The masses standing by and doing nothing

Yeah, that's the ticket.

Well here's the show the ticket got us into. Here's Ian Welsh:

America: A Failing State

Key passage:

And so, today, large parts of the US are shitholes, which the residents hate so much they are consuming record amounts of drugs and committing suicide, because who the fuck wants to live in a nation with no hope, shitty bosses, and no hope.

Or this one:

US Workers Are Paying High Taxes. But Without Any of the Benefits

Key passage:

If you want to know what it is like to pay income taxes like they do in Europe, then looking closely at your pay stub would be a good start. We don’t pay as many formal taxes as they do, but when you bring in payments we are compelled to pay and that are deducted straight out of our paychecks just like taxes are, it really does not look that much different, at least as far as labor taxes are concerned.

Ultimately, this is a long exercise in pointing out the obvious: American workers already pay more than enough money to provide good health care to everyone in the country. It’s just that they pay it into a private insurance system that wastes large portions of it on rents and administrative redundancy.

Yup, European taxes without European benefits. Because we feel damned privileged to live in a country of "f*ck you I've got mine" (read it out loud if you don't like the f*cking asterisks). It's cheaper, you know, to live in an Oakland, California homeless encampment than it is to actually work, if that's something you want to do, and since half of America lives one paycheck away from destitution, it's probably going to end up that way for the rest of us. Here's the map of encampments, and here's what they look like. The wording of the article is amusing: "Omigod they shut one down." Remember that that one they shut down is one dot on the map the anti-eviction advocates drew up, and it's going to be replaced by another dot, if not in Oakland then somewhere else. And it's not as if it's persuasive upon the Powers that Be in Oakland that they should put out some trash cans, and empty them with regularity.

Instead, Oakland, especially west Oakland, looks like a shithole so that other communities in America can expel their homeless or sic the cops on them. Oh yeah and if you're wondering if any of those dots on the map are going away, take a look at the listings on Zillow for Oakland. You don't need a Bachelor's degree in Math to understand that NONE of those folks living in the encampments are EVER going to live in actual homes in Oakland. Maybe the more privileged among them are going to end up in some community like Paradise, and there are plenty of those in California. But that's how it is when real estate in America is a Ponzi scheme.

The first task of American education should be to teach students, of whatever age they happen to be, how to distinguish good ideas from crap ones. One of the concepts I'll be promoting in my book is that of "bundled natures," gotten from Jason W. Moore. The idea behind "bundled natures" is that, instead of talking about "man" and "nature," we talk about "bundled natures," intertwinings of human and non-human nature. "Bundled natures" is a good idea. Pushing the homeless elsewhere is a bad idea.

Our current "bundled natures" are an intertwining between the toxic slums of the world and the toxic slums in the heads of those who make the decisions. We can do better.

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Order created by strong-man rule is not freedom, Just because the flowers growing above mass graves are beautiful isn’t an argument in favor of filling the ditches with the bodies of whomever those strong men tell us is the enemy.

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11 users have voted.

Sigh

thanatokephaloides's picture

@UntimelyRippd

Order created by strong-man rule is not freedom, Just because the flowers growing above mass graves are beautiful isn’t an argument in favor of filling the ditches with the bodies of whomever those strong men tell us is the enemy.

And chaos is preferable to order at such cost.

Moreover, those who do submit to such a Mephistophelean bargain always get the chaos they fear, because they submitted to that Mephistophelean bargain.

It's just a bad idea.

Bad

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8 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

lotlizard's picture

become the U.S. equivalent of Palestinians.

Who cares what they think? Who cares what happens to them? They bring it on themselves.

There’s still plenty of opportunity in our economic system! Like the Palestinians in Israel supporters’ perceptions, the homeless are just people who “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Yes, I’m being sarcastic.

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15 users have voted.
snoopydawg's picture

Many are in the position they are because all the factories have been offshored to places where they don't have to pay workers a living wage or any benefits. What was once a booming place to live where people had decent paying jobs and making really good things, Detroit is now a ghetto of its former self. Same with all the other cities that saw the company just walk away.

