Showing posts with label Democratic Party (United States). Show all posts
Showing posts with label Democratic Party (United States). Show all posts

Monday, December 06, 2010

A Chronic Lack

The fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans these days is one very simple core belief: the middle class drives our economy. Either you believe this or you don't. If you don't, you live on Fantasy Island. There are less people spending less money so we are stagnate and unemployment remains high. It's really quite simple when you think about it. The solution of most on the right (libertarian, conservative, whatever) is to give the rich more money whether it's through tax breaks or charity vis a vis corporate welfare or Tea Party "grass roots" organizations (© The Koch Brothers).

Many of our nation's companies have already accepted this new normal. Remember the Citigroup document? This is but one example of hard evidence that the middle class is all but gone. So, when will those of you in the middle class wake up and realize that you are the solution to our economic woes? More importantly, when will you see that there is one party that is decidedly against that solution and one that is trying to realize it?

Robert Reich, the Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, wrote a brilliant piece last week on Sarah Palin and the angry middle class. I won't comment on his thoughts on Ms. Palin. That's not allowed, of course, because I'm "obsessed." You can add that rule to the lexicon of BIG NO-NOS in our little Lewis Carroll looking glass prism of unreality. You know which one I'm talking about, right? The one where all criticisms of George W. Bush are manifestations of psychosis and ignorance, denial, redefination, and counterattack/competing victimizations are perfectly normal when discussing race.

Instead, I'm going to talk about the other stuff he put in his column, regarding the middle class, which was far more insightful. Case in point...

The anxiety began three decades ago when the median male wage that had been rising for three decades began to stagnate. Families responded by sending wives and mothers into the paid workforce, working longer hours, and then, finally, going deep into debt.

Three decades ago? Hmm...who has been saying that lately? Me.

So, why is the middle class (and many of you) so angry?

According to the right-wing narrative, the calamity that's befallen the middle class is due to the cultural and intellectual elites who run the mainstream media and direct the government, dispense benefits to the undeserving (immigrants and poor blacks), advocate multiculturalism, and dominate popular culture (supporting abortion and gay marriage).

Remember Alinksy's last interview in Playboy? He saw all this coming in 1972.

The right would give them scapegoats for their misery -- blacks, hippies, Communists -- and if it wins, this country will become the first totalitarian state with a national anthem celebrating "the land of the free and the home of the brave." But we're not going to abandon the field to them without a long, hard fight -- a fight I think we're going to win. Because we'll show the middle class their real enemies: the corporate power elite that runs and ruins the country -- the true beneficiaries of Nixon's so-called economic reforms. And when they swing their sights on that target, the sh-- will really hit the fan.

Alinsky died that year and clearly his battle was lost. Many in the middle class--many of YOU--have accepted the right's narrative, as defined by Reich, as gospel.

So, if we can get past this lie, what is the real problem? Reich knows.

In reality, the bad economy is likely to continue for most Americans beyond seven years -- maybe for 10 or more -- because of a chronic lack of aggregate demand. So much income and wealth have now concentrated at the top that the broad middle and working class no longer has the buying power to get the economy going again.

Folks, this is the one and only reason why I am as upset as I am. It's not because I'm envious of those who have more money than me. I'm not 10 years old for crying out loud. It's because I am so enormously frustrated at those who can't accept this simple fact that Reich has so eloquently summarized. The working class of this country has no buying power any longer. They are being gouged out of every dime they have by people who DO NOT NEED THE MONEY. Until this changes, our economy is going to suck. Big time. In order for that to change, the wealthy are going to have to alter their lifestyles.

The real problem lies in our economic structure: the yawning gap between Wall Street and Main Street, the incentives operating on large corporations to pare American payrolls and expand abroad, and the demand for short-term profits over better jobs and wages for most Americans.

In "Inside Job," former Fed Chair Paul Volker calls Wall Street CEO salaries "excessive." No shit. They are quite literally ruining this country's economy.

So, what should we do?

The real solution lies in changing that structure: making taxes more progressive, investing in education and infrastructure, and having a national economic strategy for good jobs and wages.

In other words, the platform of the Democratic Party. The three ideas listed here are anathema to any conservative or libertarian even though they have been proven to work in the past, time and again. They worked for FDR. They worked for Harry Truman. They worked for Dwight Eisenhower (a pinko Commie by the standard set by today's right with his 9o percent tax rate). They worked for Jack Kennedy. All of these men had a progressive tax platform, invested in education and infrastructure, and had sound economic strategies for good jobs and wages. Even Bill Clinton had this in the beginning and then he began to succumb to the lure of that ol' siren song of deregulation and look where that led us.

