Image: Heronymus Bosch, Hell, Courtesy of Radio Netherlands
KRUGMAN: I‘ve got a bad feeling about this, as do a number of people.
I was just reading testimony from Adam Posen, who‘s our leading expert on Japan. He said, you know, we are—we‘re moving right in the track of the Japanese during the 1990s, propping up zombie banks, just not doing resolution. Keith Olbermann Interviews Paul Krugman, Countdown, 2-25-09
As Obama sets off on a hazardous political journey – seeking national health insurance, a “greener” economy, educational and infrastructure investments, and higher taxes on the rich – he can expect continued hostility from most of the American news media, both on the right and in the mainstream. That may be a structural problem that could prove fatal for the President’s goals.
Robert Parry, Consortium News, 2-28-09
The survival of the human species is by no means an obvious thing. There are very severe threats to survival. Noam Chomsky, Raw Story, 2-27-09
The Year of Changing Dangerously: Krugman & Parry on the Danger to the Republic, Chomsky on the Threat to the Future of the Species
By Richard Power
This year is a critical one, both for the republic and for the planet as a whole.
In recent days, three worthy men shared important insights on our present circumstances and the road ahead, since you may easily have missed them, and it is unlikely you will see them presented as of one cloth, and I have woven them together for you in this post.
Concerning our present circumstances, two issues of great concern are 1) whether or not the Obama-Biden administration has chosen the right approach to the insolvency of our financial institutions, and 2) the extent to which the US mainstream news media will continue to shill for narrow special interests rather than offering the views of leading economists, scientists and other subject matter experts on the economic crisis, the energy crisis, the healthcare crisis, and the climate crisis.
In regard to the financial crisis, the approach of the Obama-Biden administration seems, so far, to lack clarity and force, unlike both the stimulus package and the budget proposal which are bold steps forward.
As Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner, Princeton professor, and New York Times columnist, explained in a recent interview with Keith Olbermann:
OLBERMANN: . to TARP and the president last night, he said it‘s going to be administered differently going forward. Does that mean—is that code for nationalization of the banks eventually sooner or later?
KRUGMAN: Not if you listen to what Ben Bernanke said in his congressional testimony, not if you looked at the interview that Tim Geithner, the treasury secretary, just did. I‘ve got a bad feeling about this, as do a number of people.
I was just reading testimony from Adam Posen, who‘s our leading expert on Japan. He said, you know, we are—we‘re moving right in the track of the Japanese during the 1990s, propping up zombie banks, just not doing resolution.
There‘s a—I was very happy with the president‘s speech. The actual implementation on financial policy looks like the kind of failure of nerve.
OLBERMANN: Are you seeing a coordinated strategy in this on how to handle the economic crisis? Is there a grand plan at this point?
KRUGMAN: There is—no. I mean, there is good stuff. The stimulus is good, it should be bigger, but it‘s good. On the banks, I really can‘t see. There really seems to be, we are going to put in some more money, we‘re going to, you know, say stern things to the bankers about how they should behave better, but if there is a strategy there, it‘s continuing to be a mystery to me and to everybody I talk to. Keith Olbermann Interviews Paul Krugman, Countdown, 2-25-09
In regard to the role that the US mainstream news media will play in the great struggles throughout the rest of this year, Robert Parry of Consortiumnews frames the problem well:
In a startling ambitious budget message, President Barack Obama has thrown down the gauntlet to the American Right not only by tying the current economic crisis to the recklessness of the past eight years under George W. Bush but by tracing it back further to the anti-regulatory, anti-labor and anti-government policies of Ronald Reagan. ...
To the American Right, those are fighting words, and leading right-wingers have already trotted out their curious charge of “class warfare,” an ironic message given the fact that the growing disparity in American wealth reveals that “class warfare” has long been at the heart of Reagan-Bush policies – and the rich are winning.
Yet, while it may be audacious for the young President to take on the well-entrenched forces of reaction in Washington, there is another reason for Obama and his supporters to worry. The national news media remains largely enthralled by the pro-Republican rules of the past three decades. ...
As Obama sets off on a hazardous political journey – seeking national health insurance, a “greener” economy, educational and infrastructure investments, and higher taxes on the rich – he can expect continued hostility from most of the American news media, both on the right and in the mainstream.
That may be a structural problem that could prove fatal for the President’s goals.
Robert Parry, Consortium News, 2-28-09
(BTW, Parry, a great resource over the dark years (2001-2008) is doing a terrific job scouting ahead for ambushes, see also Obama's 'Seven Days in May' Moment)
In regard to the survivability of the species, the incomparable and indomitable Noam Chomsky, speaking in an extraordinary You Tube post from his office at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently articulated the big picture themes that have dominated Words of Power commentary over these last few years:
"What I mean by that is pretty straightforward," said Chomsky. "Survival is a word we all understand. I'd like to know whether there's going to be a world -- a decent world -- where, say, my grandchildren can live. That's the question of survival. The survival of the human species is by no means an obvious thing. There are very severe threats to survival. We learn about them all the time. The threat of environmental destruction is much too real to put to the side. The threat of destruction by weapons of mass destruction -- that has come very close many times. We just learned at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, a terminal nuclear war was averted by one word by one submarine commander who countermanded the order to send off nuclear missiles. ... "Across the board, the choice of hegemony or survival is one that we must face if we care about our grandchildren," he concludes. Raw Story, 2-27-09
[NOTE: If you receive Words of Power via the free e-mail subscription, you will have to click on this link to play the video, because it can't be embedded in the e-mail message.)
Noam Chomsky: Giving Up Hegemony for Lent
If you have not already joined the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore and I urge you to do so. Click here.
For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.
For an archive of Words of Power posts on Economic Insecurity, click here.
For Words of Power's archive of posts on Corporate News Media Complicity, Power of Alternative Media, Propaganda & Freedom, click here.
Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.
Global Warming, Noam Chomsky, Paul Krugman, News Media, Climate Change, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth,Robert Parry, Stop Global Warming!, The Eleventh Hour, Richard Power, Words of Power