The madness in AZ provides ample warning, but is anyone paying attention?...
By Ernest A. Canning on 7/22/2010, 3:05pm PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

The radical-right agenda, hidden from so many of the uninformed, working class useful idiots (aka post-2008 "Tea Party" followers) was aptly described by Chalmers Johnson on the cover of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine as "a conspiracy to privatize war and disaster and grab public property for the rich few...[as part of] our headlong flight back to feudalism..."

In Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit', we cited a Pew Research Center study on how the campaign by America's political elites to ravage the middle class has, for "wide layers of the population," destroyed "faith in the US government to secure their most basic social needs." As we observed at the time:

What has become painfully obvious is that many within these "wide layers of the population" simply do not realize that the source of the middle class demise lies not in government per se but in the carefully thought out, decades-long effort of the hard-right to "starve the beast" by massive tax cuts for those who already have too much in order to, in the words of Grover Norquist, reduce government to the point it could be "drown in a bathtub" and in order to privatize the commons so that the privileged few can be enriched beyond the wildest imagination of ordinary citizens.

An American Political Science Association study, cited by Bill Moyers in Moyers on America (2004) referred to a "radical political elite who have...inequality as its mission and has organized 'a fanatical drive to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory cannons, and the intellectual and cultural framework that have shaped public responsibility from social harms arising from the excesses of private powers.'"

Into this mix comes "Tea Party in Sonora": Ken Silverstein of Harper’s Says Arizona is Laboratory for Radical GOP Policies, a powerful, must-see segment of Democracy Now (video below) which exposes the bleak future, indeed the madness, in store for all of us if we permit the radical right to assert the same control at the national level that they have already secured in Arizona.

An eerily prescient 1944 New York Times op-ed written by Franklin D. Roosevelt's then-Vice President may have best described the ultimate goal of the hard-right agenda of those who now drive the so-called "Tea Party" in 2010...


In viewing the video and in analyzing the propaganda utilized by the billionaire-funded hard-right to divert the attention of the 21st Century "know nothing" from the global class war to wedge issues, like immigration, consider the words of former Vice President Henry Wallace, which appeared in his April 9, 1944 New York Times op-ed:

The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money and more power.

They claim to be superpatriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjugation.

The endpoint of their deceit is the tyranny of a corporate controlled economy.


While there may never be a return to de jure feudalism entailing bonds of fealty between master and serf, as we discussed in 'Savage Capitalism: World Divided Into Rich and Poor As At No Time in Our History', covering Maude Barlowe's powerful recent address directed towards the elite leaders of the G-20 nations, hard-right policies have already produced a dangerous level of inequality that is producing a de facto master/servant society.

As she noted:

The richest 2% own more than half the household wealth in the world. The richest 10% hold 85% of total global assets and the bottom half of humanity owns less than 1% of the wealth in the world. The three richest men in the world have more money than the poorest 48 countries.

Thanks to corporate control of the media and the politicians their wealth promotes, economic disparity produces a vast gap in political power which, in turn, produces policies designed to further exacerbate inequality.

The logical outcome of privatization, never ending tax cuts for the wealthy and round-after-round of cuts to public services is not just the realization of Grover Norquist's infamous call for government to be reduced to the point that it could be "drown in a bathtub," but the elimination of government as a source of "public" services or as a vehicle in which individuals and the environment can be shielded from the arbitrary excesses of corporate wealth and power.

In the case of Arizona, Silverstein reports

The state is just completely bankrupt. It has huge deficits, which they’re addressing by cutting social spending in an extraordinary way...they’re doing away with all-day kindergarten, and they’re kicking kids off of healthcare programs, taking very, very dramatic steps in order to control the budget deficit.

Keep "starving the beast" while squandering the National Treasury on corporate welfare, the military-industrial complex and wars for imperial conquest and eventually there will be no money whatsoever left for public education, health care, environmental protection or public safety.

The resort to temporary solutions described by Silverstein, such as the securitization of Arizona's state lottery money, which will ultimately lead to the same type of massive unsustainable debt to Wall Street that we described in Meg Whitman, Wall Street, 'Billionaire Sociopaths' and the Media 'Substance Deficit'; the selling off of public buildings, including Arizona's capitol, only to pay greater sums in rent, offer no real long term solution.

The end point has to be the elimination of res publica producing a harsh "winner-take-all" society in which all semblance of community and common interest has been thoroughly eroded. Instead of a source of public good and democratic accountability, government will become but an empty shell that, as revealed by the Arizona "Tea Party" experiment, spends its time in what George Orwell described in 1984 as the "three minutes of hate" --- exemplified, for example, in immigrant bashing legislation which riles the useful idiots, diverting them from the true source of their demise.

Economic Collapse

Through comparative examination of the U.S. with Empires past in Wealth and Democracy, Kevin Phillips presents an astute thesis that the end-stage of Empire is marked by outsourcing of manufacturing which is supplanted by finance. In Freefall, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz observed that "while the top has been doing very well over the last three decades, incomes of most Americans have stagnated or fallen. The consequences were papered over; those at the bottom --- or even the middle --- were told to continue to consume as if their incomes were rising; they were encouraged to live beyond their means, by borrowing...."

The 2008 Wall Street implosion underscored that, long-term, this neoliberal system is simply unsustainable.

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Ken Silverstein’s July 15, 2010 appearance on Democracy Now!...

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Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968).