Monday, October 15, 2007

UPDATES REGARDING CLASS WARFARE AND "THE WAR"

(Cave painting discovered this week at Djade al-Mughara, a Neolihic site northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo, believed to have been painted 11,000 years ago)

There's a lot of us, hopefully a critical mass, talking and writing almost collaboratively about similar topics, some of which I've created posts for on this blog from my own experience. I'm now going to link y'all out to some of these tasty essays.

First, I want to direct your attention to a recent article from the AFL-CIO by Tula Connell titled U.S. Income Inequality Is Growing. And It's Not A Temporary Blip. This article has some excellent charts and figures demonstrating our slide into Rich-Poor Nationhood, worth copying and saving.

It quotes from Center for Economic and Policy Research Economist Heather Boushey: "Boushey notes the corporate tax burden of top earners has declined by two-thirds since 1962, even as most of us are working an average 13.3 weeks more per year compared with the previous generation. Yet, as the CEPR study shows, these longer hours aren’t benefiting millions of working people.

"Boushey also points out why most of us feel a disconnect between claims that we are living in a sound economy and our own paycheck-to-paycheck reality. When mainstream media describes the economy, two contradictory points are made: How rich we are as a nation and how we as a nation are unable to afford a robust safety net.

"Reconciling these two themes, says Boushey, is the fact that the nation’s growing economic benefits have been funneled to a small group of the already wealthy, depleting the nation’s tax base and effectively defunding programs such as those that would make a difference for the working poor. When we hear the government can’t 'afford' such programs, Boushey says, what that translates to is: Let the wealthy take a bigger piece of the pie while telling the rest of us that’s the way it is."

The reality is on the bumper sticker of my van which states "We all do better when we all do better" -- originally a quote from Senator Paul Wellstone.

Just breaking is a story from the London Financial Times, We Are Overpaid, Say U.S. Executives, which states "Four out of six chief executives or company presidents polled by the National Association of Corporate Directors in July and August said the compensation of top executives was high relative to their performance. Nearly 60 per cent of the directors polled by the NACD said the reason for excessive pay packages was the absence of objective ways to measure an executive’s performance. Nearly half criticised the use of options and equity awards that reward executives when the company’s share price goes up, rather than when its operations improve."

In another article referencing class, Kos posts today about Why Republicans Oppose SCHIP Expansion. He quotes from Bill Kristol back in 1993, when "the Clintons prepared to roll out their new universal healthcare plan, ...Kristol wrote a memo to fellow conservatives and Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill warning them that their goal must be to 'kill,' not amend, the Clinton plan. 'Healthcare,' Kristol wrote, 'is not, in fact, just another Democratic initiative ... . It will revive the reputation of the ... Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests.'" (Emphasis mine.)

Which becomes even more significant when you know that most working class people mistakely believe they are middle class, indicated earlier on this blog.

As Kos concludes "Democrats can't be seen as helping the middle class. They'll actually agree to help Democrats help the lower class (the Bush position), since that helps the GOP brand Democrats as the party of welfare queens and brown people. But anything that helps the middle class (often perceived as 'white')? Unacceptable and must be opposed at all costs." Check it out.

Two days ago, Ian Welsh at FireDogLake also wrote brilliantly about class (suddenly, the topic is everywhere -- can we finally be ready to discuss this in America?) in The Underclass. He addresses "what makes you poor and keeps you poor": The Parents Argument and the Education Argument, The Modeling and the “Right Crowd” Argument, The Credit Argument, and what he calls "the elephant in the room", Racism. Yeah, sister.

Digby at Hullaballoo in her post titled Spitting on the Troops points out ways that the Right is who is currently "spitting on the troops", including denying the reality of PTSD and blaming it on "The liberal mindset is what causes PTSD. Boys being raised to men without a strong male role model, and having a false sense of what life is about is causing our young men to go to war and come home freaked out." Ah, yes, we don't have quite enough masculinity YET in our camouflage-wearing, boy-obsessed culture.

