Day 51

This administration is doing everything we can to end the stalemate in an efficient way. We’re making the right decisions to bring the solution to an end.

DC 2001

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A society worth saving?

You’ve heard about the Walmart debacle in New York where a worker was trampled to his deth by shoppers coming for their silly specials.

My friend Michael Stickings has some good commentary on the matter.

It’s a horrible story, obviously. And, to me, it’s even worse when it’s juxtaposed with the recent horrific events in Mumbai. Not because, in and of itself, it’s worse than the attacks in Mumbai, and certainly not because the Wal-Mart killers are worse than the Mumbai killers, but because while there is serious shit going on in the world, both serious violence and serious suffering, serious shit that deserves our serious attention and our serious efforts to fix the problems that cause it, the Wal-Mart incident, an incident of lethal violence, however unintentional, was, at its core, a display of disgusting, out-of-control greed. It’s like, with all the serious shit going on in the world, of which the attacks in Mumbai are a stark, news-dominating example, all these pathetic people care about is themselves — about consuming more and more and more, about filling up their meaningless lives with material goods, with no apparent concern for others beyond their narrow, self-absorbed existences.

And don’t think it was just the 2,000 or so people who lined up before 5 am at that particular Wal-Mart. There are countless more just like them, brutally rapacious and more than willing to storm and trample and kill in search of that must-have sale item, or whatever it is they need, or have been told they need, whatever it is they think will make them happy, common decency and everyone else be damned.

Rewriting history

The efforts to disassociate Bush from conservatism continue.  It will fail.  As Yglesias observes:

Part of the effort to pull the wagon of conservatism out of the ditch into which Bush piloted the country is going to be an effort to deny that George W. Bush was a real conservative. In reality, Bushism should be understood as the highest form of conservatism. In particular, the High Bushist years of 2001-2006 represent the only time that the post-war conservative movement has had total control over the federal government. If the practical consequences of pre-Bush conservatism were less disastrous, that’s largely because conservative political power was more constrained in those earlier eras.

Meanwhile, it’s worth recalling that at the peak of his political power, when Bush was making his most disastrous decisions, conservatives not only thought he was a good president, but a great one. There was practically a line around the block to write paens to his genius.

Mixed blessings

Being in government isn’t always a happy time, as opposition parties in Canada are learning.  Ian at FDL observes:

While Americans are enjoying their tryptophan comas, up in the Great White North, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has presented the opposition parties with a choice: castration or being in charge during the worst recession since World War II.

The Conservatives have presented a budget which:

1) has no fiscal stimulus to help the economy;
2) gets rid of public financing for political parties, since Conservatives don’t need it and the other parties do; and,
3) which forbids public sector unions to strike for 3 years while they “reform”, (read, get rid of) pay equity.

Harper figures this is a no lose bet for him.  If the other parties bring him down, well, they get to be in charge during the upcoming recession, which will do nothing for their popularity.  If they don’t bring him down, he institutionalizes the Conservative fund raising advantage and gets to break the public sector unions.  Rich people and corporations love giving money to folks like Harper who keep cutting their taxes, gutting regulations and letting foreigners make them rich by buying out their firms then moving the jobs and headquarters to other countries.