Cheapened and Coarsened

What is dignity worth?

In our Trump times, Americans have steadily devalued that attribute.

The drumbeat is constant about “improved” economic indicators. Historically low unemployment. A stratospherically high stock market too many of us foolishly believe impervious to gravity. Shouldn’t ours be recognized as a halcyon American era?

But yet …

… Isn’t there a sense of unease behind these achievements? Despite the good announcements don’t we truly witness an entirely different reality?

For too many Americans a health malady could spell complete financial ruin. That once sure entry into the fat and happy prosperous middle class, a college degree, has rocketed beyond easy affordability. In fact undergraduate college degrees demand mortgage money which means buying a house, that other sign of entry into prosperity, must either be further postponed or denied outright.

In both cases today a sheepskin and home insist on extortion rate repayments. Each yoke only pleases any usurers who’ve extended the loans. These are not the conditions that allowed the magnificent growth of post-World War II America. That enlarged middle class built the broad-based and fairest economic wonder our nation has ever known.

And apparently will ever know.

Of course those people then were strivers. They’d endured the Depression and survived the Second World War. Not only had they earned their reward, but were damned intent on receiving it.

This generation and those subsequent will never know what went through our fathers’ minds as they stood over the summer backyard barbecue, a stiffened drink within reach, and perhaps the bucolic suburban scene disturbed by some memory of past want or need, or a piercing echo of combat momentarily disrupting the calm splendor achieved in the comforting green of a manicured 4,000 square-foot lot.

While the nation exhibits greater affluence today, much more of that wealth has now accumulated at the most rarefied reaches of society.

Despite Americans doing our utmost to accrue more symbols, we’ve become rodents who’ve gotten behind on the treadmill. At least in the old rat race, the one made famous by Sammy Glick and the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, as well as characters in numerous John Cheever New Yorker stories, those who aspired gained some satisfaction, if not celebratory cocktails on the home commute or inside the domicile itself.

Today the former notions which sustained and propagated the fat, happy, prosperous middle have been usurped somewhat by an interconnected world that’s given the high hat to the old American verities.

Globalization is the named devil. Lower return for harder toil is the price he asks. Indeed it is intentionally hamstringing the domestic workforce that establishes Americans’ financial lag.

Hard work no longer rewards with commensurate gratification. Deferment may lead to never acquiring. One can do everything right, one can adhere to the rules but still be shut out of realizing whatever had been the American Dream.

Know what’s pole-axed “the American Dream”? Sometime in the early 1980s corporate America decided it would be an opportune and advantageous time for board members and shareholders to increase their claims of profits at the expense of workers who actually created them. Rather than properly compensate those who made the products, who enabled the wealth, decisions were endorsed and executed that those holding the paper deserved larger cuts of the returns.

Therefore, adios to the fair disbursals plumping the lives of the hourly and salaried as well as larded the rarefied.

“Trickle down” as its most mendacious adherents call it. Or as it’s prosaically known, oats that pass through the horse for the birds underneath. Which is what more and more American workers get. Shit.

Worsening the disease, Fox News. Were he alive, it would be Joseph Goebbels ideal channel of dis- and misinformation. Without apology, Fox News clearly dupes the incurious and simple-minded. Coupled with the endless shrieking of right-wing radio’s barking heads it’s a wonder audiences in less dynamic America can muster worthwhile opinions.

Goebbels, the long dead Nazi minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda, would’ve enjoyed – no, he would’ve envied – Fox News’ ability to present outright falsities that the rubes and boobs swear by suck up as stacks of Bibles truths. Fox News isn’t interested in factual reporting. The source’s purpose is to convince dumb gullible America it is being left behind (through no fault of its own), ignored by sophisticates far removed from what’s been mislabeled “real America,” and most fright-inducing of all, supplanted by people whose beliefs and complexions are alien to theirs.

All of which are lies.

Had he lived, Fox News would’ve been a Goebbels’ monster. The broadcaster, like the Reichsfuhrer’s ministry, exists to deceive. It spews lies long enough intending to drown its faithful viewers in them.

Watching Fox, the unaware, the ignorant, the mesmerized now believe our once great nation occupies a promontory on this globe. A vantage from which we’d been absent. With the ascension of Donald Trump into the executive office a formerly prone and pliant United States is now the envy of those nations it doesn’t intimidate. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

Der Trump has hobbled the United States.

Not even at its founding after the Revolution when the British evacuated the former Colonies has our country been in more peril. Until Der Trump, Americans were rightly seen as strong, determined, mindful, and most of all respected. That last attribute represented the true source of America’s power. Those we dealt with knew mighty as the country was, it wouldn’t simply throw its weight around in order to have others kowtow to it, a la Russia and China.

