Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Uselessness of Our Aristocrats

While the Obama regime has made incalculable unforced errors that have kept our many overseas wars of aggression going -- indeed, expanded some of them -- restricted our liberties, perpetuated our Endless Recession, and made more and more people's lives as miserable and controlled as possible, even though a handful of predators in banking and finance and vulture capital continue to prosper mightily, the prospect of putting up another Republican Aristo against Obama -- someone who is arguably a Man of the People (if somewhat of a traitor to his class nonetheless) -- is looking more and more like a bizarre spectacle. Yet it may have an upshot no one has adequately anticipated.

Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee presumptive has been under a surprising level of attack from fellow Rs for his "vulture capitalism" period at Bain Capital during which he amassed an enormous fortune, much of it on the backs of... lesser people... whose lives and livelihoods were destroyed. That's how people of his ilk make money. They do leveraged buyouts, then strip the assets of the acquisitions. It's been going on for decades, Mitt got into the game early, made a huge fortune through debt finance and asset stripping, destroying many people's lives along the way, and he -- like all the rest of his ilk -- seems to be utterly oblivious to the wreckage he left behind. It's not his problem, you see. Someone else can clean up the mess.

This is the general attitude of our entire Aristocratic Class, not just Mittens. They seem completely incapable -- as a class -- of recognizing, let alone addressing, the level of human misery they cause in pursuit of endless riches above all else.

It's pathological.

Of course we've seen it all before, not that long ago, either. It was present in both Bush reigns, and of course it was the consistent attitude during the Go-Go 80's; the Lesser People simply don't matter. They are on the whole an undifferentiated, dehumanized mass, resources to be exploited and discarded at will.

This is the general attitude of our Overclass to the rest of humanity. They simply do not have a human connection with anyone, nor do they have a care for anyone, outside their own class, and more and more it is clear (as in the case of Mitt), they have no knowledge of anyone outside their own class. Nor do they want any, nor are they able to empathize with anyone at all, let alone those "beneath" them.

Unfortunately, this pathology is like an infection. Much as craziness and insanity are communicable with enough exposure, so is the complete lack of empathy that characterizes so much of our Aristocracy. It can spread all too easily through a population at large, and when it does, we see the kind of violent, crabbed and misshapen societies the United States has largely become -- one that celebrates the misfortune of others and one that punishes those who can't abide or keep up with the course of selfishness and greed.

Ordinary people may tolerate this state of affairs for a while, may even become temporary advocates for it, if they believe they are somehow better off under the rule of cruelty (cf: Fascist/Nazi era in Europe as example). But inevitably they awaken to the fact that they have been under assault and have been robbed all this time.

And they rise up. It is inevitable. And as we saw so many times last year -- still going on this year, but not getting quite as much press -- the Rule of Aristocratic Cruelty reacts with more repression and cruelty, and more and more physical and psychological violence, trying to force the masses to accept their sorry fate. In other words, their only response to the outcry against their cruelty is more cruelty more widely applied.

A more responsible Aristocracy (or at least one that wants to survive) listens to the outcry of the masses and adjusts its behavior accordingly to accommodate the pleas for redress they receive.

But ours, somewhat bewilderingly, does not. Pleas aren't even heard, let alone accommodated -- or rejected for that matter. Theft and looting, exploitation and destruction by the Overclass is more and more brazen; control or punishment only applies to those "below" never to those on top, while just being "below" becomes a punishable offense.

Our putative Aristocrats -- the Overclass -- has no regard at all for the interests of those beneath them, and they have only a marginal concern over how far they can push the lesser people and how fast.

The Overclass only serves itself, but its members are also in fierce and unrelenting competition with one another for pre-eminence. They cheerfully steal from one another, in other words, as well as from those beneath them. They seem to be hard-wired for theft and looting and destruction and they can't help themselves. It is an identity thing for them.

