Animation Mark Fiore Original

Mark Fiore: Exceptions to American Exceptionalism

A nation that can’t even provide safe drinking water for its people can’t fly the banner of “exceptionalism” for too long. Thanks to a dangerous mixture of systemic racism, tax cuts and bootstraps politics, Jackson, Mississippi is in the midst of a water crisis. Again.

That’s right, this isn’t the first — or even second — time a capital city in the United States has gone without clean drinking water. Residents of Jackson have faced multiple “boil-water” notices over the years thanks to a crumbling water treatment infrastructure.

Trump acolyte Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves and city officials are now touting the fact that water pressure has been restored across the city. Unfortunately, even though the water now has great pressure, it still has to be boiled before it is safe to drink. Maybe Reeves and other politicians in Mississippi should be more focused on repairing crumbling infrastructure than on making “an investment in Mississippians” through tax cuts.

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  1. Conservative economic “theory” exploits a vicious circle: cut back on public investment, let the banks and Wall Street run riot, crush unions and put employers in total control of the workplace and — the resulting economic setbacks create a crisis that the conservatives pledge to “fix” with — more of the same.

    It’s comparable to re-instituting the 17th century medical practice of bleeding the patient.

    Somehow — the rich get richer, and what remained of American “democracy” becomes a duel between billionaires.

  2. Mark Fiore: That’s one profitable bathtub down yonder. Before your cartoon
    Popular Resistance ran this article THIS MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION EXACERBATED THE WATER CRISIS IN JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI (Judd Legum/ Popular Information) but only for 2 days, and the first day there was no way to access the copy, just the title heading. (The article still is available as a search.) The corporation is of course Siemens, known as a provider of turbines used in electrical generation worldwide (one of the top 4), employing nearly half a million personnel if operations in India are included. Since 2000 they have become a subsidiary of the Robert Bosch Corporation and have branched out. They are supposed to be the best at project management. The North American branch does many remote reading installations and designs computerized billing for public utilities.

    In the case of Jackson they gave a snowjob sales pitch and even promised to upgrade water infrastructure as part of a 90 million dollar deal. They went all NeoCon and claimed their proposal would pay for itself in savings and improved collections. They lobbied for special legislation that allowed them micro-manipulation powers over Jackson. Starting in 2014 poor Jackson, now desperate and under pressure, took the bait and floated about 300 million in bonds.

    The promised upgrades never happened. Siemens hired shady and incompetent subcontractors and allowed state cronies to profiteer through shell companies. At completion the billing system was incompatible with the remote reading, which hardly worked. Some households got gigantic bills and others never received any bills at all.

    If anyone examines these facts and cannot see evidence of racist collusion and conspiracy they are in denial. Siemens was an economic hitman operation for the state of Mississippi and their cronies. And that is often the prevailing standard for upgrading American infrastructure. Operators within both political parties use corporate partners to do sabotage and then claim local government is incompetent. The goal is frequently privatization of public systems, followed by higher customer costs and extreme deregulation. Maybe that’s what it takes under late stage capitalism.

    I also noticed that Siemens is the main party in conflict with Gazprom over maintenance and custody of Turbines used to pump natural gas through Nord Stream I. So they are likely playing a similar role in the Ukrainian War as with Jackson.

    1. Judd Legum recounted this story Sept. 12, 2022 on the concluding segment of Democracy Now, and it is easy to access in archives there. It runs only 5 minutes but includes the essentials.

      1. Thanks ScheerPost editors for putting this important cartoon back at the top of the cue. (Sept. 15, 2022)

    2. You’re right, Tony. And, yes, I’m a fan of Legum and get his newsletter– which tipped me off to the Siemens connection. I guess Siemens just looks for contracts and cash anywhere, I’m trying to figure out why they reached out/preyed on a town like Jackson.

      So sad.

