The Bad and the Ugly

I’m getting old.  Not “really” old but old nonetheless.   I have to watch my health more carefully, take measures I didn’t have to take up until five years ago or so.  That’s life, nobody escapes. 

Recently I’ve contemplated a life change regarding my reading habits.  I used to get into a good thriller or horror novel such as from Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz and Steven King.   Over the last seven//eight years I’ve instead focused on reading political and activist blogs and websites.  I read the heavy stuff about the wars, foreign affairs and foreign policy, economy, imperialism, police state, climate change, corporatism, neoliberalism, neo-conservatism, and politics news and opinion to name some of the subjects.  

Back to my recent contemplation.  It’s getting hard to take.  Some days I can’t do it.  Today I did,  and this is what I read.   I’ve been reading this same kind of material almost day in and day out over that entire time period.

  • How the Banking System Really Works and How it is Destroying America
  • Prisons are Big Business. The Prison Industrial Complex and the Global Economy
  • More than 50 Percent of US Government Spending Goes to the Military
  • U.S. Steps up War on Syria: CIA is the Anchor of a Coordinated Secret Operation
  • Orwellian Law Enforcement Police Stop and Frisk-Detentions in New York City
  • Cyprus Postmortems Economic Depression is the New Normal
  • Environmental Crisis in the Amazon Due to Oil Contamination.  Peru Declares State of Emergency
  • Gitmo Prisoner: We all Died When Obama Indefinitely Detained Us
  • The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West
  • US Sequester Cuts and the Fraud of “Political Gridlock"
  • US Led Campaign against Syria Destabilizes Lebanon
  • Iraq, 10 Years Later : Living with No Future
  • The Obama-Kerry-Hagel Regime Selling Death and Buying Assassins in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia
  • Dangerous Crossroads: The Threat of a Pre-emptive Nuclear War directed against Iran
  • Why America Needs War
  • US-Israeli Stuxnet Cyber attacks against Iran: “Act of War”

It doesn’t get better, it just keeps getting worse.  This country and the world keep getting worse.  That’s the simplest way to put it.  There are some out there that disagree, eternal optimists or those with interests in the causes.  But most people know even if they don’t read what I do, it’s getting worse.  Round and round we go, where we completely disintegrate nobody knows. 

I don’t want any suggestions, that isn’t why I wrote this.  I certainly don’t want any sympathy.  My life is much better than billions and certainly better than most of the people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.   It’s my choice, I have a choice.  At least for now, until the Ministry of Truth takes over completely. 

I just wanted some people to look at that list and perhaps read the same things.  Knowledge is power.  

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I hear you, big al

geomoo's picture

It's not the challenge, severe as they are; it's the feeling of helplessness to do anything to bring humanity and sanity into the equation.  The public narrative is so well maintained, the addictive power of television and angry right talk radio so strong, that only a small percentage find their way to the straightforward articles you list.

Then there's the deadly "optimism" factor.  People on tv seem pretty happy and upbeat.  It feels good.  Your list is depressing.  Search "optimism" on Amazon and you'll find hundreds of peppy books promising to teach people how to improve their lives through positive thinking and such, independent naturally of any of the world trends you list.  Scattered through this list of delusion are a handful of reality based narratives.  Barbara Ehrenreich, author Nickel and Dimed, has a book that shows up on that list.  Here are excerpts from a couple of the reviews on Amazon.

Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America by Barbara Ehrenreich

In this utterly original debunking, Barbara Ehrenreich confronts the false promises of positive thinking and shows its reach into every corner of American life, from Evangelical megachurches to the medical establishment, and, worst of all, to the business community, where the refusal to consider negative outcomes--like mortgage defaults--contributed directly to the current economic disaster. With the myth-busting powers for which she is acclaimed, Ehrenreich exposes the downside of positive thinking: personal self-blame and national denial. This is Ehrenreich at her provocative best--poking holes in conventional wisdom and faux science and ending with a call for existential clarity and courage.

Ehrenreich explores the insistence upon optimism as a cultural and national trait, discovering its symbiotic relationship with American capitalism and how poverty, obesity, unemployment and relationship problems are being marketed as obstacles that can be overcome with the right (read: positive) mindset. Building on Max Weber's insights into the relationship between Calvinism and capitalism, Ehrenreich sees the dark roots of positive thinking emerging from 19th-century religious movements. 

As Ehrenreich points out, the focus is never on others, or on broader society. "Other people are not there to be nurtured or to provide unwelcome reality checks. They are there only to nourish, praise, and affirm.

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Ya, she's right.

Big Al's picture

We all have to take care of ourselves and our health.  The mind is certainly part of that.  But there's an old saying, "walk and chew gum at the same time".  So many people have a hard time with that.  I guess that's why it's an old saying.

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