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Sunday, September 23, 2012
America's political consensus is breaking down
It's very funny, and a brilliant flaying by Jon Stewart, but at the same time it's seriously disturbing, for several reasons:
1. The arrogance and callousness of some of these patricians.
2. The bias obvious in a major mass news broadcaster.
3. The unethical skill demonstrated in all those twists and turns that attempt to minimise, distort and then distract from the truth.
4. The naked breakdown in the American polity: what happened to "We, the people"?
Asserting the right to bear arms is usually seen as a right-wing political marker, but the system is so warped that perhaps the people should remember that arming the citizenry was a safeguard against a counter-coup by the supporters of what the Founding Fathers regarded as tyranny. One senses on both sides the Atlantic that large sections of the public are now regarded as inconvenient "useless mouths to feed"...
``At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,'' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, ``it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.'' ``Are there no prisons?'' asked Scrooge. ``Plenty of prisons,'' said the gentleman, laying down the pen again. ``And the Union workhouses?'' demanded Scrooge. ``Are they still in operation?'' ``They are. Still,'' returned the gentleman, `` I wish I could say they were not.'' ``The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?'' said Scrooge. ``Both very busy, sir.'' ``Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,'' said Scrooge. ``I'm very glad to hear it.'' ``Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,'' returned the gentleman, ``a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?'' ``Nothing!'' Scrooge replied. ``You wish to be anonymous?'' ``I wish to be left alone,'' said Scrooge. ``Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.'' ``Many can't go there; and many would rather die.'' ``If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, ``they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.'' ``But you might know it,'' observed the gentleman. ``It's not my business,'' Scrooge returned. ``It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!'' Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Scrooge resumed his labours with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.