(noun): a person who denies his or her compassion, intelligence, dignity and decency in order to join a group or organization designed to increase and normalize fear, anger, hatred, intolerance and indecency in a society; drawn together by professional propagandists to direct attention away from attacks on democracy through a slow, deliberate erosion of freedoms.
(adjective): to be mindlessly ignorant of the well-being of others, particularly those with different opinions, appearance, ethnicity or country of origin; especially of the middle and lower economic classes.
To be vicious toward people who are perceived as different, especially if they express opinions not approved by a ruling class.
I was struggling to survive the ravages of Capitalism for a few years in my home country of the United States and decided to make the formidable move to another continent. I moved to La Paz, Bolivia in February of 2020.
Bolivia seemed to have more Socialism and less Capitalism in their system than the U.S. as well as a lower cost of living and a thriving economy. I was hoping to have an easier time financially, tired of too often having to choose between paying rent and buying food.
I had to choose wisely in deciding what to bring due to the airline industry going full-blown Capitalist in recent years. I couldn’t afford to bring more than two pieces of luggage and, unfortunately for me, musical instrutments count as a full piece of luggage despite weighing much less than the accepted weight limit. Instead of bringing two suitcases, my guitar, my bass and a small guitar amp, I was forced to bring just one suitcase (packed mostly with CDs, books and DVDs; very little clothing) and my guitar. There would be no funky bass riffs. I also brought my cat Louie, a rescue from Hell’s Kitchen, N.Y.C. That cost another few hundred dollars.
After a grueling journey of three flights that lasted about 18 hours, we landed at El Alto International Airport. Louie was terrified, but the ordeal was over once we took a cab ride to a small, inexpensivehotel in an interesting part of La Paz.
La Paz is a very beautiful city. It’s modern and bustling with activity, some of it interesting. I found one spot that reminded me a little of Greenwich Village in NYC. There was someone singing, people dancing, an artist and two comedians working a crowd. It also has an “old world” feel, with old, beautifully designed buildings, many with courtyards of stone benches, gardens and statues.
It has a diversity of people, architecture, food and art. And though there is a lot of automobile traffic and, in my opinion, not enough traffic lights or proper road maintenance, it has a very cool transportation alternative to traversing the rough, crowded streets – a tram system that extends throughout the city.
Called “el teleferico”, it’s one of the most interesting changes brought to the city during the presidency of Evo Morales, widely considered the best president in modern Bolivian history. (Even a Capitalist Fundamentalist from Santa Cruz, a city full of Libertarians, expressed that opinion, despite the fact that he still deeply fears the word “Socialista” and ridiculously expected to lose at least one of his houses once Morales took office. Not only didn’t he lose anything, he continued to thrive financially.)
Riding the tram system offers people beautiful views of the city, but the real attraction is what surrounds La Paz. This city sits in the Cordillera Real mountains, part of the Cordillera Oriental, a sub-range of the Andes. The views of the mountains are so spectacular that tourists from all around the world have stated that no matter where you are in this city of more than one million people you see beauty worthy of a postcard. The centerpiece of the mountain range is stunning Illimani.
The second highest peak in Bolivia at 21,122 feet above sea level on the north face, Illimani is made up of granodiorite and was formed during the Cenozoic era. Granodiorite is a phaneritic-textured intrusive igneous rock, similar to granite, but containing more plagioclase feldspar (calcium and sodium) than orthoclase feldspar (potassium).
Yes, that sounds boring, but much more interesting is the fact that the northern face of Illimani contains glaciers despite being only 19° from the equator. While this would seem to be impossible, glaciers can form this close to the equator under specific conditions. These conditions being high enough altitude, cold enough temperatures (obviously due in part to the high altitude) and significant moisture – in this case due to proximity to the Amazon basin.
The city took my breath away… sadly, in more than one way.
I don’t have strong lungs and expected problems with the high altitude of La Paz. I’d read that a certain percentage of people, many of whom are healthy, have difficulty with the transition from low to high altitude, especially those who’ve lived at sea level their entire life (as I have). Well, apparently I’m part of approximately 2 to 3 per cent of the population who are seriously affected by altitude sickness. I had so much trouble breathing I could barely sleep – and most of the time I slept was while in a hospital. I experienced incredibly adverse affects on my mind within one week of barely sleeping (a little over an hour per night). I developed difficulty concentrating, my memory faltered and I even experienced problems with equilibrium, banging into a wall twice. I was getting “jelly brain” – a term I’ve used in the past to describe my observations of the homeless people I’ve seen walking around dazed and confused in U.S. cities.
