What kind of mellow skunk spliffs are the corporate Democrats smoking these days?
Hint: beware of fake populists bearing gifts. It's all about maintaining the oligarchs in the lifestyles to which they are accustomed while throwing a few crumbs at the rest of us. The propaganda is busting out all over like a field of giant boils.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-Wall Street) has penned a totally out-of-character editorial demanding a living wage for fast food workers.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D-One Percent) has announced an awesome $5.5 million in reparations for victims of police brutality and institutionalized torture.
Hillary Clinton (D-Empire) has finally broken up with hubby (ideologically speaking) and embraced criminal justice reform. She's also in semi-breakup mode with her paramour, Barack Obama: no deep-throated endorsement of his Trans-Pacific Partnership corporate legacy pillar for her! She is even going him one one better on relief for undocumented immigrants.
What is going on here? Need we even ask?
It's campaign season, and therefore it is time for some serious triangulation which the media are pretending to take seriously. Those heretofore fiscally conservative Democrats are delivering promises to the Left in order for their party to stay viable. They are also dog-whistling to the Right. To wit:
Andrew Cuomo is still running TV commercials shilling for charter schools, for the benefit of the hedge-fund billionaires who stand to profit handsomely off poor minority students. To accomplish the destruction of public education, he needs the electoral support of parents working in Walmart and McDonalds. He is the last man standing/sitting of the Three Men in a Room. Two-thirds of the people who decide things in New York State have already been indicted, and Cuomo is still not out of the woods. So what better time for him to throw a placatory bone to the electorate?
Rahm Emanuel just survived an embarrassing challenge from slightly to his left in the mayoral race. He must pretend to be chastened after being called out on his cronyism and allegiance to the One Percent. Therefore, each person tortured into making false confessions to the Chicago PD over the past several decades will get an average of $100,000, plus such perks as free community college tuition to make up for the ruination of their lives. To many people, this signals that Rahm has been rehabbed. But not so fast: at the same time he's offering free psychological counseling to the victims of the police state, the state has ordered the city's largest mental health system to be shut down. This is called robbing from the poor to give to the poor. If a few hundred men are to receive reparations, then hundreds of thousands more must suffer. It's the neoliberal way. It pits poor people against one another so that the oligarchy can stay entrenched.
Hillary, Hillary, Hillary: the woman of the people will say whatever it takes to appeal to the regular folk, even as she becomes the first Democratic candidate in the age of Citizens United to blatantly court SuperPac dark money. She is raking in the bucks while claiming to want to overturn Citizens United. However, since she never gave us a time frame for campaign finance reform, we can assume that she wants to overturn the Money is Speech doctrine sometime after her granddaughter wins her first dynastic presidency, perhaps 40 or 50 years hence. Wall Street has already signaled that they know her campaign rhetoric is so much B.S. Needless to say, however, her latest craven actions are being dubbed "bold and risky" by the passive-aggressive New York Times.
While she bathetically bloviates about keeping immigrant families together, she remains mysteriously silent on her demand last year that child migrants be returned, without legal recourse, to the Central American violence they had fled. Some families just have to be "sent a message" that they are not welcome in Hillary Clinton's America. Humanitarianism is relative, and coldly calculated. Some asylum-seekers are more important and equal than others. Plus, children do not vote or donate to political campaigns.
These three Wall Street Democratic players are flimsily faking Left so that Barack Obama can catch their deflated ball and run with it down the right field line to score a touchdown. He is openly teaming up with his Republican friends to push through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and he is going out of his way to gleefully rub his supporters' noses in it. What better way to signal his disdain than traveling to the Oregon HQ of Nike this Friday to hype NAFTA-on-steroids?
Nike is the poster child for the off-shoring of labor to sweatshop countries. Although the company has refused to say how much it pays the workers at its factories in Vietnam (one of the 12 countries negotiating the TPP) the average hourly wage in that country is only 30 cents. Nike sneakers retail in the US for well over $100 a pair. Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, is not only allowed to see the TPP details being kept from the public -- he is dictating the details.
The Nike-Obama Partnership is nothing new. In 2013, Parker traveled to Chicago to join the first lady in selling his brand as a cure-all for America's so-called obesity epidemic. While Rahm Emanuel was closing a record number of schools in the name of austerity for the masses and prosperity for the asses, Michelle Obama and Parker lectured the proles on the necessity of exercise. What better, "value-added" way for kids suffering bipartisan food stamp cuts to lose even more weight: they should sprint across town to their faraway new schools in Air Jordans manufactured by kids even poorer than themselves. Never mind that the parents of these kids can't afford the Nike brand. Nothing gets in the way of Public-Private Predation, euphemized as free market solutions to social problems caused and perpetuated by the free market.
Nike gets away with paying child laborers pennies per hour by ostentatiously "investing" $50 million in order to shame slightly less hungry American kids into getting off their lazy butts in order to become active consumers of brand name couture. The Nike Brand and the Obama Brand feed off one another.
|Michelle and Mark (Invisible Free Market God Is Shown at Your Right)|
|The Family That Brands Together Stands Together|
So Obama is no longer trying to pretend to be on the side of the people who elected him. Like a corporate logo, he's just doin' us. He's in The Zone: the Twilight of His Presidency Zone. His visit to Nike is not only his dog-whistle to Wall Street -- it's his bullhorn to Wall Street. He is cynically signalling to his past, present and future paymasters that even should the TPP go down in defeat, he tried. He really, really tried.
These truly are the times that try our soles.
|Nike's Obama Brand (Odor Eaters Recommended, But Not Included)|
*Update (5/8): Odor-Eater alert! Get ready for the next Big Lie, once again brought to you by Obama's favorite steno, Peter Baker of the New York Times. The headline makes no effort to hide its shameless mendacity: Nike To Create Jobs If Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Approved.
The article then goes on to claim, without a shred of evidence or a shred of investigation, that the Sweatshop of the Pacific will create 10,000 new American jobs -- if and only if Nike and the rest of the global corporacracy are allowed take over more sovereign legislatures and court systems. The Times should be sued for journalistic malpractice, and Baker should go to work for Fox News.
**Update (5/9): As of this morning, Peter Baker had revised his article a pretty amazing eight times. The invaluable NYteXaminer has the Diffs, allowing us to watch the frantic propaganda spin out in real time. The narrative morphs from Nike's job creation being uncritically reported as fact by the newspaper, followed several hours later by a smarmy Nike "linking" of the trade pact to job creation, then on to both Obama and Nike using the passive-aggressive "linking" word, then Baker rewriting the lede into the usual lazy he said/she said battle of the partisans (Obama accuses Democrats of lying and he is usually mean, according to Peter Baker, only to the Republicans!) and finally, modifying the presidential temper tantrum into a more righteous "scolding" of Democrats. I wrote two comments, the first addressing the initial sneaky changes to the article, and the other remarking Obama's public hissy fit:
At least the editors now have the decency to change the headline of this piece to Nike merely "linking" passage of the TPP to 10,000 new American jobs. When it first appeared early today, this is what the Times slavishly and unquestioningly announced: "Nike To Create Jobs If Trans-Pacific Partnership Is Approved." The piece was online for hours before its more "balanced" revision was posted, and it was opened up for reader comments.