Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

11.19 27-Year Study Finds the Amount of Insects Flying in the Air Has Declined 75 Percent

11.19 'My eyes are burning': Delhi holds half marathon despite pollution warning [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]

11.17 'We should be on the offensive' – James Hansen calls for wave of climate lawsuits

11.17 Keystone pipeline leaks estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota

11.17 For Damage Done and Transition Needed, 50+ Groups Demand Global Fossil Fuel Tax

11.16 Canada's most shameful environmental secret must not remain hidden

11.16 Special Report from the Occupied Forest: Meet Activists Fighting Europe’s Largest Open-Pit Coal Mine [video, audio clip & transcript]

11.15 Interior Department Scrubs Climate Change From Its Strategic Plan [this Administration has been perfectly wrong about everything]

11.15 Controversial Ruling Says Organic Crops Don’t Have to Grow in Soil

11.15 The Largest Coal-Fired Power Plant in the West Is Slated for Closure

11.15 Protests as Trump promotes Coal at Climate Summit in Berlin

11.15 An Inconvenient Sequel – the science, history, and politics of climate change

11.15 Growing number of global insurance firms divesting from fossil fuels

News Media Matters

11.18 The Paradise Papers: How Ridiculously Easy It Is For The Rich To Avoid Taxes [birds of a feather flock together]

11.17 'Time to Raise Hell': Internet Defenders Mobilize as FCC Aims to Kill Net Neutrality Within Month [decreasing regulation will increase monopoly power of large Cable and Telecom broadband providers enabling distortions of Internet content benefiting the higher bidder]

11.17 'Say Goodbye to Local Media,' as Trump FCC Opens Corporate Merger Floodgates [decreasing regulation will increase monopoly power of large News and Entertainment providers enabling distortions of media content benefiting the higher bidder]

11.16 DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE COMPANY PAID MERCENARIES TO BUILD CONSPIRACY LAWSUIT AGAINST ENVIRONMENTALISTS

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

11.19 Trump Voters Celebrate Massive Tax Cut for Everyone But Them

11.19 Under GOP Plan, Wealthy Foreign Investors Benefit Nearly Three Times More Than US Taxpayers

11.18 The Shocking Math of the Republican Tax Plan

11.16 Kochs key among small group quietly funding legal assault on campaign finance regulation

11.16 Trump sons' hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

11.16 We Knew Julian Assange Hated Clinton. We Didn’t Know He Was Secretly Advising Trump.

11.16 A Note From Bill on ‘No Choice’

11.15 House Approves $700B 'Cash Cow for Weapons Companies'—But Single Payer 'Too Expensive'

11.15 Roy Moore challenged Alabama law that protects rape victims, documents reveal [Hideous is as hideous does...]

11.15 'Disgusting': Senate Republicans' Tax Plan Will Scrap Obamacare Mandate [tax-cuts for the super-rich are more important than the health and lives of 13 million poor people]

11.15 GOP Tax Bill Would Trigger $25 Billion in Cuts to Medicare, Warns CBO

Justice Matters

11.18 Donald Trump Jr.'s Messages With WikiLeaks Point to Campaign-Finance Violations [birds of a feather flock together]

11.18 Trump's Panama tower used for money-laundering by condo owners, reports say [birds of a feather flock together]

High Crimes?

11.18 US, European Nations Slammed for 'Complicity' as Humanitarian Groups Demand Aid for Yemen

Economics, Crony Capitalism

11.19 The Design Flaw at the Core of Humanity's Malaise

11.18 'All Out Class War': GOP Bill Cuts Taxes for Private Jet Owners, Hikes Taxes on Students

11.17 Battle Lines Drawn as GOP Moves Closer to 'Greatest Transfer of Wealth to the Super-Rich in Modern American History'

11.16 World’s biggest sovereign wealth fund proposes ditching oil and gas holdings

International & Futurism

11.19 End all immigration controls – they’re a sign we value money more than people

11.19 Disruption games: why are libertarians lining up with autocrats to undermine democracy?

11.18 Investigation Reveals US-Led Bombings in Iraq Kill 31 Times More Civilians Than Reported

11.18 'These Will Be Weapons of Mass Destruction': Warnings About Killer Robots After UN Talks

11.18 Truck drivers like me will soon be replaced by automation. You're next

11.17 World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting

11.17 Elon Musk unveils Tesla electric truck – and a surprise new sports car

11.17 Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: 'The system is failing' [governments are failing]

11.17 North Korean defector had 27cm parasitic worm in his stomach

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Everything is Broken: Money Power and the Minneapolis Bridge
Newspaper logo

COMMENTARY:

Everything is Broken: Money Power and the Minneapolis Bridge

by Chris Floyd
photo of bridge collapse
Ain't no use jivin'
Ain't no use jokin'
Everything is broken.

