Author of “The Shock Doctrine,” Naomi Klein, has been around the worlds documenting major crises and shocks to countries for years. Now she brings her attention to the United States and the “rolling shock” of the Trump presidency. She used to think that just saying no was enough but with the continued daily shocks of …
Tag: shock doctrine
Puerto Rico is broke and in debt to the tune of $73 billion. It needs to be able to declare bankruptcy which can’t do unless the US Congress lets them. There is a bill (pdf) in the works that will do that and provide financial assistance but there are a group of people who don’t …
by Richard Wolff, The Guardian
The auto industry Big Three were loyal only to shareholders, not the people of Detroit. The city was gutted by that social choice
Capitalism as a system ought to be judged by its failures as well as its successes.
The automobile-driven economic growth of the 1950s and 1960s made Detroit a globally recognized symbol of successful capitalist renewal after the great depression and the war (1929-1945). High-wage auto industry jobs with real security and exemplary benefits were said to prove capitalism’s ability to generate and sustain a large “middle class”, one that could include African Americans, too. Auto-industry jobs became inspirations and models for what workers across America might seek and acquire – those middle-class components of a modern “American Dream”.
True, quality jobs in Detroit were forced from the automobile capitalists by long and hard union struggles, especially across the 1930s. Once defeated in those struggles, auto capitalists quickly arranged to rewrite the history so that good wages and working conditions became something they “gave” to their workers. In any case, Detroit became a vibrant, world-class city in the 1950s and 1960s; its distinctive culture and sound shaped the world’s music much as its cars shaped the world’s industries.
Over the past 40 years, capitalism turned that success into the abject failure culminating now in the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.
Kicking off a series of speeches about the economy, President Obama told a crowd in Illinois on Wednesday that reversing growing inequality and rejuvenating the middle class “has to be Washington’s highest priority.” During his remarks, Obama failed to mention the bankruptcy filing by Detroit, where thousands of public workers are now fighting to protect their pensions and medical benefits as the city threatens massive cuts to overcome an estimated $18 billion in debt. Detroit’s bankruptcy “is an example of a failed economic system,” says economist Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at University of Massachusetts
Transcript can be read here.
by David Sirota, Salon
Conservatives want you to think high taxes drove people away. The real truth is much worse for their radical agenda
In the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy, you may be wondering: How could anyone be surprised that a city so tied to manufacturing faces crippling problems in an era that has seen such an intense public policy assault on domestic American manufacturing? You may also be wondering: How could Michigan officials possibly talk about cutting the average $19,000-a-year pension benefit for municipal workers while reaffirming their pledge of $283 million in taxpayer money to a professional hockey stadium?
These are fair questions – and the answers to them can be found in the political mythology that distorts America’s economic policymaking.
As mythology goes, the specific story being crafted about Detroit’s bankruptcy is truly biblical – more specifically, just like the fact-free mythology around the Greek financial collapse, it is copied right from the chapter in the conservative movement’s bible about how to distort crises for maximum political effect.
Naomi Klein, author of Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,, joined Bill Moyers to discuss how the the destructive force of Hurricane Sandy and climate change can alter politics and the economy.
The full transcript can be read here.
NAOMI KLEIN: So one of the things that you find out in a disaster is you really do need a public sector. It really important. And coming back to what we were talking about earlier, why is climate change so threatening to people on the conservative end of the political spectrum? One of the things it makes an argument for is the public sphere. You need public transit to prevent climate change. But you also need a public health care system to respond to it. It can’t just be ad hoc. It can’t just be charity and goodwill.
BILL MOYERS: When you use terms like “collective action,” “central planning,” you scare corporate executive and the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation because they say you want to do away with capitalism.
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, first of all, I don’t use a phrase like “central planning.” I talk about planning, but I don’t think it should be central. And one of the things that one must admit when looking at climate change is that the only thing just as bad or maybe even worse for the climate than capitalism was communism. And when we look at the carbon emissions for the eastern bloc countries, they were actually, in some cases, worse than countries like Australia or Canada. So, let’s just call it a tie. So we need to look for other models. And I think there needs to be much more decentralization and a much deeper definition of democracy than we have right now.
