The Greedy and the Needy


Usually, my neighbors here in the condo complex are friendly and cooperative. During last year’s harsh winter, we worked outside, removing snow, chatting, and helping each other. During association meetings, we discuss community issues. Occasionally, there’s discord—recyclables, pet policy, etc. At one of the meetings, a woman, with an able-bodied husband, said, “You mean I’m going to have to take recyclables across the street?” I commented that this is about our environment, one of the most urgent problems we face.

I suppose that if you asked 15 people to choose the country’s most important dilemma, you’d hear 15 different answers.

Recently, a friend and I were having a conversation about immigration.

He said, “I know a woman who couldn’t get a job at a fast food restaurant because she doesn’t speak Spanish.”

I said: “Well, NAFTA and CAFTA have made it impossible for people in certain countries to make a living, so they come here.”

We agreed that capital is able to cross borders freely in search of the highest rate of return.

Yet, so many Americans have no problem with the building of sky-high fences to block “aliens” and “illegals” from seeking to eke out a better living in this land of increasingly questionable opportunity.

Usually, I write about peace and its opposite, conquest-oriented carnage. Sometimes, I present a piñata, a tumbling forth of all about which I angst. This week, I’ve moved from the bulging fridge to the countertop to the sink to the stove, many times. As the turkey shares a chill with dishes I’ve prepared for a visit from my children, I think of families, here and thousands of miles away.

I ran earlier today, down the hill past Williams-Sonoma’s open door. I could smell spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger in, perhaps, mulled cider. The aroma of Thanksgiving. I, too, mulled: over the unemployment rate and the underemployed and all who have lost their jobs, homes, their health insurance, and hope. Quantitative easing bailed out banksters but not the people.

Our military budget is a trillion a year. We spend 12 billion a month on two wars of occupation. Those who aren’t related to a soldier who’s died or been severely injured really don’t think that much about war, or about the people our troops are brainwashed to destroy.

I wonder about civilians in the countries we’ve invaded. After reading that in some areas of Afghanistan nobody even knows about 9/11, I can’t help but juxtapose this information with the nationalism of people, here, and the Islamophobia that leads people to oppose the building of mosques with shouts of, “Never forget.”

Interlude: I knew a married woman who fell madly in love with another man. She remarked to her husband that he and the children would really like the new, significant other. Couldn’t wait for them to meet. I’ve seen men behave this way, as well. Seems they’re so intoxicated by their own selfish happiness, they are unable to see the pain they inflict, the psychic violence of their actions. They’re residing in a magical realm where their truth becomes: if it feels so good, it can’t be wrong. They don’t just expect understanding; they, also, demand support and, well, gratitude. It’s as if their exhilaration translates to something like, “Everybody will be so happy, they’ll bestow flowers.” Like those flowers the grateful Iraqis were going to present to our troops.

This is an illustration of hubris, a microcosm of Ameri-thought, like manifest destiny, the gift of democracy, Christianity, and even ruggedly ugly individualism. American exceptionalism.

Thanksgiving is beyond strange. I can’t help but feel guilty. I have so much. And I have a greedy need to be with my family. Need? The needy. There are millions; the number grows daily.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her email address is missybeat@gmail.com.


Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey