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PORTSIDE  October 2010, Week 3

PORTSIDE October 2010, Week 3

Subject:

Re: Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Cut Social Security Benefits?

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 18 Oct 2010 21:52:17 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (106 lines)

A reader's response: 
Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Cut Social Security Benefits? 

Date:  	Mon, 18 Oct 2010 
From:  	Peter Belmont
Re: Why Is It So Acceptable to Lie to Cut Social  Security Benefits?

Lying is commonly practiced by politicians and
"opinion-makers" (whom I will include in the category
of "politicians")  in Washington and elsewhere and the
topic of social security is only one locus of lying.
Many politicians rather evidently live by the rule that
"the end justifies the means" (and are very much given
to an "elastic" connection to truth-telling) but even 
more moral or more timid politicians are given to lying
on occasion.

Politicians also practice a custom, akin to lying, of
deliberately (or cowardly, depending on political
posture) refusing to address obvious problems. Thus,
the whitewashing of the Kennedy assassination and of
the 9/11 failure of the US military to intercept
dangerously off-course aircraft represents a failure to
address obvious problems, as does the failure to
discuss the reasons for USA engagement in wars of
aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan which have no
apparent benefit to the USA and no relation to USA
"security" except to threaten it by production of
generations of ever-better-motivated enemies. The
failure of most politicians to address global warming
is well-known, and although the
end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it is scarcely a matter so
unimportant that it should be ignored, it is, indeed,
little discussed.  To ignore a problem of this
magnitude is akin to lying.

A more interesting question is why politicians who are,
by and large, given to telling the truth fail to do so
in ways which can be understood by the general public.

I would suggest that money lies at the heart of these
problems, and a wise political-analytical rule to
"follow the money" is never entirely wrong.

The corporate media play an important part in all of
this, because they control what the public hears and
thus what the public understands. We live in a
rapacious world where corporations -- rather than, say,
Viking raiders -- take pretty much what they want with
little concern for who will suffer.  As examples of
this rapacity, consider the elimination of banking
regulations and the bank melt-down which followed close
on its heels; and consider the world's failure to come
to grips with global warming, an environmental
catastrophe in the making amelioration of which is
opposed by powerful energy industries. The corporate
media are not any more energetic in informing the USA
about global warming than they were about informing us
of the banking shenanigans.

The power of big money (often corporate money) to sway
elections and to practice "lobbying" comes to mind as a
large part of the problems of American governance, for
apart from the anti-democratic nature of this power
(and please recall that democracy is not, after all,
the only reasonable way to govern), this power is
exercised by people who are not particularly wise nor
particularly concerned with the well-being of the
American people generally nor concerned with outcomes
and consequences of their actions which occur more than
a month, a year, or five years in the future.

Thus, politicians may well lie about the costs of a
long-range program, like social security (and fail to
tell the truth about the costs of another long-range
program, like the USA
military-industrial-Congresssional-university complex
and the USA military empire) in the interests of
short-term budgets or tax-cutting, with emphasis on
"short-term" for that is the particular concern of the
USA's corporate political masters.

Democracy without education and information is not a
very good form of governance, but governance by
mindless oligarchy may be (and, in the event, is) no
better. What we need is to re-establish education and
an educative media in the USA and at the same time to
curb the power of corporations (whether in campaigning
or in lobbying) in governance.

A tall order. 

_____________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

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