(Part I of III)
There must be something wrong, with me. Every time I listen to the news or read a newspaper, I get angrier. And I do read respectable establishment papers, not trash. I even watch ‘hallmark’ movies on the TV, to feel good. This time I was ticked off by a headline in The NYTimes (12/13/04). The Pentagon will use deception and misinformation to fight the enemy! This was not one of Rumsfeld’s eyewash comments. It was serious, told with a straight face. Wait a minute, I shouted, when did the Pentagon, the CIA, the White House ever tell the truth? Washington’s conspiracies against regimes which did not have the American seal of approval abound. This is common knowledge, though it may be a secret to those inside the Washington beltway.
It took half a century for the CIA to admit overthrowing the Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953. It was in 1973 that the CIA was involved in the overthrow of Allende. The Chileans are still reckoning with the dead from the coup and Pinochet at 89 is still fighting the indictment and his death. When would Washington plead guilty to the installation of the colonels in 1967 in Greece, its conspiracy to partition Cyprus in 1974, and the arm-twisting and threats to get the accession talks for Turkey started (set for 10/3/05), against the wishes of of most EU citizens? I will not hold my breath. When ‘declassified’ information is out, the juicy parts are blotted out for ‘national security reasons’. It is not possible for the White House to come out clean. It is against the nature of imperial power.
Will the White House tell us what it plans to do in the next four years, at home? An economic crisis is on the horizon, with catastrophic consequences for ordinary men and women. The Economic Policy Institute projects the national debt by 2014 to be about 64% of the GDP. There will be no money for social programs (welfare, education, social security, health), the government outlays since the collapse of private capitalism in the 1930s. The depression, WWII, and the Cold War kept these social programs alive to keep the peace at home, as a safety net against the economic cycles of a free market and the threat of communism. Production and consumption, welfarism and militarism were the hallmarks of the American economic miracle during the Cold War. Wages kept pace with consumerist needs, with obsene accumulation of wealth for the few (much of it from the government trough) and working men and women falling through the cracks of competitive capitalism, or bailed out with hand-outs (from the same government trough), all coming from taxes!
The economy began to stagnate (stagflation) in the 1970s. Militarism and welfarism had its toll. The consensus of government playing a positive role for needy people fell apart. Needy corporations still get their largess. Wages no longer kept up with the consumerist culture, the lifestyle of the late 19th and first half of the 20th Centuries. But, without consumption there is no production. Borrowing money or spending money we do not have is the alternative, with plastic cards. We spend now, like drunken sailors, we pay later. But, for how long?
Corporate CEOs, to keep up with their greed, took the lion’s share of the profits by tightening the corporate belt, that is, firing workers, forcing other workers to work harder and longer hours, outsourcing, and migrating to greener pastures overseas for cheap labor. This required two paychecks for families to keep up with rising costs in basic necessities, education, and having a life. Wages, however, did not keep up with the consumerist appetites, aroused by Madison Avenue ads, for instant gratification. Bankruptcy was an option, with 80% of business filing for Chapter 11 by the second year of their creation. Some consumers do it differently. They drink, do drugs, or steal. They are down and out. Most people borrow more money to pay for previous loans, invest, or have a life. The debts pile up.
Professor, Critical Theory and Geopolitics
Department of Political Science
The Wm Paterson University, NJ 07474