Posts Tagged debt

Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Foolin’ the People About America and The Rise of Obvious “Truths” … It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life.

Peaking in the Sixties, Starving for Prosperity, The Compassion Gap, Starving the “Beast,” Humbug for the Poor, Democratizing the Hate … Your Money or Your Life

Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fourteen: Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago?

Peaking in the Sixties

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Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

Obvious “Truths”:

  • Americans are innovators and problem-solvers.
  • There’s nothing Americans can’t do, no problem we can’t solve, once we put our minds to it.
  • Things just keep getting better in America
  • Republicans are for small business.

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So unfortunately, after Reagan instituted “voodoo economics,” with prices on health care and pharmaceuticals going through the roof along with the sudden unexpected increases of other necessities of life, you had that lowered standard of living we have now become accustomed to for the great majority of Americans. You had a population that was poorer, in relative terms, and got increasingly poorer.

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Over time, over the course of my lifetime, though we might ostensibly have appeared to prosper we did not. The apparent rise in standard of living was a result of the glut of new consumer items produced in an increasingly technological and complex culture. 955830597_092af7676dYou might be able to afford plenty of cheap trinkets and toys, but for things that pertained to your well-being and quality of life, such as health and medical care, good schools, wholesome food, higher educational opportunities, a clean environment, recreational opportunities, fuel and energy, leisure, family, and quality time, and so on we were ever more wanting.

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Peaking in the Sixties

In retrospect I can see we prospered in the Fifties and Sixties. The records show that Americans achieved a peak of affluence in the Sixties and that since then, and rapidly accelerating since the Eighties, we have been on a downward slide.

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Poor Mothers Could Afford to Stay Home and Take Care of the Kids.

ason504l6a00d8341c579653ef00e552b0f6fb8834-800wiI can see the ways we, living in the Fifties and Sixties, were as a culture fairly well off, though personally my circumstances were anything but that. My father made only fifty dollars a week for a time. But my mother never had to go to work. She actually did get a part-time job much later in life for the enjoyment of it. Can anyone today imagine that?

How Much for That House? Ok, Let Me Get My Wallet.

My father never made over a hundred dollars a week until later in his life he actually started his own small trucking outfit…that’s another story about who are the real job creators in America that I get into elsewhere. Yet he bought his home with cash he had saved up. Eight thousand dollars smack on the barrelhead in 1953. He never had to work three jobs to get by either, like some folks have to today. No mortgage on his house and he bought every car he owned—roughly once every five years—also with cash he had saved.

College Educations for Free in the Sixties and Seventies. #occupycollege today

No loans, never in debt and yet five of his six children attended at least some college and two attained at least Master’s degrees. I was talking with my older brother about his college education, which mirrored my own, and we both remember getting by with very little or no debt afterward. We both received enough to cover all college plus living expenses most years just on scholarships and grants—mostly state and federally funded—yet we both attended private, somewhat prestigious, colleges.

I know, millennial generation, but don’t blame us, we’re on your side. #occupycollege.

What’s Health Insurance?

My family didn’t have any health insurance, had never even heard of it. We were not well off, but we like most people could afford to go to the doctor. And similar to others we could even normally pay hospital bills, for maternity and so on. If anything very serious developed that required more money no one ever imagined that they would be turned away at a hospital. The Mercy Hospital in my city, run by a religious order of Catholic nuns and funded by contributions, was a place one could always go regardless of one’s means. Sounds unbelievably quaint, doesn’t it? I know. I can hardly believe it was once that way myself.

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Starving for Prosperity

Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Two: Starving for Prosperity

Foolin’ the People About America

Obvious “Truths”

  • There is an abundance of food in America
  • There is a huge problem with obesity in America because folks actually have too much to eat.
  • People are overweight because they eat too much.

Starving for Prosperity

“Have Some More, There’s Plenty!”

And my family never starved back in the Fifties and Sixties. The dinner refrain was “Have some more, there’s plenty.” Though we were fairly poor by the standards of that time, I never, ever, ever imagined there being a lack of or limitation on food. There were big restrictions on sweet treats and goodies, but not on wholesome food. So it shocks me to see how much more concerned parents are today about how much their children will eat, as well as how precisely they mete out their gustatory offerings when entertaining.

“You’re Not Leaving This Table till You’ve Eaten All Your … Ketchup.”

When not long ago I worked in a group home for troubled boys I was shocked and distressed to see the controversies over the food portions given and the restrictions on when they could eat. This was a government-funded group home and had to abide by all kinds of minimal standards in nutrition. Still, ever since Reagan determined that ketchup qualified as a vegetable serving, I have noticed this public stinginess about food.

Where I worked, sugared-water drinks qualified as juice, and peanut butter consumption was limited to a thin layer like that of butter that’s spread on bread. Cheap sugar this and thats and nutrient-low, colon-clogging baked goods, noodle dishes, and pizza were the at-hand substitutes for wholesome, more substantial offerings. The resulting blood-sugar swings and erratic, aggressive behavior were handled with drugs and listed within their case histories.

“Please, Sir, Some More?”

There was much more like this but suffice it to say that I could hardly believe the happenings in this Oliver Twist world. My heart went out to those young boys who in this once wealthy land and still surrounded by plenty in this post-millennial, rich suburban California stood near the kitchen with plate in hand, their eyes pleading if they might “please have some more.”

This miserliness about food seems a prevalent thing throughout the culture as it is evident in school lunch programs also. Whereas at the grammar and secondary schools I attended while growing up I enjoyed complete wholesome meals on a par with and sometimes surpassing the enjoyable repasts at home and even seconds were allowed, what is considered a decent school lunch today is shocking. Corporations have taken over as suppliers. Can you believe we had a Joe the Cook in grade school who concocted home-style offerings, which were ladled out by those of our mothers, including my own, who had volunteered?

The Beloved School Cook–Pepsico

Today the school meals are akin to that in fast food restaurants and just as monotonous … pizza, chicken nuggets, spaghetti, greasy burgers, hot dogs, fries. They are not “cooked.” From what I understand, they are taken from freezers, popped in microwaves, and dealt out to pupils like one would cards. The epidemics of obesity and diabetes in our country attest to how much worse is the nutrition for young folks today.

Aren’t America’s “Extermination Policies” Just More Undetectable Than Nazi Germany’s? Starving the “Beast”—That Means You: Your Money or Your Life

Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Three: Starving the “Beast”

Your Medical Payment or Your Life

What else is different now than fifty years ago? Well, there’s people who can’t pay for health care… can’t get health care? …. Now that’s something new for me too. Can’t get health care. Wow. You mean you’re sick, you’re gonna die, but you can’t get help in the medical system? Unbelievable. That used to be unheard of.

I know. You’re thinking, “But we passed universal health care in recent years.” Remember though, we passed universal health care “coverage” … not care. Everyone has to be insured does not mean everyone gets taken care of.

At any rate, none of this “universal health care” has “trickled down” to the very needy as far as I can tell. Now, I don’t know if folks are being turned away from hospitals like they were before it was passed. Folks got refused care for lack of coverage in recent decades. And sometimes they died. (I wonder how many others died while struggling to fill out the forms to apply for health care for the needy? *sarcasm*)

Regardless, health care that is delayed, rationed out, or cut back and denied for certain conditions can be just as much a death sentence as being turned away at a hospital door. Example? After we passed “universal” coverage Governor Jane Brewer of Arizona allowed a change in policy in their state-funded health care to deny organ transplants to those folks who could not afford it otherwise. These were organ transplants needed to save their lives. These people would have received them under some other coverage, but falling through the cracks and being poor—some of them born too disabled to be able to work at a job—they were essentially told, “We can’t afford to keep you alive (we’ve got tax cuts for the rich to pay for).” So they did. They died. Republicans clamored about “death panels” beforehand; then promptly implemented one as soon as they could.

Isn’t this the kind of health care the opponents of “socialized medicine” say we would get if we went to single-payer? Well, we’ve got it folks—delays, rationing, denials, complications … and stress!—without any of the benefits of “socialized medicine.” I’ve watched it take two weeks to get a prescription in Riverside County, California, when it should have taken 45 minutes or less. The folks there handling health care for people who include poor folks on Medi-Cal are so overworked and stretched thin that you need to stand in line, literally stand in line for sometimes four hours or more to get a prescription filled. Think I’m exaggerating? I’m aware of at least one elderly gentleman who collapsed while waiting and was removed on a stretcher. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie Soylent Green, wondering where they were taking this one who had fallen by the wayside.

And the answer is no. No to the other question in your mind: “Don’t they have places you can sit down?” I know of no other place where you have to stand to get your prescription, you’re REQUIRED to stand. But then this is a huge county hospital catering to the poor. It handles many poor people…and it does it poorly. The unwritten rule is, “You’re asking for health care at a discount!? Well, WE’LL MAKE YOU PAY…ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, DAMN YOU!”

Starve the “Beast”

You don’t think this attitude trickles down to the masses from policy on high? Well, you tell me what the policy makers of the 1% are thinking when they say they are going to “starve the beast” of government … continually cut back funds for government services…as a back door way of making government smaller. This is the exact wording they have used, since Reagan, for their policies of tax cuts for the rich that require massive spending cuts on services for poor and middle income folks.

But think now: Just who do they imagine is really that “beast”? And why use the word, “starve”? Yes, the “beast” of the masses, the riff-raff, is being “starved”—being made to suffer for lack of sufficient money for systems and workers so folks can be served faster. With money stretched thin for humane processing systems and employees to implement them, people are refuse…”beasts”…having to stand and suffer.

I wonder how this is not simply a more undetectable way of eliminating in America the handicapped, disabled, and/or mentally challenged than the way the Nazis did it to the same sort of “riff raff” when they got to power during the time of the Third Reich.

Universal Health Care in America? Don’t Make Me Laugh… You Get an “Assumed Doctor” and Like it or You Choose to Die.

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Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Four: But Do You Get a Doctor?

starve the beast

And Do You Get a Doctor?

