America, the Failed State

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    • #311320
      • Total Posts: 981

      This morning (Sun., May 3) my local public radio will interview George Packer, author of the article:

      We Are Living in a Failed State

      If you don’t catch the interview, here’s the article:


      When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly. Chronic ills—a corrupt political class, a sclerotic bureaucracy, a heartless economy, a divided and distracted public—had gone untreated for years. We had learned to live, uncomfortably, with the symptoms. It took the scale and intimacy of a pandemic to expose their severity—to shock Americans with the recognition that we are in the high-risk category.

      The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly—not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit from it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message.

      Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state. With no national plan—no coherent instructions at all—families, schools, and offices were left to decide on their own whether to shut down and take shelter. When test kits, masks, gowns, and ventilators were found to be in desperately short supply, governors pleaded for them from the White House, which stalled, then called on private enterprise, which couldn’t deliver. States and cities were forced into bidding wars that left them prey to price gouging and corporate profiteering. Civilians took out their sewing machines to try to keep ill-equipped hospital workers healthy and their patients alive. Russia, Taiwan, and the United Nations sent humanitarian aid to the world’s richest power—a beggar nation in utter chaos.


      Who is George Packer? I’ve known him for his historical contributions, but this is the bio from The Atlantic site:  GEORGE PACKER is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century and The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America.”
    • #311352
      • Total Posts: 1,038

      I couldn’t find the link to your article. It kept taking me to another story. So I’ll post this here.

      Sure enough, I found the link in your post. Geez, I must be blind.

      Damn great article. We all need to read it. I missed the interview though. Do you have a link to it afterwards?

    • #311374
      • Total Posts: 981

      and I’ll post the link here once it’s up.

      I’m glad you see the value in this article, too.  The thoughts he expresses have been rambling around in my head and I have been looking for a writer who would put it together like Packer did. Most of the points he make have been posted about by JPR’ers.

      It seems like major events eventually get a “defining moment.”  I recall after Bush stole his first election how the attorney (now deceased) Vincent Bugliosi put a label on it:  the election was stolen with the help of the Supreme Court. Until he put it together, there really was no cogent argument for people to put the phenomenon together in their minds.

      Writers like this give us “the narrative.”

      • #311385
        • Total Posts: 1,736

        Thanks for providing the narrative for us @njcher it helps. Great article.

        The DNC “big tent” excludes Nina Turner but includes John Kasich.
        God, guns, and gobbledygook...we live in an aquarium of nightmares.

    • #311389
      • Total Posts: 981


      It turns out that “nimble” companies can’t prepare for a catastrophe or distribute lifesaving goods—only a competent federal government can do that. It turns out that everything has a cost, and years of attacking government, squeezing it dry and draining its morale, inflict a heavy cost that the public has to pay in lives. All the programs defunded, stockpiles depleted, and plans scrapped meant that we had become a second-rate nation. Then came the virus and this strange defeat.


      But the concluding paragraph is the best.

    • #311418
      • Total Posts: 881

      Over all a good article My only beef is he over all blames the republicans and  he holds up Obama. The failure of our government is totally bi partisan! I would have liked this a lot more it he pointed out how bill Clinton was instrumental in breaking the country, how nancy Pelosi and several other democrats sold stocks after learning about how bad the virus was. Typically the Atlantic and it’s writers are one side, he tried to make it sound like he wasn’t but he was from the minute he held up the man who spent more time and money bombing brown people around the world.


    • #311440
      • Total Posts: 510

      Some are very small, and I cannot recco France, unless you are very well off or have a skill that allows you to go live there, it, like Sweden, has insane immigration issues on so many parts that are ripping society apart in a vast swathe of places. The PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) are deeply fucked up government/econ-wise on so many levels, although I will always LOVE Rome and Milan. My beloved Britain, my England, my London, alas, is broken as well atm. What has happened to Hungary (the dictator Orban) makes me weep, Budapest is one of the most interesting ancient cities on the planet, I almost moved there in the late 1990’s to help start a business, but the financing dried up. It is still worth visiting btw, it is not unsafe at all (just politically.)



      Canada (Vancouver is the best city to live in the Western hemisphere IMHO, Victoria’s nice (the most English city in North America), but a little small, and Montreal is great (top 10 food cities on the planet), but so fucking cold in the long winters, same for Toronto)

      Uruguay (by far the best SA country to live in, in terms of social development)

      Ireland (a decent place to live, very improved versus 40 years ago, not my cuppa, but I am London lad by birth and breeding, so not the most unbiased, lol))

      Iceland (too small, but superbly run, also too harsh a climate (and I live in SWEDEN, ffs lol)

      Norway (best run nation on the planet over 4, 5 million people, along New Zealand)

      Sweden (but on a bad path compared to the rest of the Nordics, it is complicated, the best thing the Nordics could do is all coming together and form a superstate. but alas, Norway wont share their oil revenue, and all the other Nordics look on at Sweden in horror over our cray cray immigration/refugee shit)

      Denmark (Copenhagen is superb)

      Finland (I would never live there, lolol, but many may love it)

      Estonia  (one of the most up and coming nations of the past 30 years, but still a bit of a rough fit for most)

      The Netherlands (I love Rotterdam)

      Belgium (Antwerp by far for me, and the national government is a split mess between the Flemish and the Walloons)

      Luxembourg (vastly underrated and overall unknown, tiny but super high quality of life)

      Germany (complicated, but Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, and Berlin are great) Best run of the mega countries, but it has issues that come along with anything that size.

