Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Path to Prosperity?

Beware of right wing Republicans bearing platitudes.

When smug plutocrats like Paul Ryan unveil budget proposals with names like 'The Path to Prosperity," that sucking sound you hear is the hoovering of the spare change in your pocket. No, this is "The Path to Poverty, " unless of course you number yourself among the top 1% of the population in this country of ours, the ones who own just about everything, including a large proportion of our representatives and senators. Who would've thought after 8 years of Bush, under our first African-American president, a democrat propelled into office by a tsunami of political will, we would find our future held ransom to the greatest transfer of wealth in the nation's history? No, I can never forgive Barack Obama for squandering his political capitol, but perhaps it is just as Eric Alterman says in Kabuki Democracy:

"Face it, the system is rigged, and it's rigged against us. Sure, presidents can pretty easily pass tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful corporations. They can start whatever wars they wish and wiretap whomever they want without warrants. They can order the torture of terrorist suspects, lie about it and see that their intelligence services destroy the evidence. But what they cannot do, even with supermajorities in both houses of Congress behind them, is pass the kind of transformative progressive legislation that Barack Obama promised in his 2008 presidential campaign."

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan, cut from the same mold as Florida's boy senator Marco Rubio, unveils the budgetary trail to the America that House Majority WHIP Eric "The Smirk" Cantor spoke a
bout in a speech Cantor gave at the end of March at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, in which he said Social Security "cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be."

And what might that be, boys and girls? In a 2005 report to investors, three analysts at Citigroup declared that “the World is dividing into two blocs—the Plutonomy and the rest”:

In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take. There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie.
In her recent Atlantic article, Chrystia Freeland writes "What is more relevant to our times, though, is that the rich of today are also different from the rich of yesterday. Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition—and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn’t succeed so spectacularly. Perhaps most noteworthy, they are becoming a transglobal community of peers who have more in common with one another than with their countrymen back home. Whether they maintain primary residences in New York or Hong Kong, Moscow or Mumbai, today’s super-rich are increasingly a nation unto themselves."

Sound good to you?



Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%


In the current issue of Vanity Fair, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz writes, in an article entitled "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%," how the top thin layer of the super rich control 40 percent of all wealth in what is now the most sharply class-divided of all developed nations: "Americans have been watching protests against repressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet, in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation's income - an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret."

A working class hero is something to be
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
-- John Lennon

Friday, April 01, 2011

Huckabee: Americans should be forced, at gunpoint, to learn from Christian historical revisionist David Barton

From B. E. Wilson:

David Barton is the leading promoter of a brand of falsified American history altered to support the claim that America was founded as a Christian, rather than a secular, nation. As Chris Rodda, who has authored an entire book debunking Barton’s brand of pseudo-history, writes,

I was quite surprised… to come across a video clip from this conference on the People for the American Way (PFAW) Right Wing Watch blog with the headline “Huckabee: Americans Should Be Forced, At Gunpoint, To Learn From David Barton.” I had watched Huckabee’s speech. How on earth could I have missed a statement like that? Well, I didn’t. It had been edited out of the webcast that I had watched.

Kyle Mantyla over at PFAW’s Right Wing Watch had recorded Huckabee’s speech when it was streamed live on Thursday, and posted the ‘forced at gunpoint’ clip on Friday. By Saturday, when I watched the webcast on the United in Purpose website, that part of Huckabee’s speech had been edited out.

The webcast that I saw showed Barton leaving the stage as he ended his presentation, then the screen going black for a moment, and then what appeared to be the beginning of Huckabee’s speech. What was edited out was Barton returning to the stage to introduce Huckabee, and the first two minutes and forty-five seconds of Huckabee’s speech, during which Huckabee made his ‘gunpoint’ comment and praised David Lane, the man behind all of the American “Renewal” and “Restoration” projects that have popped up across the country during the past few elections.