The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Month: July 2011 Page 1 of 2

What the Debt Limit Crisis Should Have Taught You

This is not primarily about the Tea Party

It is about what rich donors want.  The Tea Party does not even have the amount of muscle progressives do.  Progressives can bring tens of thousands of people out, the Tea Party can rarely even get above 1,000.  They are a convenient excuse to do what the Beltway and the oligarchs already want to do.

Where are you going to go?

Both Dems and Republicans are onside with cutting Social Security and Medicare. They are only third rails if there is someone else to vote for.

The deals being offered will cause a second downleg of the Depression and a worse one

We’re in a Depression.  This is fact.  Anyone who doesn’t call it that is gutless, stupid or uninformed.  This will make it worse, not just for the US, but for the entire developed world.

Representatives work for the people who pay them

That isn’t really you.  They don’t become multi-millionaires on their salaries, you know.  It’s their donors, the people who hire their wives and children, the people who fund their campaigns, the people who give them good jobs when they leave government.  If you want Reps and Senators to work for you, you must pay them better, you must fund their campaigns (and sharply limit outside funding) and you must make it illegal for them to EVER make more money in a year than their government salary (index it to an average of the median wage, the minimum wage, and CPI).  You should do what Canada used to do and give them a good pension after 6 years.  You DON’T want them worrying about their next job, or what they’ll do if they’ll lose.

Point being, they don’t work for you.

This is a representative plutocracy

I believe Stirling Newberry, in the early 90s, pointed this out first.  Politicians are paid by people other than you.  You are the product.  Think of this as the Facebook rule, if you aren’t paying for something, then you are the product.  The rich pay politicians to rangle you.  The amount of salary and public funding most Reps get is trivial compared to how much money they get from donors, even during their time in elected office, let alone after they leave.  You are the product, not the customer, of DC politicians.  They do not represent you, and you should not expect your interests to be looked after except as an afterthought.  When the oligarchs all agree that something needs to be done (like cut entitlements), it will be done, no matter how unpopular it is.

This “Crisis” is what Obama wanted

Again, if he didn’t, he would have raised the debt ceiling in the lame duck.  Nancy Pelosi was always very good at getting those sort of basic housekeeping bills through. It would have passed.  Period.  Obama wanted to cut SS and Medicare, and he needed a “crisis” in order to do it.  He also needed a Republican House, which he had, because his policies during 2009 and 2010 didn’t fix the economy.

You should have been working on nothing but primarying Obama since the day after the midterms

If you don’t understand why, I can’t help you.

There is no war but class war

Break the rich, or they will finish institutionalizing aristocracy.  Period.

Boehner’s plan has 900 billion in cuts

Obama’s has 4 trillion.

Boehner’s plan also calls for a committee to find another 1.8 billion.  Even with that, we’re talking 2.7 billion of cuts, still less than Obama’s plan

That is all.

Predicted August 2nd 2008

20) A huge push to gut entitlements in 2009, no matter who is president. Even if the US quickly pulls out of Iraq, the deficit will be totally out of control, and hundreds of billions will be needed for bailouts. A rapid consensus will form that rather than increasing taxes significantly on the rich, or slashing expenses like the military R&D and equipment appropriations budget, that the real problem is people retiring at 65, poor people getting Medicaid and old folks who aren’t destitute receiving Medicare.

On January 4th, 2009, I wrote:

I think I got this one wrong, given the consensus forming for a large stimulus (assuming the Republicans don’t kill it.)  We’ll see, but I’ve tentatively marked it wrong.

Stirling Newberry asks if Obama is the worst president in American History

Well?  Go on over, and see what you think, where does Obama rank in terms of worst presidents ever? I mean, he didn’t/hasn’t caused a civil war, so he’s probably not in first place.  But…

Also a detailed explanation of how the debt limit is raised, and a good list of the worst things Obama has done.  (I was going to say mistakes, but he didn’t do them by mistake.)

More Notes on the Debt Ceiling “Negotiation”

If Obama didn’t want it to happen, if he didn’t want to “negotiate”, he would have:

1) raised the debt limit during the lame duck Congress.  He could have raised it enough to get him through 2 years.

2) Accepted the clean debt-ceiling bill, offered by McConnell, as noted by Stewart M.

3) simply refuse to negotiate.  “I cannot say what bills will or will not be paid if the US Congress does not increase the debt ceiling, but whether the debt ceiling is raised or not is a matter for Congress.”  I am quite sure that Wall Street and other corporations would bring the Republicans to heel so fast your head would spin.

This is all Kabuki.  Obama wants massive cuts.  He always has.  This “negotiation” is occurring because he wants it to, and would not occur if he did not want it to.

Further, if something like the Gang of Six suggestion passes, Obama will only win reelection if the Republicans nominate someone completely and utterly beyond the pale.  And maybe not even then.  Cuts of that magnitude will be to the economy what a nuclear bomb is to a city.