102792692praying-with-open-hands2_thumb[3]Do you get a doctor, though? Not in this decade you don’t. When I was a child we went to the doctor’s office and paid $7 for a doctor’s visit. Even on my Dad’s $50 a week, that was affordable; and that was the least he made. When you now have doctor’s visits that cost a hundred to three hundred dollars if you pay out of pocket (or more), do you realize how much you’d have to make for it to be as affordable as it was for my Dad? Figure $700 to 2 to 3 thousand a week. Some people make that nowadays, but not the poor. Remember, my father was dirt poor, getting by on $50 a week with six kids.

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House Calls in the Past; “Pretend” Doctors Today

But we got to see a real doctor. We even got a doctor who made house calls. Today? Well you get a pretend doctor who confers, along with a gaggle of other pretend doctors, with an actual physician, then gets back to you as you wait…and wait some more.

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And You Wait

955830597_092af7676dRecently, it took four hours for the visit and another four hours to get the prescriptions at the same hospital in another place…and the prescriptions didn’t all come through until after two weeks and a number of phone calls, as at one point they had to order a common prescription and then lost the order (had no record that it had ever been made; though on several phone calls they referred to it) and had to make it again. And this experience has been common. I’ve experienced it a number of times. I’m trying to acquire health care elsewhere, believe me.

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You Get an “Assumed” Doctor

OliverTwist_6957Did I get a doctor? No. Oh, they call themselves doctors. The last one was more honest and announced when he came in that he was so and so who was a “student doctor.” I didn’t hear him correctly. My mind scanned thousands of files in an instant and what it came up with I just had to ask. I said, “Did you say you are an ‘assumed doctor’”?

And You Like It

tumblr_lv1gf21YZO1r6m1z5o1_500And being “processed” like a piece of meat this way, you get a different “assumed doctor” every time. There is no continuity. You don’t bother to keep track of their names, for it doesn’t matter. You start all over on every visit. The only thing they know of you is what has been electronically recorded from previous visits; nothing human or relational is carried forward. They will tell you it is because all the “assumed doctors” are equally competent and qualified, so it doesn’t matter. Of course that is a rationalization for a system so “starved” of funding the personal touch has long ago been squeezed out in favor of assembly-line efficiency.

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Or You Choose to Die

So what is the upshot of all this. It is that many folks have to weigh getting health care in America—which is claimed to be “available”—against the complications and time of getting it. I don’t have a job, so I was able to persevere. What of folks who have to work full time or more? I was well enough to stand around and coherent enough to make notes and make phone calls. What of folks who are sicker than that?

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The Unspoken Costs of Health Care

2008_09_25_wall_stThe upshot is that many folks are weighing THESE costs of health care when choosing whether or not to seek help. And their decision is leaving many of these folks dead. I know of a number of people who have made such a decision; many of you also do.

Some Are Choosing a “Soylent Green” Escape

I know of one instance where it was even done consciously, for the person did not want to spend what might be her last time on Earth struggling with an insensitive and mean-spirited medical system, so she just opted to let her cancer take her in the serenity of her home and surrounded by loved ones. (Why am I thinking of that movie Soylent Green again? Well, maybe you remember that scene as well.)

Others Are Risking It

passion-of-the-christ-3.lrgrI know I myself weigh these costs in time and suffering and inconvenience whenever I feel I might need to be looked at for something. And very often…most of the time actually…I put off being looked at. ht_pepper_spray_meme_12_nt_111121_ssvI postpone doing tests that are made more time consuming and painful for poor folks (don’t get me started on that); and I often give up in pursuing the treatments and medications that I am prescribed…figuring that putting up with the suffering of the ailment is better than the suffering incurred in its cure. And I am not alone. Will it cost me my life? Perhaps.

Universal health care in America? Don’t make me laugh..

America—Best Health Care in the World
…Before Them

reagan1Now, compare all this with the way it was fifty years ago. hc-gop-prescriptionA friend of mine on Facebook shared how her brother was treated when he had a life threatening injury. This was that long ago and she relates they were poor. She says, they flew in a specialist from Australia to perform the delicate operation. I repeat, they were poor. But then this was all before Reagan…and Nixon. I’m getting to that.

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With the Excuse of “The Game,” Small-Hearted Folks Can Now Flaunt Their Mean-Spiritedness – The Compassion Gap

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“Stop War? Now, Don’t Go Gettin’ All Kumbaya on Me!” … Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Five: The Compassion Gap

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pepper spray 84 y-o occupy seattle 111511 (2)IngrahamSo what happened to our country? We were supposed to be a country that valued human life, for example, but is now valuing contract law over that.

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The Word’s More Important Than The Life

So the word has become more important than the person, and better that people sleep in the gutters or lie out in the park than to lend them a hand. And god forbid when you have children, that one of them get sick, someone have an accident, or someone get killed….

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Rules (Made Up to Benefit the Wealthy) Are Now More Important Than Life

194423-megyn-kellysantellismirkGoddamn it. Y’know, here you’ve got Rick Santelli saying, well they must have put in a kitchen or else they wouldn’t have gotten foreclosed on. Where does he get that? That’s not a fact. That’s a made up thing, just to get people angry.

3001217305_fc96d11d48_bAnd that’s the game. A game that’s not founded on any facts, only played to be won, and it’s won by making the best argument to arouse the most passions, the most negative passions in people, and to find scapegoats.

Stop War? Don’t Be Silly.

eric-cantor24mccain-apAnd this is the kind of thing that was brought up year after year over the decades to the point where it became that the things that I heard being valued growing up were laughable: compassion, if you were caring about people, or not wanting people to die.

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Say, there was a war or something and there was agony over the loss of life. And all these people would gather together out of their concern. I’m sure you’ve heard about it. People anguished and horrified by other people’s deaths and sufferings…reaching out to help them, help each other, comfort each other, pray together…hope…weep.

Oh My Lord, Kumbaya.

380431_10150394611429091_577414090_8854717_513826914_noccupy-wall-street.hippies.crppdYea, a great big kumbaya moment! Wow. And I’m sure that’s what you heard, too. So I get it. Ok, so you shouldn’t have any feelings toward your fellow suffering brother or sister. Is it, what, silly? Uncool? Weak? Wussy? Sappy? What?

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What is it you’re trying to prove to others with that?

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What is it you’re hiding about yourself?

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… What would Jesus have said to that…

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It seems more than the standard of living was lowered since those days. And I’m sure they are in many ways connected…. I’ll get into that later.

Health Not-Care: Democratizing the Hate, Humbug for the Poor, and The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About

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Foolin’ the People About America…The Middle Class Is the Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Six: Health Not-Care

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Getting back to the change in the physical standard of living that Reagan wrought, though, let’s take for example the increase in health care costs. This is one of the necessities of life, and it’s been climbing out of reach, putting a burden on people, ok? …

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Humbug for the Poor

humbugforthepoorAs I explained in Part Two of “Obvious Truths,” Nixon addressed that problem in the Seventies. He was supposedly helping out the people, the poor…. Uh. But, no, he would never say that. He would never say he wanted to help the poor! Previous to him, in Johnson’s time…The Great Society and all that, yes. That was surely a time when you would hear talk like that. There was actually a War on Poverty then.

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But by the time of Nixon….

So, I guess that’s when it started happening.

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You couldn’t say you were actually going to help out the poor anymore. Because the truism, which I’m sure you all agree with, whether you admit it to yourself or not, is that the poor people deserve to be punished because obviously they’re lazy. Think about that; isn’t that the same stuff that, back in the day, they were saying about African Americans? …

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Democratizing the Hate

Who-reports-child-abuse-and-neglect2889767_370So isn’t it kind of like that racism has become classism? It’s kind of like a hatred that’s not been eliminated because they’re still saying that about people of color, but it’s been expanded. It includes more people–whites and blacks…and all other kinds of colors. All the poor, they’re all now lazy, deserving what they get.

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The Middle Class–The Last Bastion of Who You Can Give a Damn About

So instead what you hear today is like the “middle class”! Well, supposedly the middle class are ok people. They’re not deadbeats; they didn’t put in that kitchen they can’t afford…. Actually they’re the ones who are owning homes so some of them actually are the ones getting those new kitchens.

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Health Not-Care

Nixon Cared About Health…Healthy Profits.

Nixoncared..aboutprofitsSo Nixon’s answer to health care, to help the middle class, he started the move toward HMOs. And remember how it came about. There were actual White House tapes, an actual taped phone conversation of it. You hear Nixon talking to Ehrlichmann. And they are discussing the matter, health care. kaiserexposedNixon is told that Kaiser, and this is the guy who started Kaiser Permanente, jpmone of the top HMOs. He is told that Edgar Kaiser is proposing a “for rich-poorprofit” system of health care.

Now here we have people who can’t afford health care and now you want to have a system that’s going to add to the costs of it. How’s that you say?

Some People Just Wanting to Get Sick Again and Again!

hospitalinternYou say HMOs lower health care costs by reducing overhead? Maybe, but to all necessary costs that are already there, HMOs add the cost of profits to go to the owners of that health care system. Ok?

Also, Kaiser pointed out it would discourage “overuse” of medical treatment. Wow! So, here we go again.

pleasesiriwantsomemoreMitt_Romney_Corporations_Are_PeopleSo now we see that people who need medical treatment are just like those deadbeats, they’re like poor people, they’re overusing medical care. My god! They’re getting sick too much. And if you had a for-profit system, well, they could deny people coverage. And they could deny people medical treatment, no doubt, because they would naturally want to increase their profits.

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GOP-Think. GOP, Think! GOP…Think?

sarahpalinSo guess what? So, Nixon replied, “Well, now that I like.” This is a true story. gop-needs-its-brains-backSo this is a look into how Republicans think.

Well not long afterwards, Nixon gives a speech to present his sweeping new health care proposal. What does he say?

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Remember, there is this obvious disdain for certain groups of people who might be getting too much health care. On the other hand, Nixon is wanting to see that certain other groups of people will make out big time from profits that will be involved.

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But his speech doesn’t go like that. Nixon is recorded giving a speech, proposing a big solution, purportedly to answer the problem of the rising health care costs that are beginning to be felt at that time. He will emphasize that his proposal would be a great benefit to the middle class. [Footnote 1]

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Make It to the Middle Base and You Score.

BaucusMiddlemccainpalinKeep in mind as I was saying in Part Two, there was a time in which influential groups would consider they “had a home run” when they could dor001make a case that their proposal was going to benefit the tea party teaAmerican people. But by this point, because of the culture war and mean-spiritedness being stirred up in the country by Republicans, it had become necessary to single out the middle class as the only ones receiving the benefit, because, y’know, poor people…they’re not Americans.