After everything that has happened since the migration began we are now seeing the department store apocalypse. After Sears, JC Penny and other stores that we grew up with lost their business to online retailers. -cough Amazon cough- they were loaded up with debt and now the robbers are declining bankruptcy and revoking people's pensions and life and health insurances.

Instead of people saying that any business that has done that should have to pay higher taxes for bringing their stuff back here since they are still using our infrastructures and other services, I'm seeing people being blamed for their situation. You've all heard what people say.. "get an education and a decent job. I worked my way through college and graduated without any debts. Blah blah blah. The free market will sort things out if we stopped regulating every one to death."

The other problem with people not living in houses is because after the crash banks and other financial institutions were encouraged to buy those foreclosed homes for pennies on the dollar and now they are renting them out at sky high prices. No affordable homes to buy. Add on insurance premiums and student loans and people don't have enough money left to pay for rent. Of course this too could be some what fixed, but cities, states and congress doesn't want to.

This was well setup.
Clinton's deregulation of the banks.
Bush's watching as the economy crashed.
Obama 's bailing out the banks along with Biden's bankruptcy bill that doesn't allow people to discharge their student loans.
Trump's ......?

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14 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

snoopydawg's picture

@snoopydawg

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11 users have voted.

America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

thanatokephaloides's picture

@snoopydawg

I worked my way through college and graduated without any debts.

Anyone under the age of 65 making that claim, with the possible exception of Mark Zuckerberg, needs to have some serious investigation made into their financial affairs. The more honorable are mere liars on only that point, and have merely fallen victim to the "inauspicious to utter inconvenient reality" superstition. These are essentially harmless, but the cause of the 99% still requires that these be enlightened, nonetheless.

Those who really did graduate without any debts are virtually certain to be nefarious criminals of some sort. Either they did penal crimes to pay for it all, or worked 4 jobs and committed academic crimes to pass courses and graduate. These people are very likely to be quite harmful.

There is no honest way to achieve both at the same time straight from high school. And I'm unaware of any sort of honest work one can get into which will ever pay enough to pay for itself, its taxes, the worker's continued existence, and a university habit which doesn't require that the worker already have a full university degree.

Diablo

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4 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Lookout's picture

I taught earth science for decades with a focus on ecology. The students were receptive and I think learned something. However our daily lives are so removed from natural systems we have divorced ourselves from understanding and participating in the processes.

Learning to distinguish evidence based conclusions vs opinion based concepts is at the heart of science.

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9 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cassiodorus's picture

@Lookout that what goes on in society IS in fact a natural process. People think they are separate from nature, but that's just ideology. There isn't any point at which human beings stopped being part of nature. It didn't happen with the domestication of fire, or the invention of agriculture, or the industrial revolution, or the creation of the first microchip -- it didn't happen at all. We are still part of nature. Capitalism is a natural process, and right now it's the primary driving force of a "sixth extinction" which will rival the previous five big ones.

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10 users have voted.

"Centrist/mainstream Democrats are counterrevolutionary stooges in a time when revolution is more needed than at any time in history." - Christopher Cox

Lookout's picture

@Cassiodorus

...and the earth responds with a fever?

Either way we will find ourselves having to adapt.

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7 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Cassiodorus's picture

@Lookout With maybe a revolution or two helping out.

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4 users have voted.

"Centrist/mainstream Democrats are counterrevolutionary stooges in a time when revolution is more needed than at any time in history." - Christopher Cox

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Lookout

Perhaps we are the virus? ...and the earth responds with a fever?

No. The ordinary human is essentially blameless here.

The correct disease for this comparison isn't fever; it's cancer. 99% of humans are benign; it's the 1% which have gone into a lifecycle demanding limitless growth which are killing their host and all of their own kind with it.

So yeah, definitely a serious case of capitaloma here!

Bad

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9 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Lookout's picture

@thanatokephaloides

an illness perpetrated by the oligarchs and facilitated by autos, highways, and no public transportation.

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5 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”