Category Archives: Unreported

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Irrational Greeks Claim They’ve Earned Their Money

 

In addition to Nobel Prize-winning economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz saying austerity during a recession doesn’t work, and the ample evidence in Ireland and the Baltics that retraction is tantamount to death by a thousand cuts, for whatever reason these kinds of measures also aren’t very popular.

The way Evi Simopoulou sees it, the austerity measures imposed on Greece as a condition of a $150 billion rescue package punish everyone for the government’s failures.

“We didn’t eat the money,” said Ms. Simopoulou, a 29-year-old computer programmer from Athens. “They ate the money.”

As the Prime Minister George Papandreou struggles to convince the world that he has what it takes to push through the reforms to keep Greece competitive and the Euro strong, there is one main obstacle in his path: Greeks.

Although he has so far stayed the course, many are furious about the reforms, which have raised taxes, lowered salaries and left them with a pervasive feeling that they are caught in the cogs of larger economic forces. Their anger has spilled over into waves of street protests, incuding one in May in which three people died.

God, poor people are so stupid. They just have to understand that they are financially responsible for bailing out their country in the aftermath of happy time at Wall Street casinos located roughly five thousand miles to their west. It’s time for everyone to suck it up and pay a little more so elites in the Hamptons don’t have to sell their extra yacht.

Why is this so difficult for Greeks to accept?

The problem is we don’t have a great communicator running the show.  I wish Ronald Reagan was still alive, you guys.

- Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – It’s Not Propagandizing When the Right Does It

 

Remember back in September ’09 when the right lost their minds right before President Obama delivered a national address to schoolchildren, encouraging them to stay in school? Right-wingers claimed  Obama was propagandizing his secret Kenyan agenda…or something.

Well, if Obama’s attempt to prevent dropouts made wingnuts piss themselves, this will surely make their heads explode:

Now that the midterm elections are history, Sarah Palin is setting her sights and rhetorical skills on the Federal Reserve and its easy money policy.

On Twitter, the former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential contender said she would begin a round of discussions at school events to teach children about quantitative easing to prepare them for the results of the Fed’s plan to boost the sluggish U.S. economy.

In an effort to boost lackluster growth the Fed has been injecting cash into the economy by buying up government securities in what it calls quantitative easing. It announced a fresh round of $600 billion in purchases last week and the action was welcomed by the stock market which moved higher on the news.

But critics, such as Palin and conservative Republican Ron Paul who is likely to head a House monetary policy subcommittee when the new Congress is seated in January, say the Fed’s move will do little to encourage economic growth and will ignite inflation.

Mm’k. Someone’s going to have to explain to me how this isn’t Palin taking advantage of schoolchildren’s vulnerable minds.

On the upside, even a five-year-old can see the gaping holes in Ayn Rand’s work, so we don’t have to worry about the threat of future generations being converted to Libertarianism.

(h/t Digby)

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1664

- Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – ‘They have killed a lot of people, but they do not seem to have killed the group’s key leaders’

That’s a quote from New York Times journalist, Robert Worth, who was interviewed today by Fareed Zakaria, about our role in Yemen’s corner of the Forever Wars.

Yemen, like Pakistan, is where the U.S. is officially unofficially at war. We provide support on the down-low, and occasionally kill people with our flying robots. For some reason, the Yemeni are pissed.

Fareed pondered if it’s possible to ask the Yemen government to extend their rule into remote areas they haven’t controlled in thousands of years.

WORTH: It’s – it’s very difficult. It – it’s hard to say exactly what the right approach is. And the problem is that as the U.S., you know, gets more militarily involved – again, they’re not directly militarily involved, but they’ve been providing lots more training and they’ve been encouraging their Yemeni partners to take more – a more active military role.

That runs a terrible risk in Yemen, just as in, as you say, as in Pakistan and Afghanistan, of alienating the local people, who are intensely suspicious of any foreign intervention. And because you inevitably, in areas like that, where intelligence is poor, where the terrain is hard to – hard to reach, and the tribes are powerful, you – you inevitably have some civilian casualties.

One of the American air strikes last year killed quite a number of civilians, and it had a huge, huge effect in terms of protests. And the problem is, of course, that when you already have a secessionist movement in the south and another rebellion in the north, discontent spreads. It’s sort of hard to separate one issue from the other.

