Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Fate in a Few Seconds



I mentioned this morning that I stumbled on The Powell Memorandum. I was flipping channels and saw Bill Moyers. And -- lo and behold -- Garrison Keillor was talking with him. I caught about a minute of their conversation before I had to move on. This is what I caught.

”Garrison Keillor: You said something a couple years back that I imagine your father would have liked. I'm quoting you here, I think I am quoting you. "The corporate right and the political right declared class warfare on working people a quarter of a century ago. And they have won. The rich are getting richer with which arguably wouldn't matter if the rising tide lifted all boats. Instead the inequality gap is the widest its been since 1929. The middle class is besieged and the working poor are barely keeping their head above water. As the corporate and governing elites are helping themselves to the spoils of victory, access to political power has become a matter of who gets what and who pays for it." Those are fighting words.”

” Bill Moyers: Yes and I wish that more Liberals would use words like that. We are in a class warfare. Every time Liberals stand up for the poor, working class, working men and women, even the middle class, the Right, particularly the Wall Street Journal, fires back they're trying to start a class war. Bull! Class war was declared in the 1970s., and its documented. Its on the record. You can go home and google tonight. Google Lewis F. Powell. Richard Nixon put him on the Supreme Court. But before he was on the Supreme Court, he wrote a famous document in which he called on the business community, corporations and others, to get involved in repealing the New Deal. Crushing labor unions. Fighting government programs that provided a floor under the poorest of our citizens. He wrote that memorandum for the Chamber of Commerce. Its on the record. Go home and google William Simon. Richard Nixon's Secretary Treasury. Wrote a book called Time for Truth in which he called upon the business community, corporations, just like Lewis Powell, to rally to defeat Ralph Nader's consumer programs, the New Deal and so forth. And the conservative movement, beginning with Ronald Reagan when he fired the air traffic controllers in 1981 began that movement. The most they had several aims. One, destroy unions. Because unions, if they raised wages of their workers brought other wages up behind them. Furthermore, unions were the only national organizations that could organize middle and working people across the country to take on the powers that be. To take on the large economic interest. And that demonized Liberals. Demonized Liberals. (applause) Richard Nixon believed not in defeating his enemy. He believed in demolishing and destroying his enemy. Newt Gingrich carried that on. Newt Gringrich introduced vicious political rhetoric 25 years ago when he urged conservative to talk in demonic ways about Liberals. And neutralized the main stream media. And in which they did, because so many people in main stream media are afraid to get as close to the verifiable truth because they would be accused of being unfair. Will be accused of being on the side of marginalized, disqualified, disenfranchised people in this country. So what does the main stream media do now? We go for entertainment, the arguments, the punditry that goes on. And they have succeeded. We are at the end of a 30 year war in which democracy is dysfunctional. Its symbolic only. And the real power that is exercised in our society by increasing smaller number of wealthy people. And that's the way. If you don't mind, let me (reaches for his book) Most of what I learned, I learned from other people. And here's an interview I did with Simon Johnson, Who's one of the most fascinating young economist on the scene today. A Brit who came to this country. Was at the IMF and now teaches at the Wharton School of Business. But he has the best economic website in the country called BaselineScenerio.org. And he wrote an article that I saw on that website called High Noon, Geithner vs the American Oligarchs.

 And I wanted to know more. "So I said to him, What are you signaling with that headline Geitner vs. the Oligarchs?" " I'm signaling something a bit shocking to Americans. The situation that we find ourselves in this moment is very strongly reminiscent of the situations we've seen many times in other places. The places we don't like to think as similar to us. Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea. (aside by BM: this is no Marxist by the way) Not comfortable comparisons. We sometimes find ourselves in the grip of the same sort of crisis in the same sort of oligarchs as in those countries." "I say oligarchy is unAmerican term you know. It means a government by a small group of people. We don't like to think of ourselves that way."”


You can find this part of the conversation on Daily Kos.

I assume you caught the part about air traffic controllers. Again. You might want to follow Bill Moyer’s advice and google all that other stuff. If you have an hour and 35 minutes to spare, you can watch the whole thing.

Don Brown
October 5, 2011

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