Monday, August 1, 2011
I've used the Ahkenaten image above to represent Obama pretty much since he ascended the Throne. (BTW, I use the imagery of an Imperial Palace, Throne, Emperor, etc. all the time to describe The President and Our Government and their many Courtiers for the simple reason that that is what Our Government on the whole has become, especially since the advent of Bush II -- and I say that as someone who was on the Inside during part of the Clinton administration, through the entire Bush Reign, and into the first year of the Obama Reign.) I use it because I think there is a startling physical resemblance (Oh, my! Reincarnation?) and because Ahkenaten was a "Transformational/Transcendent" Pharaoh, unique in many ways, revolutionary in others, and -- at least according to History -- a tragic failure. Which is what I sensed Mr. Obama might well become.
The Presidency may be the post-modern analogy to the Emperor and his Court when time was, but in the fulness of time, the Presidency has not adopted the titles and styles, powers, or the divinity of the Pharaohs. Consequently, whoever occupies the Throne cannot simply declare a revolutionary revision of the Government and see it implemented by command from the Throne (though, truth to tell, Bush/Cheney came very close to doing just that, and got away with almost all of it, too, by both browbeating and irrelevating Congress and the Courts into submission.)
Pharaoh Obama has sought to restore Congress to something of its Constitutional and historical role, with mixed results to say the least. I get the impression that Congress really prefers to be ordered around, and instead of doing that, Pharaoh Obama has told them to come up with plans and legislation on their own and get as far as they can toward enacting it before he will step in to "mediate" disputes on the way to eventual passage.
Pharaoh as Mediator is an interesting -- and highly unusual -- tactic, one that doesn't sit well with much of anyone, especially not in Congress, where most of the training and belief of those in office has been that the President/Emperor is supposed to lead the Congressional Flock, much as a minister might lead his congregation, not follow-on to sort out difficulties between disputing factions.
Uh. They don't know what to do under the circumstances, so they go hog-wild, as they have done over the Debt Limit Crisis Crisis, one that the Throne actually decided to instigate and continue in order to achieve a transcendent goal, not simply a transactional goal of getting a piece of needed legislation passed.
No, the Throne decided that This Is The Time to overhaul the entire debt-related budget process, top to bottom, and set in place a budgetary formula that would reduce government expenditures as a share of the economy over time, in a structured and enduring framework.
A framework that would, first of all, be appealing to the Government's Owners and Sponsors -- ie: the Financial Sector. Which meant, from the outset, cutting social program expenditures, and refusing, under any circumstances, to consider appropriate tax levels on the richest among us.
There could be no consideration of appropriate tax levels on the Highest and the Mightiest since Our Nobles and Our Betters have been on a tax strike for years, and they refuse to pay a dime more into the Treasury, but continue to insist on withdrawing cash from it instead, both to line their own ample pockets, and to reduce even further the proportional amount of money the Government has to work with.
It's diabolical, but there you are.
Taxation, to them, is punishment, and only the unworthy and the parasites should be forced to pay.
So, with that starting point on Negotiations over the Debt Limit, the tragic drama got under way -- in the midst of the most severe economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.
Oh crap. This could not end well.
Simply put, the points of argument and dispute that the Pharaoh was intent on mediating had nothing to do with responding to the economic difficulties of the masses, yet would, if implemented, result in further calamity piled on the many, for the express benefit of the few.
Not a good outcome at all.
But that's where we are.
Pharaoh has fucked up.
For all intents and purposes, his reign is done. His attempt at brilliant transcendence has resulted in a couple of truly grotesque monstrosities: the Health Insurance Racket Protection Program, and the still being cobbled together Budget Fix for Debt Limit Increase and Killing the Economy Measure.
I don't think he's going to get a third chance.