Posts Tagged ‘america’

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By @anarchyroll

America’s identity is its middle class. What makes America different than every other country that has come before it? The economic middle class…..guns, and obesity.

For real tho, it’s the middle class. We invented it. Before the United States of America there was no middle class. There was rich and there was poor.

What the middle class literally is, as well as what it metaphorically represents are both why people immigrate from all over the world, not just from the third world, to be in America. A country with an economic ladder for all people who work hard as opposed to caste systems? That concept is worth risking life and limb to millions of people each year. Legally and illegally people want into America.

Freedom/democracy is great too, but what good is freedom if you’re poor? What good is living if you live under literal oppression or economic oppression where there is only the super rich and the super poor? America, the land of opportunity; where ordinary people can simply work hard and be rewarded monetarily in a manner that enables not just animalistic survival, but also comfort, upward social mobility, and land ownership.

The socioeconomic middle class is Americana. Baseball, apple pie, barbecues, two week vacations, two car garage homes with a white picket fence. The images created by those words are the America middle class; the great reward for all born or adopted citizens who buy into the concept of American exceptionalism by giving their blood, sweat, and tears to a job for the middle two quarters of their life.

Without a middle class, America has no true identity. Freedom? Democracy? Those both existed before America. Flags? Bald eagles? Sports? White people oppressing minorities? Those all existed before America too believe it or not.
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There is a saying; Don’t tell me about the labor pains just show me the baby.

One can look at that chart and say there are still plenty of people in the middle class. One can point to the people who have improved their income status over the past ten to forty years. Both are valid points. There is still a middle class in America and people have moved economically upward out of the middle.

Want another valid point? Both democratic and republican presidential candidates are dedicating equal time to talk about the erosion of the middle class. In this polarized political era, for both sides, to completely agree on a non national security/terrorism issue?

How can the erosion of the middle class be immune from political party polarization? Sure they’ll disagree on how to fix it, but to be in complete agreement of the present moment problem? Sounds like what happens when a person reaches a midlife crisis. And a midlife crisis is nothing more than an identity crisis.

The erosion of the middle class is America’s identity crisis.

Are we a caste system? Are we an oligarchy? Are we a republic? Can our economic and political systems ACTUALLY co exist? Should we just buy a sports car?

The real questions always start with Who/What/When/Where/Why and How?

Who; has benefited from the erosion of the middle class?
What; exactly has been happening over the past thirty years to lead to this erosion?
When; was the middle class the most robust?
Where; specifically did the wealth lost by the middle class go?
Why; was the middle class so vibrant at its peak?
How; can the economic principles of then be adapted to modern time?

If one asks these questions, and does a few basic Google searches, the answers become pretty obvious pretty fast. But the answers to these questions don’t actually require searching the internet do they? Deep down inside, we all already know what’s been happening. We know where the middle classes’ money has gone. We know whose benefiting from the loss of the middle class. We would like to tell ourselves we don’t know why because we want to see and believe the best in people.

Have you heard the phrase, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?

How about; All is fair in love and war.

Class War has been the new Cold War for about thirty years, which wouldn’t ya know, is about how long the Cold War has been over, and is how long the middle class has been eroding.

by @anarchyroll
10/14/2014

Breathing in fire, smoke, and chemical additives is certainly different from sitting down. Sitting is the new smoking is a term that has caught on recently, with the good intention of attempting to curb the obesity epidemic.

It has come to the surface that excessive sitting whether for work or to binge watch television shows is like pouring gasoline on the fire that is the chances of getting cancer in America.

There are many good groups, charities, drives, purposes, and quests to try to stand up to cancer. Equating sitting down to smoking a cigarette is not one of them. More exercise is good. Clean eating is good. Regular medical check ups are good. Preventive medicine is good. Telling people sitting down too much will kill them, is bad. Using fear as a tool for a good cause is nothing more than a pipe dream, it is an oxymoron. Fear is a tool for bad, and evil. A good cause, in the end cannot benefit from using fear as a tool.

Scaring people to exercise? Most people are already scared to exercise. Are we counting on a double negative? The threat of diabetes and aesthetic exile aren’t already enough, we’re going to go the; being fat will give you cancer route?

I am a person who exercises regularly. I am a person who believes in physical fitness, clean eating, mental sharpening, and emotional well-being. I have also been a fast food eating, knowledge hating, couch potato. People who live a life, in which their hopes and dreams, of the life they want to live, are vastly beyond out of reach; seek solace in the relaxation and escapism that a comfortable seat and a high-definition screen to stare at, provides them.

