Saturday, December 08, 2012

"They all fall there so perfectly, It all seems so well timed."

Yeah, Mr. Dylan, I am beginning to think so, too.

It all just fits together so well--top to bottom and side to side.  I sometimes think I am just paranoid but, it is written, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they are not out to get you.

Shortly before he became a Supreme Court Justice--40 years ago--Lewis Powell wrote a memo to one of his clients, the US Chamber of Commerce.  In it he described how business was under attack (this was 1971) and needed to organize to defend itself from, among others, the environmentalists and the unions.  This memo lays out the detailed plan he devised to get that done.  Read it.   It includes:

  • Create institutions that will develop policy favorable to business, 
  • create propaganda outlets to sell it to the public, 
  • fund politicians who will implement it and 
  • organize the public to support those politicians and policies.

Although this memo resides in the official Lewis Powell archive at the law school of Washington and Lee university, it has gathered little dust there.  It has been well circulated and, it looks to me, well used as a blue print for action.   Like I say, read it and draw your own conclusions.

These are some of the things that make me wonder whether this strategy has been implemented gradually over the years.

  • The Heritage Foundation is but one of the institutes that develop and promote pro business  policies, as well as publishing studies and holding seminars for law makers and judges who apply the laws, and sending out experts to spread the word from Sunday talk shows to state legislatures,
  •  Fox News and right wing talk radio seem to be just two spokes in a wheel of propaganda.  And the recent scandal in Texas resulting in the recall of a "scholarly" study showing the safety of natural gas fracking and the early retirement"of the scientists who did the research could well illustrate how public universities are now used to spread the (false) good word for business and industry, 
  • the politicians who sit, for example, astride the House of Representatives are shielding business from regulations that protect workers, consumers and the environment, and they are refusing to change a tax system that has concentrated wealth into fewer and fewer hands since the memo was written, 
  • other politicians who now dominate state governments are dismantling unions and state government because taxpayers "cannot afford what that costs," while they are cutting state taxes on the wealthy and refusing both medicaid dolars and implementation of federal health care infrastructure, 
  •  the beltway grassroots organizations like Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works seem to fit right into the plan.  They funded and organized the Tea Party by, among many, many other things, creating their websites and providing written instructions to members about such citizen activism as disrupting town hall meetings, and
  •  Supreme Court justices do have roots deep in the Federalist Society and did select a president (a member of their own party, the Republican Party, the party of business) who was running on a platform of massive tax cuts and did later clear the way for unlimited corporate spending to influence elections.

These are a few examples of things that would be consistent with a hypothesis that the Powell Memorandum is being implemented.  It could be a coincidence, of course.

In his memo, Powell stressed that it would cost a lot of money to set all this up and to protect corporate interests in this way it would be necessary to dig deep to pay for it.  Although he seems to have envisioned a broad based funding from across the business community, big funders have came forward, for example the Koch brothers.  Not only have such big donors funded political campaigns but follow the funding streams for the other components of what appear to be this machine and at the source there they are, the Big Guys.  And it is so often the Koch brothers, themselves, who have a hand in things that some have taken to referring to them as the "Kochtapus."    

I am paranoid, no doubt about that.  But you read the memo and decide for yourself.

For me it's just that nagging experience I've had:  no matter how cynical I get, it's hard to keep up.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Wrecking Crew in Reaction

At the height of hurricane Sandy the radicals stick by their story that disaster relief should be a function of privater enterprise or returned it to the individual states.

The reason given is that the person quoted says he knows a "lot" of people who don't have a good view of FEMA.

This is like someone who chopped up the fire hose pointing to the the ashes to prove that the fire department doesn't work.

There has been a wrecking crew at work undermining every institution, public and private, that didn't conform to the ideology of how the world is supposed to work.   They launch disingenuous and false talking points and cut the budgets of institutions we need to hold the country together.

FEMA was such a victim--turned over under President Bush to people who began to dismantle it, crippling its ability to respond to Katrina and talking endlessly, now, about how that failure is more proof' of their "government can't do anything right" narrative.  

This radical wrecking crew has fooled a lot of people into an skeptical alienation of universal distrust and cynicism--creating a citizenry that can neither govern or be governed.  There is no where to which we can turn for leadership, according to their ideology, except the wealthy and our guns.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

You Can Look It Up

Why doesn't someone just say "No, he didn't?"

The noise is "The President had complete control of the Congress in his first two years and had everything his way."

No.  No he didn't.

