no "fault" of their own, it's not hard to see why people are not spending like they used to.
Many (most?) of these people who are barely hanging on see a pretty bleak future. Thom Hartmann said something a while back on his radio show that stuck with me. He said that in the next 15 years we will be seeing the largest transferal of "wealth"...ever.. as middle class Boomers transfer their life's worth of wealth...not to their children...but to pharmaceutical corporations, long-term care facilities, health-care insurance corporations, hospitals & doctors. After a lifetime of working, everything they managed to accumulate will be cashed in like casino chips, just to stay alive a little longer. Their children will receive little, if anything from them when they are gone.
Service economies with no safety net, only allow most people to exist day-to-day. There are few careers in these types of jobs. there are "contracts" or "jobs". The transition from career to job came within a lifetime, but the mythology lives on..in books, movies, in popular culture. It's as dead as the Dodo or the Carrier Pigeon, and it will not be returning..
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