The decline and fall of the United States of America
As unbelievable and unacceptable as the possibility seems, unless a true miracle occurs, and soon, those of you 50 and younger will almost surely witness a precipitous crash of the U.S. economy, which will quite possibly cause riots, looting, mass starvation, pestilence, disease, and death. Savings accounts will be wiped out, banks closed, credit cards inoperative, businesses shuttered, pensions unpaid, and inflation as high as 100%/day. If you think I’ve exaggerated that inflation rate, I personally witnessed such, just a few years ago, in Zimbabwe; Germany suffered something very similar following WW I, and several European nations are on the verge today.
That seemingly impossible scenario will be made possible by our continued spending of far more than we earn; consuming four times as much as we produce, and by paying our international debts with increasingly worthless dollars, which we print with childish abandon. When the World decides that they no longer will accept the U.S. dollar as the World Reserve Currency, we’ll no longer be able to pay our trillions in foreign debt with our Monopoly money, so we’ll literally declare bankruptcy, which will trigger the series of destructive events mentioned earlier.
Many factors have come together to create that doomsday prediction: so many, in fact, that it seems impossible that, even were we today to begin to act to correct them, we could no longer avoid the impending default on our debts, the consequential bankruptcy, and an economic disaster so severe that it would make the Great Depression, of the early 20th Century, appear to have been the “good old days.”
Our downward spiral began shortly after WW II, when we were at our peak in world prestige and power. Life was good – too good! Emerging from the war years (which rationed gasoline, cheese, meat, and women’s silk stockings; broke up our families; put women to work on assembly lines; and browned-out once bright cities), we became focused on enjoying life. We wanted to enjoy the good things, which didn’t include hard manual labor, attempting to live within a family budget, or worrying about what the children were doing. We developed a taste for French wines and cheeses, German hams, Italian truffles, British sports cars, Irish linen, Scotch whiskey, Belgian chocolate, and Soviet caviar. While our children developed with little or no parental guidance or counsel, government grew like a cancer, eventually becoming the Socialistic welfare state we suffer from today. Government became our biggest employer, while producing nothing we needed, or could sell to other nations (so as to offset the money we were shelling out for imported goods). As government ballooned, businesses that produced necessary goods, for use here and abroad, closed their doors; forced to quit by burdensome government regulation, along with selfish, unjustified, union demands for unreasonable pay increases, which combined to make it impossible to compete with foreign business making the same product, and selling it for much less.
Our inadequately raised children had no work ethic, no commitment to building strong families based on marriage between a man and a woman – one that lasted “till death do us part.” They became hedonistic spendthrifts: living for the moment, saving nothing for a rainy day, separating themselves from what were seen as outdated, restrictive conventions and traditions, and relying on the government for health care, college educations, unemployment insurance, retirement, and more. As the nation’s once fundamental, and vital, social fabric was ripped apart, we became less and less productive, and more and more dependent on big government. Mines closed, factories went dark, and agriculture couldn’t get enough labor, so we had to import more and more, while selling less and less, which gave rise to the international debt that is destroying us. We had become a nation of spoiled children, unwilling to work for any reason, unless such “work” was that clean, easy, highly paid sort glamorized on the boob tube (e.g., non-productive lawyers in silk suits and Italian shoes, or obscenely overpaid, professional athletes). College students no longer were there to learn useful professions (i.e., sciences, engineering, mining, agriculture, medicine, etc.); instead, they partied, enjoyed football games, reveled in free-sex dorms, and took courses in law, literature, sociology, languages, etc., which result in production of nothing, and can not therefore help us to eliminate our crushing international debt.
I’m of an age that makes it most unlikely that I’ll be around to witness the crash that’s coming because it seems that we haven’t the intelligence, nor the will, necessary to try to stop it. But for the rest of you, I suggest that you start now to try to plan to survive a period in which inflation is so high that you must spend what you earn immediately after being paid (if you still are paid anything), because the next morning it will buy only half as much. Perhaps, if you are able, you might consider buying and storing gold, which will, under this doomsday scenario, increase in purchasing power, and be accepted when and where dollars aren’t. You might also plan for a vegetable garden, and some chickens (if big government allows), but then you’ll also probably need a gun to protect what you’ve worked to produce, from those that didn’t plan nor work – but that same government that doesn’t allow for chickens in the backyard, might also deny you the right to own a gun. And so it goes. God help us: we won’t help ourselves.
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at email@example.com.
Agreed: other presidents have abused their essentially unlimited privilege to travel far and wide, in luxury and at taxpayer’s expense. That, however, does not make the practice morally acceptable; nor can it, in any way, justify the extreme abuse of the perk, as is now being arrogantly and shamefully demonstrated by Emperor Barrack I, and Empress Michelle.
It should be obvious, at least to any thinking observer, that the Obamas have been using (abusing) the presidential travel capabilities more than any of the former occupants of the White Palace. Empress Michelle has, for example, made a habit of taking her daughters on royal vacation trips to far off lands. In 2013, her Spring Break vacation trip was to Africa; it set the taxpayers back an estimated $100 million. This year, she took Momma and daughters to China; the costs for that imperious waste of your money and mine are yet to be compiled, because getting access to presidential travel budgets and expenditures is a particularly difficult task.
