misssylviadrake (misssylviadrake) wrote,

William Grieder (1936-2019), much respected journalist died Christmas Day; one of his crucial essays

Before I list what were the books I read this year, I must as an end of year blog, commemorate William Grieder, who died Christmas Day -- an important far-seeing journalist of the kind the whole system of journalism today makes it very hard to become. In the custom of this blog I call attention to an important essay, which you may have overlooked: "Rolling Back the 20th century: The Right's Grand Ambition:" the present Republican party is about this work right now, dismantling much of the progress that has been made across the 20th century for the average person. It's the equivalent of Ta Nehisi-Coates' "Reparations" (teaching how gov't agencies, institutions and businesses have systematically prevented African-American people from accumulating. I link in the New York Times obituary, two personal accounts, and briefly describe some of his books and other essays as well as his work for Frontline.

"Rolling Back the 20th Century, The Right's Grand Ambition," which so struck and moved Bill Moyer that he took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post and circulated it to scores of high-level policy-makers (I quote Katrina vanden Heuvel in her Remembering Bill Grieder).

Our loss of him is described by Common Dreams as "a stark loss" He made his career in a very different journalistic environment; he specialized in economics and economic reporting first; the trajectory of his honorable career could not happen today.  Here is the New York Times account of his life. There are moving personal account too e.g. Mike Elk's  On the death of my friend and mentor, William Grieder

The essay I am highlighting is the one where Mr Grieder exposed the purpose of the calculated lies of "supply-side economics," the first step in a now 40 year march by the Republican party on behalf of its donors and corporate base back to the McKinley era,  "Rolling Back the 20th Century, The Right's Grand Ambition," If you read but one journalistic article this year, let it be this one. If you read regularly on how the Republican party has been dismantling all the progress made across the twentieth century, and especially from the New Del on just in bits and pieces, this will put the process altogether for you:

defenestrate the federal government and reduce its scale and powers to a level well below what it was before the New Deal’s centralization. With that accomplished, movement conservatives envision a restored society in which the prevailing values and power relationships resemble the America that existed around 1900, when William McKinley was President. Governing authority and resources are dispersed from Washington, returned to local levels and also to individuals and private institutions, most notably corporations and religious organizations. The primacy of private property rights is re-established over the shared public priorities expressed in government regulation. Above all, private wealth–both enterprises and individuals with higher incomes–are permanently insulated from the progressive claims of the graduated income tax.

and then how they had been doing it up to that time, and we can today see how they are carrying on.  Be sure and read the concrete elements under each of these headers: what it means and what has been the result:

Eliminate federal taxation of private capital, as the essential predicate for dismantling the progressive income tax

.Gradually phase out the pension-fund retirement system as we know it, starting with Social Security privatization but moving eventually to breaking up the other large pools of retirement savings, even huge public-employee funds, and converting them into individualized accounts.

Withdraw the federal government from a direct role in housing, healthcare, assistance to the poor and many other long-established social priorities, first by dispersing program management to local and state governments or private operators, then by steadily paring down the federal government’s financial commitment.

Restore churches, families and private education to a more influential role in the nation’s cultural life by giving them a significant new base of income–public money

Strengthen the hand of business enterprise against burdensome regulatory obligations, especially environmental protection, by introducing voluntary goals and “market-driven” solutions

Smash organized labor.

As the broad majority of Americans who need this gov't approach to live well realize what is being done, they vote against it, so since 2003 the Republicans have worked hard, and now openly, to suppress voting rights, not only of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, any minority, but the middle and working class by severe gerrymandering and gross lying, with the media they control behind them. This article seems to me the equivalent of Ta Nehisi-Coates's "Reparations," which taught us how US gov't agencies and local businesses and institutions knowingly and systematically prevented African-American individuals and family from accumulating any wealth (from saving), thus rendering them at perpetual risk and powerless to make important choices and look forward to a secure future.

His books and articles also bring out the direct relationship between the US gov't launching and sustaining perpetual colonialist wars and destroying liberal thought and ideas. See his "The end of New Deal Liberalism" and why Obama was such a disappointment.

If you have not read any of his books, the book to begin with (for those concerned with democracy for real) is Who Will Tell the People on capitalism and the role of Congress. He dared to object to the conventional "wisdom" of the Federal Reserve that the way to run a gov't into prosperity is to do whatever is necessary to minimize inflation. Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country. According to the New York Times, his best known books are said to be One World Ready or not: the Manic Logic of Global Capitalism; Who will Tell the People: the Betrayal of American Democracy; and The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Up Paths to a Moral Economy, which fellow journalist John B. Judis said is "a bold and ambitious attempt to remedy the lack of vision that has plagued the Democratic party since the decline of New Deal liberalism."

I have been reading his work for a long time, his name familiar to me from The Nation: his "beat" was National Affairs; he was also correspondent for six Frontline documentaries on PBS, including Return to Beirut, which won an Emmy in 1983.

Trump, you see, is merely Endgame.

Miss Drake
Tags: 20th century, capitalism, corrupt politicians, criminal justice system, documentaries, human abuse, politics, presidential campaign, social democracy, socialism, trump menacing clown, us social behavior, war in syria

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