Saturday, August 6, 2011
The Political Circus
photo courtesy of Hot Springs Wizard
In the last few months Freeacre and I have been flummoxed over what appears as news these days. Since our TV’s won’t do anything more than play DVD’s and we can’t watch broadcast stuff, we are out of the loop on MSN. So we go to all our favorite Internet sites to find out what is happening, or at least to get an idea about current events. Our radio reception is so poor that we just don’t indulge in it.
I have also waited to put up a new post until the Tuesday vote on the new budget proposal in Washington.
We have periodically over the last couple of years commented on the seemingly escalating evidence of the deterioration of our society and government. Every day it is something new to get us upset. Cryptogon had a posting on the voter registration in Wisconsin that was very interesting. Seems that a person’s voting registration was linked to bank account activity. What the hell!? Now you have to show not only citizenship, a couple forms of identity docs, AND bank account activity? I wonder when they are going to start asking for documentation for how many times you have had sex last month and how many glasses of water you drank last week. I guess that might involve testimony before a judge (with oaths, swearing on the bible and notarization) by a person close to you to back up your claim so you can vote.
The July 17th posting from the Archdruid got on one of my favorite rants; education. I’ve talked a bit about it over time on this blog. A number of authors that I respect have spent time on the subject. I’ve had just a bit of experience pertaining to this subject; having spent 4 periods of my life engaged in some form of formal education and have done some teaching; about 3 years worth, part time mostly. It amounts up to 21 years of full time formal schooling, right around 1/3 of my life to the present. Economically, it has gained me very little and put me in debt such that I can never pay it off. I have commented before that going to school has changed a lot in the last 50 years. My last stint in the 90’s left me breathless in observing the changes, both at the university level and the elementary and high school level. Generally, formal schooling has devolved into primarily job training. It was not always so. The consequence is that we have people graduating from some school at whatever level in the expectation and dream of getting a well paying job. As the Archdruid pointed out; what job? Going to school does not create jobs. There are only a certain percentage of jobs that demand special training (schooling) and if the amount of people trained for these jobs exceeds the jobs available, more schooling will not solve an employment problem. On top of that, the jobs available are changing so fast that by the time you graduate, that particular area you studied so hard for may not even be available anymore or soon phased out. Plus, at a university level, the debt level to get that training is excessive and is going in that direction for parents at the grade school and high school level, more so at the college level.
What has happened in my opinion is a very drastic shift in the definition of what it means to be educated. We have shifted away from the idea that being educated means being able to integrate diverse information, being able to think critically, being at least functionally literate, having a broad view of trends and perhaps most important, being able to examine critically ones own perceptions and conclusions, and a good grounding in history. Instead, we have gone to a high degree of specialization, lack of knowledge of anything outside of a specific specialization, mostly memorization, little critical thinking and borderline literacy and little curiosity outside of the “job training” and almost no knowledge of history. The consequence is that we have a generation or two that has no idea of what has been done to us, what we have had to give up and why from the manipulations of the elites of this world. The changes have been relatively slow and what they currently experience is normal to them. Their lack of knowledge of history gives them nothing to compare “now” to the “past” and does not give them the ability to project into the future what is likely to be the consequences. Witness the popularity of the Tea Party and the radical groups that form, (politically and religious) reform and shift allegiances at the drop of a hat with no clear agenda and no understanding of consequences of what they do pay homage to. Blind obedience to ideology has taken the place of thinking and critical analysis for most of society. As a side note on this, in our area, the amount of people ignorant of local events is astounding, even though the local paper announces it well ahead of time. The excuse: “I don’t read the paper”. In fact, I suspect that they cannot read well, it is a chore and so they don’t. The old farts that have spent the time and effort to keep up with events in their life can explain all day what we have lost and it is for the most part wasted effort on the majority of the population that are the result of our famed American educational system. Technology uber alles is the chant in refutation. The attitude seems to be centered on the concept that “hard reality” is only a malleable variable in life. While the idea that “drill baby drill” as a panacea to our energy problems is starting to retreat it still seems to be the predominant point of view for most Americans. While the green energy advocates are still agitating for massive expenditures, some hard questions of its viability are starting to show up in the mainstream thinking.
Few people are willing to examine how our lives are going to change; our lives are going to become less efficient and more resilient, less convenient and more human energy output in living. Government services will decrease and become undependable. We are seeing that going on around us. For individuals and communities that are striving for localization and sustainability, government is becoming less relevant. And yet, government, in order to preserve their authority and perks are loading more economic burdens on the populations and increasing their harassment.
I’ve stated before that it sure appears to me that the internet as we know and use it today is not going to last. Free exchange of information, criticalness of government actions, criticalness of large corporations simply is not acceptable to a fascist, autocratic plutocracy. The internet also serves a function for like minded folks of whatever persuasion to exchange information and opinion, (and even to organize resistance) again unacceptable to the PTB and their minions, especially if it does not parrot the accepted positions within the elites.
The political circus going on for a while now over the government debt and the entitlements (that the republicorps hate) is so laughable that I can hardly stand it. No matter what your favorite political ideology is, flat out stopping or vastly reducing what they call entitlements to citizens is going to cause havoc. Notice that they also include SS into the category of entitlements. Pure unadulterated bull shit. It was a government sponsored savings program that all wage serfs contributed to with the idea that it would provide at least minimum living standards upon retirement. Give politicians and oligarchs access to funds and it will soon be gone, which is what has happened with that savings program. Also notice that the advocates of smaller government and balanced budget don’t say a word about corporate entitlements and freebies, nor do they want to talk about funding wars or the huge amount of money being made by the people that are supposed to be running the government. Hypocrites, all of them.
Some of the latest economic projections indicate a booming inflation coming our way. There is the contrary opinion for deflation out there too. Personally, I expect inflation big time. Not so sure of hyperinflation, but it is the only alternative I can see to the economic mess we are in. If, IF our government bonds are downgraded in value, inflation (or degrading the value of the dollar) is the only way to stave off default. Interest on the national debt takes all the tax money that is collected in one analysis I read. It sure appears to me that no matter what action is taken, we as a viable democratic republic are doomed. I rather doubt that starting ANOTHER war is going to keep things moving either, a tactic that has been successful so far.
Then I read and listen to the statements by the political candidates and I have the opposite reaction. Instead of being amused, I find my stomach churning. How did these idiots get into politics anyway? Lowest common denominator? For all those lovers of the smaller government put out by the republicorps propagandists and all their minions, take a look at these stats. http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html Oh yeh, Ronny Ray-gun is the savior in economic policy and trickle down economics is a message from god. The Koch brothers and the Tea Party really need to get their heads out of their collective asses.
Met a younger fellow the other day that said that he is bored most of the time. Sheesh, bored? With all the shit going on today? Freeacre and I are as busy as we have ever been. Her son has arrived and that takes some time to get everything set up. Garden and greenhouse finally growing well, hope there is enough growing season left to get some harvest. The guy that in previous years has had a farmers market here hasn’t even shown up this year, yet anyway. We kind of depended on him for stuff we couldn’t grow enough of or couldn’t grow at all. I actually saw 4 honeybees yesterday out working some of the garden blooms. I wonder where they live.