Lack of nutrition will make you sick, lack of sleep will take your mind away.
I made two trips to a hospital during the first ten days I spent in La Paz. I was given oxygen and put on medication. My blood oxygen level apparently tested normal – twice, but I couldn’t take a normal breath at that altitude and couldn’t bend over or lay flat without gasping for air. The doctor was so confused he brought in another doctor to confirm his findings. Both doctors were perplexed. During the second visit one of the doctors was adamant I stay longer, but not being a citizen of Bolivia I had to pay full rates, cash on the spot. It was significantly less expensive than a hospital stay in the United States (boy, is that an understatement), but it was still too expensive for me. A few days later, someone arranged for another doctor to visit me in our hotel room for a checkup. (This was a highly respected doctor who was a political dissident, had been accused of and jailed for a horrible crime he didn’t commit, and had endured torture. A movie should be made about him.)
This doctor advised me to spend time at a lower altitude and make a gradual change back to the (approximately 11,700 ft. above sea level) altitude of La Paz. I took a treacherous 2 1/2 hour drive outside La Paz for what was to be a two week stay to begin to acclimate to the change in altitude. I wound up in a tiny village in a region of Bolivia called South Yungas. It’s in the Royal Mountains and is situated at about 6,800 feet above sea level. Before the two weeks were up the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The country went on lockdown. No travel. Airports were closed and checkpoints were set up throughout the country to prevent travel inside the country… I became a resident of this village regardless of what I wanted.
Breathing became much easier than it had been in La Paz, but still not comfortable. Bending over was still occasionally causing me to gasp for air. I never thought I would ever need to put effort intosomething we do all day long every day of our lives.
A powerful lesson I’ve learned during this adventure is not to take anything for granted. You never really know when you’ll take your last breath…
Kentucky, USA: coal miners are in danger of contracting black lung disease and many are forced to travel more than 100 miles for proper medical attention. Families have tried escaping from the ever-present coal dust that permeates the area and causes severe respiratory illnesses by moving away, but end up unable to afford homes in areas less polluted. In 2000, more than 300 million gallons of coal slurry spilled into Kentucky rivers, killing virtually all marine life. Despite efforts at cleaning up this toxic waste left by heartless criminals commonly referred to as business executives, some areas have tap water that is still unsafe to drink.
… over 60% of the people in Kentucky who voted in the 2016 election supported the presidential candidate who ignored the potential benefits of using modern technology to clean the environment and stop the ecological suicide this country is caught up in. The candidate who believes its acceptable to hire polluters to make decisions on the health of the environment. The candidate who believes wealthy executives deserve tax subsidies and lower tax rates, but that people who work for a living, who actually make things and provide services for people, do not. The candidate who admires Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler as well as modern day megalomaniacal dictators.
This bumbling knuckle-dragger also declared that he’d dump more money into the coal industry – a horribly dangerous 19th century business model that is contributing to habitat destruction while contributing to preventable deaths as well as rising rates of cancer and respiratory illnesses among the very people who mindlessly supported him to become president.
OK, that was 2016. People can change their minds when confronted with additional information. Four years later, even people who are horribly low in intelligence and with severe, fear-based psychological disabilities such as racism, sexism, homophobia, religious extremism and blind patriotism have had time to reassess their unconscionable fascination with supporting a racist sexual predator who openly showed contempt for a majority of the people on the planet while running a political campaign.
Now, with COVID-19 raging through the country, this psychopath acts as if everything is OK and things can soon go back to normal. (As if normal was actually acceptable). He lies as often as he breathes. If he’d been born poor in one of the many ghettos in the U.S. he’d be dead or in prison right now.
Recently, a poll published by RealClear Politics showed that in Kentucky 55% of people questioned are still willing to vote for this mentally ill monster in November.
Is it his fault? People voted for him after he admitted being a sexual predator and information was uncovered about his decades of heartlessly preying on fellow citizens. After inheriting a fortune. And today, after all he’s done to destroy whatever slight remnants of decency existed in the U.S. there are still people willing to risk their lives and the lives of others to show solidarity with this caricature of a parasitic madman.
Donald trump is a raving lunatic who would sell anything anytime to anyone as long as he could profit without risking his own money. He specializes in spending other peoples’ money to make money for himself. He is an insidious opportunist completely devoid of compassion, decency or integrity and is incapable of feeling the pain of others. He’s told the world that many times in various ways. And bragged while doing it. Yet, he sits at the top of the executive branch of one of the most powerful nations in history (though he’s rapidly changing that last part at a record pace).