We know that it costs about $180,000/hour to operate the presidential flagship (Air Force One); slightly less to operate the aircraft utilized by the Empress and her entourage, so we can estimate about $5 million to fly one aircraft from Washington to China and back. But there are more than one aircraft involved in such personal vacation trips for the royal family: supplies, motor vehicles, security and other support personnel require additional aircraft, so we can estimate well over $10 million in aircraft operation expenses alone for the China boondoggle. On top of that there are significant costs for hotel accommodations (only royal suites for the Empress and family), labor expenses for perhaps a hundred support personnel, lavish banquets, and more. Based on the estimated cost of the earlier trip (Africa, 2013), the total bill for the recent personal, family vacation trip (China) will likely be $150 million.
Think about that as you file your tax report for 2013. If you were given a gift of a free vacation in China, you’d be required to report that as income. You can be assured that the Obamas won’t report the value of the family’s purely personal vacation to China as such. Doesn’t that make you feel good about the increasingly abusive, inefficient, and unfair, Federal Income Tax, as well as thankful for a First Family that really has the population’s best interests foremost in mind–at all times.
The Obama’s flagrant and arrogant misuse of power and privilege would be shameful and inexcusable under any circumstances, but for a president that has been elected by pretending to care about the average citizen; who champions free health care, more welfare, and higher minimum wages; Barrack Hussein’s behavior is a national disgrace; that of his “let ‘em eat cake” wife is even worse.
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Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first of my hundreds of opinion columns to be published was actually just a letter to the editor of a newspaper in Macon, Georgia. My letter took detailed exception to an editorial they’d previously run: one that shed crocodile tears over the alleged fact that poor folks can’t get along on what welfare provides. Using step-by-step facts and logic, I showed that, if the welfare recipients lived responsibly, used their reduced incomes with great care and intelligent forethought, they could indeed exist, until they were able, through work, to improve their income. That letter precipitated such a flood of comment (overwhelmingly positive) from readers that the paper’s editor asked if I could/would contribute comment on a regular basis; thus was born the Of Cabbages and Kings feature, which has, as of today, been published for some 30 years.
Well, just yesterday (April 5th, 2014), I read another, relevant, liberal tear-jerker, feature story, in an Atlanta paper. That feature, complete with photos (telling more than the story wanted) related how the now-single mother of four children (ages from 5 to 15) couldn’t get medical care, even under President Obama’s dreadful, Socialistic health care program. The bottom line was that she was unable to qualify for free health care, so the family would have to do without any medical services. One of the photos run with the poorly presented case for increased welfare, showed the family together in their living room: the children are slouched lazily on a couch, around the mother. It appears that three of them are busy playing with their smart phones. Considering what I’ve been reading, it’s quite likely that everyone in the family has his/her own cell phone. With the money wasted on that expense, they could surely buy a bare bones health care policy. And, if the mother’s ability to manage finances is as defective as indicated by the evidence, the family likely wastes even more money on such as cable tv, eating out, buying prepared foods, etc.
Apparently the picture hasn’t changed much, if any, since 1980, when I wrote my first piece on this subject. Clearly, our government needs to ensure that welfare funds are spent only when really justified, and used properly. A few days ago, I was checking out in a supermarket, directly behind a group of 6 children with one, obese woman (their mother?). One could hardly avoid noticing that almost all of what they’d purchased (filling two carts) was bottled beverages, snack foods, and deserts. There was some discussion between the clerk and the fat overfed “mother,” during which various papers and plastic cards were passed back and forth. After they left (with most of the children continually using their cell phones), and as I checked out, I asked the clerk if they had paid with “food stamps? “Yes,” was the quiet, and seemingly reluctant, reply.
I seem to recall that it was humorist Will Rogers that once observed something to the effect that the United States will be the first nation to go to the poorhouse in an automobile. Now we can add: “…while eating prepared fast foods and fattening snacks, drinking soda pop, wearing hundred dollar sneakers, and texting imaginary friends on cell phones.”
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated feature by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at email@example.com.
“Mr. President, have you no shame? Is there nothing you won’t do to promote, or satisfy, your personal emotions? Do you really have such deep and festering hate for the classic American (Caucasoid, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) that you would use the nation’s highest award (the Medal of Honor) as a racist tool?”
On March 18th, our National Leader, Commander of all the armed forces, and CEO of the Department of Defense, clearly appeared to be using the Medal of Honor (MOH) for political and/or personal purpose. As our, first, half Negroid, President presented the Medal to 24 veterans (21 posthumously), said to have deserved it, but denied because of race, ethnicity, or religion, he said (in part): “Today we have a chance to set the record straight….some…soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal.”
Of the approximately 3,500 Medals of Honor awarded since our Civil War, it is reported that over 180 were to men of minority race or ethnicity; apparently, Mr. President, those were, somehow, “seen as equal”? I do not accept, nor for a moment even consider the possibility, that one brave soldier’s actions have somehow been viewed as less worthy than those of another, solely because of race or ethnicity. Hundreds of thousands of our service men have been justifiably recommended to be decorated for outstanding performance in combat; while some were denied as unjustified by the established criteria, most received one of several authorized medals for their brave actions. Each Service has a medal, second only to the MOH, over 20,000 of which have been awarded to servicemen of all ethnicities and races, and without prejudice or preference. It may be popular, in today’s “feel-good” age, to give each and every school child an award, and to inflate grades (just about everyone that regularly attends school ends up as an “honor student”), but, hopefully, not every serviceman now deserves the MOH.
