Some thoughts about national priorities

Mike Lofgren, author of The Party Is Over

During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there.

At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country’s intelligence.

Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people.

During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields.  This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined.  A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text.  They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life.

via Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State | Blog, Perspectives | BillMoyers.com.

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Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter With Kansas?

“Inequality” is an inadequate word for the Big Smashup, but we need some term to describe all the things that have gone to make the lives of the rich so superlative and the lives of people who work so shitty and so precarious.

It is visible in the ever-rising cost of healthcare and college, in the deindustrialization of the Midwest and the ballooning of Wall Street, in the power of lobbying, in the dot-com bubble, in the housing bubble, in the commodities bubble.

It was made possible by the signal political events of our time: the collapse of the New Deal coalition; the decline of labor; the infernal populism of the New Right; the fall of antitrust and the triumph of deregulation; the rise of Ronald Reagan, and after him Newt Gingrich, and after him George W. Bush, and after him the Tea Party, all of them bringing their pet tax cuts with them to Washington.

The word is a polite one, but “inequality” is what we say when we mean to describe the ruined downtown of your city, or your constant fear that the next round of layoffs will include you, or the impeccable air conditioning of your boss’s McMansion, or the way you had to declare bankruptcy when your child got sick.  It is a pleasant-sounding euphemism for the Appalachification of our world.  “The defining challenge of our time”?: Oh, yes.

via Paul Krugman won’t save us: We need a new conversation about inequality – Salon.com.

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One Response to “Some thoughts about national priorities”

  1. thetinfoilhatsociety Says:

    This is always what happens at the end of empire; the center bleeds the periphery dry until there’s no periphery to bleed, then it contracts and begins again. We’re just in the end, though the beginning of the end.

    Like

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