~Meniscus Archives~

Spring 2004
Issue #3

February - April 2004

Sex, Not Just for Teenagers
Mr. Ruggles

Like No Other Time, by Tom Daschle
A review
by Kristi Spurrier

Maintaining Spirituality in the Void We Call America
Mr. Ruggles
Libra Seeking Balance
Melissa Bator
What 2004 Means to Me
The Tonic
Bush's Capitalism: 21st Century Entropy
Jon Heinrich
Don't Think Twice,
It's Alright

Mike Kirkpatrick
Cows in the Road
Dan Berthiaume
Love, at 100
Pete Pidgeon
Summer's Freckles
Wes Ratko
Not a Love Story
Sarah Erdreich
Miami New Years
Team Meniscus
Tuckerman Ravine
Jon Heinrich
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Ten tips for a successful Jazzfest
Chrystie Hopkins
Meniscus New Years Picks
Bootyjuice is a Band
Derek Gumuchian
One Double Grande Instrumental, Please (Hold the Flavored Syrup):
A Review of
Self-Titled Debut

Brian Gagné
Show Review:
Vida Blue, 1/3/04
Jackie Gleason Theatre, Miami, FL

Jon Heinrich
CD Review:
Spaceship Integration
Live From Nowhere

CD Review:
The Recipe
All You Can Eat
Love Is...
-Ryan Collins
Traded for Monkeys,
Livid [In Tall Grass]
What a Calamity!

-Brian Gagné
Meniscus Premier Launch Party
Zeitgeist Gallery
Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 14, 2003

Metro Saturdays hosts
Meniscus Portland Launch
Sky Bar @ The Roxy
Portland, Maine
August 30, 2003

State of the Art
Lounge Ten
Boston, Massachussets
October 23, 2003


Bush's Capitalism:

21st Century Entrophy

Jon Heinrich
Published 2/14/04

While the American capitalistic system has proven in recent decades to be the most successful socio-political system in the world, in the age of the 21st century, mother Earth seems to have come up against the U.S., as it’s most prominent enemy. Let’s step back as the dominant culture for a moment, and think about how we may bring progress to the shores of our children’s time.

When speaking upon how the Bush administration handles capitalism, William Greider, veteran columnist and author, says progress from the 20th century is rolling back. “There’s nothing inherent to the functional principles of capitalism that requires it to be that way. There’s no reason for such cost consequences. That’s a value choice made by people who have power within the system.”

It’s time to become aware of the system we all participate in, and find solutions to the problems we all contribute to.

Like any society throughout time, there is a definitive distribution of the haves and the have-nots, in the U.S. today. To put this in the words of Karl Marx, we may classify these two groups as the bourgeois and the proletariat, respectively. Traditionally, the bourgeois is the ruling class, occupying the wealth and the power. Today, roughly two percent of the population holds 80 percent of the wealth.

Currently, our system is set up so that this ruling class, once on top, remains on top. This is for one inherent reason: money is power. To prove this point, one would only have to go as far as campaign financing. If one candidate has more money than the other, he or she is simply able to launch a more comprehensive campaign than the other. Even if one opponent is a genius and the other is a jackass, the one with more monetary support will no doubt be elected.

This becomes a much more complicated game when you look one layer past the political puppets that are elected to make ethically-just decisions for our country. It is no seceret that many individuals or companies would like to have a powerful say in the legislation of our government. In order for them to achieve these political aims, all they have to do is find a candidate who is willing to “sell” his agenda to the highest bidder. Next, the company puts millions of dollars towards the puppet’s campaign fund, gets him elected, and as a reciprocal favor, requests that certain laws are bent in their favor.

Not only are we basing our political system on the highest bidder, these companies and/or individuals don’t necessarily have the public’s best intentions in mind.

For example, when Bush took office, to protect mining companies from the costs of shipping waste to an appropriate facility, the water regulations were rewritten by the administration so the waste could be classified as “fill”, and cost-effectively dumped in nearby streams. Now we have individuals benefiting from our polluted water.

During a campaign, candidates argue ideologies and not necessarily specific issues. So when a candidate is elected to office, he is free to make any decision he wishes, no matter what the constituents say. If we’ve elected this person based on his ideologies, there is nothing to prevent him from acting any way he chooses—democratic system or not.

As the ruling class then effectively alters the laws of the country, they reap more monetary profit and the cycle continues. But whose best intentions do they have in mind?

The hypocrisy of ideological leadership is found in the current president’s stance against abortion. The most fundamental argument of the pro-life opinionist is that we can not kill innocent children without giving them a chance. They would argue that only God has the right to make decisions of life or death and the people involved (i.e. the mother) does not have a say.

Ok, so the ideology behind this stance is based on the tenant that “thou shall not kill,” fair enough.

