22, 2013
Crisis: RIP Middle Class, Republican Malady, On what is "the crisis"
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone.

Prev- crisis -Next

1. RIP, the Middle Class: 1946-2013
2. Why the Upcoming Shutdowns and Defaults are
     Symptoms of a Deeper Republican Malady

3. On what is "the crisis
About ME/CFS


And once again there is not much crisis news, today. But I did find two items, and I added a third, namely by answering the question what does belong to what I call the "crisis". Clearly that has no precise answer, but there is a fairly decent answer of principle, that I mostly take from January 16.

Also, I should say that I have updated the index for the crisis series, while I have yesterday scored the 1 millionth hit of this year in Denmark, which is some two months earlier than last year.

1.  RIP, the Middle Class: 1946-2013 

The first article is by Edward McClellan. I found it on AlterNet, but it originally appeared in Salon.

It runs over 5 pages. I select a few points, in the order they were published:

For the majority of human history – and in the majority of countries today – there have been only two classes: aristocracy and peasantry. It’s an order in which the many toil for subsistence wages to provide luxuries for the few. Twentieth century America temporarily escaped this stratification, but now, as statistics on economic inequality demonstrate, we’re slipping back in that direction. Between 1970 and today, the share of the nation’s income that went to the middle class – households earning two-thirds to double the national median – fell from 62 percent to 45 percent. Last year, the wealthiest 1 percent took in 19 percent of America’s income – their highest share since 1928. It’s as though the New Deal and the modern labor movement never happened.

There are some things I could say in criticism, but one reason to link this article is that it sounds pretty radical, in a way few articles did, indeed roughly during the same 67 years.

Also, in case you need to refresh your memory, or are too young to have one, the series "On "American Averages"" that dates from April 2013 (and goes on for three consecutive days) is quite interesting in finding what people had and did in the U.S. in the 1970ies, that now seem the richest and best years, at least for most American persons.

Here is an aside on the unions in the U.S. and on what Clinton contributed to the present situation, which is a lot:
Union membership is at 14.7 million, the lowest total since just before World War II. There’s a well-known graph that shows middle-class income share declining along the same axis as unionization.

Bill Clinton continued down the same deregulatory path, signing the North American Free Trade Agreement and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which prohibited commercial banks from owning investment firms.

And there is this:
It’s time to declare an end to the deregulatory experiment that has resulted in the greatest disparity between the top earners and the middle earners in nearly a century.

I picked out that mostly because it allows me to link in my own Crisis + DSM-5: It's deregulation, stupid! that also will be used below.

2. Why the Upcoming Shutdowns and Defaults are Symptoms of a Deeper Republican Malady

Next, an article by Robert Reich, on his blog:
This starts as follows:
Congressional Republicans have gone directly from conservatism to fanaticism without any intervening period of sanity.
And this is from its ending:

In truth, the fanatics now calling the shots in the Republican Party don’t really care what the public thinks because they’re too busy worrying about even more extremist right-wing challengers in their next primary — courtesy of gerrymandering by Republican state legislators, and big-spending right-wing gonzo groups like the Club for Growth. 

The Republican Party is no longer capable of governing the nation. It’s now a fanatical group run out of right-wing states by a cadre of nihilists, Know-nothings, and a handful of billionaires.

I think Reich is right, but this does not mean that they will not try.

3. On what is "the crisis"

It is quite likely most of my readers do not know what I mean by "the crisis" that this Nederlog is about, as are 274 other Nederlogs on that subject, that I started on September 1, 2008.

Also, that is quite justified, for my understanding of the term is a bit broader than is commonly accepted, and also differs in some other details.

First, I use the term to refer to events that seem - to me - to be quite wrong, and to be quite wrong in an avoidable way, at least in principle.

Second, there are at least five sectors of society and one of nature that seem to be going quite wrong currently, and have been doing so for quite a while now.