I am not in a position to decide whether or not the 24 men recently honored by our increasingly apparent, racist President, deserved the MOH or not, but they all had received high recognition (e.g., the Army has awarded about, 13,500 Distinguished Service Crosses (DSC), its 2nd highest medal for bravery). I believe that, at the time in which their original recommendations for decoration were received at the Pentagon, an honest, completely unbiased review resulted in approval of something, such as the very special, and honorable, DSC.
In my opinion, the President’s recent, unusually public, award of the MOH, to a group of men representing only various minorities, can be nothing other than a most unfortunate attempt to use that very special medal for personal and political purposes. Pvt Jacob Parrott (first ever MOH recipient, Civil War), and Wm. H. Carney (Negro, Civil War); Sgt Alvin York of WW I; Marcario Garcia, Mikio Hasemoto, Daniel K. Inouye, and Audi Murphy of WW II; along with other, appropriately honored MOH recipients from such as Korea, Vietnam, and the mess in the Middle East, are surely restless, even in their graves, as they learn of the President’s shameful, political/personal use of The Medal.
Apparently, our current President really “has no shame” — nor scruples, nor moral code, nor conscience, nor leadership ability. Such will be his sorry legacy.
We humans are a puzzling lot: a commercial aircraft disappears, and we devote 90% of a week’s television news coverage to that relatively insignificant event (many more died from preventable wars, fighting, terrorism, insurrections, racial strife, and starvation in the same period of time, but received precious little coverage). Squeezed in that time frame, back on page 5A of the paper, there was a report about an Army Brig. General, having been largely exonerated from admitted charges of disgraceful, dishonorable, and destructive conduct as an officer. What’s involved in that latter case is of far greater import than the airline mystery, or even Russia’s invasion of Crimea, but we essentially ignore it.
An Army Brigadier General (Jeffery Sinclair) has, reportedly, admitted to adultery, sexual misconduct, mistreatment of subordinates, and conduct unbecoming of any military officer. He should be drummed out of the Army in disgrace, stripped of all rank, privileges, and retirement benefits, but is, apparently, going to be fined a relatively paltry $20,000, and allowed to retire, honorably, with pay and benefits.
That mockery of the current-day, system of military justice, is important because it is alarming, and significant, evidence of the moral rot affecting our nation, which appears to ensure that our nation is spiraling towards third rate status, if not indeed to chaotic self-destruction.
No human society, nor nation, can long endure without a clear, strong, and effective moral code. We had such, up until around 1960, when liberals (characterized by the unwashed Hippie movement) succeeded in eroding our traditional moral code, by acts such as the destigmatizion of: illegitimate birth, use of mind-altering drugs, cheating on tests, living on welfare, acceptance of abnormal sexual activity, theft from your employer, liberal and “free” sex, lieing, adultery, idleness, and more. By the end of the 20th Century, even our president (“Slick Willie” Clinton) publicly, and personally, displayed the extent to which immorality had polluted the national character, when he, as our national leader and figurehead, freely engaged in abnormal, adulterous, sexual practices, with a stage-struck subordinate woman, and then lied to the nation about it.
Lack of an effective moral code is potentially dangerous under any circumstances, but when our top officials willingly participate in immoral behavior, we’re in deep trouble. Politicians, and other lawyers, are assumed to be without morals, so we shouldn’t be shocked, “absolutely shocked!” when one of that bunch are caught stealing, accepting bribes, or in bed with someone other than their wife— but military officers are supposed to be better than that. Officers in training (at military academies or otherwise) have usually been subjected to an established Code of Honor, which, among other things, specified that officers do not, and must not: lie, cheat, quibble, plagiarize, steal, be adulterous or, in any other way, dishonest or immoral.
If our national character is now so corroded, rotten, and decayed that even those military officers (including their Commander-in-Chief) can routinely violate that time-honored, Code of Honor with impunity, it would seem that we can not avoid a looming national catastrophe.
If we now stumble mindlessly along the dark path followed in the military’s shameful lack of justice in the Sinclair affair, those that care about our nation—about mankind—will have missed a rare opportunity to fight the tide of immorality and social decay that seriously threatens the nation. Sinclair should be summarily, and with significant publicity, stripped of his uniform, rank, and all attendant privileges. He was, apparently, never an officer in spirit: just another politician in uniform: one that happily, and intentionally, abused his power and position. We can’t afford to tolerate that anywhere―least of all in the military services.
At a meeting of the Federal Reserve, in 2008, Chairman Ben Bernanke pointed out that: “… this financial crisis is now in its eighth month, and the economic outlook has worsened quite significantly.” At that same meeting of economic scholars and prognosticators, today’s head of the Fed (Janet Yellen) added that: “The downward trajectory of economic data has been hair raising.” They could as well have been speaking today.
