Monday, September 22, 2008

Premediating the Next Great Depression: "Won't Get Fooled Again!"

In a classic example of the Bush Administration's use of the strategies of premediation to further its own interests, Congress is once again on the verge of being suckered into approving a Bush Administration proposal that is guaranteed to cost the nation over a trillion dollars. The Bush Administration is succeeding in this effort not in response to a catastrophe but on the basis of the premediation of catastrophe. And as today's news headlines make plain, the chief beneficiaries of this "rescue plan" will be Wall Street financial firms, whose CEOs, executives, board members, and major shareholders are among the chief supporters and business partners not only of Republicans in the Bush Administration and Congress, but of Democratic politicians as well.

We've seen this episode before people!

Flash back to October 2002, when the Bush Administration came to Congress seeking authorization to conduct a war against Iraq, not because Iraq had attacked us but to pre-empt Iraq from attacking us. How did the Bush Administration persuade the Congress, the media, and most of the American public that this authorization was necessary? They did it by premediating the consequences of Iraqi possession of weapons of mass destruction and their distribution to terrorists, particularly to Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Print, televisual, and networked news media were filled with Bush Administration spokesmen, warning us about the consequences of letting Iraq act in this way, assuring us of their possession of these weapons and of their intent to distribute them to the very people who attacked us on 9/11 because they hate our freedom. You know the rest of the story. Thousands and thousands of deaths later, billions of dollars of damage to Iraq, trillions of dollars of US debt, much of it headed into the pockets of companies like Halliburton and the oil companies--and Congress and the public is finally fed up with funneling taxpayer dollars to this boondoggle.

But wait! Here's another boondoggle! The real-estate mortgage crisis threatens our very way of life, indeed it may even hate us for our freedoms! What should we do? Let's give a trillion dollars of our money to bail out Wall Street from its risk-taking and irresponsible speculation. Why? Not because of what has happened to our economy over the past eight years (which is significant enough), but because of what might happen to our economy if we do not give in to the Bush Administration's demands, if we refuse to accept Hank Paulson's premediation of another Great Depression in his briefings behind closed-doors in Wall Street.

This is, remember, exactly the same script the Bush Administration followed in 2002, only with different Congressional committees as their dupes. Flash back again to the Autumn of 2002. Remember the confidential briefing reports distributed to members of key Congressional committees but kept from the American public, the briefings that convinced people like Hilary Rodham Clinton of the threat posed by Iraq and the necessity of giving Bush authorization to initiate a war? Last Friday, on multiple news channels, an ashen Senator Chris Dodd told financial reporters of the catastrophic horrors that Hank Paulson had premediated for Dodd's Senate Banking Committee. Thus Dodd and other Senate leaders seem convinced (including McCain and Obama) that to prevent this catastrophe from happening the Bush Administration needs to be authorized to wage a pre-emptive war against the threat of another Great Depression.

To its credit, the Times details the feeding frenzy under way on Wall Street, even posting photographs and identifications of ten white guys angling to turn the bailout into a profit-maker for their companies:




Naming names is a good start. But what really needs to happen is that we need to remind ourselves and our elected representatives of the mistakes that were made in October 2002, when the powerful premediation of another 9/11 persuaded the Congress to authorize a absolutely unnecessary and tremendously costly war in Iraq. Here we go again, as the Bush Administration, Congress, and the global news media all participate in the premediation of another Great Depression, with the aim of persuading the Congress to authorize what will amount undoubtedly to more than $1 trillion in bailouts which, like the war in Iraq, will help the corporate friends, supporters, and business partners of those in the government at the expense, once again, of the American people.

As W liked to say in frightening us into a war in Iraq, "Fool me once, shame on you--Fool me twice, shame on me."


I prefer Pete Townsend:

"Won't Get Fooled Again!"

We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgement of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the foe, that' all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the next war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie

Do ya?

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parking on the left
Is now the parking on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled again
No, no!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

2 comments:

Ian Smith said...

D'accord.

At the risk of a small amount of criticism, though, you neglected to mention that the same playbook (although with a bit less premediation) was used to get congress to approve the patriot act.... "Bad stuff could happen! Pass this now before it's all too late! Trust us!"

So, Mr. Townsend, we have already been fooled again. The question is whether anybody is asking if third time is a charm...

Ragman said...

Point well taken--the Patriot Act followed the same playbook, though taxpayers have paid for that with their privacy and their data as much as with their tax dollars.