That would be Secretary Penny Pritzker, anti-heroine right out of Dickens, she of Hyatt Hotel heat lamp torture of striking chambermaids fame, she of gentrification of Chicago through urban renewal real estate scams and evictions made easy through failure of her family-run subprime bank. Pritzker, you may remember, was just recently anointed by a grateful Barack to lead the commerce of our great nation, because he no longer has to run for re-election or pretend to care what voters might think.
Of course, she didn't write the Census report, despite the fact that her name is prominently displayed at the top of the Intro. We don't know that she has even bothered to read it, given how busy she must be with the Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific "free trade" negotiations, which will amount to the most massive Trans-fer of global wealth in history to a handful of multinational corporations. Obama is scrambling to get carte blanche Congressional approval of the still-secret pacts, lest somebody actually sit down and read about how, for instance, he will allow Big Tobacco to sell cancer sticks to children in third world countries.
In our own third world country, according to the Census Bureau, about a fifth of the population remains mired in poverty, while people like Penny Pritzker have reaped more than 90% of all the gains since the Collapse of Aught-Eight.
But I digress. The big news this week, that the corporate media really, really wants you to pay attention to as you quake in your boots, is the Battle Royale between the elites of the two right wing factions of the National Money Party. A piece in The Hill this morning -- Strained Relationships Increase Likelihood of Fiscal Calamity!!!!!! -- is typical of the "framing":
President Obama and Republicans have clashed repeatedly on many fiscal matters. But this fall’s showdown is more personal than prior battles. Trust and respect for the other side of the aisle have deteriorated to the point of being non-existent. (Oh No-o-o-o-o-o!)
Both parties have scars from the 2011 debt limit fight as well as a slew of other economic disputes. It remains to be seen if they can put aside their differences in the coming weeks.
So, I guess the actual citizens of Ameriguh, those whose real festering wounds have yet to heal, are superfluous to this discussion. The only people who matter are the actors on the Beltway stage. Beleaguered Barack "The Republicans keep messin' with me!" Obama, whose "frosty relationship" with John Boehner has prevented the two from golfing together for an unbelievable, anti-consensual, two whole frigid years! Nancy Pelosi, the damsel in distress of the Eternal Triangle, trying vainly to rally her troops to support a Grand Bargain for the Grandees! Barack and Mitch have outrageously never even had a drink together for the good of the reaching across the aisle!
To steal a phrase from the estimable Charles Pierce, all this talk of frigidity is enough to make you guzzle antifreeze.
So, to save your sanity, skip The Hill and The Times and Politico and go directly to this bracing antidote to bullshit by Joe Firestone, in which he cogently explains how the latest manufactured fiscal crisis is one more great big steaming pile of manure, and how the many ways it can and should be avoided are being ignored by the mainstream media. For unless the drama is kept alive, the important people cannot be enriched, and the regular people can't be screwed in their sleep.
Dean Baker writes on how even Paul Krugman has been trapped in the partisan veal pen. Through the magic of facts, he explains how even the best newspaper in the world is complicit in obfuscating basic truths.
Only through obfuscation might the longed-for, eleventh hour Grand Bargain be sealed. Obamacare, in all its intact insurance predator-enriching glory, will be traded for enforcing chained CPI on veterans, retirees, the disabled, widows and orphans. The oligarchs must be vindicated. The contrived skirmish over Food Stamps is a distraction, designed to elicit outraged boos and cheers from the throngs of the unwashed.
Of course, if you use your New York Times commenting privileges to point all this phoniness out, you are immediately attacked by the corralled herd. I was soundly chastised for this response on Saturday to Gail Collins' latest, on "Knowing When to Worry":
I wouldn't worry about the latest Disaster Capitalism kabuki if I didn't already detect the noxious smell of yet another last-minute Grand Bargain for the Grandees wafting from the Capitol swamp.
The president has appealed directly to the plutocrats at the Business Roundtable. We have to face our long-term "challenges on entitlements," he said. Meaning: let's cut Social Security and Medicare now, because we might have a shortfall in half a century. And reduce those corporate tax rates! Why won't the GOP grab a deal made in Rich People Heaven when they see it?
And here was Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on MSNBC today, dishing to Mrs. Alan Greenspan on the cruelty of the GOP, and just how hard the Dems plan to fight back for the common folk:
"We've ALL got to set rigid ideology aside and sit down and find common ground .... I know, look I'm the chair of the DNC, I know it can't be my way or the highway. I'm willing to put my vote on the line and go back to my constituents and explain why I didn't do it exactly the way they wanted me to. "
If you're as sick as I am of Dems whining and pleading and being complicit in the continued immiseration of millions of struggling people, just withhold your support and explain why you won't vote exactly the way they want you to.
Instead of sending them donations, give money and supplies to your local food bank. Neighbors must help neighbors. Because the politicians surely won't.Janet Ellingson of Salt Lake City was having none of this. My words must have been like fingernails scraping across the blackboard of her brain, seeing that I am as "obnoxious as the Tea Party." And Stu of Brooklyn surmised that I probably voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, thereby becoming personally responsible for all the atrocities of the Bush administration. But at least they didn't call me a fascist, as did my other regular troll, Dave the Pain of North Strabane in a recent Maureen Dowd column on Barry's ham-handed speech on the economy within hours of another mass shooting.
By the way, here's Debbie Wasserman-Schultz again, vowing to prove her adulthood by agreeing to cut "waste" in the SNAP program, even though, as Dean Baker says, it accounts for only the tiniest fraction of a percentage point of the entire federal budget, and is a totally gratuitous showboating gimmick solely designed to rev up the partisans. Making a political point on the backs of the most vulnerable to show how bipartisan you can be. Cruelty stretches its claws right across the aisle.
Wake up and smell the Good Cop/Bad Cop Kabuki.