Yes, ignorance, blind loyalty and obedience can be deadly…
A warning from the brilliant author Frank Herbert about following the greed-induced insanity of Capitalism:
“You cannot go on forever stealing what you need without regard to those who come after.”
Yes, it’s insane to gamble the existence of the entire species simply because you figure you’ll be dead before the consequences of your actions come to be. Technically, that’s attempted mass murder – on the level of possible extinction.
And to the people who don’t believe that those who control a majority of the planet’s resources – executives of large corporations throughout the world – steal, just think about the way they finance elections to get heartless sell-outs inside Congress or Parliament (or whatever governmental body exists in a particular country), who then put together corporate legislation which helps only the executives and the fake politicians – and hurts virtually everyone else by directing a significant amount of government spending into corporate bank accounts while leaving behind people in need like so much roadkill along the road of progress.
This sick behavior allows these predators to bypass important environmental and financial regulations. Yes, wealthy business executives actually steal from the rest of us. Corporate tax loopholes are nothing more than legal burglary.
And in the Unites States, the Environmental Protection Agency is handcuffed by corporate members of Congress through under-funding, which allows corporate lawyers to collect more money (already bilked from the public) in legal fees to help keep toxic chemicals (and other dangerous elements) that poison the planet on shelves in stores throughout the country – this is much more money than the government agency can possibly spend to protect the health of the public. (And this is when there isn’t an administration in place that appoints only wealthy executives from the industries that are supposed to be policed).
Usually, by the time EPA attorneys finally manage to win a lawsuit which will get proper regulations in place to address the danger of a particular product, the company changes a formula or decides on a slightly different (often more dangerous) material and the process starts all over again. It’s a spend-and-wait game that inevitably favors the wealthy.
So why do we continue foolishly traversing this path deeply influenced by sociopathic business executives who care about nothing more than collecting obscene amounts of wealth and control over others? Do millions of people actually believe they too will one day become wealthy?
What a trick the recent wave of Capitalists have played on the unwary among us. They have installed a parallel religion that not only borrows from the existing belief systems widely acknowledged as religions (to help build “faith” as a cornerstone of the system), it actually subsumes them without the adherents realizing it. Few people see that they blindly follow two religions – one for the purpose of collecting material wealth, the other to cleanse their consciences and provide a fairy tale of forgiveness that they apparently believe will save their souls. Very clever – and evil.
I came up with a silly word game and it was so much fun I decided to post the result. I wrote something about the U.S.’s glorious leader and tried to use as many words as possible that start with the same letter. This is what I came up with:
A matrix of misused, moronic mutterings of methodically manipulative mental masturbation, a maelstrom of monstrous misdirection, mimicking meaningful mental mastery, morbidly marring morality and meandering malignantly through a multitude of monotonous mazes of misanthropic misadventure, merging mendaciously with a malicious mindset among miserable, malevolently maladjusted mental mutants who masticate mundanely misleading machinations maniacally massaged into a markedly murky message of mindless menace. A maniacal mutilation of moral merit..
I’ve been stuck in a tiny village in the mountains of Bolivia for more than 3 months without access to wifi to use my iPad. The only internet access I’ve had lasted an occasional few minutes here and there when I was able to purchase a card that I could use on a phone I procured here in Bolivia. I was able to contact family and friends in the U.S. those few times, but I spent more time trying to get online than actually online. Life in remote mountains…
I occasionally received news about the U.S. and was so disturbed by Bernie Sanders being maliciously driven out of the 2020 election that I felt compelled to write the following short “hit piece” on voters in the so-called democratic party. It’s old news at this point, of course, but I decided to post it anyway to possibly assuage the anger that still lingers in my mind. This is why we don’t have democracy. We’ve given up on it, but some of us are too blind to realize it and some of us are too hatefully ignorant to care.
Bernie Sanders: ‘I will bring economic security to everyone; address the existential threat of human-affected climate change; seriously reduce homelessness, unemployment and poverty; attempt to provide health care for everyone; prevent corporate manipulation of our elections; eliminate multinational corporations from stashing money collected here in the U.S. in overseas accounts to avoid taxes; end state-sponsored terrorism against activists who speak truth to power and refuse to obey the dominant culture; bring actual justice to our criminal justice system and bring decency back to public discourse – and we’ll pay for our reworked economic system by having wealthy business executives who’ve gotten away with preying on fellow citizens their entire lives to pay a fair share of the tax burden.’
