Presumably you’ve seen this at the NY Times:
UNLESS something changes in Washington, American workers will, on New Year’s Day, effectively lose their right to be represented by a union. Two of the five seats on the National Labor Relations Board, which protects collective bargaining, are vacant, and on Dec. 31, the term of Craig Becker, a labor lawyer whom President Obama named to the board last year through a recess appointment, will expire. Without a quorum, the Supreme Court ruled last year, the board cannot decide cases.
What would this mean?
Workers illegally fired for union organizing won’t be reinstated with back pay. Employers will be able to get away with interfering with union elections. Perhaps most important, employers won’t have to recognize unions despite a majority vote by workers. Without the board to enforce labor law, most companies will not voluntarily deal with unions.
If this nightmare comes to pass, it will represent the culmination of three decades of Republican resistance to the board — an unwillingness to recognize the fundamental right of workers to band together, if they wish, to seek better pay and working conditions. But Mr. Obama is also partly to blame; in trying to install partisan stalwarts on the board, as his predecessors did, he is all but guaranteeing that the impasse will continue. On Wednesday, he announced his intention to nominate two pro-union lawyers to the board, though there is no realistic chance that either can gain Senate confirmation anytime soon.
The author was NLRB chair during the Clinton years. While I don’t agree fully with some of his comments, clearly this is one issue that deserves more notice and debate. Either workers have rights or they don’t. If they do have rights, they need a reasonable enforcement capability to support their rights.
Part of what I disagree with is the idea that Obama is at fault if the NLRB falls apart, by nominating worker-friendly members to the board. I agree members of the board should be mostly non-partisan professionals, not ideological hacks. But if the board exists to protect worker rights, then the bias on the board should be towards appointing members who will defend those rights. Presumably businesses that disagree with the board on an issue have their own resources and will protect their interests, as well. And Senators should respect this dynamic. Otherwise, Senators are agreeing with Republicans that workers have no rights.
It also goes without saying that without unions wage suppression becomes even more pronounced and the ability to have a viable middle class disappears in the US (it’s already gone, in many ways).
Congress spared the 100-watt incandescent light bulb from a government-enforced phaseout in a win for Tea Party activists over manufacturers who said they are already switching to more energy-efficient products.
Lawmakers cleared legislation today to fund the government through Sept. 30, with a provision barring the Energy Department from carrying out the elimination of the pear-shaped bulb. Groups backing small government urged Republican allies to block the requirement, calling it an example of regulatory overreach in keeping with the health-care overhaul and the Wall Street bailout.
The federal standards limit the “freedom of average Americans” to buy whatever type of bulb they wanted, Representative Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, said yesterday in an interview before the House voted 296-121 for the bill. The Senate voted 67-32 today and sent the legislation to President Barack Obama.
But here’s the interesting bit:
While business groups back Republican efforts to repeal or delay clean-air standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, light-bulb makers including General Electric Co. (GE) joined Democrats and environmentalists to defend the light- bulb law signed by President George W. Bush.
U.S. manufacturers invested millions of dollars updating factories to produce more efficient bulbs — including a halogen version with the incandescent model’s pear shape — according to Kyle Pitsor, vice president for government affairs with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, whose members include Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE and Royal Philips Electronics NV (PHIA) of Amsterdam.
Other companies may exploit regulatory uncertainty and continue to sell the 100-watt bulbs, leaving manufacturers that comply at a disadvantage, Pitsor told reporters yesterday on a conference call with organizations that support the efficiency standard. He didn’t name those companies.
The provision creates “confusion in the market for every American who is interested in securing their own energy savings for their families and their communities,” Philips said in an e-mailed statement.
One more case where Republicans and their subsidiary, the Tea Party™, refuse to acknowledge the existence of the public interest. It’s apparently okay for every individual to do whatever they want no matter the cost to our larger society. We have no right to intervene in sensible ways to avoid predictable bad outcomes like climate change. Presumably they draw the line at murder. And clearly they don’t draw the line at Wall Street criminality. This also is a case where harnessing the selfish economic interests of companies like GE can be put to good use. The difference between a politics of selfishness and a politics of public interest could not be more stark, even on such a small issue.
And I hate these new bulbs, waiting 5-10 minutes for them to fully light. But I’m happy to put up with it if doing so helps achieve a larger goal.
I’m not entirely sure what this says about either myself or the president, but I was shocked to hear that his proposal for paying for the American Jobs Act out of existing spending will come entirely from cuts in “tax giveaways.” That is to say, he wants to raise taxes on the plutocrats and their various pseudo-monopolies.
