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David Simon on the End of the American Empire

by Bill Hughes • 78,590 views

Speaking at Loyola College, David Simon, an author and creator of the acclaimed HBO program, "The Wire," shares his views on the end of the American Empire in three video segments. He says we're...

More like "unencumbered socialist elitism" - the sort that inspires multimillionaire liberals to call the US an "empire" based on "exploitation", then go and exploit the poor to rip off government tax fund and launder them through the welfare industry. It's the kind of arrogance and chutzpah that led the limousine Left to gut the US industrial sector, and then blame poverty in the US on the lack of industrial businesses.
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I'd like to see Chris Hedges sit down and debate David Simon. The dialogue would be enlightening I believe.
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The gov't cannot solve every single conceivable problem people face. I mean you are from the UK, look at how gov't is trying to micromanage the crap out of everything...is it any better in the UK? There are things in this world that one cannot change, such as the inevitability of an underclass and downtrodden, and the continued pursuit of the eradication of this is futile.
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Other than you disagreeing with me, anything else? Your argument is not backed up by anything, so i think the flawed part is in your camp, not mine. I'd like you to point to another form of gov't that is better in the slightest. THere is a reason why people from all over the world struggle and sometimes die to get to this country. Proof is in the pudding my friend.
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I didn't know our parks are now under UN control, this really sucks that we are losing our country and no one seems too really care! Plus now with this Real ID card, and inplantable chip on the back of that, they seem to have us under there control. I for one will fight back!
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I am all for making this country better, but the premise that America is on the downslope and cannot be corrected (as Simon states) is false. The overwhelming majority of people in this country enjoy a quality of life that is second to none. There will always be an underclass and i wont try to rebuild a philosophy that is not broken.
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What's he's saying about the gated communities is right. You'll know we are getting closer to that the smaller the middle-class becomes. However, we won't reach that stage. When it really starts to touch people, that's when everyone will wake up. I know it.
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@MadCoins I identify as a social-democrat. My guess is that you understand what that is, so no need here to explain further. With respect, to "bide our time" is what is killing us. Politicians of both stripes are selling us short-term solutions to the deep and dangerous structural inefficiencies in this system. When what is called for are urgent reforms. In this society, it takes years and years to achieve baby-steps towards a desirable outcome. Something has got to give, and soon.
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"Should" is a tricky word. No one "should" steal cars, but I still want a lock on mine. Regardless of what should happen, what DOES happen is socialized systems serve their own interests not the people; David Simon knows this better than anyone. That includes public schools, public health care, and government of course. Corporations do have limits. They cannot alienate their customers. No such limit exists on government programs. And the people who run it, know it.
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I have one thing to say about all this... S'all in the game yo.
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@kentucy9999 @kentucy9999 u nailed it. This guy simon is a jerk, making is $ selling his whining about the USA & then crying because, in HIS words: " "anything I've ever done in life, down to, like, cleaning up my room, has been accomplished because I was going to show people that they were fucked up, wrong, and that I was the fucking center of the universe and the sooner they got hip to that, the happier they would all be."
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Playing the 'victim' card again? The only victim here is the person who works years of their life under such an oppressive capitalist system, only to have the gov't take it away to provide social programs and welfare to people who exploit the system and never get a job. I dont see too many people trying to sneak into communist/socialist countries..i wonder why?
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@afterapplepicking agreed completely brother. he should have the words "personal responsibility" stamped on his forehead so he never forgets what this country is about. our futures start in the 4 walls of the american home. you either live right, work hard, and reap the benefits, or you do the opposite and face the consequences.
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every empire in history fell so y do ppl think the mighty United States is and different
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The denial of the human condition by people like Simon is sad. It is not a stain on America, just a fact that there will always be downtrodden, broken people who will suffer and die due to their inability to take care of themselves. Its called natural selection and the survival of the fittest.
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I loved the Wire and the more David Simonish episodes of Homicide. But I'm not sure he knows what he's talking about here... He should read Adam Smith. The institutions aren't supposed to "serve" the public selflessly. That's asking too much of humans. Allow free trade and leave people with self-determination and you'll be surprised how much they take care of themselves and others.
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JMKRATOCHVIL wins today's "Toughest Guy on the Internet Award." Congrats!
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The poorest people in this country have it better than the average person around the world. The middle class in america have a lifestyle enviable by most foreign upper classes. I am a hungarian immigrant and i can attest to the greatness of this country. COuntless people are doing anything to come here...i wonder why?
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That is also not true. It's the people who are still stuck on the capitalist mind set that destroys social institutions, which are under the disguise of socialism . France . sweeden, denmark, england, canada, the emirates have all gotten things right and havent fucked the people over. And schools are not even funded legally, they still rely on property taxes and levies. I mean the U.S cant even get single payer on the table. the real socialist solution. so what does that tell you.
