Posts from — July 2012
They say a man is known by the company he keeps, and the company that presidential candidate Mitt Romney keeps is alarmingly toxic. Romney is weird enough by himself; he sprays insults and condescension in all directions, scoffing at well-intended cookies while traveling in America, lecturing Olympics organizers while traveling in Britain, and denigrating Arab culture while traveling in the Mideast. But it is the stuff that comes from his entourage that’s really shocking.
“Romney advisers” and “Romney spokesmen” are quoted in the media as saying the most outrageous things. An adviser recently evoked the white-supremacist myth about America’s “Anglo-Saxon” heritage, for example, and a spokesman followed up with a pledge to support an Israeli attack on Iran.
Now, the Romney camp has hit a new low in scandalous slapstick.
Here’s what ABC news told us this morning:
As Romney left the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Warsaw and walked toward his motorcade parked in Pilsudski Square, reporters began shouting questions from the line where campaign staffers had told them to stay behind, prompting traveling press secretary Rick Gorka to tell a group of reporters to “kiss my a**” and “shove it.”
Who are these people, and why would anyone aspiring to the leadership of the free world associate with them?
And these are just the ones that make the news. The Republican presidential hopeful has gathered as scurvy an array of war mongers as ever existed. As The Nation’s Ari Berman pointed out in May, some 30 of Romney’s 40 identified foreign policy advisers worked for Bush, and most of them are neoconservatives who helped lie America into the Iraq war.
And if you need more clues to the foreign policies Romney would adopt as president, consider that former Vice President Dick Cheney is among his most enthusiastic backers. According to the Great Torturer, Mitt is the only candidate that can be trusted to make tough decisions.
And the admiration is mutual. As far as Romney is concerned, Cheney is a “great American leader.”
You might think it’s a stretch for me to link the foot-in-mouth clowns traveling with Romney to the Dr. Strangelove types lurking behind the scenes in Washington. But the way I see it, they’re birds of a feather.
The common denominator is the impervious insensitivity that accompanies total self absorption. They have no idea what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Indeed, they wouldn’t dream of touching some poor peon’s disgusting shoes. They’re far too special for that kind of thing.
July 31, 2012 No Comments
I’m all for research to produce crops that grow faster, are more resistant to pests and disease, and more adaptable to adverse weather conditions. I see it as the only way the world’s exploding population will be fed in the future.
So when I first read about the alarm over “genetically modified” food, I figured it was just another example of uninformed people resisting beneficial change.
But the situation is a lot more complex than I figured.
And the root of the complexity is that free market we keep hearing about.
The free market is driven primarily by a desire for profit, not by such altruistic motives as providing more abundant and healthier food for mankind. So, much of the genetic engineering is designed to make products more marketable. That includes giving them longer shelf life, making them more uniform in size and color and less prone to damage when they’re being shipped, and of course making them taste better. And it seems the researchers aren’t too concerned about the side effects.
Food giants like Monsanto have billions at stake in the marketing of genetically modified products. And they’re not about to let your health stand in the way. According to some experts, these foods can even cause cancer. And I understand some can cause diseases that are immune to antibiotics.
What’s more troubling is that the agricultural giants have twisted politicians’ arms around the world to avoid having to warn consumers of the possible dangers. They’ve even bullied the US Congress into letting them slip their GMO products into the marketplace without making us aware of the dangers.
I read a Natural Society article by Elizabeth Renter, distributed by Reader Supported News today, that left me wondering what unknown effects Sandra and I might be suffering because of this surreptitious invasion of our local supermarket. Ms. Renter listed the “Top 10 Worst GMO Foods,” and I was shocked to see our dinner favorites among them.
Corn, the number one GMO threat, is an example. Is it my imagination, or is the corn prettier and tastier- and easier to chew – than it has ever been? And Ms. Renter said genetically modified corn “has been tied to numerous health issues, including weight gain and organ disruption.”
It’s enough to give me a belly ache, if I didn’t already have one (from eating all that corn?).
Surprisingly, tomatoes weren’t on the list. Nor apples. I guess the writer figures we already know about the widespread use of DNA magic in creating new and more seductive forbidden fruit.
Sugar is on the list, of course, and so is Aspertame (which doesn’t leave a diabetic like me with much of an alternative).
Dairy products also make the list – and who can avoid dairy products? It wouldn’t be summer without ice cream, would it?