And here we have Mittens as the perfect example. He displays no conscience, no empathy, no consideration -- at all -- for any of those he has brought misery to over his long years as a titan of finance. If they have "problems", oh well, they need to bootstrap themselves like he did, suck it up and go on. Or not. It's not his "problem." Someone else can deal with it -- or no one. It doesn't matter. Because those who don't make it under his scheme of cruelty... don't matter.

"It's Capitalist Free Enterprise, my friends."

Yes, it is.

The more he goes down this path, the more people will associate their misery with what he is attempting to get them to celebrate: Capitalist Free Enterprise. And the more they will ultimately reject it.

Under the circumstances, full on Socialism is looking more and more promising. Or something else. But not Plunder Capitalism and the Useless Aristocracy that goes with it -- such as Mittens believes in as his secular religion. No more of that, thankyouverymuch.

Obama does not get off scot free by any means. His role, though, has always been quite different: to serve the interests of the Overclass fully while managing the masses. I've mentioned this many times before: Obama spent years auditioning for his role as Manager of the Masses, and he demonstrated just how well he was able to do it in Berlin, where he attracted a crowd of hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, who listened to him speechify about... nothing. He held them in thrall, and what he said to them didn't matter at all. Later, at his inauguration, he was able to enthrall millions who attended in bitter cold, while telling them that they would have to sacrifice and suffer in order to get through the rough times ahead.

Little did they realize they were being told they must suffer and sacrifice for the benefit of those who had been robbing them and destroying their lives, but there you are. That's how our system works.

Obama has been on message ever since. His premise is that "things could be worse," and they will be worse, guaranteed, if those Other People are ever put back in charge.

In other words, there is No Better Future for You. You will drudge along till all your goods and chattel are used up or stolen, and you'll feel grateful that things didn't get any worse than they did. That is your lot and your fate. Rejoice!

And yet, more and more obviously, the Aristocrats of Cruelty who rule us are seen as the useless parasites they are, burdens the rest of us can no longer afford.

The test for Obama now is whether he can keep the masses under control. So far, he's done surprisingly well at it. His real test will be whether he can manage the coming rebellions.

Needless to say, people like Mitt are too busy plundering to be bothered...


  1. Funny you should mention the go-go 80's, I just posted a little something about both the Go-Go's and the 80's. GMTA and all that.
    As I've said before, I think that the righties are just throwing this one. What do they have to lose if Obama stays in? Not a hell of a lot. They don't even bother with the sort of bad optics Mitt creates anymore; elections for them are like sex. When it's good, it's really good; when it's bad, it's still pretty good.

  2. Ché,

    Caught a bit of Chris Hayes on the web earlier this evening. It's possibly the furthest left the mainstream will go on teebee. But there is a very interesting moment in this morning's show. Just when one of the guests was about to take the logical next step from critiquing "Bain Capitalism" to critiquing capitalist itself, Chris cut to the break. As if he got a message in his ear:

    "Don't go there, Chris."

    Before he did that, it was as if I were watching a football game, rooting for them to go there. I was saying, yes!! yes!! It's about time!! And, then, oh, damn.

    To me, it's all too obvious that we shouldn't just talk about "predatory capitalism." Capitalism is predatory by nature. You don't need the adjective. But even those on the so-called left are reluctant to take that next logical step, preferring to pin all of this on a certain kind of capitalism, as if it's some kind of anomaly.

    Also, I highly recommend this new bit of Zizek. A really strong take on new social relations, the new forced obsolescence (workers themselves), and the exploitation of our common intellectual heritage by IT gurus:

    The Revolt of Salaried Bourgeoisie

    BTW, you got mail.

  3. Hey, Hag -- the Mittster's optics, as you say, just get worse and worse. It seems that all the flacks on that side of the aisle recognize how awful it looks, give him a pass, and suggest that "his people" do something about it.

    But I think you're right. The Game is being thrown -- so that The Nice Colored Fellow can do all the nasty things that must be done and he can take the blame for it, too. What do they call it? "Sin Eating?"

    Something like that.

    And Cu-hool, I'm not convinced that Capitalism is going to survive this period of tribulation. Was there a defense of Capitalism on the program? I suspect not.

