Sunday, 15 May 2011


The NY Times’ editorial page encapsulated our political moment Friday in a depressingly precise way. There were four leaders under the masthead:

-Gutting Class Action: This one was about another 5-4 Supreme Court decision by the activist Roberts court in which the incomparable Antonin Scalia searched deep in the record of the first Continental Congress to justify siding with huge corporations that screw consumers. Scalia didn’t find anything credible, but that didn’t stop him and his four co-conspirators from allowing the telecom companies to ‘deliberately cheat large numbers of customers of small sums of money’, in the words of the California Supreme Court, whose decision they overturned. But states are no longer allowed to protect their citizens from the predator corporations under the brave, new Scalian regime.

-But whoa! Just the opposite is true when dealing with Obama’s health insurance reform. Mitt Romney in a Time Warp, editorial #2, is about the famous Romney flip-flop on that measure, inspired by Romney’s own Massachusetts experimentation in new health payment schemes. That was okay, says the presidential candidate, because Obama is presiding over a ‘federal power-grab’, not a noble, local effort to rationalize medical insurance.

-That Didn’t Take Long, editorial número tres, provides insight into why this apparent contradiction is so common nowadays. It’s about Meredith Atwell Baker, recently an appointed commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission and now, Ta-DUM! a well-compensated lobbyist for Comcast, the company that most benefited from her decisions. Expect no Teabagger rallies denouncing this money-grubbing snake for cashing in on her government service. Maybe she will run for elective office soon and benefit from large, secret corporate contributions made possible by earlier court decisions.

And finally, to demonstrate how ignorance is being hard-wired into our system for future generations, we have editorial #4, Scholastic’s Big Coal Mistake. This outlines the sadly not-incredible story of how a coal industry trade association inserted its propaganda into widely used children’s educational material. Given the creeping privatization of public education promoted by both sides of the Republicrat biopoly, we can expect much more of this corporate brainwashing to enter the nation’s classrooms so that the outrages detailed in editorials #1, #2 and #3 are not identified as such.

On the very same page, the Times was also slammed by a reader for using the term ‘agonizing decision’ to describe the moment in which one of the culprits in the Galleon insider-trading fraud had to decide whether to take a huge bribe or not. The writer very fairly said ‘agonizing decisions’ are when you have to decide which of your children gets new clothes for school or which bill gets paid out of your paltry unemployment check.

To the Times’ credit, they printed this critical letter. That suggests that our democracy survives, for now. I cannot link to any of these pieces, however, since the newspaper no longer allows free electronic access to its material.

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