The physical activity is just more work; is a paradigm of work being associated with pain. What are we as a society doing to make people associate physical activity with pleasure? Besides fat shaming and feeding into the narcissism of the physically fit in the name of inspiration.

Epidemic is not a term to be used or confused lightly. An epidemic is not solved by telling people to drink more water and/or take more vitamins. The obesity epidemic in America is as much a psychological one as it is a physical one. Until we as a society, culture, and race are willing to address the tough, deep, and complicated questions about why people are willing to cause massive suffering to their bodies in the name of temporary pleasure for the mind and spirit; then anything and everything done to curb such behaviors and habits are nothing more than lip service. The only thing worse than lip service is fear mongering, which is exactly what the sitting is the new smoking movement is; even if it is a road paved with good intentions.

by @anarchyroll
9/22/2014

Priorities can be hard to prioritize. In a world where there are multiple wars, Ebola outbreaks, wildfires, droughts, massive political corruption, famine, floods etc; celebrity gossip, cat videos, memes, and ironic gifs rule the media and our attention spans. More people vote for reality television talent competitions than in elections. So it is with the utmost pleasant surprise to find that America has tangibly and measurably decided that the future of net neutrality is more important than a female pop singer exposing her nipple at a football game.

Remember Nipplegate? If you don’t, you’re lucky or young or both. Well up until this month, that issue was the event that the FCC received the most complaints about in their history. Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson decided that a Sunday evening musical performance during halftime at the most watched television event in history (at the time) was a good time to expose one of Jackson’s nipples covered in a silver pasty. Middle America freaked out and a wrath of censorship followed. One of the many side effects of this was Howard Stern moving to satellite radio.

Well move over ten-year old musical performance, because something that actually matters has taken your place at the top of the heap!  The future of net neutrality, which literally will affect every person in America who uses the internet, is now the most commented topic in the history of the Federal Communications Commission.

The people have spoken, the 99% wants the open internet to remain as is. It is positively refreshing to see so many people speak up and speak out about something of such grave importance. Remember just because many people use the internet to fuel procrastination, narcissism, and vices doesn’t mean those are the only uses for the internet. The open internet is vitally important to the present and future of our society and culture.

What will the FCC do now that the people of spoken? Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon are hoping to use lobbying based leverage to gain complete control over the world wide web. This issue is a true litmus test between who has more power in the world going forward; the 1% or the 99%. Whichever way the FCC ends up going, whether people know it or not, we all have a horse in this race.

by @anarchyroll
7/21/2014

Did you know the United Nations said that Detroit is violating the human rights of their citizens?

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights in America. So if that is actually true, and we can’t live without water, is water a right? The water companies in Detroit don’t think so and have been shutting off water supplies to delinquent customers.

The problems of the urban dystopia that is Detroit are pretty well-known. But I don’t think most people in America thought the situation in Detroit was worthy of the attention of the United Nations. Since we are in the United States of America after all, it is hard to fathom human rights violations worth of the attention of international governing bodies could be allowed to occur here. Well, welcome to the new normal.

Why are so many people (up to 30,000) so behind on their water bills that they are having access to it turned off? Maybe it has something to do with the 119% increase in cost as the city inches closer and closer to privatization of utilities.

As horrific as the situation in Detroit is, what is even scarier than municipalities and private corporations literally denying access to the essence of life to their citizens, is that the problems with water in Detroit is soon to become the rule not just an exception.

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by @anarchyroll
7/14/2014

Wages have not kept up with inflation or the consumer price index for over thirty years. That is what is meant when you hear people talk about wage stagnation.

As long as wages remain stagnant compared to how much stuff costs there will never be a fully robust economic recovery.

Wage stagnation is why there is currently an all time record high of income inequality in America.

This is why you don’t need a degree in economics to understand why all debates over economic issues in America are made to seem overly complicated on purpose. Because if people were paid more for their time and effort, they could buy more things. But wouldn’t those things then be more expensive? Yes, but people would be making more money. It would be a cycle, kind of like the cycle our economy is on now but less vicious and soul crushing for the generationally poor.

You’ve heard about class warfare between the 1% of earners who possess more wealth than the other 99% of earners in the country, right? That is the heart of the Occupy Wall Street movements and protests. Why is there such a gap in income equality? Why is there class warfare? Why is there a sentiment that the “game” that is the US economy is rigged and the American Dream is dead? The underlying cause/answer is wage stagnation.

