“American” Way Of What?

New Zealand’s Ian Miller, an esteemed commenter, says:

“Patrice, you seem to be against the American way of life. Horrors! It has always been like this… Now you cannot get anywhere near power without the expenditure of massive amounts of money, so your friendly plutocrats are a necessity. As an aside, I do not admire this way of doing things at all, and I feel that America would do better by cleaning up its own system than trying to impose “democracy” on others. As for the “progressives”, in that system of entrenched interests, how could they possibly change anything?”

Let me answer Ian’s main points. First a graph and a question: if Americans own nothing are they still Americans?

No Wealth, No Power, No Democracy

No Wealth, No Power, No Democracy

[If the graph was extended to the left, in earlier times, one would observe the richest Americans used to be not even half as rich, for the first 130 years of the USA. The wealthiest European 2%, in feudal times, that is the aristocracy, used to be about as rich as they are now, relatively speaking! Under Obama, the lines have strongly crossed the .1%, the very wealthiest, are richest than ever. No wonder even the “blacks” refused to vote for Obabla this time!]

***

“Patrice, you seem to be against the American way of life”:

I don’t know what the American way of life is. In 1940, the population of the USA was around 120 million. In 1980, it was around 250 million, and now it is around 330 million (there are 11 million Obama wants to make official; some objects).

Since I got to California, the population more than doubled. So what is California? Many of the recent immigrants are desperate to exhibit their Americaness, and are more American than the (“real”) Americans. So they go around, barely speaking English, and exhibiting the flags of the local “Baseball” team. They just arrived from Cuba, and the nine year old son spends (wastes) his weekend in “Baseball” practice.

“Baseball”, being a completely uninteresting activity, is perfect to judge the dedication of overseas self-propelled slaves at becoming thoroughly “American”…

There are many American way of lives, and American ways of thinking and feeling. . Many Americans, even in California, even born there, are dirt poor. Then you can meet people who immigrated from Germany or France to Silicon Valley, made a small fortune, and are now dejected, because they complain there are too many Asians, too many too rich Asians, competitive too much, educated too much, Asian too much…

The Silicon Valley, the USA’s main engine, is, first of all, an international phenomenon. I would even say a post-national phenomenon. The USA is a world-country.

However, simultaneously, plutocracy is growing, and Obama is its prophet (now past expiration date).

***

“Horrors! It has always been like this.”

Yes and no. True, Washington was from a prestigious colonial family (an ancestor had been general, etc). However, English America, after the “Barbarian Years” of endured servitude, did not present the sort of gigantic gap in wealth observed today.

Colonel, and then rebel and president Washington was pretty demoniac, and a plutocrat in that sense. Washington finished as maybe the richest man in the USA. However, he owned only 200 slaves or so, and his fortune paled, and was even insignificant, relative to the richest Europeans. Tolstoy was probably richer. The Tsar owned things all the way to America.

The first American billionaire was Carnegie, and he was to the left of the entire Democratic Party. Actually he was so much left, and persuasive, that the first generation of American plutocrat was genuinely philanthropic.

One can say that, for half of its life, the USA was strongly democratic (barring racial slavery, and religious, sexual discriminations).

The USA had, initially, a very strong unionized workforce.

Plutocracy became powerful in the USA, after the USA flew to the rescue of victory in 1918. I have explained this in detail in the distant past (I should have written a book from these essays, but did not find the time!) Basically the sacred union between politics and plutocrats allowed to first confiscate, and then control, Germany. The result was Nazism, which, fortunately, but not accidentally, for the USA, and its plutocrats, ran out of control, devastating Europe, and allowing them to control the entire world. For a while, a succession of presidents (FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, Johnson) was able to shield the USA from its own plutocracy.

But Nixon changed all that, as he remade the healthcare system and put plutocrats such as his friend Kaiser (well named!) in charge, thanks to subsidies. After that, it was all the way down.