Digby replies to this absurdity by quoting from "The War", a quote which Shadocat already referenced in one of her comments on this blog, and which Jesse Wendel has eloquently spoken to dealing with firsthand also on this blog: "One out of four Army men evacuated for medical reasons in Europe and the Pacific suffered from neuro-psychiatric disorders. There were many names for it – 'shell shock,' 'battle fatigue,' 'combat exhaustion.' The office of the U.S. surgeon general sent Dwight D. Eisenhower a study by two soldier-psychiatrists that found 'there is no such thing as ‘getting used to combat.’ … Each moment … imposes a strain so great that men will break down in direct relation to the intensity and duration of their exposure. Psychiatric casualties are as inevitable as gunshot and shrapnel wounds.' Army planners determined that the average soldier could withstand no more than 240 days of combat without going mad. By that time, the average soldier was probably dead or wounded."

Digby says "I don't think all those soldiers in WWII had liberal single mothers who didn't know how to raise proper children, do you?"

Hubris Sonic replies to the "fake PTSD" smear at Group News Blog with his article Camp Followers and PTSD Fakers. Good reads, both of these articles. From people who know that compassion has a well-known liberal slant.

And, there's more discussion going on over at Maoist Orange Cake with Shadocat's personal essay about Living Uninsured.

In a post that addresses both class and "The War", Tula Connell (again -- third time I've referred you to one of her articles recently, remember that name) at FireDogLake in her post Stick Figures Don't Make Waves outlines some of the many problems with Burns' documentary scope, including its failure to mention FDR's Second Bill of Rights, which wanted to guarantee for all Americans:
A job with a living wage.
Freedom from unfair competition and monopolies.
Homeownership.
Medical care.
Education.
Recreation.


The silencing of "The Greatest Generation" was a temporary means to damming this current, but their children absorbed it through our placentas, it seems like. And the wheel is about to hit the road again, I believe, as those who are now adolescents and pre-teens face realities that have nothing to do with sex or personal style. Wish I could hit the streets with 'em.

(Leafcutter ant.)

Lastly, in a review of Paul Krugman's book "The Conscience of a Liberal" by Andrew Leonard at Salon.com, he says "its most important message is that, after years of Republican ascendancy accompanied by rapidly growing economic inequality in the United States, the point at which the pendulum finally starts swinging in the other direction has arrived. The year 2006 was no blip, argues Krugman, but the turning of the tide....It's a good time to be a liberal."

6 comments:

liza said...

Do you know who Eisenhower's soldier-psychiatrists were?

shadocat said...

Maggie-

This morning I watched Hilary
Clinton on "The View"...she stated one of her goals as president would be to work on expanding the "middle class"...

Maggie Jochild said...

I don't know, Liza, but that's a damned good question. Do you have any idea, or hints?

On History Detectives' final episode tonight, they were chasing minutes from an early meeting of scientists who worked on the A-bomb, an ethics group that eventually led to the Atomic Energy Commission being separated from the military. Seems like every name I heard was Jewish. At any rate, one group doing the work of the Manhattan Project in Chicago wrote a detailed prospectus for the atomic bomb to be tested publicly, in full view of Japan, so the Japanese government would have knowledge of it and have the choice of deciding to surrender. Their proposal was held back at the lower levels of the military and never submitted to President Truman. Military leaders (some of them, anyway) WANTED to drop the bomb. And there it was, right on TV.

I'm glad Hillary is using some smart rhetoric, but Hillary's version of the middle class I'm afraid would not be my own.

kat said...

I think the class discussion is getting a lot more attention recently. I hope that at least some of it is helpful.

Boyfriend found a really interesting column yesterday. It's by the man who coined the term "meritocracy."
What I didn't know was that he fist used it in his book "The Rise of the Meritocracy," which is similar to "1984" in tone and subject.

The book was written in 1958, and Michael Young, the author, now seems to regret ever introducing the world to his concept.

The article was written in 2001 for the Guardian, the british paper, so it relates mostly to the Blair government. The issues seem to apply here, though, too.

I hope that the link works, or else I'll have to give that newfangled html thingy a try....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,514207,00.html

kat said...

argh....
can't get the html to work.

I can't get all the code to sit on one line, no matter what I do....
help?

shadocat said...

Hey I just noticed---I'm a label! Cool.

Gator, I started my own blog, purely for practice purposes. I'm hoping to work on some of the problems I'm having with posting pix, html and so forth there. If I ever do go "public" with the thing, I'll let y'all know...