HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Sometimes what I fear most is that the disintegration of public life — indeed, the very idea of the public good — is complete. The vultures and profiteers swarm around the carcass and make a profit and that’s all that matters.
Thirty years on, the Reagan Revolution has done its job, or nearly so. There’s no sustaining integrity left to how our society is organized, no principle that can’t be gamed for private benefit. And even awareness of all this has been successfully marginalized. We still proclaim ourselves, in the prevailing media, the world’s oldest, greatest democracy, and worship the old rituals.
But the common good has been auctioned off.
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT Deteriorated housing leaves blacks behind
In a Washington Post (WP) article entitled "Study ties black-white wealth gap to stubborn disparities in real estate," the Post offers one more piece of proof that the "post-racial" presidency is nothing more than a soundbite.
The backlash of Tea Party racists and the general Republican Southern strategy of race baiting through code words clearly has defined that this is still a nation of two visions: one of a white Christian patriarchal America with Disneyland dreams of an imaginary Main Street and the other of a multi-cultural society of equality and the celebration of national communal values.
However, the facts on the ground reveal a deeper schism not of visions, but of a vastly unequal economic reality.
According to the recent study cited by the WP,
The large and growing wealth gap separating white and black families is the product of stubborn barriers that disproportionately consign African Americans to less-valuable real estate and lower-paying jobs, according to a new study.
A long-term examination of the financial lives of black and white Americans revealed that African Americans typically face a subtle but persistent opportunity gap that has served to widen financial disparities remaining from a long history of overt discrimination, according to a report to be released Wednesday by Brandeis University’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy.
In short, despite an outburst of bitter racial resentment after Obama's election that continues to this day, blacks are faring worse not better than in the past. Vast areas of urban blight -- where pushing drugs is often the only entrepreneurial opportunity of any livable wage (until you are shot in a turf war) -- have been left to stagnate. These are the urban plantations of poverty that gave birth to the 1968 riots after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. In fact, they have worsened as the last of the remaining industrial and mid-to-large business base has fled these areas.
(Photo: Ryan Thomas)
JACQUELINE MARCUS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
I’m happy for Ben Affleck that “Argo” won best picture of the year at the Academy Awards.
But in order for the audience to fully appreciate the film, they should know why Americans were taken hostage during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and why Iranians were boiling over with anger at the U.S. government and CIA.
The U.S. oil companies and British Petroleum (Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) were stealing most of the oil from Iran and reaping the profits, leaving a mere 16 percent for the Iranians. While the British got rich off the profits, Iranians lived in poverty. Oil field workers earned less than 50 cents a day and received no benefits or vacations. The Iranians were outraged in 1950 when the U.S. oil company ARAMCO signed a contract giving Saudi Arabia 50 percent of the profits from Saudi oil.
ERIC ZUESSE FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The first-ever analysis of the taxpayer-subsidy to the Wall Street mega-banks finds that this subsidy is $83 billion this year. This amount is only $2 billion less than this year’s sequester cuts are estimated to be.
That $83 billion subsidy this year is, according to Bloomberg’s, also approximately the amount of profits that those banks are “earning” this year.
The editors at Bloomberg News calculated this $83 billion figure on February 20th, headlining, “Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?” which was the value based upon their analysis of the figures in a widely ignored but rigorous study by IMF economists, a study that had been issued months back, in May 2012, and which was titled “Quantifying Structural Subsidy Values for Systemically Important Financial Institutions.” As Bloomberg’s editors summarized the reason for this ongoing federal subsidy: “The banks that are potentially the most dangerous can borrow at lower rates, because creditors perceive them as too big to fail,” due to the special Government backing for too-big-to-fail (TBTF) institutions.
ANN DAVIDOW FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Although most Americans anxiously await insight into the nation’s most pressing issues, politicians in Washington haven’t been able to bridge the partisan divide to find workable solutions. Instead, lesser minds keep appearing at every turn of the dial to make mind-numbing proposals on TV shows purporting to provide ‘the latest news.’
Marsha Blackburn turns up constantly to offer down-home wisdom from Tennessee. Her latest observation was that Sequester was a good thing for reasons that were necessarily unclear. Apparently her constituents are a forgiving lot - - Freedom of speech engenders a lot of gibberistic clap trap, but what’s a free society to do except hope that education catches up with its idiot fringes. Blackburn is a gun-carrying supporter of the NRA who criticizes the president for not having photos of him ‘skeeting’ at Camp David. Shouldn’t we have known about this activity if it is really true, she asks? - - To which a Huffpost blogger responds, If Marsha Blackburn is a real person, why have we not heard of her?
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The peace symbol is arguably the world’s most widely recognized protest symbol. In 2008, on the occasion of its fiftieth birthday, BBC News noted that the peace symbol has been “adapted, attacked and commercialized.” At fifty-five, the peace symbol remains a cultural icon, but as it ages, is it more than that?
Originally created as a symbol for the British anti-nuclear movement, it is now ubiquitous: appearing at thousands of anti-nuclear and anti-war protests; adorning posters, buttons, badges, and peace flags; becoming a fixture on postal stamps; and, decorating clothing, beach towels, jewelry, and people’s skin.
GEORGE LAKOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz, Robert Reich and other major economists have pointed out that the deficit is not an urgent economic problem and that, to the contrary, the economy would be helped by an increase in public investment and harmed by drastic cuts. The Sequester would hurt the economy, millions of people, and the country as a whole.
President Obama has detailed the vast range of harms that the sequester would bring. They are well-known. And they are not necessary. The president sees the sequester, if it happens, as an enormous self-inflicted wound, inflicted on America by a Republican-dominated House elected by Americans.
But pointing out Republican-caused harms to millions of people - many of them Republicans - does not sway the ultra-right. Why? Democratic pundits say that Republicans want to hurt the president, to show government doesn't work by making it not work, and to protect "special interests" from higher taxes. All true. But there is an additional and deeper reason. Ultra-conservatives believe that the sequester is moral, that it is the right thing to do.