An Epidemic of Loneliness

George Will

is a columnist for the Washington Post and his latest effort is titled, We have an epidemic of loneliness. How can we fix it?

Excerpts follow, but I would like to begin with this, which is frightening: “America’s largest job category is “driver” and, with self-driving vehicles coming, two-thirds of such jobs could disappear in a decade.”

I drove professionally and I do not just mean when driving a taxi. There were various driving gigs in varied places when younger. I once drove a brand new Ford Probe across the country from Atlanta to Los Angeles in less than three days. I slept, or more properly napped, only in rest areas, stopping to take only one shower in a truck stop along the way because of tremendous time pressure, something with which all Chess players can identify. The person contracted to drive the car to the architect who had won it in a raffle at an architectural convention in Atlanta pulled out at the last moment. The owner of the company called me because, as he put it, “You are the only driver who can get it there on time.” The car was delivered to the owner on time. He gave me a twenty dollar bill as a tip. Enraged, I said, While driving a taxi for Buckhead Safety Cab Mickey Mantle once gave me a fifty dollar bill for a three fifty fare!” The cheapskate just glared at me…

Another driving gig was transporting Bell South vehicles to various cities in Southern states. Vehicles heading to the larger cities would usually go via hauler because those drivers could transport multiple vehicles. The single vehicles heading to smaller cities had to transported by individuals such as yours truly. Some of the drivers had worked for an airline, which at the time meant Delta Airlines in Atlanta, and they could return home using their free miles, while I would have to return on my own, which meant the Greyhound bus or Amtrak. The older drivers had no desire to go to, for example, Lake Charles Louisiana.

I, on the other hand, loved heading to Lake Charles because it meant a trip to New Orleans, a visit with the sui generis Jude Frazier Acers,

the Chess King of Decatur street (https://www.oxfordamerican.org/magazine/item/456-the-chess-king-of-decatur-street) and a night on Bourbon Street, before heading to the Amtrak station, and a train leaving the next morning at seven, giving me plenty of time for sleep on the return trip.

George begins his column, “If Sen. Ben Sasse is right — he has not recently been wrong about anything important — the nation’s most-discussed political problem is entangled with the least-understood public-health problem. The political problem is furious partisanship. The public-health problem is loneliness. Sasse’s new book argues that Americans are richer, more informed and “connected” than ever — and unhappier, more isolated and less fulfilled.”

“In “Them: Why We Hate Each Other — and How to Heal,” Sasse’s subject is “the evaporation of social capital” — the satisfactions of work and community. This reflects a perverse phenomenon: What has come to count as connectedness is displacing the real thing. And matters might quickly become dramatically worse.”

“Loneliness in “epidemic proportions” is producing a “loneliness literature” of sociological and medical findings about the effect of loneliness on individuals’ brains and bodies, and on communities. Sasse (R-Neb.) says “there is a growing consensus” that loneliness — not obesity, cancer or heart disease — is the nation’s “number one health crisis.” “Persistent loneliness” reduces average longevity more than twice as much as does heavy drinking and more than three times as much as obesity, which often is a consequence of loneliness. Research demonstrates that loneliness is as physically dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and contributes to cognitive decline, including more rapid advance of Alzheimer’s disease. Sasse says, “We’re literally dying of despair,” of the failure “to fill the hole millions of Americans feel in their lives.”

“Work, which Sasse calls “arguably the most fundamental anchor of human identity,” is at the beginning of “a staggering level of cultural disruption” swifter and more radical than even America’s transformation from a rural and agricultural to an urban and industrial nation. At that time, one response to social disruption was alcoholism, which begat Prohibition. Today, one reason the average American life span has declined for three consecutive years is that many more are dying of drug overdoses — one of the “diseases of despair” — annually than died during the entire Vietnam War. People “need to be needed,” but McKinsey & Co. analysts calculate that, globally, 50 percent of paid activities — jobs — could be automated by currently demonstrated technologies. America’s largest job category is “driver” and, with self-driving vehicles coming, two-thirds of such jobs could disappear in a decade.”

I hope you will read the entire column.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/we-have-an-epidemic-of-loneliness-how-can-we-fix-it/2018/10/12/e8378a38-cd92-11e8-920f-dd52e1ae4570_story.html?utm_term=.e87c12c89089

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Trump Decides to Let It All Hang Out and Throw Junior Under the Bus

My off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush, confidential source in the Trump Administration, Deep Doo, reports that Team Trump, led by Rudy Giuliani,

agreed yesterday to a drastic change in defense strategy. Some wanted to go the Nixxonian route of a “Limited hang-out,” but were overruled. The prevaricator in charge decided to “Let it all hang out,” and admitted what most have known for a long time, that Donald Trump Jr. colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election, at not one, as had been the story, but two meetings at Trump Tower. Trump tweeted it was all, “…totally legal and done all the time in politics.” The Trumpster has a point. Consider this:

When a Candidate Conspired With a Foreign Power to Win An Election

It took decades to unravel Nixon’s sabotage of Vietnam peace talks. Now, the full story can be told.

