Skip to comments.Americans are mad as hell (The Leftist view from Canada)
Posted on 07/02/2011 2:13:22 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
My niece saved a woman's life last month. She was in a pool outside Denver when she noticed that a woman who had been doing laps had vanished. She enlisted the aid of a panicked, 17-yearold lifeguard to get the drowning woman out of the pool, then administered CPR until the woman brought forth a geyser of pool water just as the ambulance technicians arrived.
Despite the near-death experience, the woman was sufficiently aware to protest. "I didn't drown," she told the technicians. "You don't need to take me in the ambulance. I can't afford it."
That is America in the 21st century: still wealthy, still powerful - but unable or unwilling to provide basic services at an affordable cost that citizens in most industrial democracies take for granted, to the point where a woman who has almost drowned tries to refuse an ambulance ride.
Nor is the country likely to find enlightenment any time soon, because America is adrift on a wave of anger, in denial of the most obvious political truths:
Medicare works. Gun control works. Ruinously expensive wars in farflung corners of the world always end badly.
It all seems so painfully clear. So why doesn't the U.S. get it, you ask? Part of the answer today lies in the anger industry: billions of dollars poured into a nationwide propaganda effort, enlisting the frustrated and the uncomprehending in a massive effort on behalf of billionaires like Rupert Murdoch, who are behind the scenes pulling the levers.
Monday, the United States of America will celebrate its 235th anniversary. Impossibly old for any human not named Methuselah, still a relative babe in the annals of nations. In a little more than two centuries, the U.S. has been both the beacon of freedom and the dark force undermining the legitimate nationalist aspirations of people from Vietnam to Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
In its 235-year history, the U.S. has fought one of the most brutal and destructive civil wars in human history - a war fought, in the land of the free, to decide whether one human being has the right to own another.
America supplied the wealth and military power that proved pivotal in two world wars, then betrayed the values for which it fought so gloriously by getting involved (despite the prescient warning of former general and president Dwight D. Eisenhower) in a never-ending series of nasty little wars in faraway places, often on the wrong side, from Korea to Panama, Vietnam and Cambodia to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The United States has been held up as a model of democracy, a capitalist prototype in which the dynamism of free enterprise provides best for the most - while the rich have shamelessly manipulated the levers of power to provide most for the fewest.
Now the U.S. is on the brink of another season of madness: the quadrennial election spasm, which is already underway and will last until the first Tuesday in November 2012 - longer than some minority governments here in Canada.
If the past four years are any indication, anger will be the first item on the agenda, because the Tea Party is dictating the tone. As the Republican Party throws up (the phrase is apt) one joke candidate after another (Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin), you shake your head and wonder how any sane person could vote for any of these wild cards.
But they become candidates because, in 21st century America, anger has gone industrial. For Fox News and anger jocks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, anger is a big-bucks business. It's the force behind the Tea Party and it has propelled the political careers of those improbable right-wing blunder babes, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, who appear indestructible no matter how many mistakes they make. Even Palin's gunsight map, with Arizona representative Gabrielle Giffords specifically targeted before she was shot, wasn't enough to end her White House ambitions.
Beck, whose stock in trade is spewing hatred, complained this week that on a visit to New York City, his family encountered the same hatred in reverse. Palin believes it's all right to put gunsight targets on her opponents, but complains that some celebrities hate her. That's America.
The right hates the left. The left (yes) hates the right. The Red States hate the Blue States. Everyone hates the federal government. The election of President Barack Obama in 2008, far from bringing about a new era of peace and harmony between the races, instead triggered a run on gun shops and paranoia. Despite Obama's best efforts to cross the aisle during the first two years of his administration, his Republican opponents set out from the beginning to make it impossible for him to govern.
They were not entirely successful. Obama pressed through a watereddown medicare bill and a successful bailout bill for the auto industry and he became the president who hunted down Osama bin-Laden, despite all that George W. Bush "Wanted Dead or Alive" nonsense. But the right has been able to completely weaken or block much important legislation, including all climate control initiatives, preventing the U.S. from making any significant headway on the most important issue of our time.
How is the right so successful in manipulating voters? It begins with anger. Americans are mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore. If you ask what they're mad about, the first two things they will mention are big government and taxes.
Yet the reason a woman who almost drowned would refuse an ambulance ride has nothing to do with any of the above. If anything, most of the problems come from the fact that the government is not doing enough to take care of its people and that Americans don't pay enough taxes to make it possible for their governments at the state and local levels to function properly.
Watch the footage of the rage-contorted faces at a Tea Party rally and you come away scratching your head. What are these people so mad about? They are overwhelmingly white, well-fed (often too much so) well-scrubbed and clearly well off, at least by the standards of most of the planet. They aren't likely to get shot by teenage militia tomorrow, or to be dragged off to jail for years without benefit of trial, or to face a 10-mile morning hike for fresh drinking water.
They know that the U.S. (and much of the world) went through a financial crisis in September of 2008. They have been persuaded, however, to ignore the obvious, which is that the crisis was created by the hedge-fund pirates and derivatives manipulators on Wall Street, aided and abetted by the absolute lack of control coming from the Bush White House.
Instead, the anger is focused on taxes. Why? Because the rich and the well-off don't want to pay taxes. Thus the Tea Party moniker, derived from the original Tea Party in Boston Harbour, marking the beginning of the American Revolution.
But taxes, collected fairly and wisely spent, are one of the pillars of any rational, humanist society. They pay for our schools and roads and hospitals. They make possible, in the context of the U.S., the American dream that any poor child with enough will and moxie can get a university education and become whatever she wants to become: doctor, lawyer or hedge-fund manipulator.
