Tuesday
Oct172017

HOW WE RATIONALIZE "NON-ACTION"

During this season of wall to wall talk about

Sunday
Sep102017

CNN...."Commodify Nature Nightly"

     Who among us will question CNN's claiming the Irma "high moral ground" by parading cute little reporters through "low lying ground" in hurricane winds and storm surges.  Dutifully CNN declared the storm locations wind speeds (25mph to 45 mph prevailing for Irma) while a flashing banner pulsed a color coded velocity meter showing the maximum wind gusts and water surge levels statistically related to the Assigned  Storm Catagory. CNN no doubt frightened into action  some impaired Floridians that otherwise might have stayed home at their peril.  However, the cost of this "motivational reporting"" was that thousands needlessly fled Orlando and little old ladies in Gainesville slept upstairs, fearful of drowning when the 130 mph wind would bring the 12 foot surge to their toen hundred of miles from the coast.

     Yes, CNN produced for us a wildly successful "town cryer initiative , and oh, by the way, their audience size ratings went through the roof. (Excuse the inappropriate metaphore)  Scare a 100 million, save a few disenfranchized, sell some product, turn a profit.....my, my, the beauty of liberal capitalism!

Wednesday
Aug302017

Charlottsville

    “Hey, let’s go up to Charlottesville and kick some “frat boy” asses. Ok, but  I’m not getting arrested again.  Don’t worry, this is a freebie.  The suits are pissed off over some Civil War Statues and the whole town’s gonna be out their shooting their mouth off for their side.  When we show up with helmets and tatoos and swastikas, all of the candy-ass preppies will feel threatened, become incensed, then  argumentative, and ultimately belligerent.  Then we will stomp them into the ground and claim “defensive entitlement”.  Who knows! Trump and Sessions and Boss Hogg will probably cheer and whistle Dixie.”   

    P.S.  Isn’t it fucking amazing how easy it is for humanity to get caught up in this kind of ”moral equivalency rationalizing”.  Every day I work at an Assisted Living Facility where the “sides” identify as “mature children” and “advanced age parents”.  Guess who is typically wearing the helmets? 

Saturday
Aug262017

Ozark Fences

   Back in the day, when “Democracy vs Fascism”  was shaping our Identities, some California Liberals came up with a Personality Test posited to measure “fascist tendencies”.  Today, the Cal-F Test, if revived, would likely yield high marks for about 35% of Americans.  In my daily experience living as an anonymous liberal in Alt-Right Taney County, I’m never far from these “tendencies”.  
     Here in the Ozarks we are mindful that no matter how small or impoverished our town, there is still the right side and  the wrong side... of the tracks, so to speak.  Taking our cues from a long history of Alt-Right performances on the world stage, first comes arrogant privilege, then comes a wall, and then comes the law.   So it plays out, even in lowly Hollister, Branson’s poor cousin down on the other side of the tracks.  Hollister’s shining light on the hill, CofO recently bought a few more hundred acres for “manifest destiny” reasons.  Then, without delay, they erected full perimeter high barbed wire fencing securing land that could not possibly be worth as much as the cost of the fencing.
          Ask pretty much anyone in Hollister about the CofO military base like security apparatus and they will say that it is pure symbol...no one out here wants in there.  One of the Cal-F “tendencies” is that while for totalitarians, walls are for keeping the “non-authorized” out, in some cases, it is perhaps to keep the ambivalent children of the Alit-Right IN.    

Sunday
Feb052017

Ozarks...We Been Languished!

     America has had 50 States for a long time now, and at least 48 States for 5+ generations.  Some States ongoingly prosper and some, to use an old word, "languish".  Missouri, and The Ozarks in particular, just never seem to find and/or sustain a prosperity streak.  We  are coming up on 200 years of Statehood and excepting a minor "Heritage Entertainment" surge from 1975 to 1995, the Ozarks looks sadly similar to 1821.  Why?  Did powerful forces beyond our control do it unto us?  Did we do it to ourselves?  Or are we, like the Ozark Deer Population in 1950,, totally unaware that we have experienced a wholesale "failure to thrive"?

     Many of us, convinced that statistics are lies naively say  "it just aint true".  Believing and acting on "alternate facts" may be part of the problem.  It is however, a fact that Missouri has forever been in the bottom half of the US GDP (gross domestic product) rankings.  A recent (stat) summarizes that between 1990 and 2010, Missouri contributed 723B to the US Treasury and the US Treasury contributed 794B bacl to the Missouri Treasury. Iif we had not been getting charity from "Our Uncle" we would be...well, whatever is worse off than languishing. 

     Here are some possible explanations as to why the Ozarks always languishes:

  • We are too far from an ocean
  • Our mountains are too high
  • Our mountains are not high enough
  • We lack sufficient natural resources
  • We have to many minorities
  • We have too few minorities
  • We have too few churches
  • We have too many churches
  • We hold to strong conservative values and therefore choose status quo leaders
  • We have too many liberal/progressive leaders following unproven policies

    For what it is worth, my guess is that almost all people who have grown up in a "rural culture" reach adulthood have been saturated by media delivered imagery portraying urban lifestyles as more advanced than the "country kids" can imagine challenging. Sure there will always be the Bill Clintons and, the Oprah Winfreys,  but these exceptions say little about the 98% of "rural young adults" who have internalized that their competing with urban contemporaries would surely be disappointing or disastrous.  With rare exceptions, these 98% choose economic lives as small town retail/construction/health workers at near minimum wage. The more conscientious of these few pursue trade school experience to reach managerial positions in these same service sectors.

     What all of these small town wage earners share in common is an almost absolute lack of access to "capital".  Excepting a  lottery win, a personal injury windfall, or a Shark Tank Catch, they all face 40 years of survival economics with their minimal discretionary income being forfeited to aging parent care and maybe a boat.  They do not differentiate between passive and active investments; they have no investments except for the extremely frugal who somehow have mustered some home equity. Sadly, for many, by 60 they will have given up their modest nest egg  to solve the problems of their children growing up at the margin. 

     Most thriving businesses in rural America are modern day "carpetbaggers".  The pharmacies, the restaurants, the retailers are all urban investors taking capital out of the local economy.  Yes Walmart and Chilies provide jobs with wages just adequate to sustain another generation to work, and consume, but little more.  What capital does stay local is commonly controlled by the "local elite".  These "big fish in small ponds" hoard capital like their children won't survive but for their thoughtful rationing of Capitalism's DNA.  They prosecute life in a feudal mode, seemingly satisfied that "the poor will be with them, always:  Yes, they count the poor, they give them sweaters and free sack lunches, but not capital, the magic  elixir that helps a people thrive. "These local elites, not surprisingly,  are afraid of everything;  afraid of usurping urban investors as well as afraid of undiscouraged wage earners trying to break out of subsistence living.  By denial and deceit, they constrain as many as possible.

It is these local elites that bring the "languish".  Toward their objective to not get eaten by "Corporate Capital" from above, or up-starts from below,  they keep serving up the lives of those that inhabit their serf kingdoms. They do so by keeping wages low, property values low, taxes low, schools marginal, and most of all capital inaccessible.  Who knows, this neo-slavery paradigm may prevail for another 200 years.  The "local elites" are doing their best to prove Darwin wrong, so let's give them a hand.  Oh, I guess we already do!