BILL MOYERS: Decentralization of what, Naomi?
NAOMI KLEIN: Well, for instance, you know, if we think about renewable energy, well, one of the things that’s happened is that when you try to get wind farms set up, really big wind farms, there’s usually a lot of community resistance that’s happened in the United States. It’s happened in Britain. Where it hasn’t happened is Germany and Denmark. And the reason for that is that in those places you have movements that have demanded that the renewable energy be community controlled, not centrally planned, but community controlled. So that there’s a sense of ownership, not by some big, faceless state, but by the people who actually live in the community that is impacted.
What Yves said: “These pesky issues of governance, the nature of the state, and legitimacy seem to popping up all over these days.”
He’s fifty, he lost his job three years ago, he won’t ever have a job again because American companies don’t hire
the long-term unemployed parasites. He wakes up Sunday mornings now, with no way to hold his head that doesn’t hurt. And the beer he has for breakfast isn’t bad, so he has one more for dessert. Then he fumbles through his closet for his clothes, and finds his cleanest dirty shirt, and stumbles down the stairs to meet the day.
Meet the day, parasite. Welcome to the Brave New World of the Wall Street Gods, welcome to the Shock Doctrine Century, welcome to hunger games and drones in the sky and batshit ten feet deep in the halls of Congress. Get ready to dodge bullets when you walk out the door, the NRA has turned America into a free fire zone, remember to salute the Job Creators and the police, bring three forms of photo ID if you’re going to cross the street. Bring some courage along if you have any left, but leave your dignity behind, you won’t need it out here, hardly anyone in this shit storm that used to be America even remembers what it is anymore.
What follows is an email I sent to Naomi Klein, today, requesting permission to freely reproduce “The Shock Doctrine”. In a nutshell, teachers could distribute a serialized version to students after school, from the the comfort of a public sidewalk where they have First Amendment rights. They would do this, hopefully, not just out of concern for their own livelihoods, but for a broader concern for stimulating deep reform in the US.
As Lieberman deliberated, the new chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), told HuffPost that the party would consider supporting Lieberman if he returned to the fold.
Joe & George the President
The feeling of ill will is mutual: Lieberman said during the health care debate that one reason he opposed a Medicare buy-in compromise was that progressives were embracing it.
March 20, 2003
” What we are doing here is not only in the interest of the safety of the American people. Believe me, Saddam Hussein would have used these weapons against us eventually or given them to terrorists who would have. But what we are doing here, in overthrowing Saddam and removing those weapons of mass destruction and taking them into our control, is good for the security of people all over the world, including the Iraqi people themselves.”
Joe and John in Iraq
September 29, 2011. 10 years and 18 days after 9-11 attacks on NYC
” It is time for us to take steps that make clear that if diplomatic and economic strategies continue to fail to change Iran’s nuclear policies, a military strike is not just a remote possibility in the abstract, but a real and credible alternative policy that we and our allies are ready to exercise.
It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table. It is time for our message to our friends and enemies in the region to become clearer: namely, that we will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability — by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must. A military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities entails risks and costs, but I am convinced that the risks and costs of allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapons capability are much greater.
Some have suggested that we should simply learn to live with a nuclear Iran and pledge to contain it. In my judgment, that would be a grave mistake. As one Arab leader I recently spoke with pointed out, how could anyone count on the United States to go to war to defend them against a nuclear-armed Iran, if we were unwilling to go to war to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran? Having tried and failed to stop Iran’s nuclear breakout, our country would be a poor position to contain its consequences.
I also believe it would be a failure of U.S. leadership if this situation reaches the point where the Israelis decide to attempt a unilateral strike on Iran. If military action must come, the United States is in the strongest position to confront Iran and manage the regional consequences. This is not a responsibility we should outsource. We can and should coordinate with our many allies who share our interest in stopping a nuclear Iran, but we cannot delegate our global responsibilities to them.”
December 7, 1964 from a newspaper in the national archives
Says Medicare Bill Will Be Passed
Newark – Speaking at a meeting of the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters at the Military Park Hotel here Friday, Joseph J. Sear, president and chairman of the board of the Progressive Life Insurance Company of Red Bank, said the outcome of the recent election makes it virtually certain that the 89th Congress, meeting in January, will pass a Medicare bill, and that it will be signed by the President.
