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Where the Hell Is the Outrage?


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From the first breath of life to the last, our lives are being stolen out from under us. From infant care and early education to Social Security and Medicare, the dominant economic ideology is demanding more lifelong sacrifices from the vulnerable to appease the gods of wealth.

Middle-class wages are stagnant. Unemployment is stalled at record levels. College education is leading to debt servitude and job insecurity. Millions of unemployed Americans have essentially been abandoned by their government.  Poverty is soaring. Bankers break the law with impunity, are bailed out, and go on breaking the law, richer than they were before.

And yet, bizarrely, the only Americans who seem to be seething with anger are the beneficiaries of this economic injustice — the wealthiest and most privileged among us. But those who are suffering seem strangely passive.

Why?

Wealth inequity and other economic injustices are the product of deliberate policy choices — in taxation, Social Security, health care, financial regulation, education, and a number of other policy areas.  So why aren’t Americans taking action?

The “change” theories Krugman mentioned don’t tell the whole story. For one thing, it’s not true that the lives of the majority are frozen in an ugly stasis. Conditions continue to become objectively worse for the great majority of Americans. But these ongoing changes — in actual wages, in employment, in social mobility and wealth equity — have received very little media attention or meaningful political debate.

It’s not that things aren’t changing. It’s that people don’t know they’re changing. And without that knowledge the public becomes a canary in a coalmine, only aware of its declining oxygen supply when it keels over and dies.

It’s an almost classic state of alienation, in which people may be acutely aware of their own increasing difficulties (although sometimes they can be numb to that as well) but experience them in a state of isolation. That turns the anger inward, leading to crippling reactions like guilt and despair. And repeated individual failures — failures made increasingly likely in a skewed system — lead to a sense of learned helplessness.

The Radical Rich

As long as they stay that way, there will be no movement to repair these injustices. And the more these injustices are allowed to persist, the harder it will be to end them.

Where the hell is the outrage? And how can we start some?

Interestingly, the “change = political pressure” theory helps explain the rage of the “radical rich” who — despite their almost unprecedented lives of wealth and privilege — are articulating an anger which seems at first to be inexplicable. But they, unlike the vast majority, are experiencing perceptible (if minor) changes.

No current policy proposals would substantially affect their historic levels of wealth and privilege. But some Democratic policies would slightly discommode the ultra-wealthy, and conservative forces have been shrewd enough to trumpet that fact far and wide in a tone of barely suppressed hysteria.

The wealthy have already seen a cultural change, as the Occupy movement led to previously-unheard public criticisms of their riches and political influence. That helps explain today’s seemingly paradoxical political situation, in which the beleaguered majority accepts the injustices heaped upon them while coddled and ultra-wealthy Americans erupt in fury.

The Alienators

The media has failed to tell the story of our broken economy. The two-party system is failing, too, as corporate forces complete their corruption of the GOP and seize an ever-increasing chunk of the Democratic Party.

That’s one of the reasons why voter turnout may not be the best indicator of political awareness. Even pronounced financial hardship won’t result in increased turnout or participation in electoral politics if neither party is clearly articulating the majority’s needs or actively fighting for its interests.

Many politicians and pundits have also embraced the “structural unemployment” argument which says people have the wrong skills for the economy of today and tomorrow. But they told us the same thing in the 1960s, the 1970s ”

In fact, they’ve said it for the last 50 years.

And yet technology jobs were down in last week’s jobs report. “Structural unemployment” is another way of telling you it’s your fault if you don’t have a job. It’s a lie.

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The Exploiters Within

Even worse, decades of “Pimp My Ride”/”Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” acculturation have idealized the wealthy and have left the majority with a subliminal message: If you’re struggling economically, it’s your fault.

The leftist Brazilian educator Paolo Freire spoke of “internalizing the oppressor consciousness”: internalizing the values of those who colonize, rule, and exploit you, accepting their distorted, Matrix-like view of the world as an objective reality.

This can lead to agony, as well as continued exploitation. When I first began writing about illegal foreclosures in 2009 and 2010 — before bank fraud became common knowledge — I began receiving dozens of emails from bank victims saying, in essence, “I thought it was my fault” and “I thought I was the only one.” Some of them had contemplated suicide, which is the tragic end point of an “oppressor consciousness” within.

