Daily Archives: June 5, 2011

Who will speak for fairness in the US?

Republicans, who seem determined to give us a double dip recession and a possible financial disaster following on their refusal to raise the debt limit have sold Americans a bill of goods. Their mantra, “only the private sector can create jobs” is a myth, but they want to make it a reality by depriving unions of their rights to bargain with their employers and rob them of their pensions while they are at it. What they are really selling is poverty for everyone but themselves and their rich friends. They should look around and take in what’s happening in other parts of the world where people who have been deprived of dignity and livelihoods for years by dictators out to enrich themselves, are rising up in anger and demanding a say in their own governance. It could happen here, since keeping the majority of ordinary people down tends to lead to authoritarian government, brutal crack downs, police states, and ultimately revolt or revolution.

Their theme of out of control government spending is another myth, and it denies the reality that Republican administrations are the ones who have gotten us in this mess by deregulating financial institutions that then went on a bender, giving away tax breaks to their rich friends and industrialists, and fighting unfunded wars. Pay as you go sounds wonderful and responsible, but who is doing the paying? It certainly isn’t those who have the funds and the profits to make it possible.

Krugman details how we got here:

By the beginning of 2010, it was already obvious that these concerns had been justified. Yet somehow an overwhelming consensus emerged among policy makers and pundits that nothing more should be done to create jobs, that, on the contrary, there should be a turn toward fiscal austerity.
This consensus was fed by scare stories about an imminent loss of market confidence in U.S. debt. Every uptick in interest rates was interpreted as a sign that the “bond vigilantes” were on the attack, and this interpretation was often reported as a fact, not as a dubious hypothesis.
For example, in March 2010, The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Debt Fears Send Rates Up,” reporting that long-term U.S. interest rates had risen and asserting — without offering any evidence — that this rise, to about 3.9 percent, reflected concerns about the budget deficit. In reality, it probably reflected several months of decent jobs numbers, which temporarily raised optimism about recovery.

Why do people believe this stuff? Are we really all that much a bunch of fools following the conventional wisdoms like lemmings to our inevitable end? In our ignorance of basic economics, we’ve gone nuts. This makes us prey to those selling simple-sounding solutions in order to gain power.

Here’s this from William Rivers Pitt at Truthout:

To wit: every available scrap of poll data indicates that a large majority of Americans are stoutly opposed to the Ryan plan that seeks to end Medicare…and every scrap of poll data also indicates that a majority of Americans are dead-set against raising the debt-limit ceiling.

Who the what the where the when the why the hell is that?

Simple answer: the GOP pulled a bait-and-switch on America’s most vulnerable voters by claiming that Obama and the Democrats wanted to destroy Medicare, and with this gambit clawed their way into majority control of the House in the 2010 midterm elections. Once they were in, they turned on a dime and started laying the groundwork to annihilate the very Medicare program they had been sounding the alarm over.

It’s a great article. Go read and enjoy.

Henry Giroux:

A casino capitalist zombie politics views competition as a form of social combat, celebrates war as an extension of politics, and legitimates a ruthless Social Darwinism in which particular individuals and groups are considered simply redundant, disposable—nothing more than human waste left to stew in their own misfortune—easy prey for the zombies who have a ravenous appetite for chaos and revel in apocalyptic visions filled with destruction, decay, abandoned houses, burned-out cars, gutted landscapes, and trashed gas stations.

Describes the Republicans and some Democrats perfectly.

Last, but hardly least is this from TomDispatch’s article describing in detail our loss of the rule of law:

“Think of the National Security Complex as the King George of the present moment. In the areas that matter to that complex, Congress has ever less power and, as in the case of the war in Libya or the Patriot Act, is ever more ready to cede what power it has left.
So democracy? The people’s representatives? How quaint in a world in which our real rulers are unelected, shielded by secrecy, and supported by a carefully nurtured, almost religious attitude toward security and the U.S. military.”

Supposing it’s too late to recover from our national madness. What then? Have we already gone to far on the road to authoritarian dictatorship of the few? Does anyone care about what’s fair or legal anymore aside from those of us who keep pointing out what’s happening?