“We, in the accident and health insurance business,” he said, “should have no fears that the passage of such a bill will hurt our business unless it becomes the opening wedge for a socialized medicine program such as in Great Britain, which includes everyone from cradle to the grave. The bill before Congress is generally restricted to providing medical aid for persons 65 years of age and older under the Social Security Program, and we are still insuring primarily persons below the age of 65.
“Since I last spoke to you 13 years ago, (note: 1951) the people cared for by hospital expense policies increased from $85 million to $145 million and the people cared for by medical expense policies increased from $28 million to $102 million, and the trend is still upward.”
Forty Six Years Later
March 23, 2010. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Dole/Nixon/RomneyObamaCare, signed into law by “Democratic” President. 2009 Bill passed by Senate still lacks universal coverage and the option of purchasing government insurance, but contains universally loathed tax mandate and excise tax pushed by “Democratic” Senator from Massachusetts and WH “Economist” consultant from MIT. Bill not designed to add more Medicaid coverage until 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…
September 17, 2010. Number of uninsured Americans now rises to 50.7 million, or 1 out of 6, or 16%. Workers now paying 47% more for family health insurance coverage than in 2005, while employers pay 20% more.
January 3, 2011 New Republican Majority leader Eric Cantor introduces bill to rules committee called “Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act” “Effective as of the enactment of Public Law 111- 148, such act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such act had not been enacted.”
pdf download text here: http://rules-republicans.house…
January 4, 2011 from Kaiser Health News-
House Republicans have scheduled a Jan. 12 vote to repeal the health care law. While the measure is expected to pass the House, Democrats in the Senate have pledged to stop the bill.
January 5, 2011 Shuffle the Deck Chairs on the Titanic
The Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, created just after the law passed, is about to be folded into the federal Medicare agency, signaling a major organizational shift just months after the office was created, administration officials said.
In addition, Michael Hash, who has been serving as a top White House health adviser, has taken the reins of the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services. Hash succeeds Jeanne Lambrew, who has been director of the office since May 2009 and has played a central role on the health law. Lambrew, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, will stay on at HHS as an adviser to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The insurance oversight office was headed by Jay Angoff, who battled with insurance companies both as a Missouri official and a class-action litigator. He’ll become a senior adviser to Sebelius.
The office will become part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and will be managed by Marilyn Tavenner, deputy administrator of CMS.
January 5, 2011. Blue Shield of CA seeks rate increases of up to 59% for customers by March 1st. They blame costs of hospitals
Hospitals treat the un insured when their health descends into the most expensive crisis mode, and pass the markup, make it up prices along to the insured, while charging the uninsured the highest rates, so they can still have their debts “sold.”
And nothing has changed the basic dynamic of leaving a portion of the population uncovered to act as a price lever on the rest.
A million and a half people filed for bankruptcy last year. The leading cause is uncontrolled medical debt.
Blue Shield spent $16 million on federal lobbyists in 2010. The top recipient was “Democrat” There Will Be No Public Option Blanche, the former Sen. Lincoln of Arkansas. Eric Cantor got $22,500.
They have a PAC, too, for their executives to use.
There’s more – each of those executives will be making other, individual donations.
But in CA, the real action is at the state level. How they loved Schwarzenegger, the ex governator. And the Republicans. And the Democrats. Last year’s money bomb:
most complete list of donations in 2009 – 2010 election cycle:
Poor Jerry Brown only got $2,500 out of all of that ?
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Our Topics This Week:
Fire up your helicopters, and burn your worthless Benjamin’s to warm your catfood, the perfect trifecta of economic shocks will have austerity measures in your lap before you can say “re-regulate.”
While former Prez’nit Decider re-writes history to give us a warm fuzzy about the anal probe, he extols the virtues of our Current Capitulater for a good reason… he’s about to help jam it in us deeper than the Shrublet’s wildest dreams!