This blog isn’t exactly known for casual posts, but I thought I’d make an exception and share the music I’m currently enjoying.

The first one is via Samuel Smith at Scholars and Rogues:

The next one is a bit monotonous but the strings and the buildup suit my mood. A good blood-pumper.

This next one by the Black-Eyed Peas I like more for the video (the guy’s costumes), though the song gets better as it goes on:

Thank God for our enemies

though it’s a pity about our leaders.

I feel bad for the Anonymous hackers who were arrested today, but it’s also a good thing, in that it will radicalize the hacker community even further and force them to adapt and change their tactics.  They are the bleeding edge of real resistance, and they have moved far from their libertarian roots and become left wing in their sympathies (targeting a city for refusing to allow the homeless to be fed is as left wing as you can get.)

Since, of course, the DOJ has shown no interest in pursuing those who did DDOS attacks against Wikileaks, it is yet another confirmation that the law, as it exists now, is used as a bludgeon against people the government doesn’t like, while those who the government does like are left alone, and crimes against the government’s “enemies” aren’t investigated.  Laws which do not have at least the appearance of being evenly applied are not just, are not perceived as just, and become legitimate targets for breaking.

Meanwhile in England, the Cameron government’s massive slashes to education hit virtually all at once, making an entire cohort of young people know exactly who just did their level best to destroy their lives.  This is important, to put it bluntly, young males who don’t have enough money to settle down with a young female are extraordinarily dangerous to the state.

What is interesting about both of these things, and many others recently, such as the austerity bills and various legal rulings from the Supreme Court which don’t even pretend to follow precedent, is how the velvet glove has come off the iron fist of state and corporate repression.  The elites think that there is nothing ordinary people can do. Whatever the elites do, no matter how harsh, the hoi polloi can only submit.  And if they don’t, well, so much the worse for them.

And yet the system is cracking up. A large part of why all of this is being done is to create ever bigger corporations and ever richer western billionaires, so they can compete with the oilarchies.  But recently Russia been minting billionaires faster than US.  It’s really hard to state how startling that is.  America’s rich have done everything they can to rig the game so they will get richer, they have a bigger base economy to work off of, and they’re still losing the Red Queen’s race.  No matter how much they repress their own population, they can’t keep up with the folks who have the real gold of the modern economy: black gold.

Unfortunately, as stupid, venal and brutal as our enemies are (and if they aren’t your enemies you’re a fool or getting a pay check, or I hope you are), our leadership is even more stupid, venal and cowardly.  This entire generation of leadership on what passes for the left is beyond contemptible.  If they are not outright sell outs of the interests of those they claim to champion, then they are willing to betray anyone but their members, and if with rare exceptions (in the US, basically, the gay leadership) they are cowards, unwilling to risk themselves in any way, unwilling to actually fight.  They cavill and moan and condemn anyone who actually fights back. Watching fools demanding that the man who threw a pie at Murdoch be condemned for violence was beyond sad, it was a farce.  Violence?  It reminded me of all the hand wringing when an Iraqi threw a shoe at George Bush, a war criminal and mass murderer.  Oh dear.

And so, while the young are being radicalized, the leaders of the left are unable to provide leadership.  They have been selected to be weak and cowardly, to be unwilling to fight, to be compromisers trying to get the best deal possible as long as that deal doesn’t upset the status quo in any real way.

This varies by country.  I have more hope, say, for Greece (after they set the finance ministry alight) than I do for the US.  But the first job of the left in most countries is not to fight the right, it is to destroy the leadership of the left.  To drive them out of power and into the wilderness and either to replace them or to create new forms of organization.  And it is to understand that class war is like war, there will be casualties.  People will be beaten, people will be killed, people will go to jail.  That is what will happen.  It can be avoided in only one way, surrender.  Suffer exactly what the oligarchs want you to suffer and you will be allowed to live and die in what passes for peace.  It will be a peace filled with suffering, hunger, deprivation, and violence not primarily from the authorities but from each other, but if that’s what you want, it’s available.  Always understanding, of course, that anyone who won’t fight will have to accept anything the oligarchs do.  Anything.  When you won’t fight, you only get even scraps if it is someone else’s interest.

There’s an old saying about living on your knees or fighting on your feet.  The problem with that is that once you’ve said you’re willing to live on your knees the next question is “will you crawl on your belly?”

And so, in this, not the twilight of the post-war era, for that has passed, but in the dawn of what the oligarchs hope is a new conservative order, that is the question you must answer, “will I crawl on my belly, will I fight, or will I try to make a separate peace?”

The cost of a separate peace, of course, is a sliver of your soul.

One a day.

If anything like the Gang of Six austerity plan passes

It is a recipe for another 10 years of depression.  Yes, this is another episode of obvious things Ian wonders why he has to point out.

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