***

“Now you cannot get anywhere near power without the expenditure of massive amounts of money, so your friendly plutocrats are a necessity.”

That was Obama’s trite excuse. That’s why he spent his presidency begging the wealthy. Actually it’s a stratagem, so he will be rich thereafter, like Clintons. (And very differently from Truman, an ex-Senator, who lived extremely modestly after his presidency. When asked why he did not cash on his career, he replied that it was a question of dignity of the office.)

When Obama got to power, everything could be done, the situation was ideal. However, the head of the “Democratic” Party was 100% rotten. All they could say, was that they needed the Republicans to agree. At that point, progressives ought to have gone in the streets, and protest. But they did not, because they had not enough education to know what was wrong, and not enough passion to care.

***

“…I feel that America would do better by cleaning up its own system than trying to impose “democracy” on others.”

Yes and no. If one had not intervened in Syria, or Ukraine, one would have encouraged Putin to become Hitler some more. In Libya, it was important to take the mad Khadafy down. (I know it’s a mess, but I have explained for years, one has to get rid of Islam as a political force, and this is part of it; the Punic and Berber civilization that is 3,000 years old, has more rights than the Islamists, whom I detest as much as Middle Age Catholics.)

Earth is a very small planet, not one of these aqueous giant Neptunes just discovered. We are all neighbors. Although I am pro-Iranian, I am against Iran getting nukes, because it would be nuke state too far. Many Iranians, even in the government, probably feel this, and they are delighted the P5 + 1 group is contracting the Iranian government on this (the We The People of Iran, ill-informed, want nukes, not reflecting that just one nuke can take Teheran out, killing ten millions).

***

“As for the “progressives”, in that system of entrenched interests, how could they possibly change anything?”

As I have said many times, the “Progressive Movement” has to think, and feel right, first. The problem of “progressives” all around the world (not just the EU and the USA), is that they do not have a clear, logical wish list.

Many “progressives” are fanatically anti-nuclear. But there is no solution to the CO2 Armageddon without nukes: known nukes… for example Thorium, or Fusion. Armageddon is around the corner, and it will not be progress (at least, not the easy way). OK, we are incredibly lucky that the Sun is getting quiet. See my 2009 essay:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2009/05/31/sun-cooling-ice-melting/

Many “progressives” are completely unaware of the fabulous heist of 2008=2009. They are like babes, and their meal was stolen by financial plutocrats, and they do not have enough knowledge of even know that!

“Austerity”, truly more and more theft by the richest, is stealing their jobs, their futures, their hopes, and soon, everything else.

I made hard changes myself. When I discovered Obama had turned to the Dark Side (for help, advice, hope and shelter), I got literally depressed (fortunately I am a mountain runner, and that can be even more depressing, when the night comes, and the cold, and thunder).

It’s enlightening to follow Paul Krugman’s evolving thinking; the more time goes, the more he comes my way, away from plutocrats, towards “Synthesis Found: Governmentalism”(hence Krugman’s recent apology to Japan)… but he still has a long way to go!

A logical, futuristic wish logic is what I am trying to suggest.

I say: The first thing “Progressives” have to change, is their minds. The world will follow.

Meanwhile, for relaxation, and physical exercise, let me suggest that European “progressives” go down in the streets, and get rid of the Thief In Chief, Jean-Claude Junker, just elected head of the European Commission. That is also a problem for the USA: we pay more and more taxes precisely because the greatest fortunes in the world do not pay any tax (or get subsidies!). Some of the stealing goes through that den of thieves Luxembourg, one of several (including Great Britain and the USA: see my old: USA, Den Of Thieves: https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/usa-den-of-thieves/).

All they got to know is the boss, same as the old boss, because they don’t know what hurts them.

Pain is not just a feeling, it is a knowledge.

Patrice Ayme’

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16 Responses to ““American” Way Of What?”