However, when it comes to making a life or death decision about people in other countries that do not share our views, we have carte blanche to dish out “justice” with our incredible military machine and vast resources. When it comes to 8,000 civilian deaths in Iraq, we never hear a mention. For some reason, aborting a fetus in a medical clinic is bad, but the concept of shocking and awing a densely populated city with thousands of bombs, is okay with our current Administration.

Where does ideology come in when we fund a government that uses depleted uranium-tipped bombs to kill those with oil under their houses? This is the same group of people that say, even though a woman may have been raped, she should be forced to bear the responsibility of a child, even without the resources to provide for it.

So the tenant becomes “thou shall not kill—unless they have something we want.”

The problem with our capitalistic system is that there are no restraints on the power of greed.

George W. Bush has close ties to the oil industry. Coincidently, he ousted the man that stood in the way between his oil cronies and more control over the world. Is the American public blind to this blatant abuse of the American military machine, or do we not have the power to affect the actions of our government? I thought this was a republic, where citizens are entitled to vote and the elected officers are responsible to the people. I missed the part when the Commander and Chief asked his constituents if we wanted to send our children to war.

Up until this administration there was no doubt that capitalism was the paramount political system out there. Now our system allows this unjust action to take place. The abuse of power is broadcast all over the papers of the world, yet it seems there is nothing we could have done, save Ralph Nader, to stop this greed-rooted debacle from transpiring.

Proletariats strive for success, which in the U.S., is appropriately measured by money and the accumulation of material luxuries. Our desire for these things is rooted firmly in the most prominent weakness of human nature: greed.

It can be greed for power, status, wealth, sex, comfort, sports cars, mansions and anything available at Macy’s. It seems we can never become satisfied and rid ourselves of the wantonness for these things. As a result, we are forced to accept a world where you live a life based on stuff.

The capitalistic system has the wool pulled over so many eyes. The proletariats are slaves because the bourgeois know how to lock onto basic human desires and weaknesses and own people by them. How many years of your life do you slave away for air conditioning? For beer? For a new car, a plasma television and on-demand cable? We could be sleeping in and enjoying time with our families everyday if it weren’t for material lust.

If it were not for these distractions however, we might become bored with our lives. If this happened, we might begin to examine what all this means. If we did not have the “bread and circus”—the decadence to distract us from the real problems in the world—we might decide as a population, to search for a better way.

The system—this hamster wheel that we all run on—in and of itself, is not harmful. However, when you look at the tremendous inputs and outputs that we exert on the Earth and the rest of its inhabitants, that is where we begin to see the problem.

In order to fuel our fanciful excursions to Disneyland, we must get there. Unfortunately, the nature of greed suggests bigger-is-better to the successful upper class. So instead of driving our families in a fuel-efficient hybrid electric car, we (all four of us) hop into our new Ford Expeditions, getting 15 miles-per-gallon, and lug an extra couple tons of steel around with us everywhere we go. (It may seem counterintuitive in a greenhouse gas-filled world, but damn it feels good!)

It is good and fine that we keep ourselves busy with this hamster wheel of activity. The opposition of parties, although often conflicting, keeps society moving towards progress. Without it we wouldn’t have the Internet, where human consciousness is mingling on new levels everyday.

If only we didn’t have that one fatal flaw: We are destroying the earth and taking everyone down with us.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s use the pressure of natural resource depletion to improve and take steps forward towards renewable energy. Instead of loosening restrictions, let’s find alternatives.

We have plenty of problems to attack, why should we be creating new ones with war? As long as we have politicians from the energy industry, we will never see intentional change—more like intentional blocking of new solutions.

So instead of talking about republican versus democrat; free-market versus environmentalism and social welfare; we should simply ask what we want our political system to do for our country in the long term. We must look at the big picture and see what our system is doing to the earth and world in terms of pollution, global warming and land use.

We must utilize the scholars and not necessarily the industrialists. Begin visualizing ahead of the myriad, to insight, knowledge, and wisdom; social recognition of the possibility of worldwide class enhancement. Start thinking about a beneficial system of motivation without the failures of communism. We as the dominator culture, need to lead change instead of destruction. Until then, it will be a world filled with mosquitoes that we create, because our livelihood is based on selling “OFF”.

Until then, think about this parable of a man in a situation we can relate to: A healthy fisherman in his late thirties sat at a local pub with his buddy, explaining the remarkable success he has found with his fishing business. “With just my boat,” he explained “I am able to provide a comfortable living for me and my family.” His forward-thinking buddy then began to offer him his ideas of success: “Why don’t you work extra hard for a year and put the money you reap towards another fishing boat. That way you’ll have double the profit for your time. Soon you will be able to hire a full crew, get a full fleet of boats and take advantage of the skills God has given you. Then by the time you reach old age,” he continued, “you’ll be able to retire so you can sleep in everyday and do the things you want to with your family. All of your time will be yours!” The fisherman smiled gently and responded, “dear friend, that’s how it is now.”

Jon Heinrich

Meniscus Magazine © 2004. All material is property of respective artists.