Monday, August 31, 2015

Meet the new boos. The same as the old boss.

If you read this book, you’ll find yourself double-checking the dates at the end of each section: 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998. But the book reads like it’s all about today, 2015 – secret trade deals, fast track, the veil of secrecy, the corruption of democracy to the point of near extinction, privatization, austerity measures forced upon the poor and middle class, mass surveillance and collection of personal information, an ever-widening wealth-gap between the 99% and the top 1%, accumulation of wealth by dispossession, union busting, public socialized risk and costs in totally unbalanced ratio to private profit margins and corporate economic control, low and lowering wages, unemployment, out-sourcing manufacturing jobs, rolling back environmental protections and human rights progress, trade union suppression, personhood for corporations (15years before Citizens United), behind-closed-doors trade treaties agreed upon by powerful international trading cartels and corporations but never ratified by the US Congress in violation of the Constitution. And there’s more!

From cover-to-cover, the book is an expose of the secret government that controls the world – this is not some imaginary paranoid conspiracy theory from the John Birch Society or the Tea Party, but it’s an invisible government with no accountability to public democratic institutions, no elected officials except those elected board members selected by private stockholders, bankers and international finance lobbyists having no allegiance to nation-states, loyal only to the principles representing international business, profit, wealth and power. Sound familiar?

There is no “good news” in this book. But Chomsky attempts to end his book of gloom on a slightly up-beat tone by observing that the public, in fact, WAS able to delay, or at least postpone, an important Clinton-driven trade deal during his administration called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). Chomsky points to this “victory” and ends his book with this timely warning dated August 1998: “One should attend carefully to the fear and desperation of the powerful. They understand well the potential reach of public action.” The powerful invisible government (in the US, a “virtual Senate”) is determined to prevent the public from seeking a more free and just world by gaining understanding how the system is rigged, and putting that intelligence to work effectively against rich and powerful globalized special interests. They will do everything within their power to prevent that from happening. That’s an understatement!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Religious Piety is a Public Commodity for Republicans (book review Published by Amazon)

This is the story of how politicians, businessmen, industrialists, Wall Street gamblers and religious leaders (some of whom - most of whom - are the same people), pushed back relentlessly against FDR's New Deal government programs, and in the process elected Dwight Eisenhower as POTUS in 1952.

From the 1950s up to and including the present day, there's been an alliance between public religion, call it "public piety", and politics, especially conservatism. The result of this alliance is that religion is a commodity like soap, automobiles, shoes or lipstick. As Fox News can attest, religion makes money. It's good for TV ratings, advertising revenue and political fund-raising Super PACS. What started in Eisenhower’s living room as the mark of destiny in the heart and mind of Billy Graham in the 1950s, ended up in the corporate boardrooms and bedrooms as roulette wheels, fresh off the floor of Wall Street gambling casinos, found a special place in the heart of the campaign trail of 2015!

"One Nation Under God" documents how belief in God, and the people who believe in God, are divided and subdivided politically and economically like a land developer parcels out land to build a high rise or a garage. Religion as a commodity is no different than corn or pigs: religion became the privatization of patriotism and politics generally, especially the politics of middle-age, middle-class, mostly white men for whom patriotism is to religion what privatization is to conservatism.

This book tells the story how the idea that the US is a "Christian nation" - and that it is and always has been since the Founding Fathers - was an idea invented by private special interests serving the investments and futures of Big Business and Big Government. The Republican party exploits public religion and the diversity of religious beliefs in order to further their own political goals and agendas. 

This book documents over and over again, in detail after detail, a "truthiness" we have all come to recognize and accept: politicians who talk the loudest and scream the most about their high standards of purity and religious zealotry, and parade around the public commons wrapped in the flag of so-called "respect for the sanctity of human life", weeping and sobbing to dramatize their undying love for "God and Country" are the exact same politicians who care the least about any of it, and they make no effort to hide their contempt for the people who put them in office; and once they have power, they never let it go.

Long RAW