RANGER AGAINST WAR: Building Britches <

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Building Britches

The days of phony prosperity —
I borrow cheap money from China to build a house

and then borrow on that house to buy cheap paintings

from China to decorate my walls and everybody is a winner

— are over

--(
China to the Rescue? Not!)

The only entitlements which meet with approval

are for the wealthy

--John Maynard Keynes


Writing saved me from the sin

and inconvenience of violence

--Alice Walker

______________

Ranger doesn't understand the esoterica of the rotten bundled financial instruments bringing down the mighty U.S. economy. But he does understand Mossy Oak hunting togs, and he was intrigued while on a recent shopping junket that all the sizes were XL or larger. None were for small people.

As he pictured the future fashionistas, fat, dumb and happy at 4:00 a.m. in their tree blinds, protected by Polartec undies and their pump rifles with scope, questions filled his head:

What did the small people constructing these clothes in Indonesia and Vietnam think about these hulking Americans? Are all Americans this big, or does avoirdupois favor the hunting set? Do these sweatshop assemblers producing cheap tchotchkes for Americans toil under excess weight of their own? A quick tour of National Geographic says otherwise.

He wonders how clothes can be made cheaper a world away than they can in factories in the Homeland. Even with import fees and shipping costs, the products are still cheaper than locally made products.

Isn't this economic colonialism? We don't occupy Vietnam, but we are riding them hard. It is questionable as to which is worse: the Vietnamese/U.S. 2nd Indochina War in which we physically ran roughshod over the area, or now, when we simply exploit a Communist system which exploits its citizens.

These cheap goods have destroyed echelons of U.S. production capabilities. Have we lost the desire to work and produce a quality product? Even foreign airplanes are preferred by our Air Force. We claim to be a superpower, yet we don't even manufacture our own BVDs. How have we come to this point?

How could we mobilize to support a real war requiring a real Army capable of fighting grinding battles? D-Day 1944 had more casualties in one day than the entire Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) has had to date. We are being sold a bill of goods.

Think of the average Good American. He serves, he marries, raises a family, retires, continues working on his home, his community and maybe another job, pays his mortgage and lives in a sensibly-sized home (under 1,500 s.f. for most people). His life is built upon a solid rock, yet his future is shaky as an old gray mare. His economic welfare hangs upon an economic policy beyond his control.

His profligate neighbors buy and spend beyond all need and reason, and Congress encourages this behavior. Why should one be frugal on an individual level, when the system rewards the opposite behavior?

"Change" is required, yet it looks like "business as usual" may be the business of the new President. Politicians usually deliver anything except what the voters really need, which is realistic leadership. We will hope the case is otherwise.

Americans have an odd idea about taxes. They see them as something evil and directed against their better good, which is more cash in their pocket, instead of something which buys them and their society necessary services which ensure their health and well-being.

No president wants to be unfashionable by saying he will raise taxes. Meanwhile, war is always good (another 30,000 for Afghanistan, please), and Americans imagine those funds come from a 2nd stomach of the cash cow over there.

"At the height of the Roman Empire, Rome had 39 foreign military outposts. The British had 38 at their peak. The US, in the twilight of her lust for empire, currently has just over 730 according to the Department of Defense" (Learning to Lead.) Something's got to give.

Gen. Petraeus's question applies: "Tell me how this will end?" Where is it taking us as a nation? The middle class citizen that is the hallmark and backbone of any viable democracy is being squeezed from all sides. The lower and higher socioeconomic groups are riding them at a level too hard to sustain.

The bailouts ride the backs of the average taxpayer, and we are too complacent to realize that we are getting screwed from all sides. We are like the immobile character in Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable who resignedly says, "I can't go on, I'll go on."

--Jim and Lisa

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8 Comments:

Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

JB:

it's too dark to see.
the wit won't burn. the wet soul smoulders.

Sarah:

Blow on the coal of the heart.
The candles in churches are out.
The lights have gone out in the sky.
Blow on the coal of the heart
And we'll see by and by . . .

We'll see and know what matters.


Archibald MacLeish, JB

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 12:00:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

MB,

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly"

--WW II pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 12:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

The bailouts ride the backs of the average taxpayer, and we are too complacent to realize that we are getting screwed from all sides. We are like the immobile character in Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable who resignedly says, "I can't go on, I'll go on."

Which begs the question of our complacency...do we do nothing because we can do nothing, or do we do nothing because we're part of the process and know that we're slaved to the same consequences as those who are being bailed out now?

I think it's because a lot people have enslaved themselves either willingly because they hope to garner for themselves wealth at the expense of others; or unwittingly because they fell victim to their very trusting nature that says financial instituions want to "help" them make their money work for them. Now all are slaves to a financial system that numbs everyone with crumbs, while the few eat heartily the loaves for which so many have labored to make.
The injustice of it all is frustrating, but the shocking reality is that we allowed this to happen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 1:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

sheerahkhan,

The people are complacent, wittingly or not, and for a plethora of reasons. We are probably hardwired to call our crumbs a feast (a recent NYT Science article spoke of the antithetical nature of "change" to the human condition.)

Greed gets the best of most people. Frank Norris's novel MacTeague was a great study of this phenomena which hits both the high and low.

Also, our religions makes of us beggars and slaves. Christianity is based upon this premise.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 4:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Kootenay said...

Americans have come to feel that their government is something separate from themselves, and that they have no control over their government. At times I feel sympathetic, but more often I want to scream and shake them hard. It's a democracy - if you're not in control, who is? If you abdicate control, how can anyone else hope to influence the juggernaut you created?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 11:03:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Kootenay,
We agree, we are all reposible for what our gov't does or fails to do. Our responsibility extends beyound the voting booth ant the IRS sacrifices we make to the goddess Liberty.
jim

Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 12:19:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

"Also, our religions makes of us beggars and slaves. Christianity is based upon this premise."

Lisa,
I'm going to give this some thought...it may take a couple of days, but hopefully I will have an intelligent response that will...hmm...explain/excuse/remit the focus a bit more on my blog.
I need to think about it first, and then do a little research.

Yes...I need to think about it first.

Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 11:36:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

sheerahkhan,

I will be interested to read your thoughts on the matter. The question seems of central importance as to how we may conduct ourselves in society.

Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 2:12:00 PM GMT-5  

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