For three generations, respected economists have similarly wrung their hands, and hinted at national disaster. They’re at it still; their actions today are just as ineffective as they always have been. The economy remains on a downward spiral, on which it will remain until, if ever, the simple-to-state, underlying cause is openly and effectively recognized, addressed, and eliminated [i.e., No nation can long exist if it routinely buys more from other nations than it sells to them.] We have been violating that economic law for decades, and are continuing to do so today. In 2012, we imported $2.3 trillion in goods, which was 1.5 times what we exported; there was little change in that destructive trend in 2013.
Our government’s (i.e., the Fed’s) relevant action has been essentially limited to throwing money at the problem. They have repeatedly lowered interest rates until they are, incredibly, near zero today. They also use risky government programs (e.g., unemployment payments; raised minimum wage; free health care; free meals in school; low interest college loans; politically-inspired business loans; etc.) to inject trillions of increasingly worthless dollars into the already dangerously inflated economy. The only result of such profligate spending is a fleeting softening of continuing economic bad news.
Our life-threatening economic problem is caused by, and is based upon, our spending more than we earn. It’s difficult to justify a Ph.D in economics, if one subscribes to such a simple explanation of why our economy is on the skids, which is likely why experts on the economy don’t publicly recognize that unarguable and obvious fact, and then take effective action to correct the destructive situation.
No nation, nor even a primitive tribe somewhere, can long exist if it continually violates that basic law of economics. Let’s look at a region of undeveloped, theoretical “nations.” One specializes in raising cattle; a second tribe is agrarian, producing corn and wheat; another group lives atop a salt mine. The Salties (as we’ll call the residents of that latter remote tribe) essentially use blocks of salt as money, with which to purchase such as needed and desired vegetables and meat from other “nations.” When the sale of salt is brisk, and its value high, things are good for the salt miners: their economy booms, and they are not only able to buy food items, but perhaps some perfume and gold jewelry as well. But if the Salties become spoiled by their wealth, and tire of labor in the salt pans, so that they produce less and less salt, they must charge more for their product, so that they can continue importing in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed. But their customers now shop elsewhere, for less expensive salt, so the Saltie’s income steadily decreases, even as their spending on imports stays the same. Eventually, their credit runs out, so, after selling their gold, perfumes, and silks, they’ll turn to eating desert rats and cacti – all because their economy was “inexplicably” destroyed. It’s appropriate to here re-state our basic economic rule: If a nation imports more than it exports (in comparable units, such as dollars, dinars, or blocks of salt), it will go broke, and wither or die. And that is what we’re doing right now.
Back in the golden age following the Second World War (c. 1946) we produced just about everything we needed (except for a few rare minerals), and had enough left over to sell around the World, strengthening and growing our economy in the process. We had traditionally worked hard, saved for a rainy day, and lived frugally, but happily and securely. Then, prosperity, coupled with a desire to put the demanding, depressing war years behind us, led to mass flight from hard jobs, such as in ship yards, steel mills, coal mines, assembly lines, and corn fields. We not only wanted two cars in every garage, but wanted one to be a Mercedes instead of a Chevy. We demanded French perfume, Italian cheese, English tea, Egyptian cotton, Chinese silk, along with Soviet vodka and caviar. Our then-spoiled children weren’t going to have to build railroads, tractors, or radios: nor would they plant fields of corn or wheat, produce oil and petroleum products, or dig for coal or copper. They would, instead, study for clean, prestigious careers, such as financial analysts, business managers, cosmeticians, fashion designers, historians, television personalities, psychiatrists, or (cover the children’s ears) lawyers. As though that wasn’t bad enough by itself, thoughtless, inept business managers allowed selfish, greedy labor unions to drive up the price of just about everything we produced, thereby slamming the door on foreign sales of everything from shoes to ships and sealing wax. As just one, significant example, consider that, in 1945 we produced more steam ships than any other nation on Earth, but because we carelessly paid shipyard workers more than their labor was worth on the world market, our ships became overpriced, so the market for them collapsed; today we produce almost none; most of what we import, or export, travels in ships made elsewhere.
As those good times of the ‘40s and ‘50s rolled on optimistically, we spent more and more of our increasingly disposable income on nonessentials, such as dining out, or various forms of entertainment, which spurred the growth of services industries, at the expense of production. With increasing spare time, we also became interested in popular social projects, such as cleaning up the environment. The prime targets for environmentalists were those evil, smoke belching plants, so they forced them to shut down, still further reducing vital production. It was inevitable that, as production facilities closed, and as workers turned from production to services jobs, we produced less and less to fill our own growing needs, so we had to place more and more orders with other nations. While the bill from foreign vendors grew exponentially, we sold them less and less, because our production rate was in a nose dive. That road to economic ruin continues to be the one most traveled today; like the nation of Salt, that trend will inevitably lead to “eating rats and cactus”
There is one, and only one, way to save our nation from looming economic destruction. We, all of us from the President on down, must join together to promote, encourage, even coerce, a return to a nation of producers, rather than one of spoiled, relatively lethargic, consumers and servers. Economic incentives should be offered to families that guide their children into productive fields, such as mining, agriculture, science, and engineering, while avoiding such as the 11 unproductive educations recently featured in advertisements by a state university (e.g., Culinary Apprenticeship, Social Media Marketing, Basic Office Technology, and Android APP Development). Instead of thoughtless (politically motivated?) raises to the minimum wage, we should make it possible for persons working in productive jobs to earn more than others, such as professional athletes, or (cover those young ears again) lawyers, which not only don’t contribute to the nation’s economic strength, but actually sap it.
