Wednesday, December 27, 2017

'Truth crushed to the earth will rise again'

Time Carrying Truth, by Laurent Cars (Metropolitan Museum of Art)

     Christmas 2017 is in the can, another heirloom ornament to be carefully boxed up and exiled into the attic for another 50 weeks.
     Did you have a good one? We did the traditional Jew 2-Step: Chinese food and a movie—"Call Me By Your Name," not my pick; imagine a gay Woody Allen movie without the witty dialogue. My younger son summed up the problem most succinctly: "They weren't people." My assessment comes in second: "It made 'Toy Story' seem like a documentary.'"
     Over now. On to the obligatory Year in Review. Though I always chafe at that, because it implies our years are memorable, and they're not. Before parading by the lowlights of 2017, let's put it aside and consider, oh, 2007.
     Just 10 years ago. George W. Bush was president. Can you remember a single event from that year? Not in your own life, not little Aiden being born, but something from the larger world? Let's see ... White Sox won the World Series in 2005 ... that's close. Obama was elected in 2008, closer still... Hmm, in 2007 ... ahhh, nope, can't do it.
     Can you?
     Cheating, through the wonder of the Internet, I plug in "noteworthy News Events of 2007" and get Time's Top 10 stories, starting unpromising with 1. "Transition in Pakistan."
     I'm sure a big deal in Pakistan; here, not so much.
     Of the 10, only two seem at all significant today: the debut of the iPhone, and the Virginia Tech shooting. The rest? Recall of Chinese Toys? Protests in Burma?
      See that's the problem. You need perspective to know what developments will actually resonate over the years. Of course 2017 will be remembered as Donald Trump's first year in office, as well as, maybe, for the carnival of revelations of heretofore hidden instances of sexual harassment. I'm not convinced that the second isn't a mania, a fad like goldfish swallowing, instead of an actual shift in society's frequently-dismissive treatment of women. Being a sexual predator sure doesn't seem a bar to the Oval Office.

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  1. I note that your brief review of "Call Me By Your Name" was edited out of the Sun-Times version of this post. Any reason for that?

    1. Space. The print newspaper has to fit within a finite space. Not an issue online. I do the editing myself.

  2. I think you have more hope than me. From much of what I have been reading it will take years to reduce what this administration has done in one year.

  3. What this administration has done hardly compares to things like the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq. As far as the tax bill painting it as taking poor people's money and giving to the rich is not accurate. The money being given back to the rich was theirs to begin with. They just won't be paying it in as taxes. This bill does not increase taxes on the poor to give money to the rich. That's simply false

    1. You are correct. No one will be reaching into the middle class pockets and pulling money out and giving it to the rich.

      But then that's a child's image of how the system works.

      Everything is interconnected. There is no better place than the U.S. in the history of the earth to be rich. The benefits of being rich are limitless. Rather than give back to the society that makes them wealthier than sultans, the wealthy class now get more, and what once went to support a social safety net for the least among us has been diminished. The only way to pay for the tax cut is by gutting Social Security and Medicare, two programs that much of America's elderly underclass depend on for survival.

      Further - Over 40 years of supply side, trickle down economics have proved that increasing the wealth of the rich does not trickle down to the rest of us. It does not create jobs. The very people who originally created supply side economics now confess it has not worked. But the philosophy provides a rationale for greed, and has thus been repeated so often and so vigorously that the gullible have accepted it. It merely serves to increase income inequity, the scourge of our times.

      So yes - a gigantic tax cut for the wealthy does directly affect the poor, even if a person who benefits from it tells you otherwise. Keep an eye out over the next few years about infirm elderly working until they drop or living in the streets. Once Social Security and Medicare are inevitably gutted, the reality is inescapable.

      The pleasures of the rich are built upon the tears of the poor.

    2. FME --

      I removed your second comment because in addition to your usual mean-spirited wrongness, it ended on a rude note. If you feel ill-used, you're welcome to take your business elsewhere. I know I would welcome your absence, and not because I can't handle your stark truths, as you will no doubt cast it, but because it is dispiriting to see someone who both has clear intelligence and is yet so warped.

  4. Right, FME: "They just won't be paying it in as taxes." Which would be fine with me were there a snowball's chance in hell of their paying it in job creation. And the rich might not actually be sticking their perfumed fingers in the poor's dingy pockets, but the result will be the same if so-called entitlements are reduced for the needy, the disabled and the elderly, while the rich get to keep their cash for deposit in foreign banks, speculation in bitcoins or investment in casinos and golf courses.


    1. Plus, "job creation" is another smoke and mirrors, bullshit myth. The wealthy aren't going to create new jobs because there's no market for new products. We already have all the do-dads and geegaws known to man. Why produce a new unprofitable product? The wealthy are businessmen, not idiots. Unemployment is sitting at 4.1% right now. That's pretty damn good. The best we can hope for is to maintain. Don't hold your breath waiting for those new jobs.

    2. Speaking in monetary terms, the expected consequence of adding stimulus to a booming economy is inflation, which takes a proportionally larger bite out of the poor. The price of potatoes is unlikely to figure largely in the life of the Trumps pf the world. Lots of consequences for this, seen and unseen.

  5. I'd like to think the millionaires that will now get a few extra hundred grand will do something besides pile it into the already burgeoning counting room, but won't be the case. Once again, if they already have enough to buy everything they want, how is giving them more moving the dial of economic expansion?

  6. One thing Trump is especially good at is turning his sins into successful attacks against his adversaries. He lied his way into office while accusing his opponents of lying and Wall Street corruption. He didn't drain the swamp, he filled it while giving its occupants huge tax breaks. He claimed not to benefit, but will reap hundreds of millions for himself. He continues to complain about vast comspiricies based on lies, yet calls the fact-checking media "fake news". His fans love this reality TV show, including the blatent racism at its heart.

    Next year will be more or less the same. The Republicans decided to go all in with Trump and their fate will be tied to his actions. I don't think people care about the truth anymore, they just want to live in their own echo chambers, hearing what they want to believe. The train wreak will continue, and I don't know what can happen to swing the pendulum back from this descent into madness.


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