Viewed within the history of deregulation, business personhood and recent overt Elite favoring SCOTUS rulings, let WWL Radio guide you into the latest Shock therapy the US is undergoing. The market has been flooded with a weakened dollar, while Obama tries to market it to the G20. (or 19 he’s screwing) The Catfood Commission has ruled that we need to give the rich more and the people less. Trillionaire businessmen have bought ads to flood Prime Time to convince us that the SOLVENT Social Security must be privatized or you won’t GET yours! (bullshit)
And not ONE of these measures will bring you a JOB or the Country economic relief.
As the Fear and Loathing is ramped up against our own citizens and our Justice system takes a pass on everything from rich hit and run drivers to CIA destruction of Evidence – the rise of a Class War 2 tiered system is evident on every level. Will we wake up before its too late?
In 1975 Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said, ‘The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.’
That time is NOW.
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The Guardian UK, a British publication, says that they asked to see the 90,000+ wikileaks documents of whistleblower Julian Assange on the Afghanistan War, and has created its own stories on them, and has not paid for this. They say they’ve “crawled through it so you can make sense of it,” which means that they must have had it for a while.
As the U.S. Senate strips out $20 billion of domestic funding resources that would have paid for schools, teachers, and college students, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wouldn’t comment on whether the House will simply approve the Senate measure and send it on to Obama for his signature.
But the pressure to do so is intense, especially after Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned lawmakers this week that unless the measure is enacted into law before Congress leaves for its August recess, the Pentagon could have to furlough thousands of employees.
…. out of yet another war “supplemental” bill above the regular military funding, and is poised to influx another massive amount of deficit cash into yet another surge into a country we’ve now occupied for 9 years, the timing could not be better.
Rachel Reid, who investigates civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, said: “These files bring to light what’s been a consistent trend by US and Nato forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I’ve investigated in recent months where this is still not happening.
Accountability is not just something you do when you are caught. It should be part of the way the US and Nato do business in Afghanistan every time they kill or harm civilians.” The reports, many of which the Guardian is publishing in full online, present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war.
Most of the material, though classified “secret” at the time, is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld from publication because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets.
The Guardian’s war logs homepage of links is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…
Sometimes the White Man’s Burden is just unbearable. Try explaining that to my Stockholders now. All they want is a bottom line of profit. They don’t understand at times, what we are up against.
Katrina wasn’t enough, you know those levees had to fail for it to be the Perfect Disaster for a nice white Capitalist takeover. It was almost done. Most of the tract houses and apartment buildings are still boarded and abandoned. There were “just enough” people of color left to play for the Tourists on Bourbon. Maybe a couple Chiefs who can still convince themselves that there is “pride on Bourbon” enough to create a second line or two here and there; while working two jobs and moonlighting at the strip clubs as musicians. But overall, the Blacks and the Creoles left en masse, and the Real Estate is there for the picking. Like manna from the heavens, room for all the rich white people who love just a “tiny bit” of color in their lives. You know, the “cultural absorption” spectator sport that convinced them in the past that seeing Buffalo Bills traveling Indian Show made them experts in Lakota, and that on Prince Spaghetti day everyone is Italian. God knows, there was no culture there in the slums, anyway. Poor people and their poor English, and the scariest of them at least stay way-back in the deep bayous. Those people are crazy.
We had such plans. The Resorts. The Marinas. The theme parks with genuine Cajun shrimp kabobs, but not too spicy for the freckle faced kiddies from the corn belt. Gauhrunteeeeed. Its not like we weren’t planning on buying east coast shrimp, anyway; and no one swims in the ocean when you have a series of cascading pools, but the smell? Its not just the oil and dispersants, now its dead fish too.
Crossposted at Daily Kos
War is Peace.
The Military Industrial Complex meets the Terroism Industrial Complex.
In his widely reported London speech earlier this month, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, described how people constantly offer him ideas for fixing that country’s problems. One of the more unusual recommendations, he suggested, came from a paper that advocated using a “plan called ‘Chaosistan.’ ” McChrystal said it advised letting Afghanistan become a “Somalia-like haven of chaos that we simply manage from outside,” but there was no further explanation of its origins.
Bold added by diarist
Much more below the fold