The Mind of James Donahue

Store Zombies

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Shoppers Lured To Spend What They Don't Have 


I remember when the brainwashing of America was much more subtle than it seems to be today. We used to find words or suggestive images buried within pictures in magazine or newspaper advertisements, or catch subliminal messages in the elevator music that battered our ears in the grocery stores.


Nothing subtle going on now. The promoters are so crass I am surprised that the people dont see right through their schemes.


But they dont.


Isnt it fishy that America was suddenly experiencing an economic upturn and people reportedly going back to work just before Thanksgiving? That all of this good news should fall on us just before the stores open their doors for the big Christmas shopping frenzy?


I think our government and its controlled media was (and still is) busy gambling that good news at this critical hour will get unemployed and frightened Americans out to the malls and buying on those already overtaxed credit cards. The theory is that if enough people think the good times are here again, they will be. After all, the economy of America has been on pure faith for years now. We did away with the gold and silver standards a long time ago.


Maybe it is working. We see news clips every night about store frenzy. One announcer said the toys in one store were "literally flying off the shelves." The strategy may have worked.


And maybe not.


You can only go so far on a limited supply of cash. And from where I sit, I dont see many people working, or spending. The stores doing the best business are the discount groceries, the dollar stores and, of course, Wal-Mart, where people still believe they can get a bargain.


The factories in my town still sit idle. The people who worked in them have either moved away or are drawing the last of their unemployment. Their houses are up for sale with no buyers. More and more bank foreclosures are happening. Local governments are scrambling to get enough money together to keep police, fire and other basic public services operating. The County Board of Commissioners in my area declared last week that major layoffs loom for 2004 and that the county may be so broke by 2005 the courthouse doors will be closed.


That doesnt sound like prosperity to me.  But then, maybe we are unique to the rest of the country. Maybe things are prosperous in other areas. I have relatives and friends all over the United States and they dont report things much better where they are either.


Maybe it is happening in Texas where George W. Bush lives. For some reason he seems to think the economy is doing just fine. Just ask him.


Dont let the occasional rebounds in the stock market fool you. The stock market reacts to profits and losses experienced by the big corporations. And they are doing a lot of their business outside of the United States these days. Especially when it comes to manufacturing goods.


If they dont have cheap overseas labor building our products, robots are doing it in the U.S.  You can be sure the labor force is not getting called back to the jobs that once existed here. They are gone for good.


Dont let the drop in unemployment numbers fool you either. They are going down because thousands of people are dropping off the unemployment payment rolls. They are just out of work and out of luck. If they aren't doing working at some public service job for minimum wage they are probably among the nations new homeless.


Since Mr. Bush moved into the White House his administration has drained a cash surplus, started two expensive wars that are going poorly, and driven our national debt up by trillions of dollars; so deep even our grandchildren probably wont see it paid off.


And while you wont see it reported by the American media, the foreign press is saying the American dollar is dropping like a stone in value.


I know Fox News and the conservative radio talk show hosts wouldn't agree with my assessment of things. But then, I am not whizzed up these days on pills that make folks see the world through rose colored glasses.


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