The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    chucktrotter's picture

    The Corporate Cure For Middle Class Malaise

    I spent most of my life in heavy industry and aerospace endeavours.  I saw , first hand, the effects of the off-shoring of the heavy industries that once stood side-by-side and flourished in what we now call the "Rust Belt."  Thanks, Mr. Clinton, for NAFTA. 


    For the past three decades, I have attempted to follow the machinations of what and who steered this country onto the course which has decimated the future of what was the most prosperous middle class in history.  We have all studied the statistics and charts that leave no doubt that the foreseeable future is, at best, bleak.

    I'm not well-educated and have no degree.  Economic topics, although I do muddle through them, are incomprehensible to me.  I've read hundreds of posts written by, I assume, knowledgeable experts on real estate, Wall Street transactions and financial regulation.  So many theories and entities to mull over!

    With my mind spinning -- Filled with expert opinions, I came upon a book:  "The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism."  The book written by Naomi Klein, was somewhat of a slow read for me, but many historic events that have occurred in other countries seem to be happening here.  If half of what the author points out is not coincidental, I greatly fear for my grandchildren and our present working class.


    Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.

    "At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened." Klein not only kicks butt, she names names, notably economist Milton Friedman and his radical Chicago School of the 1950s and 60s which she notes "produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today." Stand up and take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld.

    There's little doubt Klein's book--which arrived to enormous attention and fanfare thanks to her previous missive, the best-selling No Logo, will stir the ire of the right and corporate America. It's also true that Klein's assertions are coherent, comprehensively researched and footnoted, and she makes a very credible case. Even if the world isn't going to hell in a hand-basket just yet, it's nice to know a sharp customer like Klein is bearing witness to the backroom machinations of government and industry in times of turmoil. --Kim Hughes

    Shock Doctrine at Amazon



    Sounds like a good book!! Thanks for telling us about it.

    I am not trained in economics either. It is a mysterious area of study.

    Not the mysterious hand of capitalism the right talks about. The corporate oligarchy knows exactly how it works; that is how they manipulate the economy each and every day through thick and thin ensuring that those with the money and power keep the money and power.

    This sounds like a powerful look at recent history.


    I have the book "HTML For Dummies" within arms length of me and I just can't force myself to open it!  Damn!

    I thought the 2 references I posted would automatically become hyper-links.  Sorry about my laziness!



    I took the liberty of changing those to hyperlinks. Thanks for the article. Not having a degree, how do you feel about the idea that some people shouldn't go to college?


    After graduating from HS, I had a full-time job waiting for me.  I was , also, offered full scholarships at some fairly decent colleges.  (Football)    Quite honestly, I was lazy and not very inquisitive.  I wasn't ready for more education, so I thanked the colleges for their various scholarship offers and went to work.  I soon tired of the daily grind of my job and joined the Navy.  I was selected to enter the Polaris program.  From boot camp and back to classes that were way beyond my comprehension.  My fellow students had all gone to metropolitan technical schools and learned quickly.  I spent my study time chasing skirts in Virginia Beach.  I squeeked through A school and on to C.  Prior to C school, the Navy demanded that those continuing with Polaris training extend for two additional years.  I didn't,  so went into surface to air missles.  Thus my entry into aerospace.  I tried college after my discharge, but read an ad for techs to serve in the Manned Space Flight Network.  Soon, thereafter, I was working in the Gemini program quickly to become the Apollo program.  To make this short, I have always worked myself into a supervisory or managerial position.  At times, in various jobs, I have had doctors and engineers reporting to me.  Without a degree, my judgements were usually suspect.  As with females and those of color, one had to stand out to succeed.  In any occupation there are always  power struggles and conflicts in theories.  When I entered these jousts with degreed folk, it was like going into the ring with one hand tied behind my back. Sorry about all of the babble.  Now the answer to your question:  A successful plumber, electrician, mechanic or any craftsman has no need to  read Dostoevsky or Keats to be superior at his/her trade.  Their appreciation for renaissance paintings will have little effect on the outcome of their work.   A degree, in most cases, has become more costly with lesser and lesser ROI as the number of degreed individuals multiply annually.  Today, I wouldn't have gotten to first base with my HS diploma.  I watched an interesting  program on C-Span Book TV this weekend.  Work your magic on the proceeding URL, will you Donal?


