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Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Meet the new boss...

and, as Jon Stewart demonstrates, (almost) the same as the old boss:

For the record, and I'm not accusing Jon Stewart of this but many others, if I hear the phrase "clean break" as in "Obama represents a 'clean break' from the Bush administration" one more time, I'm going to spit. It has about as much validity as the phrase that occupies first place in the museum of retired phrases, "honest broker."

I still have no desire to deconstruct the entire Inaugural address, but permit me to comment on just one phrase which hit me the second or third time I heard it:

"Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous."
First of all, while "the market" certainly does generate wealth (for some, at least), the idea that a "coequal function" of the market is to "expand freedom" is utter nonsense, and is part and parcel of the phony imperialist idea that U.S. foreign policy is about "spreading democracy" when in fact it is about spreading the scope of economic exploitation, no more, no less. Second, the idea that it's just the lack of a "watchful eye" that prevents the market from "spinning out of control" is both theoretically wrong and ahistorical as well. The reasons why capitalism experiences periodic recessions were explained by Marx 150 years ago, and have nothing to do with the presence or absence of a "watchful eye." And third, that little word "only" is rather telling. He could have easily said, "a nation cannot prosper long when it favors the prosperous." Could have, but didn't. Because he has no intention of ending the favors for the prosperous, and won't be headed for a second term if he does.

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