  1. Nirwanda Says:

    The wealth gap in the US has reached obscene levels, which throughout history have been a precursor of revolution and/or dictatorship. No government either seems to care about this or have a clue what to do about it. For a country whose elite likes in general to call itself “Christian”, this situation is anything but.

    Nicolas Christof – IHT

    C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

    The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      “Christian” in the Middle Age sense, that is… Not the ones of the earlier Franks, or the mythical Jesus (who certainly hated wealth, indeed!)
      Hi Chris! ;-)! What I call the “CEO Class” is the obscene tip of the iceberg. They are not even the root of the problem, what’s under the water. Under the water is the tax evasion crowd, with its trusts, its shell companies, its Dark Pools, etc.

      For example Bill Gates’ parents belonged to that. This is how Bill could get away with stealing IBM, and that, in turn, founded his personal fortune (which he then re-extended to his parents and others). Hence Bill ends up controlling more than 200 billion dollars indirectly or more (I computed). In turn again, he can leverage that. At some point Obabla showed up with Melinda Gates, and announced she would be in charge of schools, or something to this effect.

      As money is power, money can be leveraged much more into more power. Example, still digging into Bill: most of GMOs, worldwide have to do with Monsanto, which is entangled with the Gate Foundation (how the Bill cubs will get power without taxation).

      • gmax Says:

        Bill Gates wrote a Byzantine propaganda piece on why he should not pay a wealth tax, against Pikety. Basically he is good guy, and those who have private jumbo jets should pay the tax instead

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      That two-thirds of eligible USA citizens chose NOT to vote this time indicates that they feel they are already in a dictatorship.

    • Paul Handover Says:

      Is there an online link to those Timothy Noah essays?

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        …”the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.” said Chris quoting Noah… A bit surprising? Not that much. Few very rich in said countries…

  2. ianmillerblog Says:

    Looks like I started something! First, Americans who own nothing are still Americans. Illegal immigrants may own nothing, or they may own a lot, but they are not Americans. What is the American way of life? Good question. I have been in about 32 states at various times, and there are a number of unifying things, although I am not so sure they still are. (I haven’t been there for any significant time since 9/11.) The US has always had a strange distrust of socialism, and they take it extremes. Why do I think the plutocrats are necessary for elections? Look at the money spent. However, I think it has had the effect the plutocrats want, because the reason the poor do not vote is because they do not think there is anything there to represent their interests. No, they do not think they are under a dictatorship; they think it is futile to try to change the existing system. Strictly speaking, they are wrong, but they need a leader to follow, and anyone capable enough to manage this gets side-tracked into getting rich.

    I disagree with intervention, not because it is not desirable in itself, but because there never seems to be a workable plan to make the place better. My view is, if the end result is doomed to be worse, do not intervene. The objective is to make things as good as possible. Gaddafi is a case in point. Yes, he was nasty, and little good could be said of him, except that Libyan themselves knew where they stood. Now radical Islam is running riot there, and sorry, but I do not feel that is an improvement.

    I also disagree that austerity is stealing from the masses. The real theft is the printing of money. The way the tax system is run, it is the masses that will have to pay it off, meanwhile they get no benefit at all. Most of the money seems to have gone to the banksters, and what is scary is the amount of derivatives, and miscellaneous junk that brought everyone down in 2008, is now, by my estimate, exceeding that of 2008, all due to quantitative easing. The banks that issue this rubbish are bigger and wealthier than ever. Well done, Fed. At least a few dozen of the very rich are pleased with you.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      As I explained so much, the Libyan situation is playing out. Is it an improvement since Kadafy? Sure. Nobody represents Kadafy and his family. The war with the Islamists is on-going, but that has to do with the rich Arab plutocrats who finance them.
      I am for the destruction of political Islam. The old Libyan (pre-Islamist) culture has now its own army, and that makes me hopeful (not just for Libya, but Also the rest of the Maghreb, and the Sahara). Although the French ran a air bridge to them during the war, and fought with them in Tripoli (with the Marsoins), now it’s delicate to support them loud and clear (as Cyrenaica would then officially split).

