Article 43

 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Fascist Implosion

image: dying america

Trump Wants to End American Democracy. Will Americans Let Him?
Storm Troopers on the Streets. People Being Disappeared. A President Dismantling Democracy. Where Does America Go From Here?

By Umair Haque
Eudamonia
July 22, 2020

Masked men armed with machine guns. Abducting people in unmarked cars. NO WARRANTS, NO EXPLANATION.

HERE’S THE NAVY VET who reminded them of their oath - and got his hand broken for it.

HERE ARE THE MOMS who were gassed attacked with chemical agents - for not obeying.

HERE ARE PEACEFUL PROTESTERS being beaten and tear gassed.

HERE’S THE MASKED, ARMED MEN IN QUESTION. Take a hard look. Does the term “storm troopers” feel appropriate?

Heres the part where the president announces that ALL THAT’S COMING TO CITY AFTER CITY. Those armed men, those stormtroopers - ARE GOING TO BE IN YOUR TOWN, too, shortly.

Is it fascism yet?

I ask that for a reason. Not to be snarky. Even at this late, late juncture - almost too late - there seems to be FAR TOO SMALL AND WEAK OF AN UNDERSTANDING of what’s happened to America. Sure, people like me have been trying to explain - and predict - it for years now. But by and large, the price we paid is being IGNORED AND MARGINALIZED. The moment I started talking about American fascism being a real danger - whoosh - there went my book deals, columns TV appearances. Don’t cry for me. I never wanted them. I like making music. But you should have listened, or at least been able to hear the warnings.

Because now America, its democracy, its future, its present, faces a very real existential threat.

Fascist implosion.

How did I know that a fascist implosion was on the way? Why was I so certain of it?

The answer to that question is: “everyone - and especially intellectuals - should have. Because that is what the socioeconomic data pointed to, in no uncertain terms.

Fascism happens when a society falls into sudden, fresh poverty. In particular, when it holds debts it can’t repay - and the result is widespread economic stagnation. A feeling of discontentment and hopelessness become pervasive. SOCIAL BONDS FRAY. Trust collapses. A society is hanging together by a thread. Elites, whose status and prestige will be lost if they admit they;ve mismanaged society, don’t - and so the VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY AND DESPAIR SIMPLY THUNDERS ON.

Soon enough, in the vacuum,DEMAGOGUE ARISES, who blames the economic woes of the true and the pure on those its easiest to scapegoat. Long-hated, powerless minorities. “We will be Great Again!,” he cries. “All you must do is annihilate the subhumans.” His flock - long ignored and derided by elites as the cause of their own problems, now have someone else to blame, to demonize. Those who they’ve hated for generations, usually, anyways. Bang! The fascist spark is lit. The rest is history.

How did I know that fascism was coming, way back when? How did anyone not know, is the better question. We all know or should know, roughly - the story above. It should have been as plain as a tornado heading your way on a sunny day. Why?

American wages have been stagnant for half a century. That suggested fascism. How did Americans make ends meet - considering prices of basics, from healthcare to food to education, are always skyrocketing? They went into debt. America became a debtor nation. That suggested fascism, too, this time strongly.

The debts Americans held were unpayable by the 2010s: the average American began to die in debt. Americans give me a blank look - “so what?” when I say that, but to an economist, there should be almost no more devastating statistic - it means people don’t earn, save, or own anything. They’ve become neopeasants again. Germany owed money to France and Britain Americans owed it to their own super rich. Different faces - same toxic economics. These toxic economics didn’t just suggest fascism anymore. They practically shouted it.

Finally, as a result of these ruinous trends, the American middle class became a minority in 2010 or so. A nation had fallen into fresh poverty. Sure, it wasn’t the absolute crushing poverty of, say, the Congo. It was something different, stranger, precisely because it’s so rare. It was poverty in a nominally rich society. It was people in the world’s largest economy forced to choose between their lives, that crucial operation, and their life savings. America’s middle class became a minority, its working class disintegrated - everyone except the super rich and their minions became one giant, amorphous class of new poor, perpetually indebted, living right at the edge. All this didn’t just shout fascism was coming - IT SCREAAMED IT.

America’s economic statistics by this point - the mid 2010’s - were shocking, breathtaking, surreal. At least to those who were paying attention. How many of us was that left, though?

80% of Americans lived paycheck to paycheck. A similar number couldn’t raise a tiny amount for an emergency. Half of Americans now worked low wage service jobs. All this screamed screamed - fascism was coming like a wounded animal crying for help.

