Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Unspeakable Obscenity

Unlimited Resources for Weapons which End lives, rip people to pieces and increase suffering, without making my life or your life better---but careful control and constant inspection of anything which might actually mean a real improvement to your life—Those two features characterize the United States of America....

In the past two years, an assorted number of health care workers have visited my parents’ home. I can’t keep track of their names, and I can only guess how many there have been---ten? twelve?

But in addition to the persons who actually perform services, there have been numerous visits by people responsible for something called “re-certification”.

And then there have been phone calls and visits designed to check up on the people who are actually doing the work. I haven’t actually counted them, but sometimes they seem as numerous as the actual visits. I know that the actual working visits are more numerous, but, after two years, the whole business really is very tiresome.

The underlying message is that someone is determined to ensure that my parents won’t get something unless they really need it.

Contrast that with the extravagant expenditures on weapons by the USA. The USA has the dubious distinction of being the only country in human history to have dropped an atom bomb on a civilian population, which incidentally included its own citizens—prisoners of war. (And, oh yes, the government did know about that fact.) Moreover President Truman lied about it, claiming that the bombs were dropped on military targets, whereas the truth is that the bombs were dropped at midday when the maximum number of civilians would die. (Note 1)

Those crimes merely began a new era of militarism.

The policy is that spending on weapons is essentially uncontrolled. The initial budget proposals by weapons manufacturers routinely turn out to be half of the actual cost.

And then there is the fact that, for example, the so-called drones continue the Hiroshima-Nagasaki policy of sparing no one, i.e., carelessly sacrificing innocent men, women, and children to maintain the dominance of a single country. And, as the country in question is a plutocracy run by a small number of individuals (note 2), this is the same as to say that innocent men, women, and children are sacrificed every day in order to maintain the world dominance of a small number of individuals. (But of course, after the damage is done, the propaganda machines speak of “democracy” and “freedom”. No sane individual is fooled.)

So here are my elderly mother and father getting less help than they need and deserve. And here are the numerous individuals performing frequent inspections and controls to avoid the terrible danger that they might get more help than someone thinks is deserved. Well, no. That word "deserved" isn't quite correct. The actual calculations involve no such term. The actual calculation is something like this: How little can we possibly allow them? What is the minimum we can give them in order to make the claim that we are doing something? It's as if some tyrant were deciding how little bread he could give his population before they revolted.

That picture is obscene and pornographic. It’s really a nasty portrait of a miserable situation and a miserable country. And my portrait is incomplete. The actual situation is much worse than I’ve said.

Note 1:

Gar Alperowitz, The Decision to Use The Atomic Bomb

Note 2:

G. William Domhoff, “Wealth, Income, and Power”,


After-thought: The inefficiency of Capitalism.

My mother has been on the phone for the past fifteen minutes. She is trying to get the pain-killer she needs. She has severe arthritis pain and a degenerative spinal condition. There is only one pain medicine which she found to be effective. Her health insurance provider doesn't like it because (they say) it is "too expensive". So every six months or so, she has to waste her time with numerous phone calls in order to get the doctor to communicate with the relevant middle-man.

Eighty-five years old. In pain. But she has to prove to a higher authority that she actually needs pain relief--not just once, but every six months for the rest of her life.

That is disrespectful.

Why do I blame capitalism? Capitalist, for-profit companies compete in the region of health care as in all other regions. Her current phone call is necessary because a new company is now handling he medicines.

Currently my father gets help with his showers. A very congenial man who works for an agency comes out regularly. However, there was a point where one health care company went out of business, and my parents were left out to dry. They received no help for several months on account of the fact that a company went out of business.

These are only the details I know about, but the story could be told at greater length. And we would reach the same conclusion--that this is a bad country, a bad place to live---not because the people living here are "bad" or lazy or stupid, but because the society is run (at every level of its organization) primarily in order to increase the wealth of the already wealthy.

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