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Thanks for Those Health Care Savings, Dick! Nixon’s Big Idea: HMOs … for One-Stop Larceny

Foolin’ the People About America…”Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick!” Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Seven: Hit Men for the HMOs

Foolin’ the People About America: Nixon’s Big Idea—HMOs

Thanks for the Health Care Savings, Dick.

So Nixon says he is going to lower health care costs. Well, you can see how right he was about that. Just look at Michael Moore’s movie on American’s health care system if you can handle knowing how bad it got. The documentary, “Sicko,” lays out in brutal detail how devastating it was to inject the profit motive into health care.

“I Was a Hit-Man for the HMO.”

There is one especially disturbing example of this. A former employee of a huge HMO testified before Congress. Crying and tearful she related how she was rewarded for denying an operation that would have saved a man’s life. It would have cost the HMO a half million dollars. Instead, he died; they increased their profits.

In another situation an HMO employee received bonuses upwards of $20,000 for cancelling coverage on people who were costing the insurer a lot of money. She cancelled hundreds of policies, including for those who were scheduled for life-saving procedures. In one “particularly good” year for this person, she saved her employer $6 million. I don’t know offhand how many folks died in exchange for her dutiful and lucrative actions and am not sure I want to. This is hard to look at, isn’t it?

The upshot is these HMO-persons were rewarded for taking people’s lives; and they are in no way untypical. Linda Peeno, the physician who testified before Congress, admitted as much; she admitted her action amounted to a murder, for which she should have been charged but wasn’t. She pointed out how perverse it was that instead the system rained rewards up her. Now you show me the moral dividing line between theses actions of professionals of the HMO and “professional” assassins…mafia hit men. For I don’t see it.

Pay Us Now. We’ll Think About Covering You Later.

Now you might argue that saving money on costly care means there would be more help for others.

But, no. That’s not the rationale. That’s another part of it. They can deny health care on any basis. They can deny it on any basis but they went out and they found more ways to make even greater profits. If you were going to cost them a lot of money, if  what you needed to live was medical treatment that they might consider too expensive, well what they would sometimes do is hire people to look into you. These people would be paid to research your background, to see if they could find something that could be used as an excuse to deny your costly procedures to you.

Michael Moore records in his documentary at least one such researcher who explains, with remorse, what he had been paid to do and how he would go about it. He, and people like him, would pore over your records to look for something, even slight, that they could hang a denial of coverage on. They would in particular look into your childhood for any care that they could say indicated the presence of a medical condition for you at that time.

When they found something, they would be able to say that you had a pre-existing condition and so they were not liable for your care now. They would claim that you lied on your application in not listing such an ongoing ailment so that they could drop you from coverage and let you die.

So people were being left to die, killed in this manner. Does this not amount to more “hits” put out on people by the HMO?

Buuuut It’s Contract Law!!

Did You, At Any Point in the Past, Pre-exist This Application?

Buuut it’s contract law! …dollar laid, dollar played, y’know. And it’s contract law that is stretched to benefit the people with the most money and who have the better lawyers and who can, y’know, twist things better in their favor. Here you have a situation, where, let’s say, somebody is dying and they’re dying of emphysema. I don’t know enough about medicine to know if that would be the kind of thing that could entail very costly care, but let’s just say it did. So this person very ill with emphysema might be informed that it had been discovered, let’s say, that they had a bronchial condition as a child…maybe to them, they were prone to get colds. But they would make the determination that your frequent colds shows a preexisting condition for you. Now you tell me how a person who is dying is going to be able to fight that.

Over Your Dead Body Getting Paid

We’ve all heard Obama’s story about his mother and what she had to go through prior to her death. She spent the last months of her life arguing with the medical insurers over the bills. She was being told they didn’t have to cover her. Are those the kind of final days you would want for a loved one of yours? How does that prospect fit your own view of your last days?

One-Stop Larceny

Getting back to Nixon, at the time of his health care proposal he said huge managed care systems, which he touted as being one-stop medical systems, were going to lower health care costs. This was so, he claimed, because cost sharing and lower overhead would rein in the price of providing medical care. He said these lower expenses would benefit the whole system.

Apparently he forgot to mention the for-profit part, which ended up funneling all those benefits, those lower expenses, into the pockets of the owners and shareholders. That is what happens when you put profit-hungry businessmen in charge of care. Gradually, America’s medical needs were primarily the purview of business, big business.

Remember, again, that the health care law that went into effect under Obama was to make sure everyone would receive coverage, not health care. It remains to be seen how effective this health care reform will be in reducing these sorts of abuses by insurers. No doubt it is better than what existed before. But it leaves intact the profit motive in American health care. So any regulation and prohibitions of abuses are likely to amount to tying down a ravenous beast with bungee cords. It is hard to believe this monster created by Nixon will not break free whenever it can and wreak much havoc before being stopped again…but again with piles of dead Americans in its wake.

You Mean You Care…And You’re Not Paid To?? (Oh, Kumbaya.)

Previous to all this with big business put in charge of the life or death decisions of Americans, much of what was involved in caring for the sick had been attended to by religious and charitable organizations. These concerned social institutions might be dedicated to idealistic or religious principles, for example, which included compassion and caring for the sick as one of their values or one of their religious ideals. So, much of health care had been in the hands of charitable entities and people dedicated to the idea of service, caring for the sick, getting them well, caring for your fellow person, your fellow man or woman, and so on; naturally the type of care you received was infused with such ideals.

But with Nixon all that changed. And Nixon loved it.

Corporations Crowding Out the Mom and Pops … HMOs Driving Out the Private Physician, It’s the Same Old Monopoly Game

International_bankers

Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part Eight: The Monopoly Game Again…It’s About Creeping Corporate Insertion Into Every Aspect of Your Life.

Dees-Exxon-Mobil-armed-forces-great-one-320x276

The Monopoly Game Again: HMOs Drove Out Private Physicians

So then also, these businessmen with their HMOs are having near monopolies; they’re the only HMO providing health care in many areas. The only alternative is privately paid physicians. And these medical providers have costs that have have gone up because of their reduced client base, their patients having been siphoned off by the HMO.

wageslave_largecrpd

“Buy One Appendectomy, Get a Second One for a Dollar!”

So private care physicians have the same overhead, and now they’ve got less clientele. In addition to that, now with their making less money and having higher costs, they also have extra costs, of competition, advertising for the first time.

graphic1

“I Need to Take Two Aspirin…I’ll Call YOU in the morning.”

angry-anger-mad-furious-mob-crowd-yelling-hate-blame-blaming-accuse-accused-scape-goatdoctor smileBut that’s only one of the many costs that occur in a situation where you have a small market, with the same number of providers. You have a scrambling with other private small medical practitioners over a smaller pile, which increases not only the competitive costs involved in having to put oneself out imagesthere to win clients from competitors and thus further increases the cost of private care, it also increased pressures and tensions on private physicians who now are required to have two jobs. They have to be medical provider and business person. They have to work longer hours because of this too.

Of course you can imagine what a boon this was for medical care in our country.corp_signs Now you not only have to pay more for private care but also compared to not so long ago it is being increasingly performed by angry, stressed, tense, overworked, underslept professionals. Well what happens when you’ve got those kind of people providing you medical care on the private side?

So, on the one side–the mega-care side, you have them denying you medical care even if you’ve paid. Occupy-Wall-Street-Corporations-Suck-SignYou’ve got them denying you coverage if you have anything wrong, or if you’ve ever had anything in your life and you admit it. You either don’t get covered at all, or you may have paid premiums for years but when you get sick you don’t get treated so you die.

smtn250l

“Take Two Aspirin and Call Me After Tax Time.”

AlperOn the other hand, you can pay the higher costs for private care out of your pocket. And these people are overworked, spending much of their time trying to drum up business and trying to take care of all the increasing paperwork of a competitive business enterprise and that of an ever increasing number of payers. So they’re making more mistakes.

ADS_April 2009-thumb-450x297And more mistakes equal what? More mistakes in medicine means more people dying, by mistake, or having the wrong procedure done, or having the wrong limb removed. The extra stress will push some physicians to “operate under the influence” of alcohol or the readily available prescription mood drugs glutting the market.

aton624l

chiropractorsofficeYou get the idea that things may have been getting worse over the years in a lot of areas?

So with all the extra pressure on medical practitioners, we begin to hear more and more about malpractice. So, another cost is introduced. And medical malpractice insurance for physicians has ever increasing premiums. This adds even more to the price of private care.

The Kind of Care That Increases Suffering

mountain_king_must_die_ii_by_tapsa-d3l5u57So you can see that the suffering of the masses, in both health care systems, is going up. As for the doctors themselves, well now they’re either out of business because they made a mistake or they’re keeping up with the competition and trying to make a living. But now they have these huge malpractice insurance payments. This is a cost HMOs can easily absorb, but for private physicians, it adds even more to their costs of business, their need to increase their fees, their loss of patients, their financial stress.

So what happens? They’re forced out of their professions. Or, they’re minds are filled up with financial considerations and they are burdened with concerns…and now they’re gonna treat you!

Foolin’ the People About America: Republicans Are for Small Business?

Making It So You Need a Car to Do Anything

Globalism-Flag_thumbamerican_slaves36Well, I’ve been around long enough, I saw this before. It’s a pattern of the big guys gobbling up the little ones. It’s the story of creeping corporate insertion into every aspect of your life that you keep seeing over and over again in America. And it’s changed America.

iStock_shopping mall-busy

Back in the Time of Neighborhoods

cash_mob_hawaii_the_sourcearticle-1250214-083FF92D000005DC-736_306x423There was a time when there were no supermarkets in America. I remember that time. You used to be able to walk up to the corner, walk down the street, and you’d see bakeries, drug stores. There were penny candy stores, there were meat markets…. There was a wonderful ambiance of community about it…it was a garden of delights…people smiling and everything.

Drive to the Store, Get a Loaf of Bread.

And now they have these huge mega supermarkets. And I saw the way it slowly changed; it didn’t happen overnight.

