Monday, October 27, 2008

Mortgage Foreclosure Fall-out

SF Gate article on mortgage foreclosure fall-out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Why? Are citizens disengaged from the political process, as suggested? This is a matter of enormous import. Should we take it, as the professor suggests, that only policy wonks know anything substantive about candidates for high office, and if true, why? How is it that newspapers often have an entire section devoted to sports, containing the most arcane and complex statistics and analyses of athletics, yet we never see a "Politics" section with daily complex statistics and analyses. Why? Academics report the "scientific" details of opinion polls, but don't answer the question about the pink elephant in the room. Could it be that citizens feel more deeply connected to sports, than to politics? I don't know anyone who acts or speaks as if they have ANY political power. Policy wonks know much about candidates because they're theoretical, enjoying the abstract world of ideas. Humans don't seem fit to live 80 years knowing they are powerless. We humans will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid confronting our own powerlessness. The financial world crumbles, and hundred of millions of people are effectively invisible. Don't count. Don't exist. Jingoism and American football are the last refuges of the desperately disenfranchised many.

Like masochists, policy wonks of the Left wade through the masses of political "information" whereas the more psychologically well-adjusted go bowling. Why get beat up and abandoned every four years? It's like he movie Groundhog Day in Washington D.C. instead of Punxsutawney PA.

Maybe pretending, lying to ourselves that the Big Game is more important than the Big Election, is a healthy response to reality. The little lie which we offer ourselves surreptitiously is a constructive adaptive response to the Big Lie of the election that doesn't matter.

When I am in a small group of people deciding where to have dinner, the process takes an almost instinctual process. People make suggestions, offer choices, then articulate their preferences-- "I'm not really up for Chinese, shall we do Italian? There's this great little place over on 23rd Street that makes great lasagna..." Negotiation, maneuvering, cajoling, insisting--sure some stay silent but everyone has a sense of empowerment--more or less. People in such settings don't seek distractions or dive deeply into denial.

Something is very much amiss with the American power system, with politics. It's broken, and everyone knows it--except TV, corporate TV--which is heavily on crack in avoidance of reality. TV, lest we not forget, is owned and operated by very, very rich people .They get very nervous when the people who don't own the TV stations (all 300 million of us) face the abuse of power, see that their own powerlessness as a condition of the abuse of the power elite rather than a reflection on themselves. When people know they are powerless and know the truth of the abuse of power, they often overcome enormous obstacles--and act.

INDECISION 2008!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Democracy Inc.

I have few words for a recent essay of superb analysis written by Chalmers Johnson on a book by Sheldon Wolin. Democracy Incorporated.

The daily news is enough, when we read that, without so much as a hint of irony, Lehman Brothers handed out millions of dollars to executives days before going down in flames, and that insolvent AIG threw a $440,000 party to celebrate the federal bailout.

As the empire is coming to a close, we are offered a hollow denouement in Obama. What a sad and meaningless victory it will be for the first Black American to ascend to the U.S. presidency through the application of slick public relations--the Milli Vanilli of politics. No one can reach the heights of American political power without accommodating to corporate action-figure packaging.

Outrage without overt expression, reality leaks onto the glowing screen too slowly and too timidly to matter as a 90-year-old shoots herself in grief and shame in response to home foreclosure. Democracy has been evicted. The value of elections has been foreclosed. Elvis has left the building.

That political recognition of the Black community is centuries overdue offers the poignancy of a Greek tragedy to current national politics. In the last days of the American empire, we get around to a display of pretend equality to match the pretend democracy.

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