Friday, July 8, 2011

Oh, the Gnashing of Teeth; the Rending of Garments

As the Debt Ceiling Deliberations plod on, the levels of mass hysteria increase exponentially. Just what the parties to the secret discussions are prepared to agree to is always a bit of a Mystery -- by design to be sure -- but the outlines are always clear enough:

The current cuts to entitlements and social programs will be continued and extended; taxes -- such as the payroll tax intended to pay for Social Security -- will be cut or cuts currently in place will be extended; the rich and their corporations will not pay any more tax no matter what, no way, no how.

This has been the outline from the beginning of the "negotiations," and nothing at all has come up to suggest there's been any change whatsoever in the closed door deliberations.

A thing to keep in mind is that this is the way all the Big Things the Palace wants to do get done:

  • a basic Plan is put forth from the Throne

  • the details of that Plan are not revealed to the Public, but they appear to be known to the principals from the get-go

  • there is much sturm und drang from all parties who issue pro-forma anathemas and denunciations of all other parties

  • deliberations continue behind the scenes and in secret

  • the basic Plan the Throne has issued is adopted by the principals in secret

  • many more anathemas and denunciations are issued, many more lines in the sand are drawn, the End of Civilization is declared repeatedly, passionate gnashing of teeth and rending of garments is de rigueur all around

  • the Plan is circulated among the Opinion Leaders and Congressional Chairs; tweakage occurs here and there to address "issues" identified by favored constituencies

  • the Plan is passed to much huzzah and denunciation, but nobody knows what has actually passed until well after the deed is done

  • the poor, the working class, and the middle class are once again screwed; the upper 1% -- and especially the upper .01% -- are showered with even more benefits and largesse

  • rinse and repeat

This process has been going on for years without let up. It's been relentless. It is mirrored in the astonishing behavior of a clutch of Republican Governors -- most notoriously Scott Walker of Wisconsin -- who have been applying Shock Doctrine tactics in state after state to restrict the rights of workers (particularly public workers) and limit the ability of the People to redress grievances while savagely cutting social programs and education, and heaping ever greater benefits on the upper 1% and ever greater costs on everyone else.

It is a "Pattern" as it were. It is going on almost everywhere simultaneously, and despite all the gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments, absolutely NOTHING is standing in the way of its successful implementation. NOTHING.

Hundreds of thousands have marched in public protest of whatever the Republican Governors want to do, but it doesn't matter; what they want to do is enacted, period. End of discussion.

Eternal arguments go on over this or that Pronouncement from the Throne, this or that policy adopted by the Congress, this or that Big Thing enacted and/or implemented. But just like the protest demonstrations, the Arguments have a stunning lack of effectiveness; nothing changes for the better in other words.

Oh, but same sex marriage is now the law in New York! Haven't you heard! Yay! Celebrate!


If that's your most important thing, then I suppose all the rest of it doesn't matter.

I suppose.

The real question we should be asking is: "Why has nothing at all been effective in stopping this March Over the Cliff?" It's almost as if we are living through a period of Predestination. Or some one else's Plan. I can see why Apocalyptic visions and religious fervor are at an all time high.

The People and the Public Interest literally have no effect on events whatsoever.

Oh, but there was Egypt! Oh, but there was Tunisia! Where Twitter and WikiLeaks and Popular Will overthrew Rotten Dictatorships in a twinkling! Yay! Celebrate!

Well, except that isn't quite what happened. Other than that, everything is now fine in those Happy Lands. Just ask the residents. They will tell you: "Strangely, all is not fine; strangely, we gained almost nothing."

Strangely, that's kind of how it goes.

Strangely, as the Murdoch Media Empire shudders in Britain, the Murdoch Media Empire's machinations world-wide continue unabated. Corrupt as sin, they still rule without let or hindrance.

Strangely, while the Peoples of the World groan under an ever greater burden of debt and penury, the upper crust of the upper crust counts every greater profits.

Strangely, while Everyone Knows that the draconian austerity economic policies being adopted globally will crush any hint of economic recovery everywhere, nothing at all can or will stop their adoption and implementation, no matter the consequences.

Strangely, what the People say and what the People know is broadly and consistently ignored throughout the Ruling Class in order to ensure that that class receives all the benefits and none of the responsibilities of Success. What is happening in the United States is happening everywhere.

Naomi Klein described and predicted it in detail years ago.

But strangely, seeing it in action, everywhere all at once, is more numbing than activating.

Strangely, nothing at all stands in the way of the Four Horsemen riding roughshod over the land.

Nothing at all.


  1. The narrative is not even subtle about this.

    Somehow, "shared sacrifice" has caught on big time. Even on the left. Rather than the logical, rational way to see this:

    No. Sacrifice absolutely should not be "shared." The wealthy are separating themselves from everyone else at ever increasing, extremely alarming rates. They've had the vast majority of all tax cuts in the last 57 years. They live longer, healthier lives. And they utilize PUBLIC infrastructure far more than the non-rich.

    No "shared sacrifice." We raise their taxes, period. We end their loopholes, period. We don't touch the taxes or the loopholes or the services for anyone making less than X. We don't share in "the pain" because we've already sacrificed. Our wages have been suppressed since 1973.

    To me, if the GOP says spending cuts, no tax increases, the logical response is the opposite: All tax increases for the wealthy, no spending cuts on any programs beyond defense and surveillance.

    Instead, these morons think "negotiating" means caving in on 90% of your opponent's demands, and holding out for keeping that number down to 95% in the end.

    I see your austerity and I'll raise you this other kind of austerity . . . instead of a battle between . . . .:

    WPA, direct spending on jobs, an increase in spending for the poor, the working poor, green energy, transportation, agro . . an increase in spending on infrastructure . . . a switch to Medicare for ALL, etc. etc.

    No austerity versus major austerity.

    We get, instead, a lot of austerity versus a hell of a lot of austerity.

    This country is just about beyond all hope.

  2. Sorry it took so long to get your comment posted. It was "filtered" automatically by Blogger. Bless their hearts.

    At any rate, it seems to be obvious -- now -- even to some the most "astute" observers that the austerity approach to the economy doesn't work, won't work, and can't work. All it can -- and will -- do is make matters worse for the masses in the short term, and much worse for everyone in the long term.

    And yet this backwards approach to dealing with the economy -- completely backwards because it provides almost all the economic support at the top (a la Hoover) and nothing or not nearly enough at the bottom -- will continue indefinitely.

    Nothing will be done about the unemployment situation; green jobs, green energy are out of the question ("can't afford it don'tchaknow"); the imperial wars of aggression will continue; no additional tax burden on the rich, indeed, more tax breaks for them, "balanced" by more payroll tax cuts *further reducing SS revenues* (conveniently); no Medicare for All; and on and on.

    Our Rulers must believe there is some advantage to them in performing this Opposite World sleight of hand, but it's not going to work in the short term or the long term.

    It isn't working now. More of the same isn't going to make it better.

    Thus I can only conclude we have a Ruling Class even dumber than the criminally dumb pre-Revolutionary French and Russian Rulers.

    Arise, citizens!

    When Americans actually do reach the point of Arising, I tend to think it will be unexpected, swift, and surprisingly successful.

    But we may have to wait quite a while longer for it to happen.

  3. And, as a follow up, when they do Arise, it will most likely be in the form of a right-wing populist revolt rather than either a full on revolution. It certainly will no happen from the "left."