The Big Story today of course is about Heisman trophy hopeful Manti Te'o and the dead girlfriend who wasn't and the usual institutional cover-up of the fake dead girlfriend who wasn't and the usual journalistic lackadaisicality that permitted the fake dead girlfriend to live on in the continuing fictional narrative that makes America so special. I hadn't been paying much attention to this burgeoning scandal until the other day. All the elements are there: religious hypocrisy, the protection of institutions over individuals, greed, sports cheats. And that brings us to Lance Armstrong. Well no, it doesn't, because I am not going to waste any time belaboring Lance's sociopathic attempt at splainin' himself. You can get your fill about Manti and Lancey today with any random click of your mouse. I don't even need to supply you with any of the usual links.
But there is another massive con that is not getting nearly the attention it deserves. A wave of queasiness rolled over me when I read this headline in The Hill this morning: McConnell Seeks Fresh Start With the President.
I liked it better when Tortoise Face was vowing that his main goal was to make Obama a one-term president. No connection with Obama meant no grand betrayal. But now it looks at least vaguely possible that the president may achieve his Grand Bargain for the Grandees and a world of pain for the rest of us with the collusion of his new Imaginary Friend, Mitch. And even sloppy seconds Paul Ryan, who'd been missing in action since the election, crawled out of his hole this week to act pretend-reasonable. Hostage-taking over the debt ceiling is apparently off; negotiating the Petersonian cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is apparently on, without the default threat strings attached. (update: The House Republicans have agreed to lift the debt ceiling for another three months so the cutting of the safety net can begin apace. The Obama Administration is strangely, yet all too predictably, calling this a "victory." The nausea gets worse as the mind boggles.)
It's true that the GOP nihilists are still adamantly opposed to bilking obscenely rich people out of their hard-stolen fortunes, and that is the only sticking point that may, serendipitously enough, save us from The Only Adult in the Room. The one with the extra-notched belt and the bowl of peas.
There are some bright spots on the horizon, though. A few mainstream media people are waking up from their slumbers and putting the scold's bridle right back on the nattering heads of the deficit scolds. Case in point, this must-read by Kevin Brown, exposing the Journalists in the Service of Pete Peterson.
Paul Krugman follows up with a column and yet another blogpost pointing out that the deficit, even if it were the national catastrophe the imaginarians of the plutocracy insist it is, is largely fading away despite their best tactical efforts to keep it alive. Manti found it hard to give up his fake dead girlfriend, and so too are the deficit hawks and their media mawks finding it painfully hard to relinquish the mouldering love of their own entitled lives.
The infliction of pain on ordinary people is the Petersonian drug of choice, and it's a hard addiction to overcome. As soon as you flush the Fix the Debt poison pills, another loathesome toxin appears to take its place. The Business Roundtable cadre of CEOs sat around their Hogarthian abbatoir of a roundtable the other day and called for raising both the retirement and Medicare eligibility ages to 70. Rich people are living longer and age is no object when it comes to the vast accumulation of wealth -- so it naturally follows that poor people should share the sacrifice and the pragmatic economic patriotism of their betters. The BRT, as Richard Eskow points out in another must-read piece, is a right-wing extremist organization that actually wants to kill people whom they find personally inconvenient to their bottom lines.
But that didn't stop Mr. Balanced Approach from canoodling with the BRT just last month and kicking out the press corps who, the president agreed, would only spin the plutocratic lies and the greed and the plots and the lies out of all proportion were they allowed to stay and take actual notes.
These people, to borrow a line from my Krugman comment this morning, are like cockroaches. They scurry away whenever you shine a light on them, but sneak back in to steal your crumbs the minute your back is turned. So keep the high beams on, and the disinfectant ready.
|Hogarth's Fourth Stage of Cruelty Reimagined: The BRT|