White House budget director Jack Lew outlined Obama’s proposals for paying for the plan, targeting the rich and corporations as the president has in the past to no avail.
The biggest item would raise $400 billion by limiting deductions and exemptions on individuals who earn more than $200,000 per year and families who earn more than $250,000.
He also proposed raising $18 billion by treating the earnings of investment fund managers as ordinary income rather than taxing it at lower capital gains rates.
He would eliminate many oil and gas industry tax breaks to raise $40 billion and change corporate jet depreciation rules to bring in another $3 billion.
According to Lew, The Hill notes:
[T]he total measures proposed by the administration would bring in $467 billion, $20 billion more than the cost of the bill.
Previously the leftist consensus seemed to be (and I would say I agreed) that he would look to cut spending from areas that were a sure thing with Republicans, like the American welfare state. This would have offset any good that his plan did by an equal amount of evil distributed elsewhere. Instead, it turns out he’s targeting tax loopholes, an unjust tax code, and corporate welfare. Whatever the reason for this shift, I’m pleasantly surprised. The Anarcho-Militarist Party, the president’s primary opposition, will not be.
Did you all notice this (from CBS):
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor assured his constituents on Wednesday that Congress “will find the monies” to assist earthquake victims in Mineral, Virginia – but the Republican lawmaker noted that “those monies will be offset with appropriate savings or cost-cutting elsewhere.”
Cantor and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, speaking together in a news conference, had previously toured Mineral to assess the amount of damage the city sustained in the wake of Tuesday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake. Mineral, which was at the epicenter of the quake, falls in Virginia’s 7th district, which Cantor represents.
Cantor was in Israel when he heard news of the quake, but said he “quickly decided that I had to get home to ensure I could do anything I could.”
When asked if the district would be receiving federal assistance from the government, McDonnell noted that the state had yet to do a thorough analysis determining “our own capacity through state and local resources and private and benevolent resources to be able to handle it,” and had not yet determined whether it was “prudent” to request federal aid.
Cantor’s idiocy turns out to be an interesting litmus test. Defenders of his position say the government should not create a moral hazard by paying for disaster relief. And this quote suggests private funding sources should be the first source of funds. However, as with health care, there are some expenses private interests cannot pay, not least because it will bankrupt them but also because it will deprive them of profit. Our choice is pay up a little bit from each of us, in the form of taxes, especially from the wealthiest who benefit most from the economy, or let people suffer and die. Cantor apparently says “suffer and die.”
Which gave me a bright idea: if companies can buy naming rights for stadiums, let them buy the naming rights for natural disasters. The price of their naming rights TBD based on actual damages. So no more silly names in alphabetical order, trading off gender. Instead we could have Hurricane GE or Tropical Storm Palmolive. Or Earthquake Viagra has a nice ring. Surely we can come up with a marketing program?
You might think (hope?!) the sentient among us know that federalizing the cost of disaster relief is far more efficient and less costly to any individual or company paying taxes than relying on private funding, or strictly on insurance. And insisting, as Cantor does, that grandma must eat catfood and several hundred people should die because they can’t get Medicare, that is the price we must pay for disaster relief, is both immoral and stupid. Oh, and heartless. What an ass, pardon my Français.
Some days I think Cantor and his kind believe every one of us can fly back from Israel (or the Bahamas, if you’re Michael Bloomberg apparently) at a moment’s notice, earn a six figure salary or more, have a chauffeured car, and all the rest. On this planet, reality is far more crushing and limited.
PS: Act Blue/DFA has a page where you can donate $10 to help run a TV ad telling Cantor’s constituents what an out of touch idiot he is for their interests.
Just imagine if the LAPD asked the Crips and the Bloods to look into whether or not they were involved in drive by shootings.
A follow up video interviewing Matt Taibbi on his story, Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes? (and a follow up note here), that documents how the SEC has for years shredded key evidence that prevents the creation of an institutional history within the SEC.
This story and the video also re-iterates a key point about our current political and economic situation: this is not something that’s been going on 10-12 years. It’s been going on at least since the mid to late 1980s. What’s different, perhaps, is that no political party is organized to oppose the status quo. Both Republicans and Democrats see “business as usual” as absolutely fine and not worthy of change. They do not see any problem with SEC political appointees coming from Wall Street, doing a stint paid by taxpayers to oversee themselves, then go back to Wall Street. That’s Corruption 101 to anyone but both US political parties. The fact the SEC also shreds documents is a feature, not a bug.