(I published some of those emails, with permission, in a piece called “Letters From Foreclosure Hell.”)

Books and films like The Pursuit of Happyness have delivered the message that anyone who’s struggling economically hasn’t been brave enough, bold enough, or smart enough, while movements like the Tea Party have mocked underwater homeowners and other victims of Wall Street fraud and predation.

(That movement was born in a “spontaneous” demonstration at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange led by financial snake-oil salesman Rick Santelli, in which pampered and taxpayer-rescued traders mocked Wall Street homeowner/victims as “Losers! Losers!”)

The last two Democratic Presidents have tried to have it both ways, exalting, deregulating, and pampering the wealthy while speaking the language of justice. That has weakened the Democratic “brand” and undermined public confidence in government, while failing to resolve our underlying economic problems. The rhetoric of “consensus” and “compromise” contributed to the decades-long rise in inequality.

As Paolo Friere said:  “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”

Action Plan

So what do we do?

1. Expand our avenues of political expression: First, we need to remind ourselves that electoral politics is not the only productive avenue for political activism — that we need strong and independent voices and movements.

2. Refuse to let politicians use social issues to exploit us economically: We also need to reject the exploitation and manipulation of progressive values by corporatist politicians who use social issues like gay marriage and reproductive rights exactly the way Republicans do — to manipulate their own base into ignoring their own economic interests. Politicians who don’t take a stand on economic issues should be rejected, up and down the ticket.

3. Explain what is changing — and contrast what is with what should be: We need to do a better job of explaining what’s happening, so that we can make people aware of the harmful changes taking place all around them.

And it’s not just about “change”: It’s also about contrast — between economic conditions as they are, and conditions as they should be and could be, if we can find the political will.

4. Expand the vocabulary of the possible: The “learned helplessness” outlook says “the rich and powerful always win; we don’t stand a chance.” History tells us otherwise.  From the American Revolution to the breaking up of the railroads, from Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting to FDR’s New Deal, from Ike’s Social Security and labor union expansion to LBJ’s Great Society victories, we need to remind ourselves of what we’ve accomplished under similar conditions.

5. Tell stories: And we need to tell stories — human stories. That’s why Tuesday night’s Bill Moyers special on PBS is so important. “Two American Families” tells the story of a white family and an African-American family in Milwaukee over two decades. Their stories bring home, in a personal way, the agony that has accompanied the destruction of middle-class jobs — a destruction that only happened because politicians made conscious policy decisions.

To explain, to provoke, to inspire, to tell stories is to begin the process of political change. As Paolo Friere said, “To speak a true word is to transform the world.”

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via OpEdNews – Article: Where the Hell Is the Outrage?.

The Elizabeth Warren Quote Everybody Needs To See


Elizabeth Ann Warren is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Warren was previously a Harvard Law School professor specializing in bankruptcy law and is an active consumer protection advocat

 

 

 

Obama Wants Mandatory Homosexuality and Abortions For Every American  


President Obama shows his support at a Gay parade in San Francisco

WASHINGTON DCUSA – The victorious Obama administration are putting into place their latest policies for the American people after winning a second term in the U.S election.

Speaking from the White House, President Obama said that economic well-being in the United States was only a minor concern for the Democratic administration, which recently won a second term after the U.S. elections.

Fiscal Stiff

“The economy to me is not a serious concern. As long as Michelle and I can have multi-million dollar taxpayer funded vacations we do not care what is happening to the economy out there amongst ordinary people. Our main concern is how there should be more abortions and mandatory homosexuality for everyone in America. This is our goal, for every American and is a serious pledge from the Democratic party. We urge you all to embrace our ideals and we will implement a five-point-plan to put these serious pledges into force by next month.”

Obama and the Democrat party are determined to make the new pledges stick even if the Republicans oppose the new laws.

“If we cannot have bipartisan endorsements of our new laws we will simply veto the Republicans and force our hands up their butts with the new legislation. We won the election so get over it, for the next four years homosexuality and abortions will be mandatory. Forget food stamps, we want lube stamps. Don’t bother having kids either, that is unless you want a government endorsed session with a coat hanger,” an Obama worker told the Capitol Hill Post.

via Obama Wants Mandatory Homosexuality and Abortions For Every American �.

via Obama Wants Mandatory Homosexuality and Abortions For Every American  .