    What I'm seeing instead is a rather pathetic defense of some of those individuals who have engaged in, shall we say, the more destructive aspects of Capitalism. There really isn't a defense of what Mitt and all the others of that ilk did and are doing. The suffering left in their wake is unjustifiable.

    Everyone knows it.

    It seems that Our Betters have agreed among themselves to accept something of a drubbing and try to mitigate the damage to themselves.

    We'll see where it goes...

    Thanks for the links, by the way.

  4. Che and Cuchulain,
    I do wish people on the "left" - whatever that means any more - would at least mention Jill Stein (Green Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party). Give them a little air time. The pundits say a third party will never win, which may certainly be true, but how about at least letting people know they are out there so that everyone can see what they stand for? Since apparently no-one is going to be allowed to primary Oblahblah (and actually, there are a couple of candidates running on the Dem ticket, but no-one dares mention them either), why not show everyone the other options? Name-a-Republican-any-Republican is not an "option"; Obama IS a Republican. I wish HuffPo, Greenwald, and other "progressive" sites would stop pretending it's either Oblahblah or Paul. That just strengthens the one-party hold we have in government now.

    I really believe, as I have said before, that this will be the last election we have in this country. Why toss it to the pitbulls without even trying to get another voice heard? For sure, a third party will never be considered if no-one in the "free press" will even present the option. I bet either Stein or Anderson would take the left by storm if they were given a fair hearing. Which needs to be done by columnists and bloggers, since neither has any cash to compete with the RepubliDem Party.

    Cuch, you did a yeoman's job pointing out the Perils of Paul over on UT. (Disgusting of Greenwald to use MLK, jr as a lead-in to another "hoo-rah, Ron Paul" piece. That's my opinion - I don't mean to imply you said that.) Too bad Greenwald will not ever consider the issues you bring up regarding Paul. Anyway, very well said, all your posts.

    Best to you both,

  5. Teri,

    Thanks. I don't think I've made the slightest dent in the hurrah for Ron Paul brigade. Not a one. But, I've always been a bit of a Quixote, so I'll probably press on.

    Yes, I will also try to mention Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson by name, though I have been talking true Third Party for awhile now. Leaning toward Jill Stein, but I also hope that the DSA will put a candidate on the ballet. I also may just write in a ticket.

    How about Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges? I admire both of them tremendously, and would not have to "hold my nose" to cast a vote for them. They, of course, don't want to run. But, given that our vote is largely ceremonial, why not go that route?

    Of course, it's also true that failure to support actual third parties renders them just about permanently out of the picture. And that's bad for everyone.

    Hope all is well with you and yours.

  6. Dear Cuchulain,
    Isn't Naomi Klein Canadian by birth? It hardly matters, this election. I doubt we are going to survive as the US of A for too much longer. But damn, it makes me angry that none of the so-called progressive websites will talk about any other possibilities. Give it a real try for once, y'know? There are other countries that successfully run three or four parties; I never read about their citizens complaining, "We should only have two parties, and they should be exactly the same."

    Hedges is suing Obama over the NDAA, did you see that? The article he wrote about it is over on truthdig.

    We are fine here at chez Teri. Poorer - my income dropped about 3000 bucks this past year as so many of our small-business clients (I do small business accounting) have had to shut their doors. I am squeaking by, but have family around to help in tough spots. The one kid still at home has been looking for part-time work (for a year!) while doing the community college route - she was accepted at the state college, but we cannot do the tuition, so had to turn it down. Not a job to be had for her. My middle child finally got a job teaching in Baltimore...he is trying to pay off the loan for his Master's degree, but still, I thought he would be doing better financially than he is. I found out he not only has to supply everything for his classroom, including pencils and paper for the kids and things like an overhead projector and chalk, but that he has taken it upon himself to keep a stash of food in his classroom. For the kids. He has some students who spend the nights sleeping in their parents' cars because they are homeless and some kids who have homes, but no food in the home. He just shrugs and says, "They're hungry, Mom. They can't focus when they are hungry." This is America.

