March 25, 2009 § Leave a comment
Bill Greider (who will tell the People, an excellent book..) in The Nation
In his address to Congress last month, he promised, “This is not about helping banks, it’s about helping people.” The first half of his statement is demonstrably not true, as people see for themselves and as bankers parade their arrogant excess. The second half is merely wishful.
Obama is going to get the label slick willy. He is too good at saying what sounds good but does not deliver. His plea for transparency will wither under the current policies.
One has to ask, is he afraid of the power of others? Would make sense, given his life course, and his “hiding out” at Harvard law for many years.
What’s changed the president’s situation? During the past nine months, gigantic financial bailouts amid collapsing economic life made visible the crippling divide between governing elites and citizens at large. People everywhere learned a blunt lesson about power, who has it and who doesn’t. They watched Washington rush to rescue the very financial interests that caused the catastrophe. They learned that government has plenty of money to spend when the right people want it. “Where’s my bailout,” became the rueful punch line at lunch counters and construction sites nationwide. Then to deepen the insult, people watched as establishment forces re-launched their campaign for “entitlement reform” — a euphemism for whacking Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid.
Whatever the intentions, this “reform” would effectively legitimize the existence of a corporate state. This concentrated power would be neither socialism nor capitalism, but a grotesque hybrid that combines the worst qualities of both systems. Government and politics would become even more responsive to big money, but also able to tamper intimately with private enterprise, picking winners and losers based on political loyalties, not on performance. Capitalism with its inherent tendency toward monopoly would have the means to monopolize democracy.
8. Some of your administration’s moves have appeared to validate key elements of Bush’s anti-terror strategy — quite a surprise given your stated positions during the campaign. For instance, there was your Justice Department’s support for an outrageously broad application of the state secrets privilege in a case in California, and the recent assertion of your right to hold certain prisoners indefinitely, without charge. Are these just short-lived aberrations that you intend to resolve after some more due diligence? Or have you found that the exigencies of national security make things a little less black and white than you expected?