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Defusing Citizen Outrage

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opednews.com Headlined to None 5/14/09

Author 11235
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How the Government Defuses Citizen Outrage

Disorderliness

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Sheldon Wolin

In his troubling book, Democracy Incorporated, published last year, Wolin, who was a bomber pilot during World War II, laments that disorderliness in the U.S. has been on the wane since the 1960s, helped along by the widening reach of an anti-democratic corporate-state apparatus -- "highly managed, money-saturated elections, the lobby-infested Congress, the imperial presidency, the class-biased judicial and penal system, [and not least], the media" -- that encourages docility, depoliticization, the shrugging-off of participation.

"One of the reasons why the '60s continues to be a favorite punching bag of neocons and neoliberals," he writes in Democracy Incorporated, "is that it represented a decade of prolonged popular political education unique in recent American history. The most frequent topics were racism, foreign policy, corporate power, higher education and threats to ecology -- each in one form or another a domain of elitism."

What Wolin is saying is perhaps a hard dose of the obvious: When Americans protest -- and they're not protesting very much (on the eve of the Iraq war, the French had more people in the streets than did the whole of the citizenry of the United States) -- the system today isn't geared to listen, or, rather, is geared more handily to ignore the noise.

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The goal, of course, is "to isolate democratic resistance, to insulate society from hearing dissonant voices, and to hurry the process of depoliticization," says Wolin.

Sixty percent of Americans favor the single payer health plan. The heavily-bribed Senate Finance Committee has just taken it off the table. Watch how they did it.

Red-Baiting

Timothy Carr, HuffPo

Also keeping a list is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who in the final days of the 2008 election season questioned then-candidate Obama's patriotism and called for an investigation of Democratic members of Congress for "anti-American views."

Bachmann didn't rest there. During an appearance late last month with Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, she reiterated her call for a revolution against the tyranny of President Obama and congressional leadership.

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"This is economic Marxism," Bachmann said of their economic stimulus plan. "[Obama] is moving the United States away from free-market capitalism and instead he's imprinting socialism deep into our centralized economic planning."

Like most of Bachmann's ranting in the media and on the Hill, these allegations make zero sense. But reality hasn't stopped her from assembling a political career out of comments that fan the flames of fear among the most militantly conservative.

When Socialism Isn't Bad Enough

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Born a month before Pearl Harbor, I attended world events from an early age. My first words included Mussolini, Patton, Sahara and Patton. At age three I was a regular listener to Lowell Thomas. My mom was an industrial nurse a member of the (more...)
 

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