ZAKARIA: As you know, there’s talk here about a drone attack on Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born preacher who sort of inspired the – the Nigerian Underwear Bomber and perhaps has been playing a – a more broad role in inciting anti-American jihad. What do you think would be the effect if there were a drone attack an Awlaki?

WORTH: I think it would be very unpopular in Yemen. I think Anwar al-Awlaki is mostly viewed as a charismatic preacher, and because he has – isn’t known to have actually killed anyone, most Yemenis -

I mean, first of all, he’s not that well-known in Yemen. He’s better known in the U.S. because of all the – of those – the media coverage of him here. He’s becoming better known.

But I think it would be viewed as an attack on a Yemeni, on someone who, you know, isn’t necessarily guilty. Yemenis are deeply, deeply skeptical of this kind of thing.

So, I think – but I think it would – killing Awlaki would – would have a lot of negative reaction, and so there are some people who say that the Yemeni government doesn’t want him to be found, doesn’t want him to be killed because they – they’re nervous, understandably, about what would happen then.

ZAKARIA: So, if you were to rate the progress that Yemeni government, with American assistance, is making in de-fanging or defeating al Qaeda in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula what would you say?

WORTH: It’s difficult to say whether they’ve made any progress. I mean, they have killed a lot of people, but they do not seem to have killed the group’s key leaders.

We have no reason to think that – I mean, we know Anwar al-Awlaki is out there, and he’s a – he’s a very, very, you know, popular ideologist. We have no reason to think that any of the top leaders are – are dead. And it only takes a few people to – to put together a – you know, a letter bomb, essentially, that could have terrible, you know, global consequences on the economy.

And, clearly, the number of people, the number of Yemeni soldiers and police that have been killed in the past few months suggests that – that al Qaeda, if indeed it’s responsible for all those killings, is, if anything, bigger than it was.

So I – I can’t say we’ve made visible progress.

*Cough.*

Awesome. So the US is utilizing its default Forever War strategy in Yemen: Defeat extremism with extremism. Bomb hatred. Shoot intolerance. Force the enemy to love you by killing his entire family.

Fareed then brought on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to talk about how his country has dealt with extremism, and to express his admiration for Malaysia’s talent at locking up alleged extremists. Apart from the shameless gushing (and Fareed’s indication that he prefers police states masquerading as happy, tolerant oases over messy democracies,) Razak made a few noteworthy points.

First, he believes the way to lessen extremism is to bomb civilians from the sky alleviate poverty.

ZAKARIA: What do you think is the key to defeating the forces of extremism in an Islamic society?

RAZAK: I think there’s several reasons why we’ve been able to overcome those extreme or extremists in our – in our society. First of all, if you look at the genesis of Islam, you know, how it came to our part of the world, it was – Islam was brought by the Muslim traders from the Middle East, and it was a peaceful conversion of the then-Hindu king and the masses became Muslim. So Islam has never really been associated with – with extremism and violence from day one.

Then secondly, you know, over the years, you know, we’ve been able to bring about development and changes. In the ’60s, poverty was more than 50 percent. But now in terms of – of poverty rate in Malaysia, it’s 3.6 percent. You know, so you see, you know, the fruits of development actually lifting, you know, the – this tape of socioeconomic status off of the people.

Malaysia’s poverty rate is now on par with the United States. And like the U.S, Malaysia now knows to quickly incarcerate any unruly insurgents to “reeducate them” before they can infect the general population.

ZAKARIA: So do you think that there is good government, that there’s rising standards of living, it makes it less likely that these young boys, they’re mostly boy, go into radical movements, go into Jihadi movements?

RAZAK: Yes, with – with one caveat that you do have to ensure the proper teaching of Islam. You know, I keep on saying, being moderate is fundamental to Islam. But once in a while we do have extremists in our midst, whether they are in Malaysia or, you know, they come from neighboring country and we have to deal with it.

And fortunately, our – our security agencies, they’re very, very good at this in – in taking preemptive actions, using the Internal Security Act which allows us to detain people without trial, but it’s not such a sort of onerous kind of punishment. You know, we detain you, you know, we try to reeducate you, and if you accept that Islam is inherently moderate and you shouldn’t resort to violence and extremism, then you’re released back to society.

Yeah, I guess detaining people without trial isn’t that onerous. That’s probably why we’ve been doing it to the boys in Gitmo all these years.

