Quote of the day

In Obama’s America, each day is Halloween. The “lesser people” (Alan Simpson) should be afraid, very afraid! Why? Uncle Sam is bankrupt. He lives merely on the kindness of strangers. Only painful actions can remedy this situation.

Uncle Sam, you see, has long suffered from Affluenza. While the condition is often mistaken for a state of healthy well-being, the illness can be terminal. There are limits. They need to be respected. Austerity looms. The open question before Americans today: What kind of austerity will we have? The common answer amounts to this: Uncle Sam’s Affluenza would be fatal but for the remedies which a public commitment to fiscal austerity can provide.

The medicine is harsh and drastic, but necessary.

Or, so it is often claimed by a large fraction of America’s political and economic elite. Bob Urie, on the other hand, points out that:

The scare tactics being used to cut social insurance depend on the public’s misunderstanding of several related issues. In the first, the U.S. isn’t ‘broke’ because it can create money as needed — ask yourself: how were the bank bailouts funded? Next: what is an ‘entitlement’ when existing government policy overwhelmingly benefits the rich through favorable tax treatment, cost-plus government contracts, Federal Reserve bailouts and government guarantees of the banks. ‘Free markets’ have nothing to do with how the wealthy became so. The fight over ‘entitlements’ is over how government expenditures are allocated, not over their ‘scarcity.’

Urie suggests that the rich have prevailed in the democratic class struggle and now wish to deepen and intensify their exploitation of the “lesser people,” using the federal state and its fiscal situation as their hammer:

Social Security has an income ‘cap’ of $110,000 above which no deduction is made. A billionaire who became rich by sending jobs overseas — by firing and lowering the wages of labor, pays a smaller proportion of his or her income into Social Security than does the worker whose wages have been reduced. And by reducing the wages of labor, workers are left with less to pay in to these social insurance programs through payroll taxes. The problem with Social Security and Medicare is that a small group of connected plutocrats have ‘entitled’ themselves to far more of what labor produces. How often has the deficit ‘crisis’ been raised when there is a war to be fought for multi-national oil companies or a corporate welfare scheme like the bank bailouts to be paid for?

And this all ties back to Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act — if he and his corporate supporters were truly interested in fiscal discipline they would have pushed for far less costly ‘Medicare for all.’ Instead Mr. Obama pursued a deal with private health insurers that includes (sic) a ‘profit’ above the cost of a government program. Those wanting to argue the political infeasibility of Medicare for all are now confronted with a ‘liberal’ Democratic President who believes he can cut the programs that most of us have paid into under known terms for decades. If doing this is politically feasible while building a rational public health care system isn’t, we are truly doomed.

Doomed? Yes….

Ultimately Mr. Obama, like his ‘opponent’ Mitt Romney, is but an apparatchik in a class war launched by the rich against the rest of us. Left out of the contrived nonsense about an ‘entitlement’ society is who exactly is entitled. Were the government spending the rich live off of under the knife there would be no argument of scarcity — we have the wars, the bailouts and corporate welfare to prove it. But social insurance programs stand between over one hundred million of our citizens and destitution. And these are programs we have collectively paid for — they aren’t a ‘gift’ as the rich and their servants in government would have us believe.

Even the ‘gifts’ of income transfers, support for education and public transportation, Medicaid, subsidized housing, occupational training, works programs, etc. are not lacking in social benefits which directly and indirectly improve the quality of life enjoyed by every American. Every American would benefit from a fair and humane society, from a better standard of living. Such a society serves a common and public good. Who, after all, wants to watch the homeless die on the street for want of food and medical care? How might the United States compete with the emerging Asian economic powers when its education system, long the envy of the world at large, falters because of a lack of fiscal and political support? Who wants to bring children into the world when they will intimately know insecurity and want?

But the Nobel Laureate Americans just reelected wishes to create neither a fair nor humane society. He is a system politician who serves his various masters. The latter are cruel and greedy. Americans of the lesser kind along with the world at large deserve much better than Barack Obama. They truly need a man much better than him.

 

Crackpot opines on Obama’s victory

Karl Rove seeks to deflect attention from his failure this fall:

Mitt Romney lost the election because President Barack Obama engaged in voter suppression, according to Republican political strategist Karl Rove.

“He succeeded by suppressing the vote,” Rove said in an interview on Fox News with anchor Megyn Kelly on Thursday afternoon, “by saying to people, ‘You may not like who I am and I know you can’t bring yourself to vote for me, but I’m going to paint this other guy as simply a rich guy who only cares about himself.’”

Rove didn’t actually give any examples of ways in which Obama made it harder for people to exercise their constitutional right at the polls—things like voter ID laws, which have been pushed by GOP legislatures around the country. In fact, Obama specifically said in his victory speech that it was unfair that people had to wait in line for hours to vote, which occurred in part because Republicans reduced the time period for early voting.

