When Only Help, Helps

By Thomas Kochman - 07.05.2010

The current Republican stance that places concern over the deficit that “threaten to shake market confidence and saddle future generations with record public debts” as the reason for not extending unemployment is, as usual, bad timing and misguided.

Besides showing an appalling lack of compassion for those out of work –many of those jobs will be permanently lost regardless of how well the economy bounces back— it reflects once again the skewed Republican concern with ideology and political posturing over direct help, like attempting to stem the flow of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS by counseling abstinence, or the demand for drugs by telling people to “Just say, No!”

Apart from questioning the economic wisdom of scaling back spending –many economists and the present administration are arguing that more money needs to be spent by consumers to keep the economy going, not less— it shows once again Republican indifference to the lives of ordinary people. Read more »

The Elixir Complex

By Thomas Kochman - 12.20.2009

Frank Rich’s op ed column “Tiger Woods, Person of the Year” characterizes the fraudulent image that Tiger Woods perpetrated as a big “con” although not nearly in the same category as the illusions created by leaders who “marketed to us on the way to Iraq” or those “titans who legally created and sold the securities that gamed and then wrecked the system.”

Yet the question is raised who is responsible for being taken in by the images and illusions that others directly or indirectly promote.

There seems to be little doubt that we are a nation of hucksters, people constantly preying on our fears or greed to sell us something. After all, isn’t that what politics, capitalism and advertising is all about? Yet despite what we know and the warning signs — buyer beware — that surround us we continue to be taken in. As Rich says, “We keep being fooled by leaders in all sectors of American life, over and over.”

So, as any good anthropologist or therapist would say, “What’s going on, here?” Read more »