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The Memory Test

11:45 am in Uncategorized by Michael Monk

In all this talk about fiscal cliffs, “out of control government spending”, sequesters, and threats of government shutdowns over the debt ceiling, there is a self-test you can do using your memory to determine if you are being politically manipulated. Those of us who aren’t and voice our frustration are usually told our thinking is confused and all wrong. But let’s use our memories for a moment. How many times was the debt ceiling raised under George W. Bush? The answer is seven. Why wasn’t there any consternation and calls for government shutdowns or needed deals during any of those unceremoniously raisings of the ceiling then? After Clinton ran balanced budgets, George W. Bush ran deficits throughout his eight years as President but do you remember any talk about how government spending was out of control? Under George W. Bush, the national debt was doubled but were there any commissions created to take care of deficits or any created deals to sequester government spending and raise taxes by a date certain if no “deal” was reached and call it “a fiscal cliff”? And if the media is “liberal” as many claim, why are they playing along? The national debt under Reagan was tripled and after his initial tax cuts that created running deficits, he spent his later years pushing tax increases to try and lessen the deficit gap. Was he then called a “tax and spend liberal”? Why not? It should start to be obvious at some point the general theme of our politics changes depending on who is in the White House rather than facts, figures, or your memory if you check it.

Traditionally, national governments have increased spending in severe economic downturns to put demand back into the economy and people back to work (which is really how you take care of deficits because when people are working, that’s more tax revenue). You can check history, data, and your memory if you are my age. So why are we going against history, data, and memories? Politics and ideology. If we have to fear tax increases on the wealthy because it will “hurt” the economy, then explain why the economy took off under the Clinton administration when it was done. And if government spending hurts the economy, then explain history, data, and the memories of those of us who haven’t forgotten why if you can. And also, explain the changes in narrative depending who is in the White House without it appearing as a political double standard. You can also explain why you think government spending has exploded under Obama since under his administration, federal government spending has increased the least as a percentage since President Eisenhower who was president when I was born. Have a great day and a wonderful New Year and occasionally try the memory test. Maybe one day, we can fix things again.

Debt Ceiling Hostage Taking. The Banality of Corporate State Propaganda and Belief In Things Not Real.

6:39 am in Uncategorized by Michael Monk

"Belief - Neon sculpture by Joe Rees"

"Belief - Neon sculpture by Joe Rees" by Steve Rhodes on flickr

“Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.”-former Vice President Dick Cheney

On June 23rd, 2011, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) Va., and Senate Minority Leader Jon Kyl (R) AZ, walked out on the federal debt limit ceiling talks in the kabuki theatre that is Washington, D.C, these days. Why would a party that relies on deficit spending to further its ideology and declares that deficits don’t matter when they are in power do this? To extract more blood out of America’s dwindling middle class, the poor, public sector workers, the elderly, and the unemployed (which further contracts, not expands economic activity) to further an American “shock doctrine” for its billionaires and multinational corporate CEOs. They will vote to raise the debt ceiling after more bloodletting. After all, Mitch McConnell (R), (KY) offered a way out of the phony debt ceiling crisis. But then Obama (always trying to burnish his Reagan bonafides) wanted the “grand deal” of the “gang of six” that offered up Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security (of which social security has not added to deficits and by law, cannot). But the extreme House radicals led by Eric Cantor pushed through the unworkable “Cut, Cap, Balance” in the House. That led the country back to negotiating what plans to further wreck the public square for theft by rich and powerful interests will prevail. Now it appears the “bi-partisan” deal making is a system of strait jackets and triggers. The corporatists who pretend to represent freedom are ironically trying to create the ultimate state controlled economy, a corporate state controlled economy.

“The use of cancer in political discourse encourages fatalism and justifies “severe” measures-as well as strongly reinforcing the widespread notion that the disease is necessarily fatal. The concept of disease is never innocent. But it could be argued that the cancer metaphors are in themselves implicitly genocidal.” –Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor, 1977 Read the rest of this entry →

Will Obama Find Those Shoes?

8:17 am in Uncategorized by Michael Monk

In the “flashback quote of the day” at Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, he highlights words from candidate Barack Obama, made in a 2007 speech (and referenced in Slate). That quote is as follows (spoken word differs slightly from the prepared text quoted by others, what follows is transcribed from the video):

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

Well, will we see it? Or will it end up like the closing of Guantanamo Bay, a public option, or restoring constitutional checks and balances? He has given credence lately to false framing from the right with his freezing of pay of government workers, extention of the Bush tax cuts, a “deficit commission,” more budget cutting, and lip service to looking into deregulation when deregulation led us to financial collapse. Will he find those shoes?