From Maureen Tkacik at Reuters:
Even the Tea Partiers who claim to be broke don’t apparently mean that literally; after reporting personal assets worth zero dollars, Tennessee’s Stephen Fincher made headlines for having received $3.34 million in federal agriculture subsidies in recent years; eventually he amended the form to include his cotton farm as an asset, estimating its value at $500,000. (South Dakota’s Kristi Noem has also collected more than $3 million in farm subsidies over the past decade, but her form only lists five assets worth somewhere between $33,000 and $145,000.)
It’s not hard to guess what these people see in Tea Party politics. Here is a movement united around an unfailing support of tax cuts for people like them, at a time in which poll after poll (23 polls, by one count) reveals the American electorate to be united by unprecedentedly broad-based support for doing the opposite. But there also more specific interests at play: the wealthier freshmen generally made their livelihoods in one of three economic sectors—health care/insurance, real estate and energy—whose profit margins not too long ago appeared particularly vulnerable to Obama’s policy goals.
Great opinion piece calling bullshit on the Tea Party as angry poor and middle class white people. They may be the foot soldiers but the Tea Party politicians (and the financial backers) are rich, rich, rich. And they clearly benefit from pushing austerity policies.
Which puts Obama and the Democratic leadership on the spot: they can’t claim supporting Tea Party goals is what most Americans want or benefit from. You’re either for the status quo and the wealthiest or you are for helping the people who are suffering from the status quo.
Perhaps you are like me and, upon hearing last night or this morning that Wall Street had taken a dive, dropping 512 points, losing two trillion in market value globally, perhaps you thought, so what? Where is the surprise?
Of course the US and global economy suck. Of course businesses are raking in piles of cash while working their employees harder and refusing to hire. Of course politicians refuse to do what got us out of the Depression and insist on doing what caused then prolonged the Depression. Of course consumers can’t spend: there’s almost 30 million unemployed and barely employed (part time and looking for a job) workers, not to mention about half of homeowners have mortgages underwater. Who would hire in this climate? Who would spend beyond the necessities?
This is news?
The real story is that there is so much money fleeing traditional markets that Bank of New York Mellon has started to charge large depositors for parking cash with their bank. And Treasury bond yields dropped dramatically, down to 0.08% return. People are giving their money to the near bankrupt, corrupt, and politically clueless US government in exchange for bonds and near zero return.
Digging deeper, perhaps the real story is that the Masters of the Universe on Wall Street are clueless. Nope, wrong word. They are dumb. Apparently they would not know something was in their own best interest if it bit them in the ass.
Indeed, we should play a game, Who is the Most Clueless? On the flip … Read the rest of this entry »
From PERRspectives blog:
If nothing else, the debt ceiling crisis provided what Barack Obama is so fond of calling a “teachable moment.” Hopefully, that extends to the President himself. After seeing his nominees blocked, his legislation filibustered and popular upper-income tax increases delayed by Republicans who withheld their support from his watered down stimulus and health care programs, President Obama nevertheless continued to seek common ground with those whose only goal remains his political destruction. The result was as painful as it was predictable.
As for the rest of us, here are 25 things we learned during the debt crisis.
(1) We learned that Republicans really care about the national debt, but only when a Democrat is in the White House. As Dick Cheney put it, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”
(2) We learned that the national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan, forcing him to raise the debt ceiling 17 times. Overwhelmed by the torrents of red ink unleashed by his supply-side tax cuts of 1981, Reagan raised taxes eleven times while in office. (His deficit reduction initiatives of 1982, 1984 and 1987 relied on over 75% in new tax revenue.) It’s no wonder Reagan called the mountain of debt he bequeathed to America his greatest regret.
(3) We learned that George W. Bush nearly doubled the national debt, leaving Barack Obama a $1.2 trillion annual deficit and almost $11 trillion in debt on January 20, 2009.
(4) We learned that the Bush tax cuts were the single biggest factor in erasing the projected surpluses Dubya inherited from Bill Clinton. The Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 accounted for almost half of the red ink during his tenure, and if made permanent, would contribute more to the debt over the next decade than Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, the stimulus and TARP combined.
(5) We learned that tax cuts don’t “pay for themselves” or “always increase revenues.” Only in 2005 did federal tax revenue reach the pre-Bush tax cut levels of 2000.
