Unraveling Myths

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Obama Reagan by Fruelund

Pervading and damaging myths persist in the collective national dialogue; that either political party are rational actors, that the president’s second term will be filled with progressive policy objectives, that the economy will fix itself in an unregulated free market, that the deficit is the most important problem to tackle, that severe cuts to the middle class and impoverished are the only things that can help, and that intellectual honesty and American values drive the biases and decisions of either side.

Instead we are demagogued by contrarian hypocrites, unscientific loons and immoral proselytizers. The inconsistencies within their own parties, and even within their own philosophies and speech, impel us to believe that they are not merely incompetent, but complicit in the ongoing devastation of democracy.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-01-26: Unraveling Myths by The Stranger on Mixcloud

PLAYLIST
Hall Of The Mountain King/Louie Louie – Half Japanese
Maybe I Know – Lesley Gore
King Kong – Frank Zappa
Çarsamba – Mustafa Özkent
Montana – Pere Ubu
A Few Words In Defense Of Out Country – Randy Newman
Hard Times – Baby Huey
I Will Pray – Conexion
But I Was Cool – Oscar Brown Jr.
Ghostwriter – RJD2
Forest Crunk – Aesop Rock
Golem II: The Bionic Vapour Boy – Mr. Bungle
Telekinesis – Lemon Demon
Meaningless Upbeat Happy Song – The Dead Milkmen
The Grand Delusion – Bad Religion
Square – Boom Bip & Dose One
Ich Mache Einen Spiegel – Popol Vuh
2-2 – Brian Eno
I Have Been Floated – The Olivia Tremor Control
Sunday In Richmond – Danny Cohen
Cossack Song (Polyushko Polye) – Leningrad Cowboys
Bubamara (Vivaldi version) – Emir Kusturica & No Smoking Orchestra
I Love A Day Like This! – Black Cat Orchestra
Un Grand Sommeil Noir (Original 1906 Version)
Volcanoes – Islands

Many journalists are debating where President Obama’s second term will be better or worse, but his legacy is already being determined. He will most likely spend the rest of his time in office cementing the weak accomplishments of his first term; a watered-down health care law, a weak economic recovery, and a slow withdrawal from foreign wars.

He has made new promises in his Inauguration speech, namely immigration reform and climate change, but there are many reasons to be skeptical.

Salon lists some of the past quotes that tell us we should ‘check our optimism‘:

  • Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, berated liberals as “fucking retarded” for daring to try to press congressional Democrats to back the health care promises Obama himself made.
  • Obama deployed his official spokesman to tell reporters that liberals working to hold the president to his campaign promises “ought to be drug tested” because they are “crazy.”
  • Obama’s reelection campaign sent out an email slamming Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman as a “political rookie”
  • Branded LGBT activists as “naive”
  • Obama adviser denigrated liberals as the “internet left fringe”
  • A “senior Obama adviser” labeled those supporting a public health-care merely“the left of the left.”
  • Obama’s national security adviser slammed civil libertarians questioning the president’s extra-judicial drone war as “Cheeto-eating people in the basement working in their underwear.”

In truth, the candidate who promised more transparency and accountability has been the least transparent and accountable presidents in modern history. And the corporate influx of money did not end with his election; he continues to collect special interest dollars (at least $500 million) to go towards his ‘legacy projects.’

And though it was a right-wing idea, Obama seems all-too-willing to entertain prospects of putting armed police in every school. You know, because right-wingers are so upset about a police state and all. The chilling effects we’ve already seen from such actions have made the school-to-prison pipeline for minor offenses all the more viable, disproportionately affecting children of color.

Which, along with many other examples, is why Cornell West had some choice words on Obama’s decision to take the Oath of Office on the MLK Jr. Bible.

Not that neoliberal hypocrites like Obama hold a monopoly on twisting the vision of MLK to their own ends, as both anti-contraception right-wingers and even militaristic warmongers advocates have ignored the real message and meaning of Martin Luther King, Jr. to further their own dark goals.

Because the man was a radical. He didn’t condone the status quo that sees wages stagnating and middle and lower classes being crushed by a widening gap, (even as the economy has doubled over thirty years).

