Recognizing the opportunity posed by close poll results in key states, Republican hit teams worked to disenfranchise minority voters and anyone with a felony record, destroyed Democrat voter registration forms collected by GOP operatives and rigged voting machines to malfunction in key precincts. These fifth column assaults on the democratic process itself have been documented, from Florida to Ohio, but no action has been taken to prosecute or even discourage these crimes by a compliant Justice Department under the Bush administration.
But these are tiny offenses compared to the newly invented “Shock Doctrine,” as described by Naomi Klein in her book of the same name. The theory is simple enough: Following any shocking event, the public at large goes into shock and can be easily manipulated by leaders to take actions that would never have been allowed in normal times. The feeding of anti-terrorist paranoia following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon allowed the passage of the so-called Patriot Act, the Homeland Security reorganization of national security and a host of other measures enhancing executive powers at the expense of congressional oversight and control, not the least of which was the Iraq war.
Now comes yet another crisis for which only extra special powers for a probably lame duck Treasury Secretary can save capitalism and the western world, all in the fortnight before Congress goes on recess to get re-elected back home. The crisis is economic this time, and the very basis of capital investment is threatened unless we grant the same bankers who created the problem just under a trillion dollars of our taxes to bail out the bad investments of the nation’s top money managers.
Panicked by the prospect of a systemic collapse two weeks before an election, the Capitol Hill gang will certainly pass some version of this power-grabbing scheme. By committing the United States to such spending just to service the debt created, the hopes for domestic programs in the next president’s first term are effectively killed, assuring the probable Democrat in the White House a failed presidency. The million green jobs, the rebuilding of the highways and transport infrastructure, national health care, all out of reach in the wake of the great market crisis of ’08.
This doctrine of fear and apathy is working for the neo-fascist forces, bent on world hegemony for the United States in the new millennium, but even the foolish can’t fall for the same tricks forever.
Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views.