At least to anyone who knows the story of how fascism happens, which should be all of us, but especially intellectuals. America’s intellectual class, though, has never been much of one. It’s made, mostly, of pundits - men who look good in suits, but haven’t read a book since grade school, it seems. And so nobody - nobody - with any real influence or power warned Americans what was about to happen. What was now inevitable, inescapable, because in America, the 1930s had begun to repeat themselves.

What was about to happen, as sure as the sun sets, or the stars rise? Fascism was.

Right on cue, as if according to a script, Donald Trump emerged. Remember when I said “a demagogue arises, who blames the woes of the true and the pure on hated minorities?” Trump played that role with eerie, stunning precision. He called immigrants and refugees animals and vermin. He mocked disabled people. He demonized and dehumanized black people, Mexicans, Latinos, women. He threatened to build a wall, and promised that the true and pure would be Great Again.

You’d think at this point, Americans would have gotten it. Here was fascism. It was happening here. Just as had been foretold by anyone thoughtful enough to pay even cursory attention to history. Poverty, despair? Check. Demagogue? Check. Threats, intimidation, hate, dehumanization? Check. Blaming hated minorities for all a society’s problems? CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.

Trump was likely to win - because the historical deck was stacked for him. Fascism was on the cards now. That much should have been lesson one, and the opposition should have been fierce and furious both.

Instead, the very opposite happened. The New York Times “but-her-emailed” Hillary. Wait, what? Emails versus fascism? What the? Today’s anti-Trump brigade was squarely for him - folks like Morning Joe. And instead of taking the possibility seriously that he might win, and do, well, the things fascists do - anyone who tried to warn of that was dismissed, mocked, marginalized, scorned.

Nobody was allowed to say fascism. At least not if you wanted to be serious and grave and respected and all the other accoutrements of American punditry. Me? Ive always cared more about telling you the truth than accolades. So I warned as sternly as I could, and swiftly lost my columns, book deals, TV appearances, and so forth.

Part of me was relieved. I never much liked any of that stuff. I wasn’t made to be a pundit. I’m a lover, not a fighter. But part of me was also horrified. Because I knew that now the final element in the recipe of fascism had arrived, too. What was that?

Demagogue? Check. Idiot army? Check. Hate and violence? Dehumanization and demonization? Scapegoating long-hated minorities? Check, check, check. All those are necessary for fascism to seize power. But to keep it, exercise it, abuse it? For fascism to really reach its brutal, grim culmination?

The final element is the most dangerous one of all, and yet it’s the hardest to see, too.

Denial.

Now Americans went into four long years of denial. They baffled the world. They felt like an eternity to people like me. Four long, terrible years.

Concentration camps were built. Nope, no fascism here.

Kids were separated from their families, and thrown in them. That’s a form of genocide by the way. Nope, no fascism here.

People were caged in the camps. Fascism? What fascism?

Entire ethnicities were banned. Fascism? Where?

Entire government agencies were purged, and “Acting Directors” - extremists, crusaders for the project of a racially pure “homeland” were installed. Nope! Still no fascism here.

Oval Office advisors were revealed to be literal white supremacists. Whatגs it called when racial supremacists seize control of the government? Nope! Not fascism!

Hated minorities hunted by shocktroops in the streets. Papers checked. Fascism? Where?

The New York Times, among others, did fawning profiles Nazis. Fascism? Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no fascism here!

Four long, long years. Four stupid, terrible, idiotic, painful years. Of polite denial, quiet complicity, and flat-out cowardice. During which the Trump Administration checked literally everything off the textbook fascist checklist we learn in grade school, then high school, then college - concentration camps, bans, raids, paper-checking, dehumanization, hate, purges. While there were three kinds of Americans. One, the American Idiot, who supported all that. But two, the good American - who was in denial as deep as an ocean about it. And three, the American intellectual, politician, leader, who pretended not to get all that was fascism, or worse, actually didn’t.

The world was baffled, disturbed, bewildered, horrified. Were Americans really that dumb? They didnt know fascism when they saw it? What the?

Didn’t they get that literally every item on the fascist checklist was now being ticked, save one?

The world hadnt seen such a level of denial since the 1930s, either, as the one that swept America over the last four years.

That is why the fascists were so stunningly successful - to the point that now Americans have to ask: will they steal the next election?Ӕ Their very own denial paved fascisms way down the abyss.

I said one element was left on the checklist of fascism - what was it? Can you guess?