Rove did say that Obama had aired attack ads and painted Romney as out-of-touch with the concerns of ordinary voters, but these are fairly common tactics in politics, and Rove is certainly no stranger to them.

“Fifty-three percent in the exit polls said on Election Day that Mitt Romney’s policies would only help the rich. And they voted for Obama by a 9 to 1 margin,” added Rove. “Of the 21 percent of the electorate who said that the most important characteristic in a president was that he cares about people like me, they voted for President Obama by almost a 9 to 1 margin. They effectively denigrated Mitt Romney’s character, business acumen, business experience and made him unworthy.”

Kelly then pointed out that whoever runs in 2016 on the Democratic ticket is not likely to go any easier on Republicans. Rove replied that the GOP needed to be quicker to responding to attacks, saying the Romney campaign did not do so effectively enough.

In other words, the Obama Campaign suppressed the vote by successfully identifying the vulture capitalist Mitt Romney as a vulture capitalist!

Rove on the hot seat

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS reportedly collected and spent between $300M-$400M this election cycle. The result:

  • Barack Obama retained the presidency, obliterating Mitt Romney in the so-called battleground states.
  • The Democratic Party gained a seat in the Senate.
  • The Democratic Party gained three seats in the House (this could change).

How might Rove spin this political-financial debacle? I cannot say, but he will make the effort to Crossroads contributors today, according to Politico. The big donors are pissed, according to a Huffington Post report, at their money being ill spent.

I would not complain at all if the GOP were to have A Night of the Long Knives. I find it difficult to imagine that a purge would dramatically alter the political situation in the United States. Besides, the blood-letting might produce more than a few amusing auto-satirical incidents!

Recommended: TKO by the Technocrats

Jeffrey St. Clair nails the significance of Obama’s 2012 victory.

The Nobel Laureate prevails over the Great Commoner

The Laureate can complete what he started — destroying social security, solidifying the expansion of the security-surveillance apparatus, rooting out whistleblowers, nullifying the Bill of Rights, etc.

For whom shall I vote?

The Great Commoner? Nah. The Nobel Laureate? Hardly.

I suspect I’ll vote for Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party candidate. I’ll do so because her positions on the issues of the day exemplify the best which our political system can offer. Her party duopoly opponents, on the other hand, are just tools and sociopaths, and their politics reflect these qualities.

The Polls open at 7:00 am.

Recommended: Massive Surge of Republican Money in Last Ditch Effort to Sink Obama

Thomas Ferguson and his collaborators have warned us about an endgame surge by the Romney campaign, a possible leap in his popularity that might eventually bury the Obama presidency. In this respect the Romney campaign may mimic the Bush campaign of 2000. Both have been fueled by massive spending and guided by lying. These, to be sure, are core competencies of the Republican Party. It is because of this late cycle spending that G.W. Bush leapt over Gore in the last days of the electoral season, although his election victory was helped by a corrupted electoral mechanism and a most dubious Supreme Court decision. Additional political disasters followed the constitutional coup d’état of December, 2000.

This is the post-Citizen’s United age in American politics, and money collection and spending along with elite ‘generosity and civic mindedness’ are the true stories of the current electoral season. This fact does not distinguish the 2012 elections from its recent predecessors. The defining mark this year issues from the quantities of money spent during the campaign. The Romney campaign, according to Ferguson, et. al., lately seems to be spending large sums of this money in the battleground states to win a victory next week. This effort favors Romney, of course.

A Romney victory fueled by big donor cash would certainly prompt outrage by Democratic Party partisans, although their rage would obscure the massive amounts of money raised and spent by the 2012 and 2008 Obama campaigns. The Democratic Party lacks clean hands in this matter. It, like the Republican Party, serves as a tool of Wall Street, the security-surveillance apparatus and, in a word, the empire. Thus the cries of the partisans ought to be considered mere hypocrisy rendered into obscure sounds, wholly without intrinsic importance. The somewhat obscure significance of this kind and degree of campaign spending lies elsewhere. Ferguson and company rightly locate and identify the effect produced by this money:

Big Money’s most significant impact on politics is certainly not to deliver elections to the highest bidders. Instead it is to cement parties, candidates, and campaigns into the narrow range of issues that are acceptable to big donors. The basis of the “Golden Rule” in politics derives from the simple fact that running for major office in the U.S. is fabulously expensive. In the absence of large scale social movements, only political positions that can be financed can be presented to voters. On issues on which all major investors agree (think of the now famous 1 percent), no party competition at all takes place, even if everyone knows that heavy majorities of voters want something else.

