Friday, July 23, 2010

The Week That Wasn't

This [Thursday] hasn't been a good day for me, which is why I'm blogging instead of doing something useful, but it's nothing to the week that the Obama administration had. First there's the picture above that you probably haven't seen before--it's the signing of the historic Wall Street and financial reform legislation it took all year to achieve. And then shortly afterwards, the finally final passage of unemployment insurance extension. But who noticed? Amidst an otherwise bad week of attention-getting trivia culminating in the extraordinary Shirley Sherrod saga, about which I'll have more to say later. But the obvious distortions by the Rabid Right got saved by panic at the NAACP and in the Obama administration. Nobody came out of this looking good, except Shirley Sherrod and Rachel Maddow, who--agree or disagree--assembles coherent, well-sourced arguments every evening, as she has done brilliantly on this topic several times.

The week ends badly as well with the Senate Dem leadership announcing that climate legislation won't be introduced before August recess because it won't pass, and a more limited energy bill will be offered. Though the White House reluctantly agreed and held out some waning hope that the fight will continue, President Obama is taking a lot of fire from climate crisis environmentalists, like Joe Romm at Climate Progress. While I am disappointed in how things worked out, and do feel that climate is the most important issue for the future, some of this is just as hysterical as the Sherrod thing started out to be. (Fortunately, as I am not tuned into the noise around the clock, I missed most of it.) But there are some good comments in the overwrought Romm post, including one from Bill McKibben.

The other night we watched Michael Moore's Capitalism, A Love Story on DVD and that gave a different texture to the week's noise. For one thing, it prompts a somewhat different perspective on this "angry voter" thing--that anger in the sense of what the plutocracy has done to people is completely justified, if currently displaced onto the wrong targets. Another thought is that there is such insistent noise on politics as opposed to policy because political spending is the last rich source of revenue for the media. It's in their interests to keep attention focused on who's up, who's down, the endless campaign and gossip about political figures, as opposed to substantive matters.

But that DVD--and especially Moore's interview with writer Chris Hedges that is included as a Special Feature--provides the perspective that makes the announcement about the climate bill just a predictable little current in the vast and ever-faster motion towards self-destruction that recent decades have become.

Yeah, and I don't expect today to be any better.

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