Even canola oil is a threat. And we’ve been using canola oil to avoid those dreaded trans fats that mess up our cholesterol.
Perhaps the strangest (to me) items on the list were zucchini and yellow squash. Who would take the trouble to genetically modify zucchini? Or squash?
I’m amazed when Sandra eats squash, and I can’t imagine it has a large fan base.
And, the way I see it, if they’re modifying zucchinis, those scientists would stop at nothing.
July 30, 2012 1 Comment
I’m sure Mitt Romney wonders why anyone would question his Swiss bank account and the millions he stashed in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. As he reiterates: It’s all quite legal.
And in his world, it’s all quite moral.
In Romney’s world, there are no countries, no communities, just the very rich and those who want to prey on the fruits of their hard work and good fortune. In Romney’s world, the paramount obligation is to protect the wealth that is theirs by Divine Right. In other words, if God hadn’t wanted them to be rich, they would be poor. So it would be an obstruction of God’s will to let others take their money.
In some cases, God says they should give 10 percent of their income to their church – the Mormon Church in Romney’s case. But God didn’t specify another penny. Not in their faith. Certainly God didn’t tell them to let the government get any of it to help their fellow-citizens.
You and I, as Christians, believe that we enrich ourselves by sharing our money with the poor. Our religion tells us we are laying up treasures in Heaven, “where rust and moths do not corrupt and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
But that’s just us.
The Romneys of the world believe it is God’s will that they should have five or six houses (make that mansions), enjoy $500 (and more) haircuts and travel in private jets. They believe it is entirely appropriate to take whatever they can and give only what they absolutely have to. If the tax code allows them to exempt hundreds of thousands for such pursuits as breeding and training Olympic-level horses, they take the exemptions.
So I am not surprised when I read that the super-rich keep $21 trillion to$32 trillion in overseas bank accounts to avoid paying taxes.
Carl Gibson of Reader Supported News points out in an article today:
$32 trillion is a hell of a lot of money. In fact, it’s more than double the United States’ total accumulated debt. In fact, $32 trillion would be enough to settle both the debt of the United States and the European Union combined. Visualized in cash, the amount of money stashed overseas by the 0.001% would be almost as high as the Statue of Liberty and wider than two football fields. And thanks to the numerous loopholes, gimmicks and special deductions written into the tax code at the request of corporate lobbyists who have the ear of the chairmen of tax-writing committees worldwide, public debts and corporate profits are skyrocketing, while tax revenues and the standard of living for the other 99% of us is plummeting.
Gibson reports that:
The Sundance 2012 documentary “We’re Not Broke” (full disclosure: I’m in it) explains the numerous dodges that multinational corporations use to avoid taxation, like transfer-pricing and gimmicks they’re still pushing for to avoid even more tax, like repatriation and territorial tax systems. Nicholas Shaxson’s book “Treasure Islands” explains the history of tax dodging, going all the way back to the Vestey family’s intricate financial ploys, and delves into the shady business of blind trusts. Through these underhanded means, the secret offshore economy is actually greater than the combined GDP of both the United States and Japanese economies combined. To illustrate further, the money hidden offshore by a tiny fraction of the global elite is worth more than what over 200,000,000 employed Americans and Japanese add to their economies.
Nations from the USA to Greece to Spain to Ireland are all hemorrhaging tax dollars by the billions every year into these offshore accounts. The money padding the pockets of the immensely rich could instead be used to insure that workers have a pension when they retire, that police officers and firefighters in Scranton, Pennsylvania, could be paid more than minimum wage, that public school students could have books in the classroom. Instead, these powerful corporations spend millions lobbying Congress to cut their taxes even more, which causes Congress to force austerity on the rest of us, which means the 99% has to make do with even less while the richest 0.001% makes off like bandits.
To this, the super-rich might respond: Why should we let the government take our money to ensure that strangers have pensions or that other people’s children have books? What do we care about police officers and firefighters in Scranton, Pennsylvania? If God wanted them to have pensions and schoolbooks and pay raises, He would give it to them.
But it is supremely ironic (and quite shameless) for Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, to blame President Obama for America’s 15 trillion-dollar national debt while at the same time proposing policies that would inevitably siphon even more trillions into those offshore tax havens.
