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
>>>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.<<<
Actually, if the government restricted itself on the federal level to the duties described in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, and the states handled education and health care, a lot of these discussions would vanish.
The story, by the way, is Bravo Sierra. The ambulance service will bring you to the hospital if you are hurt, and the hospital will provide care, regardless of your ability to pay. I noticed the snide comment about the teenage lifeguard - it speaks volumes about the writer’s snotty elitism to insult the reaction of a scared kid facing a life-and-death situation.
If the writer was a free man, he’d understand why Americans are angry. Perhaps one day.
BARF.... taxes are UNFAIRLY collected and definitely UNWISELY spent. Our uber lieberal, marxists have run up the national deficit to trillions and caused economic hardship to the nation. So much for a tidy,rational, humane society of socialism--and yes we have a form of it here in the USA too.
“I won, you lost. Get over it”
My Canadian uncle is rolling his eyes at this. One reason why so many Canadians are here are because of the national health care system.
“Vietnam to Cuba and the Dominican Republic”
Really? The citizens of these countries wanted to become serfs to Commies?
And the reason Clinton had a surplus had to do with the administration prior to his.
You would die during the night. They would find water in your lungs.
I recently inquired for an insurance client of mine about a medical bill that had not been paid by their carrier. The client worked for the state of Illinois. The insurance carrier was told by the State of Illinois not to pay the bill for 39 weeks because the State of Illinois did not have the money to pay (the premium).
Do you think many medical providers will want to service the Illinois State employees if they know they won't be paid for over 9 months?
If/when Obamacare is fully implemented, rationing will be more evident like in Canada and the UK. Dogs can get certain medical tests before humans. I don't want socialized medicine here.
By the way, if I was the lady who felt fine after nearly drowning, I wouldn't want an ambulance either. If I needed medical attention, I would get my own ride.
2ndDivisionVet, this article was written by a leftist American army deserter. Please don't insult all Canadians just because some lefty newspaper in Montreal hired a lefty draft dodger.
Sorry, it’s worse. He was a deserter.
He sure doesn’t speak for most Canadians.
He is a cowardly, treasonous, deserting weasel and deserves nothing more than a bullet while tied to the execution post at Fort Leavenworth, KS.
To hell with him and anyone that agrees with him, regardless the subject.
LOL! He looks just like a liberal lesbian.
Sorry, a near drowning accident was just an excuse.
Which triggered the author’s long rant on government controlled healthcare, and gun control, and evil wars waged elsewhere. I failed to see the logic thinking to the connection of all three there.
I only gotten that far and decided it’s not worth reading it through.
Belated Barf Alert... (Three Bagger)
I see. /sarc
The US is not supporting the rebels?
I think it's wrong, but both of our countries are doing it.
That’s illegal. There is the billed amount (submitted to the primary carrier). Then there’s the billed amount that is submitted to the secondary carriers. The differenced between billed and reimbursement is called the ‘write-off’. Billing the write-off amount to the patient is insurance fraud.
Providers must bill more than the payed amount (or they receive less than the cost of the procedure). The only amount billable to the patient is the co-pay or the deductible.
If one is self-insured, then the patient pays the full billed amount (effectively subsidizing the allowance for doubtful accounts)
Hey Jack, what's the waiting time for an ambulance ride in Canada...tow months?
I've heard the wait for maternity care is 10 months.
say the wrong thing in Canada and they’ll ban you for life from saying again, or sick some bureaucratic board on you and put you into bankruptcy with legal expenses.
Ezra Levant is cool.
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