      Switzerland (I love Lausanne, but Zurich is the econ centre)

      Austria (Vienna is a top 10 global city)

      Czechia (Prague FTW, very underrated nation, wonderful old, ancient cultured city, Czechs are crazy fun, unless you hate beer, lolol), as is…

      Slovakia (Bratislava is so underrated, right down the Danube from Vienna, probably my number one sleeper nation that no one pays much attention too)

      Slovenia (very high on the developed nations list, also really underrated)

      Monaco (insanely expensive and a microstate)

      Malta (left field choice, ancient and complex culture, again it is very small)

      Liechtenstein (almost impossible to get citizenship btw, and the only way to live there as a foreigner is to be a teacher, doctor/nurse, or a banker, it is far too small as well, I get claustrophobic every time (3) I have been there)

      Seychelles (best place to disappear from the eddies and tides of global civilization)

      Hong Kong (for how long, who knows, China looms always)

      Singapore (deffo not everyone’s cuppa, but if you are driven, it can be rewarding, a bit too totalitarian for my taste)

      Taiwan (as with Hong Kong, China always looms)

      Japan (culture shock supreme if you are going to live there, Osaka is wonderful, other than the natural disasters)

      New Zealand (best run nation on the planet over 4, 5 million people, along Norway, deffo Auckland for me, but I can see some preferring Wellington (CRAZY variable weather, lolol) or even Christchurch (on South Island.)

      Australia (Deffo Melbourne for me (I lived in St Kilda for a year, near Luna Park), but Sydney is also extremely livable (and far better weather), and so is Brisbane/Gold Coast. Perth is too isolated.

      That is about it.


      • #311454
        Ohio Barbarian
        • Total Posts: 16,206

        @stockholmer I visited there many years ago. Great people, great food(Danish beef is the best in this Texan’s opinion), the beer’s good, and the Danes make the most fantastic sandwiches. They also mostly speak English, which would help a lot.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        Show me a man that gets rich by being a politician, and I'll show you a crook.--Harry Truman

        • #311462
          • Total Posts: 510

          strengths and weaknesses that can be balanced out by the others, plus the natural resource power would just be immense.

          Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Åland Islands, Svalbard

          People have been pushing for it since WWII, but alas, I do not think I shall live to see it occur. Sweden desperately needs the (good form of it) of nationalism that all the others have, and the others need Sweden’s creativity and sense of fairness. Iceland has an incredible form of democratic thinking, The Danes can be a little too aggressive and authoritarian, as can the Finns, and the Norse are becoming the most materialistic of all the Nordics, due to their incredible wealth from their oil reserves. Estonia has turned into one of the most innovative of all the new techno states, they are immense at it for their size, and then the micro (population-wise) parts are conversely HUGE in area (especially Greenland) and contribute to the natural resource elements.

          I truly fear for Sweden down the road, long term, well after I have shuffled off thsi mortal coil. It has laid the foundations for a demographic nightmare to occur. Massive civil rupture will start to occur well before then, it is inevitable now, especially if we ever embark on such refugee importation (the US equivalent of 50 million plus over a 25 year period, the vast majority in a 13 year or so stretch) madness again. It is like the ruling governmental elites here have a suicidal death wish. It just KILLS me to see Sweden fall out of the top spot or the top 3 spots at worst across the board in almost all metrics of national well being, yet we are dropping like a rock. Our struggles are making the other Nordics go too hard in the opposite direction, especially Denmark, where they are engaging in extremely problematic and basically racist social engineering now, due to the horror show of Sweden, right across the Oresund from them.

          That is why I said we would balance each other out. But I fear it is too late for that now. Of course, at the taproot level, it is all the US/UK/NATO empric war machine’s fault, especially the United States. But, that all said, we in Sweden have to take personal responsibility for foolishly taking in a society-destroying (long term) level. We have now constructed a more or less permanent underclass who hate the nation, hate the culture, hate the pro-woman, pro-LGBTQ stances, hate the overall tolerance that comes from that, hate the democratic process, hate the enlightenment of secular higher level education, and have a never-ending source to renew that hatred intergenerationally, via their fundamental version of their religion.

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