Here they are, all with a brief diagnosis and a duration, that are both taken from my Crisis + DSM-5: It's deregulation, stupid!:

  • the economy: The economies of Europe and the US are in a major mess and a crisis since 2008, while also nothing much effective has been done about this, other than saving the banks while forcing the population at large to pay for the debts. See the crisis series.

    The present crisis started in 2007-2008, but got started in principle under Reagan, Clinton and Greenspan, namely by successive deregulations of the banking world, also obfuscated some by the arisal of PCs and the internet, that also fundamentally changed the economy: 1980-1990. See the crisis series.
  • health care: The health care systems of both the US and Europe are in a major mess: The dominant end is profit rather than good health care, and both the management of health care and medicine itself are corrupt in major ways. See the DSM-5 series.

    (1) The management of health care seems to have been always a mess in the US compared with Europe, but in Europe the American model has been introduced since 2000 in the name of "the blessings of market forces", and has grown steadily more expensive and worse for patients, if highly profitable for medical doctors and medical managers;
    (2) the practice of medical science and health care has grown a lot worse: The science grew to be an adjunct of the marketing of medicines; the health care got thoroughly bureaucratized: All of this has been ongoing since the 1980ies.
    See the DSM-5 series.
  • education: The educational system, on all levels, in both the US and Europe is in a crisis, and offers far worse education for far more money than before. See my published columns.

    Both schools and universities have been giving less and less real education, normally in the name of equality, since the 1960ies - and note this is one of the changes the victims can neither really see, nor really feel, nor really understand: To be able to know and understand what they miss they need what they miss - a (half way) good education. See my published columns
  • politics & civil law: Politicians, political parties and legislatures are all for the most part quite corrupt in the US and Europe, and seem to attract and protect precisely the wrong kinds of careerist and naturally born posturers, liars and  deceivers (already feared by the ancient Greeks). Also, it has turned out there are no really independent courts: the courts follow politics mostly. See the crisis series.

    Politics became much more of a top down market and public relations driven careerist thing especially since the 1960ies and 1970ies showed anything can be sold by TV, including actors who want to be presidents; politicians are for sale to lobbyists; opinions can be created and bought by marketing / public relations campaigns; and judges turn out to be not to be independent from politics nor able to constrain politics, and indeed for much that is new - computing and internet - there is no existing and in any case no effective legislation. See the crisis series and below, under surveillance-state.
  • public debate: There is hardly any intelligent public debate - language has grown corrupt through political correctness; public relations talk and marketing rule almost every important topic: much of the public debate - if there is any - is along public relations lines, in Orwellian doublespeak.

    Ongoing with the decline of education and with the rise of marketing / public relations as the tool of choice of governmental bodies, corporate bodies,  and political parties, the standards of public debate have grown ever and ever lower, and indeed many questions that should be intelligently discussed in public are either not discussed at all, or only in marketing / public relations terms that make a rational debate, discussion or argument impossible. See Bernays' "Propaganda" to get a grasp of what is going on.
  • climate: The climate gets warmer and warmer and is effectively out of control, with unforeseeable and unstoppable social consequences.

    Since the 1950ies (Rachel Carson, Club of Rome).

And to all of the above, the following crisis item must now be added:

  • surveillance-state: Everything that people do with a computer and communicate to another computer by way of the internet has become the - as yet - almost totally freely accessible personal property of the bosses of the NSA (and GHCQ, and other governmental spying organizations), which bosses thereby are assured near total control of nearly everyone, namely through controlling his or her personal data.

    The duration is a bit difficult, in that most spies have wanted full insight in all data they could get, but it can probably be best dated to 2007, when the real mass spying became effective.
As my references show, I have written about all aspects, but not in equal amounts, and I also generally avoid climate topics, mostly because these cannot be solved realistically in any way that I can see.

In any case, the above is a fair indication as to what I consider to be in
crisis. And as most started to grow wrong already in the 1970ies and 1980ies, most will remain in crisis, until most everything collapses, or until some sort of solutions are reached.
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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