Apart from the cheerleading for police states, Fareed’s guests essentially painted the following picture of the Forever Wars: The drone strikes aren’t working. In fact, they’re turning popular opinion against the U.S. every time another civilian is killed. What really causes societal instability is poverty, and even the very safest “democracies” aren’t ever 100% safe from the possibility of a troublesome agent.

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1662

- Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Just Fake It

 

By allowing banks to kick people out of their homes using fraudulent creative paperwork, this kind of fraud is inevitable.

A sign in the front of a building on West 39th Street tells visitors that it’s the Unicredit Debt Resolution Center in Erie.

Once debtors got inside, they were fooled into believing they were in a courtroom with a judge, but the whole thing was a fake, according to a lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania attorney general.

Team 4′s Jim Parsons reported that Unicredit America is accused in the lawsuit of deceiving, misleading and coercing hundreds of consumers into paying off their debts.

Well, why not? Banks used hairdressers and Wal-Mart floor workers with no formal training as “foreclosure experts” in order to make millions of Americans destitute because their exploitive loans are now worth more than their homes. After all, indebted people are stupid, and they deserve to be taken advantage of.

I do have to give Unicredit America points for creativity, though.

The Attorney General’s Office told Team 4 that Unicredit lured debtors to the building by sending employees who appeared to be sheriff’s deputies to their homes, implying that they would be taken into custody if they failed to appear at the phony court hearings.

So much of what the elite business class does is pure illusion. Grab a couple hairdressers and call ‘em “foreclosure experts.” Clean up some of the fellas at the bus stop and they’re “sheriffs.” Sell some poor people shitty loans and call them “subprime mortgages.”

When the underclass does this, it’s called fraud. When the elite does it, it’s called Capitalism.

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1654
– Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Mark Twain, Shrill Leftist Agent

 

If only Twain had instead indulged in post-modern, funny-sign-making, we’re-too-cool-to-actually-protest wankery.

Commenter MikeBoyScout writes:

I’m pretty sure all the Very Serious People in 1860 knew we’d always need and have slaves, and that racism was based upon fact.

I just went to an exhibition about Mark Twain yesterday and was struck by how much he sounded like a shrill modern leftie. He accepted evolution as established science, made fun of the idea of the Noah’s ark, wrote with bitter irony about the treatment of indigenous peoples in Australia (a lot of the exhibition was about his writing about his travels to Australia). The tone he took and some of the things he said would be eerily familiar to residents of the contemporary left blogosphere. (I’m sure he wrote all kinds of crazy, racist backwards stuff too, I’m not saying he was a saint.)

I realize this is an unabashedly wankerish, unanswerable question, but is public discourse now at all different from what it was back then? Or are things, at root, pretty much exactly the same?

Things are exactly the same. Passionate, principled people speak up for what they believe is right. That’s a good thing. Those encouraging apathy or a detached ennui (See: Rally 4 Sanity) in response to enormous social injustice are doing more harm than good.

Update: All I can say is, ‘Oy.’

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1652

- Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Tea Party’s Assist From the Old Guard

I’m on a few Tea Party email lists, and occasionally I actually read the mailers to see what my insane political cousins (twice removed) are up to. Tonight, the local NYC Tea Party chapter will gather for a panel titled “One Nation Under Arrest: How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors, and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty.”

In order to give the anti-justice system tirade a thin glaze of legitimacy, a couple panelists have been scraped from underneath the boots of the old guard and pasted onto the press release. There’s Paul Rosenzweig, the founder of Red Branch Consulting PLLC, a homeland security consulting company, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Homeland Security.

There’s also Brian W. Walsh, Senior Legal Research Fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Walsh also worked on contract with the Department of Homeland Security where he “integrated private-sector organizations into government emergency preparedness and disaster response efforts at the federal, state, and local levels.”

Unsurprisingly, the panel consists of two privatization hawks who would really, really, really love to gut the public sector and sell it off, piece-by-piece, to corporations.

But this is yet another example of just how stale the whole “revolutionary” Tea Party really is. When it comes time to present the bestest, brightest examples of the party’s shiny, new ideology, frantic Tea Party organizers have to scour the bargain bin of Conservative intelligentsia to find a fear profiteer, whose most recent achievement appears to be penning a column titled “No Wonder The French Are Crazy,” and being cut from the Washington Post‘s Next Great Pundit contest, and another creature, Walsh, who probably pleasures himself to the idea of drowning the TSA in a bathtub.