There are those with evident tactics to cheat middle class workers (i.e., you):

  1. Boost productivity while keeping worker wages flat.
  2. Build up a financial industry that has no maximum wage.
  3. Keep accumulating wealth created by the financial industry.
  4. Tax yourself as little as possible.
  5. Lend out your excess money to people who can no longer afford a middle-class lifestyle.

We have a financial services industry that defrauds, cheats, lies, steals, anything to maintain that upward mobility of capitol and wealth. But what can be done?

Oxfam International released a statement titled “The cost of inequality: how wealth and extreme incomes hurt us all.” In it, the anti-poverty organization cites the World Economic Forum’s recent report labeling “severe income disparity” as one of the top global risks for 2013, and offers several suggestions for curtailing wealth accumulation, including closing tax havens worldwide, setting a global minimum corporate tax rate, and limiting the size of bonuses. The goal, the report says, is “to end extreme wealth by 2025.”

According to the organization, the top 100 billionaires earned enough money in 2012 “to end world poverty four times over.” the growing economic gap between rich and poor won’t be alleviated unless extreme measures are taken. The real challenge lies with governments “willing to risk angering their wealthiest citizens in order to improve life for the poorest.”

We are told that the bankers are too important to jail, we see our Commander-in-Chief failing to dole out any modicum of punishment for the serious problems these fraudsters have wrought, and in fact continues to nominate and appoint more of the same Wall Street enablers who thrive in a ‘revolving door’ of backscratching and bribery between public office and backroom dealing.

This is exactly what center-right status quo gets us. This is the shell game of having the right-wing extremists appear as an insane alternative to the Beltway moderate wisdom.

To give the man a little credit, it must be an awful lot of work to unravel decades of toxic Reaganomic Republicanism. He is now able to do so by exposing their internal inconsistencies, leaderless sophistry, and partisan fractures.

Republican libertarians have never got along with social conservatives, who want to impose their own morality on everyone else.

Shrink-the-government fanatics in the GOP have never seen eye-to-eye with deficit hawks, who don’t mind raising taxes as long as the extra revenues help reduce the size of the deficit.

The GOP’s big business and Wall Street wing has never been comfortable with the nativists and racists in the Party, who want to exclude immigrants and prevent minorities from getting ahead.

And right-wing populists have never got along with big business and Wall Street, who love government as long as it gives them subsidies, tax benefits, and bailouts.

They appear to assuage themselves with myths about a nonexistent spending crisis, or that the government should have some fixed (usually small) size, in the hopes that such rhetoric will bind them against their severe differences on core social and financial issues.

But their contagious craziness not only enters the national dialogue, but takes center stage for both parties, its lip service becomes ‘serious discussion’ on the floors of Congress, and even the American public becomes distracted and dissuaded from real issues by the noise:

According to Pew Research Center’s annual policy priorities survey, released on Thursday, 72% of Americans identified reducing the federal budget deficit as a top policy priority for Obama’s second term, a far cry from January 2009, when only 53% of Americans labeling the budget deficit as a top priority.

And this new Congress has been plenty full of noise; already this year pushing extremist distractions to allow relatively sane (but still dangerously conservative) legislations to squeak through unnoticed. So far the sophomoric, moronic voices have clamored:

  • to impeach the president because he wants to reduce gun violence
  • that gays are too powerful to get equal rights
  • that women should not be in combat in the military
  • to give citizens the same weapons as the military
  • questions at the Secretary of State about right-wing conspiracy theory
  • claiming “Welfare Moms” wanting to commit fraud are to blame for gun violence
  • that Obama only upholds the “Soviet Constitution” (?)
  • that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11
  • to vote to leave Hurricane Sandy victims out in the cold
  • to jail rape victims for ending their pregnancies because they would be “evidence of a crime”

All during record-low approval ratings, because, so it seems, there are no fucks to be given. They already know, on the Right at least, that their only path to winning is to rig the rules in their favor. To legalize cheating and gaming of the electoral system with a malapportionment of votes, and perhaps even win them the White House (and other contests) with the minority of votes.

Add to all this an ongoing drug war that both enables drug atrocities while disabling scientific efforts to stop it, and the rising governmental ‘need’ for information on the citizenry, and you’ve got a dangerous set of myths and misconceptions on a grand national security scale.

Stark challenges all, but we shall rise to them.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2013-01-26: Unraveling Myths by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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