Fret-Sealing the Debt-Ceiling

In Krugman, One Nation on July 25, 2011 at 3:38 am


Alas, it is wickedly hot as wicked deals are brewing in our Nation’s Capitol  and my imagination has become as lacquered as peeling paint in the few moments of free time I have…Time will be mine again in the fall, but I still puzzle reading Sardonicky comments  why more people aren’t jumping up and down about the October 6, 2011 Coalition, which also has plenty of protests planned before then.  They put out out a video here…October 6, 2011 Government for People, Not for Money

Their email list  can be accessed at  October2011.org <info@october2011.org>     Who knows?  But it is better than nothing…

re: Krugman, “Messing with Medicare”

Sadly, I fear President Obama’s capitulation on Medicare can be predicted from his reaction to Beer Summit of 2 years ago.

He went from stating a resounding truth that so many millions of people know to be true (that African-Americans & Latinos are stopped more often than others), to undermining his message by apologizing. We thought he was going to bring us another teachable moment on race’s potent mythologizing and the way it can lead power astray.

Instead, it was a depressing capitulation to the distortions of race, solidifying the mistaken but ingrained assumptions that make race appear more real than our humanity. There was national hysteria because old battle lines of perceived oppressions were drawn.

Now we need a powerful, unswerving transcendence of these ingrained battle lines, something to bring both sides to the higher truth of us being One Nation. A \”Grand Bargain\” cannot involve horse-trading the lives of a few hundred million hard-working Americans for a relative handful of insanely rich private interests, who may very well be international predatory capitalists willing to steal the wealth of nations from any politicians and citizenry who are not vigilant enough to bar them.

This hostage-taking of we, the American People by the unknown wealth now allowed into our politics via the Tea Party, is akin to being arrested for trespassing in our own home. Most would agree we \”acted stupidly\” for opening the borders of our Democracy to anonymous, international pools of cash, with our declaration that corporations are people.

Yet now these outside interests have helped us elect a government whose stated mission is to make our President fail: we are stuck at home with a ceiling about to crash on our heads while the wealthy interests of the world take positions to capitalize on our chaos. We hand over the family jewels of Medicare, and still it is not enough to save the country we call home. I wish the rich would leave so we could tax fairly again!

  1. I checked out the 10/6/2011 website. I don’t see this going anywhere. A lot of language comparing their goal to Egypt and Madison. Well, I should remind you that all of our effort in Madison has achieved zero at this point. We are still hopeful about the recall elections, but all of Walker’s provisions have been enshrined in law at this writing. Half (at least) of the population here (even many liberals) think that the unions “have it too good” and “why should they make more than me?”. It’s a ME society we live in and this is why we cannot sustain demonstrations. Even when we do, we’ll be marginalized by the media and eventually squashed by authorities. The Tea Party gets press because they make fools of themselves and because they VOTE.

    Much as I hate to say it, most people seem to be of a mind that “the generals know best” and “we have to be safe”. Even when peace demonstrations are sizable (as just prior to the Iraq invasion), they get almost no coverage. Our problems go very deep at this point. The media is just a commercial enterprise seeking ratings and ad revenue–even PBS has been cowed by the right and has turned to constantly presenting false equivalence arguments in order to pander to those who control their funding.

    The President asked the people to let their reps know they want “compromise” and the system crashed from the response. They want this compromise the same way that they want “both sides of the story”–even if one side says that the earth is flat!

    I marched in the 60’s and 70’s, but it wasn’t the marching as much as the complete and ongoing media coverage of those marches that made a difference. And don’t forget that what we are seeing today from the right is the conservative backlash to all of that. They despised every single one of us “hippies” (I was nothing of the sort–just a young Mom who had studied a lot of history and thought the war was wrong and futile) and set the wheels in motion for all that we are seeing today.

    I AM hopeful that the recall elections here in WI will lead to a more balanced state government, but make no mistake, the demonstrations are largely seen here as “a bunch of overpaid public employees”. People have been completely taken in by the meme that the federal budget is just the same as one’s household budget and that no matter how bad the cuts are, they are “necessary”. It never seems to occur to them that the other option to not having enough to pay the bills is to earn more money! (I am thinking along the lines of workers asking for a raise, not so much getting a second or third job!)

    Sorry to be so gloomy, but I’m sticking to the idea of boycotting rather than demonstrating. Economic impact is the only thing that will be understood. If we don’t want big bonuses to CEO’s, then we have to see that their companies’ stocks don’t do so well! But again, I just don’t know if soft and spoiled Americans can even muster up the courage to do without some favorite product long enough to have that kind of impact. I’ve been involved in some efforts by environmental groups to get cities to “turn off the lights” for a few hours–well, some of my most committed friends confessed to me that they just had to turn them on while they did some supposedly vital chore. This is just a small example, but I do think there is a problem with Americans getting out of their comfort zone–and writing to blog doesn’t count.

