Saturday, December 22, 2007
Americans have come to hate and distrust their government as perhaps never before in their nation's history. From AlterNet:
"Scripps Howard News Service and Ohio University released a little-noticed study showing that one-third of Americans now "believe in a broad smorgasbord of conspiracy theories" revolving around government complicity in everything from the 9/11 attacks to the Kennedy assassination. The same survey last year found that "anger against the federal government is at record levels."
...the feelings are not motivated merely by a fear of the next bogeyman around the corner. The sentiments are symptoms of a deep crisis of confidence in our public institutions -- a crisis that is a predictable reaction to a government that now all but admits it breaks laws, hides information and disregards the public.
We have seen troops sent to war based on manipulated intelligence. We have discovered phones wiretapped without warrants. Just last week, we found out the CIA destroyed tapes of potentially illegal torture sessions. So many scandals now plague the government, it is hard to remember them all. And they have all happened with almost no consequences for the perpetrators.
Industries essentially bribe politicians with campaign contributions. Government employees regularly move into six-figure jobs lobbying for the industries they once regulated. Presidential candidates of both parties take time off from their small-town stump speeches about the middle class to hold big corporate fundraisers in New York penthouses and D.C. law firms. All of it is legal and treated as ho-hum by the media.
When [media] lobbyists recently pushed the government to relax ownership regulations and allow for further media consolidation, FCC chairman Kevin Martin provided just one week's notice for a required public hearing on the issue. Officially, the FCC held the hearing to consider public input about the proposed rule change. But Martin later told Congress that before the hearing ever happened he was already putting the finishing touches on his New York Times op-ed formally endorsing the media consolidation plan. And surprise! This week, the FCC officially ratified Martin's deregulation scheme, making it the law of the land.
Like so much of our government's behavior these days, it was kabuki theater at its most obscene -- an obscure yet powerful agency getting caught leaking profit-making secrets to lobbyists, and then telling the public its hearings are all a put-on, taking place well after the corrupt deals have already been cut."
This is possibly George w. Bush's greatest accomplishment, completing the corporatization of his nation's government. Halliburton has taken over much of the military's role on a massive-profit basis, routinely fleeces the government on its billings and then shelters all that revenue in offshore tax havens. Defence spending has returned to the levels of the height of the Cold War with no rival superpower worthy of the name. Tax dollars are pumped, by the truckload, into shoring up mortgages for predatory lenders who would otherwise have to bear the losses of their greed even as those tax dollars come increasingly from the working class whose children will also pay for the deficits now racked up year after year by a tax cut and spend like mad government.
Bush may be America's Battista. No wonder he's so admired by our own Furious Leader, Stevie Harper. No wonder Stevie is such an adherent to paranoia politics.
Republicans talk of "class war" as some despicable tactic exploited by politicians seeking to enrage the masses, the great unwashed. Some day, rank-and-file, average Americans may wake up and realize they've been on the receiving war of a very real, very powerful and very destructive class war that their alleged president has been waging against them, almost from the first day he took office.