Bob Herbert’s final column for the New York Times is a scathing rebuke of the decline of America at the hands of the right and the left. Herbert writes:
The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely. (par. 4)
Increasingly, it does seem that we have lost our way as a nation. I don’t believe that the nation is full of deluded citizens who want to shitcan our great nation, but there are the powerful elites and their corporate backers who are engaging in a money grab while the nation is distracted by ideological pedantry. There are bigger issues that need to be dealt with and gutting insignificant-by-cost social services is not the answer. The wealthy and corporations enjoy the benefits of a powerful American nation, and they should pay their fair share of the costs that maintain our country and its place in the world (read about this here). Granted, the wealthy and corporations with the advent of globalization are more capable than ever to easily transition their wealth and holdings to other places. Perhaps they don’t need America as much as American needs them, and it may be that they realize that. However, there are many of us who are not wealthy and who are steadily losing any chance of a life that can support a family and an enriched existence. It is up to us, regardless of political alignment, to realize the big picture problem of inequality in America and do something about it that transcends ideological differences. I agree with Herbert’s conclusion to “Losing Our Way”:
Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.
New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed. (par. 13-14)
Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone on the political horizon capable of leading America into a future where its people earn the benefits that they deserve. The outlook seems as bleak as the rock-tar covered scene out my office window at the Kent State library.
via Losing Our Way – NYTimes.com.
Now that the Supreme Court has unleashed the powers of corporate influence in American politics and apparently corporations such as G.E. pay little to no taxes, it seems that corporations have successfully won representation without taxation! This sounds like something straight out of Pohl and Kornbluth’s The Space Merchants.
Check out G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether – NYTimes.com and Wonkette’s coverage here.
According to PC World, the House subcommittee of corporate lap dogs has voted to scrap the FCC’s net neutrality rules:
A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee has voted in favor of a resolution to throw out the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s recently adopted net neutrality rules.
The communications subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 15-8 along party lines for a resolution of disapproval that would overturn the FCC’s rules. Those rules would prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic.
The resolution would also prohibit the FCC from re-attempting to create similar net neutrality rules.
Welcome to the future: Big win for corporations that control access to the Internet, and huge loss for consumers who will ultimately pay much more than they are now to access different content and resources online. Will legislation turn the tide back in favor of the people?
House subcommittee votes to kill net neutrality via Slashdot.
Another interesting aspect of AVP2 Requiem is the appearance of the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files. Okay, so the character is called Colonel Stevens, and he’s played by Robert Joy and not William B. Davis. However, he serves a similarly shady function within the AVP2 narrative. This American government/military official donning a black suit instead of uniform, orders the nuclear strike on the small town Alien infestation. Additionally, after the survivors make it out of the blast zone, they are intercepted by Special Forces members, who disarm them of the Predator energy weapon. This weapon in turn is then given by Col. Stevens to Ms. Yutani (Françoise Yip). This is an interesting development, because it serves to strengthen the bonds between government and corporate bodies. As you may know, Yutani is the other half of Weyland-Yutani, the mega-corporation from the original Alien and Aliens films (the Weyland aspect of the corporate puzzle is explained in AVP with the appearance of Charles Bishop Weyland played by Lance Henriksen). AVP2 does not go into the reasons why a government official would give otherworldly technology to a corporation, and my assumption is that this is a retelling and continuation of Cold War tropes embedded in Eisenhower’s military-industrial complex. Perhaps this signifies the hard currency payback by the government for its wholesale purchase by corporate interests in the here-and-now.
More AVP2 commentary on Dynamic Subspace here and here.