Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-or-Treating the Zombies of the Military Industrial Complex

Paul Krugman's column today is a treatise on the "Weaponized Keynesians" -- those Republican ideologues who insist that government should not be in the business of creating jobs -- unless, of course, it's the jobs created through military spending.

These fiscal conservatives love to call tax hikes on the rich and any cuts to defense spending  "Job Killers".  But as Krugman quotes Barney Frank as saying, pumping money into Defense miraculously creates a whole slew of jobs. Stimulus is so stimulating when it involves death and destruction!

So, how do we get our own pet liberal stimulus bills past the war-happy Austerians?  I think we have to start getting sneaky and creative. Just go along with the "War is So Bipartisan" theme.  Make speeches celebrating sadism, torture, death and destruction, and then call Congress and tell them to Pass This Bill Right Now!

 We could rename the endangered Head Start Program the "Douglas MacArthur Early Childhood Education Program for Future Old Soldiers Who Fade Away."  Medicaid payments to local community health centers being slashed? No problem! Introduce a bill funding Defense Against Disease centers. Millions of people will be freezing this winter due to the defunding of home heating assistance.  Put that money under appropriations for heat-seeking missiles. Mortgage relief and rental subsidies and clean, safe homeless shelters can go under Homeland Security. And when we nationalize all the too-big-to-exist banks, we can call them the "In God We Trust Companies" to make the right- wing fundamentalists go all rapturous.

Congress has a nine percent approval rating. They've been starved of oxygen under that suffocating dome. How hard can it be to get the better of them? The possibilities are endless. Let's entangle them in the spider web of their own deceit.


Anne Lavoie said...

I'm definitely writing your name in for President, Karen. You're the only one with the kind of ideas we need to save America. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Congress has a nine percent approval rating; yet most of them are reelected. So explain why they would do anything other than pay homage to the corporate dictator? We got the congress we deserve, we elected them!

How about canceling the so-called free-trade agreements as a way to stimulate the economy? Seems to me that Americans can build computers and iPhones just as good as the Chinese.

Anonymous said...


I've heard that same old crap too many times about 'getting the government we deserve', including in a recent NYT comment by a popular writer. What a crock! I'm sorry, but it is intellectually lazy and shallow, no matter who it comes from. Shame.

Just because we elect someone doesn't make us deserving of how they perform. Look at Obama. When we voted for him, we thought he might actually try to do a few of the things he promised us. Instead, he broke almost every single promise - the list is long.

But you and a few others would have us think that's all we deserve because, hey, we voted for him. If you really believe that, then speak for yourself and don't use 'we'.

Maybe you deserve nothing, or very little. Only you know that. But I suspect most of the rest of us think Obama owes us and the people in this country a lot more than he's giving. He hasn't even used the bully pulpit except for purposes of his re-election.

He's the one who wanted the job, and whose interest is he looking out for? Wait... let me's a toss up between 'himself' and 'the oligarchs'.

So spare me the platitudes. Just because someone you admire spouts some empty phrases doesn't make them true. Think for yourself.

Valerie said...


I am with you on Free Trade. Considering that Obama just signed into law another 4 (count-em) Free Trade Agreements (Read Karen's posts about them) in the last weeks, we know whose side he is on!

One reason these clowns get back into office is there is no one else to vote for. We have been told, just vote for "the lesser of two evils." But we can't keep doing the same dumb thing and expect a different result. The lesser of two evils is still plenty evil.

We need to be supporting candidates who have a proven record for standing up for the Middle Class and that means researching voting records. If we are going to change our Representatives at the state level, then we need to elect people who have spent a good chunk of their lives in the trenches helping their fellow man.

I am planning on writing in a candidate other than Obama and am hoping that there are enough of us out there to upset the Democratic apple cart. We cannot control the Republicans. They have most of their voters brainwashed. But we can demand that the Democrats give us a better candidate than Obama. If all else fails, I am hoping for a write in campaign through the Internet where we all write in the same name. At least we will make our presence known.

We live in terrible times when we are looking at cutting Social Security, a retirement plan people have paid into their entire lives, but we have enough money to pay for the war machine, bank bailouts and tax breaks for Corporations that enjoy free access to our markets.

If we can't elect Karen for President, at least insist she is an advisor.

Valerie said...

@(second) Anonymous,

I don't think first Anonymous was saying, "Na-Na! You got the losers you voted for!" I think (s)he was just pointing out that Congress has a nine percent approval rating and still these clowns get re-elected - So what should we be doing about it? Clearly, if they don't feel they need to be responsible to their constituency in order to be re-elected, we the 99% are in big trouble. But how to oust them once they are entrenched and have the name recognition and the blessing of the DNC?