Yet the assault on taxes, made doctrine by the Reagan administration and a key component of Republican Party policy since, is responsible for the near bankruptcy of a dozen states (including right-wing Texas) and the trillion-dollar deficit faced by the federal government. The big lie perpetrated by the last Bush administration, that you can fight simultaneous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without raising taxes, lies behind that deficit. The two wars have cost at least $1.3 trillion to date with fears that the final total may be significantly higher - but the anger is directed at Obama, who inherited both the wars and the deficit from Bush.
I was at a dinner party a few weeks ago when a Canadian who has lived for years in the U.S. was holding forth with opinions that might have come straight from Fox News. I bit my tongue while he extolled the virtues of George W. Bush and attacked Bill Clinton, but I drew the line when he blamed Clinton for the deficit.
The truth, I pointed out, was that Clinton left the U.S. treasury with a budget surplus. Foiled on the deficit issue, he veered onto a new tack. "Well," he said, "it was Clinton who let all them damned ragheads demonstrate outside the White House until you ended up with them attacking the World Trade Centre."
There is little that can be said in the face of such astounding ignorance. The last time I was in Nebraska, a good, apparently rational friend of mine said she was reluctant to vote for the very Christian Obama because he is a Muslim. She hadn't quite fallen under the spell of the birthers but she had fallen for another of the Big Lies.
Ordinary folks don't pluck these Mad Hatter opinions out of the air: The same and worse can be heard on the airwaves 24 hours a day, from Limbaugh and Beck to Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and all the others who have realized that there is big money to be made by retailing mindless anger as a commodity.
If you listen to the anger jocks, they have little to offer beyond rage - sometimes articulate, more often not. Their tools are bluster, bombast and sarcasm. There is no call to a higher plane of discourse and no room for tolerance - just a hodgepodge of sly winks, "you betchas" and the mostly unspoken promise that all those African-Americans, Hispanics, gays, lefties and unreliable university professors will be put in their place once the Tea Party controls the White House.
Mercifully, that appears unlikely. The more plausible Republican candidates for the White House run in 2012 - Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman Jr. and Tim Pawlenty - aren't quite as unhinged as Trump, Gingrich, Palin and Bachmann. (Palin, it should be said, has not yet announced that she will run, Trump has dropped out and Gingrich has committed political suicide by taking off for the Greek islands with his paramour at a critical moment in his own campaign - leaving Bachmann as the current standard-bearer for the lunatic fringe.)
Even if Obama wins a second term bolstered by a Democratic majority in Congress, the anger phenomenon is not going to go away. It will only get worse.
There is a warning here for any Canadian worried about the Conservative Party attack ads that helped to destroy Michael Ignatieff's campaign, or the potentially insidious influence of Pierre Karl Péladeau's Sun TV, an attempt to create a Canadian parallel for the destructive bombast of Fox News.
But it's hard to think of any one thing that makes Canadians really mad (in Quebec, some might say it's language) - we're relatively civil.
As the U.S. prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, the real fireworks display isn't the kind that lights the night sky. It's anger unfettered, the sort of orchestrated rage that undermines humanist values, puts genuine liberties at peril and makes it almost impossible for a rational leader to govern. It is ugly, it is underhanded - and for now, at least, it is almost the first thing that comes to mind when you think of America.
Jack Todd jacktodd46@ yahoo.com
written by an army deserter....
It does piss me off knowing all providers will give a huge discount to insurance companies but want full price from those who pay cash.
Got a bill from a doctor the other day. It showed that the insurance company had “adjusted” the amount due yet didn’t pay anything. I’m being billed for the remaining balance.
Really? Our Army, I presume?
yup. check out his bio on wikipedia
It’s also tempting to lecture others when, as with this author, every single thing you know is wrong.
“Ruinously expensive wars in farflung corners of the world always end badly.”
Funny, given the eagerness of the Canadians to help Al Quaida in Libya.
This is not journalism, this is a pile of communist trash. There wasn’t a shred of intelligence in this cat box liner.
The left is frightened and they fear a conservative attack. However, never forget it is “the cornered rat that bites!”
Everything he wrote is straight out of the NDP playbook.
Hey Maggot, You gave up the right to say anything about the United Sates when you deserted...coward, you have no honor, no class and no brains.
Right. My life isn’t worth a pair of Nike’s?
Canada has long lines for medical care, have you seen those stories? People die waiting for things they could get here immediately.
another f’n terminal moron chimes in
Name one effort
That phrase "tries to refuse" suggests that they dragged her off in the ambulance anyway, in spite of her protests. Of course this thing is so badly written that that could be wrong, too. But it seems to me that once you've had artificial respiration, and you expel the water from your lungs, and you seem to be making sense and to be OK, then it's really up to you whether you need to go to the hospital for further tests. The odds are high that they'll book you in for the night, let you lie there in bed with nobody watching most of the time, and then release you in the morning with a whopping bill.
Sure, it's nice to get checked out and make sure. But I don't think the state has a right to drag you off and make you pay if you don't want to. I think that if this happened to me, and I felt OK after the experience, I would politely decline to go.
That's called cost shifting, where they charge cash patients and insurers more than government payers, who often reimburse below providers costs. The practice should be banned.
Knowing what you know, you can probably negotiate your own bill down, just like the insurers do.
I can see my family doctor usually within three hours of calling him.
This guy knows all the leftwing talking points and other factless crap.
The majority of Americans are a lunatic fringe now?
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