At the same time, we need to become more rational and realistic about this “green” fad. Now, no one wants water we can’t drink, nor air we can’t breathe, but we can keep a clean environment in mind, while still permitting production facilities, of various types to be built and operated in and around large cities, such as Atlanta, which now has almost none. Such factories, with easy access via public transportation, would have major additional benefit in providing real, useful jobs for hundreds of thousands (many of which now live on government handouts).
Then also, government must help by controlling both labor and management, so that they work together to ensure the best possible working conditions for employees, while keeping manufacturing costs down to a point where our products are competitively priced on the world market.
The media also could make a useful contribution (for a change) to our possible salvation, by featuring television shows, and movies, glorifying the producers (farmers, assembly line workers, miners, engineers, scientists [excluding pseudo types, such as “political,” or “social” scientists], machinists, masons, carpenters, etc.). Think – in which television series do the stars have jobs in production? It seems to me that the last such show involved a couple of young women working in a brewery in Milwaukee. In which century was that?
Many reading this message, will be angered by inferences that one or more of their spoiled offspring have essentially worthless college degrees, and are employed in jobs (e.g. lawyers) that do nothing to help our threatened economy. Sorry ‘bout dat! Facts are facts, and your daughter’s nonproductive, B.A. in communications (i.e., how to be a talking head on television)) is water over the dam. You can rant indignantly about a suggestion that a coal miner is far more valuable to our economy than may be any lawyer, or others of non-productive ilk, but if you are interested in the future of the nation and that of your future descendents, then bite the bullet, and join with others in returning our economically hemorrhaging nation to a healthy, productive one. We must work primarily in production of goods (not services) that we need, and can sell to other nations. Once we’ve, at the very least, balanced our foreign trade, we can consider careers painting toe nails, playing ball games, or suing restaurants for serving hot coffee.
I can’t wind this up without assuring you that I well recognize the need for non-productive workers (e.g., physicians, police, military, store clerks, cooks, waitresses, and dog walkers, etc.), but such “services” should make up only about 30% of the workforce; today, they are more nearly 70%. That is upside down, and simply must be turned around — if we are to survive exploding inflation and eventual bankruptcy.
There’s a long, winding, rough road ahead, but it’s the only one to survival. We must produce, or, as our nation goes broke, we’ll perish! Will we recognize that fact, and rise to the challenge? It doesn’t appear likely.
This opinionated journalist has written several times about the way many of us change the names of jobs, ethnic groups, individuals, and things more often than we change underwear–and with even less thought given to the act. Such knee-jerk, thoughtless, careless activity almost never achieves the desired end (i.e., immediate improvement of one’s own social position, stature, power, or standing), but seemingly always causes confusion in communication, and consequently makes social interaction worse, rather than better.
Of course we are all too familiar with the continuing nonsense involved in renaming racial groups and ethnicities, so as to, supposedly, make members of one or another of them feel better about themselves, or to facilitate use of a single label for a diverse group. “Latin American” is an appropriate example. Linguistically, Europe has been categorized as either Latin or Anglo (depending upon whether a nation’s language was Latin or English influenced. Thanks to Spanish conquerors, the Latin group had the greatest influence over the Mongoloid people native to South and Central America, so the indigenous people became “Latinos,” in spite of having no ethnic, cultural, historic, nor racial connection to Europe. The various peoples of today’s “Latin America” are, in fact, only about 5% of even partial European descent; the rest are Mongoloid Asians (including Pacific Islanders), along with a few Negroid Africans. If “Latin American” literally means anyone residing in the Americas, whom speaks a Latin-influenced language, then Canada’s Quebecois, which primarily speak French, are literally “Latin Americans.” Does that seem sensible to you? Then also, there are the two dozen nations in South and Central America (e.g., Barbados, Netherlands Antilles, Belize, etc.) where a Latin-based language is not used; so, are those peoples also Latinos? If not, what? Do you see the problem that careless. thoughtless application of names can cause? “Latin American” may have a nice ring to it, but it both fails to adequately identify an ethnicity or culture, while making attempts to do so avoidably difficult.
“Hispanic” and “African American” are similar, inaccurate and confusing inventions by political activist opportunists; we won’t, at this time, again discuss why that is so.
Names of persons, places, and things seem to be changing at an ever faster rate; which seems to me to be a result of a similarly rapid change in human social structures. It wasn’t, for example, so very long ago that children were proud to be named after parents, honored ancestors, or great men and women of ages gone by: today, when elders are more ridiculed and dishonored than respected, the “with it” group wants names that don’t suggest any connection with the “stogy, out-of-touch, prior generation. Solid, respected names, such as John, Mary, and George have been largely replaced with various versions of cool, new tags, like Shane, Kayla, Gabatta, Chance, or Carribbe. When a 2nd grade teacher calls on a “Shawn” or a “Meggan,” half the class usually responds. By attempting to assert their individuality and independence, parents giving little thought to use of faddish names are actually showing a pack mentality.
