Don’t stereotype Americans: the resistors have more bottle & fire than their Brit equivalents

Warren

Elizabeth Warren

I know to some it seems sad that I watch the interreaction between frequently depraved politicians and often deranged bankers, but my Not Guilty plea is based on two counts: first, History & Politics was my degree subject – and the history of politics is, much of the time, the history of bankers; and second, trust me: these two sets of wriggling, slippery eels need watching and catching. Smoked eel is, after all, delicious; but if not caught, they have a terrible bite.

Today’s second session between Janet Yellen and Congress – far too briefly, Catwoman Warren versus Batshit Yellen – would’ve impressed a lot of radicals on the UK Left whose default position vis a vis the US is casually stereotypical. But what it displayed – yet again – is that American legislators ready to oppose the Madness of the Mob are infinitely more gutsy and far better informed than the plonkers on the various UK Commons Select Committees….many of whom are stuffed with foxes talking about security measures around hen coops.

Congress as a totality is probably even more bought than Westminster, but then the bravery shown by the principled is commensurately greater than in Britain. The HSBC whistle-blower Nick Wilson is a speaker unto Power, as is thorn in the Newscorpse side Peter Jukes. But their closeness to the immortal catalyst Percy Verance is extremely rare….and neither of them are legislators. The average American member of what they call the middle class is chock-full of Main Street common sense – and a healthy dollop of civic interest. We may find it risible at times, but middle Americans get behind stuff: they take an interest….they bloody-well turn up.

Many outside the States would argue “Up to but not including foreign policy”, and I would be the first to say that my friends in America have more faith in the State Department’s motives than I do….or indeed, most Europeans. But then, I feel that about the Brit Smuggies who cleave still to the ‘Special’ Relationship, and are prepared to believe all of the outrageous crap put out by State and our Foreign Office in relation to Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Syria and Greece.

But while, on the Home Front, UK sofa-spuds eschew thoughts about socio-economic amorality in favour of the next Pizza takeaway, pretty much everyone above trailer-trash in the US interrogates what the “authorities” say. George Carlin could never have become the smash-hit, free-thinking American standup he was in Britain. At best, he would’ve been an Islington-cum-Muswell Hill minority metro-taste comic. In Britain, nobody says “My policy on any federal government announcement is that I don’t believe a fuckin’ word of it”. That’s what made Carlin a sorely-missed American hero: but without a mass audience, the best one can hope for in the UK is to be – well, Cameron invented it – “a non-violent extremist”.

Most US advertising is beyond risible in terms of its level of real brand engagement. But the seers who, over the decades, fought against depicting consumers – especially women – as robotic responders to media mallets are the ones we have to admire. Real contrarians like Bill Bernbach, Jerry Della Femina and Jay Chiat produced advertising for Volkswagen, Meow Mix and Apple respectively that displayed the most instinctive understanding of brand identification in advertising history. And they did it an atmosphere of mind-numbing, process-driven redneck corporate clients who saw no difference between real substance in brand personality and auditing how many logo-calls they could cram into thirty seconds.

I suppose what I’m saying is, being a rebel in Britain involves climbing onto a soapbox; doing the same in US business and politics means climbing a mountain in your underwear, using only nostrils as the means of advance.

Back at the contemporary point, I watched a genuinely appalled Senator from Indiana facing Janet Yellen this afternoon (CET) with the reality of untold and completely indefensible greed: that a company based in his State had move 220 jobs to Mexico, when in the previous fiscal that outfit had added to a long history of profitability by returning a profit of $5.8billion. A company employs 220 people and makes nearly six billion bucks, but it still isn’t enough.

And that remains the problem with the gargoyle 3%: nothing is ever enough, and no amount of obscene wealth will ever suffice. They just want more.

This was Yellen’s response:

“So….yes, I agree, in a downturn, people suffer.”

While it may be that for her ilk, nothing is ever enough, that answer to a question of compassion for fellow human beings is homaeopathically inadequate.

Above all, it makes my point: being a communitarian and compassionate naysayer in the United States is tough. Maybe the British Left should study this reality. Who knows, it might grow some balls along the way.

Earlier at The Slog: Monetarists ask why Markets are correcting. It’s obvious why.