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he is right things like education, health care, government, they should serve the people selflessly. Even corporations should have have limits and morals , and when they dont we end up fucked, and if what you said is true then we wouldnt be in the mess were in now.
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@jpeditor The fact that Simon recognises his flaws is not a mark against him. Quite the contrary, in fact. It shows he has a greater capacity to see things the way they are.
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There is no panacea. Just because America isn't perfect. Just because the "American dream" didn't turn out to be peachy, peachy, doesn't mean we can't continue to be the most powerful, the wealthiest, and the most influential nation on earth. Apples and oranges. So there is poverty. So there are inequities. So there is superficiality. So there is racism. So the rich are getting richer. So what? That has nothing to do with whether American hegemony is alive. It is. Grow up everyone.
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I think you are expendable! America sucks and you are all going to hell. That's all one can say on this matter.
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this is exactly what ive been writing about how humans are losing value in the economy at danster82 com
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I love your sunny disposition, for the kids from the street how do they afford a ticket out, unless they are dealing drugs. If you live in the ghetto you have no money and have no way of earning a decent living honestly. With the expectation of youth growing the only way of reaching the american dream is drugs. I wish you well though from a kid whom got out:D
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Anyone interested in what this guy is saying, should look up noam chomsky. They both share the exact same opinions.
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WOOOO treme in like a month lol
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There will always be socialists that pander to the poor and downtrodden b/c they promise them a way out w/o having to do the work. I immigrated from communist hungary and i can tell you first hand that communism/socialism stifles the human spirit more than capitalism ever can.
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That is why we need an internalized system of moral development where people 'police' themselves (where people do right not out of fear of some external agency but rather because of self awareness and understanding the interdependent relationship to others and the universe) PEACE...hopefully but only if we choose it.
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and all europeans think they are better than americans and think they are the best. They are also rich high class snobs. lol i could say the same thing about u. lol i dont need to argue with a jerk like u so im not going to reply back after this message...
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Third world conditions? The arrogance of the city dweller is overwhelming to say the least. The city is not the center of the universe or america for that matter and does not reflect how good we have it here. Society is not responsible for every unfortunate social situation that befalls people. We have it great here and it can be improved...its not 'too late' as simon declares.
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Yeah growing pains ended in 1992 man, more than 15 years ago, which is precisely the guy's point. Anyway, Family Ties was way better than growing pains! Way more intelligent of a show.
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Watching this makes you smarter, period.
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Greed and Corruption is not a byproduct of democracy, but of the human condition. Once again, where is this 'other' form of gov't that is so greater in reality or theory that you are referring to. As if corruption and greed are not part of socialism, communism, fascism, etc?
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@dempsey981 The roman empire declined that way too. No empire lasts forever.
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@hschan4 Indeed HBO is what America should be. Intelligent, daring, stylish and forward thinking. A world away from the mindless propaganda that is created by FOX
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hard to believe but it is over. greed destroyed america.
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Good point, the u.s economy has yet to actually see a bottom, nothing but the same old political spin and blind media spewing the same america is number 1 crap. I'm not sure where the bottom is but I wouldn't want to be in america when it hits...
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Self-reliance is good and all, but unless you live in your own country where you grow your own food, pay no taxes, and employ yourself, you're not. Not everyone has the chance to be such. You seen The Wire? Or real life? Middle schoolers being taught nothing in schools because of an inept and crooked government needing to support families because their dependent younger siblings and drug addicted parents can't. They can't get jobs, so what do they have to rely on? Nothing except the corner.
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we are an urban people , the wprld is an urban place...David Simon relaly speaks the truth..Brillian writer..
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The schools are slowly getting more and more fucked in England.
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@brothamouzoune Denial of what? Who is going to take the "mantel" of world hegemony? Certainly not China. China has more problems than the USA will ever have. I believe America's quality of life may diminish in the future but I don't think its influence will because I think for every 10% our quality of life diminishes the other countries such as China, Japan, and the Euro zone will diminish 15%. We'll still be the "big fish" but in a "smaller pond." I'm negative on all of it....not just America.
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@jaydog7575 Mother Jones, September/October 2008 Issue "Mother Jones: What remainder of the Bush administration will be the hardest to fix? David Simon: I would say the answer is global warming. " CONCLUSION - dope smoking JACKASS...
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David is a brilliant guy, but even he doesn't know the difference between "Further" and "Farther." He incorrectly said..."They will move further and further away," when he should have said..."They will move farther and farther away."
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prison break? you're taking the piss right? what about kirk cameron?