    I have kept a blog for 4 years, and realized the other day just how much angrier my entries sound now compared to when I started. There is simply no excuse for our politicians to let Goldman, Sachs take everything in the entire world. There is no real reason children are hungry in the US.

    Oh, blah, blah, listen to me! I need to get back to doing payroll taxes, so enough already.

    Take care - see you around the interwebs!


  7. Y'all:

    I went to bat over at Corrente when Lambert threw a stink bomb into the roiling waters of the Ron Paul Wars at Naked Capitalism in defense of Paul-Greenwald-Stoller, et al. A few were getting into it with him at NC -- cwaltz among others -- bringing up Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein over and over and over again, and he and the rest of the Pauliac brigades just dismissed it outright.

    I approached the topic a little differently, pointing out that there has long been a strong and sometimes strident genuine leftist/liberal/progressive critique of Power that highlights the issues of war and empire and civil liberties, that in fact, the genuine left is steeped in it. It is simply false to assert that Ron Paul is the "only one" talking about these things, so deeply and fundamentally in error that I believe the assertion to be little more than standard Pauliac propaganda.

    I eventually read Stoller's piece which had apparently triggered all this hooey, and it was obvious what he was doing. He was promoting Ron Paul. Period. "Introducing" him to Alan Grayson fans and the like. Explaining how moral and just Paul and his staff had been when Grayson and his staff reached out to them...

    Sigh. I guess that's where the "only one" canard got going. Congressional Dems are notorious for their fecklessness and spinelessness, and the White House has been a terrible disappointment, yadda yadda, so in that context, apparently the only "important" context, we are supposed to believe that Paul is the "only one" who is standing up for doing the right thing on these issues. But even that's false.

    Ultimately, Lambert's point, which may be shared by Stoller-Greenwald-Sirota et al, is that whatever divides the Dems is a good thing, and this Paul brou-ha-ha is dividing the Dems and that's all that really matters.

    Here I thought I was a cynic.

  8. Okay, Che,
    I don't get all the Beltway insider chit-chat. (Not from you, I mean in general. The "if so-and-so takes SC, then we'll see this happen in NH, etc., etc.") The point should be to vote for whomever one thinks will be best for the society at large. So I don't get the "value" of splitting the Dems, unless you support Republican ideals. A vote for Ron Paul will be interpreted as a vote for, duh, the REPUBLICAN Ron Paul. Not just a vote for his supposed anti-war stance, but also his privatization and corporatist intentions. No-one would look at a Paul win and just assume that some of the voters liked one thing about the guy and hated all the rest. Paul sure wouldn't take it that way - he would figure that everyone is on board with his kill SS (but do it slowly) and end the EPA/minimum wages/taxation on corporations, and all the rest of his crap, too. You don't get to explain or parse your vote anywhere on the ballot.

    And if the point is to split the Dems, why not do it by voting Green or Justice, which DO reflect liberal values? This is where I get lost, BTW. What is the inherent "good" of splitting the Dems? Why would Greenwald et al think that is a good thing? Near as I can tell, the only good reason to do it on purpose is to move the party back toward the left where it used to be. Paul splits it and moves it further right.

    Except on war issues, and even that is a canard. Paul is the one who brought up a suggestion in Congress that our "War on Terror" be handled by hiring a bunch of mercenaries and sending them out to do whatever they felt best against the "menace". He doesn't really want to stop the wars; he just wants to privatize the freaking Army. That way, the gubmint doesn't have to worry about standard pay or veterans' benefits any more.

    Drives me batty, the whole thing.


  9. Hmmm, a small PS - is anyone out there calling for the abolishment of the CIA and its covert ops and drone programs?

    Just curious.


  10. There is a pernicious premise among some who claim to be "progressives" or "liberals" or "leftists" that the only way to achieve a "progressive" political victory is through the destruction of the Democratic Party. Anything that causes disunity and instability within the Democratic Party framework is therefore a good thing to be celebrated, because eventually it will lead to the extinction of the Party. Only then goes this "reasoning" will it be possible to build a genuine "progressive" party.