    Guess I have an angel somewhere-out there!  Many thanks!

    DD...I have read her books.   I am a fan of her.   Shock Doctrine had been out for several years.  It is worth your time to read it.   It really blows holes into Milton Friedman's therories.  

    Sounds like a great book, thanks.

    Our society seems to be writng the final installment of "Reformation and the Rise of Capitalism". We are seeing the end game of wealth concentration in a capitalist system.

    What a perfect instrument to hasten the end of capitalism, to pick all the low hanging fruit and eat the seed corn was George Buish. He followed perfectly the ethic of a Harvard MBA--manipulating assets and plundering resources for the maximization of cash-- it really wasn't all that difficult to do, he just had to be in the right job to do it. The Bush "Pioneers"--isn't that an ironic lable, easily bundled $60 million to launch his primary campaign.  Well, pioneers to paupers in eight generations, pretty good ride while it lasted.

    It is difficult not to be sick at heart looking at the missed opportunity to rebuild our infrastructure instead of destroying the infrastructure in Iraq. A revamped infrastructure could have increased our security and lessened our dependence on Middle East oil. And with the decision on Citizens United we have ended the separation of state and corporation. One wonders what, if anything, can ever bring back the middle class and the democracy we took for granted in the good years.

    Hate to end on a low note, and wonder if there is a ray of hope in the obscene amounts of corporate money in an election. Is there a figure of media expenditure in an election at which point incremental expenditures have no benefit due to saturation? And don't we the people, better organized, have a chance at meeeting that threshold and thwarting the Supreme Court's decision?


    I like a man who is strong enough to fairly recognize the real contributions of an analytical woman. Thank you, Chuck Trotter, for recognizing Naomi Klein and all her contributions to an understanding of what has happened, and is happening, in our capitalism-trumps-ethics society. (Have I embarrassed you? Sorry if that is so)

    You might also be interested in the video Naomi and her husband did about the Gulf Coast:


    Naomi' Klein made a documentary...The Take (Naomi Klein) 2004  about how disaster capitalism destroyed the Argentinean middle class and reduced them down to poverty.

    Here are two urls you can go to to view the video:

    1) Google -
    2) VEOH -

    She went back to Argentina to see how things had progressed. One thing that became obvious was for all the people thrown out of work because the economy went into the shitter, decided as a community to organize themselves, reopen the closed factories, locate the necessary resources to begin production then seek out old clients it see if they needed their products and services.

    While at the airport, someone passed her this note:

    We are the mirror to look into, the mistake to avoid.

    Argentina is the waste of what is left of a globalized economy.

    We are where the rest of the world is going.

    The way this election cycle is going, I say it sounds like we're at their doorstep.


    Beetle (Just couldn't type BJ!)...

    Watched both videos.  What a gal!  Thank you.  I'm not frightened.  Am locked and loaded!

    My take on the book is anyone reading it is tasked to pass it on and use it as a tool to educate. Especially those who don't understand why everything all of a sudden is upside down, inside out and doesn't make any sense. Once you get pass the torturing torture chapters, everything begins to slowly fall into place and the torture chapters begin to form the foundation for the attack on global civilized societies as we know it. I do find it interesting that everyone I've passed the book onto gives it back and I can see they're a changed person...they understand the dilemma. But it takes a lot of people in the know to get a movement started to counter the attack thru civic disobedience and political challenges to Congress. The first step is to vote out republicans and blue dog democrats.

