2 Things…

I read something this morning on Huffington Post that spoke to the point I was trying make in the previous post regarding the dissolution of America’s manufacturing capabilities. The column written by Leo Hindery Jr. articulates the point in the wider context of “Always Wrong” Larry Summers and the baffling persistence demonstrated by the White House’s continuing reliance on his wisdom.   Hindery quotes a recent speech from GE boss Jeff Immelt where he says:

“the U.S. took a macroeconomic misstep when it concluded 25 or 30 years ago ‘that we could move from being a technology and manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy with a $1 trillion annual trade deficit’ with no fundamental adverse result.”

Welcome to the US power elite!  Ironically, the only place in our society where being bone-jarringly, catastrophically unequivocally wrong at nearly every turn can actually boost/enhance your career and reputation.  People like Lawrence Summers have turned this into an artform.

Hindery diagnoses the problem inherent in the President’s economic team’s stunning, stubborn adherence to “Summers’ core belief — even though almost universally discredited — that a ‘job is a job’ and that at any point in time drop-offs in America’s manufactured goods (and, by extension, the labor force that makes them) can be made up by a favorable trade balance in such products as software, legal services, university tuition, and motion pictures.”

As we’ve seen in reality this has not been the case. It will never be the case.  It’s almost gratuitous for Mr. Hindery to mention, again, how discredited Summers’ philosophies are, but the jokes on us because he’s still near the levers of power and Obama’s people are still steadfastly committed to those discredited theories.   And unfortunately as long as that’s the case the Government will not re-emphasize the importance of manufacturing within the wider context of our faltering economic structure.

part II-

Ezra Klein has a great piece on “Retconning” which is short for “Retroactive continuity.” This narrative device is often employed by comic book writers, but Klein examines its recent usage by far less creative people to strengthen conservative “arguments.”

Klein lays out the cons use of ‘Retconning” like this:

“A politician will make a hyperbolic, absurd claim that will catch fire but prove totally false upon examination. Shame, right? Not to worry! Members of the conservative expert class will quickly construct new arguments based on different parts of the bill that have no relationship to the original argument but save the claim, or at least allow members of the right-wing media to say it’s still a live charge.”

Palin’s lying “Death Panel” rubbish is the prime example, but he looks more thoroughly at Senator Frank Luntz/Mitch McConnell’s more recent, more Orwellian invocation of “endless taxpayer bailouts” and how some AEI hack had the unenviable job of trying to attach some wobbly twice-removed shred of truthiness to it.

This is just one tactic employed in a larger, very frightening, very insidiously organized and concerted conservative assault on reality and history.

It can be seen in the Texas Textbook fiasco and “The Family’s” attempt to rebrand Jesus as a capitalist friendly badass who preached about strength and wealth.

This phenomenon is something I want to examine at length in upcoming posts. It can, perhaps, best be summed up by this terrifying quote served up to Ron Suskind by a typically arrogant, pathetic Bush lackey:

The aide said that guys like me were ”in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who ”believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ”That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. ”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Seriously the most honest statement ever to emanate from their reign of error.


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