Sources for 2/23: Fear Industrial Complex

As I was putting in the links to this week’s sources, I saw an interesting 20/20 about the fear industrial complex. I added this link because it addresses one of my favorite themes: the good life most of us are leading & how we just won’t see it. No surprise. Politicians, activists and business people are all making big bucks by making us feel bad, even though life has never been so good for so many. Maybe that is why we worry. We have so much more to lose. Other sources are below.

Security & Foreign Affairs

Russian Withdrawal from INF Treaty Will Put the Ball in Europe's Court
Trends in the European Union and Russia: Implications for the U.S.
Financial Times/Harris Poll on Migration in the EU
The Honeymoon Is Over
Ségolène la Socialiste?
Promoting U.S. and Indian Prosperity through Freer Trade and Economic Liberalization
India's Expanding Role in Asia: Adapting to Rising Power Status
China's Stubborn Anti-Democracy
Update on the Six-Party Talks
Global Poll Finds that Religion and Culture are Not to Blame for Tensions between Islam and the West
Iraq’s Sophisticated Insurgency
Shoring up the Home Front
Bush Afghan Broadside Targets NATO
Current Trends in Islamic Ideology
The British Defeat in the South and the Uncertain Bush "Strategy" in Iraq
Iran: "Weakling" or "Hegemon"?

U.S. Society & Economy

WSJ.com/Harris Interactive Survey: One Out of Five U.S. Adults Have Not Taken Steps to Plan for Their Retirement
How Union Card Checks Block Workers' Free Choice
Americans and Social Trust: Who, Where and Why
Globalization Forces a Health-Check of US Auto Industry
Older Americans Act: FY2006 Funding, FY2007 Proposals, and FY2008 Budget Request
Economic Report to the President
Beyond No Child Left Behind

Politics & Elections

Granite State Rumbling
Decision 2008
Latino Voters: Misconceptions and Reality

Technology & Innovation

Alternative Transportation Fuels: Automotive Technologies
Modern Technology Has Tremendous Impact on the Way Teens Communicate
Beyond the Gas Tax: Alternatives for a Greener World
An Energy Efficiency Trading System

Posted by Jack at February 23, 2007 10:40 PM
Comments
Comment #209510

Leave it to Republicans to suggest that the voters are stupid and unwilling to see the world as Republicans see it.

The American people have this annoying tendency to look at things over time, to include the future, and consider how their kids are going to fare into the equation of how they themselves are doing. Damn shame for Republicans who continue to harp on that Hedge Fund, short term investment, and snapshot economic picture to make everything look rosey!

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 24, 2007 3:51 AM
Comment #209517

Jack,

Have you ever read Ursual LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”?

Posted by: Trent at February 24, 2007 9:42 AM
Comment #209521

Jack

This is an interesting subject but old news. I was taught way back in the late sixties by my social economics teacher never to take what you read or hear to heart. Always take the time to decipher just how much of what you read or hear is truth, how much is sensationalism, and how much has an alternative agenda. I have always remembered this for some reason. I was not a good student in this area. But for some reason this stuck. I think we all know people who grasp onto everything they read and hear and accept it as gospel. There logic is that because it is written it must be so. After all who would have the balls to lead them astray with written word for all to see. But these people are generally very gullible, in the minority, and probably need some kind of counseling.

I think a good example of the fallacies of fear mongering is the good and bads of coffee consumption. I do not think I can count on both hands and feet how many times over the last 20 or so years that studies have told us we should or should not drink it and in what quantities.

In the end we all have to decide what we consider to be reliable sources. And even then it is best to question their motives from time to time.

Posted by: ILdem at February 24, 2007 10:19 AM
Comment #209522

Jack,

Yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head for me and I believe many fellow progressive thinkers.

I have it great as do you Jack. But me and you don’t make up America. Ultimately if I/we leave America and the world in worse shape then we left it for our children and those who follow then its hard for me to happy solely on my own success alone.

I went to Houston last year to help with the Hurricane refugees there. I guarantee you Jack they see America different from you and me. They pretty much have nothing to lose. And there were tens of thousands of them.

I see crack babies born in the hospital where I work and I guarantee you they don’t see things through your rose colored glasses.


I see parents both working full time jobs stressed to the breaking point between taking care of their sick kids and losing their jobs. I see families divorced and their kids suffering.

I see dads,sometimes moms who spend 3 hours a day in traffic going to and from work..they kiss there sleeping kids good bye in the morning when they leave for work and they kiss their sleeping kids goodnight when they come home. Then they pay the bills.

I see kids growing up in suburbia completely isolated from nature…no forest to run free in not even a local public park close enough to just walk…so they sit and play Nintendo and eat chips all day. Then they come to my office fat wretched miserable emotionless droids with almost no sign of childhood enthusiasm left in them.

I’m happy with my life Jack. And I’m glad you are happy with yours. But I worry about the direction of the country that allowed me to grow up with so much opportunity. Because I think the same opportunities will be increasingly less available to my children.

And I’m angry because I know it could be so much better except for poor leadership, greed and robber barons on the top setting the rules to their favor and against the worker, stealing from the treasury and then telling us all to shut up and be happy because we don’t know how good we have it.