The quoted passage neatly expresses the gist of Sheldon Wolin’s inverted totalitarian thesis, namely, “Antidemocracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism” (2008, 239). Or, to make the point in different terms, those who have the gold make the rules, as Ferguson suggested in his classic book. The United States remains a democracy, albeit a highly qualified democracy. Elections occur, and candidates circulate in and out of office. But the demos at large cannot control or even hold its governors accountable for what they do or fail to do. Fractions of the demos that sit beyond the pale cannot expect to win the next election, as electoral losers can expect in a functioning representative democracy. They will remain a nullity. As a consequence, American citizens are principals without agents. The principals that count in American politics are the gold holders. The participation of the “lesser people” (Alan Simpson) in the creation of collective political power mimics that of a compliant and nearly mute Greek chorus. They may select only from all but indistinguishable options. The demos at large can therefore only replace one faceless face (or set of faceless faces) with another without, however, altering economic and security policy in a significant way. These policy choices belong to the gold bearing elite and oligarchs. The democratic mechanism in the United States thus makes adverse selection an unavoidable fate for most voters. Only massive and mutually supportive social movements have the potential power needed to break the cash-government connection. As Wolin once put the matter: In the United States…it is the streets where democracy is most alive…”, a “fugitive democracy” much like the early demos (2008, 227), but a democracy nevertheless.

Indeed.

Related articles

Mitt Romney’s position on FEMA

Mitt Romney‘s position as stated during the June 13, 2011 GOP Presidential Primary Debate:

KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?

ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.

Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut —we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…

KING: Including disaster relief, though?

ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all.

His position as stated by his aides after Hurricane Sandy demolished the East Coast of the United States:

“Gov. Romney believes in a very efficient and effective disaster relief response, and he believes one of the ways to do that is put a premium on states and their efforts to respond to these disasters,” senior adviser Kevin Madden told reporters on the flights from Tampa to Miami. “That’s why they call them first responders — they’re first to respond, the states. Traditionally, they’ve been best at responding to these disasters. But he does believe FEMA has a really important role there and that being a partner for these states is the best approach.”

According to reports, including the Politico article quoted above, Romney refused to respond to questions asked about FEMA by Ohio residents.

This was a great photo. If only it were authentic!

Recommended: Voting Green in a Swing State

This is a superb article by B. Sidney Smith, one which effectively and elegantly demolishes the lesser evil argument. The gist of his argument can be gleaned in the following:

As I have documented elsewhere, the partisan duopoly disenfranchises the entire electorate, left, right, and center. The American people as a whole, irrespective of ideology, have been locked out of running their own country as the writers of the Constitution intended they would. The mechanism at its root is dead simple and works in exactly the same way on both “liberal” and “conservative” voters. You are offered two choices, each of whom has been carefully vetted by the owners and is dedicated to serving elite interests. You are then persuaded that one of them is bad and must be voted against.

This is not to say that there aren’t real issues between the two; on the contrary, without the presence and validity of such issues the trick wouldn’t work. People aren’t stupid. But from the point of view of those whose interests the elected candidate will first serve, those issues are of minor importance.

Once voters are persuaded of the validity of a vote-against it only remains to ensure that the two political “sides” remain in approximate parity, a task ably handled by the corporate media in collusion with the parties themselves.

The only escape from this trap is to understand that the call of civic duty is a call to active participation (activism) in the political process. To those who answer such a call, voting-against doesn’t even make sense, because it means giving up on one’s own commitment to self-government. It is only when voting for the actual changes one wishes to see that it is rational to hope those changes will someday happen.

Common Americans — Alan Simpson’s “lesser people” — lack political power. This lack exists by design. Why does it exist by design? Let us recall here the fact that Colonial America did not have a social revolution. The actual American Revolution only replaced an aristocracy located at the imperial center with a ‘natural’ aristocracy located at the imperial periphery. The lesser people of that day suffered because the American Revolution was not a social revolution: Africans remained chattel slaves, much of white America was deeply in debt and would be forced by the natural aristocrats to pay for the Revolution and, as we know, the imperial-minded would soon begin to exterminate America’s aboriginal peoples. To keep the lesser people at arm’s length, the Founders wrote a constitution that institutionally secured elite rule. The lesser people have had to contend with that albatross ever after.

Amazing as it may be, America’s contemporary elite chaff under the yoke they believe the Constitution to be. Thus the great effort they have expended to ensure that the democratic mechanism fails to realize its legitimate goal: Creating a representation of Civil Society in the State. This mechanism instead creates instead a dubious legitimacy enjoyed by a political elite which willingly serves the ends of American capital in general as well as some fractions of capital in particular. The task of the citizen-activist revolves around breaking the bond that exists between the political elite and the higher levels of the economic system. Voting for change is one component of this project.

I also live in a swing state and will vote for Jill Stein.

A report on Mitt Romney, outsourcing and near slave labor in China

Global-Tech: Betting Against American Workers – Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.

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