Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I don't want to talk about this, except...

I have just read two pretty good articles on informationclearinghouse, one by Paul Craig Roberts entitled Health Care Deceit and another by Mark Taibbi Sick and Wrong. They both make some very good points. Paul Craig Roberts, in particular, seems to have a unique ability to be right on almost every issue he writes about.

Anyway - I have had too many arguments with otherwise nice and sane Americans over healthcare to start one here. I often feel like I am living in a continent in which about 95% of the population are proud, card-carrying members of the Flat Earth Society and, frankly, I don't feel like attempting to prove to anyone that the Earth is really spherical. But I do want to say a couple of things about these Americans themselves.

Most Americans (I use this word in the obnoxiously self-aggrandizing way it is used in the USA - "UnitedStatesers" would be far more appropriate, like "Estadounidense" in Spanish) seem to be oblivious to the fact that they seriously and, at times, passionately, argue about things which have been settled for a long while elsewhere in the civilized world. It's not only health care. That goes for the death penalty, drug laws, social and labor rights and a host of other issues. The ruling elites of the USA have succeeded in convincing a majority of the population of the rather far-fetched idea that the USA (or, "America", as they would say) is somehow different from the rest of the planet, that for some strange and obscure reason, what applies in the rest of the world simply does not apply here. Over here, we need to re-invent the wheel, preferably a non spherical one at that (and, presumably, leave the round "sissy" wheels for the Eurotrash faggots across the Atlantic).

The debate on healthcare is a perfect example of this. In the USA, the world "socialism" evokes images of hammers and sickles, of Gulags, of barbed wire and midnight secret police raids. Even the word "social" or "solidarity" have too many letters in common with the much hated "socialism" to be acceptable. So to most Americans the idea of socialized medicine immediately elicits a hysterical phobic response which instantly prevents any serious discussion of the concept.

This goes even further. Let me give you another example. When Richard Stallman created the free software movement (Linux, Apache, Firefox, OpenOffice, etc.) a number of American software developers got together and coined the concept of "open source" to replace the original "free software" concept. You know why? Because, yes, you guessed it, the idea of "free" *anything* elicits in Americans images of communes, pot-smoking hippies, tree hugging peaceniks and all sorts of other terrible and disgusting thing which true "red, white n' blue Americans" know they should hate.

In the confused mind of the average American having a gun is sacred a guarantee of his/her freedoms, but free software is inherently unamerican. The picture to the right is a joke, of course, but it is a good illustration of the kind of arguments which are used by the US elites to indoctrinate the US population into a fundamentally idiotic and un-civilized system of beliefs which is shared by nobody else on the planet.

Ever since Reagan and his speech about the "government being the problem" the US elites have successfully brainwashed the (TV watching) general population into believing that the government, the state itself, is the enemy. Nevermind that this absurd belief is absolutely unique to the USA and that it undermines ideas about the Social Contact which have their roots in the late Renaissance. I have personally been told by self-described "liberals" that a single payer healthcare system would be "socialism" and would "not be the solution to the problem". Mind you - these idiots had travelled abroad, spoke several languages and had friends and relatives living outside the USA. Yet, the parroted the same idiocy without even realizing how stupid that made them look.

The average American pays a truly terrible price for this folly. In my life I have lived a total of 12 years in the USA, and another 33 in countries with a socialized medical systems (where. among other procedues, my wife delivered my our kids), I had to visit many doctors in both private practices and hospitals and I have seen many people operated, sometimes with very serious conditions. There is no doubt in my mind that the healthcare system in the USA is far, far worse than any the socialized healthcare systems of the rest of the industrialized world. Likewise, I can attest that US workers have the worst social. labor and political rights of any country I have ever visited, that the US prison system is the most backward and barbaric of any Western nation and that nobody in the rest of the industrialized world has such an utterly insane and evil policy as the so-called "War on Drugs" in the USA.

The sad truth is that Americans live in a fundamentally un-civilized society.

Sure - there are other equally barbaric societies out there - think Saudi Arabia or Taliban controlled Afghanistan. The ironic thing of course is that while Americans are outraged that in some Wahabi countries women cannot drive, be a witness in a court, or can be stoned to death for adultery, they find it perfectly normal that nonviolent offenders get sentenced to decades of hard prison time, that kids can be tried and executed as adults, or otherwise affluent families can be bankrupted because one family member as contacted a serious disease.

