Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Mirror, Mirror" in America

For the young or non-Trek literate readers, "Mirror Mirror" is a classic episode of the original Star Trek series.  The plot featured an alternate universe with a tyrannical Empire instead of a benevolent Federation, a bearded Spock, and a Tantalus Field that the Department of Homeland Security is probably trying to develop at this very moment.  As with all Star Trek episodes, good triumphed and everyone had a laugh on the bridge.  I'm not so sure the episode Americans are experiencing now will have such a happy ending.

First, a tweet by Peter Daou points to this article that confirms that 400 Americans have more wealth than the 155 million poorest Americans. For the purposes of comparison, Irene, South Dakota, would have more economic power than the states of California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, the nine US states with the largest populations.

Second, the US military is actively torturing an American citizen who has been convicted of nothing.  I naively believed that the US believed that one was innocent until proven guilty.  I also thought Obama condemned torture, but I guess that was when it didn't apply to Bradley Manning who is alleged to have turned over documents to Wikileaks.  To make matters worse, the White House has apparently decided to fire P.J. Crowley who was perceptive enough to call the government's treatment of Manning "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid."  I guess that the prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment and the protection of free speech can be selectively applied.

Third, via The Madville Times, I discover that South Dakota's budget is twice as large as it was in 1996 but it spends half as much on tax relief for the the elderly poor.

One of the running jokes about the original Star Trek series was that characters who appeared in a red uniform would die by the end of the episode.  Somehow, it seems as if a large portion of America just got beamed down wearing a red shirt.

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

Dang it: just when I thought Wisconsin might provoke the rise of the People's Party and a blue tide in 2012, my President embraces torture and starts purging those who call him out on it. Ugh!