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Perspectives: A Review of 2010


America 2010: Out/In


by Jan Baughman


A Cartoon



(Swans - December 13, 2010)  

Pic: "America 2010: Out/In" - © 2010 Jan Baughman - Size: 62k

America 2010: Out/In - © 2010 Jan Baughman


The stage of the New Year was set in January 2010 when the Supreme Court silenced We the People's voices by granting free speech rights to the political purchasing power of corporations in a case brought forth by (though not made up of) Citizens United. From then on, change we once believed in morphed into more of the same, and worse. Health care reform was negotiated and whittled away into "reforms" that are still years away from being realized -- if they survive the myriad lawsuits and the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives -- and universal health care (forget a single-payer system) saw not the light of day in the shadow of the towering insurance companies poised to enlarge their already obscene profits under a mandatory insurance requirement. On the home front, first-quarter statistics revealed a 35% increase in foreclosures from Q1 2009 -- only later in the year would banks' robo-signing practices designed to speed up the pace be disclosed.

In May, the inevitable but regrettable retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens led to the appointment of Elena Kagan; the jury is still out on whether she will fill his shoes. The following month General Stanley McChrystal had a lapse in judgment when he openly criticized the Obama administration in a Rolling Stone interview, after which he was swiftly disappeared as the war leader in Afghanistan and replaced by David Petraeus, commander of the oh-so-successful Iraq War.

Meanwhile, by July BP's oil continued to flow unabated, ravaging along with chemical dispersants the Gulf Coast, and as the dying ecosystem and failing local businesses joined Katrina victims in the dustbin of history, the moratorium on off-shore drilling in the Gulf was lifted. You know, to sustain our way of life.

2010 saw the rise of the so-called grassroots movement, the Tea Party, which was revealed in an August New Yorker article to be supported by the billionaire Koch brothers and other astroturfing interests on a warpath against Obama in an environment bordering on entropy. Seems that there are no billionaires or corporations/citizens united on behalf of the latte left...

"Don't ask, don't tell" was deemed unconstitutional, yet President Obama, who campaigned on repealing it, had it reinstated in order to get rid of it through congressional rather than judicial mandate -- a strategy that earned the Swans Bonehead Move of the Year award since the Democrats lost control of the House. Despite the military's support of the repeal, John McCain spews his unrelenting objections (now is not the time to allow gays to serve openly, given how well the Afghanistan War is going, he argues...). "We don't do body counts" was the slogan of the Iraq war, but WikiLeaks' October release demonstrated that we actually do do body counts. It's just that in this case, we "Ask, don't tell."

In the midst of America's despair, frustrations, and/or apathy, the November mid-term elections were yet another mandate for change, i.e., more of the same. The Tea Party had its victories and defeats, the Democrats took a "shellacking," and Nancy Pelosi is passing the gavel to the salivating-for-power John Boehner. Which brings us to December, and Republicans holding the country hostage (at the time of this writing) by blocking all legislation until the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are extended or made permanent, while 2 million people are about to have their unemployment benefits cut off in time for Christmas. The official unemployment rate hit 9.8% as we prepare for the annual holiday tradition of layoffs designed to improve companies' year-end financials and profits.

Such were a few of the transitions and lowlights of 2010 in America. Cartoons aren't always funny, but in retrospect 2010 was not a very amusing year, particularly for those of us who aren't incorporated.


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About the Author

Jan Baughman on Swans -- with bio. She is Swans co-editor.   (back)


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Other Cartoons by Jan Baughman


Internal Resources

Years in Review

Patterns which Connect

America the 'beautiful'

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This edition's other articles

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
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Published December 13, 2010