The old saying goes. “First they came for the Black person, and I did nothing. Then they came for the Mexican, and I did nothing. Then they came for the refugee, and I did nothing. Finally, they came for me.” Ive modernized it a little.

The last checkbox on the list of fascism was all those institutions of fascism which had now been built - Gestapos, paramilitaries, concentration camps, cages, dehumanization, raids - being turned against white Americans themselves. The “real ones,” the ones who thought, foolishly, they were safe.

Nobody was safe. Nobody is safe when fascism ignites. Especially not the good people. They are either drafted into the fascist cause ԗ or they are abused and intimidated into silence and submission. What was happening to the Mexican, the Latino, the Black it was always a foreshadowing of what was to happen to all. Everyone was to be brutalized, in the end. Those shock troops were always going to hunt you, one day, in the streets, too.

That’s why fascism is so dangerous. Its like a plague. It consumes a society whole, or not at all.

So what happens now? After these four long terrible, idiotic, painful years of shocking, incredible levels of denial, complicity, and cowardice, which let fascism flourish?

What happens now is this. The fascist institutions that Trump built get used against Americans, brutally and relentlessly and remorselessly. Camps, Gestapos, raids, bans, purges, shock troops, cages. Not just again Mexicans and Latinos and Blacks, who happen to be Americans. But Americans, meaning the whites whoҒve thought they were above such things. Now fascism reaches its endgame, which is that the fascists use the institutions theyve built to control and dominate a whole society through terror, brutality, and violence.

Now the shock troops march down your pleasant streets. They intimidate and frighten you from voting, protesting, organizing, marching. They scare your children and terrify your neighbours. Now the fascists do everything they can to steal the next election.

And if they win, then critics, opponents, dissidents - all get disappeared by those armed men. Thrown into camps. Put into cages. Who knows when they’re ever seen again. They’re enemies of the state now. Those shock troops stay on the streets forever. Your kids get recruited into the fascist machine, seduced by promises of glory. The Trumps stay in power for a lifetime. The great fascist goals of racial purity, ethnic cleansing, genocide, violence, holocaust they begin in earnest.

That’s what happens next.

How do I know?

The real question is: how the hell don’t you still know? The entire world knows.

Night falls.

The leaves quiver.

The wolves bay, and the frightened animals scurry.

Is it fascism yet?

Umair
July 2020

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/23/20 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Price of Attempted Suicide

image: $93k attempted suicide hospital bill

They say we should speak up and TELL SOMEONE when feeling suicidal.

WHAT HAPPENS when you do and the friend or relative you confided in - pushes you away?

What do you do when the inner pain is so bad you decided to go to a hospital - then remembered your INSURANCE has a big fat copay and deductables, meaning you’ll be out thousands of dollars just to walk in the door?

If you’re poor and a big reason for being suicidal is lack of money - the answer may be you don’t go because the result may be you’ll wish a little a harder you were dead after seeing the BILL:

Debt is a huge mental health burden. According to research presented by The Aspen Institute 16 percent of suicides in the United States occur in response to a financial problem.

The cumulative loss to global GDP over 2020 and 2021 from the pandemic crisis could be around 9 trillion dollars, greater than the economies of Japan and Germany, combined.

With the corona virus to add to the reality of being a long term unemployed boomer - the prospects of finding work now - in our pandemic led depression - are worse than ever.

It’s a LIVING HELL.

Waiting for your own own LITTLE BUBBLE to burst.

---

Man shows shocking health care cost of his attempted suicide

By Lauren Steussy
NY Post
April 18, 2019

An attempt at suicide could cost you more than your life: An Oklahoma man shared an image to Twitter of his one-week, $93,000 hospital bill after an attempt to take his own life.

Oliver Jordan, 21, shared the bill Monday night and garnered more than 25,000 likes and hundreds of responses.

“This is how expensive it is to attempt suicide in the US,” Jordan wrote in the Tweet.

His followers were shocked, but some weren’t surprised: “In 2017 I was in the psych ward cause I was suicidal. I stayed a weekend. I’m now 10k in debt,” one response read. Another wrote, “I think mine was ~*only*~ $32,000.”

Jordan, who works as a legal assistant in Tulsa, Okla., tells The Post that he’s lucky to have insurance and that his out-of-pocket expenses come out to about $2,850 for the traumatic night last summer. But “for someone who couldn’t afford insurance, this would be utterly catastrophic,” he says.

Items like laboratory work cost Jordan more than $29,000 while respiratory services cost more than $16,000.

