(October 20, 2008)
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Fear of "Socialism": The American Way of Life
To the Editor:
For many, the gnawing fear behind the current recession, more frightening than the loss of income or the loss of jobs, is the specter of socialism. Among diehard conservatives, this is the terror that makes them question both the morality and the sanity of our harried government. The idea that "the state" may take over a large number of failing banks and put themselves in control of the future economy is a paradigm shift that gives conservatives the heebie-jeebies.
The other fear, only vaguely alluded to by the media, is that the swindling gurus of Wall Street who are responsible for this catastrophe may soon be brought to the bar of justice. This too is part and parcel of the "socialist scare," for we know from history that when a reformist government takes command, retribution against malefactors inevitably follows.
No, the United States will not suddenly become Marxist or immediately adopt the socialist reforms that have strengthened the economies of countries such as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. But it is enough that it will now begin to chasten the con men and women who feed off the gullibility of clients foolish enough to swallow their honeyed lies. Not only will the golden parachutes of CEOs find they have no ripcord, but the captains of corporate deceit will find themselves locked out of the corridors of power, forced to mingle with the very victims who were once their clients.
The surge towards socialism will be fiercely resisted by those who regularly benefited from the profligacy of the free market but the collision arising between the freeloaders and the regulators begs the question: what IS government's function if not to insure order, justice, and a level playing field? It has been so long since such practices prevailed, it will seem like an insurrection to have them suddenly imposed. Surely, they will argue tacitly, the accepted credo of America is that the Conniving Few are entitled to milk the Gullible Many once they pay for the privilege of acquiring an inside track. That is a cherished right that will die hard in America.
Malibu, California, USA - October 13, 2008
Nauseous Frame of Reference Within the Polity
To the Editor:
"We're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here." Doesn't anyone else feel the need to vomit over these words? It's not only that the sheep who baa them have no sense of the world beyond their own farmyard. Nor is it simply because the "them" to be fought is a scarecrow of the phony "war on terror." The words are nauseous because the sheep are too dim to grasp the arrogance and inhumanity of what they're saying: "We are going to tear your country apart and install ourselves in the debris because it might make us safer in our own country."
Lecce, Italy - October 6, 2008
Financial Bailout: Business as Usual
To the Editor:
With the latest elitist/corporate/government manipulation against the population, this financial crisis is one more method used to keep the power structure as it will always strive to be. The level of distraction assumes a new complexion, but pursuit of the goals of domination and control remain. I was under the impression these methods were only political, but the class struggle becomes more apparent with each new development, each new crisis. The disapproval of constituents with the House of Representatives gave pause, but the Senate passed it, (the bailout), so the House went along. I've read that it was passed with stringent oversight provisions, but I'm skeptical. This financial manipulation is nothing less than window dressing to keep the class struggle in the background. The debates between McPalin and O'Biden are sterile platitudes that are scripted by the spin doctors who direct the subject matter to the most popular concern of the day. The debate commission is charged with keeping our two-party system just that. The two-party system. Thus silencing voices of dissent. We need to think outside the box, or become the drones they want. Both candidates vote for the bailout, excuse me, "Rescue Package," did not object to granting "Prince Henry" extensive powers over the economy, both plan to keep a military presence in the Middle East, to direct the distribution of the resource produced in that part of the world (oil), they both represent corporate interests (Men behind the curtain), the whole issue is "Business as usual." I just don't see an appreciable difference. I'm an idealist.
I've been watching Zietgiest, interesting...................
Blue Lake, California, USA - October 14, 2008
Clarification, which Amusingly Proves the Points Made by Michael Barker in Imperial Media Manipulators
To the Editor:
In response to Michael Barker's "Imperial Media Manipulators" (Oct. 6, 2008) I would like to clarify the Center for Public Integrity's mission, financing, and editorial policies.
The Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on significant issues of public concern. The Center is non-partisan and non-advocacy and committed to transparent and comprehensive journalism both in the United States and around the world.
The Center has never endorsed, supported or advocated any legislation, candidate, political organization, or group and does not receive any financial support from governments, corporations, labor unions, anonymous donors and has no advertising. Center employees are prohibited from attending political events and are even prohibited from making political contributions. Unlike newspapers, the Center does not editorialize in its work, nor does it advocate any policy positions. While media ownership has become more concentrated and dependent primarily on corporate advertisers, the Center has sustained itself through individual donors and broad foundation support.
In a time where newspapers are laying off thousands of employees, foreign and domestic bureaus are being shuttered, and investigative journalists have become relegated primarily to large newsrooms, the Center's mission continues to focus on investigative journalism that is fact-based, non-partisan, committed to transparency and accountability of our public institutions, and financed without corporate funding or advertising.
The Center depends on foundations and individual donors, as Michael Barker pointed out, for much of its financial support, which are made public (http://www.publicintegrity.org/about/our_work/funders/) on our Web site. No individual donor, board member, or foundation has editorial involvement in Center stories and investigations. In Barker's piece he wrote, "most of the content of a typical mainstream newspaper is paid for, and effectively written, by and for corporations." Barker also wrote, "Therefore, it is vital that independent media that is paid for and written by progressive citizens..." The Center, which receives no funding from corporations, has been a resource for citizens interested in investigative journalism and provides the public with online resources on U.S. public records law, Freedom of Information Act request instructions, and our in-house muckraking publications. I have personally received hundreds of calls from citizens across the country who are interested in pursuing their own investigations and they call the Center knowing that it has a long history of independent investigative journalism.
Media Relations Manager
Center for Public Integrity
Washington, D.C., USA - October 6, 2008
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