18 thoughts on “Don’t stereotype Americans: the resistors have more bottle & fire than their Brit equivalents

  1. I agree with everything you say about Americans and their politics. They are engaged. It is nice to see a writer from Europe who does not arrogantly and ignorantly spout out stereotypes about the US. That said, I remain aghast at US foreign policy over the last couple of decades.

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  2. I always trusted my govt when I lived in Saudi. Then one day during Operation Desert Fox ((Clinton’s watch) one of them, a Jordanian told me “Your country is a murderer”. I then began to question it all, in 1998.

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  3. Having worked in East, South and Mid Western USA, I have had the fortune to spend many nights talking politics in bars (something which I would never attempt in my home town, Liverpool). The average American is so much more politically engaged and open than your average Brit. It doesn’t matter what their political disposition is, they are always willing to discus and agree to disagree.

    The problem I always found, was they knew feck all about anything outside of US. I put this down to their shitty news media and their mostly parochial new media (even Shitsville, South Dakota population 123&1/2), has its own local rag.

    The lack of global awareness, and their unquestioned acceptance of their global adventures (war on terror my left one!) is what scares me about the Sceptics.

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  4. @Stevie

    I completely agree about the US news media – even coming from Canada it is noticeably appalling. It has been compounded by the Clinton decision to allow all US MSM to coalesce into 6 mega corporations.

    A quick survey of the comments under Zerohedge articles shows just how engaged some U.S. citizens are. I realise that this is probably unrepresentative, but there seems to be a growing number of those that have partaken of the red pill south of the border.

    BTW is a sceptic tank an american that needs convincing that US politics is a cesspool? :)

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  5. It’s a pity a few more men and women of integrity are not resisting at the Pentagon…

    It gets interesting about 5 minutes in. (Translation is a bit clunky, but this Russian officer calls out the Pentagon/MSM lies extremely clearly.)

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  6. as an american, I would venture to say the following; What may be different than other countries is that every American has reserved the right to be an NVE or a VE by law. It was built into our constitution, and our creators repeatedly recommended revolution by the people as the only tool that works to clean away the rot, and that it should be applied as often as required. As was said above, we know what is happening here, but not so much outside the continent. Very true, we live in an isolation that few other nations are subject to for geographical reasons. But Americans were all refugees and they soon found out that common ground was the only thing we could build consensus, so most of us assimilated. It was easy with a clean slate.
    One thing many of us talk about is how will the people of Europe remove the unelected government treating you with less respect than our government does. You know that your personal destruction or submission to slavery is all that is required and desired of you, and your voice is not welcome if it disagrees.
    But we did have excellent news about the whole world once. This visionary created CNN and it replaced all three of our USA/BBC type channels. It covered the world and chose reporting over opinion, honesty over propaganda. We had investigative reporters in our country, and an audience that wanted to hear what they had to say. It was since eaten by the corporation that owns the idea that was once America. It lasted about 16 years, and it dissolved into a vegetative state where it remains today.
    All that is gone now, and we have no legitimate media remaining. You can count the investigative reporters on broadcast media on one hand, with no fingers. Americans put up with a lot, but there is a bridge too far.

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  7. @Brian

    “One thing many of us talk about is how will the people of Europe remove the unelected government treating you with less respect than our government does. You know that your personal destruction or submission to slavery is all that is required and desired of you, and your voice is not welcome if it disagrees.”

    I would argue that there is little to choose between the U.S. and Europe in this regard. Europe was devastated by hosting two world wars and several bloody revolutions and civil wars in the last century while the U.S. was largely untouched by conflict at home. I would venture to suggest that many Europeans harbour at least as much suspicion of government as the typical U.S. citizen. although the U.K. mainland may be an exception to this. I grew up around the offspring of Irish immigrants who had no illusions about the true nature of the British state and I remember the discomfort induced by listening to their discussions of events over the Irish Sea.

    The true history of the U.S. involvement in WW1 is an object lesson in the elites dictating policy in the face of overwhelming popular opposition and I suspect this war sounded the death knell for the true N.V.E. in the States. Until Wall Street and their supporters in the press got busy, there was always a clear majority against American involvement in the war. The propaganda onslaught launched against those in the States who opposed any intervention set the pattern for succeeding decades. Both the recently dusted off Espionage Act and the dubious legal principle of ‘crying fire in a crowded theatre’ as a restriction on free speech date to the suppression of anti-war sentiment during this time. Those speaking out against involvement in war in Europe were rewarded with some very long prison sentences. So much for the Constitution.

