Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Sometimes the Wolf is Real

On the Rachael Maddow show last night, she had Naomi Klein as a guest. Ms. Klein wrote a book, "The Shock Doctrine", which outlines a deliberate policy on the part of American Corporations to use disasters and crises as opportunities to put in place public policies and law to favor corporations and disadvantage or destroy unions and democratic institutions.

Sounds kinda similar to Hillary Clinton's "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy", doesn't it? You remember, the one everybody laughed about till she shut up in embarrassment?

Well, laugh no more. That very conspiratorial scenario is being played out, right now, in living color - in Michigan, in Wisconsin, Ohio and almost thirteen other States! Madam Secretary, I apologize for my skepticism - please take a bow!

The Michigan Senate is considering legislation that would allow the state to declare towns or school districts in a state of fiscal emergency, appoint an emergency financial manager, and give that manager very, very free rein. This at the same time that they are considering budget measures that would eviscerate State payments and revenue sharing with local municipalities, which threatens to cause widespread fiscal panic and crisis in the State. "Those powers include the ability to nullify collective bargained agreements, imposition of new agreements for those bargaining units which will have effect for as much as five years after the EMF leaves office and the ability for the manager to dissolve local governing bodies of schools and cities," reports the Michigan Messenger. "The EMF would also have the power to eliminate any local ordinance or law he or she decides to eliminate."

Emphasis mine.

This is sounding less like a simple attack on collective bargaining or even the Democratic Party, and much more like a naked attack on the very basic foundation of this country's values - democracy itself. It is solid proof that there IS a right wing conspiracy that is plotting (and has been for forty years) to overturn this country's democracy in favor of a kleptocracy.

It is a small group that has used religion, economic class warfare, culture warfare, economic and natural disasters and now, human manufactured economic crises (multiple ones in multiple States) to further their nefarious ends by dividing the middle class of this country, thus reducing opposition.

At the risk of sounding like a shrill crier of "wolf", I think it is important for all of us, not just on the left, to pay attention, close attention, to what the Republicans are doing.

Is it just my imagination, or are Republicans voting in large homogeneous blocks more than ever before, across the country? Has this kind of Party discipline EVER been seen in American politics? Maybe it has, but for it to manifest itself at this particular time, in the way it has, seems certainly suspicious, and not a little alarming. Look at Wisconsin for a minute. Over two thirds of the Wisconsin public has sent a clear, unambiguous message to that State's government that they are opposed to the Governor's attempts to force his way, and oppose his measures to kill collective bargaining. Yet, almost to a man, they have resisted this clear message, using unfair, nasty and underhanded tactics to force their will on a public that is opposed to and unwilling to support their position.

This same scenario is being played out in several other States, to similar public resistance.

I ask, is this really democracy in action? Or is there something else at work here?

I’ve seen any number of economic experts testify on TV that the recent recession was caused by the big American banks and Wall Street’s investment companies. Is it a coincidence that those are the very corporations that got bailed out using your taxes? Aren’t those the corporations whose top executives are getting huge bonuses in spite of their companies almost going out of business? Bonuses that are made possible largely by your taxes?

And what happened after that? The Democrats got one of their signature goals, health care reform, passed, and the Republicans spent almost the whole period before the election using that to smack the Democrats over the head, accusing them of failing to create jobs. Jobs that American corporations themselves failed to create, much to the puzzlement of numerous economists. (...and in spite of many corporations reporting record profits, too!)

So what do the Republicans immediately start doing once they win the election? Forget the jobs, the real problem, we are told, are things like abortion, gay marriage, and the deficit! Things that, coincidently, are perfect to excite their supporters and continue to divide the huge American middle class.

Yeah, perfect to excite the deluded masses of Americans that will fail to examine how their religious values are being exploited to bring an end to American democracy, all while they are being told by the Tea Party that the Party is devoted to its preservation against those evil big government big spenders, the Democrats.

Once again, religion is being used to bring the masses back under control.

Perfect, huh?


Helian said...

Interestingly, your opponents take exactly the same view of the matter, the only difference being that they cast you in the role of evil saboteur of democracy. See, for example,

According to this quintessentially moralistic view of the matter, the only difference between “us “ and “them,” or, if you will, the ingroup and the outgroup, is that, in one case, the outgroup is the bosses, minions, and/or dupes of evil and corrupt corporations, and in the other it is the bosses, minions, and/or dupes of evil and corrupt union racketeers.

Historically, such controversies have often been resolved via warfare and violence, culminating in the subjugation or annihilation of one outgroup or the other. After all, we are all morally obligated to fight “evil,” are we not? We cannot tolerate the victory of “evil,” even if it was won at the ballot box, because anyone who votes for “evil” cannot understand and grasp the truth, the way we do. They must, obviously, be dupes, “useful idiots” who have been brainwashed by their religious leaders, leftist professors, biased media, or whatever. Surely it is unreasonable to accept as legitimate the results of elections that are swung one way or the other by the votes of individuals who are, for all practical purposes, mere robots, is it not?

It seems to me that resolving conflict according to this “moralistic” paradigm is not a promising approach to promoting “human flourishing,” by any reasonable definition of that term.

rwahrens said...

So you are saying that violence is the only solution?

Helian said...

Not at all. What I am saying is that demonization of people who don't agree with us leads to violence. A way to avoid violence might be to try to understand their point of view without assuming a priori that they are evil and they are motivated by evil goals.

Gary Berg-Cross said...

I think that there is a false dichotomy between the 2 sides. It is common strategy in an argument to just fuzz up the issue, but I agree with R (of rwahrens) that state financial shock is being used to advance ideological goals that are not exclusively fiscal and parts of which are fiscal may be a huge negative for the bulk of the population.
I think that we have a chance to discuss and explore these positions and I'm glad that R has kicked this off.