(For a little more insight, Rosenzweig writes that he’s “amused at the idea that retirement at 60 is a human right or a social welfare entitlement.” Yeah. That’s what we’re dealing with.)

Anyway, it’s to be expected that the anti-government Tea Party movement embraces anti-government hacks, who make their livings scaring the piss out of Americans so they can then profit from insanely profligate private-sector “solutions.” However, it’s telling that whenever it comes time for the Tea Party to lay out their vision of tomorrow, they recycle the same useless morons that exploited Americans’ fear in the aftermath of September 11th in order to build a massive, privatized security structure that – by the way – didn’t fucking work.

This would sort of be like if the American separatists had asked King George to join their ranks. Ya know, just so they could utilize his vast experience.

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1645

- Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Another Monday, Another Week of the Rich Fucking the Poor

Hotel workers in Chicago, Hawaii, and San Francisco are staging strikes and walk-outs to protest what they call “cheap recession contracts.” Basically, union leaders say Hilton is exploiting workers even though the company received huge taxpayer-provided bailouts.

Hilton is owned by Blackstone Group LP.

Blackstone in February cut a deal to reduce its $20 billion debt by about $4 billion. The debt was partially owned by the Federal Reserve, which had taken over the debt from lender Bear Stearns, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

And of course, the Blackstone Group was co-founded by Social Security privatization hawk, Pete Peterson.

Regular readers of this blog know that I have written extensively about Peterson’s privatization fetish. But this hotel strike story nicely illustrates Peterson’s grand scheme: deprive people of the most basic standards of human dignity i.e. a living wage their entire adult lives, and then rob their twilight years of the same basic standards of human dignity by raiding the Social Security funds.

Quite simply, it’s the Great Heist from workplace to grave.

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1641

- Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – Capitalism Didn’t Save the Miners

The WSJ published a ridiculous article yesterday that claims Capitalism saved the Chilean miners, and opens with a boldface lie when writer Daniel Henninger proclaims, “It needs to be said.” Does it, Daniel? Does it really?

Henninger believes the rescue of the miners is a smashing success for free market Capitalism because without that nifty drill bit, which was the only tool capable of freeing the workers, those blue-collar suckers would still be trapped in the belly of the earth with Satan and his fiery army. You see, the drill bit was developed by a company for a profit, which obviously means regulation and anything else that stands in the way of the righteous free market, is are killing Chilean miners. Or something.

In reality, Capitalism helped contribute to the mine disaster. That is, hyper-Capitalism, the most warped version of Capitalism, which sacrifices regulation in the name of profit, led to mine disasters that culminated with 33 men being trapped deep below ground in darkness for 69 days.

Dick Blin, a spokesman for the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions in Geneva, says the Chile accident is a sign that the workplace safety culture needs to change in Chile. As proof, Blin cites the fact that the San Jose Mine was closed down for safety violations in 2006 and 2007.

Chilean safety officials pointed out at the time that the mine needed a second entrance, so that miners would have another way out in case of disaster. The mining company resumed operations without making necessary changes. The mayor of the nearby town of Caldera, Brunilda Gonzalez, has alleged that regulators were bribed to allow the mine to re-open.

The BBC reported earlier this month that the San Jose mine has been sued by members of the miners’ families. The familes are also suing Sernageomin, the state regulator of mines, for allowing the company to reopen in 2008 following its closure a year earlier over a death. But this kind of safety lapse is par for the course in Chile.

In 2007 and 2008, at the height of the boom in copper prices, there were more deaths in Chilean mines than in any other years during the decade. In 2007, when the copper price averaged a record $3.24 per lb, 40 miners died in accidents. In 2008, when copper was at $2.88 per lb, the death toll hit 43. The average for the decade was 34.

In contrast, the safest year in the history of Chilean mining was 1999, when the average copper price fell to just 72 cents, its lowest level in over 10 years, a consequence of the Asian crisis.

Even when the free market was flush with cash because of the copper boom, Chilean miners continued to die. In fact, as the value of copper spiked, more workers started dying during the rush. There appears to be an almost direct correlation between the pace of production and worker safety. (Overall, there have been less deaths in the copper mining industry since the 1980s, but again that is because of internal safety standards, and not because of the glories of the free market).

The reasons behind the correlation seem fairly obvious. Yet, for whatever reason, some people are mystified.

