Archive for January 21st, 2012
After listening to the first hour of this video featuring writer Chris Hedges, I’m started by two things. First, it surprises me that I agree with so much of what Hedges has to say. Not everything he says, but much of it, including Hedge’s critique of much of Obama’s health care program, which he considers to be a bailout to the insurance industry and big pharma. I think he is spot-on with his characterization of the United States as a case of “inverted totalitarianism,” ruled by anonymous corporate forces. Second, looking back at what I used to believe only 10 years ago, I’m amazed at how much my views have changed regarding the United States.
Occasionally, it still feels like my country, for instance, during the pushback to SOPA and PIPA. But mostly, it doesn’t feel like a country that belongs to the People. There is much to love about many of the people and places of the United States, and I suspect that we’re going to officially be around as a country for a long time, but I’m afraid that I agree with Hedges assessment that we have “hollowed out” the innards of who we were, and we are now seeing a vast unsustainable empire in the throes of collapse. The people bearing the brunt of this collapse are ordinary citizens who have conned by the corporate elite in ways too numerous to count involving “free elections,” warmongering, spying on citizens, banks’ purchase and abuse of Congress and much more.
If one ware to write an honest civics book for grade school children, it would need to say dozens of inconvenient truths that would cause uproars at the PTA meetings. But maybe that is what we need.
Look at what Josh Block told Politico about what makes someone an anti-Semite:
As a progressive Democrat, I am convinced that on issues as important as the US-Israel alliance and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, there is no room for uncivil discourse or name calling, like ‘Israel Firster or ‘Likudnik’, and policy or political rhetoric that is hostile to Israel, or suggests that Iran has no nuclear weapons program, has no place in the mainstream Democratic party discourse. I also believe that when it occurs, progressive institutions, have a responsibility not to tolerate such speech or arguments.
So according to Block, you are not allowed (unless you want to be found guilty of anti-Semitism) to use “policy rhetoric that is hostile to Israel” or — more amazingly — even to “suggest that Iran has no nuclear weapons program.” Those ideas are strictly off limits, declares the former AIPAC spokesman.
Bernie Sanders Points out that every political topic is affected by Citizens United:
If you are concerned about the collapse of the middle class, you should be concerned about how American campaigns are financed. If you wonder why the United States is the only country in the industrialized world not to have a national health care program, if you’re asking why we pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs, or why we spend more money on the military than the rest of the world combined, you are talking about campaign finance. You are talking about the unbelievable power that big-money interests have over every legislative decision.
The corporate coffers are wide open, thanks to a mere 5-4 majority:
It’s a virtual certainty that all of this spending will fundamentally distort our democracy, tilting the playing field to favor corporate interests, discouraging new candidates, chilling elected officials and shifting the overall policymaking debate even further in the direction of giant corporate interests and the super-wealthy.
I agree completely. Until we overturn Citizens United (by passing a constitutional amendment — perhaps one of these), we are incapable of having any honest discussion with our politicians.