Ups and Downs

What’s news? Hmm. Let’s take a peek at the clickbait: Oil spikes back above $100 a barrel. Hmm. Then I see “If U.S. gets less than 5% of its oil from Russia why is gas pushing five bucks a gallon?”. Are we running out of fossil fuels? I don’t think so. Ask Joe Manchin about it.

Beef prices are ramping way up, too. Are we running out of cattle? No way. According to the latest Hightower Lowdown, the price of beef and most everything else in the supermarket costs more only because of corporate greed. Jim states that nearly every economic sector in the US (from high tech to farm and food) has been locked down by a handful of overpowering corporate giants. It’s 21st century consolidation of ownership of just about everything we need (or just want) with little competition to keep prices–well, competitive. Can you say monopoly? It’s euphemized by the corporatists as “pricing power”. During the pandemic some of the big dogs–Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark among others–have scored massive profits. Whatever supply-chain shortages may have impacted costs, these behemoths could easily absorb the expense and keep prices from spiking. But Gordon Gecko rules the CEO offices of corporate America, and we all know what he had to say about greed being good. Just ask Joe Manchin.

What else is heading skyward? Oh, right. The Fed is raising interest rates. Need a loan to pay for some necessities? Like gas or beef? Pay up. (Of course, those 1%-ers barely notice these cost increases. They have been the beneficiaries of trillions of dollars being transferred from the working class to their leisure class. Can you say Reaganomics?). Ask Joe Manchin.

Then there’s evermore dire studies indicating our climate is collapsing. There’s a years-long drought that has the American West drying up. Up? In this case, it’s not a matter of alarming increases, but rather decreases. Lake Powell is slowly disappearing. A recent study states from 2000 to 2021, the West has became its driest in 1200 years. Thus, we are running out of water, but with little meaningful action being taken, here and abroad, we apparently must have a large supply of time with which to solve this problem. Again, ask Joe Manchin about it.

Other news of the day: BA2 is looming large. That’s an Omicron variant making its presence felt in Europe. The UK Health Security Agency shows that the BA2 subvariant of Omicron is growing at about 80% faster than BA1. So maybe think twice about going into some packed Irish bar today (St.Patty’s!) thinking we have have come out of the other end of the tunnel. Well, perhaps we have, but seemingly the daylight between the original Covid tunnel, then the Delta tunnel, then the BA1 tunnel may forever lead into yet another tunnel. So, there’s that. And don’t worry about the 5 buck a gallon gas in your SUV tank that will get you to that bar, or the jacked up price of the corned beef sandwich, or asking for some water–unless you are partying in Lake Havasu or Vegas. And even then–ah fuck it. You think Joe Manchin cares about it?

Oh, and then there’s the dread of a nuclear war. If that happens, then all of the above won’t matter, anyway. All problems solved. All anxieties, angst, anger and aggravation of trying to simply live a life without all the rip-offs and creepy autocratic attempts to control us and exploit us will be alleviated. And maybe just as well. All arrows have been pointing downward for the better part of all of of lives. If we get nuked, I’ll be comforted in knowing that Joe Manchin will become radioactive toast, too. That thought calls for a double Jameson on the rocks.


About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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