The Word is Our Oyster
The companion piece to Spengler's article on the bone-tiredness of the US economy is SFGate's upbeat story on "funemployment". While Spengler worries that the US economy is losing steam, SFGate says: don't worry, be happy. It writes:
Michael Van Gorkom was laid off by Yahoo in late April. He didn't panic. He didn't rush off to a therapist. Instead, the 33-year old Santa Monica resident discovered that being jobless "kind of settled nicely."
What most people would call unemployment, Van Gorkom embraced as "funemployment."
While millions of Americans struggle to find work as they face foreclosures and bankruptcy, others have found a silver lining in the economic meltdown. These happily jobless tend to be single and in their 20s and 30s. Some were laid off. Some quit voluntarily, lured by generous buyouts.
Buoyed by severance, savings, unemployment checks or their parents, the "funemployed" do not spend their days poring over job listings. They travel on the cheap for weeks. They head back to school or volunteer at the neighborhood soup kitchen. And at least until the bank account dries up, they're content living for today."
And they're going to keep staying happily unemployed until corporate America gives them something meaningful to do. You may have thought "Pajama Boy" was a person. He's a way of life.
By thumbing their noses at unemployment, they also are sending a message to corporate America, Logan said.
"People are saying screw it, and they're leaving companies," Logan said. "We need to figure out how to make companies work better for everybody. Until that happens ... early retirements and furloughs are going to continue. People are going to opt out of the system."
There's nothing to worry about because if money runs low the Fed just prints some more! See? The movie you're watching isn't the "Grapes of Wrath". That's so 1930s. It's the "Beverly Hillbillies" because as you know, the '60s are back. For some they never left.
Are we in the 1930s or the 1960s? Maybe the smart money's on the 1930s.
First, the Fascists are on the rise, cleverly disguised as seemingly normal people. The German Foreign Minister has warned that the British Party UKIP and similar groups pose a threat to world peace. For al-Qaeda. Forget Syria. It's them Bible clinging, God-loving, King and Country types what you got to watch out for.
Speaking on a visit to London for talks with William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, Mr Steinmeier said he was concerned about a drift towards scepticism that has aided parties such as Ukip, Germany’s AfD and the French Front National, and led Mr Cameron to offer an in/out referendum.
Instead of moving further apart, European nations should cooperate ever more closely, he said, adding that history has shown that when European countries do not have close relations, military conflict can arise. “History before the First World War was a history of not talking to each other, of nationalisms which could no longer be [tamed] by reason,” Mr Steinmeier said. “These dangers have to be forever banned.”
And the "H" word is back. There's an actual Hitler on the rise, and in Asia too. No it's not China. It's Japan.
Seoul (AFP) - North Korea on Tuesday denounced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an "Asian Hitler" intent on amassing military power under the guise of ensuring regional stability.
The attack in an editorial carried by the North's official KCNA news agency followed commentary by the ruling party's newspaper Rodong Sinmun last month that described Abe as a "militarist maniac" for trying to amend Tokyo's pacifist constitution.
Meanwhile in other news, North Korea was reportedly "expanding its main launch site to permit more advanced missiles which may eventually be able to reach the United States, a think tank said Wednesday." Time to send Jimmy Carter back or at least Denis Rodman.
Analyzing satellite images of the Sohae launch site over the past two months, Johns Hopkins University's US-Korea Institute said North Korea apparently tested a rocket engine needed for its road-mobile KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile.
The evidence indicates that North Korea may be preparing "for a more robust rocket test program in the future," said the institute's blog, 38 North.
This expansion could involve "larger space launch vehicles and road-mobile ballistic missiles able to attack targets in Northeast Asia and the United States."
Peace-loving countries like China continued to ramp up their military expenditures. China now spends more on its armed forces than Britain, France and Germany combined. Not to worry. Those countries are doing their part by continuing to maintain their vigilance against UKIP. The New York Times describes the scale of China's armament:
China already spends more on its military than any country in the world except the United States. Now, as defense budgets at the Pentagon and in many NATO countries shrink, China’s People’s Liberation Army is gearing up for a surge in new funding, according to a new report.
China will spend $148 billion on its military this year, up from $139.2 billion in 2013, according to IHS Jane’s, a defense industry consulting and analysis company. The United States spends far more – a forecast $574.9 billion this year – but that is down from $664.3 billion in 2012 after budget cuts slashed spending. By next year China will spend more on defense than Britain, Germany and France combined, according to IHS. By 2024, it will spend more than all of Western Europe, it estimates.
China's on the moon. Europe's never been there. Maybe that's an argument for the 1960s. But the 30's hypothesis has a lot going for it. Even Antonin Scalia's got the 1930s bug. He says that internments can happen again. "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation's highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn't be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict."
Scalia was responding to a question about the court's 1944 decision in Korematsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.
"Well, of course, Korematsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again," Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session.
Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning "In times of war, the laws fall silent."
Scalia clings to the quaint notion that the laws of men yield to those of physics and necessity. That is surely incorrect. It's a betrayal of the notion that reality is whatever the law says it is. For example, we all know there's no more war, only Lawfare. Why? Has Congress declared war lately? Glenn Greenwald recently denied selling classified NSA material on the grounds that it isn't technically a sale. And recently al-Qaeda reportedly canceled the franchise of jihadi groups in Syria since the US military can only act against enemies defined as al-Qaeda. Greenwald knows how things work.
Greenwald, who is an attorney, acknowledged insisting on freelance contracts in order to supply the stories. However, he said that is itself a legal precaution aimed at ensuring that authorities treat him as a journalist and not as a source. Traditionally, sources have sometimes been subject to prosecution for disclosing secret documents, while the government has shied away from prosecuting those who act as journalists or publishers.
But maybe the problem with the modern world is that we've become too reliant on words; too dependent on spin. We've defined war, al-Qaeda and even unemployment out of existence. And we've redefined UKIP and Japan into modern day Hitlers. Therefore the problem is solved.
Is it really? The description formerly applied to those who had lost contact with reality was "mad". Who was it that said "whom the gods wish to destroy they first put on funemployment?"
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