Posted by: muirgeo at February 24, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #209527

Conplain.complain. Rich people are doing great and that is all that matters,so shut up and get back to work.What is wrong with you people anyway?

Gee Jack
Hard to believe you write about fear tactics and forget to mention the Bush regimes use of them?

Posted by: BillS at February 24, 2007 10:45 AM
Comment #209528

Muirego

The perfect is the enemy of the good. We do not have a perfect society and never will. It is always possible to imagine a better world than we can achieve. Those who are waiting for the arrival of perfect or even excellent general outcomes will be perenially miserable.

I do not consider this so much a Dem/Rep issue. (although conservatives tend to be more optimistic than liberals) Lately, the Dems have been talking down the economy because they cannot get that much credit for it. If they win the Whitehouse in 2008, it will be the Republican turn to complain about things that are really not bad.

It has always been like this. Most societies have some mythical golden age when everything was good and all men were virtuous in comparison to the fallen men of today. It is even worse now. Today’s structural problem is that lots of people make good living and achieve high status by pointing out the problems.

When I was growing up, my parents were told that watching color TV would burn out kids eyes. I can still see. I was frightened by the threat of widespread starvation in American cities in the 1980s. Didn’t happen. I drink 2 litres of Coca-Cola every day. The caffein and chemicals should have killed me by now. I am not dead yet. As I look back, most of the big threats were not important. It is true that everybody dies of something, but to vary the phrase, the fool dies a thousand deaths.

Re others suffering - I expect you are right. The percentage of the population that CANNOT live a decent life is lower than ever before, however.

For a variety of invalid statistical reasons, people look back with great fondness at the early 1970s. This was the golden age. I remember those times. Maybe the dust looks golden at this distance, but the best times of our lives are right now. I expect it will get even better for those who can see it.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #209591


The better off people become, the less they care about their country and their fellow citizens and the more willing they are to let other peoples children do their killing for them.

Posted by: jlw at February 24, 2007 4:36 PM
Comment #209599

Bill S.,
My thoughts exactly. I thought this post was Jack finally realizing the bill of goods that Bush is selling. Ironic that he doesn’t see the parallel.

Posted by: gergle at February 24, 2007 5:14 PM
Comment #209614

Yeah, I certainly do not believe utopia is possible but I certainly think we can really improve the lives of many of our fellow countrymen as well as the health of our country itself. I guess some of us are OK with good enough and some of us just have higher standards then others.

Some are OK with the idea that money is free speech Im not. To say so is a perversion of democracy and free speech. It’s even ultimately a perversion of capitalism.

Some can look back at the past 6 years of corruption and be OK with it. I’m not. I mean 10 billion dollars lost in Iraq with no hint of an investigation until the Democrats started with some oversight. There are some 29 congressmen under investigation. You have massive scandals like Jack Abramoff and Enron which severly hurt many people. The outrages are to numerous to count and there continues to be little penalty for massive white collar crimes.

David Kay Johnston shows in his book how tens and even hundreds of billions of dollars of taxes owed never get paid or collected.

The tax code is a moral outrage yet nothing gets done.

The amount of wealth that gets accumulated through cheating, scams , cronyism ect is HUGE. I have nothing against wealthy people who’ve earned their keep. I however, despise those many already doing well who need even more and often bend the rules, change the rules or simply break the rules and get away with it.

Nope I hold our country to much higher standards then what we have.

Posted by: muirgeo at February 24, 2007 6:57 PM
Comment #209624

Muirego

You cannot look back only 6 years for this corruption. Most of ENRON built during the 1990s. By the time Bush took office all the real dishonesty had already been done. It is like saying a guy who showed up in month nine got the girl pregnant.

The 1990s (Clinton times) were very corrupt and screwed up. They were a time like most times. Actually better than most. SO are the times we are having today.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2007 9:10 PM
Comment #209656

Jack,

You may be surprised to learn that this a big theme in “Bowling for Columbine”. The media try to whip people into a hysteria over things like “Africanized killer bees”. During the 1990’s violent crime rates got lower and lower, but people didn’t feel safer because they were saturated with images of violent crime.

My personal pet peeve was the “Summer of the Shark” in 2001. In 2001, three people were killed by sharks in the US. That was a relatively bad year, and people were still were still far, far more likely to be struck by lightning (44 fatalities). I guess “Summer of Lightning” isn’t as catchy…

It’s absurd for people to even ponder the risk of a shark attack, but it has huge implications for the Florida tourism industry.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 25, 2007 8:48 AM
Comment #209745

Hmmm, let’s see, who has used fear (the terrorists are gonna get you, look out) to motivate voters to go along with an expensive, ill-begotten invasion and occupation that funneled lots of cash into his friends’ pockets? Who could that be? Who, who, who?

Posted by: Mental Wimp at February 26, 2007 3:20 PM
Comment #209992

muirego,

Man I read your posts and things by your account are so bad here we should all go to someplace free like Russia or China or Iran or ………………

Posted by: dolan at February 28, 2007 8:02 PM
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