Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

AMERICA THE BROKEN

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Always something on the news. The other day I saw something so grotesque it really hammered home how off the rails American society has become. From the Pentagon:

“The Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, the demonstration squadrons for the Navy and Air Force, will fly over some cities together and others separately, according to the memo. The flyovers will take place in the next several weeks “to thank first responders, essential personnel, and military service members as we collectively battle the spread of COVID-19.” 

This can only be described as fetizization of the military illustrated. Bloated beyond belief military spending, including trillions on senseless foreign wars,  is a huge part of the reason health care in America is horrifically underfunded. So the Pentagon is going to waste another pile of money in tribute(!) to the very people in harm’s way because of our bloated military spending. To me this is just disgusting, wouldn’t the money be better spent on, well, almost fucking anything. Our overworked health care providers need PPE, not jets flying overhead. Shame.

On to Trump. I have only watched Trump a few times recently, he’s tiresomely repetitive. And one of the things he repeats regularly is that before Covid-19 the US had “the greatest economy the world had ever seen.” This is neither true, nor was Trump responsible for it. But given low unemployment figures and a skyrocketing stock market, Trump spun it into a sparkling tapestry of his own success. Watching him speak, I realize Trump surrounds himself with people who tell him what he wants to hear, and it’s easy enough for almost anyone to cherry pick facts and figures that make the economy appear good, so that’s where he gets his talking points.

Low unemployment means nothing in and of itself, a huge number of those jobs are pathetically low paying jobs with no benefits. The image at the top of the page says it all. In the post World War Two boom rising tides did raise all ships. This period certainly could be characterised as the greatest economy ever. Since 1980, the gains have gone increasingly to the people at the top. Trump has done nothing to  reverse this trend, if anything he has made it worse. Wealth inequality has reached historic highs under Trump, the rich getting ever richer at the expense of everyone else is not the greatest economy the world has ever seen, but it may be one of the most exploitive ones ever. The chart came from here, which lays this all out in great detail.

The other point is that Trump basically jumped onto Obama’s economic coattails, it wasn’t like the economy was a mess when Trump took office. He made the rich richer, but all the trends were all heading up anyhow. It’s not like the economic mess Obama inherited from Bush. And boy, sure looks like the next president is going to inherit the most messed up economy since FDR was elected in 1932. I don’t envy them whoever it will be.

The other reason it wasn’t the “greatest economy ever” is that it simply wasn’t. It was a horribly flawed economy designed to suck money upwards. Have come across a few good articles on the topic: Coronavirus didn’t bring the economy down — 40 years of greed and corporate malfeasance did. And another: COVID-19 Was a Trigger, But Capitalism Caused the Economic Crash. What can I say. A lot of people think the world order had big problems. Homeless camps exploded in the San Francisco Bay Area the past few years, never saw anything like it, and I lived there for decades. Hardly a sign of a great economy.

Yet, Trump and his supporters think the economy was the bestest. When I started writing this blog a decade ago, I very much tried to write in a way that was generic, and non-partisan. Granted on many levels I failed, but I own that. Still, I was trying to write to be accessible to people of all ideologies. And I still try, but it’s no longer differing ideologies. Now we’re talking about disagreement over facts. Trump and his followers believe things like “It was the greatest economy ever.” They also think he’s doing a great job with Covid-19, despite the USA somehow being the worst hit developed country. A lot of them still think Covid-19 is a hoax, or a plot to get Trump, or a Chinese plot to wreck the west.

I can only but keep trying. Hopefully things won’t get worse, but I’m underwhelmed by Trump’s response to crises. I’m not the only one. My big fear now, what if Trump loses the election? He’s shown a definite tendency to retaliate against his enemies. If he loses, he will have ten weeks to wreak vengeance on those who foiled his mission to Make America Great Again. He can’t fail, so if not reelected, it’s the nation that failed. Hate to make the comparison, but I think it’s germane now. In the waning days of World War Two, as Allied armies rolled into Germany, Hitler ordered a total scorched earth policy. If he was going to lose, he wanted Germany utterly destroyed. I fear Trump might feel the same way if he loses the election.

And this is why all my dreams these days are anxiety dreams. And why I’m not posting as much. I’m devoting huge amounts of time now preparing for a depression worse than the Great Depression. Stockpiling supplies while they are still available, planting an awesome vegetable garden. Among so many other things, who knew a worldwide pandemic and economic collapse would be so labour intensive? Oh, right, the people dying in care homes now. The people most lethally affected by Covid-19 are the ones most experienced with dealing with this kind of crisis.

That’s the sort of thought that makes me wonder if Satan or aliens are behind Covid-19. And by Satan, I mean someone who walks among us, but isn’t one of us. A topic for a more speculative blog post I guess. Have a great weekend everyone. Under no circumstances take the president’s latest health care advice, do NOT inject yourself with disinfectant. Stay safe, stay sane, #StaytheFHome.

Copyright © 2020 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image credit: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Used without permission, hopefully I can be forgiven as I am linking to and promoting their site.)

Written by unitedcats

April 24, 2020 at 4:31 am

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