July 29, 2012 2 Comments
Jamaica is approaching the 50th anniversary of its independence from British rule, and I share in the pride all Jamaicans must feel on such an occasion. But I received an email from my friend Madge Marshall this morning that gave me cause for sober reflection. Attached to Madge’s email was an article from The Economist. Here’s an excerpt:
The world is used to trailing behind Jamaican sprinters. The small island has won a string of world records, and may claim more at the 2012 Olympics. Its economy, however, is not so speedy: on current forecasts it will finish the year with the slowest average growth rate since 2000 in the Americas—behind even earthquake-stricken Haiti.
On August 6th Jamaica will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence. But the festivities will be muted by frustration with its performance.
The Jamaican economy should by rights be booming. The island is just a 90-minute flight away from the United States, the world’s biggest market, with which it shares a language. It is on the shipping route to the Panama Canal, and has a spacious natural harbour in Kingston. It is politically stable, without the ethnic tensions that have riven other Caribbean nations.
Jamaica has reasons for its plodding growth of late. Tourism, which employs one in ten islanders, has dipped with the world economy. And the market for bauxite and alumina, its main export goods, has been rockier than for other commodities.
However, the country’s economy was stagnant long before the credit crunch. In real terms Jamaicans are no richer today than they were in the early 1970s. And most of the island’s enduring problems, like its public finances, are home-made.
Jamaica has run fiscal deficits in 44 of its 50 years of independence. Few people pay taxes: the middle class is small, the informal economy big, and enforcement chilled-out. Only about 3,000 of the country’s 65,000 registered firms are thought to contribute. The government has steadily dished out waivers to favoured industries: tourism pays an effective tax rate of 5%.
Lacking sufficient revenue, Jamaica has financed public spending by borrowing. Years of accumulated deficits, a bank bail-out in 1995, and punishing interest rates have swollen the national debt to a Greek-style 140% of GDP. Servicing the burden now accounts for over half the budget.
The government has further hurt the economy by unwise intervention. Its tax breaks for imports by hotels have cut local firms out of the supply chain. That has limited job growth, forcing many of the young into lowly tourism posts, such as hawking handicrafts (and hashish) on the beach. “Money goes where money is, and the rest of us stay poor,” says Dee Brown, who punts tourists around the north coast’s Blue Lagoon on a bamboo raft.
The article goes on to blame Jamaican bureaucracy and government miscues for the island’s problems, but I came away with an entirely different message. To me, the island provides a warning to America. It shows what happens when you rely on tax breaks to produce growth.
I worked for the Jamaica Industrial Development Corporation, a government agency, back in the Sixties, and I saw first-hand how those seductive tax breaks can fool you. Back then, the Jamaican economy was based on agriculture, bauxite mining and tourism. The government wanted to develop an industrial sector. So they decided to give tax breaks to companies that set up factories on the island.
The program called for tax holidays of several years – I think the maximum number was 15. The idea was that once the factories had become established they would produce revenue for the island, and in the meantime they would provide much-needed industrial jobs.
But, as in so many cases, the policy was based on an incomplete analysis. It failed to take the competition into account. As soon as the tax holidays ended, most of the companies packed up and moved to some other country that offered the same type of deal.
It may sound like a good idea to lower taxes for corporations and the rich – as the Republicans plan to do if they win control of the American economy in November. You might think the rich would use their money to create jobs. But it just doesn’t work that way.
As the Economist quotes Jamaican Dee Brown as saying:
Money goes where money is, and the rest of us stay poor.
The painting reproduced above is by the late Michael Lester and shows the view from his home at The Anchorage at Belmont, St. James.
July 27, 2012 4 Comments
According to an English newspaper, a Mitt Romney “advisor” declared proudly that:
We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.
Romney denies it, of course. Who wouldn’t?
But I wouldn’t doubt that Romney or someone in his entourage said something like that. After all, the Republican presidential candidate has been sneaking in references to President Obama’s “foreign” background lately. I’m sure you know that in far-right dog-whistle code, “foreign” means black, and that is definitely not Anglo-Saxon.
I have to wonder whether Romney thinks he is Anglo-Saxon. I would consider him quite “foreign” because his great-grandfather fled from Texas to Mexico with his five wives. And it took a couple of generations for the Romneys to find their way back across the border.
That’s not the kind of history I associate with “an Anglo-Saxon heritage.”
Besides, I doubt very much that Romney is an Anglo-Saxon name. According to Baby Names.com, Romney is a Welsh word, meaning “across the Broad River” (how appropriate, considering the family’s migration to and from Mexico).
