Pitt is a mensch from way back. He used to have a tremendous presence in the Left-o-sphere when it was much smaller than it is today, and his books and essays still ring as true as they did when first he offered them up.
Over at Truthout, he's got a sad little essay called Next Stop: Train Wreck about the Debt Crisis Crisis Gang of 12 charged with coming up with the Other Cuts that will defeat the Debt Demon, and it's worth a read.
And so here we are, at the next stage of this comic opera/disaster movie/smash-and-grab robbery known as the "debt-limit crisis." Leadership in both the House and Senate have tapped the twelve members who will make up the so-called "Super-Committee," which will be responsible for coming up with a plan to cobble together $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by Thanksgiving.
It is a motley crew, to be sure.
The Republican side of the equation is comprised of Senators Rob Portman (Ohio), John Kyl, (Arizona), and Patrick Toomey (Pennsylvania), along with Representatives Fred Upton (Michigan), Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Dave Camp (Pennsylvania). To a man - and note well that Republican leadership selected a racially and sexually homogenized crew for this - they are hard-liners who will likely not budge when it comes to tax revenues. Kyl is a boon companion of GOP Senator Mitch McConnell, Toomey was once president of the far-right group Club for Growth, and Portman used to be budget director for none other than George W. Bush. Each and every one of these men has taken Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge, which bodes very ill for any revenue enhancements making it into the deal.
The Democratic side of things is comprised of Senators John Kerry (Massachusetts), Patty Murray (Washington), and Max Baucus (Montana), along with Representatives Xavier Becerra (California), Chris Van Hollen (Maryland), and James Clyburn (South Carolina). Progressives will probably be able to live with the chosen House members, but the Senators picked by Harry Reid have given rise to a great degree of consternation on the left. Baucus, in particular, caused a chorus of groans from progressive circles, but ironically enough, it may very well be Murray and Kerry that progressives have the most to worry about.
Well, that's cheery. The only thing I'd quibble with is the title. Methinks that train, Will, is already wrecked.
Meanwhile, the heading picture is taken from a little DVD work by Penny Little called Electile Dysfunction that covers the severe electoral fraud issues of 2004 (anybody remember that?) Those issues have only gotten worse in the intervening years. But now it is the New Normal. People are used to it.
Managed Republic. Directed Democracy. ♫That's America to meeeee!♫