Saturday, August 13, 2011

Weekend at Bernie's

For those of you sick of the he said/she said network and cable TV stenographers of the pundit class, here is a preview of C-Span's Sunday "Newsmakers" program featuring Bernie Sanders, independent Socialist senator of Vermont.

My only complaint about Bernie is he doesn't go far enough in condemning our current corrupt system. He is way too polite.  All the sell-out Democrats with whom he has to work are, of course, still "smart" and "experienced".  He buys into the "shared sacrifice" meme, when what he should be calling for is shared prosperity.  Wealth disparity is now inconceivably even worse than we thought: new estimates place the top one percent in possession of more wealth than 90 percent of the total population, combined.  They possess 40 percent of our total wealth, period. Notice I say "our" wealth, because not only do corporate persons pay little to no taxes, they are even entitled to tax refunds in many cases. (G.E.) The moneyed interests pay off Congress to write the laws for their exclusive benefit. So I don't think we should be "sharing" anything with these plutocrats.  These hoarders are in dire need of an intervention in the form of taxation U-Hauls to get rid of all their monetary clutter and put it in the permanent storage of the United States Treasury and the looted Social Security trust fund. 

Still, Sanders is refreshingly blunt about the upshot of the new Super Committee: "There's going to be pain, and there's going to be death." 


Anne Lavoie said...

More pussyfooting around with words. I've noticed Bernie mincing a lot of words lately.

The Obama religion all along has been to meet lies with silence. I don't believe for a moment it is a Christian action of 'turning the other cheek'. Rather it is putting on an air of superiority 'We don't stoop to name-calling like those right-wingers'. We are better than that.

At least we know he can lead on something successfully - maintaining silence in the face of evil. What war crimes? What bank crimes? The list could be endless of Obama's willful blindness and silence. As Jay said in his guest post, it is being complicit with the status quo to remain silent. The status quo is a war on the people by the rich.

Jesus called the enemies of the people liars, hypocrites, wicked, evil, murderers, serpents, brood of vipers, fools and blind (he used the word blind a lot.) Obama calls them savvy businessmen and his friends.

It's still true that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do (or say) nothing. We can thank the false messiah Obama and his apostles for letting lies go unopposed, thus accepted as truth, and for letting liberal Democrats take the blame for all the country's ills instead of the true culprits, just to win re-election.

If he wins because of his strategy, evil will certainly have triumphed. Actually, it already has. What we do about it is the real problem to be solved, and that requires using words as weapons. It's all we non-violent people have right now.

Denis Neville said...

Talking about words…“Just Us Folks”

Karen mentioned Barack’s appeals to just plain “folks” in her comment to Nocera in today’s NY Times.

Susan Jacoby in her book The Age of American Unreason has a chapter titled “The Way We Live Now: Just Us Folks”

“Only a few decades ago, Americans were addressed as people or, in the more distant past, ladies and gentleman. Now we are all folks.”

Jacoby writes, “While the word ‘folks’ was once a colloquialism with no political meaning, there is no escaping the political meaning of the term when it is reverently invoked by public officials in twenty-first century America.”

“The specific political use of folks as an exclusionary and inclusionary signal, designed to make the speaker sound like one of the boys or girls, is symptomatic of a debasement of public speech inseparable from a more general erosion of American cultural standards. Casual, colloquial language also conveys an implicit denial of the seriousness of whatever issue is being debated…Look up any important presidential speech in the history of the United States before 1980, and you will not find one patronizing appeal to folks.”

“Substitute folks for people, farmer, old men, and widows, and the relationship between the abandonment of dignified public speech and the degradation of the political process becomes clear…To keep telling Americans that they are just folks is to expect nothing special – a ratification and exaltation of the quotidian that is one of the distinguishing marks of anti-intellectualism in any era.”

George Orwell in Politics and the English Language wrote, “the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”

Karen Garcia said...

I believe it was Noam Chomsky who wrote that politicians fond of using the word "folks" should give us a clue they are dangerous characters and that we should run, not walk, away from them. A long time ago, as a lark, I counted the number of times Obama used the word "folks" in a 10-minute speech. I think it was about a dozen. George Bush once talked about "those terrorist folks" -- even scarier. The term when used by a politician is usually fakey-familiar as well as derogatory.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

Also, consider, from Wikipedia:

"During the years of the Third Reich, the term Volk became heavily used in nationalistic political slogans, ..."

4Runner said...

Looks like they're all trying to get on the Folks wagon.

Valerie said...

I am of a mixed mind here.

I wish Bernie (or anyone other than Chris Hedges and Ralph Nader) would just come out and say it like it is. I LOVE Bernie, but I think even he is too gentle on the collaborators. When will someone have the courage to name names? And call these "Representatives" on their campaign donation ties to big corporate interests and their corresponding voting records? I think Americans really want someone to call these politicians out on their hypocrisy and their collusion.

I, for one, don't want to hear that the Corporate Members of Congress are "smart" and "experienced" because that implies that they are capable of defending the best interests of our country and by assumption, caring about the Middle Class when it is evident that they aren't and they don't.

We need our leaders to be plain spoken and to have the courage to speak truth to power.

On the other hand, I feel sorry for people like Bernie who have spoken out and are marginalised for their efforts. To a certain extent he has to “get along” in order to function within the Legislative system. There would be terrible blowback if he were to name names, especially if he were to call out Democrats – and he needs Democrats to support any Progressive legislation that is put forward.

We have a system that doesn’t allow people who speak truth to power loudly into government. Our media colludes by not covering what these speakers of truth say unless it is to twist their message and their words. And we have a population that isn’t used to having to work to stay informed or understands the importance and responsibility of staying informed in a functioning Democracy.