And then there’s that nonsense about job titles: waiters have become “servers”; janitors morphed to “custodians”; firemen magically became “fire fighters”; and garbage collectors turned into “sanitary engineers.” What next? Will “women” become “wopersons,” and “humanity” change to “hupersonity”? I’ve already heard “personkind” used in place of “mankind.” Homosexuals have demanded to be referred to as “gay” or “lesbian”; what, can anyone explain, is gay about a homosexual life? Will such asinine, thoughtless behavior never end?
I thought that I’d about seen it all, when I recently visited a new housing development, where I was surprised to learn that “master bedrooms” had now become “owner’s suites”; “family rooms” had become “gathering rooms”; “mud rooms” were now “drop zones”; and “dens” renamed as “flex rooms.” Apparently the word “master” (as in “master and slave”) is socially offensive, but one wonders if a renter can sleep in the “owner’s suite”? And “family” is apparently discriminatory, because many occupying a home, in these “progressive” times, do not compose a classic “family.” Trouble there is that the substituted “gathering” room suggests either an Amish community hall, or a place in which to collect the sheaves or sheep. And I think of paratroopers, rather than children coming in from play or school, when I hear “drop zone” used in place of “mud room.” Give us a break–please!
In closing, I’d like to cite just one example of how this air-headed changing of names causes real problems. In a recent news broadcast seen on television, an announcer was speaking about the trouble with crime in and around RSA’s Capetown. At one point, he wanted to refer to the Negroid communities surrounding the predominately Caucasoid city center; he began, “In the nearby African Amer—-,” when he realized that he was about to refer to South Africa’s Negroid population as “African American.” After stumbling vocally for a few more l-o-n-g seconds, the hapless young speaker came up with “black” for his term to describe Negroes: trouble is, there are many black-skinned persons in South Africa that are not Negroid, and it is necessary, and proper, to make a distinction between those races. The scientific, but politically unacceptable, term “Negroid” would have served well. Will we ever grow up?
And so it goes–when we carelessly, unnecessarily, and opportunistically play liberal games with our embattled language, all that is usually accomplished is to decrease our ability to adequately communicate thoughts and ideas. Even with careful use of language, if what we write and say can be misunderstood, it will be. A recent news report referred to the firearm, used by an heroic woman in defending her home and family against an intruder, as an “automatic revolver.” It is right to wonder: which did the woman use? No handgun can be both an automatic and a revolver.
Finally, consider how time and careless popular use, in America, have seemingly altered the meaning of what my much-admired, British friends sometimes say in parting from friends: “Keep your pecker up!” Indeed!
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I enjoy cooking (e.g., authentic risotto con scampi, pizza Margherita, Adana kebabs, and spanokopita), and I relish gourmet meals prepared by friends, associates, and talented chefs, but I’ve had it up to here – no, higher than that – with the rapidly spreading trend of using as many strange and confusing names as possible for menu offerings, and/or for ingredients in recipes featured in newspaper food sections.
I’m not at all sure as to how it got started, but we’re now immersed in an era where all persons with jobs as cooks are called “chefs,” whom, in working to be featured on tv, use as many unfamiliar, impressive, attention grabbing names and ingredients in their cooking as may be possible. Even home cooks seem to enjoy tossing out often meaningless, or misused, names, such as “risotto, shrimp scampi, cay, balsamic, quinoa,” and far too many more. Did you know, for example, that “scampi” is not a method of cooking or serving shrimp: it is, instead, simply, and only, the Italian term for shrimp. So if you order shrimp scampi, you’ve actually asked for “shrimp shrimp.”
Yes, we’ve gone overboard in vain attempt to seem to be more knowledgeable than the next person when discussing food. This morning, for example, my paper reported on a restaurant featuring “Skirt Steak Pimenton,” which was built around a very inexpensive (and sinewy) cut of beef, served with exotic sounding sauces and sides. “Skirt Steak” may seem attractive (I like “skirts”), but that defined cut of beef is one of the toughest on the steer, and is usually relegated to inexpensive dishes (e.g., Tex-Mex), where it is ground up and highly seasoned, to make it both edible and tasty. And what is “pimenton”? Like many other words used primarily to impress others, “pimenton” is just the Spanish term for common “paprika,” which is produced just about everywhere except in the Arctic (the best comes from Hungary, not Spain). Some believe that there is a discernible smoky flavor to paprika from Spain, but I can’t agree – besides, Spanish paprika is seldom available here anyway. So, our fancy Skirt Steak Pimenton is inexpensive beef, flavored with paprika; is there more to it than just that? Yes, but not much of substance.
The particular entree’s recipe also calls for: nduja, chimichurri, and roasted sun chokes. You know what those ingredients are, and where to get them – right? Well, if you need a bit of help, here it is. Nduja is a little used name for a hard-to-find, sort of spreadable, Italian salami, which is similar to the French/Cajun andouille that is relatively available in supermarket sausage sections. Don’t waste time looking for nduja (or even try to pronounce it), except in recipes written to impress and astound, rather than to inform.
“Chimichurri” sounds like a popular tex-mex fast food item, but it’s actually a name for a generic sauce with dozens of very different recipes. It’s similar to the bottled pesto available in the ethnic foods section (parsley, garlic, oregano, vinegar, and olive oil), but may also contain such as bay leaf, cilantro, lemon, basil, tomato, and red pepper). So, “chimichurri” is essentially meaningless – just another “gee whiz” term, designed and used to impress the ignorant masses. Use plain old pesto instead.
