Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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Blogs are debating the economy. That's like saying that amoebas are holding an intellectual summit in the Aberdeen waste water treatment facility. But cell division can be interpreted as the product of intelligent design.
The Bush idolizers claim that the economy is superbly strong, and they cite statistics, sort of, to support their claims. Progressives are troubled by the number of well-paying jobs lost, and by their replacement with jobs of lower pay and the absence of benefits, particularly healthcare insurance. They are troubled by the fact that a million children were added to the poverty rolls last year. They are troubled by the erosion of incomes by increased healthcare premiums and co-pays, by energy costs, by banking charges levied against them for borrowing money, by the increasing export of tech-related jobs to Asia and elsewhere.
The tightening restrictions of economic opportunity come at the same time as massive suspensions of civil and individual rights supposedly protected by the Constitution. The regressives would have us believe that life has never been better for the working people and their sacrifice of troops, buying power, and civil rights is all so that Big Brother Bush can protect us from harm. Progressives now have menaces to fight on two fronts: from the terrorists and from the Bush puppetry in behalf of global corporations that have no interest in America beyond the way it can be manipulated to enhance their bottom lines.
We have seen statistical charts that are thrown up like Rorschach blots to show how well the economy is doing. What they, in fact, show is an economy that is accommodating more poverty and is pushing the educated middle class into the ranks of service workers who need no advanced education or skills.
The tactic is the same one used to justify the invasion of Iraq. We were told that Saddam Hussein was furiously making Weapons of Mass Destruction while the Bush administration was strenuously suppressing the intelligence that challenged those claims. Bush found that the media-washed mentality of the American majority would see in the intelligence inkblots whatever they were told was there.
The same technique is being used with the economy. While people are struggling with healthcare costs, with rising tuition rates, with energy costs and food costs, we are shown inkblots as evidence of how great things are going.
About half the people who vote know an inkblot when they see one. They know a real statistic and fact when they see one.
We know a viable democracy when we see one. When a suicide bomber can blow away 30 people in a funeral procession, we are not likely to see it as a minor flaw in an otherwise pristine democracy. When we see people in primary goods-producing industries taking deep wage cuts and losing healthcare benefits, we are not likely to see it as the sign of a booming economy.
What we do see is Enron, Worldcom, Katrina, New Orleans, Jack Abramoff, and the handling of the Sago Mine disaster. This is the wonderful world that came with George Bush. You think it's wonderful? You're welcome to it. But pardon those of us who think your inkblots are obscene in light of our losses of equity and civil liberty.
We support the right of amoebas to have their colloquies. And our right to ignore them.