My first guess was that the name came from Romani, meaning gypsey. But whatever its origin, I am certain it’s not from Jutland or Germany – where Angles and Saxons originated. (There’s no record of the so-called Anglo-Saxons settling in Wales, either. The Welsh were originally Britons or – as they referred to themselves – Cymry.)
And I have to laugh when I read about America’s “Anglo-Saxon” heritage. It’s true that the Pilgrim Fathers (illustration above, left) originally came from England (although they settled in Holland before coming to America), but the rebellious American colonists were not Anglo-Saxon. The way I learned it, the instigators were mostly Scots-Irish, those troublesome borderers who were driven out of Scotland and shipped to Ireland, where they turned out to be just as unwelcome as they were back home.
In case you didn’t get the memo, Anglo-Saxons are not from Scotland. Originally, that country was inhabited by Scots and infiltrated by Phoenicians and Celts from Ireland. There was probably a smattering of Picts and Britons from England, too. Later came the Norman invaders (from France). True, there were those Viking marauders from Scandinavia, who left offspring all along the Scots and Irish coasts, but I don’t believe they were Angles, and I am sure they weren’t Saxons.
Indeed, I doubt there was ever really an Anglo-Saxon race. From what I’ve read, it’s a myth dreamed up by English nationalists back in Tudor times.
The early invaders of England (after the Romans left) included Angles from Jutland and Saxons from Germany, and the language that mixture produced was called Anglo-Saxon. But I imagine they were too busy killing off each other to do much interbreeding (illustration above, right). And, considering the Roman invaders included a North African contingent, I wonder whether any interbreeding that went on also included some left-over non-white soldiers.
Anyway, if there ever was such a mixed-race breed, its members have long since been assimilated by future migrations. Certainly, the English are not “Anglo-Saxon” today. According to a recent study, genetic evidence shows only 5 percent of the people in England have markers identified as Anglo-Saxon.
As for America, the world’s most magnificent melting pot, it would be hard to find many pure Anglo-Saxons among this country’s 330 million people. There are probably more Italians and Greeks, Irish and Scots, Turks and Slavs, Serbs and Scandinavians, Jews and Arabs, Flemish and Walloons, French and French Canadians, Spanish and Spanish Americans, Poles and Magyars, Asians, Africans and African-Americans, even Caribbean-Americans…
And let’s not forget the original inhabitants – once mistakenly identified as American Indians but now known as the First Nation.
Besides, America’s blood lines have become so intermingled over the years that most Americans no longer know or care what country or countries their forefathers inhabited.
And the trend is toward even more diversity. According to Wikipedia:
Hispanic and Latino Americans accounted for almost half (1.4 million) of the national population growth of 2.9 million between July 1, 2005, and July 1, 2006. Immigrants and their U.S.-born descendants are expected to provide most of the U.S. population gains in the decades ahead.
Today, in America, the term Anglo-Saxon is sometimes used as a euphemism by white supremacists. You will find any number of web sites proclaiming the “glorious” history of an imagined Anglo-Saxon people who supposedly conquered the world and brought civilization to us savages.
But I hope that even the sorry lot who surround Mitt Romney would not find that “heritage” appealing.
July 26, 2012 1 Comment
The parasites that feed off the American political system are having way too much fun. They’re playing some kind of deadly game in which they one-up each other at the expense of the truth – and the country’s future.
Look at those oh-so-clever ads on TV, and ask yourself: What the hell is going on?
You know and I know – and anyone with a grain of sense must know – that the ads are misleading at best, downright lies at worst. There are even TV commercials that edit President Obama’s quotes to make them say the opposite of what they really mean. Surely, there should be a law against that?
And the president’s campaign is not entirely blameless. They’re in tit-for-tat mode, slyly presenting the facts to make them as damning as possible.
What’s wrong with the plain, unvarnished truth?
If I were the president, my pitch would be:
Look, I know the economy is not where we want it to be. Not yet. But I’m doing the best I can, considering the obsruction I’m facing, and if you let me keep my job, I will try to do better. I believe we should invest in roads and bridges and schools and stuff like that, instead of giving our tax money to rich people and global corporations. I believe nobody should go hungry, if we can help it, and no child should be deprived of an education. I think the government’s job is to protect our country and our “inalienable rights,” and to provide equal opportunity for everyone to prosper. And I think that the more fortunate among us should contribute a little more to the community’s welfare. If you share my beliefs, I would be grateful for your vote.
