Why on earth do I waste any time watching the Sunday morning and afternoon TV political shows? If the definition of madness is doing something you know to be wrong again and again--
To give just one example, I stomached about two segments of Candy Crowley's CNN show State of the Union, by which I mean I was able to stomach two consecutive doses of hard-right-wing propaganda before I started commenting loudly back at the screen, and C suggested I turn it off. In the first, billionaire Mortimer Zuckerman and multimillionaire Steve Forbes represented the ideological range and diversity of opinions on the current economic crisis. As you might imagine, their responses to Crowley's non-sequiturs-as-questions had little to do with the reality of the world most of us live in. Zuckerman, on a "deficit" hysteria high, ranted about business leaders being very unhappy with (business-friendly) President Obama and the failure of the stimulus, and suggested that we needed fewer regulations so that businesses would be happy, and lower taxes for the "middle class" to turn things around, while Forbes suggested that we needed a three-year "moratorium" on the new health insurance reform bill and financial regulations, and of course, a continuation of the massive deficit-increasing W. Bush tax cuts, and like magic, the economy would be booming again. Oh, and both slammed Obama for the 9.5% unemployment rate, which resulted in part from businesses' "uncertainty," and not the fact that they were sitting on cash, that bailed out banks weren't lending, or that the vicious cycle of unemployment, tightened credit and financial distress meant no return to the consumerism of the last decade and a half.
Crowley noted that from her (wrong) understanding of economics, "raising taxes" (i.e., allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire) on the wealthiest Americans during a tough economic period like this would be the worst thing we could do, in line with and to the approval of Forbes, but Zuckerman, to his credit, disagreed with her and noted that in fact, the slightly increased tax burden on the rich wouldn't be that much of a burden, really, before quickly returning to his mantra of cutting the deficit and having fewer regulations. After several rounds of this, with Crowley offering no serious challenges to anything they were saying, including Zuckerman's non-response on rising foreclosures--he went on about the "bubble" and the failure of people to buy houses--she effusively thanked them for their expertise (!?), and then proceeded to her next guest, former Bush CIA director Michael Hayden, who, when questioned tepidly by Crowley about the host of deeply troubling allegations in the recent multipart Washington Post series by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, "Top Secret America," on the dangerously secretive, inefficient and possibly unconstitutional National Security-Military Industrial complex, graciously responded by emphasizing that an attack on Iran was "inexorable"....
I'm aware that quite a few people no longer watch these shows, and that they exist primarily to reinforce the echo chamber in Washington, but I guess that's what disturbs me most, that echo chamber effect and its ramifications on the policies that emanate from the White House and Congress. It's not enough that corporations, their lobbyists, and the megarich have the ears (and pockets and throats) of those in power, but they also have this self-reinforcing medium to propound and pound, day in, day out, their propaganda. One might argue that it does offer a window directly into what their aims and preoccupations are--more wars; more secrecy; more corporate socialism and wealth transfers to the rich; more shredding of the already threadbare social safety net; etc.--but the cynical and frustrating aspects of this include the inability to directly challenge them or force them to change course. And speaking of courses they're on, high among their priorities is slashing Social Security, with this President's and Congress's direct help.
And speaking about the successes of disaster capitalism, in Detroit, they're getting skilled labor for a song. Now, I ask you, did any of the GM or Chrysler executives pay back any of those bonuses or the compensation they received during the years they were running these companies into the ground? Were they forced to, by the government, the courts or anyone else?
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Spain won the 2010 FIFA World Cup), the second on the theme of art. And speaking of soccer, welcome Thierry Henry!