    Um-hm. Sure.

    It's absurd on it's face. Destruction of the Democratic Party -- no matter how appealing it may be to contemplate -- would leave a monopoly of political power in the remnant batshit R Party. This will not inspire the People to resist or come up with a "progressive" alternative. In fact, given the way our Ruling Class operates, the destruction of the Democratic Party would simply allow unfettered "liberty" to the predators and Fascists, to do as they damn-well please without any political hindrance at all in the political realm.

    What's the point of that?

    If either of the major political parties is worthy of destruction it is the Republicans, but every time I bring that up, the response is the same: "You can't do that!"

    Yes, well. Of course not, not if your aim is to enable unfettered political power by predators and Fascists.

    But disabling or destroying the Ds is supposedly ok because they're so feckless and disappointing and whatnot, and their continued existence makes it impossible for a genuine Progressive Party to arise.


    The political/electoral system itself makes that impossible. You can actually achieve some Progressive policies through either (or both) of the main political parties with sufficient outside pressure -- or you used to be able to, maybe not any more, we'll see -- but you're not going to get a 'genuine' Progressive Party by destroying the Dems and not taking on the whole political and electoral apparatus. Won't happen.

    The Rs are a radical party -- that's how they started, that's what they are today. The Dems are a conservative party. There is no truly liberal/leftist/progressive MAJOR party in our system -- and I argue that there can't be without a complete overhaul -- indeed a revolution -- of our political and electoral system.

    But most of those intent on 'destroying' the Dems have no intention of THAT. Perish the thought. No, they want the same system with somewhat different players, that's all. The same system will produce the same results, oddly enough.

    But if you hand a monopoly of political power to one of the current main parties, you've actually destroyed the system and replaced it with a monopoly of power -- in other words, a complete dictatorship -- and in the hands of the Rs, that means Fascism. Pure, unfettered. Permanent.

    As for abolishing the CIA -- and the rest of the "intelligence" infrastructure -- I'm for it. The whole apparat, root and branch. But then, I say the same about the DoJ too, and all its foul works.

    Even Revolutions, though, don't necessarily deal appropriately with the out-of-control agencies of previous governments. Observe the contemporary Russian predicament, for example. No, the Revolution tends to hold on to the Power centers of the ancien regime so as to ensure the Revolution's own perpetuation.

    No matter who is operating the levers, the point of Government is its own perpetuation. Period.

    Even a Revolution doesn't change that primary objective. Supposedly, the CIA and the drones and so forth serve that purpose...

  11. Ché,

    Very well stated. You're making a very rational case for making sure we don't strengthen the Republicans in any, way, shape or form. And you do so in a way that doesn't seem to cause a backlash.

    Me, OTOH, if I don't come right out and say that Obama kills babies in every post, I'm considered a mole for his reelection over on GG's.


    One must consistently express abject hatred for the man, if one is to get in the UT crowd's good graces. Course, I don't give a shit about that, which is why I try to show why this bizarre courtship of Ron Paul is insane. I also keep hoping against hope that they'll notice the extreme double standard they've imposed.

    Abject, fanatical praise for Ron Paul never is denounced, even when it borders on Beatlemania and one's first concert screaming out love for Ron Paul, George and Ringo.


    But let one go through a day NOT spewing venom toward Obama, and that person is labeled a bot, even though they don't bring up the president's name.

    It's also amusing to read some of these same people talk about how much they want Obama to win in 2008 and gain a second term. As Bystander did in his/her letters of that time. Me thinks their hatred today is a bit hyperbolic in light of their earlier position, and none of that warrants a switch to Paul, regardless.

    Your take on Obama from the start left you far more wiggle room, and you decided that it made no sense to rip into people for not showing sufficient outrage on a minute to minute basis.

    We live in strange times.

  12. Che, mijo,

    Thank you for the explanation.

    Although it sounds as loony an idea for anyone of intelligence to promote as pretty much anything I have ever heard. If you bring down the Dems, you are - ipso facto - giving all the power to the Repubs. Even if they only had four years of power before the people rose up (finally), imagine what they could do in that time. How can anyone think this is a "strategy"?