  2. I thoroughly agree with every one of your points. I view us as living in a failed democracy, turned oligarchy, not merely because of a hierarchical power coup. This oligarchy is fundamentally a failure of every single individual in society who accepts “the generals-know-best mentality” or who thinks they are not worthy of solid middle class salaries, and so seeks three jobs rather than a raise or a union.

    So neither our protests, nor boycotts, nor blogs are going to fundamentally transform all of society into an egalitarian Democracy. However, as individuals, some of us seem (thankfully!) fundamentally trapped by our conscience in a fundamentally unconscionable society. We have no choice but to keep plugging along for visionariness in a bought-out, ME society. Your conscience matters greatly to me, as does the conscience manifest in so many rousing, stirring, and inspiring blogs and reader comments in the blogs (and for major newspapers, mostly in the New York Times, rarely elsewhere)…they are the web of hope, no matter how tenuous or delicate the strands may be, in a harsh and inhospitable world.

    The whole point of global markets is that China and India are the new “middle class” markets that all our supposedly American companies can turn to for pent-up consumer demand, making any boycotts here less effectual, if not moot. Clearly, the system of government, democracy or dictatorship, makes no difference to companies trying to turn a profit. The system of government only makes a difference to the people in society, who experience the other dimensions of life besides utilitarian or recreational products involved in commerce.
    Freedom remains theoretical only until it is tested. We are told the Chinese do not experience freedom like Americans do. We were brought up relentlessly being told the same thing about the Soviet Union. Yet how do you define freedom if all systems of government have companies setting up nuclear plants, pumping oil (which always “spills,” more like fulminates and ruins), breaking unions, and generally endorsing the most profound inequality of wages between the workers and the top management, which is the most fundamental antithesis of democratic ideals possible? The corporate hierarchy is a re-assemblage of the Kings and serfs which endured for centuries of the Dark Ages until the Renaissance and Enlightenment declared that all people are “equal.” Yet such equality is a sham if the King or CEO still controls the vast majority of resources.

    So, serfdom continues while Democracy is promulgated in name only, in Orwellian or Kafkaesque sur-reality. One of my favorite reader comments on an education article in the NYTImes was from a teacher who said, “we only get them for 12 years. After that, FOX news gets them and undoes all our work.”

    The hippies who gave up on transforming society and retreated to farms and communes are still doing valuable work. I have met and worked with some of them in Wisconsin (Viroqua! and the driftless bioregion) , North Carolina (Haw River valley), Maryland and Virginia. Just like the Amish and Mennonites are preserving oases of traditional, more sustainable society in little pockets of the U.S. They aren’t agitating to stop wasting our tax dollars on wars while our people go hungry, but they are also living extremely frugally and are not buying any of the products of our throw-away society. I now buy more and participate in such waste far more than I would prefer, and watch my daughter becoming a good little consumer because it is the prevailing spirit of society.

    People at workplaces just denigrate each other and gossip rather than support each other– a good heart counts for nothing, and is not recognized. If they can hang you on a technicality, they can, and will. If you speak up against injustice, you are lambasted, so many people learn to be very, very quiet souls. Yup, that’s freedom! And that is why I write and retreat to my blogs when I can. It is why every great writer through the ages bothered to pour their heart and soul onto the page. Society is vicious and hateful, but we can’t give up on idealism.

  3. Very thoughtful reply and I can’t argue with much of it. Thank you for pointing our some weak spots in my rant–and you do it so seamlessly! A good heart indeed.

    I still think boycotts can have an impact, although if highly successful, they’d cause unemployment. I’ll have to do some research I think.

    Writing is very cathartic for many, and I love reading all you and the rest have to say, but I am hungry for some action, direct or indirect. Having said that, my own response is to lean more and more to emigrating. It’s a small world and I know I can’t escape global trends or the ruin of the environment, but there are places more “civilized” than the US of 2011. We are, quite simply, an invasive species who have decimated our environment and should become extinct asap.

    Ah! Viroqua; I’ve been there. I spend quite a lot of time in that part of Wisconsin, amongst the Amish community around there. I live rather “Amishly” myself, although I still have electricity. But I do not have TV, dryer, dishwasher, garage opener, power mower or other yard implements. I own a car but strictly minimize its use. If I lived in the country, I would happily do without the car as I could keep a horse or two! The car is mostly for road trips to see my grandchildren. I have been working toward the goal of living for a year without electricity (and continuing if it goes well), but haven’t taken the plunge yet. The computer would be a major sacrifice, although one could limit its use to a library or other public place. None of my four children, however, emulate any of this. So I am an anachronism. I hope you are right and that this matters somehow.

    Back to “hippies”. Some, of course, kept up the commune spirit, but I am more reminded of the film “The Big Chill”, wherein they “sold out” and made lots of money. Most of my classmates have become at least comfortably well off and some downright rich. Many of them would see me as an abject failure.

    I hope we get to meet one day. Let me know if you’re ever in Wisconsin. I’ll meet you in Viroqua.

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