As CounterPunch's Mike Whitney so saliently observes (h/t AnneEnigma), Obama's promise zones are nothing more than corporate plantations designed to exploit the poor under the guise of helping them. And as I mentioned in my response to Paul Krugman's latest column, praising the pseudo-progressive War on Poverty:
If the erstwhile party of LBJ thinks that advocating for the poor is a winning political strategy, they sure have a funny way of showing it. Senate Dems just "compromised" with the GOP yet again, agreeing to cut another $9 billion from the food stamp program over the next decade, thus condemning a million more people to life-threatening hunger in the richest nation on earth.
Even the proposed deal to extend long-term unemployment benefits would hinge on extending the Sequester (another plutocratic front in the war on the poor) for another year.
It's the same old, same old: the millionaires in Congress aim to help the poor by robbing the poor. And they're not even trying to hide their true motivation, which is to protect their own pampered hides at the polls. The good cop/bad cop routine is wearing thin for people getting more disgusted by the day.
According a Gallup poll, 42% of voters now identify as independent. This has nothing to do with people's desire for "bipartisanship" and everything to do with the growing rejection of both corporate wings of the Money Party.
All they offer is an insulting $10 an hour minimum wage, and cynical "promise zones" filled with charter schools and tax breaks for businesses in "poverty pockets".
When it comes to the War on Poverty, the politicians are mostly AWOL. So let's give the slackers a dishonorable discharge. and become active draftees in our own war. Our survival depends on it.And Obama's own political survival depends on spewing the same propaganda over and over and over again for the next three years, hoping that Goebbels' advice (that the constant repetition of mendacity breeds belief) will also work out for him and both corporate branches of the uniparty. If Obama keeps insisting that income inequality is the defining issue of our time, maybe he'll convince a couple of rubes that he actually plans to do anything about it.
If there's anything that CEOs crave, it's that the two right wings just get along and do what's best for CEOs. And Obama was only too happy to oblige last week, inviting both Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell to his latest staged production. Their state (Kentucky) is host to one of the five Promise Zones, and the two GOPers beamed their approval of Obama's plantation plan, which includes tax credits to businesses that, in theory, would trickle down to
Obama must have made them even happier when he surrounded himself with a backdrop of dark-skinned "those people" from Harlem, obligingly dog-whistling his contempt for them through jokes and remarks about their physical appearances. He singled out one young man for faint praise by quipping, "I used to have a haircut like that," before noting that the youth had come from a family of losers (including the demonized single mom, of course) before being saved by a charter school. He made sure that Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell know that these kids will not be getting government handouts, but trickle-down corporate hand-ups. And only if they work hard and free themselves from the Culture of Dependency.
Obama even told a bald-faced lie about charter schools: "Last year," he said, "a study found that students who win a spot in one of the charter schools score higher on standardized tests than those who don't in a neighborhood where higher education was once just something that other people did."
The truth is just the opposite. As education historian/activist Diane Ravitch points out, studies show that students from for-profit charter schools in New York City actually score lower on standardized tests than do those attending traditional public schools, with their better-paid unionized teachers. So I can't help but suspect that Obama's praise of charter schools, and New York City charter schools like the Harlem Children's Zone in particular, is also a subtle dig at Bill de Blasio. The new mayor ran on a campaign of stemming the growth of the charters.
And of course it is no accident that Geoffrey Canada was Obama's guest of honor at Poverty Fest. Founder of the Harlem charter, Canada is partnering with his college classmate, billionaire hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, in the plutocratic campaign to dismantle the New Deal based on the discredited "generational theft" theory. Last year, before embarking on a college tour to convince young people that Grandma is robbing them blind to hide the truth that Wall Street is robbing them blind, the bipartisan duo wrote an op-ed in (where else?) The Wall Street Journal:
Yet, together, we recognize several hard truths: Government spending levels are unsustainable. Higher taxes, however advisable or not, fail to come close to solving the problem. Discretionary spending must be reduced but without harming the safety net for our most vulnerable, or sacrificing future growth (e.g., research and education). Defense and homeland security spending should not be immune to reductions. Most consequentially, the growth in spending on entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare—must be curbed.
The government has an obligation, of course, to support needy seniors. But this pension system is ripe for common-sense reforms, including changing eligibility ages and benefit structures for those with greater means, ridding the Social Security disability program of pervasive fraud, and removing disincentives for those who would rather work in their later years.
I love the way these guys portray ordinary people trying to protect the safety net as "powerful vested interests" who not only want to snatch the food from the mouths of children, but are unfairly preventing tired older people from working till they drop. Plus, to think that retirees are stealing more assets than the Surveillance State and the War on Terror! Grandma is worse than the NSA and predator drones in her greedy quest for shelter and medical care. Who knew?Powerful, vested interests portray reformers as avowed enemies of seniors. But, the status quo is, in fact, tantamount to saddling school-age children with more debt, weaker economic growth, and fewer opportunities for jobs and advancement.
(Obama, for his part, has not removed the Chained CPI plan for cutting Social Security and impoverishing seniors and survivors and veterans from his proposed budget. And the Dems are "pleading" with him to abandon the idea... out of selfless concern for their own electoral chances, of course.)
I'm actually kind of surprised that Obama didn't also give a shout-out to Druckenmiller at his performance last week. I'm also kind of surprised he didn't give a shout-out to their mutual friend, Chris Christie, whom Drucky is busy defending as a "once in a generation leader." I think Drucky is getting kind of confused over that whole Generation thing, don't you? I think he probably meant to say that Christie is a Thief for All Generations.
Meanwhile, Obama further reassured Wall Street that he is on their side by announcing he'll be inviting CEOs to the White House "not once, but twice!" this month so they can present their own ideas and represent their own front in the War On Poverty, a k a War on the Poor. Making poverty pockets attractive to big donor pockets is his highest priority.
"Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, the economy is recovering," Obama hilariously proclaimed. (Austerity worked!). "And our businesses are booming."
He apparently did not see fit to burst the propaganda balloon by explaining that income disparity has widened to record levels under his personal watch. As a matter of fact, on the same day as his speech, the Census Bureau announced that fully one third of the American people had fallen below the poverty level for periods lasting at least two months during the first three years of his administration.
Meanwhile, the beatings will continue until morale improves. All Obama has to do is reach inside his cheap plastic tub for an unlimited supply of his fake buttery spread, slathering it with abandon over every social ill.
|You're In the Zone.... the Twilight Zone|