BROKEN DEBATE, BROKEN DEMOCRACY October 24, 2012Posted by wmmbb in US Politics.
As we enter the final strait, the horse race aspect of the US Presidential Election takes centre stage. As seen from the corporate media, particularly television, it is a two-horse race.
The differences on critical issues, those matters that in a democracy should be closely questioned can be vanishingly small. Expenditure on lost and expensive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not without significant human cost and suffering with destruction, are not linked to budgetary situation or the opportunity cost. Obama incorrectly mentioned that US Defence spending was greater by a factor that could be fact checked. Romney perhaps wants to spend more. Similarly indefinite detention under s.1021b of the NDAA was not even mentioned. Nor was the likely impact of climate change.
At Salon, Andrew Leonard described what happened as, “A Debate to be Ashamed Of”. He writes:
It was the moment progressives had been waiting for. Bob Schieffer turned to Mitt Romney and said, “What is your position on the use of drones?”
Twitter gasped. Up to that point, Schieffer had thrown one softball after another, but here was the high hard one down the middle. For many liberals, President Obama’s aggressive deployment of drones to kill suspected terrorists in northwestern Pakistan is a stain on the current administration that cannot be washed away, a profound betrayal of civilized values. A campaign of murder from the skies in a country that is supposedly our ally — how is this remotely conscionable?
But liberals are also accustomed to Obama getting a free pass on the topic from the mainstream media and political elite. So just hearing the word “drones” spoken was shocking — here it was, finally, a chance to address this ongoing national shame before an audience of millions and millions of Americans.
And then came Romney’s response, which basically boiled down to drones are awesome!
And that was not the only example, such as the competition to identify and feel the pain of Israel, while completely ignoring the criminal expropriation of Palestinian land and water resources.
Back in the USA, Barry Naughten at The Conversation suggests reasons for why Romney is particular to oil interests and control, but why climate change is such as difficult electoral issue due to the conflict between money and swing states. He suggests that attention to environmental sustainability could address the economic train wreck. The paradigm shift required by climate change does not lie within the science and the observations of climate change, although they are not without discoveries, but in the cultural, socio-economic implications. The failure to address climate change is another example by which immoral corporate interests seek to necessary change, as potentially dire costs to humanity.
In a political world of incessant television propaganda, causing enough disquiet among the population apparently that Obama mentioned it in passing, subscriber-funded radio opens the debate. Both John Glacer of Anti-War.com and Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report were interviewed by Robert Knight on WBAI New York City Pacifica radio.
And then there is Democracy Now, who expanded the debates allowing third party candidates, Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein, expressed their criticisms of the drone murders. Their point of view will lost to the voters in the Swing States that like those in marginal electorates are those voters who will determine the outcome. That result will be lesser evilism, or cooperation with evil. There views on drones were presented on Democracy Now:
David Leonhardt, Standard of Living is in the Shadows as an Election Issue.(New York Times) He concludes:
Maybe the biggest reason for optimism is that there is still a strong argument that both globalization and automation help the economy in the long run. This argument remains popular with economists: Trade allows countries to specialize in what they do best, while technology creates opportunities to extend and improve life that never before existed.
Previous periods of rapid economic change also created problems that seemed to be permanent but were not. Neither the cotton gin nor the steam engine nor the automobile created mass unemployment.
“When technology reduces the need for certain kinds of labor, we know that some inventive people will one day come along and find a way to use that freed-up labor making things that other people want to buy,” said Mr. Friedman, the economic historian. “That’s what in the long run made the Luddites wrong.”
He added, “How long does it take the Luddites to be wrong — a few years, a decade, a couple of decades?”
Perhaps just as important, what happens to the workers who happen to be living during a time when the Luddite argument has some truth to it?