    And naturally, the pundits and TPTB would interpret a strong Repub vote as, "See? The Americans WANT trickle-down and austerity, they have finally learned we are right. Now off to bomb France."

    I am but a simple woman. All I need is a good smart man like GG to tell me who to vote for and I'm good to go. Hell, I'm pretty sure Ron Paul and the other Republicans could get rid of the women's right to vote and it wouldn't hurt at all.

    ("I am but a vessel waiting to be filled." - Steel Light, who, BTW, is actually a man, I think.)


    Oh, anyone broached the subject of what the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA might do to Bradley Manning and Julian Assange?

  13. My take on Obama was that he was a corporatist, imperialist warmonger, as was Hillary as was McCain and all the other R playahs.

    My take on the situation in 2008 was that no one who wasn't a corporatist, imperialist warmonger would be allowed anywhere near the Throne.

    Thus the relevance of anyone in contention for the Emperorship who expressed anything but corporatism, imperialism and warmongering was nonexistent. They had no chance, no chance at all, of obtaining the Imperial scepter.

    Who holds the Presidency is something we the People have only the most marginal role in determining. Talk about "managed democracy." We invented it.

    We do not get a vote on policy. Only personality. Given the choice between a snarling grampa and a well-spoken, attractive, young black man, the sane choice is obvious.

    But I had no illusions Obama would be any Big Progressive or that he would be allowed to further the left/liberal/progressive community. Nope.

    The notion that Ron Paul is going to shake things up this time is absurd. He's as irrelevant now as he ever was, and the fact that he gets to say things in the R debates -- where he's the kooky old grampa this cycle -- simply puts his "positions" on the fringes where the kooks are.

    It's really very calculated by the election consultants and managers. They know what they're doing. Kucinich had the 'kook' role on the D side in 2008; Dean had it in 2004.

    The point is to completely marginalize (and in the case of Ron Paul, to very strictly confine) what have long been popular positions on war and empire and the presidency. And to not even mention the more popular "leftist" economic and social positions.

    When anyone says Ron Paul is the ONLY politician "saying these things" then I know they are on a propaganda campaign, they are not telling the truth. When they say he puts these issues into the mainstream, they are being either obtuse or deliberately deceptive. The Kook's role is to keep them OUT of the mainstream political discussion. And so it is.

    The only successful way I know of to get truly popular/populist positions into government policy is to press for them from the outside -- by making them impossible to ignore.

    Relentless attacks on Obama from the margins may have an effect on the outcome of the election, but they are not going to seriously affect the policies of government. Romney (or any of the other Rs) will be somewhat nastier about it, but the policies will be essentially the same. So what is the point of attacking Obama if the outcome is the same -- except that maybe your team will be calling the shots?

    Clue, eh? Which team are they playing for? After repeated episodes of this kind it becomes pretty obvious.

    Press for policy changes by all means, and support candidates that support those changes, but don't expect too much from candidates or the electoral process; they serve other masters and purposes.

    Just don't deliberately try to make things worse than they otherwise would be.

    That is, as teri says, maddening.

    (Bystander is a she, fwiw.)

    As for the NDAA, the PTB are really tap dancing around the implications of this thing. We had the "Enabling Act" in the form of the original and renewed Patriot Act, now this thing seems to me to be an implementation/justification clause for some of the worst abuses that have already been committed, and for those yet to come. Whether they would apply to Manning or Assange is debatable. They could, yes, but there are so many other tactics the government has at its disposal. I think they'd save the special ones for when they are really needed.

    teri, glad you know your place.

    Now if all the other wimmynfolks would learn theirs!


  14. And in case there is any doubt whatsoever, the comment to teri in the last post is... snark. (Well, ya never know who reads these things, do ya?)

  15. Che,

    You made ME laugh, anyway. As my mama always says, just don't ever forget that the daughter of a lion is also a lion.

    Thanks for the chat today - glad I caught you in, and now the computer is off 'til the morrow.