While Jordan’s case is extreme, the typical tab for an emergency room visit is still hard to fathom.

The average visit costs $1,917, according to the HEALTH CARE COST INSTITUTE, which looked at data from 2016. A different study from JOHN HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH found that some hospitals have markups of more than 1,000%.

Jordan says he wasn’t thinking of the enormous hospital bill the night it happened “I was unconscious before the ambulance arrived.” But even before his attempt, “the thought alone of navigating mental health care caused me to delay seeking treatment.”

Now, he says the stress of his outstanding medical bills, as well as more recent bills, is “constant.”

“Receiving bills and notices for something that will likely take me years to pay off is disheartening,” he says. “It leaves a hopeless feeling.”

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, you can get help by contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/22/20 •
Section Personal
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Boomers and the Covid-19 Pandemic

image: man contemplates suicide

The Great Recession was especially bad for older workers. The pandemic could be even worse

By Martin Neil Baily and Benjamin H. Harris
CNN Business
June 18, 2020

Covid-19 has disrupted virtually every aspect of American life, including our retirement plans.

Recessions often have profound impacts on retirement savings, but not necessarily in obvious ways. In the wake of the Great Recession, for example, 401(k) balances rebounded after a yearlong freefall. But those hit the worst by the downturn were older workers who were REQUIRED TO TAKE EARLY RETIREMENT and were pushed out of the labor market before they were financially prepared or ready to stop working. For these premature retirees, the recession meant a hit to their standard of living that has lasted throughout their retirements.

As bad as the 2009 recession was for older Americans, Covid-19’s impact on retirement will likely be worse and more widespread.

The sheer magnitude of the current layoffs will mean that many older workers will lose their jobs and may never find another one. According to a late-May Census Bureau survey, approximately 40% of households with people in their 60s reported losing wages during the pandemic. And if prior experience is any guide, older workers will have a disproportionately hard time regaining their lost income. For example, laid-off men over 62 are over 50% less likely to find a job than a younger worker and typically experience steep pay cuts when they do.

Record-low interest rates are making matters worse for retirement savers. In cutting target interest rates to close to zero, the Federal Reserve has locked in ultra-low interest rates for the foreseeable future. These actions were necessary and prudent, but low rates mean that savers will see lower returns on their savings and some workers will be less inclined to contribute to a retirement account.

Policymakers can help. To start, we need a renewed focus on strategies to make the labor market more welcoming for older workers. This begins with strengthening anti-discrimination laws that are FAR TOO WEAK to prevent widespread bias against seniors in the labor market. EXPANDING EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT eligibility - currently unavailable to people 65 and older - will help raise wages for older workers with low earnings by up to 8%.

Persistently low interest rates mean that Americans - especially those nearing retirement - need to save more to secure a safe retirement. Supporting state efforts to offer near universal retirement saving accounts is a start. Congress should also take a hard look at restructuring the $200 billion in retirement tax incentives so that middle-class workers get more for each dollar saved in an IRA or 401(k). One way is to offer everyone a 25 cent credit for each dollar saved, an improvement over the current system which offers a larger benefit for people in higher tax brackets.

The pain from the pandemic will last years. For current and aspiring retirees, it may last even longer. Commonsense reforms to our nation’s retirement system will not completely heal the wounds, but we can take steps now to ease the pain.

SOURCE

Posted by Elvis on 07/15/20 •
Section Dying America • Section Personal
View (0) comment(s) or add a new one
Printable viewLink to this article
Home
Page 1 of 1 pages

Statistics

Total page hits 9999300
Page rendered in 0.8655 seconds
40 queries executed
Debug mode is off
Total Entries: 3275
Total Comments: 337
Most Recent Entry: 11/24/2020 12:34 pm
Most Recent Comment on: 01/02/2016 09:13 pm
Total Logged in members: 0
Total guests: 6
Total anonymous users: 0
The most visitors ever was 172 on 12/25/2019 07:40 am


Email Us

Home

Members:
Login | Register
Resumes | Members

In memory of the layed off workers of AT&T

Today's Diversion

People will believe anything if you whisper it. - The Whisper Rule

Search


Advanced Search

Sections

Calendar

July 2020
S M T W T F S
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Must Read

Most recent entries

RSS Feeds

Today's News

ARS Technica

External Links

Elvis Picks

BLS and FRED Pages

Favorites

All Posts

Archives

RSS


Creative Commons License


Support Bloggers' Rights