News thoughts – it’s weird out there

Did you ever realize that the one-child policy that China has been strictly enforcing for the last 35 years means that the current generation has grown up without brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, or cousins?  When their parents die, there will be no relatives at the funeral.

Venezuela has been suffering from a severe shortage of toilet paper. Public upset turned to rage when a senior government official declared that the problem was people eating too much.  This comes at a time when Venezuelans are also suffering a shortage of many staple foods. That’s government for you!

America is publicly puzzled over the surge in suicides, up 30% in the last decade within the 35-64 age group (two thirds of the 85 gun-deaths per day in the US are suicides). I’ve read many of the mainstream stories and they all seem to be missing the elephant in the room: Most Americans over 30 are on medication, and the most commonly prescribed medications are anti-depressants.

It’s kicking off big-time in Turkey just now. It was triggered by a local tree-protecting incident but exploded into discontent over the increasingly authoritarian state. The Islamic party in power promised to be secular, but people doubt this after it mandated which shade of red is acceptable for airline hostesses, and required that images of glasses or bottled of alcohol be blurred out on TV or movies. Inside story here:  from Turkey.
Turn your wheelchair into an earner! Wealthy Americans now bring a special aid when visiting crowded Disney World. They rent out a cripple at the going rate of $130 an hour and thus their party jumps all the queues. As a wheelchair user myself, I rarely use the “C” word, but this abuse of a thoughtful privilege makes me fume.
The current benefits system in the UK has 51 different categories of payment, accompanied by 10,000 pages explaining how to use them. I wonder (not really) how effectively the new trimmed down and fully computerized system will fare.

The American Contradiction – perfectly depressed

Perhaps it is common knowledge, but I was still surprised when I read, in the 29 Sept issue of New Scientist, that antidepressants are the most widely prescribed class of drugs in the USA. Considering that American spends more money by far on pharmaceutical dPaxiLexaProzacrugs than any other nation on Earth, this adds up to one hell of a lot of antidepressants. This is the real drug war the one that America lost decades ago. Whilst they hysterically seek to stamp out the smoking of herbs and psychedelic drug use, vast numbers of the population have drifted into long-term addiction to mind-altering drugs known to have damaging side effects associated with long-term use.

This just raises so many questions I don’t know where to start. For a start, I wonder what the implication are for the rest of the world, aside from the obvious disadvantage of having so much weaponry in the hands of such unhappy people? America has always set the bar for living standards throughout the world. They may not have had the best food or the finest clothes or the most brilliant design, but they had the highest disposable income, the biggest houses, the most food, most cars and roads, the best movies, the most doctors and lawyers and so forth, holding themselves up as the shining zenith of freedom and liberty and hard work. And now we find that America is, it would appear, the most depressed nation on earth; with the unhappiest people on the planet. I bet the people who run those pharmaceutical companies are not the least bit depressed about this state of affairs.

Meanwhile, it increasingly seems as if the “American Model” is that to which all nations of the world aspire. Worldwide dispersal of television has created a global desire for the American way of life, with access to clean water and plumbing, power and appliances, health care and medication, education and employment, transportation and housing, communications and computers, all now regarded as the natural birthright of anybody lucky enough to have been born a human being. We have only to go back a few generations to find few of these assumptions existing in a society that was perhaps, less depressed. Whilst I am not suggesting that any of these facilities create depression, it is quite obvious that they are not, of themselves, raising the enjoyment level of our existence. And we increasingly suspect that growing implementation of all the above is stretching our planet’s facilities past breaking point.

And if we should choose to do without all of the above, to live a simple life in harmony with the planet that hosts us, we would probably end up in jail, as I put forward in the chapter titled “Birthright Denied” in my first book, Uncommon Sense, the State is Out of Date.