Of course, you’ve noticed the bin of “sun chokes” in the produce section of your market? Perhaps they were labeled as “Jerusalem artichokes,” or even “earth apples.” But they’re not artichokes, apples, nor from Jerusalem. In fact, they are root tubers of a sunflower (of the daisy family), which have a high sugar content, and, in this cook’s opinion, aren’t all that different from a less expensive yam.
Well, there you have it: If you want to impress a client or potential investor, take ‘em where you can use names and words they’ve never before heard, to order a plate of sinewy beef slabs, sprinkled with paprika, and hidden under a vineragry pesto sauce, with sides of roasted sunflower tubers and spreadable Cajun sausage But my idea of a great meal is a classic, medium-rare, rib roast of tender beef, accompanied perfectly with puffy Yorkshire pudding, brushed with carefully saved beef juices, along with a side of al-dente, fresh steamed asparagus with garlic butter and toasted almond sauce. You may have my share of nduja, chimmichurri, sun chokes, and pimenton skirt steaks. You’re welcome!
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at email@example.com.
[N.B. We will herein use the scientifically correct terms, "Negroes," or Negroid," because "African American" is a confusing, thoughtlessly inappropriate, misleading and inaccurate term for that race; "Black" is no better, because two basic human races (Negroid and Australoid) are black skinned.]
I’ve had it up to here — no, even higher than that! Not a day passes in which the liberal press doesn’t feature a story about inequality and discrimination involving race, sex, ethnicity, religion, or other human differences; and they do that in the warm embrace of an “enlightened” age, wherein we all hold hands and sing “kumbaya.” Of course, such narcotic sedated, liberal idealism serves only to further divide our population, creating additional, avoidable, serious problems for our increasingly troubled nation.
Think–has a day gone by that your newspaper, or some boob-tube broadcast, didn’t feature a tear-jerking, misleading, emotional report about how one group of humans, or another, is being exploited, or otherwise held back, by others (usually “white males”)? According to the misguided, mindless, naive liberals, it is, for example, intolerable and unjust that women don’t make up at least 51% of elected/appointed government officials, CEOs of major businesses, combat soldiers, and trash collectors. The reason, Hillary, why women are not represented, in some occupations, in relation to their percentage of the general population, is because, and only because, men are better suited for those jobs. Live with it!
Let’s establish, right up front, that: In a free economy (which we still have, sort of, in spite of destructive actions of the present Administration), successful managers of businesses try hard to hire the best available persons to fill any available job. Negroes make up about 12% of the population, but represent a reported 78% of the National Basketball Association’s obscenely overpaid players, and nearly 70% of the millionaire football professionals. There are no women in those jobs, nearly no “Asians” or “Latinos,” and only a handful of Caucasoid (i.e., “white”) males. Where’s the outrage over those imbalances? Of course, there should be no “outrage,” because sports businesses are simply hiring the best qualified applicants for the work involved. It is fair to wonder why we seem to be unable to apply that logic in other instances of alleged discrimination in the workplace.
Let’s get the hard, inarguable, fact right out in front: there are significant differences between races, ethnicities, and sexes; and those differences often determine the jobs we will hold. In the extreme, consider that males do not give birth, nor suckle the young: is that discrimination? Of course not! And females are unarguably weaker physically than males, so should they be found in equal numbers with males in work requiring significant upper body strength? Again–Of course not!
More than just physical strength and skeletal construction separate races and sexes. That’s no surprise to intelligent, thoughtful, educated persons, who’ve long recognized that there are many significant differences between the sexes, which determine how each will live and work. Normal women may be expected to react differently to a given situation than do men. Women often allow emotions to override logic and common sense; and women are more likely than men to be unavailable for work when needed. When women went to work on assembly lines, during the Second World War, it was discovered that they periodically had what were sometimes called “poisoned hands.” That is, when they handled metals with their hands, corroded fingerprints soon appeared thereon. And recent studies even seem to prove that females see colors differently than do males. Isn’t it understandable that prospective employers consider such facts when hiring?
Wake up Nancy: there are very significant differences between men and women, which place necessary and predictable limits on the suitability of women for many jobs–including that of CEOs. Agreed: females with confused hormones can appear to perform adequately as head of a major corporation, as a football linebacker, or as a bayonet-thrusting soldier; and a perfectly normal handful (e.g., Britain’s Margaret Thatcher) can perform superbly in high-pressure management positions; but those few are far from the norm for the female sex. Let’s stop this nonsense of suggesting otherwise. That advice is especially appropriate for such as Sheryl Sandberg (author of a recent book aimed at inspiring women to assert themselves in competing with men for top managerial jobs). Sheryl, for whatever reasons, you’ve made it to the top of the corporate ladder; live with that, and kindly cease attempting to convince other women that they can, and should, do the same–at the expense of families, the nation, and the world.
The free market place is doing a reasonably good job of placing workers where their particular skills and abilities are most productive. Except as in the rare case of such as a particular religion’s business, job applicants are almost always selected because they’re the best available–irregardless of sex, race, or religion. Negroes, for example, can and do find employment in just about every walk of life — from executive mansions to football fields. Race alone seldom closes doors to anyone: a lack of qualifications, and/or the way one appears, or behaves when being interviewed, can, however, be deciding factors.
Face it, there are many differences between sexes, races, and ethnicities; some are superficial, but others are, unavoidably, significant. Clearly, Negroes are favored as professional athletes in several major sports; men are selected as combat soldiers and construction workers; so-called “Latinos,” while currently only 12% of the population of the U.S., make up about 32% of the professional baseball players; women are favored in dozens of occupations. Oh yes — they also make far better mothers (mankind’s most important and demanding job) than do men. Kumbaya!
Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by j.g.nash. Relevant comments may be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems unavoidable: sometime in the near future, we will be struck down as a nation; not by an act of nature, a comet striking earth, or some incurable virulent new disease; instead by the sudden failure of the infrastructure required for computers everywhere to work together. When the Internet fails, and it will, banks, stock exchanges, and other financial institutions will cease to operate; businesses will be unable to take orders or to bill customers; pensions and salary checks will not be automatically deposited; medical facilities will have no records of patient’s histories; trains and planes will cease to operate; gasoline pumps fail to work, and traffic will be jammed tight as stop lights freeze on red; grocery stores become unable to check out the food you need; and, God forbid, electronic gossip (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will end.
As I think back on this too-terrible-to-consider prediction, I first noticed an indication of that future, during a stop to pick up a burger at a fast-food joint, just off I-95, somewhere in Georgia, way back in the 1960s. I had placed an order to go, and it had just arrived at checkout, when the lights went out, killing the newly automated cash register system. The counter clerk went into clearly visible shock: wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and physically frozen; barely able to mumble that, “It gunna beez ok – jezz wait, jezz wait.” His newfangled, computerized cash register had keys marked with icons for each item available for sale; when punched, they showed the amount due from the customer; after which the amount tendered was keyed in, and the display showed the amount to be returned to the customer, if any. No thought, by the clerk, was required to check out customers; now that the system was down, business was seemingly impossible. I suggested that the prices for what I had ordered were posted on the wall, so we could add six percent sales tax, and I could give him the exact amount, so that I could get back on the road with my lunch. The shocked attendant just rolled his enlarged eyes, and mindlessly repeated his “Gunna bees ok” mantra. I left without the burger.
Since that time, computerized business has become the norm, and the interconnection of computers has become fundamental to the operation of just about every facet of our lives. Not long ago, I was checking out of a typical grocery store, when the power went off. Their emergency plan was to mark each in-use shopping cart with the name and phone number of the customer, then wheel them back for temporary storage in a walk-in chiller room. On that occasion, the power was only out for a few hours, but what if, because of lack of electricity, or some other cause, the store’s computers were down for months, or years?
Compared to the production and distribution of electricity, the interconnection of computers is a very complex and fragile structure. We know that electricity has failed, sometimes on large and wide scales, for days at a time; sometimes for no apparent reason. If you’re over 40, you can likely recall hearing a recorded message that “Telephone lines are temporarily unavailable due to unusually heavy use,” Even the do-everything cell phones have recently suffered periods of unavailability due to overloaded circuits. Computer interconnections can, and will fail, possibly for months, or decades.
I feel safe in saying that every major, technologically advanced, nation has been, and is, developing plans for the intentional interruption, and/or destruction, of computer systems in other nations. Think, for example, about the recent, relatively limited, example of such, when someone denied Iran use of operational computers vital to production of weapons-grade fissionable materials. The command and control of military and emergency forces depends upon computers, the Internet, and, especially, on vulnerable, communications satellites. One of the first acts in any major world conflict will be attempts to shut down the opponent’s electronic communications and computer capabilities. Such an event would result in widespread panic, riots, and primitive acts of self-preservation, as individuals fight over food and water. We have made that unthinkable scenario all too real, by our mindless rush to embrace every new gimmick, such as cell phones that control our very lives. We use the ubiquitous devices to shop; pay bills; in place of traditional, paper road maps; do simple arithmetic; make and share obscene self photos; gossip; unlock our home’s doors; turn on lights; set home climate controls; replace diaries or journals; as appointment calendars; locate restaurants, hospitals, and other businesses; as risky replacements for the traditional family photo album; and to shout into incessantly while in public places. Life without them seems unimaginable—but it is apparently inevitable.
Our central government is part and parcel of the growing threat. For example, when they tried to implement a relatively simple, Internet-dependent program for nation-wide health care, it failed. There were supposed to be paper and human backup systems ready, but they also failed. Do you need further evidence that we’re rushing headlong towards national catastrophe—especially if such is aided by intentional assault from outside?
Will that shocked face of the useless fast-food counter clerk, seen 50 years ago, soon become the face of the nation? Unless we wake up, and put the brakes on the risky rush to control our world from electronic glasses we wear, from our wrist watches or our telephones, you, and/or your children, may well be living, and dieing, in a widespread version of primitive “hunger games.”
Over-dependence on computers, the Internet, communications satellites, and the now popular “cloud” (where everything is stored) is a sure recipe for unthinkable disaster. Computers die without warning; the Internet can crash by being overloaded or jammed; satellites can be electronically and/or physically destroyed or deactivated; and “clouds” are, at best wispy and short-lived. We need a national policy on Surviving Without Computers. We need that far more than we need such as the poorly designed, constructed, and operated Affordable Care Act.