    Since the events of September 15 years ago, the same techniques have gone into overdrive. The concept of another Church Committee has become unthinkable. To most informed outsiders, the U.S. State Department has become the tool of an unrestrained M.I.I.C., A.I.P.A.C. and the multinational banking cartel. The growth of a militarised and unaccountable police force and courts and a ‘justice’ system that incarcerates the poor for profit but leaves the wealthy untouched seems unstoppable. The U.S. used to be held up as a bastion of ‘rights’ of the individual enshrined by a written constitution but it is clear that with a captured M.S.M., Congress and Supreme Court any violation of the constitution is ‘legal’ as long as some nebulous ‘national security interest’ can be claimed. As an outsider, I often wonder why the American people allow this abuse. American citizens may pride themselves that they are N.V.E.s, but the reality is somewhat different. Unfortunately national myths are just that, myths.

    I have spouted too long. In summary, I think the entire Neoliberal/Neocon West are following the same path to neofeudalism, but it is sometimes more difficult to discern what is happening from within. It really is extremely difficult to fully reject our own national myths as they are so incredibly powerful.

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  8. …More bottle and fire…
    Access to firearms gives one a certain….je ne say pas.
    3D printers now make this a certainty.

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  9. Canexpat; I agree with you about the suspicions of anyone in Europe anout their government. I think here is where we are similar, there is a magma pool that is getting larger because it has no means for the sudden expression of discontent. I got to live in Europe for a few months during the cold war. I experienced fatalism that I had never known, the wait for war any day. I didn’t know the population was scared into believing a missle attack was imminent as an American. Since we have each been victims of the sharing of information to manipulate us into proper little thinkers, we can see how the same type of people use different means to affect their target population.
    I wonder if there is anyone left in our respective governments that want the abuse to end? We know about the whistleblowers, because they are heroes and villains. We know which version of the truth will appear on the tv or in print, and we know who they say is the villain. Costs a lot of truth to broadcast that kind of folderol to the masses. In the US, only three broadcast news stations have requirements to tell any truth over the airwaves that have become the digital transmission system. They are now known for lying about what they report, so people think cable is more reliable. However, cable television broadcast here is considered entertainment by law. There is no obligation for truth or factual reporting. The result is plain to see.

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  10. JW,

    I think you have us wrong. Across the pond, when the usual bollocks doesn’t suffice, we add another step. We verbally trash the vermin mercilessly, punish a scapegoat selected by them, and then everything continues as before. It’s just theater.

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  11. @FVDP

    The recent history of financial/political scandals and corporate malfeasance in the States would support your view to a T. Madoff vs M.F. Global/John Corzine/Jamie Dimon anyone? James Clapper lies blatantly to Congress, but escapes unscathed.

    “Mistakes were made, we should draw a line under it and move on” has been the mantra for years now.

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  12. @FVDP

    No, I think we have you right.

    Theatre is a form of entertainment. The events propagated by the Oligarchy (aided and abetted by Barry O’Bunnion and his vicious cohorts) are far from entertaining. They are waging war on two fronts, financial and terror. Both are designed to move the masses to complete subjugation. The war on terror is to keep the people occupied while they put the finishing touches to their financial plans. Their end game is in sight.

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  13. Thank you, Mr. Ward. It is now abundantly clear, based on the accumulated evidence, a puzzle I’ve been working on since 9/11, that the private banking cabal, centered now within the City of London, the prime puppeteer and mover, that sits atop what I now refer to as the “Satanic New World Order”, has the same genocidal plan in store for the British people, even their aristocracy, that they do for the rest of the “useless eaters” in the world; and will eventually claim to the empire they’ve been creating in Asia Minor, centered on Jerusalem, based mainly on the post 9/11 (inside job) expropriated military and financial resources of the United States (through the Federal Reserve); once the WWIII conflagration has reduced the world to an irradiated rubble-heap, with the United States left holding the bag for the murder of billions. A destroyed world as the burnt offering (Holocaust) for the Luciferians who’ve been plotting their global takeover for centuries.

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