Hell in a handbasket (special Sunday post)

whatever a handbasket is, or why going to hell in it is notable, this is proof that it is happening.

Where once a president, seeking re-election, said:

This Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent….

Of course we will provide useful work for the needy unemployed; we prefer useful work to the pauperism of a dole.

Here and now I want to make myself clear about those who disparage their fellow citizens on the relief rolls. They say that those on relief are not merely jobless—that they are worthless. Their solution for the relief problem is to end relief—to purge the rolls by starvation. To use the language of the stock broker, our needy unemployed would be cared for when, as, and if some fairy godmother should happen on the scene.

You and I will continue to refuse to accept that estimate of our unemployed fellow Americans. Your Government is still on the same side of the street with the Good Samaritan and not with those who pass by on the other side.

Again—what of our objectives?

Of course we will continue our efforts for young men and women so that they may obtain an education and an opportunity to put it to use. Of course we will continue our help for the crippled, for the blind, for the mothers, our insurance for the unemployed, our security for the aged. Of course we will continue to protect the consumer against unnecessary price spreads, against the costs that are added by monopoly and speculation. We will continue our successful efforts to increase his purchasing power and to keep it constant.

For these things, too, and for a multitude of others like them, we have only just begun to fight

it is now reported that

A wide range of economists say the administration should call for a new round of stimulus spending, as prescribed by mainstream economic theory, to create jobs and promote growth. It is clear that the House would never pass such a plan….

A series of departures has left few economists among Mr. Obama’s senior advisers. Several of his political advisers are skeptical about the merits of stimulus spending, and they are certain about the politics: voters do not like it.

So there you are.

Have a nice day.

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7 thoughts on “Hell in a handbasket (special Sunday post)

  1. What a wonderful day.

    Nobody is spending money. The engine of our economy, the middle class, is fast becoming extinct. Incomes of the wealthy, along with corporate profits, disappear in the dark of night, electronically spirited away to the friendly tax confines of the Caribbean.

    We’re no longer a haven of freedom and opportunity for all citizens. In all likelihood we’ve become the single most politically corrupt nation on the planet. Our sheer size dictates that but the fact that no federal officeholder can get elected without significant support from the financial, healthcare and defense sectors leaves no doubt that democracy is on life support.

  2. Barth

    From where I s it, it is not “our sheer size” so much as the refusal to enact a reasonable way to finance political campaigns in a manner which would not run into the Buckley v Valeo and now Citizens Union roadblocks. A system of public funding at levels which would make it foolish to try to raise more oneself might work, but there is really no will and no public interest in the subject.

    In the end, we get the government we deserve by our lack of attention to the way it operates. It cannot be just that people who scribble in blogs care enough. A country that finds Dancing with the Stars more important than how we elect people will never move forward.

    1. …reasonable way

      We can start cleaning up the mess by undoing the lie of what currently passes for a citizen. It’s highly doubtful that this country will ever change until that fundamental definition gets fixed. Having such a basic term so falsely defined is a black hole of mischief.

      And I’ll be honest about how I view this. I think it was with treasonous intent the term was ever modified. For sure the modification was and is a levying of war against the majority of Americans. It may not be a war in the customary sense but it’s a war just the same. Because it’s waged in a courtroom doesn’t alter its character. It’s a contest with extreme implications for the winners and losers.

  3. Barth

    What do you mean by this? Surely you are not objecting to the Fourteenth Amendment’s definition of a citizen as applying to “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof”? Tracing citizenship by reference to the birthplace or nationality of one or both of the parents would have been then a virtual impossibilty, and still today a mess, to say the least.

    By the way, before the 14th Amendment was enacted in 1868, citizenship was largely an issue for each state, with it simply assumed that a citizen of one of the states or territories was also a citizen of the United States.

    1. I am referring to the ‘corporate’ citizen being a falsification of the base term ‘citizen’. ‘Corporate’ and ‘citizen’ implies a thoroughly illogical and a historically very tortured association. As is often done in law or by lawyers, the implied connection is an invention of persons seeking to craft an idea out of nothing with a specific purpose in mind.

      It’s becoming awfully common to encounter this not so subtle distortion of language and ideas. Things that may have once been black and white are now a massive field of gray. Little wonder our choices are so poor.

  4. Barth

    Nobody said that corporations were citizens. They are “persons” under the law, meaning they can borrow money, buy property and sue and be sued. just as you and me. But they are not citizens with, say the right to vote.

    You think otherwise because of the overheated rhetoric about Citizens United. The point the Court was making was that corporations are made up of people who have Amendment rights, even to speak collectively. I have no quarrel with that: If MoveOn.com wants to speak on behalf of its members, or a labor union seeks to do so, their voice will have more weight than the comments of just one or two of us.

    The problem with Citizens United, just as with Buckley v Valeo way back when, is that it equates political contributions with free speech. The expenditure of money is not free speech; statements are. If the First Amendment implicates laws that control the expenditure of money, I should be allowed to buy whatever I want and can pay for, whether it is contraband or otherwise illegal or not. That is clearly not the law.

    Hence, the First Amendment should never have been read to limit Congress as to what laws it could pass to regulate campaign financing. Citizens United did not invent this absurd idea—which I quite agree has put our democracy on life support—but it made a bad situation (arising out of Valeo striking down many of the post Watergate reforms Congress tried to make law) much worse.

    My attempt to discuss all of this comes about midway in this long rant, http://edsbarth.blogspot.com/2010/01/first-365-days.html, written the week Citizens United was decided.

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