Reflections on a House Divided


Again  and again things done - supposedly - in order to fix problems, make them worse instead.  Then. the same persons who promoted the latest - failed - "remedy," put - yet another - one forward in order to "fix" the mess just created by their previous intervention - somehow escaping blame for the damage caused by their original efforts in the process. And, they often manage to shift blame in ways that are truley breathtaking.  Just, "cluelessness" or method - i.e. "worse is better" - intended to set the stage - through discomfort and dissatisfaction - for a truley radical transformation of our society and culture along lines promoted by the left?
In either case the important question may be - why the public keeps falling for this kind of shell game?

The NYTs seems to be  posed on the brink of a new crusade.
They have "uncovered" the fact that the Department of Justice, has - in a time of economic uncertainly and possible contraction - decided to forgo proceedings that might prove as ruinous to companies now coping with the difficulties of the current economic circumstances as were the legal actions that closed the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson in 2002 - leaving 28, 000 of its employees without work as a consequence. Apparently - to the staff of the Times - another "fix" is called for. Perhaps a really "good" one might top that previous job-loss figure, and, in doing so, provide material for a month's worth of articles exposing the plight of the "new jobless" stranded on the heartless shoals of late American Capitalism.
In Justice Shift, Corporate Deals Replace Trials

It seems, in regards to the staff of the NYTs, on the whole that - when they were at the edge of adolescence - no one sat any of them down to let them know the truth about life. I.e. That actual people work for corporations - directly or as contractors, suppliers, etc. And that, many others - middle Americans - are also dependent on earnings from investments and  pension funds for obtaining and sustaining them in circumstances ranging from: having a modicum of comfort in retirement to  possession of  the wherewithal to pay for their children's education, or the means with which to provide a cushion against times of economic uncertainty - such as the present. And, that it is those kinds of people - not greedy Plutocrats cackling over piles of ill-gotten lucre - who stand to lose out most substantially when a company goes down.

Given those facts - criminal prosecution of Corporations - qua corporations - as a means of helping the "little guy" - are as sensible as farmers eating their seed corn for a snack, or burning a season's harvest in order to  kill a normal infestation of some common pest. And, those points are particularly germane in times such as these.

On the other hand - individuals - large or small - who knowing or through criminal neglect, cause circumstances that endanger employees, contractors, end-users  or consumers, or who cause financial lose due to intentional fraud or theft, should certainly face criminal charges and prosecution.  A moments reflection though should indicate that - when it comes to criminal behaviour - a healthy fear of individual - rather than corporate - liability is likely to be both more effective as a deterrent and more just - in regards to the object of inflicting punishment on those who are truly deserving of it. And that - consequently - if financial damage to innocent employees and investors is to be avoided - corporate fines should serve - when levelled  - as a means of restitution for real damages, and do so when the means of those persons actually  responsible for criminal negligence or malfeasance are inadequate to meet the cost of the damages that their actions have incurred.

But, as  "(class) war is a force that gives life meaning," and -
the call for "economic literacy" has yet to produce much in the way of even an elementary level of  understanding of how such things work amongst academics or journalists not focused specifically on that area - the attitudes and patterns described above are not likely to change anytime soon.
(those of you who have been immersed i classes at "The Little Red School House" and consequently have accepted without question the delusion that corruption in this country is something particular to the Republican persuasion, may benefit from engaging in a program of self-help - one consisting largely of googling the names of  Democratic stalwarts coupled with the word "corruption" or various synonyms thereof, starting perhaps with Sen. Obama and Gov. Spitzer).

Besides, there is the weight of history and "habits of the heart" at work here as well. From the interplay of which forces emerges a method - one which is originally brought to perfection by those children who are able to get away with hitting others whilst the teacher is not looking and then acting with an appearance of stunned and perfect innocence at the very moment their victim retaliates and the teacher happens to notice.  

A small sampling of actions and activities based on the "principle" mentioned above would include:

Those who crusaded most ardently and persistently against "racial profiling" blaming federal authorities for "failing" to use that very method effectively enough to thwart the 911 attacks.

Endangering the troops in order to "protect" them.

Creating the conditions most responsible for causing both the run-away inflation that has long afflicted the health-care industry and transforming it from a sector dominated largely by private non-for-profit institutions, to one controlled by the very kinds of corporations they claim to abhor - all-the-while pressing for more and more substantial interventions to "fix" the problems so engendered.  All which in spite of the fact that the basic means of extending help to the needy in regards to access to health care were already available in the system as it exited prior to those changes.

 And More

In a world where common sense reined such savants would no longer be consulted as to questions pertaining to the time of day.
This is not a world of that kind.

Profiling and 911
Less than a year after 911 the New York Times seemed to think that - in part - the reason why the attacks had not been prevented was due to the fact that the  FBI had failed to pay close enough attention to indications derived  from the use of  "racial profiling" I.e. the recognition that the potential threat stemmed largely from Moslem men of  Middle Eastern origin, rather than Irish Catholic grandmothers etc. Whereas, long prior to that insight, and well after the attacks had occurred, the NYTs had led, and continued to led, the attack by "civil libertarians" against that practice. And, in fact, that it is likely to have been those very efforts - of the NYTs and its allies in the crusade to "fix" the problem of "racial profiling" - that eventually led law-enforcement agencies to institute the kinds of polices which effectively hamstrung their own efforts in regards to finding and quelling terrorists plots such as those which occurred on 911.
Pay no Attention to That Grey Lady Behind the Curtain

Endangering the Troops
In spite of repeated warnings that ongoing, vitriolic and public attacks on the administration's polices in Iraq would encourage the enemy there to believe that - if they just stayed on their feet long enough and kept on attacking Americans - the decisive work of ending the war in their favour would be done by the anti-war movement and the Democratic party back in the US. And therefore, it was further predicted, that continued verbal assaults of the kind indulged in by the left and the opposition Democrats - in order to "fix" the conflict in Iraq - would inevitably lead to higher casualties amongst American serving men and women. This fairly obvious observation was entirely rejected by the parties in question, who also claimed to have the best interests of American's service personnel heart, and to be motivated, in part, by concern for their welfare. Recently, the hypothesis that there is  a significant connection between attacks on Americans in Iraq  and the level of public assaults against the Administration's polices there, has been confirmed by a Harvard study. But, though the level of all coverage of that conflict has declined, it would be safer to connect that trend with the undeniable successes of American strategy and the efforts of our troops in the last year or more, than with any concern for the lives and safety of those same serving men and women on the part of the main-stream media or the members of the anti-war movement.
Is There an “Emboldenment” Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq

G-d alone knows what would happen if the leadership of the Democratic Party and their allies in the main-stream media were successful in imposing significant restrictions on the security measures now in place in regards to surveillance and interrogation of suspected terrorists. And if - G-d forbid - as a result, terrorists were once more able to launch a major attack on our country. I have little doubt that the guilt of those who handcuffed our security services would be buried under the wave of invective those same persons would direct at the current Administration for alleged lapses in security arrangements.

Inflation in medical care
"A look at the data is instructive. The effect of tax exemption and the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid on rising medical costs from 1946 to now is clear. According to my estimates, the two together accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total increase in cost. Tax exemption alone accounted for one-third of the increase in cost; Medicare and Medicaid, one-quarter."
-- Milton Friedman,
 How to Cure Health Care
Towards an American Way of Giving

(C) David Aronin 2008