249717674_f436a29592_m

Republicans—On the Side of the Mom-and-Pop Walmart

Those supermarkets — run by hourly wage workers — could beat mom-and-pop prices. Gradually over the years we don’t have meat markets, bakery stores….

And Republicans say they are for the small businesses, the backbone of the middle class. Well, 050-786949store2this is an example of just what a lie that is because, no, supermarkets are not small businesses. It’s all those meat markets, bakery stores and all that–those are the small businesses, they are the mom and pop, those are the average Americans trying to be self employed. Self-employment is not huge corporations.

2010_02_25-Walmart

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Thirteen:
The Great American About Face

tumblr_lw5e899a0v1qzma4ho1_500

Footnote

1. For a humorous, hard hitting aside on this callous attitude of Republicans, on behalf of the rich, and as contrasted with Democratic efforts, check out this audio monologue of mine, “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…Who?!!”: Likely Constituent’s Response to Republican Governors Who Turned Down Unemployment Money from Stimulus to “Score Points” Against Obama“ below.

This four and a half minute clip is taken from the longer, 35-minute audio, “Naked Republicans Blue Meanies Fleeing or Looking Foolish.”

You’re Turning Down my Money for ME!…To Stare Down…?!!…” –Comedy Monologue, audio clip by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is the audio clip of my comedic monologue. Click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below. The script for this piece is included below the player, fyi.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355

About the audio above

[From July 2009] What a riot these Republicans are. There was Louisiana, Alaska, Arizona, South Carolina, and Texas governors refusing stimulus money to “show up Obama.” Then they turn around and ask for it secretly, or as in the case recently with Texas, which turned down almost 550 million in unemployment extension money at the time, only in this last week (7/14-7/18) to ask for a loan from the federal government for about 440 million, get this, to pay for extensions on unemployment. HA!

bobbyjindelfakesmileWell, in this clip, I play a constituent of the Louisiana governor who went nationally to say he was going to turn down the unemployment money from the stimulus. Now, if you’re a Louisianan, and you’re on unemployment…hmmm…just imagine how freaking happy you’d be to hear that! Well, that is what I express in this clip.

Keep in mind this happened just after this governor had given the (horrible) Republican “response” to Barack Obama’s unofficial “State of the Union” address in January. And this governor, Governor Bobby Jindal, at the time was being touted big time as a presidential front-runner for the Presidency in 2012.

You’re gonna love this response to the self-serving “more principles-than-brains” political one-upsmanships at the expense of their constituents by these Republican x@#&%$%#@@# governors.

And the text of the “You’re Turning Down my Money for ME…” audio:

Ok, so now I’m one of those “constituents.” I’m thinking…

Thanks a lot, bastard, you think I got it easy? You jerk! Who the hell you think you are down there in Louisiana, Mr. freaking Governor who don’t need no additional unemployment money. No, idiot! You GOT a job! It’s me that can’t find work and that’s worried about my kids getting sick and, well, now the almost certainty, by the way because of your stupid-assed spiteful action to turn down my money for me. Now, I ‘m gonna lose my house, worry about my kids staying healthy, but you’ve done what? You’ve stood up to Obama (the guy who was gonna give me money?) You’ve said we don’t need no stinkin’ money and made yourself a spectacle on the national stage and, you think (here’s that lying again. You screwed us over and then you’re thinking you can tell us that we were better than that or something of other of a slick confusing fog of insanity.), and you think that this will give you a leg towards the Presidency.

Well, Mr. Jerk-off turning down my money for me like it’s my pride your fighting for, do you really think we are still that stupid, still that happy to be burdened and crushed for your aspirations, which obviously don’t include, you’ve made that damn clear, doing anything for any person, any “constituent, any citizen, no, not anyone” and it’s clear that our burdens are so meaningless to you that you will heap misery on us to do, now what was that again? You “stood up” to Obama? What the fuck, are you in grade school? Do you think I give a shit who’s staring who down? I’m trying to live a life; a life that you have just put a cloud of unhappiness and worry over that will not go away form many many years; in fact I may never own a home again.

But I won’t go on about things that cause your eyes to glaze over. Just let me ask you this Mister, wise-potato? You “stood up” to the guy who’s gonna give me money, and hold out his hand to me. Ok, Mr. more principles-than-brains, what’s your next big plan? Oh, I see, you’re gonna stand up to, well, Santa Claus. Oh, yeah, I hear it all right. Out on the National stage; spoutin out as if you’re talkin our mind; shit, you ain’t even one of us. But I hear you:”

“Nope, Mr. Matthews, you see we’re Louisianans? Not beggars. We don’t need Christmas. We can take care of ourselves. Let you folks out there have Christmas. I mean, if you’re so weak. So you’ve had it your whole life and now you’re kind of like addicted to it. Well OK. I’m not going to talk down any on those who are obviously so weak and needy.

But, you see, Mr. Matthews… Mr. Matthews, well let me put it this way, you ever come down to Louisiana? Ever? To visit or anything? You have? So you’ve met with some of our citizens, have you? You have. Well, then you know what a strong-willed, strong-spirited, and PROUD people we are down here, don’t you? You agree. So you see that’s why. I knew you would agree because it’s so obviously true about the folks that live down here, I didn’t see how you’d miss it.

So that’s OK, let Santa go somewhere else where he’s , you know, where they’re the folks that need to have a handout and can’t get by the year without having a good time. No, my constituents are strong-willed, and they wouldn’t have me letting any squirrely funny-suited guy out here prancin around and lookin foolish. Well, not us. We’re not foolish. We’re PROUD.


The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,” Part Three – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Three,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://ecdn0.hark.com/swfs/player.swf?1305835355



Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Fifteen: Money Madness

Return to Culture War, Class War, Chapter Thirteen:
The Great American About Face

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Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Fifties, Gen X, and Millennials … and the True Story of How America Was Remade in the 70s and 80s to Benefit the 1%

Culture War, Class War Chapter Four: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds

Dawn of the Dead: Yuppies, “Me” Generation, Reagan, Matrix Manifesting, and Drug Effects – Speed


Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds. America’s Values Were Reversed

Drugs and Generations

Drug Effects—Cocaine, Speed

Drugs in the amphetamine class are stimulants. This includes cocaine, methamphetamine, “meth,” “crystal,” crack cocaine, “crack,” speed, amphetamine, uppers, “whites,” and so on. They repress Pain extraordinarily well.

Building castles in the sky

They are euphoriants and cause one to have the feeling that one’s mental capacities are expanded. One feels that one can envision projects and outcomes precisely. So one expends oneself in organizing and preparing for great achievements, which rarely are embarked on.

Free from fear, reckless, overconfident, risk-taking

Since these drugs repress Pain, creating an amped state of mind more than normally able to fend off unwanted emotional material, they repress the normally present residue of fear, with its attendant caution in the face of activities outside of one’s comfort zone requiring forethought and anticipation. One does not feel constrained by normal fears or apprehensions, so one throws oneself into new activities with reckless abandon. One feels overly confident in one’s abilities and engages in all kinds of risk-taking—financially, sexually, interpersonally, legally. These activities have one embarking on dubious schemes which rarely pan out.

A land of light and darkness

Despite these negatives the corollary of this mental activity is that one’s ability to think and see more clearly on some issues is enhanced, just because one’s fears can pollute one’s perception and apprehension of things. 

It is enlightening to remember that Sigmund Freud, among other notables in history, experimented with cocaine. At one point, Freud was heartily endorsing its use to his colleagues; he was waxing expansively about its benefits for mental life and clarity of consciousness. Of course, he changed his position on this later. No doubt his use led him to see its face of darkness as well.

Glimpses of clarity

Nonetheless, concerning the positive aspects of cocaine, it can be mentally enhancing partly because of its repression of fear. For fears, as mentioned, are both of the helpful-cautionary as well as the oppressive types. Being released from the oppressiveness of fears, being freed of the constraints of “fearful thinking,” can result in seeing one’s reality more clearly. Feeling fearless can lead one to acknowledging truths and realities normally defended against—thus being therapeutic even, getting a glimpse of reality outside of one’s fears.

Reckless

Being freed from normal caution, however, can lead one into reckless activities with consequences far beyond one’s ability to handle in either a normal, or drugged, state. It is no coincidence that these drugs have seen heavy usage by wartime participants—notable are their use by fighter pilots and by Vietnam warriors.

A land of empathy and insensitivity

Lastly, since these stimulants repress feelings, they can lead to insensitivity toward others. But since they can repress fear which blocks truer perception of and appreciation of others they can lead, paradoxically, to feelings of love toward others and a feeling of finally really seeing others and appreciating them for who they are, not simply in the way one has cast them (“pigeon-holed” them) to fit into one’s scripts, agendas, ego projects, or desires.

Matrix Manifesting

The Eighties

The Eighties saw an epidemic of use of cocaine. This was commonly attributed to Yuppies, which is the popular term for the Young Upwardly-mobile Professional character of this era and is contrasted with the idealistic, activist, and anti–Vietnam-War Yippies (Youth International Party, whose founder and most famous member was Abbie Hoffman).

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Reagan, Yuppy-Kay-Yo-Kay-Yay

Yuppies came in at the same time as Ronald Reagan into the White House and, indeed, exemplified much of what Reagan stood for. They were seen as greedy, over-achieving, materialistic, narcissistic, and societally and environmentally insensitive careerists.

“Love is all you need” turned into “Money is good!”

They were portrayed in film; one in particular that sought to delineate the attitudes of this character type was “Wall Street,” in which Charlie Sheen plays the role of the Yuppie, mentored by the Fifties Generation character, Gekko, played by Michael Douglas. Together they give a portrayal of complete self-centeredness and insensitivity to the ways their Machiavellian strategies harm others or the environment. They are driven solely by a value that “Money Is Good!”—a slogan completely the opposite of the previous generation — the Sixties Generation — whose attitudes were expressed in lyrics like “I don’t care too much for money; money can’t buy me love” and “Love is all you need”; who bought and lived by books with titles such as How to Live on Nothing, The Greening of America, and Back to Eden; and whose most famous slogan was “Tune in, Turn on, Drop out” (or it was sometimes said, “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out”—I’m not sure anyone in the generation knew which was the “proper” way to say it).