Wage stagnation is not an accident, it has been done very much on purpose for almost half a century. The haves don’t want to pay the have-nots an honest salary for their honest work and have been allowed to get away with it. The 1% could make the choice to pay their workers more. But other than it being the right thing to do, why? After all, paying the masses a living wage would mean less one-percenters could afford private yachts, jets, and islands.

Wage stagnation is tied directly to the rise in consumer debt (people use credit to pay for necessities they don’t have the money to have because they don’t get paid enough), student loan debt (parents and students need to take loans because they don’t get paid enough to pay for college tuition), and mortgage debt (not being paid enough to afford a home). Being able to afford a home is the center piece of the American Dream. To afford property, not simply to achieve financial prosperity as many would have you believe.

Until wage stagnation is addressed and done away with, very little else matters in terms of turning around America’s economy for 99% of the population. To deny this is to deny reality, or be apart of the minority of the population that is benefiting from the system as it is currently constructed. There is no gray area or in between.

A living wage is the only humane solution to this problem. But traditionally, humanity and the American economy don’t always go hand in hand. The fierce resistance to paying a living wage in America is only the most recent example.

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by @anarchyroll
7/10/2014

I suppose my generation will be the generation that grows up to say, back in my day, you could actually swim in the water at the beach.

Thanks to massive amounts of pollution and bacteria, beaches are now strictly for selfies, volleyball, tanning, sand castle building, and of course drinking.

Poisoning of water is something that always gets my attention. Mainly because we can’t survive without water, we being human beings.

I wonder if the people who are big on the #BeachLife social media trend will care as much about the environment as they do their own self image and egos.

Some generation will eventually have to care in mass about water pollution. The Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Y polluted the Earth exponentially more each time around as if there was a prize at the end. Well I guess there is, the prize is the privilege of being able to go to the beach and not being able to swim or even touch the water due to the public health hazard the bacteria causes. But I’m sure breathing the air coming off that water is still perfectly healthy. Certainly no worse than the air breathed in citing in bumper to bumper highway traffic.

by @anarchyroll
6/17/2014

Salt is to obesity what motor oil is to a car. Sugar is the gasoline.

Salt is America’s secret ingredient.

Salt is America’s spice.

Processed foods could not exist without salt.

Fast food culture would not exist without salt.

Franchise restaurants would not exist without salt.

Excessive salt intake is a direct contributor to heart attacks, stroke, high blood pressure, and obesity. If you don’t care about any of that, care about the health care costs that go along with battling the obesity epidemic. Those add up almost as much as senior citizens delaying the inevitable by an extra couple of days.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is getting read to unveil voluntary salt reduction guidelines for food makers. As with any government bureau, there is no set time-table for when the guidelines will be released, as well as what specifically the guidelines will be. But it’s a start. When dealing with an epidemic, it is important to at least start, no matter how small the first step may seem when staring up at a mountain.

I am in favor of strict, mandatory guidelines BUT completely understand why starting with voluntary, phased in guidelines are being enacted. America is so addicted to salt that a sudden drop might result in public backlash, which could lead to legislated high sodium diet recommendations.

Regardless of whether a person is a vegan, a paleo, a juicer, or junk food eating machine we can all agree that something must be done about wide-spread obesity in America. The abuse of the freedom to eat what we want is negatively effecting our society and culture at a level that has been labeled epidemic. If this where any other kind of epidemic would drastic action not be expected? Would freedoms not be forfeited?

With obesity, the government isn’t coming for our speech, guns, religious freedoms, or our children. They’re simply coming to take 30% of our daily salt intake.

eanda logoajclogo2by @anarchyroll
5/22/2014

How many people went to jail for causing the 2008 economic collapse of not just the United States, but the entire global economy?

I thought the answer was zero, it turns out I was wrong. The answer is one, one person from Wall Street went to jail post 2008.

It’s not just an income inequality gap that exists and is expanding in America, there is also a judicial inequality gap. Since I’m white I’ve only noticed this recently. If I was a minority I would have likely not just written about the disparity, but would have been arrested and put in jail already.

Graph courtesy of Project.org

In America, white-collar criminal really is a double entendre. One for the type of crime, a second for the race of the criminal.