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a nation that allows unemcumbered capitalism can be many things, but it cannot be Christian
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read it (or listen, watch) and weep
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@jpeditor Sir, you just proved David Simon's point in the video perfectly. That there is two Americas that are growing increasingly distant from each other, the have-its trying to marginalize the have-nots more and more, and the have-nots coming to resent the have-its more and more. You are part of the problem, and all you can harp about is the guy's stance on global warming, which has nothing to do with anything he said in the video (though just as important a message no doubt).
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@pharry4life Why are so many people anxious for someone to displace America as the preeminant power? Are you sure that would be such a good thing?
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@kentucy9999 So everything's all right then? Things can be all fucked to hell, but as long as the US have their hegemony, it's a-okay?
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@Newbobdole the US Constitution, rather like the democratic settlement in the UK, was not established with political parties in mind. The presumption was that representatives would present themselves to the (rich, landed, informed, engaged) voters, would be picked on the basis of their credentials and character, and would vote freely on the issues according to their judgement. For better or worse that doesn't happen and the voting system used, FPTP, leads naturally to a 2 party state (Duverger)
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@afterapplepicking No, what's pathetic is the fact that you feel we're only smart gorillas. We have souls and a conscience unlike gorillas. We can create beautiful symphonies and write poetry that stirs the HUMAN soul, unlike gorillas. Everything this man says is TRUE. We are a society doomed. England and France once shared a historical dominance of the world and the USA's dominance is finished! We'll be remembered in history books 500 yrs from now as the greedy bullies on the block
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@jarden69 also, 1:33 "transitive"? what? i know he means period of transition, or experiencing transition. 'transitory' is a word but 'transitive' is a linguistic term used to describe verbs or something
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No, there are so many factors you left dry in the dust. If you force individuals too far below the living expenses of a dignified lifestyle you incur more debt, a larger underground market, a deterioration of currency (unless the underground market gets big enough), and a volatile business cycle from being unable to facilitate loans. A real democracy (and real capitalists) recognize unions as part of the invisible hand. A high minimum wage means less poverty and MORE participants in the economy.
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Wait, dope smoking jackass is like saying fruit eating jackass or car driving jackass or toilet using jackass or beer drinking jackass or tv show producing jackass or voting jackass or sex having jackass or speech giving jackass or degree having jackass or cake baking jackass or hand shake giving jackass or mother jones interview giving jackass or HBO employed jackass. Jackass is still an insult but "dope smoking" is harmless and hasn't been an insult since the Cold War. Get modern brother!
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@pharry4life 80% of the workers in China make less than 9 dollars a day. At least 60% of Chinese live below the poverty line. As we speak the American economy is 3.2 times as large as China. Unless there is a war it will take China a long time at an extraordinaryly high growth rate to catch up {and as their economy matures growth will diminish.} In 2009 22.5% of the direct investment in the world was directed to the United States. 4.4% to China. The challenges China faces are monstrous.
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david simon is brilliant he's got his finger on the pulse.................
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from traitors from within, they will lay flat the American dream and freedom.This to lay the foundations of a new world Govt.,Where People are used up as tools. America will be reduced to rubble All this is from the traitors of freedom and the founding fathers . Yet their are Americans that salute the flag ,bow down to take it all up the rear ,all the while wearing a silly grin. these are the products of an educational system that has been gutted and looted. Everything is Broken
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And for you guys that think that going to war is something like playing a computer game-No matter how powerful your country is, or how numerous your armies, or how advanced your weapons-when a bullet whizzes by your head on the left and then one on the right and you don't know whether to move or stay still,knowing that the next one may end up making your eyes bulge out of your head-the knowledge that you are a member of the most powerful country on earth won't comfort you one damn bit!
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You're right, but all I see is the DNC throwing us table scraps while the maintain the current situation. We need a real leader who can slap DC and the special interest across the face. However, before we do that we need a real voting public, not the infotainment morons walking the streets of our country.
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@pagola Good point, but I'm speaking of America as a whole, not about subsets of the population.
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They are exactly what i said...socialist. I call it what it is. Abandoned it most vulnerable citizens? How is that? The poor in this country have it better than most of the middle class around the world. I guess the only way of attacking my argument is attacking the words i use...weak.
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@BelfastAtheist If it wasn't for Europe screwing things up, the DOW would probably be at 14,000 now.
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@nycic true...im from africa and trust me...your okay
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the senate is supposed to be geographically balanced.
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Efficiency and gov't should not be in the same sentence. The overwhelming majority of advancements have been made in the private sector, not by some gov't monolith that cant even balance the budget, let alone be responsible to do it efficiently. Fantasy world of socialism, great theory, sucks in practice. I lived in it, i know.
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min 1:10 "Every moment, from here on end, humans are worth less" I wouldnt doubt that the Elites certainly think this way, but all it takes is a revolution to reset this mutherfu$#a and all bets are off. The Elites got their fu%$in money and technology, we got the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Got nuthin to do with free market economies, it's government man. The bigger the gov, the smaller the freedom. So fu$# off!