“It shouldn’t be the case that when the price rises, the number of accidents rises too,” said Andy King, national co-ordinator for health and safety at the massive North American trade union, United Steelworkers. “In fact, the opposite should be the case,” said Mr King, who visited the San Jose mine last month and has been deeply critical of safety standards at Chilean mines. “The higher the price of the metal, the safer the mine should be, because the company has more funds to improve safety.”

Oh, Andy. You sweet thing. Why would they spend more money on safety regulations when they can shove the extra cash in their own coffers?

Mining companies don’t like closing down operations to tend to meddlesome safety standards because they lose money. Frankly, it’s less expensive to cross the occasional worker off the company picnic list than totally revamp a dilapidated mine.

That was Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship’s reasoning while overseeing a corporation built on criminal neglect. Blankenship thumbed his nose at regulators – not out of some weird disdain for proper ventilation – but because he resents big government ordering him to spend money to improve safety standards so his employees won’t die. Blankenship, a die-hard fan of free market Capitalism, scoffed at efforts to regulate the mining industry, calling such attempts “as silly as global warming.”

In 2009, the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration cited Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch coal mine for 495 violations and proposed $911,802 in fines. Since 1984, the mine had been cited for 600 violations in less than a year and a half, some of them for not properly ventilating methane, the same combustible gas suspected in the explosion, according to the AP. The disaster at Upper Big Branch was the worst of its kind in 40 years.

When Shift Foreman Luis Urzua, the last worker out of the San Jose mine, embraced Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera, he didn’t rejoice about the glories of the free market. Instead, he said, “I hope this will never happen again.” Pinera now says he’s going to review safety conditions so that “never again in Chile would people be allowed to work in such inhumane conditions,” and confesses the San Jose mine has a “long history” of accidents.

Now, four more miners are trapped underground in a mine in southern Ecuador after a cave-in early this morning. Maybe the WSJ can publish another article about why Wall Street should hand out more bonuses since the free market saved the day again.

——-

Update: In the comment section, “Twist” pointed me to this article from back in August, which reveals that San Esteban, the company that operates the mine, said it had no money to pay the miners’ wages and absorb lawsuits, and would not even participate in the rescue. So the state-run mining company, Codelco, had to take over. Thanks again, free market!

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1634
– Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – MSNBC Agrees Pope Protests are Small and ‘Poisonous’

The establishment media is usually fairly dismissive of protests unless those “activists” are funded by a multi-million dollar astroturf organization like FreedomWorks. Millions of people can turn out to protest a war, but such a tremendously popular cultural movement isn’t seen as “authentic” until its participants represent the “correct” agenda.

For example the authoritarian, bigoted, right-wing Tea Party agenda. Only when a movement adopts the pre-approved, right-wing message will the media turn out in droves to cover a few hundred octogenarians caked in teabags, buzzing around the Mall on their Rascals.

Otherwise, the media covers protest as a bizarre spectacle waged by shrill, usually left-wing, extremists. The latest example is how MSNBC has thus far covered the Pope protests in London. Thousands came out to join the protests, and their list of grievances seems very reasonable. They criticize the Vatican for:

  • “opposing the distribution of condoms and so increasing large families in poor countries and the spread of Aids”
  • “promoting segregated education”
  • “denying abortion to even the most vulnerable women”
  • “opposing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender rights, including universal decriminalisation of homosexuality”
  • “failing to address the many cases of abuse of children within its own organisation

Being anti-AIDS and child rape hardly seem like the ideologies of extremists, right?

Well, not according to MSNBC, which chose to book a single guest to discuss the protests, George Weigel, frequent NRO contributor and author. Weigel has written several Vatican propaganda pamphlets masquerading as books, including one titled “The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy.” Apparently, “victory” and “freedom” come in the forms of gender and sexuality discrimination, and facilitating the spread of AIDS.

It’s hardly surprising that Weigel immediately leapt to criticize the protests, which he dismissed as being small, insignificant, and “poisonous” to the overall atmosphere. Perhaps a protest organizer would have pointed out the Pope’s documented cover-up  of child rapists is actually poisonous for society, but we’ll never know because MSNBC chose not to invite a protest representative onto the show.

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1599

- Allison Kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny: Unreported – David Brooks and The Centuries of Magical Thinking

My new Maureen Dowd is on a roll this week. First, he declared an end to the era of opulence based on the rantings of a southern Baptist megachurch leader. Bobo made this bold proclamation during a time of enormous wealth disparity, and after poor taxpayers just dropped a couple trillion dollars bailing out Wall Street tycoons, who BTW, handed out record bonuses during the economic collapse.

