Sunday, May 10, 2009

What Hath Crony Capitalism Wrought? Klein, Home and Mother's Day

After Naomi Klein appeared on Rachel Maddow's show Friday, I was intrigued. She's the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, by which I have been intrigued as of late. So I went back to the Green 960 podcasts (either 12/11/07 or 12/12/07) of Rachel's radio show and listened to her interview with Klein about her then-new book. And I'm telling you, this girl is onto something, and it's BIG.

Looking back over the past 8 years, time and time again, we see the Bush Administration playing Omnipotent Father to the American people. "We know what's best for you and we'll handle this - don't worry your pretty little heads about it." And whether it was 9/11, or Katrina, or the banking crisis, they took the opportunity to overreach (deregulation, rolling back of civil liberties, proofiteering on wars and natural disasters) and become that Orwellian Big Brother none of us ever thought would exist in these Uniteds States. Sadly, far too many Americans bought it hook, line and sinker. As a nation, Cheney and Co. linked our safety and security to fear. They propagated fear. They codified it. They even color-coded it! And the bigger the disaster, man-made or natural, the more control that was wrenched from our hands. Fear and disaster became tools for profit (e.g. the financial bailout), and even for social engineering (e.g. lack of rescue and rebuilding efforts during and post-Katrina). My God.

I am sure that the Right sees this all as conspiracy theory; I have to admit that I was skeptical. Can't help it - it's my nature to be a little cynical, especially when someone's trying to sell me something. But the vast number of examples that soundly support Klein's work is astounding.

Then, today, I watched a short film from the Tribeca Film Festival, also mentioned by Maddow in a recent tweet (and, yeah, I know I'm a TRMS fangirl...!) Home, by Matt Faust, is a striking look at one of Louisiana's hurricane-ravaged houses, through the lens of family photos and the times that made it one family's home. Five minutes that illustrate how sorely lacking the recovery efforts have been, how family memories and happy lives were washed away - and never recovered. There is far too much solid evidence to support Klein than to deny her.

But something has to be done to assure that none of it happens again. Something must be done to make things right on the Gulf Coast, giving the homes and lives of those Americans back. What kind of Mother's Day will those mommas celebrate today? And thanks to Naomi Klein and Rachel Maddow, maybe, just maybe, folks will begin to see the connection between crony capitalism, the impunity therein and the high cost of allowing the financial elite to run rampant with our finances under the guise of instilling fear and rage to divide us all - for profit.

On this Mother's Day, I am grateful for my family and my home, one that remains undamaged by natural disasters, and for the safety of my children in a country not torn by a war of our making; I'm thankful for what little of our retirement savings have yet to be lost to corporate greed, and amazed to still have a job after the monkey wrench thrown into the economic engine of this country. I am appreciative of our new climate of transparency in this Administration, and that the rule of law is back in place. I have great hope that the right things will be done to restore our faith and repair the colossal damage and criminal acts that have been perpetrated by the past administration. Maybe, just maybe, the insight shown by Naomi Klein will be taken to heart and we will not see the kind of fear and loathing we saw in the Bush Administration ever happen again.