Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Will there be a fight?

Eleanor Heartney, art critic,
Art & Money:

I was very active in the effort to elect Obama, and like many others I feel let down — duped into thinking things could change by an administration that seems completely co-opted by the corporate class. I still believe that Obama’s basic instincts are good, but somehow that doesn’t seem to matter. Why is it so much easier to take things in oligarchic directions than in democratic ones? George W. Bush profoundly changed America, but restoring the nation’s democratic values seems virtually impossible.

But I’m still not willing to accept the argument that voting is futile or that everything is predetermined by a small group at the top. And oddly, the most encouraging signs these days have come from outside our borders — from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia (the outcomes in Libya and Bahrain seem more uncertain) and in the faith that protesters in places like Iran and the Arab world place in the ideas of democracy. Here in this country the fight to preserve collective bargaining for state employees in Wisconsin appears to have failed (though at this writing a court has issued a stay on the law passed by the Republican lawmakers pending an examination of its constitutionality). Nevertheless, it is a small sign that people may be waking up to dangerous inequality that has been allowed to permeate this country.

Which leaves me with one final question. If there is to be a fight, which side will we be on?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lesson of the Week; Central Issue of Our Time

What digby said,

The big lesson of this past week of nuclear accidents and air strikes in the Middle East is obvious: we are entering a new phase of our ongoing energy crisis. With half of America now not believing in climate change and thinking everything can be solved with drill, baby, drill I'm not too optimistic. It's closely related to the plutocratic dominance of our political system and is the central issue of our time.

This strikes me as summing up the zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, quite nicely.

When I began (the predecessor of) this blog, I actually naively believed that the country and the world might come to some positive, reasonable consciousness about the coincidence peak oil, climate change, ecological catastrophe. I thought the inevitable disasters (my "coming perfect storm") -- later manifest as Iraq, Katrina, the Global Financial Crisis -- would prompt a revolution of sorts, as the old elite and a discredited philosophy gave way to a new generation, and a new awareness. (Hah!)

Instead, the storm came, and what was revealed was that a predatory financial system had taken over the government, in league with big oil and the military-industrial complex. What was revealed was the incompetence of the elite, their sheer inability to prepare for, or deal sensibly, with any political or economic development.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Paul Krugman noted an instance of Obama rewriting Social Security history, and, of course, there was also the Amity-Schlaes-like smear of FDR, for sitting on his hands while Hoover did his lame duck waddle.

I was an early and enthusiastic Obama supporter, as well as a life-long Democrat; I'm very much aware both of "being taken" and of being trapped by the structure of our politics, which carries on a made-for-cable kabuki-cum-extortion play, featuring the threat of a ludicrously bad Republican as "the alternative" to re-electing Obama. It is interesting to me that so many commenters feel themselves committed to not-voting-for Obama; I feel the same way, but I wonder how many we are, and whether it can make any difference. Our powerlessness is the problem; if that powerlessness is as real and deep as it appears, voting is already an empty, pointless ritual.