Sunday, September 07, 2008

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

God forbid we nationalize or (gasp) socialize health care in this country.

Yet when the victims are not uninsured Americans in need of health care, but a pair of capitalistic corporations whose shareholders are in need of a return on their investments—then here comes the government to the rescue.

Call it a "conservatorship" by a federal agency, not the nationalization of the corporations...say it's only temporary until the imperiled businesses are on a stronger footing. Mere semantics. Even the conservative Wall Street Journal calls it a takeover.

It's simply another instance (of a spate of them during the last eight years) of conservatives and capitalists in this country changing the labels when their interests are threatened. Fiscal restraint was a sacred Republican party plank, until Dubya wanted to invade Iraq—then there was no cost most Republicans were unwilling to pay. A federal government empowered to surveil Americans' private lives was similarly anathema to Republicans and conservatives—until Cheney's imperial vision for the U.S. has put us all under a quiet and constitutionally questionable federal scrutiny that Reagan would have called communistic.

Speaking of our veep: this weekend, I hear, he condemned Russia and Putin for "bullying" Georgia. Us? We don't bully—we liberate.

And when Europe mocks such international myopia and arrogance, we just say they're jealous of us.

I should probably go back and reread George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language." Political language, he wrote in 1946, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." It is language, he wrote, that is not for expressing thought, but for concealing or preventing it.

Something, maybe, to take with us into a season of campaigns and debates.


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