I certainly wouldn’t run ads showing Mitt Romney singing “America the Beautiful.” I realize the Republican candidate has a tuneless voice, and I consider him an altogether unlovable human being. But I don’t care whether he can sing or not. What I want to know is how he would run the country if given the chance.
We’re told the reason for those “negative” ads is that they “work.”
I have to wonder about that.
They attract attention, of course, and some are undeniably clever – in a sly sort of way.
But I can’t believe voters are so easily infuenced in the long haul. This election is not a game in which the cutest ads get a prize. This is serious business. Elections determine how we live – each and every one of us.
By casting our vote, we help to choose war or peace, employment or idleness, health care or neglect, security or abandonment in our old age … Elections determine what kind of education our kids receive, what kindof roads we drive on, what kind of police and fire protection we have…
This is no joking matter. This is life and death.
Photo above shows a silly ad attempting to blame gas price increases on the president.
July 25, 2012 1 Comment
In the hard scrabble world of our daily lives, we tend to miss the less obvious but more enduring accomplishments of the Obama presidency. We’re too busy squabbling over taxes and deficits, unemployment figures and the national debt. And then along comes a reminder from pop star Beyonce (above, right), paying tribute to First Lady Michelle Obama for her historic contribution to the American story.
The African American singer makes a vitally important point: Whatever else they may have accomplished, however else you may think they have failed, the Obamas have provided a mirror in which black Americans can view themselves in the most complimentary light.
Nobody can fault Mrs. Obama’s behavior. She is a lady in every sense of the word. She is regal but unpretentious, stylish but dignified, earnest but playful… And she is as admirable inside as she is outside, always compassionate, always listening to her better angels.
This is the kind of role model Americans – black and white – need.
Enslaved and oppressed, African-Americans have endured much over the years, more than anyone could be expected to bear. And too often, the response has been hostility and rebellion or submission and defeat.
In the Obama experience, we have undeniable proof that a black American couple can hold their heads high and walk among the most distinguished members of any race without self-consciousness or bombast – and without resentment or bitterness.
It is a magnificent display.
This fine American family demonstrates that we can let go of the past and move on – whether we are black or white or Hispanic or Asian, or any other ethnic label under the sun – toiling together to build a better society, a better world.
I don’t know how this election will turn out. But I know that whatever happens, the Obamas will have left an everlasting legacy for the country they so obviously love.
July 24, 2012 6 Comments
A monster bursts into a movie theater and sprays a deadly blizzard of bullets into the audience. In the blood-spattered aftermath, 12 lie dead, 59 are injured. The legacy of shock and grief continues.
There is no way to overstate the horror.
The airwaves will relive it for days, perhaps weeks.
Our hearts are broken as we share the tears of the survivors … of the victims’ loved ones… of a community… of a nation. We cannot comprehend the senseless massacre. The 24-year-old shooter remains a macabre and unfathomable mystery.
It seems almost sacrilegious to talk politics at a time like this.
Yet, today in Congress, a horror is unfolding that – in my mind, anyway - rivals the one in Colorado. It is much less dramatic, of course. But it is no less sinister.
Congress is in the process of passing a Farm Bill that would deprive millions of Americans of food stamps, diminish school-lunch programs, eliminate food safety protections, and prematurely force genetically engineered crops onto the market.
The consequences of these cuts would inevitably include hunger, sickness – and possibly death – inflicted on defenseless children as well as hapless adults.
How much suffering can we expect in the wake of this legislation?
And who can say what grotesque dangers will accompany genetically engineered crops and farm animals?
What devastating illnesses are likely to come from unsafe food?
The implications of this bill are frightening – and tragic.
But this tragedy will play out quietly in countless private homes beyond the reach of the TV cameras.
Incredibly, the $969 billion bill is loaded with handouts to the rich and powerful – subsidies to non-farming land barons and tax breaks for race horse owners, for example. This largesse is the fruit of billions of dollars spent by special-interest lobbyists to manipulate the political system.
Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro called the legislation “immoral and inhumane.”
“This bill increases subsidies to millionaires,” she pointed out. “This is a bill that robs the poor to pay the rich. This bill is an outrage.”
To me that’s a massive understatement. To me it is much more than an outrage. I would call it criminal.
July 23, 2012 1 Comment
In America, you can often achieve justice more effectively through the courts than through the political process. Obviously, political opposition to “gun rights” has failed miserably. The National Rifle Association and its sinister allies have intimidated mambers of both major parties. Even when an Arizona congresswoman is gunned down, Congress does not dare to act to stem the deadly proliferation of weapons.
