Everywhere we look, there are "NOW HIRING" signs for McJobs. *Sighing* God bless 'mur-cah.Cindy
Hi Cindy,In Philly, however, you don't even see these McJob signs, and I can only assume that's because each retail or food joint is already flooded with applications.Bartender Brandon was commuting from Shippensburg, twenty miles South, and this cost him $400 a month, so he finally moved to Carlisle. Shippensburg also has a college, but it's only a state school and much cheaper. The economy is worse there, Brandon said, and its alcohol and drug problems, heroin and meth, are much more serious.Life in small town America these days means having a McJob, then drinking cheap beer and/or do drugs after work, and that's if you're lucky. Many people don't even have a McJob.Linh
Hi Linh,What a sad state of affairs in Pennsylvania. Are there any areas doing well in the state? I've visited Tyrone, Altoona, Wellsboro, Mansfield and Pittsburgh. This was around ten years ago. Things seemed economically depressed then. I can only imagine how it is there now. How do people survive if there aren't even miserable McJobs? Is this what awaits the rest of the nation?I read Chris Hedges' & Joe Sacco's "Days of Destruction Days of Revolt," which chronicled a handful of horrific "sacrifice zones" around the country. Camden was one of them. Just made me want to cry. The people they profiled in the book...many of them were on disability to survive. Oxycontin, alcohol and other drugs were a common "scourge." I put scourge in quotes because—well—it is a way to cope.The sense of foreboding I have of what lies ahead seizes me with such terror that such "escape" looks attractive. The fear isn't for me, but for my innocent kids...and pretty much everyone caught in this web of decay...but especially the young.People who have been comfortable all their lives and subscribe to the mainstream junk floating around out there...I always hope they are smarter and faster than I was when I went through my excruciating transformation in thinking. That is, if and when they experience deep hardship anytime soon.It took me years to even partially grasp what seems to be going on. And there's so much more for me to learn. There's a huge mind shift that has to happen for things to change for the better for regular people. I feel scared and hopeless because I look around and don't see any visible signs of folks waking up. Maybe it's just in this area...? It's GOT to be out there, though, Linh...I read that revolution is inevitable. We're not the only ones thinking this, are we?I'm rambling here... Oh, to be able to enjoy cheap beer and drugs after work right now... LOL!Cindy
Cindy,I read that same book. One of the first books I read when I first came to the US. It was horrific! Everything written there was bad. The sacrifice zones, the treatment of Indians (Linh, read: Native Americans), the treatment of the farm workers and the job they had to go through in the pesticide ridden farms, the removal of mountain tops (in the Appalachians) for coal mining and the damage it does to the surrounding towns. It's really, really, really bad. I live in a college town and I don't see any visible signs of waking up either. I wonder, many times, and still do, if there's actually something wrong with me instead.
Ali,Wasn't that book fascinating and terror-inducing?I don't think there's anything wrong with you at all. But that's because I don't want to believe there's anything wrong with me! Of course, we're seeing things from a perspective of what...? What makes some of us more sensitive than others? I'm not the world's most analytical person. Just very heavy on the empathy.I had a morbid, frightening (and probably less-than-healthy) obsession with the film "The Road" for a while. Have you seen it?Subscribing to gloom and sadness isn't really my regular "style." But I just can't go along with all the reality-ignoring "everything-will-be-okay" attitude so many of us Americans seem to carry.There's a book by Barbara Ehrenreich called "Bright Sided" that kind of talks about just this thing: bizarre, almost childish, cheerfulness we Americans exhibit in the face of everything. It doesn't matter how seemingly insurmountable or abysmal. This false positive attitude and bravado, to me, just feels so pathological. It's sick. This isn't to say my family and I don't grasp moments of joy when we can, but it's eerie, the "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"-type "never-show-a-bit-of-negativity" zombie-dom around us. Even pointing out reality feels risky.Do you mind me asking, Ali...how long have you been in the U.S.? And what were things like in the other places you have lived, along these lines?Take care,Cindy
Ali, Cindy & Linh,I definitely appreciate all your comments, which prompted some thought. Admittedly, it might be RADICAL to say, but the American economy of post-WWII has been defeated, forever altered. Am not a historian, but in class, I paid attention to the post-WW II plans for vanquished Germany, called the Morgenthau Plan, signed March 29, 1946. Tomorrow is Morgies anniversary! The Morgenthau Plan aimed at decimating Germany's industrial capacity, including steel production plants, but graciously allowed manufacturing of beer, wines, toys, and textiles. My U. of Scranton professor indicated an Allied desire to make Germany an agriculture-based society, he quipped, "hunters & gatherers." Powerful oligarchs and multi-national corporations began to grow weary of lower-middle class U.S. citizens having family supporting jobs & benefits, and in the globalized New World Order, that would not stand. It appears to me that U.S. politicians (leaders?) were entirely bought-out, and America got a giant sucking-sound Morgenthau Plan, of course in the guise of first G.A.T.T., N.A.F.T.A, and as soon as U.S. Empire cleans-up messes in the Middle East, they'll have the T.P.P. The grand idea that profits and rewards of globalized capitalism will result in a prosperous and "just" world is (at best) a pipe dream, at worst bullshit. The privileged classes, MSM, and ruling class don't want anyone to know about this unprecedented snookering, but as the internet is still free, one could access Paul Craig Roberts expert & truthful articles.Age 63, in Northeast PA, the largest employer is the Tobyhanna Army Depot, a place where locals would sell souls to get a job. Otherwise, the other day, at a Dunkin Donuts joint, I spoke with two young guys, one a graduate Luzerne County Community College, the other, a two-year stint at P.S.U., Worthington Campus. They treated me to a cup of "dark roast," I sat down with them,and they joked how they were both competing for an entry-level job at the Mohegan Sun Casino, Pittston, PA. I sympathetically asked, "what does a casino entry-level position entail?" One answered, "uh, cleaning rooms and working your way up to a waiter job at the horse race track." Finally, as "Days of Destruction" is noted in comments, in 2004, while an Environmental Service Project Manager, I toured a RARE manufacturing plant located in the Crestwood Industrial Park. Fitting well into Donald Rumsfeld's "backslider" category, throughout the new & large factory, I saw how highly sophisticated machines were doing all the work, very little need for human labor. Americans should NOT have welcomed Globalists as "Liberators" when in truth they were conquerors, occupiers. "Revolt" on all levels will be punished, and get ready for the terms of the New Morgenthau Plan for America. I hope someone replies here, my intellectual failings are well known to me, and I have had real pipe dreams highs (!), often naive juntas. Thank you! messes
Hi Chuck,I always enjoy reading your responses! Long-time admirer of your lines of thinking, too.Ah, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre! Is this where you're from, Chuck? (What’d you study at the U of Scranton?) I've only driven by the area, on the way to Wellsboro, but I've met quite a few folks from the area and found them to be "my" people, for what it's worth!Anyway, I--for one--am in agreement with your assessment that the United States is a has-been country. You're right that with the advent of NAFTA and GATT things seem to have taken a turn for the much worse. And now with TPP--well--we know where that's going to lead. I hate to think that the global elite’s end-goal is one of a callous “sloughing-off” of “useless-eaters” (us??) It’s just so difficult to think anything different, although I take with a huge grain of salt those who scream and stop up and down about the so-called Georgia Guide Stone business and other conspiracy weirdness.It's so interesting, too, your mention of Germany’s history post-World War II. I lived in various areas of Germany for about six years (immediately prior to and post Berlin Wall destruction) and the country seemed to be a dynamo of ueber-industry--hardly the "hunter/gatherer" society of the Morgenthau Plan's aims. I wish my history knowledge was as rich as yours, Chuck. I wonder how that happened. The U.S. is so good at forcing countries back into the Stone Age--a la Afghanistan. At least these days. I sadly chuckle when I think of what a response from Dmitry Orlov would be to the above question: the U.S. has become an inadvertent (?) expert at failure (welcoming globalists as liberators). It even fails at failing nowadays, from the looks of it.On Germany, again: as we see now, Germany seems to be dictating financial/economic terms for the EU--especially poor Greece. And Germany no longer limits itself to a "self-defense only" doctrine. It disheartens me, to no end, that the Europe of 20+ years ago is now gone. It adopted too many of globalism's bad practices. I’m meandering into the topic of Germany…my interest is so piqued. I do see one glimmer of hope in Germany's slow lean towards Russia/China, despite the fact they supported the ludicrous sanctions against Russia over the even-more ludicrous, manufactured debacle that is the Ukraine conflict.Back to the U.S., though, and particularly your neck of the woods, Chuck. How rough for those two young gentlemen you shared coffee with. In “friendly competition” for an entry-level casino position? “Working their way UP to a table-waiting position at the horse track?” Perfect illustration of what I lose sleep over when I think of my four kids’ futures. And those two young men have some education, too. What an absolute waste. Automation really has been one of our undoings, Chuck, like you bring up in what you observed at the RARE plant. It’s not the automation, itself, but its management/exploitation of what it provides. I find technology exciting, and embrace it (I mean, really hope we don’t sink into a dystopian involuntary James Howard Kunstler-ian “World Made By Hand!”), but I am afraid we people (and the technology) been extorted by the powers that be. I can’t remember where I read about it, but—at one time—wasn’t a goal of our country to be able to provide its people with more leisure than work time, thanks to the technological revolution?“Intellectual failings…” my forte, Chuck! I see I’m in good company!“Gentlemen…!” (Winchester, from M*A*S*H)Cindy
Hey Cindy,There's something to be said about empathy, and then there's something to be said for a person to have empathy and to also go out of his/her way to try grasp the truth. I hope none of us here are mad. I say this selfishly of course, because like you, I don't want to be mad!Here's the weirdness though. We are all in the same shitty society, so the crap is going to affect everyone. Why ignore the reality of what's happening? Why stay in magical thinking? I know the book you're talking about and I have it! I haven't read it but I did go through the first part, and her experience of going through breast cancer but then not being able to talk about it was something else entirely. Magical positive thinking?I like and DESIRE hope, joy, love, kindness, gentleness. But at present, I think those are only meaningful when one tries to rid oneself of illusions. Otherwise, it's never going to be "filling" and it'll never actually soothe our anxieties. I haven't seen the movie you're talking about but I will be sure to watch it.I have been here for three years. Before that, I was mostly in Singapore. From what I can tell, economic problems have not hit Singapore the way they have hit US. Maybe it's because they do a lot of trade within Asia. But many people do have it tough, including the elderly who resort to really menial jobs to just survive. These are people who should rightfully retire and have a place to rest. As a city-state, the hopelessness is not as rampant yet and the huge amount of city stimulation keeps people content. But here's the thing. Singapore runs on a huge amount of imported labor, people from China, India, Bangladesh, to do jobs citizens don't want to do, like construction, driving buses, waitressing, etc. etc. Who knows how long Singapore will last at the rate it's going.
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