to shrink and get fat at the same time
the 5-3-1998 Daily
Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
ever-adolescent America, well on her way toward Frankensteinian utopia.
We will soon make full body transplants available to whomever can pay.
Spare parts present
no challenge to an increasingly capitalistic and hedonistic society.
Can the franchised human chop shop be far away?
Immortality is within
our grasp, price and principle be damned. Can it get any better than
Nature has decided it's payback time. Figuratively and literally, Americans
We used to rank as the
tallest people in the world. Now comes this obviously misinformed pinko-commie-liberal
college professor named Barry Bogin. Writing in last February's
Discover, the University of Michigan anthropologist says we have dwindled
The Dutch rank first.
Holland's adult males were once the shortest in Europe, averaging 5
feet 4 inches in 1850. They now measure 5-foot-10. The Swedes and Danes
lie close behind at 5-foot-9. The land of Michael Jordan and
Wilt-the-Stilt stares up from 5-foot-8.
American men are taller
than they were in 1850, when we averaged 5-foot-6, "but poor health
and undernourishment of American children have literally stunted our
growth as a nation," the Utne Reader noted in its current edition.
We simultaneously shrink
and grow fatter. You might call it doing squat.
The land where once all
were created equal now boasts the greatest inequality in a century.
Over the past 25 years, the rich have gotten much richer, the middle
class has shrunk, the poor shrivel.
The stock market rises
while people's paychecks plummet. Inflation (price increases) lies pretty
much brain-dead since the recession of the early Reagan years.
American workers have been too scared to fight back for better pay and
benefits. The UPS strike of last summer was an aberration.
In fire-at-will America,
some 85 percent of American workers have no contract, union or otherwise.
Reduced to taking what they're given while working for a living, they
accept less and less while jobs are moved out of the country with full
Our top ten percent do
exceedingly well. The highest one percent have seen their wealth skyrocket.
Soon, they will control half the assets of the country.
The vast majority of
Americans who do the work own no stock at all. Their hopes for the future
are tied up in their homes, pension funds and Social Security. All of
the above are under assault.
Fewer and fewer can afford
to buy houses. Government and private pension plans stand besieged.
Newt and the Reaganauts want to privatize Social Security, selling
the idea that the stock market will never go down. Perhaps it won't
if we continue our headlong slide toward third world wage levels.
Sooner or later, every
pyramid scheme collapses. Want to bet on who'll get left holding the
Your health care is also
up for sale. The Republican right wants to privatize it a little piece
at a time. They started with something called the medical savings account,
a scheme to skim the healthiest out of Medicare, forcing the system
to collapse on the sicker and needier. (See "Medikill"
in the January-February 1996 edition of Mother Jones.)
father of the medical savings account is one J. Patrick
Rooney, boss of the mis-named Golden Rule Insurance Company
of Indiana. Rooney provided the seed money to kick off the controversial
union-busting petition on California's June ballot, a nastier strain
of which now circulates in Nevada. The idea is to get unions out
of politics so that only big business can bankroll elected officials.
Corporate interests already outspend little labor between 11 and 19
to one, but apparently that's not lopsided enough.
Mr. Rooney was the keynote
speaker at last month's Nevada Republican state convention in Gomorrah
South. A Reno hate radio station (KKKOH) broadcasted from the GOP conclave
and featured Rooney as an honored guest.
Shortly thereafter, the
station disinvited Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Joe
Neal. Representing Sen. Neal's campaign, I had personally responded
to the station's interview request several times but never got a return
Then, in the April
26 Daily Sparks Tribune, I committed the crime of concurring with
Tribune columnist Susan Severt's criticism of the station's shock
jock. The man had mercilessly demeaned Ms. Severt's Sun Valley community
and she rightly took him to task.
In a letter to the Tribune
editor, he expressed his love for freedom of speech while trashing Ms.
Severt as somehow opposing it. Then he sent me an e-mail blackballing
Sen. Neal because of what I wrote. Go figure.
Perhaps it had something
to do with my recent refusal to be bullied by the station's sales staff.
In my day job as a media buyer, I would not purchase overpriced spot
time from the same outfit. I told a pushy radio salesman that my clients
are not in the business of subsidizing those who trample the rights
of women, workers and minorities. I added that I get prime time television
That did not play well
in the halls of hate radio where skins are stretched thin covering massive
and expanding egos.
I'll leave it up to the
readers and the voters to judge who's getting fatter at the expense
of those getting shorter.
Be well. Raise hell.