"They who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin 
| "All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country
is a horror show'
2. Wall Big Shot Sums Up
America's Biggest Problem
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.
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.
there is a second crisis related item, but it is not an article but a
video by The Young Turks.
there is a brief personal bit.
Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a
To start with, the edited speech
by David Simon in the Observer:
starts as follows:
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.)
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.
After the first paragraph there is a fairly lengthy argument about Marx, marxism, capitalism and
that ends as follows:
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.
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")
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
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.
resulted in the following kind of society:
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
that the media
fed to them: They will triumph, and they will belong to
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
that very few of the poor will make it.
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 (...)
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
I agree -
but let me explain why: the main reasons that
socialism-without-capitalism doesn't work is that it did not solve the
egoism, of limitation and of power.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Near the end there is
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.
Big Shot Sums Up America's Biggest Problem
a video of a little over 5 minutes by The Young Turks, that in fact is
dedicated to the same problem:
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
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).