Look, I don’t want to sound alarmist, but I think the country…the world…is in deeper trouble than anyone realistically wants to admit. We seem to be devolving from a middle class society, with strong middle class values and an economy dependent on our middle class for both production and consumption, into an almost feudal serfdom, with itinerant workers grabbing scraps of work where they can and putting down their heads wherever they can.
Desperation sets in and pretty soon all sorts of behavior becomes the norm in places where there is no security, no safety net. Right whingers complain about the Occupy movement, claiming it’s just a bunch of shiftless, spoiled kids who ought to take a bath and get a job. But as the people in the linked piece demonstrate, nearly all of them want to work, want to be productive members of society, but society has been slowly closing the gates on productive work paying a living wage that anyone can do in favor of the affluent and their minions.
It’s going to stop, to be sure. and if the Right Whingers think Occupy is a sham movement fronting for socialism, well, they ain’t seen nothing yet. The hungry, the destitute, the desperate, once they begin to march, they won’t be polite. They won’t be respectful. They won’t merely shout and obstuct, they will be violent and raging, and tearing things up and down.
Once those folks no longer have homes and jobs and prospects for work, they will turn their attention on those who do. Human survival, ultimately, comes down to ensuring your own personal survival first. This is what I would call “the capitalism of the cave.”
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One of the odder things about Philadelphia is that you can keep a horse in your backyard — and chickens, too, if I recall correctly.
As progressive economists are pointing out, because so many people have now left the labor force.
I’ll be happy to give the president credit whenever he actually achieves something. No matter how you hear it spun, this isn’t it.
The Labor Department reported a decline of 315,000 people in the labor market in October. This was the main factor driving a drop of 0.4 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 8.6 percent. The
establishment survey showed a weaker than expected 80,000 job gain for the month, although this bad news was largely offset by upward revisions of 72,000 to the job growth numbers for the prior two months.
The drop in participation was entirely among women and especially black women. (Among married women, employment rose by 194,000, so this was not a case of women as second earners dropping out of the labor force.) Participation numbers among white women fell by 199,000, a decline of 0.2 percentage points. The drop among black women was 164,000, a drop of 1.2 pp. These monthly numbers are highly erratic and it is likely that at least part of this drop will be reversed in future months. Nonetheless there had been a trend of declining participation rates among both white and black women even prior to the November plunge. This suggests that there is a real issue of women losing access to jobs, although the December figures may show some reversal.
I was talking to an old friend last night, an Obamabot. After I told her some of the things he was up to re: Social Security and Medicare, she said, “No, I don’t believe he’s capable of that sort of malice. I don’t think he has it in him. I don’t care what you say, I’ll go with my own feeling on that.” No matter what I told her, I got the same serene response.
My oldest son goes nuts around people like that. “Obama is not your boyfriend,” he mutters. “He’s a politician.”
HuffPo’s Dan Froomkin just reviewed Ron Suskind’s “Confidence Men” in a careful deconstruction of spin vs. reality, and brings out an important point: Ultimately, intent doesn’t matter. Results do.
Perhaps more than anything else, not living up to his word has hurt the president across the board.
“It’s about the connection between word and deed,” says Suskind. “At day’s end, what got George W. Bush re-elected was straight-shooter credit.”
Consider what progressive hero Elizabeth Warren told Suskind in a September 2009 interview:
“You can’t run a policy based on a misdirection, on a fiction,” she said. “I don’t know what the president is thinking. I don’t see the president. He meets with bankers. He doesn’t meet with me. But if he’s involved in this at all, he’s got to know that his angry words at Wall Street, at their recklessness and dangerous incentives in compensation, about how they do their business in ways utterly divorced from what’s actually good for the economy — that he can’t just say that sort of thing, and then dump money in their laps and be credible.”
So what does Obama need to do to persuade people that he means what he says? “Words are not enough,” says Suskind.
“Right now, after the record that has expressed itself across four years, the only thing that will be proof of change is deeds — meaning he takes on the assembled power of the financial capital in an ‘either them or me’ way.”
He could also level with the public about the errors he made, and what he’s learned from them.
He could fire Geithner — like some people have been suggesting for nearly three years. (Although the New York Times recently wrote, in a gushing profile, that “Mr. Geithner’s departure could signal additional instability to financial markets.”)
Ultimately, the biggest question for voters who are troubled by Obama’s failure to confront Wall Street despite his words is whether it reflects a weakness of character, a weakness of will, or a weakness in management style. Presumably the latter would be easier to correct in a second term.
But Suskind has no opinion — and wonders if there’s really much of a difference. Either way, it’s a reflection of how Obama wields power. And until something dramatic happens, there’s no reason to think it’s going to change. “This White House,” Suskind says, “is the one he constructed and presides over.”
(NEWSER) – Martina Davis-Correia died yesterday after a long battle with breast cancer—much of which coincided with her battle on behalf of her brother, controversial death row inmate Troy Davis, who was put to death in September. Davis-Correia, 42, had campaigned for Troy, delivering speeches and attending rallies in between her stints in the hospital, USA Today reports. She was originally diagnosed with cancer in 2000.
“What I Deserve” is just one of those perfect little albums, and it got me through some tough times years ago. Kelly Willis:
It occurs to me that rephrasing “taxing the rich,” to “taking from the rich” is a blessing.
Go ahead. Put the idea of taking that yacht and that fourth home away from the rich into people’s heads. See what happens.
Police wiped out Occupy camps in L.A. and Philly at roughly the same time. Part of the effort to make the movement invisible, writes Robert Scheer. More here.
Thursday, Dec 1 | Double Header
8 pm eastern | 5 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking A-Z: This week in liberalism. | Stuart Zechman and Jay Ackroyd| continue the search for deeper understanding and meaningful expressions of Movement liberalism. Follow @Stuart_Zechman @JayAckroydListen live on BTR. Beginning midnight Friday, listen here.
9 pm eastern | 6 pm pacific |Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd | Jay talks with Corey Robin – associate professor of political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center about Corey’s newest book, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. His recent Fear: The History of a Political Idea (Oxford University Press), won the Best First Book in Political Theory Award from the American Political Science Association. Special feature: a new What Digby Said. The video posted here is from last Thursday. Follow @JayAckroyd Listen live and later on BTR.