Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Having scored a high five on an opinion piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal I decided it was time to include a review of his latest and greatest "The Wrecking Crew". Frank is a progressive, not a liberal-- in other words, he stays away- far away- from the social (or "value") agenda of the liberals and looks at what the political machine is producing and HOW it has been produced. He scrutinizes the right but does not stray away from criticizing the left-- at all. And sounding a bell that is rarely rung (and definitely not rung by even the most "liberal" media outlets on television), he joins Naomi Klein ("The Shock Doctrine") and Susan Jacoby ("The age of American Unreason") in a bell trio that simply rings.
And the scenario is clear: We're in big trouble.
Frank gets that camel right through the eye of a needle as he points out that we don't have a Bush problem we have a system failure. The system no longer works-- well, it works for the corporations. In fact, it is a government for the corporations, of the corporations, by the corporations. Socialism -- the idea that the government should regulate industry and watch out for the best interest of the people is no longer part of the equation-- at least in the DC math-- the "new math". And this is where Frank hits the point so brilliantly. He weaves together the policies of the past with the consequences of today-- When Reagan said famously "government is the problem" he really set wheels in motion that resonate- even guide- today. And paradoxically He started something that he was then able to control (inept government officials then create an inept government)-- so proving his statement.
And it worked! If you take a look at the common attitude of the average American toward government today it's interesting that the mythology that government workers are lazy and incompetent is now so pervasive-- as opposed to corporate workers who are assumed to be so much more efficient and hard working. HA! But with that as a fundamental knee jerk reaction, the right then gives more and more money to corporations in order to privatize- privatize- privatize--. After all why hire government workers when you can pay corporations to do the "same" work (although as we have seen the last 8 years, the private companies do NOT do the same or better work). Thus, the left has allowed the right to control the argument -which is what Frank then hits on in his opinion piece when he lambastes the Obama administration for their dangerous mindset of centrism. We need change in ideology not modification to get us by!
But when Reagan set the tone, he cemented the argument. There is now no real "left" there is only less right-- and most of what is "liberal" about the left is concerned with "values": gay rights, civil rights, etc... And they (the politicos) are happy to keep the "little people" distracted with those "issues"... meanwhile the true agenda of the right is completely ignored (and, frankly, democrats have bought into it too): looting the public treasury.And that is what Frank shows over and over again.
With Nostradamic insight, Frank's omniscience is almost frightening! He point us directly to the "whys" and "hows" of not only the new administration but the actions of the entire Washington infrastructure. Listening to Obama yesterday I was struck by his continuation of a Bush theme-- this "volunteerism will save us" mantra. No! Sorry!! Government has gotten us where we are and government needs to get us out. The government has to watch out for the people. By refusing to address the core values of the corporate world where government is the problem and the free market will save us... and fundamentally change the way government itself operates, the disastrous road we're currently on will barrel us pellmell toward more crisis like-- well, you name it, the terrible "recovery" (or lack thereof) in Louisiana... Iraq... Afghanistan... and on and on.
Like Michaelangelo with a paintbrush Frank adds depth and detail to how the Bush administration was happy to have people think they were just bungling things because G.W. was/IS an idiot when the truth is that they don't want government to be a part of the solution- they, again, want to BE the problem so that the American public won't object to the use of public money to pay private companies to "fix" things: an attitude that has been prevalent since the Reagan administration (and was actually germinated at the birth of this country and furthered by the Nixon Administration) but which now reaches, oh so accommodatingly, across the isle to the democrats.
The real problem with political discourse today is that too many people don't understand that there is a real ideology that has carried us this far and it is the ideology that needs to be fought. The social agendas of the common folk are meaningless drivel for both parties- ways to keep us voting for them. They are like magicians-- watch what the left hand is doing so the right hand can do the magic of putting money in their pockets. And it's really easy when the media is pointing to the left hand too! (More regulation problems as the media outlets are controlled by so few and those few are corporately owned! And yes, the corporations DO influence what we see on television. Watch 'Madmen' on AMC!)
And Obama? Sure the public face on it will change. We'll sound much more compassionate! We'll appear to be "changing" things. We'll all sound smarter by having him as our Pres.! But the reality that government is still looking out for big business's best interests will still be at the center of how our government operates. That is what Frank is concerned about-- he does not see a new mindset about government's role coming with Obama- he sees more of the same based on what he knows about how Washington operates.
Proof of what Frank says lies in Obama's first response to the banking industry's failure-- he supported bailout rather than actively beginning dialogue about meaningful regulation over the banking industry (yes, I know there is some talk about regulation but all reports since the monies were released reveal that there is nothing binding and certainly no will for follow through). That reveals the ideology influencing the backbone of his policies--. Looking back at it, the banking industry clearly used the crisis to get government money-- they aren't using the money to help people make their payments or save their homes. They are not changing their business practices. They are paying their CEOs their bonuses and handing out more questionable credit to the American people (a superficial prop that allows us, the people, to spend, spend, spend making us all slaves to our mortgages and credit cards) so they, the CEOs and corporate heads, can continue on their way of corruption and greed. What resonates with me from his speech was his distinct lack of vision for what the government really should be doing-- his laying down the gauntlet, so to speak, on the people of this country to fix things, help the neighbor, etc. Compassion and helping a neighbor is not going to fix things! At least not that kind of compassion!
But the kind of compassion that requires real change is something we should all be focused on. We, as a people, can and should be pressuring the government to find solutions that are in the best interest of ALL people. We can and should be aware of how the corporations are taking over our government and we should be pressuring our congressmen and senators to drop the hand of the industries they support. We can and should be educated enough to understand the ideologies that drive our nation's leaders. But we can't and we shouldn't fix things in a superficial way that are really only intended to keep us from looking at the real solutions that are viable...
The solutions which make government accountable.
A must read for those interested in seeing true change come to America.