Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Shock Doctrine Revisited...

Paul Krugman’s Friday NYTimes column, “Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.” is a MUST READ.  [Here] Krugman applies the thesis that Naomi Klein laid out in her best-selling The Shock Doctrine to the events that are happening in Madison, Wisconsin.  I’ve written about this important book before [Here] and am thrilled that Krugman is connecting the present events in Wisconsin with Klein’s description of similar historical events in Pinochet’s Chile, and elsewhere, including our involvement in Iraq.
Krugman reminds us of how driven by neoliberalism thinking our Iraqi adventure was.  He quotes our viceroy, Paul Bremer, as saying to a reporter from the Washington Post that one of his top-priorities was to “corporatize and privatize state-owned enterprises” and to “wean people from the idea that the state supports everything.”   That was Bremer’s vision and we know how it turned out.  Our occupation and policies tore Iraqi society apart.  
In Krugman’s words, the neoliberal vision is the imposition of “...a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.” [Here]  And isn’t this exactly what is happening in Wisconsin under Gov. Walker?  Krugman points out that even more exists in Walker’s 144-page bill than simple union busting.  It lays out a program that is both undemocratic and dictatorial. 
The bill would allow governor appointees to slash health care coverage for low-income families without having to go thru the legislature.  Also, the Walker bill proposes that the state may sell or lease state-owned power plants without having to put out bids and may do so for any amount of money Walker thinks is fair.  (Can’t you imagine the Koch Brother’s industries rushing in and taking over?)  
Union-busting and privatization are dual goals for these folks, which they hope will spread across the country.  Another neoliberal goal is deregulation.  They wish to pull away regulators who are monitoring air quality, emissions, water quality, and so on.  In fact, hobble the EPA, the SEC, Consumer Affairs, meat and food inspectors and the like.  This is what “reducing the size of government” really means.  
Make no mistake.  The march toward the above goals has already begun.  With a tax code that gives tax breaks to the rich, we are fast approaching an America that Herbert Hoover would be comfortable in.  As Robert Reich has pointed out:  [Here]
Only the richest 5 percent of Americans are back in the stores because their stock portfolios have soared.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average has doubled from its crisis low.  Wall Street pay is up to record levels.  Total compensation and benefits at the 25 major Wall St firms had been $130 billion in 2007, before the crash; now it's close to $140 billion.
(It’s enraging to realize that the folks that created the world-wide crash are even richer than ever, isn’t it?)
The GOP is focused on union-busting because unions have been stalwart supporters of a humane social program with safety nets for the less well-to-do.  At the present time, organized labor is the single strongest and most organized force opposing the Randian corporatist vision of society.
Over the weekend as I struggled to find news of the nationwide protest that had been organized by Truthout, CNN chose to bury the story, but highlighted the two-year anniversary of the Tea Party!  [Here]
Digby at Hullabaloo points out that Fox News, on the other hand, is watching the Wisconsin events very carefully.  Fox is very anxious to frame the public narrative of the story with scary pictures of union members as rowdy hooligans.  Here’s a good example of a headline from Fox News that Mr. Murdock and Ailes hope everyone will remember: [Here]
Pro-Union Rallies Simmering With Violence and Hate Speech.
This is a totally untrue statement.  But when Fox News gets involved, truth flies out the window.  And just look who is suddenly afraid of hate-speech!  Didn't Murdock and Ailes and Beck and O'Reilly and Hannity invent it?

This is the pot calling the kettle black...

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