“Me Generation”

In any case, another term used for the Yuppie Generation was The “Me” Generation. Thus it was that from the late Sixties, early Seventies (the height of Vietnam-Era Youth’s influence on society and culture) to the late Seventies and most of the Eighties—within a period of a mere decade—the prevailing, media-amplified cultural values of our society swung, pendulum-like, a hundred-and-eighty degrees from where they had been.

The Big Lie About Yuppies Being Hippies: Matrix Manifesting, Class Warfare Against Sixties Activism

History of the Movement: The Continued Slandering of a Generation, So an Activist One Would Never Again Arise

Matrix manifest and The Big Lie

This change had a great deal to do with the efforts of the World-War-Two Generation—in total horror at the way their sons and daughters seemed to be reversing the values they had lived, and fought, for—to “take back” society. The WWII Generation did this by putting pressure, as well-to-do alumni, on universities and colleges across America to turn their curricula away from liberal arts and toward job-oriented curricula, and by using their positions of power in the media to influence the flow and content of the information to be fed to the mainstream public. For example, in the early Seventies, the WWII Generation’s money and power directed the press to declare that a “conservative backlash” was occurring in America, when in fact the opposite was occurring.

But eventually their “Big Lie” tactics won out so that people began to believe and then to create what they had been repeatedly told…the opposite view having, as part of the strategy, been censored in the media. [Footnote 1]

Thus, the Yuppies were the creation of the WWII Generation in their attempt to reverse the course of society that their own daughters and sons, as “Sixties Youth,” had put it on.

Scapegoating an Entire Generation

Coinciding with and supporting the strategy just described, and because the World-War-Two Generation during the Eighties were still in their Triumphant Phase—a psychohistorical term meaning they were at the stage of their life in late adulthood in which they had pretty much gained control of the reins of society—they furthered their cause by managing to plant a fantasy in the collective consciousness of American culture concerning the origins of Yuppies which persists to this day.

Designer generation

In obvious denial (again, their predominant defensive posture) of the fact that they had helped to “create” the Yuppies and so of the similarities between their own values and those of the Yuppies, as exemplified by the similarities between the (World-War-Two-era) Reagan-Bush political agenda and that of the Yuppies—who indeed helped elect Reagan and Bush—yet aware of the criticism that their very own values, taken to the Yuppie extremes, was generating in the independent press as well as the negative publicity there about the cocaine use of the Yuppies, the World-War-Two Generation saw an opportunity not only to defeat but also to “get back” at their opponents, the Sixties Generation, by ridiculing them.

In the predominant World-War-Two Generation fashion of scapegoating (the accompaniment of denial), which they had been directing from the outset at the Sixties Generation (who had of course incurred the wrath of the WWII Generation by opposing and confronting them on the Vietnam War in sometimes harsh and hostile ways), the Yuppies, with their cocaine use, were portrayed in the WWII-Generation-paid-for media as former Sixties hippies who had simply grown older but—consistent with their alleged “narcissism”—were still selfish, only now, materially so, thus the appellation, The “Me” Generation.

So the Vietnam-era or Sixties Generation began being denigrated in the press with the accusation, “The ‘Me’ Generation,” and Sixties values were also denigrated—the scapegoating of the Sixties Generation continuing—despite the fact that it was a different age group in society, the younger Yuppies, who were actually the ones triggering the attack.

Opposing Worlds

The hypocrisy of the charge becomes even more blatant when considering that the values of the Sixties Generation included such selfless acts as risking, sometimes incurring, violence and personal harm, jail time, and a lower standard of living for the sake of their idealistic beliefs in peace, environmental restoration and preservation, and selfless communitarian living, among othersnone of which have any overlap with Yuppie careerism, consumerism, materialism, and individualistic greedy selfishness.

Despite the success in our society’s collective consciousness of the fantasy of Yuppies being former hippies—once it had been planted in the popular culture by the WWII Generation sitting comfortably in front of American society’s steering wheel—the truth is that these Yuppies were predominantly the generation that shadowed the Sixties generation, arising as youth in the aftermath of the Sixties cultural revolution.

Yuppies, Created by a Desperate WWII Generation, Had Fifties Generation Parents Marinated in War Fears

History of the Movement: The Truth and Lies About Yuppies and Their Fifties Generation Parents

Yuppies—Products of the WWII Generation’s Todo List

Their values become understandable, then, in that they were in secondary schools and universities during the Seventies when the “Conservative backlash” Big Lie was being promulgated. For as I’ve mentioned at that time universities were cutting back funding from courses in liberal arts, philosophy, psychology, literature, politics and government, and the like and were turning themselves into career-factories dedicated to producing compliant business persons, engineers, physicians, and scientists who were not being educated to think for themselves but how to achieve and make money in a culture the World-War-Two Generation was comfortable with.

Yuppies—Children of Fifties Generation Parents

The values of the Yuppies are understandable, furthermore, in that they were the sons and daughters of a generation between the World-War-Two and Baby-Boomer Generations, who are rarely talked about. It is often said that the World War Two Generation was followed by Boomers and that Generation X were the children of Boomers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The generation that followed the WWII Generation and the actual parents of Gen Xers were born 1925 t0 1945 and came to adulthood during the somnolent Fifties. So we might call this overlooked generation the Fifties Generation, or the Eisenhower-McCarthy Generation, or the Elvis Generation, or the Happy Days Generation…a more cumbersome but more accurate term for them would be the War-Born Generation. They have been called the Silent Generation, and this does say something about them.

They’ve been invisible but running things from behind the screen, since they took over conservatism and greed from the WWII Generation and upped the ante. They have been accurately represented by the Gekko character in the movie Wall Street, played by the Fifties Generation Michael Douglas (born 1944) whose protege, correctly enough, was played the by the yuppie-Generation Xer, Charlie Sheen (born 1965). [Footnote 2]

Not So “Happy Days”: The War-Born Generation—Fifties, Eisenhower Generation

The media tends to focus on the big trends and to ignore or miss the lesser ones. The way our recent history was portrayed, you would think that just because there was a huge number of babies born in the decade and a half after World-War-Two’s end—the much discussed Baby-Boomer Generation—that there were no babies born during the War…almost as if every man in America was overseas fighting or that, when home on leave or whatever, they simply would not or could not conceive!

Marinated in the Womb of War Fears

However, of course these ridiculous notions are not true, so there is a pre-Baby-boomer Generation who happened to be born during or shortly before WWII, i.e., between about 1925 and 1945. And the Yuppies were predominantly the sons and daughters of this—let us call it—Fifties Generation. Marinated in the womb with Great Depression and war fears and born around the time of the war, the Yuppies’ parents then had their formative adolescence and young adulthood during the Fifties.

Abandoned, overlooked, fearful, resentful, rooted in conservatism

So their beliefs are rooted in the cultural soil of Fifties conservatism, the Cold War, Elvis Presley, McCarthyism, Eisenhower, traditional religion, belief in the economic primacy of capitalism and the evil of communism, and the early “schmaltzy” rock and roll (e.g., “Teen Angel,” “Leader of the Pack,” etc.). 

Their roots reaching deep into war fears–hot and cold, many would feel jealous and angry about the freedoms and openness of the generation immediately after them. They would, as well, heartily resent all the attention being showered on the much larger cohort of Baby-Boomers.

Yuppies, Fifties Nostalgia, Materialism

And it is the worldview of this Fifties Generation that was passed on to their children, the Yuppies. It is no coincidence that when these Gen X Yuppies were teens and young adults (mid-Seventies through the Eighties) we saw also a lengthy period of Fifties nostalgia alongside the caricaturizing and ridiculing of Sixties lifestyles, values, and beliefs. It is easy to see that the materialism the Fifties Generation members were nurtured in after World War II, as a reaction to the fear and uncertainties their parents had because of the Depression, the war, and The Bomb would be replicated in their children.

Only the fear and uncertainty their children would try to amass wealth against was the tumult, anomie, violence, and confusion of the decade of the Sixties, the era the Yuppies would experience swirling around their roots and upsetting the stability of their nurturant years.

Manic Irrationality, Voodoo Economics, Booming Debt and Mean-Spiritedness: The Eighties Began with Reagan Rising and Lennon Dying

Manic Irrationality, Voodoo Economics

The Eighties Began, Ominously, with Reagan’s Election and John Lennon’s Assassination

The Eighties began, significantly enough, with the death of John Lennon and the election of Ronald Reagan. Concurrent with the epidemic of cocaine use was a manic economy, massive military expenditures, and a tripling-plus of the National Debt. It is relevant to note that the huge increase in the National Debt was caused by a tax cut for the rich, which of course benefited those of the World-War-Two Generation who either inherited or earned, with a lifetime behind them, their wealth, as well as those upwardly mobile, materialistic Yuppies. The rationale for the tax cut—which was characterized by some commentators as “Robin Hood in reverse,” because it also coincided with cutbacks in social programs—was a “voodoo economics” (George H.W. Bush’s term) with a “trickle-down” theory of investment and economic growth.

That Voodoo That They Do So Well

This economics is based on a belief that a “dollar,” metaphorically speaking, given to a rich person will be more wisely invested, creating more jobs and wealth for everyone, than will that same “dollar” given to a middle-class or poor person.

This view, however, ignored human psychology, the standard economics of marginal returns, and the common observation that, simply put, for a person with a little or a moderate amount of money, that metaphorical dollar will have more value (because it will represent a much larger increase, percentage-wise, in their financial situation) than it will for a rich person, for whom its value is only marginally related to a rather large “purse,” so to speak.

Trickle-Down Ignores Human Psychology

Therefore, common sense tells us that “dollar” will be more conscientiously and thoughtfully spent or invested, creating more jobs and wealth for all, by the moderate-income person, who of course will attempt to maximize its benefit to him- or herself so that he or she can also rise to the ranks of the wealthy. To the moderate income person that “dollar” represents an opportunity for a rise in economic status; hence it will be invested, sweated over, and monitored intensely. In general, he or she will attempt to squeeze every possible ounce of benefit out of it, very often starting businesses of their own and thereby creating new jobs, opportunity, and wealth in the process. Whereas for the already wealthy person, that “dollar” is only a dollar alongside many others, and is only marginally relevant, reaping only marginal, or minor, returns.