By JOHN A. FARRELL

August 06, 2017

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/06/nixon-vietnam-candidate-conspired-with-foreign-power-win-election-215461

George Will Confirms Nixon’s Vietnam Treason
by
Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/08/12/george-will-confirms-nixons-vietnam-treason

Then there was Iran Contra…

New Reports Say 1980 Reagan Campaign Tried to Delay Hostage Release

By NEIL A. LEWIS

Deep Doo also reports Team Trump decided to release theme music to go with the new “Let it all hang out” policy. One of the older members of the administration recalled a song from the 1960’s, a song originally done by Jonathan King. The original Top 30 UK smash Let It All Hang Out, was a hit all over Europe with sales of over a million.

The Don of the Trump Crime Family could not recall the song, saying, “That’s not the song I remember! Everyone knows I love Great England, but I’m trying to Make America Great Again. Find the American version!” When found the song was played, prompting the Trumpster to say, “Now you’re talking my language. I LOVE this version!”

Then a newer version by John Cougar Mellencamp was located and it was viewed:

After the viewing it was decided by the Don to use the earlier version, by the Hombres, as the “official” song to go with the new “Let it all hang out” policy.

On the MSNBC show A. M. Joy, Sunday morning attorney Ellie Mystal (https://abovethelaw.com/) said, “I’m a father. I do not know what it takes to throw your own son under the bus on Twitter “cause you’re angry at nine o’clock in the morning.” This can be found around fourteen minutes into the program.

http://www.msnbc.com/am-joy/watch/trump-tweet-on-meeting-with-russians-totally-legal-i-did-not-know-1292682307687

There have been reports of the Trump Crime Family turning on each other as the Mueller probe causes the walls to close in on the Trumpsters.

Trials of Donald Jr turn Russia scandal into another Trump family affair

Though the president is fiercely loyal to his children, some observers wonder if deepening and dangerous controversy might test such bonds to breaking point.

It was an unseasonably cool day in New York. At 1.50pm on 9 June, Hillary Clinton tweeted that Barack Obama was backing her for US president. Half an hour later, Donald Trump tweeted: “Obama just endorsed Crooked Hillary.” At 2.27pm, Clinton replied: “Delete your account”. It was the most retweeted post of her campaign.

Just before 4pm, several figures passed through the shiny marble atrium of Trump Tower and took the elevator up to the office of Donald Trump Jr on the 25th floor, one below that of his father. Among them was Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian lawyer, and Rinat Akhmetshin, a Russian American lobbyist and former Soviet military officer.

What passed between them remains a matter of uncertain recollections and international intrigue. The meeting was kept secret for more than a year. When news of it first emerged last Saturday, the world was provided with the first public evidence that Trump campaign officials met with Russians in an attempt to swing the election – the political crime of the century. A steady drip of damning details followed.

It also showed that a scandal frequently compared to Watergate goes right to the heart of the Trump family business. The president’s oldest son had handed investigators and journalists the much sought-after smoking gun. The president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting and failed to declare it. The president’s daughter, Ivanka, faces continued scrutiny over her own role in the White House.

Like everything else, Trump does not do nepotism by halves. His three sons and two daughters have been seen as a political asset – even Clinton once said during an otherwise rancorous presidential debate: “I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald.”

But recent events beg the question of whether they are becoming a liability. And, some ponder, is Trump certain to remain loyal to them, or would he throw his own son under the bus if it was politically expedient?
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/16/donald-trump-jr-russia-scandal-ivanka-jared-kushner

Donald Trump Jr is hawking a book. The Art of the Plea Deal, anyone?

By Arwa Mahdawi

The president’s son wants to make literature great again. But considering his legal troubles, I would not be surprised to find that his tome throws his dad under the bus

Wed 13 Jun 2018 01.00 EDT
Last modified on Wed 13 Jun 2018 05.59 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/13/donald-trump-jr-is-hawking-a-book-the-art-of-the-plea-deal-anyone

It was obviously a matter of time before someone from the Trump Crime Family

was thrown under the bus. The only question seemed to be which Trumpster?

When asked what he thought about his father throwing him under the bus, the Junior Don said, “I am reminded of a line from a song by Iggy Pop and The Stooges.”

“The Departed”

Where is the life we started?
Yesterday’s a door opening for the departed.

The life of the party’s gone
The guests are still remained,
Know they’ll stay a little longer.

Party girls will soon get old,
Party boys will lie them.
Both the sexes soon grow cold
And tears caught to their eyes

Serious talks, no fun,
And when the lights go out
You feel like you wanna run.

Cause there’s no one here but us,
By the end of the game we all get thrown under the bus.

I can’t feel nothing real,
My lights are all burned out.
I can’t feel nothing real.

What is the point of friendship?
It’s nobody’s fault, but this nightlife is just a death trip.
You think you’re getting hot steel
But in the light of day everything’s a dirty deal.

And yesterday’s a door that’s opening for the departed
Yesterday’s a door that’s opening for the departed
So where is the life we started?
Where is the life we started?

There have been many twists and turns in the saga of the Trump Crime Family, but who would ever have guessed Donald Trump Junior listened to Iggy Pop? Maybe he just liked the movie?