(6) We learned that the Republicans’ so-called job creators don’t create jobs when their taxes are low. In fact, the data show that the far more jobs were created and the economy grew much more quickly when the top 1% of income earners paid higher – even much higher – taxes.
(7) We learned that for John Boehner, some “spending binges” are more equal than others. While spending under Barack Obama rose by about 10% from George W. Bush’s last budget in FY 2009, federal outlays almost doubled between 2001 and 2009. As it turns out, the two unfunded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the budget-busting Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 (the first war-time tax cut in modern U.S. history) and the Medicare prescription drug program drained the U.S. Treasury. Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and Eric Cantor voted for all of it.
(8) We learned that Republicans have short memories. When Eric Cantor complained recently that “what I don’t think the White House understands is how difficult it is for fiscal conservatives to say they’re going to vote for a debt ceiling increase,” he apparently forgot that Republican majorities voted seven times to raise the debt limit under President Bush. Along with John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl, Cantor and the current GOP leadership team voted a combined 19 times to increase George W. Bush’s borrowing authority by $4 trillion. (That vote tally included a “clean” debt ceiling increase in 2004, backed by 98 current House Republicans and 31 sitting GOP Senators.)
And that’s only 8 of 25. These are excellent points to refute common wisdom with your family, friends, co-workers, and online forums like newspapers. Add in that, according to the post below, Biden told House Democrats Obama would invoke the 14th Amendment if Congress failed to pass debt ceiling legislation, thus removing the need for any legislation that put the burden on the poor, the unemployed, working people, the states, and the 99% who are not wealthy, add that in and you realize this is a scam on the American people. Apparently, everyone in DC knows the policies being pursued are abject failures, and even wrecked the economy. Yet they do nothing but push the same failed policies while pretending, as Obama did today, that he’s adamant about re-taxing the rich. Puhleese. Do they think we are that stupid?
From the NY Times:
No matter how the immediate issue is resolved, Mr. Obama, in his failed effort for greater deficit reduction, has put on the table far more in reductions for future years’ spending, including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, than he did in new revenue from the wealthy and corporations. He proposed fewer cuts in military spending and more in health care than a bipartisan Senate group that includes one of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans.
To win approval of the essential increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing ceiling, Mr. Obama sought more in deficit reduction than Republicans did, and with fewer changes to the entitlement programs, because he was willing to raise additional revenue starting in 2013 and they were not. And despite unemployment lingering at its highest level in decades, Mr. Obama has not fought this year for a big jobs program with billions of dollars for public-works projects, which liberals in his party have clamored for. Instead, he wants to extend a temporary payroll tax cut for everyone, since Republicans will support tax cuts, despite studies showing that spending programs are generally the more effective stimulus.
(my emphasis) Notice the disconnect? Cuts in the payroll tax that fund Social Security are cuts to Social Security. Yet the Times reporter and their editor are so into boilerplate reporting they completely ignore what is in their reporting. They pretend, instead, that you can cut payroll taxes indefinitely and magically Social Security will continue to be funded at “normal” levels (actually, normal is what the Europeans pay, around 80% of pre-retirement income, while the US pays around 40-60%).
Then there’s this telling bit:
In his budget proposal in January, Mr. Obama declined to suggest a plan along the lines proposed by a majority of his bipartisan fiscal commission, which in December recommended $4 trillion in savings over 10 years through cuts in military and domestic programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, and a tax code overhaul to lower rates while also raising more revenue.
Even though Mr. Obama was widely criticized, administration officials said at the time that to have embraced that approach then would have put him too far to the right — where he ultimately wanted to end up in any compromise with Republicans, not where he wanted to start.
But by this month, in ultimately unsuccessful talks with Speaker John A. Boehner, Mr. Obama tentatively agreed to a plan that was farther to the right than that of the majority of the fiscal commission and a bipartisan group of senators, the so-called Gang of Six. It also included a slow rise in the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65, and, after 2015, a change in the formula for Social Security cost-of-living adjustments long sought by economists.
“He’s accommodated himself to the new reality in Washington,” said Tom Davis, a former House Republican leader from Virginia. “That’s what leaders do.”
But Congressional Democrats and liberal groups objected.