Though maybe it is time to update the image and the term. Something more appropriate would be green collar crime. Though the fact that almost all of the white-collar corporate CEO’s were/are white; it is the quantity of dead presidents in their offshore bank account that is the blade to their prison term skate.

What does it say about us as a society that we allow this kind of disparity to justice to become the norm? Is the damage caused by the architects of the ’08 collapse greater than, equal to, or less than the robbery of a single person? How about the rape of a single person? The murder of a single person? Selling drugs to a single person?

I’m not pretending to have an answer here. I am certainly not standing on a pedestal.

Was the damage caused by World Com and Enron akin to a serial robber? A serial killer? A serial rapist? A drug kingpin? How do we measure the collateral damage? Is the death by stabbing of a man in his early twenties different from a retiree who finds out they have lost all of their money in a Ponzi scheme and is destitute without the physical ability to earn for the rest of their life?

What about the people who kill themselves due to an economic depression? What if they have spouses and children? Is their loss, pain, and suffering different from a woman who gets robbed and raped at gun point walking home from the train station?

When entire neighborhoods and towns are put into foreclosure. Hundreds, thousands, millions without work, shelter, food, water, or hope for the future…are the people responsible for causing so much human tragedy somehow less evil, deserving less scorn, and less judicial prosecution than a teenager who runs over a kid while texting and driving? What about drinking and driving?

When blood is spilled, lives taken, innocence stolen in violent crimes we as a society hunt down the criminals, lock them up, throw away the key, and turn the other cheek while they are habitually raped in prison. Victims of violent crimes and their families are forever changed, unable to ever fill the hole created by an evil person that took something that can never be given back.

But is that psychological damage not shared by victims of massive financial crimes against society like in 2008? When we aren’t talking about a single person losing a job or life’s savings but a large percentage of the global population. Are the strains placed on society not akin to that placed on the immediate friends and families of violent crimes?

If not, can we at least as a society agree that we should lock up hedge fund managers, investment bankers, and Ponzi schemers that cause global recessions and depressions as strictly and regularly as we lock up drug dealers and users?

by @anarchyroll
5/4/2014

I am not old enough to remember a time when Washington DC wasn’t all smoke and mirrors for the elite to create the illusion of freedom. A great example of this is the current effort by the Obama Administration seeking legal immunity for the major telecommunication companies for complying with the NSA’s bulk metadata collection programs. Why is this typical Washington BS? Because the telcomms already have immunity because they were following the law when they complied with FISA court requests. The White House feels the need to request immunity for telcomms because of the multiple NSA reforms that are currently making their way through Congress. But if the Bush Administration wasn’t prosecuted, Gitmo is still open, and no one from Wall Street went to jail after 2008; is formal immunity really needed from Verizon, Comcast, and the gang?

So a sarcastic blog paragraph, is that it? NO. The real story here is in the earmarks. Both supporters and defenders of the NSA are trying to attach hidden bills, add ons, amendments, etc to the various bills to advance their agenda through the back doors of democracy.

This is a problem not just because of how shady earmarks are in principle, but the fact that both sides are doing it threatens to undo any and all NSA reform. Both sides are saying all the right things but are doing very different things when the doors are closed and the cameras are off, what else is new? So keep an eye and an ear on the legislation that eventually makes it to a vote that reforms and repeals the NSA’s various Big Brother programs. Will they do nothing? Go too far? Not far enough? One will have to go beyond the headline and seek out whether there are earmarks and if so what they entail to know the validity and likely the fate of any changes to the NSA’s ability quest to destroy private lives as we know it.

 

 

by @anarchyroll
4/16/2014

What would happen to you if you lied under oath in a court of law?

What would happen if you lied under oath in front of the United States Congress?

What has happened to anyone in the NSA for doing either? Nothing.

What does that mean? What do you think that means? When a person can admit under oath he lied under oath to not the legislative body of the United States of America.

Whose in charge here? Think about that.

If the NSA can lie under oath without penalty of any kind. Can admit to lying under oath without penalty of any kind. What is there place in the pecking order?

That is what stood out to me about this story. It made me think about consequences. It made me think about power and control.

Those in power, with control, are afforded luxuries that the common person is not. They are allowed to do things that other people aren’t.

Why does the NSA have a $52 billion “black budget”? How is a “black budget” allowed to exist in a democracy?

The go to line on that passé logic is that what the public doesn’t know won’t hurt them. I think that has been proven to be false in the post Edward Snowden era…