Most Americans are utterly oblivious to the fact that they live in a society which is at least as backward, uncivilized and insane as any Taliban run Islamic Caliphate. But, not unlike the Talibans, in fact, Americans at least now one thing: that as long as they get to keep their guns the "commies in Washington DC" won't be able to take away their freedoms.

But what freedoms are we talking about here? Obviously, not the freedom to keep your home if one of your kids has cancer and not the freedom to take out an insurance against economic hardship (known in other countries as "unemployment benefits).

Let's take a typical example. An American is working for company X and the boss tells him that he has to come to "open doors" days on week-ends to engage in some publicity for his company in the community. Nevermind that his American has a family which he can only see on week-ends or that he is so overworked that he needs to spend most time in bed. Needless to say, his presence at the "open doors" day will not be paid for. It is assumed that this is just something he "has" to do. If that American refuses to comply and tells his boss that he doesnt' think that it is right to make him come on week-ends without any kind of pay, his boss can simply fire him. Now comes the best part - this American has gastric reflux, courtesy of the corporate shit food he can afford with this minimal income. And he needs to take Nexium on a daily basis to control this hyperadicity. Well, if he looses his job, he will loose his health insurance too, and since his salary was crappy to begin with - like most Americans he lives month to month - he cannot afford his Nexium out of pocket. But if he does not take it, he will be in a great deal of pain, won't be able to sleep properly, and will risk damaging his oesophagus. So he shuts up and meekly comes to his bosses open house day.

What would you call a situation in which a worker risks physical pain and even severe injury if he does not obey his bosse's orders? That's correct. Slavery.

Of course, the doubleplusgoodthinking libertarians of the laissez-faire capitalist persuasion will tell you that the market can easily resolve this problem: the worker can just leave and get another job. And God forbid anybody suggest that the much hated State should come up with some laws regulating such labor situation. That would be communism!!

But how does "The Market" achieve that in a country whose real unemployment rate is something in the 20-25% range and in which so-called unempoyment "benefits" are a big fat joke anyway?!

Amazingly - this is exactly what is going on in the USA. That, and much worse. On a daily basis.

In my own state, Florida, to get disability, you MUST HAVE a lawyer. No matter how disabled you are, you simply will not get anything at all unless you can afford to hire a lawyer. Then, you will ALWAYS be rejected on your first application. Only your SECOND one might be accepted. And nobody knows how you are supposed to survive until that second application is finally accepted (if you are "lucky" and *very* disabled, that it). Last, but not least, what you get in terms of disability payments in Florida is such a joke that you simply cannot afford keeping a roof over your head and eat something too. You do have the freedom to choose whether to eat outdoors or sleep hungry in a trailer. Most importantly - you do get to have a gun (if you can afford one, that is).

I have personally seen disabled homeless folks in Florida cruising around the streets in their wheelchairs in the sweltering Florida heat with a American flag and a POW/MIA flag flapping in the humid air behind their backs Yes, even these guys are so proud to be Americans...

From time to time, some Americans like Kucinich or Nader do speak up and denounce the abhorrent obscenity which the US society has become. And over and over again they fail to convince most Americans. Why? Because most Americans sincerely believe the status quo is FREEDOM whereas what Nader & Co. want is COMMUNISM. That's why!

Forget it! This is hopeless. When I hear such arguments I always want to slap my interlocutors. Not because I am mad, not at all, but because I feel the urge to wake them up from their TV-induced stupor and get them to realize that no, the Earth is not flat, not even in the USA. As it happens, it is spherical and it rotates dammit!

In "Flatland USA" all his talk about healthcare reform is going nowhere. The terrible, sad, and ridiculous fact is that most Americans do not want their society to change, lest is somehow become "Communist" overnight.

So while Obama makes great speeches, don't expect anything real out of it. It ain't happening. The corporate plutocracy which runs this USA will continue screwing the rest of the country again and again, and the richer will become richer and the poor - poorer.

I know a lost cause when I see it.

Frankly, most Americans are just like the bulls in Spain who spend the last 15 minutes of their lives trying to fight a piece red (Communist?) cloth while being utterly oblivious to the dude who is shaking it in front of their noses until he kills them.

There ain't no real change coming to the US of A. Not anytime soon anyway. The real slogan of the Obama Administration might as well become "No, we can't!".

The Saker

PS: before any dimwit starts calling me a "Communist" let me say here that unlike 99% of wannabe armchair anti-Communists out there, I actually fought against the Communist system, and that it even got me a rare honor: death threats from a bone fide KGB officer. So don't bother with that crap, ok?