I don’t know what to make of Chris Hedges. His social critiques often seem to lead to dead ends — to the conclusion that we might as well jump off a cliff and be done with it. But he’s a serious Occupy Wall Street supporter, and here and there in his gloom-ridden sermons are passages that make perfect sense:
The conflation of technological advancement with human progress leads to self-worship. Reason makes possible the calculations, science and technological advances of industrial civilization, but reason does not connect us with the forces of life. A society that loses the capacity for the sacred, that lacks the power of human imagination, that cannot practice empathy, ultimately ensures its own destruction. The Native Americans understood there are powers and forces we can never control and must honor. They knew, as did the ancient Greeks, that hubris is the deadliest curse of the human race. This is a lesson that we will probably have to learn for ourselves at the cost of tremendous suffering.
Yes, this is premature, but Mitt Romney seems more and more like a gift from the gods to the Barack Obama re-election campaign. The quarter-billion-dollar man is tone deaf but he keeps braying, and each of his pronouncements seem more out of tune with the national mood than the last. More here.
I’d like to think Rick Perry has proven himself to be too much of a wing nut even for most Texans, but his crusade against women will continue to draw support down there despite this decision:
Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) was rebuked by a federal court on Monday for his decision to withdraw all Medicare funds from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), in a move that triggered a showdown with the federal government amid an election season already fraught with gender politics.
The ruling, issued by Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin, will preserve Medicaid Women’s Health Program funding for PPFA clinics across the state, ensuring over 130,000 lower income women will continue to receive reproductive health care services. While Yeakel’s ruling is only a temporary injunction, it prevents Texas from shutting off the funds in the near term until the full trial can get underway later this summer.
In his ruling, Judge Yeakel wrote that PPFA’s arguments against the state of Texas “demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success,” and noted that “the current unrebutted record reflects that Plaintiffs neither perform abortion nor counsel women participating in the Women’s Health Program to seek abortions.”
The only business more obscene than the privatized-prisons racket is the outright sale of slaves, which America’s southern states were forced to quit more than a century-and-a-half ago. From The Raw Story:
The United Methodist Task Force on Immigration held a rally in Tampa over the weekend to protest against the growing private prison system in the United States.
“Is this an immigration rally or is this a prison rally? It is a justice rally,” Bishop Minerva Carcano said.
More than 500 people gathered to protest the private prison industry, which has lead to the mass incarceration of immigrants and minorities, according to the United Methodist News Service.
Private prisons are associated with heightened levels of violence toward prisoners and have limited incentives to reduce future crime, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
“The perverse incentives to maximize profits and cut corners — even at the expense of safety and decent conditions — may contribute to an unacceptable level of danger in private prisons,” the report stated.
In February, the private prison company Corrections Corporation of America offered buy state-operated prisons in 48 states. States that accept the deal would have pay CCA to operate the prisons for at least 20 years and keep the prisons at least 90 percent full.
I guess some of this mad right-wing love comes from the idea that in America, anyone can become a Rich Guy if he just works hard and saves his pennies. Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-f–king-American, is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Gov. Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.
This has to happen if America is to remain strong and true to its ideals. It’s a practical necessity and a moral imperative. Last year, during the Occupy movement, the conservatives who oppose tax equality saw the first real ripples of discontent. Their response was either Marie Antoinette (“Let them eat cake”) or Ebeneezer Scrooge (“Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”). Short-sighted, gentlemen. Very short-sighted. If this situation isn’t fairly addressed, last year’s protests will just be the beginning. Scrooge changed his tune after the ghosts visited him. Marie Antoinette, on the other hand, lost her head.