The massacre in Colorado last night (photo above) is one more example of the pernicious consequences that result from distortion of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.
No impartial person would interpret the amendment as the NRA insists. But the organization’s unlimited spending has driven gun control advocates into the underbrush.
Any attempt to stop the senseless bloodshed seems doomed to failure in today’s sick political environment. Already the far-right noise machine is mounting a shrill defense against the shock waves from the Colorado massacre. The blogosphere is abuzz with claims that “the left” will “exploit” the tragedy to promote an “insensitive” assault on “second amendment rights.”
Obviously, the paid hacks have been mobilized. You can expect the paid politicians to rally behind them.
It seems to me that the courts might provide the only path to restoring a semblance of civilization in this increasingly savage society.
Certainly another judicial interpretation of the Second Amendment is desperately needed. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority has predictably ruled against gun control laws, but I can’t see them deciding that any American, however crazy, can buy AK-47s, bazookas and other weapons of war at will.
And even they might agree that the innocent victims of the NRA’s reckless crusade deserve some consideration.
I am not a lawyer, of course, but it seems to me that class action lawsuits against the NRA would be an appropriate way to provide compensation for the wounded and solace for those who lost their loved ones.
And widespread legal action might make the NRA and its allies think twice about their callous campaign to bolster its members’ profits at the expense of innocent lives.
July 20, 2012 6 Comments
It would be understandable if some Americans bought the “austerity” program touted by the Republicans – if there were no example already in existence to demonstrate its consequences.
Not excusable, of course, but at least understandable. There’s a simple minded logic to it.
Basically, the argument is that you can’t spend money you don’t have. At least, you shouldn’t spend money you don’t have.
My mother used to drill that precept into our heads: If you make a dollar and spend a dollar and one cent, it leads to ruin. If you make a dollar and spend ninety-nine cents, it leads to success.
Of course, the real situation is far more complex. Governments are different from individuals. Governments can and do spend money they don’t have in order to stimulate the economy and (hopefully) bring in more than enough revenue to pay for the borrowed money. That’s the basis of capitalism. It’s how businesses make money. They borrow from the banks and use the “capital” to make a profit.
Politicians who argue that governments should function on a pay-as-you-go basis are pandering to the simple minded.
But I would think that the simplest of minds could look across the Atlantic and see the havoc that bank inflicted austerity programs are wreaking in Europe.
So why would Americans willingly go down the same path as Britain and the other European countries maneuvered into austerity by the global bankers and their conservative political allies?
In an article about a group of English youths who are trying to opt out of the corporate culture, the UK Guardian’s George Monbiot explains:
To be young in the post-industrial nations today is to be excluded. Excluded from the comforts enjoyed by preceding generations; excluded from jobs; excluded from hopes of a better world; excluded from self-ownership.
Those with degrees are owned by the banks before they leave college. Housing benefit is being choked off. Landlords now demand rents so high that only those with the better jobs can pay. Work has been sliced up and outsourced into a series of mindless repetitive tasks, whose practitioners are interchangeable. Through globalisation and standardisation, through unemployment and the erosion of collective bargaining and employment laws, big business now asserts a control over its workforce almost unprecedented in the age of universal suffrage.
The promise the old hold out to the young is a lifetime of rent, debt and insecurity. A rentier class holds the nation’s children to ransom. Faced with these conditions, who can blame people for seeking an alternative?
Almost 800 years after the Magna Carta was approved, unrepresentative power of the kind familiar to King John and his barons still holds sway. Even in the House of Commons, most seats are pocket boroughs, controlled by those who fund the major parties and establish the limits of political action.
Through such ancient powers, our illegitimate rulers sustain a system of ancient injustices, which curtail alternatives and lock the poor into rent and debt.
Why would Americans follow a path that has led to such bleak conditions in Britain?
Why would they buy the argument that the way to economic health is by slashing the social safety net, destroying trade unions and outsourcing productive jobs while reducing taxes for the rich and for global corporations?
This would be, in effect, a return to a feudal system that past generations fought, sacrificed and died to overturn.
It was the middle class that brought prosperity to America, Britain and other developed countries. And “austerity” would inevitably mean the demise of the middle class.
As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, we would inevitably descend into the misery and hopelessness of a new Dark Age.
July 19, 2012 8 Comments