    I am not a book collector.  Once I've read a book, unless it has further use as a technical reference, I forward it to friends and family that may find them an informative read.  They reciprocate, in kind.  A bookshelf full of read books is equivalent to a cemetery in my way of thinking.  With the variety of political philosophies of those I send books to, I do try to avoid pissing them off!

    wws...Not at all embarrassed!  Although I spent my careers working in male-dominated industries, superior intelligence would never have been relegated to a single gender.  Not in God's nor nature's planI, previously, stated that women had to "really excel" to receive the recognition for superior skills that males are tendered without hesitation,today. IMHO, women are making great strides in spite of the subtle undertow of male dominance.  Testosterone is comparable to a two-edged sword!  Klein is not merely an intellect, but she's an excellent communicator.  Thanks for flattering me.Wink

    wws -- Perhaps , I'm living in a very confined world.  Do we still hold males  intellectually more acute than females?   The only difference I found between the genders was the "Go for the throat" attitude of my male counterparts.  Females avoided confict.  For me, that was an asset that females should be lauded for.  Always being on the defense was a "pain in my ass!"  I only backed down when convinced I was wrong.  I have, in the past, been "asked to resign."  Which I complied with.

    Hey Chuck -- you might enjoy reading Gail Collins' new book American Women: 1960 to the Present. As men and women my age lived it, I didn't think she would offer many surprises. But surprise -- I learned an enormous amount from the book and encourage everyone to read it, cover to cover. Thanks for your vote of confidence in us all.

    Funny, Wendy, I was going to mention Collins' book, as well as Jill Lepore's The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party's Revolution and the Battle Over American History, as two other examples of women with outstanding intellects (also wits) writing topnotch nonfiction these days.  Also Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System. 

    Chuck, good to see you here.  Thanks for your post and comments!    

    Excellent book recs, AD. Plus one more: Re-Shaping the Work/Family Debate by Joan Williams reviewed here:

    Thanks for the recommend, wws.  I, truly, was not aware that gender difference had such an impact in today's society.  I guess at my age, I'm actually listening to a speaker's thoughts and paying less attention to her configuration.

    You are so advanced, ChuckTrotter. As many men were, before the Backlash, as we hope will be in great numbers in the future.

    Wendy and other female dagblogians who wish to comment:  Re the Collins book, titled Everything Has Changed, of course not everything has changed.  What are, say, 2 changes for you as a woman and perhaps other women you know, that you are most struck by as you look back over your years?  What are, say, 2 things which you see as not having changed much, if at all?   

    Maybe a topic for a separate, later (after the election, of course :<)) thread?  I'd be interested in hearing thoughts and observations from you and other women who write here. 

    Haven't read Collins' book so not commenting on it. But mho, there is danger in underestimating the revolutionary changes for women that occurred in my lifetime, not to mention that doing so is unappreciative of the work and successes of the feminist movement of which I am very proud. For chrissakes there are so many things big and mother's generation couldn't wear pants in a lot of public situations not to mention they weren't in full control of their own reproductive systems....and they were too weak after a stint as Rosie the riveter to be taking men's construction jobs...and mostly too ditzy to be doctors and lawyers and such...and either whores or madonnas....with bodies not made for professional level sports competitiveness unless they were a freak of nature (remember Bobbie Riggs vs. Billie Jean King?)...,..and when Anita Hill testified that millions of husbands and brothers all of of sudden found out how other men had been treating their wives and sisters for decades, oh my how their consciousness needed raising.... etc.

    Thanks, art.  Hope you will initiate or comment on a future thread where you and others can say more on this topic.

    AD and AA (and anyone else interested) I'd already started putting research materials together for just such a blog. How might we collaborate on it? The sum almost always being better than its parts?

    I'd suggest not overthinking it but just posting something when you feel you're ready to.  (after the election, of course.  :<)) Please consider sending a private email to a few other women you get on well with at dag if you're not seeing them chime in after you do post.  Please send me a private email if I don't appear to be aware that you've posted.  Even though I'm not sure what, if anything, I could add to such a thread, I am most interested in reading what others have to say. 

