As we come to the end of 3rd qtr. '07, time to step back a moment and get all "meta-" as we come to a number of milestones... for the first time since the end of the Ford Administration, the Canadian dollar, known affectionately in the Great White North as "the loonie" (there is a picture of a loon on the dollar coin) is now trading at more than the Yankee dollar, and Billionaire Tom Friedman now tells us-- now-- some 12 Friedman units past 9-11 and 9 Friedman units into the Iraq thing that Tom and his newspaper were so hellbent on us getting into (and telling us how strongly it was supported and how non-existently it was opposed)... now, Tom tells us that lotsa people-- including hisself-- kinda acted, you know-- dumb, after 9-11, and did all sortsa stupid stuff... and while Tom won't tell us which Republican he'll vote for, it won't be one "running on 9-11" (I suppose he means St. Rudy).
Where does one even start? Let me start this way. Our declining dollar (the Canadian dollar is but one of the many currencies the greenback is collapsing against) would ordinarily be a pretty good thing for our economy: it would make our exports rather attractive abroad, because our debased currency would make them cheaper, so demand would rise, and hence, more people would be put to work, business would be up, etc. BTW, even in the service sector (which our "post-industrial" economy has been largely reduced to thanks to decades of
downsizing right-sizing de-industrialization-- bi-partisan, btw), things like consultancies and even tourism would still be attractive abroad on a price basis. Of course, as even Billionaire Tom observes, our national-security-state paranoia has deterred a lot of people from visiting, which ends up costing us money, as well as good-will.
These are not "ordinary" times. The thing is, we keep running trade deficits not merely because we import so much oil and so many cheap tzotzkelas from China; by and large, we also don't produce very much of value to anyone else anymore (including, btw, ourselves). This is the case because, in part, stupid, venal people like Tom Friedman (and his newspaper) are now considered "intellectuals," and get all the benefits of a social welfare state (as if a billionaire even needs them!) while publicly doing all in their power to dismantle the few aspects of a social welfare state we have for other people, while selling his "intellectual" books... even though... let me quote him... he just said
"This: 9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 — mine included — has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again."
Well, Billionaire Tom, 9-11 didn't make me stupid. Unlike you, besides "angry", what 9-11 made me was unemployed (fortunately, only temporarily, though many, many others suffered lengthy periods, and thousands of course made the supreme sacrifice, though their families are now by and large millionaires-- though I don't believe billionaires like you.) But I'm glad you've just told us that you're stupid, which of course means that we shouldn't listen to you anymore (not that I personally ever really did.)
And that's what Tom and the rest of the Marie Antoinette/Beltway Mega-bucks Class-whose-stock-options-have-absorbed-everything and their Courtiers (the latter now called "the media") don't get: we know you are in your positions of extreme power and money not from being smart or talented, or even from being descended from the smart or talented. You are often there largely because you are dishonest, conniving, connected (nice marriage, there, Tom)... possibly because of dumb luck. Meanwhile, people in my socio-econ class (the mid- to upper- bourgeoisie, btw) have to deal with planning for raising children and 30 year mortgages and retirement and our own and our parents' declining healths in an environment where we may be unemployed at any moment-- an era where our "intellectuals" support a regimen of replacing the New Deal with the Raw Deal... not even our expensive, debt-laden graduate degrees and allegedly valuable service to the economy will protect us from having to have our resumes perennially at the ready... [Yes... it took until well into my 30's to realize that my interests were aligned almost identically with "lowly" industrial workers and unionized tradesmen and women-- to the extent we even have all that many left...]
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney really are both the micro- and macro- of this country. And part of how they and their undeserving and unworthy friends-- manage to achieve positions of dominance in this country-- is by keeping the rest of us in fear. I remember one of my (post-9-11!) employers once telling me-- with a smile on his face-- that I should "watch myself" because "it was a tight job market out there." The post 9-11 political environment, up to and including the current presidential sweepstakes (at least on the Republican side) is still devoted to telling us that swarthy furrin' terrrrorists are coming to kill our children (and, perhaps, Mexicans are coming to steal our jobs)... in other words, all fear, all the time.
And that's just it: fearful people behave very differently from people free from fear... indeed, we'll call the latter "free people" (which those who have been watching the FISA-dismantling and sell-out, Guantanamo, Padilla (and al-Mari), the USA Patriot Act, Iraq, now the assault on MoveOn realize is a group that no longer includes the American people)...
Oh what has happened to us! FDR told us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. GW Bush told us that the only thing we have is fear itself. Under one kind of thinking, we won World War II and then the Cold War and then built the world's mightiest economy, WENT TO THE MOON, and, although tremendously flawed, we nonetheless built the strongest force for good the world had ever seen. Under the other... four and a half years after the fall of Baghdad, our mighty military is bogged down against irregulars amidst an untenable and endless occupation [a great bumper sticker reported to me says "The endlessness justifies the meaningless"], over two years after Katrina, much of New Orleans by and large remains in ruins... and coming full circle to Ground Zero... Ground Zero-- six years plus later-- remains mostly a large hole. Why, if a World War II hero like Bob Dole were still alive, he'd... well, never mind that.
When we allow stupidity and fear to rule us, the results are not pretty: they look like what now passes for White House press conferences, they look like Baghdad, they look like the Lower Ninth Ward, they look like lower Manhattan as bordered by Vesey, West and Liberty Streets and Trinity Place...
Oops... did I say all that out loud?
Friedman joins Chomsky. Who woulda thunk!
Posted by IntelVet at September 30, 2007 6:53 PM
Mostly a large hole? Well, yes, but you won't find a cleaner one.
Posted by Joe Citizen at October 1, 2007 4:21 PM
Well TD, down here in the deep south, I done throw'd up my hands ... no the TV is not off yet, but the sound is and I am happily watching it die. The problem with that is this ... it is one of those danged Curtis Mathis TVs and ya just cannot kill 'em ... except of course for HDTV ... coming soon to entrain our minds even further.
Hmmm ... where is my huntin rifle?
P.S. Apparently some of the Brits have noticed there is something wrong with their country ... saw it on YouTube ... and here:
Something to do with an org related to CFR, the Royal Societies and Tavistock (aren't they all ) an org named "Common Purpose." Nice to know they are just as stupid as we are and they got EU'd before we got NAU'd.
Posted by Granny at October 2, 2007 11:44 PM