by Democrats Ramshield
(Written by an American expat living in the European Union)
America's plutocratic government by the rich and for the rich failed to protect the American people on 9/11. Failed to protect the American people during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and now they have failed to protect New York during Hurricane Sandy, because the American government doesn't work for the 59 million Americans who don't have medical insurance. It doesn't work for the 45 million Americans who live on food stamps and live under the poverty line.
In the cover article Divided States of America: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation, German magazine Der Spiegel scornfully and quite rightly points to the fact that millions of Americans are without power now on the east coast. Particularly in and around New York city because of antiquated power systems that deliver electricity on power lines akin to what is seen commonplace in third world developing nations. Whereas modern electrical utility systems in Germany and prevalent in many other countries in the European Union have their power lines buried underground, because they know if you want good infrastructure that protects the people, you have to be prepared to pay for it. There is no such thing as a free lunch and that means that you have to step up and speak out. The ultra rich must pay their fair share of taxes. A fact that is lost on Capital Hill, lost in government by the rich, for the rich, (remember half of the members of Congress are millionaires) where conservative America's right wing Taliban sacrifices 45,000 Americans annually who according to a recent Harvard study die preventable deaths each and every year because they don't have access to medical care.
Such everyday observations are coalescing into a new, tarnished image of America. Screenwriter Aaron Sorken, the creator of many legendary television series, has come up with a new, brutal look at America. The 10-part drama, "The Newsroom," tells the story of a cynical news anchor who reinvents himself and vows to do everything right in the future. In the show's brilliant premiere, he is asked at a panel discussion to describe why America is the greatest country in the world. After a few tired jokes, the truth comes gushing out of him.
The aforementioned video clip "The Newsroom" on YouTube:
For anyone who can't watch the video, Spiegel quotes this:
"There's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world," he says. "We're seventh in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined."
The German mainstream magazine Der Spiegel in this and other recent articles attendant upon this subject matter repeatedly makes the point that the American people want to be lied to by our politicians, who drag out the same old tired lines about American exceptionalism, when the brutal truth is that in the clear light of day the claim of American exceptionalism is at variance with reality itself. Also please let's remember the truth is never brutal, it simply exists quite unapologetically. This fact has become obvious the world over to all but the mentally comatose in a tale reminiscent of the Emperor's new clothes. In fact the Spiegel quote below is bolstered by a video from Professor Kaku (embedded below) who eloquently makes the point for anyone who is unable to watch the video, that half or more of graduate students in America are now foreign born at our flag ship universities, whose programs would collapse if not for the presence of these foreign born graduate students, and concurrently without those same students working in America's economy likely entire sectors of the economy would collapse in what has become the dumbing down of America, whose education system by international standards has become a failure. As such the term "Ugly American" has now been replaced by the notion that the stupid in America is becoming a mainstay of our failed education system, which has become an international badge of shame, and risks turning America into a global laughing stock. Clearly this must change.
America will feel the effects of this trend. Immigrants made America great and have kept it great. Immigrants, who make up about 12 percent of the current US population, founded more than half of all Silicon Valley companies and filed one in four patent applications between 1995 and 2005. Almost half of all doctoral candidates in engineering and science do not speak English as their first language.
Here's a simple truth that while Paul Ryan has been defeated at the polls, he thanks to the wisdom of the voters of Wisconsin, is still not out of public life, as he has been able to maintain his Congressional seat. As such the extreme agenda that he represents along with the American Taliban movement known as the Tea Party, we see a posture wherein the GOP obstructionists have turned their back on a large number of technological innovations such as high speed rail, which would relieve the gridlock on America's highways and airports, in a way that makes sense through a modern green technology whose infrastructure and maintenance would provide for American green jobs that cannot be moved offshore. This would help to move America's antiquated rail system moving at 1950's speeds into the era of high speed rail extant in 2012 in every other highly industrialized country in the world.
More Spiegel quotes (my emphasis):
For instance, the United States is no longer among the world's top 10 countries when it comes to the state of its infrastructure.
Such political reversals don't change the fact that important projects have turned into failed undertakings, while visions have been put on the back burner. The sad fight for more high-speed rail in America is a case in point. High-speed trains only travel on a few routes in the United States at the moment, at an average speed of 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour), which is much slower than Europe's ICE and TGV trains.
The failing project coincides with the image, already a worldwide cliché, of the United States as a country that doesn't understand the signs of the times and has almost willfully -- flying in the face of all scientific knowledge -- chosen to be backward.
On this subject:
Sadly, American plutocrats continue to obstruct investment in a high speed rail system. Their collaborators are American politicians they buy in de-politicized elections funded by private capital, primarily financial capital in a substantially atomized American society, wherein an angry American public is confused, wherein millions no longer know the way out.
The GOP has become an international poster child for the politics of petulant hate, obstruction and derision. As such the Tea Party who has through their actions become the de facto American Taliban is dead set on taking their country back, back to the 1950's in terms of the speed that American trains move at. Back to an era before the Civil Rights movement, back to a time before Penicillin existed, because effectively when 59 million people don't have medical insurance, they might as well be living in the Dark Ages of medical care. So it is that a recent Harvard study documents that 45,000 Americans die annually unnecessarily simply because they don't have access to medical care. When in fact every other major industrialized country in the world as a human right cradle to grave offers some type of universal medical access to all its residents. So when the Tea Party says they want their country back, maybe we should ask them how far back in time do they intend to take America?
More Spiegel quotes (again my emphasis):
In the last five years, Republicans in Congress have used the filibuster a record-breaking 385 times, or as much as it was used in the seven decades between World War I and the end of the administration of former President Ronald Reagan in 1989.
This obstructionism is largely attributable to the group within the Republican Party known as the Tea Party. As filmmaker Sorkin claims, the coalition of ultraconservatives has developed into the "American Taliban."
One day, a statue would also have to be erected for the first black president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama. The plaque could very well read that he had the misfortune of coming into office when the American empire was just turning into a beautiful memory.
On this subject:
Now that we're done congratulating ourselves on the hard fought election victory. Enough with the happy talk, it is time to go back to work!
To win in America all we have to do is to care about each other and stick together!