    I picked up the book over a year ago and have passed to round. Everything happening in this election was covered in the book just with foreign sounding names in  exotic places. It's why I keep repeating anarchy when David Seaton questions the motives of the Koch's and et al. Get the rabble rousing tea-bagger to exercise their 2nd Amendment right if the election doesn't go their way,  and slowly slip in their remedy to local city and state governments. There's a revolution brewing, but not the kind the tea-baggers think. If it doesn't happen in 2010, it will by 2012 for sure.

    "At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened."

    As shocking as all this seems, Chuck, it is really just an application of the classic doctrine: buy low, sell high.  Whenever something really awful happens on some choice piece of real estate, the price of that real estate is temporarily depressed, which provides a wonderful opportunity for the world's bigtime players to move in for a takeover.

    The people who have the most and control the most are always scheming to get more, and control more.  They want to buy your city and town; and your national government; and your national government's army; and every valuable piece of commonly owned, public property in the world.

    And yet the "tea party" thinks that the government of the people is the enemy.  These are people who would sell their own baby to a millionaire rather than let the government tax then $100 to protect their baby from criminals.


    What is happening to real estate is a fractional portion of what is happening to world economies.  If my house burns down, I still own the land (Although my insurance company charges me for the "total" appraised value of the property.)  You would have to analyze what the "full" definition of "Shock Therapy" consists of.  Buy low\sell high is a minor component of what Klein is exposing.  The obvious is blatant.

    Chuck, you probably know this, but if you want a larger font in your comments and posts, you can click your cursor into the comment of post box, click the Down Arrow in the font box, and click 3 (12pt) and the text will be more readable.  Can't understand why the default is so small, really.  You can even choose colors from the A dropdown menu. 

    Thanks for the info, stardust.  I, too, wish the default font was larger.  Everytime I make a correction it returns to the default.  Quite honestly, I really oughta' read the instructions.


    Hey, Chuck; glad you're featuring Naomi Klein.  Since the release of her book, we've been able to see at work that what she says is so.  It will take a while longer to prove her theory in Haiti, but the multinationals are at work as we speak.

    This is John Perkins of Confessions of an Economic Hitman fame.  This is the short version video.  There's a five-part series on youtube, also, but the interview is with an obnoxious (IMO) talk-radio host.  A friend had brought me a CD of Perkins speaking; I couldn't tell if he were credible or not, to tell the truth.  But by now many seem to think he's a companion to Klein.

    I thoroughly enjoyed "Confessions" which caused me to puchase and read "Hoodwinked" by the same author.  May I suggest you read "WTO -- Whose Trade Organization" by Lori Wallach and Patrick Woodall.  The WTO is a tool for the manipulators.

    Revisting the main page and the headlines, may I point out that the headline intro to your post, CT, is: "Man Stuff"?......

    Really? Is your theme "Man Stuff"? Or is it "People Stuff"? "Humankind Stuff"? Or -- just stuff we all need to consider to do, collectively, the next right thing?


    In my defense, I have no idea why my name is even included on the header!  The comments following my post were better than what I posted.  I viewed every video included in the responses.  I do have a theme wws - - It's called "The Golden Rule" and I, truly, try to adhere to it!


    Not your doing -- that intro, in any way. I was only pondering why the sons, and/or daughters of today would regard your topic  -- or more to the point, your primary link/reference -- as constituting "Man Stuff."  Never mind.

    I was wondering the same thing.

    Go ahead and blame Clinton for nafta and forget it got started with Bush 1. Thats the problem with America much liike the bailouts of today. You hear all the blame going to Obama on the bailouts but people forget a lot of the bailouts got started under Bush two. Not that I am defending Clinton or Obama but many times problems are created by differnet people. People forget a lot of these laws are touched by many. And instead of demanding they be fine tuned for maximum benefits for the country as a whole we fuss and throw blame. If Nafta isn't working out, do away with it somehow or make it work. Corporate America has learned how to control and DC and make it better forr themselves why not the rest of us.

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