I understand that many of you are control freaks who can't admit when you are wrong but you are completely in error about this one. Worse, by not supporting these very clear solutions, you are exacerbating the problem. Why this leads to more bile and mouth foaming heaped at me and the Democrats is beyond me. Is it hubris? Adolescent power fantasies? I guess I'm really not certain.

But if you look at history, this sort of blindness produces a kind of state that I know that none of you want. So, get with the fucking program, pull your heads out of your asses, and start supporting solutions. Even if you have to admit that you are wrong and that someone else with a different perspective might know what's in your self interest.

People like me do this every day. It's called reflection.

And it's what saves civilizations.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day

Today is election day. First of all, I want to say...GO VOTE. People that bitch about the state of things affected by politics (which is mostly everything) and don't vote are full of crap. It's like complaining about your sex life and refusing to engage in coitus. It makes no sense.

So what are my predictions for today?

The Senate will hold for the Democrats at 53-47. Given the unpredictability of Alaska right now, it could very well be 54-46 with Scott McAdams pulling out a victory. I'll stick with 53, though, as we could see some surprises.

The Democrats will lose a total of 40 seats in the House but pick up another 5 from some of the heavily Democratic districts held by Republicans. That puts the number at 220 D and 215 R. In all honesty, this is probably the worst outcome.

What I would like to see, based on all that has gone on since the last time I made a prediction, would be for the Republicans to net around 42 seats...putting them at 220 and the Dems at 215...give or take a few. When all the hysterical laughter has died down about "beating" Pelosi (which actually won't be true as she will probably be re-elected as well to her district) and the Right has enjoyed their main goal in life (winning the argument or, in this case, the vote), they are going to have to govern...govern with a dozen or more Tea Partiers who will now be in charge of committees. That means that people like Michelle Bachmann are going to be given the spotlight and, lordy oh lordy, I want them in that spotlight.

The American people want things yesterday. Generally speaking we are impatient little children who think that it only takes 18 months to fix giant catastrophes. Even ones that have taken 30 years to make. In the next couple of years, people are going to start to see the benefits of the work of the 111th Congress and President Obama. When they start to "feel it," as Velma Frank put it so eloquently to the president a few weeks ago, they need to see the contrast of Michelle Bachmann, John Boehner and the rest of the lapdogs to corporate money screaming about socialism. Finally, much of what I say on here will make sense.

"But wait," the electorate will ask, "these new programs work and actually help out country. Why are they foaming at the mouth?" For the most part, the American people need to see that contrast otherwise it won't make any sense to them. With a five vote majority in Congress for the Dems, they will never see it and the chances of Obama being a one term president rise significantly. If the 5 vote majority is the other way, it works out better. The GOP is essentially just as limp but still in charge which means the blame (and the increased attention) will go to them.

There is no doubt in my mind that the 111th Congress will be remembered as one that told the truth and took action when it wasn't politically advantageous to do so. Yeah, they were spineless about a few things but they could've been worse. They did what was best for the country regardless of their political lives. And now they might lose because of it. I think, in many ways, I have been way too critical of them.

At least they aren't our possible new Speaker who sends out a laughable "pledge" to America that doesn't offer anything that the movement they co-opted to stay alive actually wants in the way of spending cuts for entitlements. I think it's going to be quite enjoyable, should he win, to watch him try to placate the loud yet small group of mouth foamers that want to abolish Social Security on one hand and keep his base of frightened old people on the other. Pelosi might have her problems but she wasn't a gutless turd like Boehner is going to be.

If the GOP does end up winning small majority in the House (and I sincerely hope they do), moderates, liberals, progressives, and all the rest of us that are to the left of the one yard line on the football field need to take heart. I know it will be tough to see the adolescent glee at winning which they will take as being proved "right." Shining examples of this will be seen in comments should a GOP victory come to pass.

Like all bullies though, it doesn't take much to see the insecurity lurking beneath the surface. They know that the history of our country is filled with successful and very popular social FEDERAL programs as well as government regulation. They don't like that at all. An example of this distaste can be seen in the comments thread with my socialism pledge. None of them have taken it. Or refused to take it. What does that tell you?

Regardless of what happens today, they will still be afraid. Very afraid.

And that explains quite a lot.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Operation: Brainwash (Heroification)

Most of you know that I am a big fan of James Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me. In that book, he discusses how American History is taught using a number of poor methods and concepts. One such concept is heroification. He uses the excellent example of President Woodrow Wilson, a figure who is regarded in most history textbooks as a hero. In fact, President Wilson was probably the biggest bigot our country had ever seen, overturning decades of progress made by the Republicans in respect to rights and advancement of African Americans. The image of Wilson by our nation is one of the many great lies in our country's history.

Another great lie is one that got started by Ann Coulter and is now policy according to the Texas State Board of Education. Essentially, it's this: Joe McCarthy was a hero. Coulter said:

Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie. Liberals denounced McCarthy because they were afraid of getting caught, so they fought back like animals to hide their own collaboration with a regime as evil as the Nazis.

Caught in what, exactly? Oh yes, that's right...anyone to the left of the Cult is a commie. Got it. It's also amusing that she brings up hegemony. The raison d'etre of the Cult is control through blind consensus. Once again, we see the Rove in action.

But this view of McCarthy is exactly what Texas school children are now going to he was a hero fighting against (in his own words) the treasonous Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. They will learn of a US government filled with dirty, stinking Commies many of whom "got away" and remained in the form of the Democratic party. None of this, of course, is even close to being grounded in reality.

Coming a few years after we defeated the greatest army and threat the world had ever seen, McCarthy accused the Democrats of "twenty years of treason." He added twenty one after Eisenhower refused to acquiesce to McCarthy's demands. His paranoia knew no bounds as he went after the United States military. In one hearing he called Brigadier General Ralph W. Zicker, a WWII battlefield hero, a "five year old child not fit to wear the uniform." Ironic, considering McCarthy's outright lying about his own military record. His investigations into the US military turned the tide of public opinion well against him and his rampant alcoholism began to show in his Senate floor speeches. In fact, his constant changing numbers of how many communists were in the US government from the very beginning were evidence enough of his severe impairment and inability to think clearly.

None of this matters to that chapter of the Cult that has now changed the curriculum in Texas and perhaps nationwide. Commies were everywhere (ahh!!!!!!! look out...he looks funny...commie!!!) and still are. No matter that McCarthy was shown to be a liar very early on..he said pretty things so we loves him:) One need only spend a few minutes reading McCarthy's quotes to see that he was, in a myriad of ways, a founding father (along with Richard Nixon) of the Cult playbook. Say it and it's true...attack your opponent with what is, in fact, your greatest weakness (see the forthcoming comments below for what will be excellent examples of this), ignore facts, think with your guts and, above all, distrust anyone who doesn't think EXACTLY like you do. Joe McCarthy spawned the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. It's no wonder they are fighting tooth and nail to re-imagine him in history. All three of them, as well as the Cult, are still paranoid about Commies (ahh!!! Commies!!!) even years after communism FAILED and whatever remnants are left (save North Korea) are embracing capitalism or some quasi form of it.

I stated previously that I am nauseated by the clear heroification of McCarthy. Honestly, that's not much redeemable about him. Rarely do secondary school texts get it right when it comes to wrongdoing but the American Pageant does in their McCarthy entry. I wonder how many of the facts listed there will be completely left out. Ah well, no matter. Anyone critical of a Cult forefather is a lying Commie which would include yours truly. Cue the red herring of Venona.

As an educator, I am tasked to present the basic facts of what happened in any historical period. To leave out McCarthy's lying, alcoholism, assault on civil liberties, and attacks on distinguished members of the military like George Marshall would be historically dishonest. It would be like showing the happy go lucky side of Stalin and skip over the whole gulag thing. Stalin was an asshole who murdered people. McCarthy was an asshole who destroyed people's lives due to a psychosis that forced an ideology on people. This ideology has now morphed into a faux critical thinking devoid of reality.

Yet I would still be more interested, given all of the facts about McCarthy and what the Cult will now be teaching in Texas, what my students think about Joe McCarthy and why. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what my view is or what the Texas School Board's view is regarding McCarthy. It matters what they think and how they evaluate the facts.

Since close to 5 million students in Texas and perhaps more nation wide will be missing key facts, critical thinking skills have been hijacked. And that's the real fucking travesty.
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