Monday, April 11, 2011

the touching innocence of the american public

with the latest partisan drama -- authorizing the federal government to continue spending money -- having ended just this past weekend in a squeaker that averted a shutdown by a cunt-hair, we armchair political handicappers are already gearing up for another, even more bruising fight coming straight down the pike.

next up will be raising the government's borrowing authority -- or raising the debt limit, as it is called. at $14 trillion and climbing relentlessly by the week, it won't be long before the government finds itself without the statutory authority to borrow any more money. if this should happen, before you know it "the full faith and credit of the US government" would devolve into an empty promise, as the treasury would begin to default on the nation's obligations to its bond-holders.

china has already cut the US off: it no longer buys treasuries. now, the biggest domestic buyer of treasuries, PIMCO, has not only stopped buying, but may begin to sell the bonds it holds. it begins to look like investors are getting the willies about US debt -- although to be honest, who can think that the country is seriously in a position to make good on its promises?

after their last tango on the budget wrapped up last week, president obambi sent a serious message to johnny boner of the GOPpers -- "send me a clean bill" on the debt ceiling, without a larding it down with a lot of partisan hoorah. to that, boner-boy replied, "blow me, mr. president." without a doubt, obambi's post-partisanship has failed to light a fire under the GOP's ass, as the party of billionaires looks to tear yet another gaping chunk out of FDR's new deal legacy.

the GOP, as usual, is under no pressure to yield, as the polls reveal the dismal state of the nation's intelligence -- or lack thereof. the great unwashed mass of citizens, worried about the price of gasoline and an $8 tub of popcorn at the movies, hasn't yet wrapped it's mind around the whole notion of default:
"According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 16 percent of voters said Congress should raise the debt ceiling, while some 46 percent said they were opposed. When told that would mean the U.S. could default on its debt, 32 percent supported raising the limit. But 62 percent said they opposed lifting the cap even if it meant the Treasury would not making good on its debt payments."
it appears that joe consumer feels that if he can't pay his VISA bill, and can just switch over to the mastercard, then the feds ought to feel a little pain, too. it don't matter if we're comparing apples and oranges, because were talking about people who don't know the difference between a CDS and a CDO, and think all their problems are caused by illegal aliens (from mars, no less!).

the blow-me school of politics has met its match with president obambi -- a guy with the golden touch, who gets elected mouthing sweet-sounding platitudes that are backed up with the full faith and credit of a craven, gutless politician who only feels passionate about one thing: being reelected.

does this imply that he fights for some principles vaguely democratic? of course not. in his quest to raise $1 billion for his 2012 race, he's already papered over any differences he might have had with the big wheels on wall street. there's nothing left now but to put on a suitable show for the TV audience to get the idea that rolling over constitutes statesmanship.

i've often wondered about surveys like that NBC/WSJ poll referred to above. there's no shame in not knowing the deep intricacies of economics and finance, or the exact mechanisms by which government debt gets finagled from investors to prop up this spectacular ponzi scheme. there is something disconcerting, however, with the confidence that these yo-yos out in anywheretown, USA seem to offer an opinion on matters both great and small -- things, one can reasonably infer, they know less than a gnat's ass about.

with great precision, chris hedges recently described the great unwashed masses of the USA, those pontificators on any subject to which a robo-caller might wish to pick their emaciated and flaccid brains. we live in a society that's dumbed down to the current level of childish cluelessness flaunted with wreckless moronitude:
A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.
one would wish in vain for a more brain-undead citizenry to take up the great issues of the day, and debate them with requisite intelligence and understanding, but such is the system that we're far from it -- and the goalposts of understanding recede further each passing day.

establishing and maintainting the kind of country we wish to live in is a matter of considerable importance -- of this, even the bewildered would agree. in the interest of expediency -- something like the congressional continuing resolutions that fund ongoing government operations without the formality of passing a genuine budget -- when it comes to the great questions facing the nation, we're content just to punt. the public simply waits for politicians to do the right thing, serially throwing out one side or the other in a misguided attempt to tease out some fundamental difference between two equally corrupt, equally compromised political parties.

the drama over the debt ceiling will be another exercise in plumbing the cynicism septic tank -- with much in the way of mouldering emotional appeals to our citizen's most self-interest and bewildering incomprehension of how terminally dysfunctional the current two-party charade really is at heart, we'll go through another anguished freakshow leading up to yet another false resolution to the wrong problem.

the TV audience will get its resolution, and the investors will get their money. the national security state will remain in a flush financial state, while the billionaires will get ever more tax cuts. only social programs that -- were they not gutted -- help the swelling ranks of the less fortunate, will fall to the system's relentless budgetary ax. for 30 years, the reagan revolution has gradually been leading to this moment.

even though this drama has yet to hit its stride, the script is already written -- and it's a syrupy melodrama so devoid of suspense, no one will even bother to to tune in until the season finale.

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