The Politics of Distraction in an Age of Gotcha Capitalism w/poll

The original article, subheaded Disintegration is Everywhere, by Ralph Nader via counterpunch.com.

This is quite worth the read. If you are working for more and better Democrats, it’s worth a look just to see where someone who’s not part of the organization is seeing things. For those of you ready to rip on it being from Ralph, he’s not calling on you to change your vote in this article, he’s asking you to pay attention to what the campaign’s being run on and how it relates to what’s actually going on in the country. I don’t see a call for a serious discussion of the issues of the day as being a bad thing at all, whoever it comes from.  

In this year’s presidential campaign, the major media want you to focus on the candidates’ gaffes, their tactics toward one another’s gaffes, the flows of political gossip and four second sound bytes.

This states the obvious, doesn’t it? When was the last time the media covered an election full scale and in depth? Maybe Carter/Ford. Reagan/Carter was mainly soundbites. Ralph then covers the ‘main’ issues of the day, such as elitism. He then raps the Sunday news shows for having pretty much the same cast of characters over and over and over again.

Meanwhile the daily struggle of the American people, absorbing the results of the power abuses by the rich, powerful and corporate, continues outside this inbred force field of insipid coverage and commentary.

Needless to say. We’re in really foul economic times and we have a war and occupation going on to boot. And, of course, there’s the leadup to war with Iran, as well as the lack of impeachment. These are major issues that the candidates should be addressing. Notice I wrote should be.

The people hear nothing regarding what McCain, Obama and Clinton will do about runaway drug, gasoline, and heating oil prices, not to mention what these Senators have already not done in these areas of public outcry.

There was a voice in the wilderness earlier, well, two. But one was a ‘batshit insane’ former senator and one was a weird looking congressman from Ohio. Needless to say, they were marginalized as quickly as the national Democratic Party and the MSM could.

Disintegration is everywhere. Public works are crumbling-schools, clinics, public transit, libraries, drinking water and sewage-treatment plants. Tax dollars are being used to destroy more of Iraq and to subsidize or bail out companies recklessly run by obscenely overpaid CEOs. Public deficits are soaring.

Amazingly enough, not only aren’t the candidates talking about it, the Congress is doing nothing about it. Don’t expect them too, either. The money coming in is too great.

One of three workers lives on Wal-Mart wage levels. Nearly fifty million Americans are without health insurance. Eighteen thousand of these Americans die each year because they cannot afford health care, according to the Institute of Medicine. The recession deepens.

Sure, you see some coverage in the blogs. You occasionally hear some outrage (notice how Rev. Wright got marginalized). Nothing moves. Period.

The corporate giants are abandoning millions of American workers as they move whole industries to dictatorial regimes abroad where political elites dictate wages, ban independent trade unions, and given sufficient grease, reduce other costs for these companies. Only American CEOs are not outsourced in this mad dash for greed and profits.

Where are the calls to end NAFTA and the WTO? Where are the windfall profit taxes? Hell, where are the strikes? The economy has been redesigned to be on a knife’s edge so that no labor actions can be taken, since the companies can up and run away so easily.

All our democratic institutions-courts, agencies, legislatures-are bypassed by “pull-down” autocratic trade treaties like the secretive World Trade Organization and NAFTA.

And the best our candidates will allow is that they will try to ‘fix’ these. To my mind, it’s utter BS.

Wall Street operators seethe with reckless risks and then expect Washington to bail them out. Sure, why not? Washington is run by Wall Street executives on temporary job assignment in high government positions. The big corporations are big government.

Viola! And the politicians who’ve brought us this big public/private partnership are in thrall to the money men. It’s pitiful.

Consumers are facing rapidly rising food prices, more home foreclosures, and rising rents. They have lost control over their money, as shown by the daily gouging by credit card companies, cell phone operators and the thousands of imposed fees, penalties, and charges, so well described in the new book Gotcha Capitalism by MSNBC reporter Bob Sullivan. Poverty increases.

Once again, where are the discussions of this by the candidates?  By the MSM?  You get some on Countdown, but that’s about it.

Fully 81 percent believe the country is going in the wrong directions. Almost as many believe corporations have too much control over their lives. And 61 percent polled say the major parties are failing.

Bad news for the major parties. If the Dems should manage to win in November (and they should disband if they don’t win in a landslide, even with Ralph running), what do we really expect they’ll do? If we look at the current Democratic Congress, the answer is not much, if anything.

Can the press and pundits ever be serious if the people do not grab hold of politics and make them become serious about their pleas, their plight and their revulsions? If voters want a concise mission statement, read the preamble to the Constitution, which starts “We the People” not “We the Corporations.”

B..bu…but the Constitution is just a piece of paper, a quaint document. What’s the sense of reading it?

There is a responsibility attached to those words.

So it is written.

Note: Ralph’s article is the lead on Counterpunch’s front page. The link on the page has a error coming up. This is the link, should it get fixed: http://counterpunch.com/nader04152008.html

Originally posted here: http://rjones2818.blogspot.com/2008/…

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1 comment

  1. Nail, meet Ralph!

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