The blaring headline in today's New York Times makes it official:
Biggest Liberal SuperPac to Fund Possible Clinton Bid.
If you think they got it back-asswards, then you got it right. It appears that candidates don't even have to formally announce their own candidacies any more. The Big Money is doing it for them. Since Big Money is effectively running the country already, then it's Big Humanoid Money that's officially asking for your useless vote. How precious. From the Times:
The move marks perhaps the earliest-ever start to big-dollar fund-raising in support of a nonincumbent presidential candidate, providing a fund-raising portal for wealthy Clinton supporters eager to help her White House prospects — and to the legions of others eager to ingratiate themselves with Mrs. Clinton and her inner circle.
Jim Messina, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager in 2012, who has forged close ties with many Democratic donors, will serve as co-chairman of the revamped super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit, along with Jennifer M. Granholm, the former governor of Michigan who is among the most persistent voices calling for Mrs. Clinton to enter the 2016 race.
That Jim Messina sure is one busy multi-tasker, having just hired himself out to also advise Britain's arch-conservative austerian P.M., David Cameron. And that's on top of running the Obama legacy-burnishing retirement account known as Organizing for Action. So, the fact that Messina is now also in charge of what amounts to a phantom Hillary campaign does tend to lend credence to the theory that global rule in the wake of a transnational corporate coup is already pretty much a done deal. Plutocrats Without Borders, if you will.
Or as Barack Obama himself would probably explain: "There are no red countries, there are no blue countries. There is only the United Oligarchy of the World United Against You, the Citizen Terrorists. Nations, schmations."
And speaking of Cameron, and police states and corporate rule, British police officials are so paranoid about possible protests against government austerity measures that they're seeking permission to use water cannons against unruly starving people. The Guardian explains the need for anti-citizen weaponry:
It (the police report) adds that although the debate on water cannon was sparked by the riots in London in 2011, there was also serious disorder in many major cities and towns "of an intensity and scale where water cannon potentially could have offered an operational advantage to public order commanders".
It also discloses that the water within the water cannon tank will have to kept at 5C to "prevent the onset of medical conditions associated with the shock of being exposed to cold water".So, it's heartening to know that the police state will be careful not to actually kill you as it shocks and drowns you. It sounds very similar to the enhanced interrogation technique known as water-boarding, conducted only under the humane supervision of qualified medical personnel.
Coming soon to a depleted food bank near you:
But am I digressing here, or what? From election-buying Plutocrats, to Hillary, to Obama, to Messina, to Cameron to.... police state water cannons? Nah. It's no digression at all. Everything's connected. It looks something like this:
Speaking of interconnectedness, here's my response to Gail Collins's very funny column about the Pope meeting the President next month, and how Republicans' heads are exploding from the populism craze, the American embassy in the Vatican being moved, and other insults:
Could it finally be Karma time for the GOP and the wealthy patrons keeping it on life support? A populist Pope not only debunks austerity, he has the gall to show up (by proxy) at the annual Davos confab to remind the partying plutocrats to share the wealth. Are you listening, Ken Langone and Paul Ryan?
As if the Pope needed help, Oxfam came out with a stunning new report showing that the 85 richest people in the world have more wealth than half the entire planet. So share it, already!
And as Davos opened, the rich people left behind in the Upper East Side were shocked to discover accumulating snowflakes on their streets. A Twitter eruption ensued, the petulance of the unplowed elites broadcast to the world. One peevish missive published in Rupert Murdoch's anti-Pope/anti-De Blasio NY Post was, appropriately enough, from the author (Molly Jong-Fast) of "The Social Climber's Handbook."
And then "MoBo" (the former Virginia governor and his wife) were indicted for criminal social-climbing, a k a grifting. Sensing an opening, Gov. Cuomo formally announced on the radio that homophobes aren't welcome in New York. And poor Cardinal Dolan, no doubt exhausted from his full-time job of assuring rich grifters that God loves them too, now has to go back on TV to yell at Cuomo and defend homophobes.
And meanwhile, Chris Christie is still melting down like a malevolent Frosty the Snowman.
And no, it's not a sin to indulge in a little Schadenfreude.And here's the one I wrote to Charles Blow about how he learned to love books as a child:
I was in second grade when I picked up L. Frank Baum's "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and discovered a feast, amazed that the book was so much more engrossing than the movie version I'd just seen on TV. Books have been a constant presence in my life ever since. When I had children of my own, I discovered the joy of reading both old favorites and new classics out loud to them at bedtime.
I feel sorry for people who don't read. Maybe they just prefer TV and movies, maybe they're tired working too many hours, maybe their municipal libraries have reduced hours or closed altogether due to the epidemic of cruel austerity. It's probably a whole combination of things.
The ongoing assault on public education certainly isn't helping. Teaching to the test not only does not inculcate a love of reading for the pure pleasure of it, it probably discourages reading. You can't blame kids for wanting fresh air and entertainment after a long day of Drill Baby Drill. There is way too much emphasis on preparing children to be good little technocratic consumers for those low-paying jobs of the future.
Reading leads to independent thought and the questioning of authority -- a dangerous thing in a rising plutocracy whose survival depends on keeping citizens compliant and uncreative. When was the last time you heard a politician espousing more instruction in literature, the humanities, and the arts?
Oh, and in some places, they've even banned Oz because of its "godlessness."And a reader named "Alierius" remarked, "My mother had a collection of the Oz books and wow, some of them are seriously weird, LSD trip weird, like when the Tin Woodsman meets his 'meat' head, still in the cupboard of the tinsmith who made him. I have them now, and my daughter and I will read them together, in a few years..."
Ah, hope is not lost. As long as future generations can still read about the Tin Woodman's decapitated head in the cupboard, we can survive any onslaught, banding together in solidarity against SuperStorms, SuperPacs and SuperSoakers.
Meanwhile, though, we open up our cupboards and get assaulted with this New York Times Magazine cover:
Too Tin Woodman-creepy for you? Then do check out these alternatives at Buzzfeed.