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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America - Charles H. Ferguson Rating: 5* of five The Book Report: The book description says:“Charles H. Ferguson, who electrified the world with his Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job, now explains how a predator elite took over the country, step by step, and he exposes the networks of academic, financial, and political influence, in all recent administrations, that prepared the predators’ path to conquest.Over the last several decades, the United States has undergone one of the most radical social and economic transformations in its history.· Finance has become America’s dominant industry, while manufacturing, even for high technology industries, has nearly disappeared.· The financial sector has become increasingly criminalized, with the widespread fraud that caused the housing bubble going completely unpunished.· Federal tax collections as a share of GDP are at their lowest level in sixty years, with the wealthy and highly profitable corporations enjoying the greatest tax reductions.· Most shockingly, the United States, so long the beacon of opportunity for the ambitious poor, has become one of the world’s most unequal and unfair societies.If you’re smart and a hard worker, but your parents aren’t rich, you’re now better off being born in Munich, Germany or in Singapore than in Cleveland, Ohio or New York.This radical shift did not happen by accident.”My Review: I am second to none in my passionate love for and gratitude to the United States of America for the astoundingly amazingly wonderfully free-from-want life I lead.And as that life is, day by day, taken from me piecemeal by the rich, the greedy, and the stupid, I am going to shout and point and wave my arms a lot to get the attention of the few, the many, the unwilling or willing, to see if I can't effect some small change to build on.Count on it.This liberry book was a fourteen-day loan, and I've had it seventeen days. I couldn't read much at a time because it made me furious, hysterically angry, livid to the point of stroke. I am disabled by a chronic, genetically transmitted condition that causes severe and painful acid buildup on my joints and near areas that have tendons. (Check the photos on my profile...that claw-lookin' thing is my left hand.) I have tried for several years to get disability benefits so as to have health care again. And now, with a real shot at getting these benefits (thanks to the advice and assistance of an old and dear friend), I might at last be able to get prescriptions for the medicines that ameliorate the condition, given under regular supervision, to avoid the problem of renal failure that comes with the medication (not to mention horrible gastric consequences, which I just have to put up with).And in this rich nation, would you like to know what the princely payout will be (assuming I succeed in getting on the dole) to me, to enable me to survive? A little under $1000 a month. Food stamps, $150 a month at most. Medicaid, which here in New York State is more generous than most places (for now...more on that anon.) Were it not for the charity of friends, not please be assured my family members, oh nay nay nay, never dare even to ask them for help (well, now, one aunt handed over $4000 as I was losing my house, which put off the evil day for several months). I live rent-free with my former partner. Will that last forever? No, it can't, and shouldn't.And then what? I don't know.And I am not alone in my predicament. I am, in fact, a reasonably common-or-garden recipient of the fucking that corporations and CEOs and banks are doling out to each and every one of us not in their club. It's not new, this phenomenon. It was for millennia the norm. Then, one day in 1773, a group of rowdy, angry, sick-of-it colonists in Boston (of all places) said “oh fuck you” to king and church and country. Go Massachusetts!Now, 240 years on, the rotten sleazy fucks we kicked out of power are back with a vengeance, thanks to 1) greedy politicians, 2) evil, evil, evil preachers, 3) stupid, complicit conservatives and “libertarians” (aka the Authoritarian's Best Friends League), and last but not least the laziest, most astoundingly selfish population of “future millionaires” (tip: if daddy wasn't a millionaire, you won't be either, sure as the sun rises in the east) ever fattened up for the slaughter on the American Dream (for whom?).No. I don't mean the immigrants. I don't mean the union workers. I mean you. The person who doesn't know who his/her state senator is. Who the county tax assessor is. Who watches fucking idiot-box crap and not presidential debates because it's too hard, it's boring, it doesn't matter anyway.Welcome to what happens when you're not paying attention. And you deserve it.I, on the other hand, who have voted and shouted and waved my arms about this shit since 1980, do not. But here I am in the same goddamned boat as the lazy, the stupid, the religious, the conservative or libertarian. Is that in any way fair? No. It sucks wookie balls. (Nobody likes hair in their teeth.)But still, there it is. Hate is written into state constitutions because the Jesus Brigade for Tradishnull Fambly Valyews (aka Focus on the Family, et alii) doesn't like faggots. State senators, the same goddamned fucks in the GOP who authorize spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on casinos, want to cut funding for public health. (Told ya we'd get back there.)And this book details how it got this way, why it stays this way, and, in one short ending chapter, what possible means there are to combat it. I am not, by nature, an optimistic person. I sincerely believe that humans love one thing more than hate, and that's group hate. Food, sex, money...all down the list. Hate is the killing ape's favorite pastime. What else is fandom, sports or TV or celebrity? What else is religion, politics? So I expect things will get worse, because the haters like that. Everyone should suffer!And so we do. In our billions, we suffer. Unnecessarily, inexcusably, preventably. And so it goes.