Admire Russia and China and other strongman led nations as Der Trump does, these entities are not respected. They are resented. Let’s hope when the worm turns, that the client states each subjugates take chances to reverse servility into superiority, they will proceed with a bloodless mercilessness that’ll snatch the air from their oppressors’ lungs.

It would only be just.

As for Americans, the vile pig currently soiling the Oval Office continually convinces citizens in the dumbfuck regions overall conditions have improved. That somehow their lives have been helped. Repeatedly barking about figures which are abstract to these audiences has sufficed in distracting them from their own straits.

Certainly industrial workers who’ve either already been affected or are fearful of the havoc produced by Trump tariffs on manufactured goods perceive the dusk settling across America. They along with farmers whose once sure bet markets have been quite disrupted by the mindless bellicosity tweeted from the White House residence’s toilet possess ample ammunition to dispute the sunny forecasts.

A false bill of goods has been foisted on the American public. Under this criminal administration, its traitorous handmaidens in the House and Senate, and Fox News, citizens must believe that living in shit up to their ankles is a good deal. Left unchecked the same devious forces will further persuade Americans that letting the offal rise to their knees can only brighten the above condition.

Of course many in the aforementioned strait will tell you that living in shit suits them fine. That’s their problem. One the vast majority of us don’t wish to share.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For the first time in my five years here in Nevada, the Yuletide has had a joyous feel. Not that the locals have brightened up the Mojave with glitter and approaches which correspond to the merriment derived from the period’s significance. After all, it remains bizarre seeing Christmas lights decorating palm trees. Continue reading The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For Hire

Lola and Anastasia are in “the game.” Both are “working girls.” Nice euphemisms, eh?

Las Vegas lures a lot of good-looking women with negligible abilities. Taking honest stock of themselves, and deciding what they can offer shouldn’t be wasted behind a counter for minimum wages, or making babies from the jump, these entrepreneurs have decided that marketing their sensual commodities the most viable route to happiness and fulfillment.

Well, the pursuit generally starts out with that intent. But doesn’t life invariably derail dreams? Continue reading For Hire

Shades from the Eleventh Hour

A few weeks ago while rummaging through the Mojave, dumb luck delivered me to an odd spot. Somewhere amid the desert’s Joshua trees rather than near habitation I saw a simple cross stark against the sky upon a granite outcropping. This was a World War I monument. Continue reading Shades from the Eleventh Hour

Little Terrors Solved

Why are children considered so precious? Human beings, after all, are animals. Higher evolved, yes, or so we’ve come to believe, but animals nonetheless.

While we have turned copulation into pleasure, the ultimate reason behind our mating is to reproduce. To continue and expand our genetic lineage. Same primal directive as every other species inhabiting this planet.

That we derive joy from procreation leaves simpler animals unencumbered with the plentitude of human dramas associated with sex. After they rut, it’s over. The male goes his way, the female hers.

Whenever human males try following that instinct there’s a hell to pay no animal can conceive. Continue reading Little Terrors Solved

Modern Horrors

Could the sharing economy produce a new line of horror stories? After all, its basis tosses to the wind every caution under which older sensible Americans were raised.

Don’t get into strangers’ cars. Don’t let just anybody into your home.

So what are the two attractions best fueling the quasi-barter economy? Gig drivers and homeowners turning into hostel keepers. Continue reading Modern Horrors

Old Game. Same Rules. Modern Players.

“Sacrilege” is a word which shouldn’t be spoken lightly. But it would be a sacrilege if some present-day filmmaker were to remake Rules of the Game.

There have been rumors which threaten what might result in this likely desecration. Thankfully for good sense and lack of financing, that possible nightmare still exists as a demented dream.

Revising it, though? Updating the story for us and our era? Perhaps a palatable possibility. Continue reading Old Game. Same Rules. Modern Players.

Not Ready to Make Nice

One terrific result produced by the Donald Trump klepto- and kakacracy – no need to bother with restraint when any aspect of his crime organization administration is the subject.

Throughout the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the right never let the facts interrupt its false narrative. Right-wingers’ perversion of the story suited the narrow-minded, the flat-out bigoted, and ignorant continually inbreeding in less dynamic America. Continue reading Not Ready to Make Nice

The Mohicans

Vernon is dying. He is a cousin who inquired about Edna Long three years ago. She was an unknown figure who appeared in one of our family branch’s turn-of-the-century census tracts. Turn of the 20th century.

The people who may’ve known about her, remembered her, they’ve been all good and dead way before curiosity aroused his present-day fascination with this stranger who’ll remain a mystery. Continue reading The Mohicans

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