Now, he argues that we are the middle of a “jobless recovery,” whatever that means. At first, I assumed he was talking about the people who wrecked the economy receiving fat bonuses, while the starving masses squirrel away food stamps. You know, “the right people” are recovering – prospering, even – while the undesirables suffocate under a mountain of debt and disease. After all, there’s not enough money for universal health care, but there’s enough cash to supply two ongoing military occupations.

Or perhaps Bobo was referring to America’s two tier justice system where the underclass forever toil and barely scrape by, occasionally bearing the full brunt of the courts, which imprison and enslave the working class for petty theft and drug-dealing, while the CEO of a company that dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, along with poisonous chemical dispersants, gets to go yachting with his buddies.

Alas, Bobo appears to be talking about magical thinking. He writes, “After decades of affluence, the U.S. has drifted away from the hardheaded practical mentality that built the nation’s wealth in the first place.” In his revised history of the United States, sometime around 1800, the economy simply “took off.” Like a miracle.

Actually, the country’s wealth came from slave labor. Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793, and the invention revolutionized the cotton industry. Suddenly, the industry could produce fifty times as much cotton as it could previously, but they needed people to run the gins. Hence, the need for a whole lot of slaves, the actual human beings responsible for the labor and influx of sweet, sweet cash.

The 1800s were also the time of the robber barons, a disparaging term applied to the individuals who dominated industries and amassed lavish fortunes utilizing anti-competitive practices. Railroad tycoons like Jay Gould and Russell Sage were famous for preying on average citizens in order to extort their savings in shady speculations, not unlike the considerably more complex housing bubble deals that wrecked the economy this time around. (Railroads were also built using slave labor, and did not simply “take off”).

So let’s be clear: The reason the economy “took off” in the 1800s was because of slave labor, and it only really “took off” for the right players, like robber barons, who lied, cheated, swindled, bullied, and intimidated in order to hoard the wealth.

It’s true that poorer farmers were able to move to more fertile land in the Midwest during this time, but only because of government-created national roads and waterways like the Cumberland Pike and Erie Canal – the very kind of big gumbent projects Conservatives are currently fighting tooth and nail not to build right now.

Bobo addresses none of this, and instead declares that the nation’s brilliant minds have gone Galt (!!!)

America’s brightest minds have been abandoning industry and technical enterprise in favor of more prestigious but less productive fields like law, finance, consulting and nonprofit activism.

I always knew the decline of America could somehow be pegged on nonprofit activism. I just couldn’t clearly see the path. But now I do. Thank you, David.

Apparently, “less productive” doesn’t entail the personal wealth of the Galts themselves. Lawyers and Wall Street tycoons make a shitload of money, though I agree that their fields don’t generate mass wealth. However, that’s really more a problem of regulation – another bête noire of Conservatives. It’s not enough to hope and pray that a few good egg Harvard grads go up to Alaska to pioneer that small manufacturing company in Akron Brooks created out of thin air. Even if they go do that nobel thing, their classmates won’t. They’ll go work at Goldman Sachs, and continue America’s rich tradition of pirate-like thieving. For that reason, the financial industry still needs to be strongly (sorry, Republicans) regulated.

Bobo claims Americans’ crushing debt on their desire to emulate the Huxtables rather than the Kramdens. The truth is, wages have been stagnant in the U.S. for thirty years, and the industrial sector has been completely gutted as corporations ship their operations oversees to exploit slave labor. Health care costs have gone soaring, and many people are just one illness away from bankruptcy. Americans have literally been surviving on cheap credit, which also appears to be at an end now that the housing market melted down and student credit seems like it will be the next bubble to burst.

Yet, corporations’ most elite players are thriving. That’s not because of their ingenuity or brilliance, but rather because of nepotism, inheritance, and a keen ability to exploit slave labor.

Bobo dismisses the lower classes with the tired declaration that bad parenting is the cause of their woes. Children are being raised in one parent households. Their neighborhoods are chaotic. Their schools are bad. Why? He doesn’t bother answering the question because it’s not essential to his thesis that America is not in decline…for the right people. From behind the gates of their private communities, America continues to thrive for the elites. But for the poor people, who have nothing and fight to survive on minimum wage and exhausted credit, America is most certainly in decline.

Link to this article:

http://www.breakthruradio.com/index.php?b=article.php?id=1588
– Allison Kilkenny