-- Bob Dylan
What is different today is the vastly magnified scale of the corruption and cronyism, and the ever-growing cumulative effect of year after year of this rot on our infrastructure, our politics and our lives.
Anyone of a certain age -- and not a very great one at that -- knows perfectly well from their own experience how the country's infrastructure has been allowed to wither and rot over the past three decades. They can see with their own eyes how the absolute ascendancy of crony capitalism -- the rigged "free market" feasting on gargantuan pork and sweetheart laws laid out by well-bribed pols -- has transformed the country into an ugly, crumbling, slap-dash monoculture laid over broken roads, abandoned cities and hard, harsh lives. As Dylan put it in a recent interview:
Well, America's a different place than it was when those [older] records were made. It was more like Europe used to be, where every territory was different -- every country was different, every state was different. A different culture, different architecture, different food. You could go 100 miles in the States and it would be like going from Stalingrad to Paris or something. It’s just not that way anymore. It's all homogenized. People wear the same clothes, eat the same food, think the same things.
And one of the "same things" they think is that the brutal ascendancy of Money Power is just the natural order of things, that there's nothing to be done about it: you just vote for one slickly earnest Bible-quoting goober after another, knowing all the while that he will steer the contracts for roads and bridges and sewer pipes and health inspections and safety checks and schools and hospitals to some crony or contributor who will cut every corner he can to fill his pockets. What does he care? He'll take a helicopter, he doesn't need the highway. He's got the finest doctors on call, his house is custom-made, his children go to the best private schools, and if one of the meat-packing plants he and his fellow venture capitalists own blows up and kills a bunch of locked-in workers, so what? The insurance will cover it, and if it doesn't, you can just slice and dice another deal to get an extra wad: maybe some crony pol will sell you the city water system for peanuts, and you can jack up the rates.

People think that the rapidly expanding gap between the richest rich and everybody else is just the way things are, when in fact, it is totally unprecedented in America. Again, you don't have to be very old to remember when things weren't this way. And I'm not talking about some kind of nostalgic utopia where corruption and cronyism was never known. Such things we have had and will have with us always. What is different today is the vastly magnified scale of the corruption and cronyism, and its active, ruthless, relentless augmentation by government -- and the ever-growing cumulative effect of year after year of this rot on our infrastructure, our politics and our lives. But the bright, garish diversions and carefully cultivated, corporate-skewed media misinformation that have swallowed our civic society have induced a kind of amnesia amongst the older populace, who are led at every turn to distrust and reject the historical evidence of their own lives.

And of course, there are now generations of Americans who have lived well into adulthood in the "shambling catastrophe" that the Money Power has made of the country. For them, it really is the way of the world, and it takes a conscious, determined, continuous effort on their part to see beyond the grotesque carnival they've been born into. Fortunately, there are many such young people; but of course, the default position of most people (of all ages) is, quite naturally, just to get on with their lives as best they can in the world in which they find themselves.

At any rate, for whatever reason, beyond expressing displeasure at the state of the nation in an occasional poll, the majority of Americans seem to have sunk into a strangely apathetic state. I have seen some remarks around the blogosphere expressing hope that the Minneapolis bridge collapse will at last spark some productive anger in Americans, cause them to rise up and demand that their communities and nation be rebuilt and properly maintained, that corruption and incompetence will no longer be tolerated, and so on. But of course there is very little hope of that. We're talking about a nation that countenanced the destruction and abandonment of one of its greatest cities, New Orleans, that still sits by as the Bush Regime and its cronies gorge themselves on "reconstruction" pork while thousands upon thousands of people remain refugees in their own land. (See here, here, here and here, all via Buzzflash.) Will such a people swallow the destruction of a whole city but strain at the loss of a bridge? I doubt it.

Maybe the fact that most of the people affected by the bridge collapse are white might give the catastrophe a little extra political oomph; we probably won't see jowly white Republican congressman from the Midwest breezily suggesting we just forget about rebuilding the bridge and leave the people to their fate. (Hey, it's a free country; if they can't cross the Mississippi there, they can always up sticks and move somewhere else where the bridges are still standing, right?) And no doubt we will see the Bush Regime and state governments move to slip fat, no-bid contracts to favored cronies to "upgrade" bridges around the country, in the same corner-cutting, pocket-filling manner described above. But a mass movement to stem the accelerating decay of the country by putting a brake on the rigged-game Money Power and its many sniveling helpers in government? That's one thing we won't be seeing any time soon.

(For more, see Jon Schwarz' excellent piece: Our Crumbling America.)
photo of Chris FloydChris Floyd is an American journalist and the Editor and co-founder of the Atlantic Free Press. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including the Nation, CounterPunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the "Empire Burlesque" political blog. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column originally appeared on Chris Floyd's site, and is republished here with the permission of the author.


Copyright © 2007 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on August 3, 2007.
 

Public Service Ads: