For some time I have been thinking, writing, and gathering information, not necessarily in any good order, about our situation here in the US. For more than a decade I have thought that we are in a protracted crisis.
This crisis can be felt at the personal, family, local and national level in all areas of life. Some of the sources are systemic to technological change and the global dynamics of capitalism. Some find their roots in fundamental failures in humans – racism, sexism, religion, etc. Some flow from our political system, some from our economy.
The focus of this work has been to try to identify what this crisis is about within the US context, to describe it, without any real notion of even suggesting solutions.
Where Did This List Come From and Is There an Order?
I first started this list two or three years ago while we were still in the deepest part of the Great Recession. Most of the early entries related to the political system and economic inequality. As I have returned to it I have broadened the coverage of social and political topics. Most recently I have added ones that relate to the mythology underlying our approaches to life in the US.
Here is my current list of topics:
Underperforming, expensive healthcare system
Political system controlled by big money, private and corporate
Distorted role of corporations
Quasi-religious faith in “free market” capitalism
Race, sex, ethnicity, klans….
Myth of social mobility
National and State Political Systems Designed to Be Anti-democratic and Dysfunctional
30+ year stagnation of income
Disappearance of living wage jobs
The rich are at their feeding troughs
Expensive, underperforming K-12 educational system
Expensive, underperforming higher ed system
Web access and infrastructure
Homelessness and poverty
Bloated, dysfunctional global military and empire
Our longest war – the war on drugs
Criminal justice system – aka the judicial-incarceration gulag
Persistent income disparities
Super rich vs. everyone else
Intrusion by organized religion into government and politics
Energy policy focused on consumption instead of efficiency
Today’s New York Times editorial page included a piece titled “How Fast Is Your Broadband?“. It provides a reasonable review of the sad performance of the Internet service providers in the US. It is widely known that Internet service providers like Comcast, Time-Warner and locally Mid-Hudson Cable chronically provide significantly less than their advertising claims. Here in Hudson, NY Mid-Hudson claims “blazing speeds” of 5 MB/sec (download). Repeated measurements, now numbering over 280 in the last six months prove that they provide speeds 30% less than this mark. Service technicians from M-H have acknowledged that this is the typical service they provide.
Worse is that the latency frequently reaches 2 seconds instead of being under the 100 milliseconds that is commonly accepted as OK latency on the Internet.. This means that after your click your mouse on a link in a browser, you can literally count “1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi” before you get any response to your query. This latency disables common communications tools like VOIP telephone services and audio and video services via Skype or Google. Continue reading →
I generally don’t have that much interested in fringe weirdo politics. But, with the continuing eruptions on the right wing of the right wing Republican party, I thought that I might investigate.
So, I became a member of the TeaPartyNation.com website. I spent maybe 30 to 45 minutes looking around. Lots of rhetoric but no policy approaches to any issues that I, and probably most people, think are of concern. To probe further,I went to the Forum section of the site and searched for policy statements or discussions. None came up. Time to start a discussion. I started a new thread on the Forum, titled (this is an approximation for reason that ill become clear in a moment), “Where Can I Find Policies or Approaches to Issues?”. In the body of the entry I asked for someone to point me towards policies or approaches to (1) high unemployment, (2) falling earning power of the middle and working class, (3) inaccessible and expensive health care, (4) crumbling highways and infrastructure and a few more along this line of questioning.
Banned in Tea Party Nation
This morning I remembered to go back and see what responses I had received to my query. Banned. I have been declared a non person in Tea Party Nation. So much for quenching my thirst for knowledge. Guess I will have to be satisfied with th Tea Party Nation’s version of freedom.