And Of Course It Didn’t Work, Still Didn’t Work, Still Didn’t Work…

Voodoo economics did not work, of course, as indicated by the tripling of the National Debt. Another important indication of the falsity of its premises was the huge expenditures of money, during the Eighties, on luxury items, like yachts, works of art, expensive cars, and so on. Art items and artifacts were being bid through the roof and the prices they were going for were making headlines in newspapers and stimulating commentaries on the tube. Along with this was the overinvestment in spurious business transactions, including “junk bonds,” soon-to-be-left-unrented commercial buildings, and unwanted real estate. Much has been said about how these manic and ill-considered business transactions led to the lengthy recession of the late Eighties and early Nineties. Along with this is the connection with the S&L scandal which was behind the plethora of boondoggles and ill-advised investment.

The Manic Mentality and Mindless Waste

But there are two aspects of it that are especially relevant here for a discussion of drugs and generational cultures. They are the manic quality of the times—the go, go, go, buy, buy, buy mentality of the investing—and the obvious proof it gave to marginal returns theory, i.e., the money, given to the rich, was valued little and was mindlessly blown on trivialities—it was said that the Eighties was a huge party for the rich.

So rather than creating wealth for the wealthy, which would “trickle down” to the less well off, Reaganomics, as it was also called, turned into an unparalleled failure. It was called the largest shift of wealth in America’s history, taking it from the poor and middle class and benefiting the richest, top two percent of Americans.

More than that, it led to a debt that will be adversely affecting the well-being, lifestyles, and financial pictures of several generations to come.


The Hypocrisy and Materialism

Going into such detail about the intricacies and results of the economic policy promulgated by the WWII Generation, in alliance with the Yuppies and their parents, the Fifties Generation, is important because of the hypocrisy it demonstrates in the charge leveled at the Baby-Boomer Generation of being a “Me” generation and of being narcissistic. Again, we see the WWII Generation’s same tendency to denial, projection, and scapegoating.

To continue, however, other elements in the Eighties cultural arena, existing alongside the epidemic of cocaine use, was the aforementioned careerism and materialism among the Yuppies (comprised primarily of the youth in their twenties and early thirties who followed behind the Vietnam-era Generation), whose mantram was to get rich, get powerful, erect and maintain “family islands” which they saw as competitive with the rest of society (quite unlike the communitarianism of the Sixties Generation), and to retire early…social and environmental problems be damned.

The Necessary Mean-Spiritedness – Hating on the Kumbaya

Other standouts of the cultural scenery of the time included a rise of mean-spiritedness, e.g., cutbacks in social programs and charities, which, as it was said, had one effect of emptying the mental hospitals into the streets. It became fashionable to sneer at and blame (often scapegoating) the more unfortunate ones of society—the poor, helpless, mentally ill, children, the powerless–making some time for that alongside of outright snickering and smugness directed at the “hippie-dippie” values and “kumbaya” visions of the generation older than them.

Generation X and Their “Fallow Generation” Parents… No Wonder They’re So Pissed


 

Generation “X”

Was Disconnected from The Sixties

The next generation to wander into the cultural limelight has been termed Generation X. Whereas Yuppies came of age during the Eighties, Generation X came into adulthood in the Eighties and Nineties. As I’ve been saying, Yuppies were the earliest contingent of Gen X.

Predominantly these are not the sons and daughters of the Sixties Generation as the values of the Vietnam-era Generation included marrying late and having children late so that their children are mostly younger than and not among Generation X.

This value concerning marrying or having children later in life tied in with the Sixties folks’ belief in personal freedom, but is more closely related to the hypocrisy they perceived in the marriages of their parents, those of the WWII Generation. They not only perceived their parents’ marriages as being false and loveless, they perceived themselves as being the victims of poor parenting, wherein they felt they were not understood and were not accepted for who they were or supported in what they uniquely wanted to do with their lives.

Furthermore, they saw the social and global context as a negative and highly dangerous one. For one thing, having been children during the “drop and roll” and bomb-shelter, nuclear-shadow era of the Fifties, and having seen the assassination of idealistic values in the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King during their teens and young adulthood, they had great doubts about the future of the world. Though of course the Sixties Generation is noted for its idealism and for its attempts to fight these perceived dangers and injustices, underneath there has always been for them an uncertainty that success is possible, so that bringing a child into this particular dangerous and unjust social context was seen as possibly not a good thing for the child.

Parented by a Fallow Generation

So it is that Generation Xers are predominantly the sons and daughters of the Fifties Generation as well as those less idealistic of the Vietnam-era Generation that had, more often than not, opted for the traditional route of career, home, and family and thus had started having children many years earlier than their more socially conscious counterparts.

This Fallow Generation , let us call it, would conceive the children who would be called Generation X—who are noted for their apathy and lack of distinctiveness.

But keep in mind that the Fallow Generation is not a true generation in the sense that it is composed of two age groups—the Fifties Generation and those of the Baby-Boomers who opted for a family instead of the social activism, college education, and establishing a career before raising a family decisions of their more heralded peers. .

Fallow Generation Distracted by The Trivial

Hence Generation X’s lack of a unifying cause, value, or characteristic may have to do with their being children of parents from two different age groups and generations.

Drugs and Generations: Generation X Returned to Booze

At any rate, and understandably because they are mostly not children of the idealistic segment of Sixties youth, the drug use of Xers strayed back to the use of alcohol and cigarettes—the drugs used by their Fallow Generation parents, including the smaller number of them who were Boomers and who did not make either the cultural or drug changes of their peers. Alongside this “traditional” drug use, Generation Xers are noted for their pessimism, defeatism, and fascination with death—as, for example, in their selection of black clothes, their tendency to ripped jeans, tattoos, and the insertion of all sorts of pins and studs, as adornments, into virtually all parts of their bodies, and, in the extreme ones among them, a fascination with vampirism.

Generations, Their Drugs, Their Politics: Millennials, Ecstasy, Activism

Generations – Those Boomer Kids, The Millennials …

Drug Use  Ecstasy…

and The Movement  Activism… Again

Drug EffectsEcstasy

This drug is very similar chemically to the amphetamines. Ecstasy has an hallucinogenic aspect, which distinguishes it, however. But it more reliably elicits the opening to love for others and the favorable perceptions of others and sense of unity with them as described above as occurring for amphetamines also along with the driveness of speed that is more characteristic of it.

Ecstasy came into use in the late Seventies and in the Eighties; and it has had continued appreciation of its effects through to the present. In fact, it is considered the drug of choice at raves—one of the more recent generational phenomena. The growth in popularity of raves maps near exactly on the increasing appreciation for Ecstasy. It would be hard to view that as coincidental.

Disco Yupp

So the free love and communalism of the Sixties was superseded by a disco phase in the late Seventies. The disco phase emerged and grew immediately upon the waning of use in the psychedelics, the increasing use of marijuana as a “cocktail,” mixed with alcohol, and the predominant use of cocaine by the Yuppies and Me Generationthe early contingent of Generation X.

Rave on, Millennials!

Raves became an emerging phenomenon following somewhat upon the fading of the disco phasea decline which occurred in the late Seventies, early Eighties. So raves were a phenomenon coincident with the rising use of Ecstasy and primarily affecting the generations following the Yuppie/ Me Generation, i.e., Generation X and the Millennial Generation.

Baby-Boomer Echo Generation

For some reasons that may be obvious by now and until just recently, little had yet been said in the media about the daughters and sons of the Sixties Generation. This generation is currently in their twenties and thirties, though some are still in college and even junior and high school because of the tendency for some Baby-Boomer parents to postpone having children, often waiting till the very end of a woman’s reproductive years, just before the age of forty.

This generation has been called an “echo” of the Baby-Boomers in that just as the Baby-Boomers represented a significant population increase, conceived in the post-WWII euphoria and stability, these children of Boomers also represent an incoming population wave, due to the numbers of their parents. There was a wave of increased school attendance during the Nineties and post-millennial years. Universities more recently have been attending to their needs.

Just as in every other generation mentioned, this Echo Generation, also called Millennial Generation, shares many of the characteristics and values of their parents.

Similarly, they mirror the drug use of their parents. There was a great to-do in the press during the Nineties about the increase in drug use among the young, particularly in high school. Furthermore, in typical WWII-Generation style, the media and Republicans in Congress attempted, during the Nineties, to scapegoat Sixties-Generation President Bill Clinton on this issue of drug use.

For though during the Nineties the WWII Generation was in the process of leaving the scene, those elderly of them left were conducting a fierce rearguard battle to save what they could of the culture they knew and created. In their desperation, they risked any cost in terms of outlandish scandals, government costs, and loss of social progress and governmental effectiveness. They were helped by a Fifties Generation entering retirement with a lot of wealth who, as I’ve said, were extremely jealous of the attention paid to the larger Boomer generation who came after them.

Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that the increase in drug use among the young—which significantly enough involves predominantly an increase in the use of marijuana and, as they say: LSD…It’s b-a-a-a-a-ck!—had to do with the fact that the parents of these young people are indeed the people of the Sixties who themselves experimented with these substances.

Lest I be misunderstood, I am in no way saying that parents, in general, actively teach their children to take drugs—whether we are talking about the alcohol and cigarette use of the WWII Generation or marijuana and LSD use of Boomers—yet children are influenced by what their parents do or have done, even if just in the fact that the parents are more tolerant of such usage, having done it themselves. I say this because it could be countered that even the Sixties Generation, as parents, were engaged in the public antidrug campaign. Yet when they did so they were doing it out of a fear for their children’s physical welfare, not from a severe moral perspective that these drugs are the royal road to hell or from such other paranoid attitude, as was most often the case in the parents of the other generations discussed so far. [Footnote 3].

Politics – Activism, Values – Idealism

To return to the point, though not enough has been said or written about this “echo” generation, these are some of what has been noted about them: Beginning in 1992, with the election of Bill Clinton, the youth vote has swung back to going for the Democrats. There has been an increase in activism and idealism among the young in the last two decades, surprisingly this increase was noticed as early as when this generation was in high school and grade school. Polls done on their attitudes as children and adults showed a strong increase in their concern about social and global issues. 

