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Don’t Let It Bring You Down; It’s Only Castles Burning

Big Tent Democrat commented earlier today at Talkleft in his post Policy And Politics: The Economy that:

Discussing E.J. Dionne’s column today, Booman makes some good points:

Considering that [the column] is supposed to be about [Dems] regaining the initiative, it’s pretty weak to lecture the White House about its tendency to defend itself and “the left” about never being satisfied. Those things aren’t going to change. We can be critical of that reality, but we ought not offer it up as something to fix so that we can get our mojo back.

And these failures explain almost all of the political trouble the Democrats are in. Booman writes:

There are two things that will help us get our mojo back: Speaker Boehner and Obama’s reelection campaign. That’s all we need. And improving economy would be nice, but realistically we are going to be fighting over who is to blame for high unemployment and who has a better plan to get something through Congress that will create jobs.

(Emphasis supplied.) If that is where the political battle is going to be fought, then the Dems’ political fortunes do not look bright.

“An improving economy would be nice but realistically we are going to be fighting over who is to blame for high unemployment”?

Booman of course and as usual has his finger on the pulse of reality, and like many strong Obama supporters knows deep in his heart that it’s far more important for them to “win” than it is to have the administration produce results, even if he has to lose to win.

The man is a genius at political analysis, and all he asks is that everyone take a deep breath, think hard, and give Obama all the credit due him. After all, he’s already restored the rule of law and arranged crackdowns on all those greedy people all across the country who selfishly want to keep their jobs and their homes, and now he has all those greedy retirees who are scheming for free lifetime handouts from social security in his sights. He’s a saviour.

What more could you ask for? Besides, he looks ‘dreamy’ in a bomber jacket, and have you seen the latest photos of Michelle? Swoon. And the puppy.

Don’t forget the puppy.

And let’s not forget, ever, just how bad things would be if Obama and Geithner hadn’t saved the economy from it’s free fall plummet. My gawd, we all know there were investment bankers on Wall Street starving, literally wasting away into mere shadows of themselves, before the grace of Obama reached out to them and quantitatively eased them out of their misery, saving the rest of the country as a side effect… Invest In The USA? Why Bother?

Capital will flow to where there’s money to be made. It’s just that simple. America’s “accomodative” monetary policy has spurred a new wave of corporate borrowing. And where are these multinational entities deploying these new investments? Not in the United States. That money is flowing into emerging economies. Bloomberg reported on the trend in Bernanke’s ‘Cheap Money’ Stimulus Spurs Corporate Investment Outside U.S-

“You’re seeing leakage from quantitative easing,” said Stephen Wood, chief market strategist for Russell Investments in New York, which has $140 billion under management. “That leakage is going into emerging markets, commodity-based economies, commodities themselves and non-U.S. opportunities.”

U.S. corporations have issued more than $1.07 trillion in debt so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Foreign companies also are tapping U.S. markets for cheap cash, selling $605.9 billion in debt through Nov. 15 compared with $371.8 billion for all of 2007, before the Fed cut the overnight bank-lending rate to a range of zero to 0.25 percent…

Corporate cash sloshing across U.S. borders is an unavoidable consequence of the Fed’s low-rate strategy, Wood said…

U.S. corporations’ overseas investment in the first half of 2010 exceeded the amount that foreign firms spent in the U.S. on factories and acquisitions at an annual rate of almost $220 billion, according to the Commerce Department.

In the first half of 2006, the last year before the financial crisis, the net flow favored the U.S. at an annual rate of about $30 billion.

And let’s also not forget that, as Chris Hedges pointedly pointed out the other day, for anyone that was still trying to sleep, that:

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks.

The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

And if all of that stills leaves you snoring softly in the contented assurance that everything is just fine and dandy and all’s well with the world, then you may not want to read what Fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future, consulting partner with the Cognitive Policy Works in Seattle, and one of the few trained social futurists in North America Sara Robinson had to say about the bigger picture that is the backdrop to everything above in this diary, last year in Is the U.S. on the Brink of Fascism?:

All through the dark years of the Bush Administration, progressives watched in horror as Constitutional protections vanished, nativist rhetoric ratcheted up, hate speech turned into intimidation and violence, and the president of the United States seized for himself powers only demanded by history’s worst dictators. With each new outrage, the small handful of us who’d made ourselves experts on right-wing culture and politics would hear once again from worried readers: Is this it? Have we finally become a fascist state? Are we there yet?

And every time this question got asked, people like Chip Berlet and Dave Neiwert and Fred Clarkson and yours truly would look up from our maps like a parent on a long drive, and smile a wan smile of reassurance. “Wellll…we’re on a bad road, and if we don’t change course, we could end up there soon enough. But there’s also still plenty of time and opportunity to turn back. Watch, but don’t worry. As bad as this looks: no — we are not there yet.”

In tracking the mileage on this trip to perdition, many of us relied on the work of historian Robert Paxton, who is probably the world’s pre-eminent scholar on the subject of how countries turn fascist. In a 1998 paper published in The Journal of Modern History, Paxton argued that the best way to recognize emerging fascist movements isn’t by their rhetoric, their politics, or their aesthetics. Rather, he said, mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together. According to our reading of Paxton’s stages, we weren’t there yet. There were certain signs — one in particular — we were keeping an eye out for, and we just weren’t seeing it.

And now we are. In fact, if you know what you’re looking for, it’s suddenly everywhere. It’s odd that I haven’t been asked for quite a while; but if you asked me today, I’d tell you that if we’re not there right now, we’ve certainly taken that last turn into the parking lot and are now looking for a space. Either way, our fascist American future now looms very large in the front windshield — and those of us who value American democracy need to understand how we got here, what’s changing now, and what’s at stake in the very near future if these people are allowed to win — or even hold their ground.
‘Unified Quest 2011’: Pentagon ‘War Games’ U.S. Economic Meltdown

Get prepared for 2011. Read all of Sara’s three part series:

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