First, “long sought by economists”? Which economists? Right wing economists, surely, if it is true these COLA adjustments decrease the payout people receive in retirement. More lazy reporting from the Times to not name names of economists and/or indicate their ideology. And remember, people pay into Social Security. It’s a separate program from the federal budget. Paying out less is a form of theft completely unrelated to the larger issue of the federal debt. Paying out less is a right wing wet dream. It’s not morally fair or economically sensible (you don’t want half dead seniors littering the sidewalk, begging for food).
Bernie Sanders is still correct: the pundits, the lobbyists, the politicians, they have zero clue as to the impact of the programs they propose. The wealthiest who pay their lobbyists and offer jobs to politicians, they know: pressure to increase their taxes will go down if the government spends less. Even if it means hundreds of thousands of more layoffs and more economic misery for all Americans. The Times should call these details out. This is not a horse race: it is life or death for many Americans. And for many others, it is the difference between economic security and insecurity, a job or no job.
As for this article, the journalist has not been paying attention to who has benefitted from Obama’s policies to date. They are traditional Republican constituencies: Wall Street, Big Business, and the wealthy. This is not a rightward tilt, or edging to the right. This is a Republican President calling himself a Democrat because the Democratic party is captive of the same forces that have captured the Republican party, and the media.
This is why I love Alan Grayson, his rhetorical skills:
Because Washington is now divided between the “Meanies” and the “Weenies.” That’s the real two-party system today in Washington, the Meanies and the Weenies. The Meanies want to take Social Security and Medicare away from Grandma and Grandpa, and the Weenies are quite willing to go along with it and “compromise.” Well, people need Social Security and Medicare to live. And there is no compromise between life and death. There is no middle ground. The average person who retires in America today has less than $50,000 in savings. That’s good for one, maybe two years. And those people live for close to 20. There is no way anybody in America can get by without Social Security and Medicare, and that’s what the right wing in America wants to take away. I say, “No. No compromise.” We need to strengthen Social Security and Medicare. I want to see Medicare cover dental work. I want to see Medicare cover hearing aids. I want to see Medicare cover actual medical needs.
Here’s the video:
A smart mouthy guy like Grayson is a huge asset for more delicate politicians in the Democratic party. He can plow ground, get people excited, get the opponents pissed off, and set the terms of the debate. If only Reid, Pelosi, and Obama knew how to use the climate Grayson has created and can create. Or wanted to use Grayson’s gifts. At this point, I believe Obama and Reid, in particular, suck because they want to suck. They’re Republicans to their core. They believe the status quo only needs a few tweaks. They are able to look past all the human and economic carnage of the past three decades.
From the NY Times:
The United States is in the grips of its gravest jobs crisis since Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House. Lose your job, and it will take roughly nine months to find a new one. That is off the charts. Many Americans have simply given up.
But unless you’re one of those unhappy 14 million, you might not even notice the problem. The budget deficit, not jobs, has been dominating the conversation in Washington. Unlike the hard-pressed in, say, Greece or Spain, the jobless in America seem, well, subdued. The old fire has gone out.
In some ways, this boils down to math, both economic and political. Yes, 9.2 percent of the American work force is unemployed — but 90.8 percent of it is working. To elected officials, the unemployed are a relatively small constituency. And with apologies to Karl Marx, the workers of the world, particularly the unemployed, are also no longer uniting.
Nor are they voting — or at least not as much as people with jobs. In 2010, some 46 percent of working Americans who were eligible to vote did so, compared with 35 percent of the unemployed, according to Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University. There was a similar turnout gap in the 2008 election.
And this clueless bit:
Why populist anger over the poor economy is leaning right, rather than left, this time around is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it is because Democrats, traditional friends of labor, control the White House and the Senate.
Clueless because the real issue is the corporate embrace of the Democratic party added to the fact the Republican party is 100% owned by companies like General Electric, Goldman Sachs, and their ilk. The 99% screwed in this economy have almost zero political representation. Not because that group doesn’t care (certainly a large number are demoralized). Rather it’s because the groups that supported the 99% have been methodically broken down (e.g. unions, offshoring jobs) while the media has been co-opted through mergers with giant corporations that could care less about normal people. And lobbying jobs and jobs in these giant corporations serve as landing places for politicians and their staffs, encouraging them to toe the line to grab their six or seven figure job post-politics. Read the rest of this entry »
House Democrats are once again afraid they’re about to get sold out by a president from their own party.
As bipartisan debt limit negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House rev up, a number of Democrats are worried that President Barack Obama will agree to a deal with the GOP that cuts federal spending too deep, undermines the social safety net, slashes entitlement programs and does not include a single dime in tax increases.
