Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
THE LAST TOXIC GASP OF NUCLEAR POWER — Inside the dynamite new issue of CounterPunch magazine: John LaForge takes an unflinching survey of the state of the nuclear power industry in the wake of Fukushima: its ailing plants, leaking pipes, security threats, accumulating radioactive waste and escalating costs. David Macaray charts the end of the middle class in America over the last 50 years: declining incomes, growing debts, and mounting insecurity. Harry Browne recounts his journey by boat from Ireland to Wales to meet the family of Chelsea Manning. Lee Hall exposes the latest lethal scam of the cattle industry: a plan to slaughter elk in the Yellowstone country. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on reading Camus in the time of drones; JoAnn Wypijewski on watching the Super Bowl with union laborers; Mike Whitney on the return of crappy mortgages; Chris Floyd on the selling and re-reselling of Bob Dylan; Kristin Kolb on the NYT’s poverty porn; and Lee Ballinger on the art of Tiffany Gholar.
The Future is Bleak
The Whitey Report
Don’t get me wrong I like whitey. They are fun to hang with at a barbecue. They can grill a steak I’ll give them that but beyond running the grill or picking out jewelry I wouldn’t put them in charge of anything. They are way to overconfident about everything they do. They fill out their March madness brackets that way; convinced they nailed the final four they’ll drop a thousand dollars on it no questions asked. They max out their credit cards and quit their jobs because, despite all the evidence to the contrary, they think they have talent or they believe their totally unique life story is a certain best seller. If they only had someone to write it down.
They believe in ghosts, UFOs, angels, Bigfoot, fairies, dice, cards, astrology, new age, old testament, but not that their consent is manufactured no that’s too farfetched. Whitey will believe in anything but the real world. And oh how they love to dream. It fills the space in their movies, their music, they spoon it into their coffee. If you don’t have a ready-made dream in life, they think you are mentally ill.
They have dominated for so many years, every whitey generation believes that they have inherited the earth, lock stock and barrel. In that regard they work all the angles. They think they can think compartment-ally. And it works! They’ve created a world of specialists working in windowless boxes. The stalwart Capitalist steps forward in grey skies and blue, “What we need is more capitalism.” The great Economist, “Your life is your wallet, stupid. Get that straight and everything else will fall into place.” The revered Reverend, “Praying twice a day will cure what ails you.” The grave General, “War is inevitable.” Individually they may do little harm but collectively it’s a disaster. The excuses are built in. “I only make the bombs I don’t drop them.” “I only fly the plane I don’t declare the war.” And on and on. It’s a system that is almost entirely chutes and ladders.
They adore their go go gadgets. If one were to trace the material sources for all their gadgets there would be a line to nearly every polluted and corrupted region on the planet. From the Middle East for its oil. Africa for its oil, lumber, diamonds, minerals. Ditto for the Americas and the Far East. They want it all. They call it a way of life.
They get tripped up by their own concept of time. They love and abhor their little clocks. Tick tock tick tock. Whitey has got to get something done. Wrapped up in there as well is an almost pathological fear of death. They don’t want to die. They fight it all the way. They will cut themselves up if it’ll shed a few years off the mirror. Their fear of death makes them secretly wish the end of the world is coming on their watch. No shit. They’ve been reading up on it and are astonished it has gone on this long. They are all tuckered out. What does it all mean? Blah. Let’s get to the bottom of this thing already. They cannot imagine the world going on without them. That is why they love a good end of the world twist to their story: zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, armageddon, ancient prophecies – whatever – they are onboard for all the worst case scenarios. “Panic in your head!” Whitey says so with wringing hands in brow furrowed worry on the outside and all goose-bumpy gleeful on the inside. But change? No, they won’t do that. It’s the overpopulation of others. It’s China and India getting into the game – putt putt fart fart.
Whitey will allow millions to perish then spend billions trying to save the last two. And they’ll pat each other on the back for doing just that. When faced with the truth of their technologically induced woes their answer is always for more of the same. “We can do it better.” Anything other than more technology is unthinkable. Anything other than more speed is absurd. More and more and more. Laptops will save African children. Robots will sweep the floors. Drones will fight the wars. Pills will calm the nerves, provide the boners, spread the happy. Solar panels will fill a niche. Put more air in your tires. Recycling is better than nothing. And nothing is what they cannot do. They would rather end the world right now than do nothing. For whitey it is the ultimate sin.