Saturday, January 14, 2017

Resisting the Trumpublican Shock Doctrine Blitzkrieg

This is something I feel like I will be posting about for some time to come because it is vital. I cannot stress how important it is to know of the concepts and realities brilliantly written about in Naomi Klein's book "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" - It is so important to understand that we Americans are living right now in a time of shock and overwhelm. Again, the Shock Doctrine is happening right now. And it is so vital that we understand this, that we see it, and that we individually and collectively resist in every way we can. "Falling into despair and inaction is simply unacceptable." We all need each other. ~ Molly

'It’s easy to feel hopeless in the face of the Trumpublican Shock Doctrine. But falling into despair and inaction is simply unacceptable.' (Image: Book cover detail)

The Trumpublicans are intent on manipulating the shock of Donald Trump’s victory  to roll back much of the New Deal and Great Society; ram through unvetted Cabinet appointments intent on undermining the legal mandate of the very Departments they are charged with leading; legitimize unprecedented conflicts of interest; and intimidate opponents, professional civil servants, and the press, in a rapid Blitzkrieg, before the opposition even knows what hit them.

This is a classic case of what Naomi Klein termed “The Shock Doctrine” in her 2007 book of the same title.

A quick tutorial on The Shock Doctrine: In times of political, economic, or social crisis (including wars, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, economic panics, coups and other dramatic political upheavals) oligarchic forces push through otherwise unpopular “free market” and neoliberal reforms—including deregulation, privatization, tax cuts for the elites, and massive cuts to the social safety net, in the hope that that the resistance won’t have time to organize.

In more “normal” times, such fundamentalist neoliberal “reforms” would be so unpopular that they would largely be politically unachievable.

But, according to Klein, economist Milton Friedman, the guru of fundamentalist free market capitalism,
“articulated contemporary capitalism’s core tactical nostrum…He observed that ‘only a crisis—actual or perceived—produces real change.’…And once a crisis has struck, the University of Chicago professor was convinced that it was crucial to act swiftly, to impose rapid and irreversible [neoliberal] change before the crisis-racked society slipped back into the ‘tyranny of the status quo.’ He estimated that ‘a new administration has some six to nine months in which to achieve major changes; if it does not seize the opportunity to act decisively during that period, it will not have another opportunity.”
I would posit that the Trump’s victory—unexpected by just about everyone—is exactly the kind of crisis that potentially allows the oligarchy to use the Shock Doctrine to do its dirty work.
While the oligarchy may find Trump a bit unseemly personally, they see him as a “useful idiot” who can be used to ram through otherwise unpopular reactionary economic and social policies before anyone can stop them.
If they succeed, a century of reforms going back a century to the Progressive era, the New Deal, and the Great Society could be rolled back in a matter of months and we could be facing a new Gilded Age.
Let’s look at a little of what’s happened since November 7th, even before Trump has been inaugurated:
  • - Trump has brought racist white nationalists and Islamophobes like Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn into the top echelons of the White House.
  • - He’s relentlessly attacked the intelligence services for bringing to light Russia’s campaign to influence the election in his favor.
  • - In the dark of night, Senate Republicans took the first vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, even though they have no idea what to replace it with.
  • - The Trump transition team demanded that the Department of Energy turn over the names of scientists working on climate change.
  • - This is particularly scary since the House Republicans reinstated an obscure 1876 rule that allows any single member of Congress to add an amendment to any appropriations bill to cut the salary of any government employee or group of employees to $1.00, gutting 130 years of protections for a professional civil service.
  • - Trump has declared war on the intelligence services, accusing them of acting like Nazis, while repeatedly praising Vladimir Putin.
  • - Trump has done nothing meaningful to eliminate his myriad of conflicts of interest that make it unclear if any Presidential decision is for the benefit of the country or his businesses.
  • - Congressional Republicans are plotting an agenda to roll back financial and environmental regulations, slash taxes on corporations and the wealthy, defund Planned Parenthood, and allow individuals from states with open carry laws to bring their guns into states in which they’re illegal, all within the first hundred days or so of the Trump administration.
  • - Trump has appointed a menagerie of swamp creatures to his Cabinet, mostly billionaires with a record of opposing the very legal mandates of the Departments they will be pledged to lead.

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