These Democrats, mainly progressives and liberals, fear the White House will be too quick to give in to an ideologically rigid group of tea-party-driven Republicans who won’t even consider Democratic proposals to close certain tax loopholes or cut off certain tax credits to raise more revenue. Democrats are scheduled to meet with Obama at the White House on Thursday.
. . .
Some lawmakers were upset that Obama seemed to indicate to House Democrats during a recent White House session that he wanted to “get past” the debt ceiling debate — a sign that he was most interested in the politics of a mega-budget deal.
“I think the president and his team have their calculation where they want to posture him for his reelection,” Grijalva added. “And we have our calculation, too, and we think that our base and our constituency is not going to be happy with the deal.”
Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio said his Republican colleagues told him that Obama was moving toward the GOP position on spending cuts after they left their own meeting with the president at the White House.
. . .
the secretive nature of the budget talks doesn’t help calm nerves, said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.).
“I continue to hope and pray that we’re not going to be thrown under the bus, that the cuts aren’t going to be all focused on programs that benefit poor people, the most vulnerable,” McGovern said. “It’s difficult, because you have an unreasonable new majority in the House that’s making unreasonable demands. But I got enough to be depressed right now without thinking what the debt ceiling deal is going to be. I will get depressed when I see it.”
Any deal that liberals dislike could have reverberations within the Democratic base, and progressive lawmakers warn that Obama needs the grass roots to stay fired up for 2012.
Am I the only one who’s sick of these people fretting? Nonsense rightist ideology is pushing this country off a cliff, and these people are standing by, twiddling their thumbs, watching the train wreck in slow motion, and telling reporters, ‘we just wish they’d listen to us.’
At what point do these people stop with the self-pity routine and start building the revenue models and infrastructure necessary to drive the public discussion and muscle-through left policy?
Sometimes, just having your heart in the right place isn’t enough, especially when the consequences of inaction, or action of insufficient scale and effect, are so dire.
The latest from Paul Krugman at NYTimes.com:
And that explains why creditor interests bulk so large in policy; not only is this the class that makes big campaign contributions, it’s the class that has personal access to policy makers — many of whom go to work for these people when they exit government through the revolving door. The process of influence doesn’t have to involve raw corruption (although that happens, too). All it requires is the tendency to assume that what’s good for the people you hang out with, the people who seem so impressive in meetings — hey, they’re rich, they’re smart, and they have great tailors — must be good for the economy as a whole.
But the reality is just the opposite: creditor-friendly policies are crippling the economy. This is a negative-sum game, in which the attempt to protect the rentiers from any losses is inflicting much larger losses on everyone else. And the only way to get a real recovery is to stop playing that game.
Amen. You’d think the media would be all over this story, even from a human interest standpoint: who are these wealthy individuals and corporations? Which politicians and government heads and their staffers have gotten jobs in the private sector? Who are these college kids having to delay their futures? Who are the long term unemployed? Instead we get crickets. The media, once again, as with the Iraq war buildup, is missing the story and failing in its public duty, never mind failing to inform its readers.
There is a huge, Pulitzer-prize worthy story here. As with the Iraq war buildup.
From my Sunday comics page this week, in Newsday. First Doonesbury:
Next the right wing nut who writes Mallard Fillmore:
Probably comics don’t matter but, for me, the approach and rhetoric capture exactly the difference between how the US left and right view war and soldiers. It’s something to ponder this Memorial Day. Fillmore quotes Reagan (!) poetically blathering on about how great a country we have because people died for us with zero mention of the costs of endless war and the humanity of war, that it is ugly, scary, awful, and yet ultimately we’re talking about people being asked to kill other people and who die in that process. That’s what Doonesbury captures. There’s no glory, no call to action, no tripe. Just people who make choices and deal with the consequences.
FWIW, I call the Fillmore comic a right wing nut because of the rhetoric the comic strip uses over time. Choosing a Reagan quote, for example, is a big tell. For one, Reagan never served his country in combat. We’ve had a few Presidents who performed that awful task, including the first President Bush, but they’re never quoted by right wing believers. Only St. Ronnie. Who, oddly enough, said a lot of beautiful words, all of them written by his speech writers. Ignoring inconvenient facts with a focus on out of touch rhetoric sums up the right wing view of soldiers and war.
I wish Restrepo was required viewing for all politicians. And that their kids were forced to serve and to do at least three tours of duty. Perhaps we would have a lot less war and killing.