I am really hoping that OWS will inspire more people with progressive records to run against incumbents for the honour of representing us in Congress. I am pretty damn sick of my reps in Washington state that say they are for Main Street and then voted with Obama on these last four (faux) free trade agreements.

Valerie said...

Well the trolls are out and we are starting to see more and more stories about the petty crime and filth of the Occupy movement. I read that the OWS had tried to get porta potties in and were willing to pay for them but the city was balking. Neighbors are offended by the smell - Well, that makes sense. You would think THEY would have an interest in seeing that the protesters had toilette facilities. On the other hand, how rich must these people be to have homes in these areas? The neighbors are most certainly part of the 1%. It makes sense they would complain.

I guess I knew it was coming - I knew if the movement continued to grow and gain sympathy the 1% would go into full spin mode. But it is sad to see what is happening. And of course, they are going after Elizabeth Warren. She is too charismatic, too plainspoken and clearly too ethical to leave undestroyed. I am sure she will be linked with everything bad that happens during these protests.

Well, I have said it before and I will say it again, it will be the involvement of average, middle class and working class people who attend the protests on their time off that will lend legitimacy to the movement. I plan to take my daughter to Occupy Adelaide on Saturday.

Anne Lavoie said...


Enjoy your upcoming Adelaide Occupation! I'm glad you'll be joining in. So many support, so few stand up and show up. It reminds me of the silent Obama supporters who put bumper stickers on their cars only AFTER he won.

Anyway, you mentioned about the neighbors complaining about OWS. I wonder if the neighbors actually bothered to complain, or if they were polled by a private research organization paid for by tax dollars.

That is the new form of 'democracy' these days. The government uses our money to pay private companies to poll the citizens. It is one of the favorite public administration tools these days, even in this recession when you'd think they would cut that expense from the budget. It apparently gives them something they can point to as justification for decisions. Or if it doesn't support what they (the Chamber of Commerce) intends, they can just ignore it. The official line is that it helps them set policy.

I have a sister who is currently working for this type of telephone research firm in Washington State. (She actually has a professional career but is unemployed in that.) She tells me about the work they do for the city and various other government or non-profit institutions. Here in Montana I also saw the city council commission a poll to be taken only in a certain neighborhood that may be impacted to ostensibly help them with a decision. The entire city was affected but they only wanted to poll the local HOMEOWNERS.

I think it is a national trend in public administration. It also just so happens that people with telephone land lines also own homes and stay put usually, so they get the Landed Gentry opinion only. Most people own cell phones only these days, at least among the younger and less affluent. Cell phone people like me, who also rent and/or are more mobile, are totally left out of these polls.

These polls can also serve to guide answers just by virtue of being asked the question, however well trained and skillful the interviewer not to bias the response. Example:

"Do you object to anything going on down at the OWS site?" "Well, yes, now that you mention it!" opens the door.

Is is (a) the excrement? (b) the body odor? (c) fleas and body lice? (d) drugs? (e) the sex with animals? (e) the child beatings? Ok, so they probably wouldn't ask these, but you get the idea.

So now the electors have the 'evidence based' support for decisions they make based supposedly on what the Landed Gentry want. How can you argue with that kind of democratic decision making???

Valerie, I heard Gov. Chris Gregoire announce last year she was considering eliminating the Democratic Primary in Washington State to save money. Caucus only. Maybe she should just pay a polling company with our tax dollars. Not only is it cheaper and less messy than elections, but polls are probably a lot more democratic than a Caucus!


barbara madeloni said...


1) love your blog--keeps me sane--
2) The DOE is way out ahead of you when it comes to militarizing schools. See the May 25, 2011 press release about the Race to the Top for early childhood education. Here is the first paragraph:
"U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced a new $500 million state-level grant competition, the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge. Joining Duncan and Sebelius at the announcement were business, law enforcement and military leaders who have advocated for increased investments in early learning to reduce crime, strengthen national security, and boost U.S. competitiveness."


Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Barbara. Next thing you know the schools will be training snitchy hall monitors to use high tech devices to spy on their classmates. Probably in a magnet school!

gcheng said...

>Military industrial complex

Post dismissed. All militaries are industrial complexes, there's no other way to support one. The American government's failure to put all its financial and military organs under singular, state control will prove to be the final bullet in your declining empire. What good is 'freedom' now?