  3. utter ignorance and stupidity–amerikan incompetence is now attributed to racism—only the nazi emphasized race; no different than americans

    1. Notice Loren Bliss how Popular Resistance lacked the courage to run Judd Legum’s article for more than a day, and censored comments there as spam.
      News sites are vulnerable in this country to tactical lawsuits from operators like Siemens. Above Fiore says he’s puzzled by why Siemens targeted Jackson, but many of us know why and understand completely. Notice how I refer to Nord Stream One… so this is a foreign policy technique and not only a domestic habit, and both of our duopoly parties use it in relations with potential corporate partners and donors.

  4. I am a physician and emigrated to this country when I was 18 years old, that was in 1966 at the height of the Vietnam War. Since then I have observed the self-destructive system of unfettered capitalism and militarism and the fall of America, The country that I used to love and admire since I was a child, it is so sad 😭

    1. I agree. I was being introduced to the whole idea of ‘school’ when you arrived, and I have exactly the same feeling. The America that once was, or at least was dreamed of, is no more.

      We were warned. When you were 19 and I was in school, Dr. King tried to warn us that America needed a true revolution of values. Instead, we went the other direction, and today machines, computers, profits, property rights are viewed as even more important than people than before, and the Giant Triplets are now Giant, Well-Fed, Monsters from a Tolkien nightmare.
      “It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” [applause] Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments. I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. ” — Dr. King, “Beyond Vietnam”, Riverside Church, April, 1967

      1. ScheerPost chickened out too (just like Popular Resistance), letting Fiore’s piece have only a brief run.
        All alternative outlets in the USA are in danger of crippling by corporate lawsuits and right wing judges.
        I admire that Mark Fiore was straight-forward in stating the obvious, that Siemens purposely hacked the remote reading job in Jackon, Mississippi.
        So Ivan, you’re blaming the current mayor, Chokwe Lumumba. Jackson has had 53 mayors and each has left a geologic strata politically speaking. Most of these strata are profoundly racist. All this started back in 2010 when Siemens made their proposal. Harvey Johnson, Jr. was the mayor back then. He was a typical pro-business Democrat wanting to build a convention center and revitalize the entertainment district. Being a conformist used to cooperating with the white community he made an easy target for Siemens and the state Republican government. Haley Barbour was governor back then. So to understand what occurred with the water system we’d need to investigate how Barbour and associates set this up.
        Ivan T. Erible (pseudonym, I hope) probably understands that Lumumba is one of the few Socialist mayors in the USA and is not favored by the Democratic Party which discriminates against progressive candidates not endorsable by oligarchs. What I mean to point out is that establishment Democrats would probably favor utility privatization just as Republicans do. So the voters usually have no choices on this issue.

  5. Here we go with the racism card yet again. As if only black people are the ones getting hit the hardest. There are many of us that aren’t black that are suffering on an equal scale as the African Americans.
    What about our suffering?
    Do we not matter as much?

    1. If victims would unite to resist injustice regardless of color the retroactive reverse racism tactic would not be possible. We’re talking clean household water here, and utility bills… things all residents of the USA have in common.

  6. Good piece, but it appears unable to mention Jackson’s Democratic Mayor, who is also a part of the problem. IIRC, this is a city that has been run by Democrats for a long, long time.

    For instance, I’d imagine that if it was a City contract to Siemens to repair the water system, that it was a signature of a Democratic mayor on the contract, approved by a Democrat City Council, with oversight provided by a Democrat-run City Government.

    Overall, the main problem is the ‘treat government like a business’ line that both Democrats and Republicans now regularly spout. I suspect it has been a very long time since Jackson, or most other American cities, were run by anyone who regards government as a public service owned by the public and operated to improve the lives of the citizens.

  7. Don’t suppose we could use any of those $Billions flying off to Ukraine here at home, do ya?

    1. We could use most of the Defense and Intelligence budget as well, and the subsidies to the oil companies, and the subsidies to big pharma and insurance companies, Ivan D. Terrible. War hurts the poorest and the most mistreated first, and even proxy war comes home to destroy any strivings for democracy.

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