I believe that the US is in decline; that there is little doubt that the multi-national corporations and major banks are creating a society which takes from the many and gives to the few. The result: the US has the highest level of inequality of any other developed country, and the gap continues to widen.
Multinational corporations and major banks have created a culture where right wing reactionaries thrive. These people identify with the rich and powerful, and, because of the way they were raised by authoritarian parents, they are hostile and antagonistic to those who are not privileged (see “Authoritarian Personality” by Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford). The result: our economy, our environment, and our health are harmed, while America’s core values (i.e. inclusivity) are being destroyed. America is being captured from within. The multinational corporations and major banks have become weapons of mass destruction of the middle class. The result: The US is becoming a Third World country inside of itself.
Taxes are being shifted from the multinational corporations and major banks to the general population, which ends up subsidizing them. Is this the new welfare? Our elected officials support this move because they depend on their funding, but our cities are in crisis, unable to sustain adequate public schools and services.
Our elected officials are chosen for us predominantly by the multinational corporations and major banks, thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. In addition, more than 30,000 lobbyists ensure their control. The result: our representatives do not make decisions based on the priorities of their constituents.
News is sanitized so that advertisers will continue their funding. Public opinion is shaped so that we become spectators rather than participants in what used to be a democracy, but is now a plutocracy.
I believe that the biggest impact is the devastation of our economy, resulting in an ever-increasing disparity between the rich and the rest of us. Multinational corporations and major banks are very class conscious.
Multinational corporations are protected, subsidized, and even insured by our government, which assists in creating special off-shore zones, resulting in the outsourcing of our jobs and economy. Free trade agreements; driven by multi-national corporations, are a major contributor to job losses in America.
Privatization of public services increases the wealth of multinational corporations while increasing the costs to the rest of us. The result: many states, counties, and cities are punished into a permanent tax crisis. A society in which takes from the many and gives to the few is unsustainable.
Neo-liberalism/post-modernism is a synonym for re-colonialization. Decisions are shifted from the populace to the multi-national corporations, which change the rules, avoiding regulation, and have become predators.
Is it class war? We have no choice other than to fight back. The way to do this is to organize, mobilize and take direct action on targets as groups. It is best to build alliances with a variety of constituencies. In this way, we will obtain the power to take back America.
Pete da Silva
Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Donald Kaul’s article in your 8/1/13 issue, “An Endangered Species Up in Arms,” is right about the endangered species [liberal arts college students]. I don’t know about their being “up in arms,” exactly. I think it’s closer to “down in the dumps.”
Back in the Dark Ages of 1945, at the end of the second world war in less than 50 years, the “peace” of the rest of the century began. Anyone who has lived through those years (i.e. that would be from the “Baby Boomers” on up) knows there was hardly any real peace. There still isn’t.
And with every new “conflict” there were new technologies and methods of fighting being invented and refined. More people, more problems. What was being sold as our savior, our answer to all our problems”? Science, technology, engineering and math. The liberal arts and humanities were old fashioned, impractical, dull, too boring, irrelevant and no way to wealth. And this was what prevailed in the General Public’s mind in the USA then and now. It’s not new.
People see movies loosely based on a book and think they’ve been shown the book. They see “history” movies and think they know History. They drive cars and fly in planes and think they know engineering and flying. They think they know a lot more than they actually do.
They think people on TV and radio know a lot because they talk a lot and sound knowledgeable. Same for a lot of newspaper columnists.
But for anyone who has actually read and/or studied literature and history, most of the loudest voices are clearly the least knowledgeable. And that goes for people in government and business, though those “busy making a living” seem to spend less time in the “impractical” humanities — to everyone’s loss. Now we have more gadgets than ever. There are still only 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, a finite number of years in any lifetime. Alas.
“Being human” is pretty much the same problem it has always been. Don’t believe it? Read great writers from the past.
There’s nothing wrong with science, technology, engineering and math. But if that’s all there is to learn in order to have a good life, we’d all be there by now, wouldn’t we? Clearly we are not.
Presque Isle, Maine
In his 8/15/13 column, “Zimmerman Trial: Tragic But Correct,” Gene Lyons writes that Rem Rieder of USA Today, in citing some of the news outlets that refer to Zimmerman as a ‘white Hispanic,” is like calling President Obama a “white black.”
Unfortunately, far too many people (even some American Latinos!) aren’t aware that a Hispanic’s skin color is not what determines his Latin Americanism. That trait is determined by his people’s history and their culture.
During my childhood, when I lived in Mexico City, several of my young friends, whose forebears came from Europe, had blond hair and blue eyes. Others, whose skin was black as ebony, descended from African slaves who arrived in chains during the Colonial Period to work in the sugar plantations of their Spanish masters.
Mexico, as well as most Latin American countries, also welcomed Russians escaping from the Bolshevik Revolution, Chinese fleeing from their country’s incessant turmoil, and Jews of the Diaspora. Thus, like the United States, Latin America is a melting pot of races, nationalities, religions and cultures – and they all call themselves Latin Americans or Hispanics.
Never in Latin America’s modern history, has its people’s skin pigmentation played a divisive role in its vision of Pan American justice and unity.
As I approach that admired and respected “octogenarian” status in next year’s upcoming birthday celebration, yesterday’s wrongful decision of George Zimmerman’s acquittal had me once again feeling the horrific shame I felt of a young 18-year-old white man when I crossed over the “Mason Dixon line” en route to my basic training as a US Navy enlistee in Bainbridge, Md. (1952). Much of my youth was spent living in communities throughout Westchester County and the Bronx, N.Y., where all of my classmates and close friends were of varying hues and ethnicities and all were welcomed and shared in all of our family’s gatherings. My parents’ teachings and the influence of all my aunts and uncles emphasized the Biblical precepts regarding “Do unto others as you would expect others to do unto you.”
The several years I spent travelling throughout much of the “South” when on Liberty from my duties exposed me to “man’s inhumanity to man” and left an indelible mark on my psyche that remains with me till this very day. That same hatred that existed in the segregated Southern policies then pervades our society today in the right wing zealots attack on voter rights and within our Criminal Justice System in a multitude of decisions like rendered Saturday, July 13, in Sanford, Fla.
Thanks for the explanation of what happened to my favorite MSNBC newsman Ed Schultz. Here my son has been telling me he had taken time off to care for a sick wife, when all the while the head honchos were just trolling for younger viewers, with Chris Hayes.
I’m not young, but I’ve lived long enough to see favorite publications of mine go down the tubes when they went in similar directions, and I referred to that as getting New Yorked, because many young folks who were educated in that part of the country or lived there thought that was where it was at or should be, with everything.
Even country-style magazines made that mistake, and when I had an antiques shop customers were thrilled when they found old issues there that they liked better than the new ones, and they were willing to pay big bucks for them.
What was great about Ed, though, was he had a midwestern voice, and he sure turned it on when he went to battle for my home state Wisconsin when it was under attack by its own governor.
I left that state more than 40 years ago, but I tell my Colorado friends that the midwest, and midwesteners, have a special charm about them because they tell the truth and have no guile about them. In fact most of them don’t even know what guile is, or have no use for it.
Ed could always be counted on to tell the truth as he saw it, and he wasn’t afraid to step out in the front ranks of protesters when he perceived dishonesty going on, and knew a stop had to be put to it before it corrupted everybody.
But being the born-and-bred Midwesterner that I am, I also have to admit to something that colors my thinking a bit. I also loved Ed because he has the same name my father had. (First and last names, although we spelled ours the German way, without the “t” in it.)
My dad was a working class guy all his life, but he always voted Republican, Damned if I know why, because he voted against FDR, who was the best friend working men ever had. And that affected my early voting decisions, because like most people do I inherited my politics until I grew up enough to to think for myself.
I don’t wish Chris Hayes any ill, but he should put a few more years on him and experience before he tells us what to do. And as for MSNBC it needs to develop some character, and to quit using polling numbers to make its decisions by.
Editor Notes: Schultz is back on MSNBC on Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. Central time, in addition to this syndicated daily radio show.
Obama’s Second Act
Bob Borosage’s 2/15/13 piece, titled “Obama’s Second Act,” is very apt. Obama’s whole presidential career is a showcase of his acting abilities. He portrays a man who is a progressive but really a smooth rhetorician. How can anyone trust a man who has no moral core? He spends his Tuesdays plotting, like a mad scientist, launching drones to execute anyone he deems a terrorist.
Benjamin H. Friedman of the Cato Institute said it best, “So a president, consulting with officials he can fire, is using a secret process that he can change, to kill whomever he wants, wherever he wants, whether or not there is a war on, by saying the words al Qaeda.”
Now we learn that some 30,000 drones will be launched over American skies along with the renewal of NSA ability to continue spying on American citizens. Let’s not forget Obama’s attack on Social Security and his soon to be disastrous Obamacare. Why did we have to wait four years for it to come into effect? Did the delay have anything to do with his reelection bid?What is there to cheer about with Obama’s Second Act?
San Francisco, Calif.
Did you know that “we” are forcing 11 million people to “live in the shadows”? From such exaggeration we could infer that the US is not a sovereign nation, e.g., we can’t support “exclusion.” What is “broken” has more to do with Mexico than the US. Michael Brune [executive director of the Sierra Club, in “A More Sustainable Future for All,” 8/1/13 TPP] unintentionally explains who the “we” are when he faults NAFTA. Yes, “we” have a tenuous responsibility for immigration problems because we voted for the “free traders” (e.g. Bill Clinton).
The Sierra Club stopped talking about “carrying capacity” about the time that liberal orthodoxy required a more laissez faire attitude about immigration. In 1998 the Club voted to reject an anti-immigration policy.
Brune’s references to climate change and general environmentalism are beside the point. But, yes, an amnesty should be granted, not because law-breakers deserve it, but because many families include those who were brought across the border when they were children. To deport those innocents would be cruel; to deport their parents and not them would be cruel; to deport millions would be logistically impossible. However, as some warn, we don’t want to do yet another amnesty ten years from now.
San Francisco, Calif.
I’m ready for what fracking will do to the water in America. So, what I’m going to do is stock up that dishwashing liquid (blue is my favorite color). Then after a black bubble bath, I’ll reach for the best soap to gently work into my bikini line and rinse. Later I will walk away feeling confident I’m really clean.
Why is reality the enemy?
Kansas City, Mo.
From The Progressive Populist, September 1, 2013
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