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So says the twaddle of my MSN entry page.

Poor little rich bitch Hugrette Clarke lies immobile in a drab hospital room instead of flitting about her various beautiful, elegant, lavishly-furnished estates.

Jesus Christ!

The woman is 104 years old.

What the devil is she doing with all that bleeding property when millions of Americans have been dispossessed of their jobs and income and their properties and many American families have been reduced to living in their cars?

Meanwhile, over the weekend the Financial Times of London ran a revealing article on the state of the American middle class, with this revealing statement:

Yet somehow things don’t feel so good any more. Last year the bank tried to repossess the Freemans’ home even though they were only three months in arrears. Their son, Andy, was recently knocked off his mother’s health insurance and only painfully reinstated for a large fee. And, much like the boarded-up houses that signal America’s epidemic of foreclosures, the drug dealings and shootings that were once remote from their neighbourhood are edging ever closer, a block at a time.

What is most troubling about the Freemans is how typical they are.

Obama's stimulus seemed to be working in a timid and weak way but, as feared by many, it wasn't enough:

After easing for four months, the nation's economic stress worsened in June because more bankruptcies in the West and foreclosures outside the Sun Belt outweighed lower unemployment, according to The Associated Press' monthly analysis of conditions around the country.

The setback halted a drop in month-to-month stress readings that had begun in February. In May, economic stress had declined from the previous month in 33 states. And in April, stress fell in every state but two.

But in June, bankruptcy rates rose in Utah, California, Colorado and Idaho. Higher foreclosures spread to the Midwest, particularly Illinois. This occurred even as foreclosures eased in states that have suffered most from the housing bust, such as Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada.

And, new words have been added to our economic vocabulary, words like The Economic Stress Index:

It must be noted that leading up to our economic crisis that in the continuing interest of large, multinational corporations, legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, deaf and blind to the pleas of their constituents, signed onto a multitude of so-called "free trade" agreements which outsourced American jobs, American economic security, wholesale betrayal of the American Middle Class.

Voicing the concerns of the American Middle Class, The National Conference of State Legislatures, (NCSL), issued national trade policy guidelines:  

The NCSL policy, "Free Trade and Federalism," sets forth what the leading state legislator organization deems an acceptable trade policy. The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (Korea FTA), signed by President George W. Bush in 2007, does not meet the NCSL’s standards. The administration said it would work to "fix" Bush’s Korea FTA before bringing it to Congress, but to date has committed only to addressing commercial issues related to more market access for U.S. autos and beef in Korea. ...

The Free Trade and Federalism policy articulates some of the trade policy changes needed before the NCSL and state legislators will support a specific trade agreement or presidential trade authority proposal. This includes:

• Ensuring that trade agreements do not provide greater procedural or substantive rights for foreign investors by including an investor-state dispute resolution or including greater substantive property rights than available under U.S. law;
• Requiring that federal trade negotiators obtain the explicit consent of state legislatures – not just governors – before a state can be bound to comply with trade agreement procurement policy constraints;
• Limiting U.S. commitments under trade pact service, investment and procurement rules to a "positive list approach" so that only state sectors and policies explicitly committed will be covered by the agreement’s policy constraints; and
• Improving consultation with state legislators on procurement, services and investment provisions of trade agreements before the onset of negotiations.

Our national legislators are sure to continue to be deaf and blind to our pleas and our weakening situation.  After all, they can blame "brown" people for our crisis, instead of owning up to their own roles in selling us out to China, Saudi Arabia, India and elsewhere:

... it seems to me that the Lou Dobbs theory of the economy -- blaming trade and immigration for dislikable elements of the contemporary scene -- is a very dangerous toxin that's extremely counterproductive to sound social democratic goals. By focusing the ire of suffering people on various brown-skinned types both at home and abroad, this brand of pseudo-populism distracts attention from the policy shifts that could actually help and the powerful actors that stand in the way of those shifts.

In a high bit of irony, the Financial Times article closed with these lines:

To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unbeatable foe,
to bear with unbearable sorrow,
to run where the brave dare not go.

To right the unrightable wrong,
to love pure and chaste from afar,
to try when your arms are too weary,
to reach the unreachable star.

This is my quest: to follow that star,
no matter how hopeless, no matter how far.

While Huguette Clarke lies dreamless on her hospital bed and millions of Americans have had their dreams trashed by legislators and courts who are endlessly in love with the artificial persona of multinational corporations. Real, that is to say, natural persons no longer count in the American dream.

So far, multinational corporations do not have the political franchise of actually voting in American elections. Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court are feverishly working to correct that omission.

Footnote: One wonders at all the sturm and angst on behalf of a huge property owner of no note rather than on behalf of the alive and vital millions of Americans who suffer joblessness, loss of their little wealth and properties. Does the ownership of huge amounts of valuable property elevate one so much in public esteem if that is one's only accomplishment?

Originally posted to Karen Hedwig Backman on Mon Aug 02, 2010 at 11:52 AM PDT.

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