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Friday, June 10, 2011

A Frightening Perspective

June 10th, 2011

Augusto Pinochet and Henry Kissinger
Yesterday, Robert Parry wrote a piece drawing an analogy between the tactics of elites in Chile prior to the deposition of Salvador Allenede, particularly under the guidance of their U.S. sponsors, and the efforts we see today from groups like ALEC, The Koch enterprises and the GOP.

It really isn't as far-fetched as it should sound. There are dramatic similarities, for example, between El Mercurio and FOX News.

"... the concept remains the same: Control as much as possible what the population gets to see and hear; create chaos for your opponent’s government, economically and politically; blame if for the mess; and establish in the minds of the voters that their only way out is to submit, that the pain will stop once your side is back in power.

Today’s Republicans have fully embraced this concept of political warfare, whereas the Democrats generally have tried to play by the old rules, acquiescing when Republicans are in office with the goal of “making government work,” even if the Republicans are setting the agenda."

The strategy of the businesses and media groups in Chile was little different: 

Boehner - Koch Brothers (AP/Kathy Willens)
"It's Obama's fault" is the meme. Forget any of the major monetary policy shifts over the last decade or their long term consequences. Demand enough legislative compromises on the federal level to neuter any stimulative efforts. 

On the state level, simply refuse to spend monies allocated for infrastructure and job creation. Undermine reasonable efforts to plan and then use extreme rhetoric to reinforce fear. Psst... "secret Muslim."

All this serves to de-rationalize discussion. It could be argued that it is part of a pattern being orchestrated to make our suffering worse.We aren't even discussing the emergency measures we should be. Robert Reich reiterated the obvious first moves we need to make following the disastrous jobs report at the end of last month:

"Several steps need to be taken right away. Exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes for two years. Lend money to cash-starved state and local governments. Initiate a new WPA for the long-term unemployed. Amend bankruptcy laws to allow homeowners to include their prime residencies in personal bankruptcy (giving them more bargaining leverage with their lenders to renegotiate mortgage loans).

Above all: Washington needs to show Americans it’s taking seriously the ferocious problem of jobs and wages, and the trend back toward a double dip."

Of course we should be doing this. Conversely, there's not a chance. The Republicans seem to be too busy actively trying to collapse our country's credit rating. They may have already written their battle plan for portraying this as Obama's fault. After all, it doesn't seem to matter to them that the fiscal policies of a Banana Republic were wholly institutionalized here during the last administration or that this led to nearly total collapse 3 years ago. Doing anything to fix it might keep them out of power. 

The Republican plan increasingly seems to be one of sabotage against our own people and our economy. Then, they plan to spend the campaign cycle quoting Peggy Noonan and saying Obama "made it worse."

You have to admit, it all has a nostalgic ring to it. A snifter of Pisco, anyone?

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