The Senate majority of Democrats was not veto-proof.   The balance was in the hands of the Blue Dog Democrats, the so called "moderates," who voted with the Republicans.  They watered down everything he wanted to do or kept him from doing it.

You can look it up.

For example, the so called stimulus.  In order to get Blue Dog support the President was forced to make half of the amount tax cuts--the Republican notion of stimulating the economy.  That's right, tax cuts--half of they money in the stimulus was not really stimulus, at all.  Tax cuts are not stimulative enough of the economy to be considered anything but a joke.

You can look it up.

The stimulus is also relevant to confronting some other noise: "The President didn't try to govern in a bi-partisan way."

Why doesn't someone say, "Yes, he did?"

First, as I say, see note on stimulus, above.

Second, Obama put a number of Republican measures on the table and when he did the Republicans and their Blue Dog allies no longer supported them.  This happened so many times that I don't have time to complete the list.  Let the Dream Act stand for all of them.

Third, he encouraged alteration of his own and other proposals from Democrats to incorporate Republican positions (health care, for example) and still the R's and the Blue Dogs who originally  thought them up and once touted them refused to support them, anymore.

You can look that up, too.

When these claims get made the media people don't question them, even when D surrogates and office holders hear them made and don't challenge them.

Does no one but me remember all this?

If anyone else does, why doesn't someone at least try to straighten these people out?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I have not posted here for a while but I have to award a Lily, tonight, to Mike Huckabee. He is one of the least sensitive and empathetic of all who have stepped in front of the microphone in the past few days in Tampa, and that is saying something.  He has shown the depth of his cynical opportunism by giving a speech with the tag line of "We can do better."

We can do better.

Those are words that flip my heart over and back.

That was the title of Robert Kennedy's book in the late 60's, as he emerged from the dark shadows of mourning his brother's death and dared to challenge a war and a way of life/prosperity that was based on war.

It was the title of his book and it was the slogan of his last campaign.

In 1964 I had fire in my eyes, one of Barry's Boys, a supporter of Goldwater and of the very ideas that are sparking and arching in Tampa tonight, at the Republican National Convention, 48 years later.

By April 1968 with the eyes of a Marine Corps Lance Corporal, rather than the eyes of a high school sophomore, streaming tears for that guy who had earned the chops to quell a race riot in Indianapolis.  He stood on the back of  a truck on the night--only a few days before his own murder--when Martin Luther King was shot from ambush.  No other white guy on the planet could have done that in 1968. I doubt if any could do it today.

I am sure that Mike Huckabee, who had the nerve to steal Bobby's slogan tonight, wouldn't even think to dare  to climb up on the back of that truck and have a go at accomplishing what Bobby accomplished that night.

This RFK guy, whose slogan Huckabee stole, was the guy who lost the primary in my home state and went for a run with his dog on the beach in Oregon.  Then he, himself was dying on that hotel kitchen floor--after having said, moments before, having won the California primary, "Now, it's on to Chicago."

He was going to take on HHH and his own party establishment.  He was going to get us out of Vietnam, and he was going to ...

He was going to ...

And then he wasn't going to.

So, Mike Huckabee, you will never be buried beneath an eternal flame.  You will never be able to stand on the back of that truck and be heeded, you cannot quell the rage--you can only stir it up as you tried to do tonight.  You will never know what Bobby and his big brother learned in Appalachia, what they learned by staring down Nikita Khrushchev and George Wallace.

But you can steal his slogan.

So go ahead, Mr. Huckabee.  Take his slogan.  Squeeze whatever juice you can out of it for your hateful and divisive cause.

But you will never get his gravity or his integrity.  And your name will be forgotten long before his even needs a buffing.   Because, Mr. Huckabee, you can try to talk his talk but you can never, never, never, never, never walk his walk.

You can never had what he had...but you can have a Lily because, Mr. Huckabee, because you epitomize and personify the power of Lily Tomlin's simple truth--"No matter how cynical I get, it's hard to keep up."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Lily for the Virginia House of Delegates

While many in the anti-abortion movement advocate that rape-induced pregnancy is not a ground justifying an abortion, the government of Virginia wants to make being raped a part of the process of terminating a pregnancy in that state.

Using an inanimate (or animate!) object to penetrate certain orifices of a person's body without their consent is a sex crime in the State of Virginia and now a woman trying to terminate a pregnancy will be required to submit to a medically unnecessary vaginal ultra-sound first.  

Non-consensual sexual penetration to discourage a woman from terminating a pregnancy, or punish her before she is allowed to exercise the right to do so--a Lily for sure.