In fact, the issues that appeared to concern them the most have to do with racism and the environment. It is no coincidence that in the peak of their influence as young adults, there was an astounding wave of participation in Obama’s campaign, largely by this cohort, that resulted in the first African-American to attain the presidency. [Footnote 2]

This group also has fears that the future may not be very bright or as good as it was in times before them, particularly in terms of a ruined ecology due to environmental assault and/or nuclear disaster, yet they, like their parents, also are more likely to activism and taking up causes in the face of such dire possibilities.

These values of the Echo Generation are understandable, not only in that they reflect those of their parents, but also in that in the most recent decades the Sixties Generation—and indeed it would tend to be the more idealistic of them that would opt for the low pay that teachers currently get—predominates as the teachers and administrators in the primary and secondary schools that taught the Echo Generation.

The same, however, cannot as much be said of the universities, with Millennials attending, for reasons having to do with cutbacks in educational funds, the lingering success of the WWII Generation in turning universities into career factories as opposed to truly educational institutions, and, with the cutbacks in funding, the lack of job openings for Sixties Generation applicants and the resulting continued influence, bolstered by the institution of tenureship, of pre-Sixties professors—those of the Fifties and Fallow Generations, and a few remaining, very old, WWII folks.

Still, the Sixties Generation influence on these youth in college existed because of several contrary trends. The Echo Generation’s numbers swelled university attendance, requiring additional hiring somehow, whatever the funding constraints, and those of the generations preceding the Sixties Generation passed from the universities into retirement, or the beyond.

The candidates for the openings that did come about at the university level not as much those of the Fallow Generation, the Yuppies, or Generation Xers, but were instead members of a Sixties Generation who alone, among the generations mentioned, valued education over money and careerism. They had been waiting a long time, diplomas and experience in hand, for their chance to return to the universities—this time as the instructors and administrators—and eager to change its course back to true education, as it was when they were students in the liberal-minded Sixties.

We see the effects of this in Obama’s election and the phenomenal numbers of demonstrators coming out to fight back union attacks and budget squeezes in Wisconsin and throughout the US. Though these are not attracting media attention these outpourings are continuing unabated. My analysis provides insight into why this is occurring now.

Painting the Faces of Generations: Drugs, Generational Cultures, Politics, and Culture War

Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Different Drugs, Different Worlds

Different Drugs, Different Worlds

This has been a brief overview of salient characteristics of generational cultures of some past and current generations alongside a description of that generation’s predominant drug use. I simultaneously unveiled in some detail what we know about the effects of these particular substances on consciousness and attitudes. Finally, I discussed the behavior and beliefs that can coincide with the use of these drugs, as they affect consciousness in different ways, creating different kinds of consciousnesses, different perspectives, indeed entirely different and distinct ways of perceiving the self and the world.

This discussion of drug use and generational cultures might be complete enough at this point. Any of the many connections not specifically made should be readily apparent and the information being brought together this way is suggestive of much more. What I do not think needs to be spelled out is the obvious: For example, how alcohol and nicotine use could be correlated with a generation that could put a Hitler into power, create a holocaust, and carry out the most destructive war in this planet’s history. It should be obvious how marijuana use could be correlated with the alienation, pessimism, and defeatism of the Beats. It should be abundantly clear how the use of LSD and marijuana among Sixties youth could correlate with a disgust with normal society and culture and thus the creation, from scratch, of a counterculture, with a pacifism in regard to war, with a reemergence of a lived and individual spirituality, with an emphasis on real communication, with an attempt to create real community and relationships, and with much more that has been associated with them. And it should need no explanation how cocaine use could be correlated with a manic economy and irrational, overoptimistic schemes, and failed business ventures.

Painting the Faces of Generations

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I should point out that, except for the WWII Generation whose drugs were legal and easily available, the above is based on generalities and trends of a minority of the people in the generations mentioned. Yet it is that distinctive minority of any generation that paints the face that generation presents to the world. It is the differences in generations and the new ideas and perceptions that make up the intellectual currency of a period and which rise above the familiar scenery to be spotlighted by the media and press.

The “Beats” did not comprise the majority of their generation and not all of them took marijuana or even had the horrifying perception of our normal unreality that is possible on that drug, yet a number of them, larger than any previously in any other generation, did exactly that…and those who did were often compelled to express those perceptions and the accompanying ideas, in literature, poetry, theater, and the like, that would influence the reality constructions of the rest of their generation and would come to characterize the palpable ideas of the era.

So it is as well with the Sixties Generation, the Yuppies, and even Generation Xers and the Millennial Generation. It is the differences between generations that is worthy of discussion. And it is my point that those differences are unusually correlated with the distinctive drug use of that generation and the effects that those drugs have on one’s perceptions of reality—a point that I have not seen explored before.

Drugs and Culture War

Finally, I wish to emphasize that these drug-influenced perceptions create the worldviews of generations out of which they create their generational cultures–the stark differences of which can fuel culture wars.

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five: The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard

Return to Culture War, Class War Chapter Three: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Opposing Worlds

Footnotes

1. The events and statistics about this concerted effort are detailed in my book-in-progress titled The Once and Current Generation: Regression, Mysticism, and “My Generation”…stay tuned.

2. I’m not the only one to notice this generation or to see the swings in political leanings from one generation to the next. Kevin Drum, writing in The Political Animal, on January 5th, 2008 called this generation the Eisenhower generation. He places this generation in time between the World War II generation and the “counterculture generation of the sixties.”

He describes the swings from Democrat to RepublicanWorld War II gen, Democrat; Eisenhower gen, Republican; Sixties gen, Democrat; Generation X, Republicans; Gen Y (boomer Echo generation, Millennial Generation), Democrats. And he predicts a political coming of age for Gen Y in that year’s presidential election (2008), which is exactly what happened.

What I add to that is the obvious point that these swings coincide with the parents of each generation of these youth. Specifically, counterculture generation members voted Democratic like their World War II generation parents; Gen X youth went Republican like their Eisenhower generation parents; Gen Y or Echo youth are solidly Democratic in line with their Sixties generation parents.

He describes it as follows:

Democrats and the Youth Vote

Voters, like other consumers, develop brand loyalties early in life. The World War II generation, which came of age during the New Deal and cast its first votes for FDR and Harry Truman, sustained a Democratic majority for decades. Likewise, the Eisenhower generation that entered the workforce during the fifties remains Republican to this day; the counterculture generation of the sixties and seventies remains a Democratic stronghold; and “Gen X,” the famously angst-ridden generation that started voting in the eighties, continues to vote Republican as it enters middle age.

And today’s youth? Surprise! It turns out it’s a Democratic powerhouse. In the early nineties young voters began shifting rapidly toward the Democratic Party and haven’t looked back since, even after a Republican won the White House in 2000. Today, twenty-somethings lean Democratic by 52%-37%, an astonishing advantage of 15 percentage points. It’s a bigger gap than any other generation currently alive, and it’s already showing up in the voting booth. Last year, not only was turnout was up, but young voters cast their ballots for Democratic congressional candidates by 60% to 38%.

All of this might be no more than a temporary blip if it were caused merely by a combination of George W. Bush’s historically dismal disapproval ratings and dissatisfaction over a grinding, unpopular war in Iraq — both of which will eventually come to an end one way or another. But that’s not what the evidence suggests. After all, the Gen Y movement toward the Democratic Party began in the early 90s, long before either Bush or the Iraq war had taken center stage. What’s more, in a recent New York Times/MTV poll of 17-29 year olds, young people were actually more optimistic about the war in Iraq than the rest of the population. It’s true that they don’t like President Bush much, but the war really isn’t the driving factor.

So what is? The most likely, and ironic, answer is a different war: the culture war that was originally stoked by the Christian Right and then taken up as electoral salvation by Republicans starting in the early nineties. Bush’s chief strategist, Karl Rove, famously believed the Christian Right to be the key to victory in 2000 and 2004, and recent Republican leaders from Newt Gingrich to Tom DeLay have embraced it with open arms.

But young people aren’t buying. Quite the contrary. For the most part, they’re turned off by the sex and gender fundamentalism that animates so much of the modern Republican Party’s social agenda. Polls show that most young voters are OK with abortion remaining legal. They have openly gay friends and are far more comfortable with gay marriage than their elders. They think that legalizing marijuana for personal consumption is common sense, not a sign of moral decay and the breakdown of western civilization.

So when Pat Buchanan declares that there’s “a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America” — as he did in prime time at the 1992 Republican convention — or when Jerry Falwell goes on national television and blames “the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” for bringing on 9/11, young voters cringe. And when the Republican Party embraces their agenda, they go off to vote for Democrats.

Over the past 20 years Democrats have found themselves consistently on the wrong side of conservative campaigns based on social wedge issues like these. But although these campaigns have produced short-term gains for the GOP, they seem to have done so only at the expense of long-term ruin. A generation that’s more secular, more sexually at ease, and more tolerant is increasingly casting its lot with the Democratic Party and is increasingly showing up at the polls to prove it. And unlike changes in the voting patterns of independents or soccer moms or other favorites of the political sociologists, this change is likely to be permanent. If Gen Y acts like previous generations, keeping its political loyalties essentially for life, it means that the past 20 years have produced a time bomb: an enormous reservoir of new Democratic voters who are just beginning to flex their electoral muscles. 2008 will be their coming out party.

Related article: Awakening Millennial Generation Occupy Global Revolution Awakening Millennial Generation Occupy Global Revolution Awakening Millennial Generation Occupy Global Revolution Awakening Millennial Gen….

3. For a look into this reality, check out this video of prototypic millennial, Jeffrey Lewis, performing his inspired “The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane.”

Continue with Culture War, Class War, Chapter Five: The King Won’t Die – An Aborted Changing of the Guard

Return to Culture War, Class War Chapter Three: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Opposing Worlds

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Foolin’ the People About America. Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

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Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part One: Peaking in the Sixties

Obvious “Truths”:

  • Americans are innovators and problem-solvers.
  • There’s nothing Americans can’t do, no problem we can’t solve, once we put our minds to it.
  • Things just keep getting better in America
  • Republicans are for small business.