      That money printing is stealing from the masses is true in the sense that it is directed, through QE and other tricks, to the biggest financial plutocrats.

      But there is not enough money, and projects, for reducing unemployment. Even Merkel concluded this last week, and decided to act, by making the Bundes Republik one of the largest employers in Germany, just as I suggested in “Synthesis Found: Governmentalism”. Heil Angela!

  3. gmax Says:

    Americans are too busy working to spend any time thinking. They have not suffered yet. Just like Germans have suffered too much. And maybe the Russians too!

  4. elkojohn Says:

    “The problem of “progressives” all around the world…
    is that they do not have a clear, logical wish list.”

    As you may recall from history, FDR gave us a pretty good wish list.
    On January 11, 1944, FDR proposed an Economic Bill of Rights
    in his State of the Union message, which included the following:

    the Right to Employment, with a Living Wage
    the Right to Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies
    the Right to Affordable, Decent Housing
    the Right to Affordable, Adequate Medical care
    the Right to Affordable Education
    the Right to Social Security for old age

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Bill_of_Rights

    Unfortunately,
    neither major political party has adopted it,
    and the American voters have not demanded it.

    Why?

    Because these “Rights” have been branded as
    communist by the right-wing,
    and ignored by leaders of the Democratic Party
    since the death of FDR.

    Under our corporate, trickle-down system of crony capitalism,
    those who own the wealth rule the country,
    i.e., we have the best political system that money can buy.
    Whichever political campaign spends the most money wins;
    a dollar democracy, not a representative republic.

    But more insidious is the propaganda machine that controls
    the American mindset (thanks to Edward Bernays et.al.)
    and has turned us into non-thinking sheeple concerned
    primarily with entertainment, celebrity and consumerism.

    We are born with the ability to ignore information that
    contradicts what we want to believe, that frustrates
    our unconscious desires.

    It takes a tremendous amount work to examine
    and challenge the establishment of our political, religious,
    corporate media and educational system.

    Having just read about the 90-year old, WW-II veteran who has
    been arrested for feeding the homeless in Florida,
    and that 31-other cities have passed ordinances
    against feeding the homeless,
    I have absolutely no faith that Americans will ever wake-up
    until the vast majority of them are homeless too.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Agreed 100%, Elkojohn! Unfortunately, history tends to how that We The People tend to stay supine, until it’s too late, and not just society, but civilization itself goes down the drain.

      A recent case in point is EBOLA. Actually, a VACCINE EXISTS. Just, because the likes of Bill Gates and other plutocrats suck up all the economic activity, said vaccine was NOT mass produced… Although French scientists identified and isolated the virus more than two decades ago (it was then easy to make a vaccine).

      Actually a scientific arm of the French government (CEA) is rushing kits to identify the presence of Ebola in seconds. They are send to MSF/Doctors Without Borders….

      Ebola can be put directly at the feet of plutocrats: their work, from them starving governments into “austerity”.
      PA

  5. Nathan Daniel Curry Says:

    Nathan Daniel Curry
    http://www.one.org/scandal/en/

    Nathan Daniel Curry https://www.devex.com/…/4-ways-to-end-the-trillion…

    4 ways to end the ‘trillion-dollar scandal’ | Devex
    https://www.devex.com/news/4-ways-to-end-the-trillion-dollar-scandal-84266

    Today, ONE launches the “Trillion-Dollar Scandal”

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I approve. This is part of Transparency International of which I also approve. Power of the few is getting out of control, from lack of taxation. The problem of lots of countries is that so-called “colonialism” has been replaced by plutocracy, which is way worse. I notice none of your usual numerous commenters seem interested! Typical. Writing an article on the metaphysics of putting sugar on an anchovy pizza, or the Zen characteristics of loving iphone6 + would be no doubt more popular!

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