Saturday, September 21, 2013

Supermarket Stink Eye At The Checkout

"I do apologize for burdening you on the checkout line with real-life images of American-style poverty. I know you probably believe the only true starving people in the world have flies buzzing around their eyes while they wallow away, near-lifeless in gutters. (...) But I've known people recently -- soldiers in the Army -- who were in the first and third. They were off fighting in Afghanistan while their wives were at home, buying food at the on-post commissary with food stamps. And nobody bats an eye there, because it's not uncommon in the military.It's not uncommon -- nor is it shameful." (Kirell)

"But even Mama Bears can get caught off-guard. A couple of weeks ago, I was out with my running group, and we got to talking about Romney’s now infamous 47 percent. A heated back and forth ensued about federal assistance and those who abuse it, with a few anecdotes tossed in for good measure. “Abby, you know you’ve seen the woman at Safeway using her food stamps and then hopping in her Mercedes,” one woman said.
Well, no, I actually had not seen that particular woman before. At least not until last month. But I do know that a man — my husband — was using food assistance at a Wegman’s and then driving away in our 13-year-old Subaru with 170,000 miles on it. Does that change the story? Should we sell our car and get a make and model more befitting of someone receiving federal assistance? Or maybe there is a grocery store designated solely for food assistance users? This is all new to me." (Henson)

The people with the “evil eye” at the checkout counter are those who walk into a public place with so much prejudice and misconception so as to judge everyone's book by what they perceive to be its cover. Painting everyone with just such a broad brush is what taints your ability to think rationally although they consider this method of observation to be valid.
What is known is that human behavior is complex, thus making prediction especially at the individual level difficult to impossible. These critics have no idea what the circumstances are for those whom the need arose which raises huge transference issues grounded in the new RW pseudoscience. That Mercedes at the welfare office, supermarket or commissary or Walmart or PX that they may consider to be a social artifact may have been a borrowed vehicle or just a well off relative lending a helping hand, and those people using EBT cards may be descending upon the store in question in relation to recent issuance of benefits, something they may have been waiting all month to do. Actually these people should be lauded for attempting to achieve the most savings they can by shopping at this very same store that the better off feel so privileged to patronize while appearing to feel that those more fortunate should be in a more exclusive category that should receive some preferential treatment or opportunity to shop without these "takers" becoming an obstacle in their path.
Although it appears that person-centered ethnographers would have a field day with RW's particular brand of social evaluations drawn from direct obervations they might begin by at least perusing Weber's standards for sociologists. Qualitative research is not considered an appropriate means of coming to accurate statistical descriptions of large groups of people either.

You know very well who should be giving the stink eye and whom it needs to be directed towards: the voters against the Tea Party Taliban driven Republicans who are up for reelection in 2014. Because their treatment of the less fortunate among us stinks to high heaven. 


Saturday, April 6, 2013

North Korea Is No Danger to Republic of Philippines

North Korean suicidal intentions not withstanding, they are expert at "stirring the pot" to gain strategic advantage and are now playing the nuclear card for all its worth. Instead of permitting direct talks to develop through the "gang of six" the DPRK has chosen direct confrontation to keep itself on the world stage. An invasion of South Korea by the north would be a logistical nightmare that grinds to a halt nearly as soon as it crosses the DMZ. There exists nearly no serious threat to other ASEAN countries other than discarded test missile stages from time to time.

Chinese influence peddling by DPRK as proxy is a possibility, however unlikely. A cold war  unilaterally initiated by China without regard for it's recent economic doldrums is more ominous than any bleating by North Korean war sheep. However at the moment China is rather preoccupied by concerns over Bird Flu ramifications and ASEAN countries should be wary of how this affects the recent 40% rise of Chinese tourism overseas.

CNN sensationalism notwithstanding, I wouldn't lose any sleep over any any threats to Japan, the Republic of the Philippines or ASEAN countries outside of South Korea at this time or in the immediate future especially from North Korea. The Balikatan exercises in the RP of only 12 days duration (ideal to utilize Reserve units for their "summer camps") have been going on for many years and have become more relevant recently in light of what the RP Foreign Secretary himself remarked on the latest training evolution: "For our region excessive and exaggerated maritime and territorial claims have not only created uncertainty but have undermined the rule of law,' Del Rosario said in a speech at the nation's military headquarters in Manila. "Regional peace and stability have been placed at serious risk.' Del Rosario later said he was referring specifically to China." ( )

As Reuters has also pointed out in it's reporting, the RP lost it's tactical air component a decade ago after retirement of it's F-5 aircraft and has never replaced them. They have purchased older airframes only suitable for transport and logistics support for disaster relief operations, so that part of the current exercise is highly useful where only the U.S. can support such large scale operations to make this equipment operational and train some troops in the process.

Quite obviously the RP benefits from it's 61 year Mutual Defense Treaty as do other ASEAN countries in the region. The recent posturing of North Korea only plays into U.S. strategic designs to move military assets back into the area to strengthen these ties. Remember that a state of war has always existed on the Korean peninsula. South Korea is capable of defeating the DPRK and the U.S. has the actual capability to rapidly double these defense forces in theater in a matter of hours in most cases. However the urban warfare that could in likelihood erupt in Seoul is a major concern and would cause widespread suffering in South Korea. Therefore the real threat is to the region's economy and subsequently the world economy. The developed countries struggling to regain economic prosperity after continuing deflation in Japan's case and the failure of austerity programs in Europe have more to lose than the developing world which has been expanding albeit in a more restrained fashion thus almost flying under the radar of most not directly involved in the world of finance itself or even aware of actual foreign affairs.