Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Speed Blogging, Oct 2, 2013: On Income Inequality, Tea Party Rage and the Defense of Roman Polanski

Contents:  Includes discussion of child rape.

This is a fascinating post to read and to ponder over:  Are we returning to the nineteenth century economic circumstances?

Samantha Geimer in the UK Guardian argues that we should be more nuanced about the rape of children if the culprit had a horrible life and creates beautiful and moving art and if the victim herself thinks that children should take some responsibility for their behavior.  I don't agree, at least not in the sense that Geimer adopts.   Or rather, the crime remains the crime.  If other factors are to be considered in the sentencing of the criminal, that is a different question altogether.

Kevin Drum  asks where the rage of the Tea Party comes from.  The answers (many in the comments to his post) are both obvious (loss of power and prestige for just being born into a certain group, real loss of income and relative standing, gerrymandering of districts which benefits the most extreme candidates, Fox News and other capitalist-funded populist movements) and elusive (why now?  why no real anger aimed at the out-sourcers, the inequality-creators, the free-marketers? why is the populism right-wing?).

I don't have the miracle answer to this one, but I'd argue that one important straw to carry to the pile is the fact that the Democrats, due to needing the money from the wealthy, stopped being blunt and open about being for the working classes.  They have dropped the unions and now employ euphemisms about that group (working families which sounds like child-labor to me).  So when the right-wing radio began, there were few opposing voices, if any, and all the foaming anger was channeled into the river which tries to sweep out immigrants, minorities and uppity women, to leave the majority of us fighting for the crumbs which fall from the dinner tables of the powerful few. 

Finally, and just for its interest, these historic photographs are fascinating.