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its more than just oil, as chomsky has said, you cant let a nation defy the order of the day. if iraq could do what it wanted, so could everyone else. makes sense of iran and venezuela than. follow us or perish.
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Simon's critique of bureaucratic fraud in both government and the private sector was eerily prescient of the subprime mortgage crisis, as well as offering great insight into how society has been shaped in the last 30 years. The more I learn the more I realize just how right David Simon was on the systemic flaws of our world.
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Statistically speaking, the number of poor white people outnumber the number of poor minorities by a very wide margin. Intrinsically wrong with the poor? THere are many factors, such as lack of education, chaotic family situations, drugs and other factors that society cannot help. There are so many social programs for the poor in this country and yet its still not enough. I dont see an ever widening population of poor people that would raise concern in my opinion.
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My eyes are open and i just dont see the 'decline' of the American civilization and i certainly dont agree with Simon. I live in florida and despite the beauty, there is more violent crime down here than pretty much any other state. Freedom has its price, but i am willing to take the good with the bad.
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Strange how americans don't see the connect beetween Sweden wich is a socialist country and has very low problems...and America wich is a capitalist country that moves towards facism and has a shitload of problems Social Democracy is the way to go....
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I do believe this lecture is worth taking into consideration NOW.there is alot of vision and realities in this lecture.well worth listening to and processing.
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@ Really? they are great in Scotland. I attended what was statistically the second most violent school in the country and barely got in a single fight, saw very little bullying and know many people, myself included, who left with very good qualifications.
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"socialism"? Try "humanism". The more your arguments involve categorizing and branding people with empty shibboleths like that, the less your argument says. Try making your point without all the buzzwords you learned from network news and you'll find your argument isn't much. Calling somebody a "socialist" doesn't refute or confront the fact that this country has abandoned its most vulnerable citizens.
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To blame "unencumbered capitalism" is the same thing as blaming unicorns. Theyre both fantasies.
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Read up on Anarchism as a viable alternative socio-economic order. Non aggression, mutual aid, cooperation, non capitalist, non profiteering, no war, no govornment, just people managing ourselves, we need no corporate govornment to make wage slaves of us. You are not a slave, Resist.
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How come when everyone starts talking about "these People" no one wants to state the fact: THESE BLACK PEOPLE. Yeah, I said it. Thats the majority of the casualities of this so-called drug war and NOONE (particular u left/right wingers) never wants to talk about this on going issue thats been affecting our urban area for over 35yrs now.
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@DBCOOPER888 america has the largest population of people in jail in the world....what do you mean we are better off...you obviously have never lived in the ghetto
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I came to the same thesis. Either everything gets turned over to the machines that replace us Terminator-style, or there's a revolt and a collapse.
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The reason this is the best country in the world and why countless people come here to america is b/c they are given an opportunity, a chance to be the best they can be. America is build on the greatness of the individual, not on the 'backbone' of the average person. There will always be workers, but its the innovators and the best, brightest and smartest that make a civilization grow and prosper. One hand washes the other.
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Lest we forget, Simon has a TV show and i know how holly wood loves to foster the notion of a selfish society that exploits the weak and leaves them no choice but to resort to crime in order to survive. Great, i can pick out the plight of the alaskan crab fisherman as it relates to american society as well, but it wont change the fact that some people still want to fish the Bering Sea no matter what they get paid.
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Hard work and determination is the only way one can every make a better life for themselves. I guess that is where you and I differ. In the vacuum of their existence, sure, it will be a miracle if they make it. How this ties into that situation being the fault of society and, more importantly, why the burden falls on society to correct is beyond me.
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"We used to make shit in this country"
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But to say its a forgone conclusion that America WILL decline is untrue. There may be murder in the big city, but the big city is NOT the center and backbone of america. Rural places, small towns, small businesses are the ones that make this country great. Big cities have some big problems. THe overwhelming majority of people dont live in the big city.
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You're right, but that is why he's needed on TV.
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Do anybody know how I can email David Simon ? Do he still write for the Newspaper ? If he still do proof it Please
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Yes, people were valued during the Roman Empire, very very valued during the push at The Somme, fantastically valued at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Iwo Jima, Tasmania, the Zulu wars, on and on and on. History shows that only the ruling are valued, the ruled never have been.
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All empires rise and fall , the only thing is ( as with everything its accelerating ) Chinas tenure as THE power will be shorter than that of the US and whoever follows then ( probably India ) will be shorter still. Whats different now is that the elites are unaffected , they are now global where the rest of us are still national.
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@jaydog7575 Why does the fact that humans can produce and create beautiful things preclude the possibility we may be just intelligent apes? You're not exactly saying anything, other than providing arbitrary restrictions on what 'intelligent gorillas' can do.
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