Democrat voters: ‘Fuck you, Bernie. You’re too compassionate, intelligent and courageous. We prefer a creep with average intelligence who cheated to get his bachelor’s degree, ignores the serious threat of climate crisis, obeys his corporate masters by going along with the foreign policy machinations of Wall Street parasites, disrespects women by fondling them and pretending to be a kindly grandpa, supports a racist criminal justice system, goes along with rewarding deeply questionable business practices and seems well on his way to developing dementia.’
A lack of compassion? Profound stupidity? A lack of courage? At the very least, choosing Joe Biden to represent the “sane” political party is a serious breakdown in integrity and decency in the United States. Anyone who’s willing to go along with this for no reason other than simply reducing the constant turmoil of the insane trump administration instead of putting forward someone who could potentially be one of our great presidents if actually given a chance deserves to continue this spineless spiral into societal suicide.
I feel disgust every time I hear someone call Bernie Sanders a radical. Needless to say, I feel disgusted every day. It shows how far to the “right” of the political spectrum the people of the United States have been pushed by feamongering whores who are on the payroll of the parasitic executives who run this country.
Is slightly increasing taxes on wealthy people to help people who are dying from preventable deaths really a radical idea? How about asking people to stop mindlessly destroying our planet by reducing some of the pathetically self-absorbed behavior we’ve been conditioned to associate with success in recent decades? Is it crazy to want to move past the 19th century technology of burning fossil fuels and join the rest of the world in the entrepreneurial advancement of cleaner technologies that won’t drastically increase cancers and respiratory illnesses?
Anyone who’s read up on the subject knows Bernie Sanders can barely be considered a Socialist. He’s actually a very reasonable step in the proper direction toward a type of governing that can save us from ourselves.
People think Bernie Sanders is unelectable? What?? Donald trump is in the White House! Donald trump the racist, misogynist parasite. People who support corporate candidates say Bernie Sanders is mean and gruff? What’s meaner, speaking truths a lot of people don’t want to hear or allowing poor people to suffer needlessly? I think by “mean and gruff” corporate hacks mean honest. What’s going on here is that these people don’t want their friends to pay their fair share of taxes.
We’re listening to people who work extremely hard to reduce intelligence and increase mean and irrational behavior. How did that happen? Actually, a better question would be – why did we allow it to happen? I’ll leave that for people to ponder.
While I was sitting on a bench today a woman struck up a conversation with me. She told me how disgusted she was by how heartless so many people have become these days. I agreed and pointed to the powerful evidence that a heartless creep was our president. She then asked if I was a fan of Barack Obama and looked confused when I said I wasn’t. She mumbled something unintelligible, then told me she supports trump. Still?? 🤯 I asked how she could support someone who fights to give tax breaks to wealthy business executives while cutting benefits for disabled people. She said meekly, “he’s given us a good economy.”
That was it. Nothing more. I stared at her in disbelief. The irony could have leveled Brooklyn.
The world is full of ugly truths and pretty lies. Honest, courageous people fear the potential destruction that can be wrought by the pretty lies while fearful, obedient people fear the ugly truths which could set them free.
It’s long, long, long past the time to step back and see not just what’s arrogantly pushed into our collective faces by despicably corrupt hack journalists in The Fear Industry but to see what’s possible.
If a majority of U.S. citizens won’t support Bernie Sanders over donald trump for president in 2020 then we don’t deserve to be a democracy. We don’t deserve anything. We’ve lost the battle for compassion, justice, decency and integrity as a nation. Seriously. Maybe this is the final test to determine whether or not the experiment of the United States of America has completely failed.
The world of the corporate executive in the U.S.: a “booming” stock market; “strong” economic growth; “America” (their version) is great again; an inordinate effect on elections – uh, make that selections; companies that destroy the environment while diverting billions of dollars from the working class to the parasitic class (like Chevron, Halliburton, Kinder Morgan, Duke Energy, Exxon-Mobil, Devon Energy, EOG Resources, Pioneer Natural Resources and Occidental Petroleum) and which do not pay federal income tax and some, amazingly, even profit from taxpayer money by receiving tax subsidies from their employees in Washington…
The world of the working class in the U.S.: tens of millions of people living paycheck to paycheck; approximately 600,000 homeless; approximately 200,000 people sleeping on the street, in abandoned buildings or other locations “not suitable for human habitation”; housing and food costs rising more rapidly than income; millions of people needing to choose between clothing and food; millions of children receiving a level of nutrition below accepted standards; millions of people insidiously prevented from voting…
Does anyone still believe democracy and Capitalism are compatible?