I have been saying this for 2 years now…and I can’t say it any better than Krugman just did…
Watching our system deal with the debt ceiling crisis — a wholly self-inflicted crisis, which may nonetheless have disastrous consequences — it’s increasingly obvious that what we’re looking at is the destructive influence of a cult that has really poisoned our political system.
And no, I don’t mean the fanaticism of the right. Well, OK, that too. But my feeling about those people is that they are what they are; you might as well denounce wolves for being carnivores. Crazy is what they do and what they are.
No, the cult that I see as reflecting a true moral failure is the cult of balance, of centrism.
Think about what’s happening right now. We have a crisis in which the right is making insane demands, while the president and Democrats in Congress are bending over backward to be accommodating — offering plans that are all spending cuts and no taxes, plans that are far to the right of public opinion.
So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.
The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.
What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.
You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault? This is the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war. If this won’t do it, nothing will.
And yes, I think this is a moral issue. The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.
It’s a terrible thing to watch, and our nation will pay the price. – Paul Krugman
An address to the President… I hope he hears it and follows through with these suggestions…
As the debate over deficits ramped up in Washington on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders laid out the compelling case not to slash programs for working families. Any deficit reduction package must rely on new revenue for at least half the reduction in red ink, he added in a major address in the Senate. Sanders spoke at length about what caused deficits (wars, Wall Street bailouts, tax breaks for the rich) and how to shrink them (more revenue from the wealthiest Americans to match spending cuts). He urged fellow senators not to yield to Republican congressional leaders who “acted like schoolyard bullies” when they walked out of budget negotiations. He summed up the situation in a letter to the president that had been signed by more than 16000 people by the time he completed his speech. Sign the letter » http://www.sanders.senate.gov
While searching and researching my own thoughts on race/racism/white supremacy I happened upon this blog post. Upon closer inspection, this blog deals with race and racism in ways that seemed to fit my perspective. THIS is my new favorite blog…
Read this excerpted take on racism…
Similarly, people in the United States, and most particularly European-Americans, spout a supposed belief in “equality,” whatever we think that is, while being unconscionably comfortable with the greatest gaps (between rich and poor, between White and Black) of any industrialized nation of the world. And we are so committed to this idealized belief in equality–as opposed to the actual practice of it–that people who look like me purport to be stunned when presented with the idea that the equal treatment does not, in fact, exist, however well documented this reality may be.
One way to protest or mask the reality of racial oppression and its ramifications is to use the word “racism” to mean any prejudicial attitude by anyone of any “race” anywhere who feels superior in any way to someone of a different “race.” That way, a European-American can point at an African-American who has buckled under his or her grief, frustration, and discouragment, finally becoming filled with bitterness and maybe even hatred toward the White establishment and those it privileges–and call that person of color a “racist.” Which, in turn, allows White folks to declare, “See–anyone can be a racist.”
The reason this doesn’t hold for me is that, to start with, as I mentioned before (see “‘Black.White.’ Part Two or Keep My Name Out Your Mouth,” March 4th), Europeans expressly constructed the very concept of “race” in the first place. And they didn’t do it to make it easier to identify someone in a crowd either. They did it to create a hierarchy wherein people that look like me would automatically get the most of the best and the least of the worst–primarily by stealing from everybody else in one way or the other–while whoever was left got what they could, if anything. This was done for the purpose of making a very specific group of Europeans extremely rich. And White-controlled science, White-controlled law, and White-controlled religion worked together to legitimate this construct by announcing in no uncertain terms that White folks are superior to all other peoples on the face of the earth.
- Prejudice & Racism Are Not One and the Same… (a Facebook conversation) (bruceturnerjr5.wordpress.com)
This article speaks for itself. And makes the points I’ve been making for a while now. The Progressive counter-narrative is lacking from this administration…and SORELY needed.
Once again the extremist elements of the GOP have managed to tell the most legible and convincing stories. Republicans hammered home the idea that the national budget ought to mirror household budgets. “When the going gets rough,” the GOP says, “people have to tighten their budgets, the American government ought to do the same.” This is a compelling story. People hear this and think to themselves, “Yes, yes, I have cut my cable bill, cancelled my vacation, and started cutting coupons; the government should do the same.” This is a false equivalency.
Household budgets are not the same as national ones. In fact, this narrative obscures the reason that Americans are tightening their belts—because the failed, short-sighted fiscal policies of GOP-led governments brought our economy to the brink of disaster. By telling the story this way Republicans effectively dodge the main point that massive tax cuts redistributed wealth to the top 1 percent but failed to stoke job growth. They ignore that disinvestment in educational grants made college more expensive for Americans. They ignore that their deregulation of lending practices foreclosed on the American dream for millions. The government (under Republican direction) created a mess for American households and has an ethical obligation to address the mess it made. To ask poor, disabled and elderly citizens to sacrifice basic needs to underwrite the extravagant choices of their wealthier neighbors is profoundly un-American. In my house, when somebody makes a mess we clean it up. When somebody is sick, we care for them. When somebody needs a hand, we lend it. All of these basic realities are obscured by the good story about household budgets and fiscal responsibility. – Melissa Harris-Perry
- Melissa Harris-Perry & Joan Walsh: GOP Takes on Planned Parenthood (bruceturnerjr5.wordpress.com)