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Meaning . . . What?
Topic: Just When You Thought It Could Not Get Worse
Posted by Everyman - 11:01:09 EST

As Walter Cronkite never said . . .

And that's the way it wasn't.


We live in an age of falsity, in which words have lost their meanings and concepts are reinvented as the situation demands.

The United States is in a jobless recovery — even if that phrase largely disappeared from the American lexicon about 2004.

Good news somehow must follow from a rising unemployment rate, which itself under-represents the actual percentage of Americans long out of work.

At the same time, we are supposed to be relieved that we are in a contracting expansion, where fewer goods and services are proof of a resilient economy.

In our debt-ridden revival, borrowing $1 trillion each year is evidence that we don’t have a spending problem.

If an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent and the economy shrinking by 0.01 percent a year — with a fifth consecutive $1 trillion annual deficit — are indicators of recovery, what would the old 5 percent unemployment, 4 percent growth in GDP, and $300 billion annual deficits mean?

Or do the meaning of words and the nature of "facts" depend on who is in the White House at the time, or rather on whether the president is trying to make us more equal or to enrich the 1 percent?

At key points, whole controversies vanish without a trace. Suddenly, about four years ago, Guantanamo was no longer a gulag. Then it became no longer much of anything — in the manner that renditions, preventive detention, tribunals, and drone assassinations likewise disappeared from public discourse even as they became institutionalized.

We can scarcely remember now that the country tore itself apart over the waterboarding of three confessed terrorists, as it snoozes through its government blowing apart 2,500 suspected terrorists — and anyone caught in their general vicinity when the drone missiles hit. I think the logic must have been that a reactionary George Bush wished to waterboard a few confessed terrorists more just to bend the law than to derive any information that might save Americans — whereas Barack Obama actually reads the great ethical philosophers as he "reluctantly" signs off on targeted assassinations that have no doubt saved more people than he ordered killed. And we have to understand that if we were to object to such a kill tally, we would thereby be endangering the greater good to come at home over bothersome details abroad.

We have only a faint memory of promises of no more lobbyists in government, no more revolving doors, a new civility, a new transparency, and a new bipartisanship. Do we now even remember all those slogans that went up on the barnyard wall, and have since been painted over?

When the president lectured us that the captains of Wall Street were not to get bonuses for snagging federal bailouts, he was not speaking of his future secretary of the Treasury, a progressive who does what must be done for the people.


It does not mean what you have every right to think it means.

It is a dog's breakfast of lies and broken promises, of cynical manipulation of the facts, of an elevation of unadulterated opinions over undeniable (but denied all the same) realities.

Good enough for the media types, those who are said to have a God-given right to publish what they want when they want, but no obligation - God imposed or otherwise - to do so completely, or honestly.

Good enough for government work.

Think of it, then, as a feature of our Fools' Paradise, the one in which we prefer to live, if, indeed, you think about it at all.

If you have the heart (and stomach) for it on a Sunday, read it all, and ponder where it's taking us.

And how, in the fullness of time, we will feel once we understand . . .

How and why we got there.


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