Where it went wrong for Romney –


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney waves to the crowd before conceding the presidency during his campaign election night event at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Analysis: Following an ugly and seemingly interminable presidential campaign, Mitt Romney‘s hopes of becoming the 45th president of the United States unravelled in just a few hours.

The political prize that eluded him in 2008, and his father four decades before, had seemed tantalisingly close. It was all the more remarkable give that his roller-coaster campaign threatened to come off the rails early on, before roaring back to life following his first energetic television debate.

But within hours of arriving in Boston to watch the results pour in with his family and advisors, the television networks had called the election for his rival.

What may rankle most with Romney is that the obstacles which prevented him from beating an incumbent saddled with high unemployment and a disappointing first election term were largely of his own making.

There were devastating wall-to-wall attacks from Democrats, to be sure, which sought to portray him as an elitist plutocrat who was all-too comfortable with bankrupting the US car industry.

But there was no one else to blame for the verbal gaffes, his comments about the 47 per cent of people on welfare, his failure to produce tax returns or his constant shape-shifting on fundamental policy issues.

Ultimately, voters never warmed or trusted him in sufficient numbers – and Romney never effectively made the case for himself.

47 per cent

The voice on the secretly recorded video was steady, and the message was severe. “There are 47 per cent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what,” he said at a private fundraiser.

“All right, there are 47 per cent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” Romney said. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

It took Romney days to express regret at his comments.

Coming after a slew of ads that accused his investment company, Bain Capital, of vulture capitalism and outsourcing jobs, the damage was devastating, particularly among the blue-collar vote he so badly needed to secure.

Tax returns

Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his tax returns gave Democrats even more ammunition. What he did release showed that he had paid a meagre 14 per cent, significantly less than average workers.

“What else is he hiding?” a narrator in an Obama ad asked viewers over the summer.

It was Romney’s decision not to release any earlier tax returns, on the basis that it would play into the hands of the Democrats’ campaign.

But it all hinted at a bigger problem.

Romney, the affluent son of a former car industry chief and state governor, was deeply uncomfortable discussing his wealth.

He did a good job of completing the caricature of a one per center by boasted that his wife had “a couple of Cadillacs” and making a $10,000 bet with his Republican primary rival, governor Rick Perry, over health care policy.

Bain Capital

Democrats spent millions of dollars during the summer portraying him as a vulture capitalist, happy to ship jobs overseas in order to maxmise his financial returns.

Yet, these were the same ads – and in some cases, the same individuals – that had been used eight years earlier in his unsuccessful Senate campaign bid against Ted Kennedy.

Neither Romney, nor his campaign, insisted they were vastly exaggerated, but they never did enough to rebut them. The mud stuck. It hardly matters when he went on to tell voters at a rally in New Hampshire that he “liked to fire people”.

Shifting positions

It was no surprise that Romney would seek to make a play for the middle ground after securing a nomination.

But the sheer number of about-turns gave the impression of a candidate with no real conviction.

He largely disowned the health insurance policy introduced in Massachusetts as governor (which became the model for Obamacare) and embraced the coal industry he had denounced a few years earlier.

In order to appeal to the his Republican base, he renounced more liberal position he held in the past on abortion. It all allowed the Obama campaign to characterise these many changes as “Romnesia.” But voters – both Democrats and Republicans – didn’t forget these about-turns.

Lack of personality

Ironically, it was only during the final weeks of the campaign that some of Romney’s personality began to come through.

For most of the campaign, he had avoided revealing anything to do with Mormon faith besides clipped overall generalisations. Yet, there was aspects of it which reflected well on him. His personal engagement with charities were considerable. He have millions to voluntary groups and spent significant period of time with ordinary church members, often allowing poorer visitors from abroad visiting Boston for medical attention to stay in his home.

All in all, Romney never gave the public a good enough reason to vote for him as a person. He never effectively made the case for Romney himself, instead allowing others to define him.

via Where it went wrong for Romney – The Irish Times – Wed, Nov 07, 2012.

via Where it went wrong for Romney – The Irish Times – Wed, Nov 07, 2012.

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