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So unfortunately, after Reagan instituted “voodoo economics,” with prices on health care and pharmaceuticals going through the roof along with the sudden unexpected increases of other necessities of life, you had that lowered standard of living we have now become accustomed to for the great majority of Americans. You had a population that was poorer, in relative terms, and got increasingly poorer.

family_income_median_income_growth_productivity1

Over time, over the course of my lifetime, though we might ostensibly have appeared to prosper we did not. The apparent rise in standard of living was a result of the glut of new consumer items produced in an increasingly technological and complex culture. 955830597_092af7676dYou might be able to afford plenty of cheap trinkets and toys, but for things that pertained to your well-being and quality of life, such as health and medical care, good schools, wholesome food, higher educational opportunities, a clean environment, recreational opportunities, fuel and energy, leisure, family, and quality time, and so on we were ever more wanting.

topincomeshares1

Peaking in the Sixties

In retrospect I can see we prospered in the Fifties and Sixties. The records show that Americans achieved a peak of affluence in the Sixties and that since then, and rapidly accelerating since the Eighties, we have been on a downward slide.

wealth-pyramid

Poor mothers could afford to stay home and take care of the kids.

ason504l6a00d8341c579653ef00e552b0f6fb8834-800wiI can see the ways we, living in the Fifties and Sixties, were as a culture fairly well off, though personally my circumstances were anything but that. My father made only fifty dollars a week for a time. But my mother never had to go to work. She actually did get a part-time job much later in life for the enjoyment of it. Can anyone today imagine that?

How Much for That House? Ok, Let Me Get My Wallet.

My father never made over a hundred dollars a week until later in his life he actually started his own small trucking outfit…that’s another story about who are the real job creators in America that I get into elsewhere. Yet he bought his home with cash he had saved up. Eight thousand dollars smack on the barrelhead in 1953. He never had to work three jobs to get by either, like some folks have to today. No mortgage on his house and he bought every car he owned—roughly once every five years—also with cash he had saved.

College Educations for Free in the Sixties and Seventies. #occupycollege today

No loans, never in debt and yet five of his six children attended at least some college and two attained at least Master’s degrees. I was talking with my older brother about his college education, which mirrored my own, and we both remember getting by with very little or no debt afterward. We both received enough to cover all college plus living expenses most years just on scholarships and grants—mostly state and federally funded—yet we both attended private, somewhat prestigious, colleges.

I know, millennial generation, but don’t blame us, we’re on your side. #occupycollege.

What’s health insurance?

My family didn’t have any health insurance, had never even heard of it. We were not well off, but we like most people could afford to go to the doctor. And similar to others we could even normally pay hospital bills, for maternity and so on. If anything very serious developed that required more money no one ever imagined that they would be turned away at a hospital. The Mercy Hospital in my city, run by a religious order of Catholic nuns and funded by contributions, was a place one could always go regardless of one’s means. Sounds unbelievably quaint, doesn’t it? I know. I can hardly believe it was once that way myself.

Glenn Beck as Jesus

Continue with Starving for Prosperity: Foolin’ the People About America…Better Off Than Fifty Years Ago? Part 2


Return to Foolin’ the People About History: Reagan’s Great Ruse and The Face of the Enemy, Ours

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Manic Irrationality, Voodoo Economics, Booming Debt and Mean-Spiritedness: The Eighties Began with Reagan Rising and Lennon Dying

 

Manic Irrationality, Voodoo Economics

The Eighties Began, Ominously, with Reagan’s Election and John Lennon’s Assassination

The Eighties began, significantly enough, with the death of John Lennon and the election of Ronald Reagan. Concurrent with the epidemic of cocaine use was a manic economy, massive military expenditures, and a tripling-plus of the National Debt. It is relevant to note that the huge increase in the National Debt was caused by a tax cut for the rich, which of course benefited those of the World-War-Two Generation who either inherited or earned, with a lifetime behind them, their wealth, as well as those upwardly mobile, materialistic Yuppies. The rationale for the tax cut—which was characterized by some commentators as “Robin Hood in reverse,” because it also coincided with cutbacks in social programs—was a “voodoo economics” (George H.W. Bush’s term) with a “trickle-down” theory of investment and economic growth.

That Voodoo That They Do So Well

This economics is based on a belief that a “dollar,” metaphorically speaking, given to a rich person will be more wisely invested, creating more jobs and wealth for everyone, than will that same “dollar” given to a middle-class or poor person.

This view, however, ignored human psychology, the standard economics of marginal returns, and the common observation that, simply put, for a person with a little or a moderate amount of money, that metaphorical dollar will have more value (because it will represent a much larger increase, percentage-wise, in their financial situation) than it will for a rich person, for whom its value is only marginally related to a rather large “purse,” so to speak.

Trickle-Down Ignores Human Psychology

Therefore, common sense tells us that “dollar” will be more conscientiously and thoughtfully spent or invested, creating more jobs and wealth for all, by the moderate-income person, who of course will attempt to maximize its benefit to him- or herself so that he or she can also rise to the ranks of the wealthy. To the moderate income person that “dollar” represents an opportunity for a rise in economic status; hence it will be invested, sweated over, and monitored intensely. In general, he or she will attempt to squeeze every possible ounce of benefit out of it, very often starting businesses of their own and thereby creating new jobs, opportunity, and wealth in the process. Whereas for the already wealthy person, that “dollar” is only a dollar alongside many others, and is only marginally relevant, reaping only marginal, or minor, returns.

And Of Course It Didn’t Work, Still Didn’t Work, Still Didn’t Work…

Voodoo economics did not work, of course, as indicated by the tripling of the National Debt. Another important indication of the falsity of its premises was the huge expenditures of money, during the Eighties, on luxury items, like yachts, works of art, expensive cars, and so on. Art items and artifacts were being bid through the roof and the prices they were going for were making headlines in newspapers and stimulating commentaries on the tube. Along with this was the overinvestment in spurious business transactions, including “junk bonds,” soon-to-be-left-unrented commercial buildings, and unwanted real estate. Much has been said about how these manic and ill-considered business transactions led to the lengthy recession of the late Eighties and early Nineties. Along with this is the connection with the S&L scandal which was behind the plethora of boondoggles and ill-advised investment.

The Manic Mentality and Mindless Waste

But there are two aspects of it that are especially relevant here for a discussion of drugs and generational cultures. They are the manic quality of the times—the go, go, go, buy, buy, buy mentality of the investing—and the obvious proof it gave to marginal returns theory, i.e., the money, given to the rich, was valued little and was mindlessly blown on trivialities—it was said that the Eighties was a huge party for the rich.

So rather than creating wealth for the wealthy, which would “trickle down” to the less well off, Reaganomics, as it was also called, turned into an unparalleled failure. It was called the largest shift of wealth in America’s history, taking it from the poor and middle class and benefiting the richest, top two percent of Americans.

More than that, it led to a debt that will be adversely affecting the well-being, lifestyles, and financial pictures of several generations to come.


The Hypocrisy and Materialism

Going into such detail about the intricacies and results of the economic policy promulgated by the WWII Generation, in alliance with the Yuppies and their parents, the Fifties Generation, is important because of the hypocrisy it demonstrates in the charge leveled at the Baby-Boomer Generation of being a “Me” generation and of being narcissistic. Again, we see the WWII Generation’s same tendency to denial, projection, and scapegoating.

To continue, however, other elements in the Eighties cultural arena, existing alongside the epidemic of cocaine use, was the aforementioned careerism and materialism among the Yuppies (comprised primarily of the youth in their twenties and early thirties who followed behind the Vietnam-era Generation), whose mantram was to get rich, get powerful, erect and maintain “family islands” which they saw as competitive with the rest of society (quite unlike the communitarianism of the Sixties Generation), and to retire early…social and environmental problems be damned.

The Necessary Mean-Spiritedness – Hating on the Kumbaya

Other standouts of the cultural scenery of the time included a rise of mean-spiritedness, e.g., cutbacks in social programs and charities, which, as it was said, had one effect of emptying the mental hospitals into the streets. It became fashionable to sneer at and blame (often scapegoating) the more unfortunate ones of society—the poor, helpless, mentally ill, children, the powerless–making some time for that alongside of outright snickering and smugness directed at the “hippie-dippie” values and “kumbaya” visions of the generation older than them.

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Culture War, Class War, Chapter Four: Drugs of Choice and Generational Cultures – Concocted Worlds

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Who’s responsible. Faces of the “faceless” filthy rich

There’s a lot of idiocy on the right about who’s responsible and who are truly the rich in this country. I’ve actually had relatives tell me that Democrats are the ones who are rich. When I asked the how they could say that, they said the Kennedys.

That kind of mystification can only be happening because folks have lousy education so don’t know their “numbers” .. don’t know the difference between millions and billions for example (it’s just “lots” in their minds), because they have been made confused and deluded by Fox-style propaganda coming out in all the media, and because folks are afraid–and so make it “inappropriate” to name names and point fingers… As if knowing who is really responsible for things would trigger another French or Russian Revolution and have heads rolling and czar blood flowing. (Seriously?…)

So isn’t it about time we educated ourselves about the real causes of things rather than remained dummied down and going after each other (listen up, Tea Party).

So, I’m pointing fingers and placing blame. Anybody who tells you that is an inappropriate or crude thing to do is doing the work of these criminals to cover up and get away with their abominable deeds.

Here are some of the faces of the “faceless” filthy rich.

Amplify’d from salsa.wiredforchange.com

Bad Billionaire Ballot

Welcome to RootsAction’s list of the Filthy Rich.

Billionaires get tax breaks big enough to fly a private jet through, and it’s contributing to our federal deficit. But it gets worse. The most vile of the bunch are using their money and influence to pollute the environment, wreck democracy and profit from war. The fancy word is plutocrat. Another way of saying it – they are the enemy of all we hold dear. Many of the billionaires in this collection have attended the infamous Koch Brothers’ annual retreats to plan their takeover strategies. These folks don’t deserve a tax break. At. All.

So check out a bit of their background, and consider – which billionaire is doing the most damage? We know, it’s a tough call. But you can do it. We just aren’t buying the line that these folks are worthy of special treatment and that Social Security must go before they do.

So vote away, and tell your friends.

And, let’s remember, we can Balance the Budget on the Backs of Billionaires. Believe us, they can handle it.

Pick your bad billionaire. Remember, they may all be despicable but you can choose only one! Share with your friends to help your favorite “win.”

Read more at salsa.wiredforchange.com

via Who’s responsible. Faces of the “faceless” filthy rich.

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