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Nederlog


  December
8, 2013
Crisis: David Simon, TYT-graphic, personal
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
"
   -- I.F. Stone.











Sections
Introduction
  1. David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country
       is a horror show'

  2. Wall Big Shot Sums Up America's Biggest Problem
  3. Personal 
About ME/CFS

Introduction

This is another crisis item. It is from a weekend, in which there tends to be less crisis-related materials in the papers, and this is also the case the present weekend.

In fact, it is Sunday today and I found just one article that is dedicated to the crisis, namely an edited speech by David Simon in the Observer. Since this is a fairly long article and also a good one, I will quote and comment some more from it than I would have if there would have been more crisis materials.

Also, there is a second crisis related item, but it is not an article but a video by The Young Turks.

Finally, there is a brief personal bit.

1. David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show'

To start with, the edited speech by  David Simon in the Observer:

This starts as follows:

America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It's astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.

Yes, that is also my strong impression. One difference between David Simon (<- Wikipedia) and myself is that he is an American; another difference is that he created The Wire, which was an American crime drama television series, that was also set in Baltimore. (Since I do not have a TV, I also did not see any of The Wire.)

After the first paragraph there is a fairly lengthy argument about Marx, marxism, capitalism and socialism, that ends as follows:

Ultimately we abandoned that and believed in the idea of trickle-down and the idea of the market economy and the market knows best, to the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought. It's astonishing to me. But it is. People are saying I don't need anything but my own ability to earn a profit. I'm not connected to society. I don't care how the road got built, I don't care where the firefighter comes from, I don't care who educates the kids other than my kids. I am me. It's the triumph of the self. I am me, hear me roar.

Yes, indeed: It is especially the last part that seems true - and I must say that, from my own point of view this is the outcome of a combination of lack of brains, egoism, and lack of education, and this mindset took some 30 to 40 years to be produced in and accepted by the majority, although it is complete baloney. (Everyone depends on tenthousands of persons, even simply to get the daily needs satisfied. See also my "On Deception")

So what people have got now is this:

Instead we've descended into what can only be described as greed. This is just greed. This is an inability to see that we're all connected, that the idea of two Americas is implausible, or two Australias, or two Spains or two Frances.

Actually, what it comes down to is that there are two Americas: One for the rich, and another for the very much larger class of the poor, and where what remains of the middle class is mostly pushed into poverty.

This resulted in the following kind of society:

And so in my country you're seeing a horror show. You're seeing a retrenchment in terms of family income, you're seeing the abandonment of basic services, such as public education, functional public education. You're seeing the underclass hunted through an alleged war on dangerous drugs that is in fact merely a war on the poor and has turned us into the most incarcerative state in the history of mankind (...)

Yes - and the odd thing is that many of the poor are so deluded, so greedy, so egoistic, or so stupid that they believe the propaganda fairy tales that the media fed to them: They will triumph, and they will belong to the 1%, and fuck the rest - and nearly all forget that the 1% that are rich, in the present American system requires 99% to be poor, which means that very few of the poor will make it.

Next, although David Simon started with a consideration of Marx and Marxism, he is not a marxist. In fact, he is a believer in a mixed economy:

I'm utterly committed to the idea that capitalism has to be the way we generate mass wealth in the coming century. That argument's over. But the idea that it's not going to be married to a social compact, that how you distribute the benefits of capitalism isn't going to include everyone in the society to a reasonable extent, that's astonishing to me.

I agree - but let me explain why: the main reasons that socialism-without-capitalism doesn't work is that it did not solve the problems of egoism, of limitation and of power.

Egoism refers to the fact that nearly all men and women live for themselves, their families, and their friends, and don't know and don't care for nearly everybody else; limitation refers to the fact that there are no men who can survey all or most that happens in any country; and power refers to the fact that socialism means that the top of the political class effectively owns the means of production, very much rather than the workers.

As to the social compact: I agree, although I think the explanation that this mostly collapsed is due to the egoism and stupidity of great parts of the working class, who bought into the - completely false and self-contradictory - argument that they will become part of the 1% of the rich.

Next, there is this on "market forces":

The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile.

Yes, and that is putting it friendly. Those who - pretend to - believe that "the market" solves all or most problems in fact believe that only the rich should have any say so in social matters. For "market forces" = "the rich": Only the rich owners or CEOs of corporations and businesses decide what the markets will do - and they will be mostly concerned about their own monetary profits.

Near the end there is this:

Right now capital has effectively purchased the government, and you witnessed it again with the healthcare debacle in terms of the $450m that was heaved into Congress, the most broken part of my government, in order that the popular will never actually emerge in any of that legislative process.

Yes, you can currently buy senators and congressmen, and besides only rich men (with very few exceptions) can get to be senator or congressman.

2. Wall Big Shot Sums Up America's Biggest Problem 

Next, a video of a little over 5 minutes by The Young Turks, that in fact is dedicated to the same problem:

In fact, it is mostly about the following statistic, that derives from the US Congressional Budget Office:


Also, the problem started about 35 years ago, in 1979. Clearly, this graphic is a major argument something went very wrong then, and has remained wrong ever since.
In fact, what has gone wrong is that the rich pay far less taxes than the rest of society (and no: nothing has "trickled down': those are just lies).

3. Personal

Finally, a brief personal item:

I've written the last month several times about Stephanie Faulkner, who has the unique distinction of being the first woman I had a real and mutually loving relationship with, when I was 21-22 and she was 29-30, and I have said that I was copying her mails, and might publish them this or the next month.

I have copied all her mails from 1971 and 1972, but I probably will not publish them.

The main reason is that it seems to me far more probable that her letters will be misunderstood than not, and also that she is dead since 1996.

It is probable that I will write some more about her, although that will probably not interest many, simply because she was important to me, and because she was special.

But publishing her letters after 40+ years needs too many explanations, and even with the explanations she most probably will be misunderstood by those who did not know her personally.

---------------------------------
Note

[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, thay the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servant of laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to
facilitate search machine) which is a disease that I have since 1.1. 1979:

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

2. Malcolm Hooper THE MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT:  
PERSECUTION OF PATIENTS?
3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
9.
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)



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