|(Graphic by Kat Garcia)|
House Speaker Paul Ryan is back in the news. The photogenic Ayn Rand poster boy for plutocratic supremacy is being dragged out by the centrist chattering class as the last great, white hope to defeat the great white dope named Donald Trump -- who is, by the way, a pure genius in the way he manipulates the media for billions of dollars' worth of free air time.... not to mention the pure genius of manipulating the media who provide such prominent coverage of the media manipulation.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is champing at the bit to finally dispose of her true threat, Bernie Sanders, the better to sink her teeth into Trump in the general election. Barack Obama, long portrayed in the media mythology textbooks as "the only adult in the room," is now reportedly working on a whole book of new hilarious Donald Trump jokes. He not only aims to put the fun back into fighting fascism, he aims to keep pretending that fascism (corporatism) hasn't been an integral part of the American political process ever since our nation was born out of slavery and mass extermination.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, apparently feeling confident enough in a Hillary coronation to cease and desist from his serial rabid Bernie-bashing, is regressing back to his own true area of expertise: bashing the Republican Party in general, and Paul Ryan in particular. Like just about everybody in the liberal class, Krugman whines that the GOP, in all its "invincible ignorance," is disowning its own responsibility for the rise of Donald Trump:
Like just about everyone in the Republican establishment, Mr. Ryan is in denial about the roots of Trumpism, about the extent to which the party deliberately cultivated anger and racial backlash, only to lose control of the monster it created. But what I found especially striking were his comments on tax policy. I know, boring — but indulge me here. There’s a larger moral.
You might think that Republican thought leaders would be engaged in some soul-searching about their party’s obsession with cutting taxes on the wealthy. Why do candidates who inveigh against the evils of budget deficits and federal debt feel obliged to propose huge high-end tax cuts — much bigger than those of George W. Bush -- that would eliminate trillions in revenue?As is his wont, Krugman glosses right over Democratic complicity (Third Way free-market Clintonism) in the rise of Trump. My published response:
Since the official embrace of ignorance has been a mainstay of right-wingery for more than 200 years, the GOP is simply following a grand old tradition. Their beef with Trump is that he wears his ignorance on his sleeve.
Lyin' Ryan and his cohort, meanwhile, couldn't survive without the complicity of the other big business party. Just last week*, President Obama praised him for being a good husband, father and a patriot. He doesn't often agree with him, of course, but he has no reason to doubt Ryan's sincere concern for "folks."
Obama (and the entire Establishment, it seems) are, however, chiding the young agitators who are disrupting Trump's fascist rallies. What really scares them is bottom-up democracy, citizens who aren't just consumers, and the inclusive message of Bernie Sanders.
They would prefer to work with nice family men like Ryan to quietly "trim" or "reform" social programs, while pouring trillions of dollars into permanent war and the surveillance state. Every extra crumb for the needy is offset by a reward for the rich. The slow destruction of the safety net and the funneling of all the wealth to the top 1% must be conducted calmly and efficiently.
Their Exceptional America is for the exceptional top 1%. They, who are so devoted to family: their own. They are true patriots, whose love for the corporate state trumps everything: particularly the "folks" they claim to represent.
Hear the duopoly roar: politely, seriously, invincibly.*Obama's complete "both sides do it" remarks at a St. Patrick's Day luncheon can be found here. The salient excerpts, in which he fawned over Ryan and scolded political protesters for being rude to The Donald, implicitly including the Black Lives Matter activists, are here:
And so I know that I’m not the only one in this room who may be more than a little dismayed about what’s happening on the campaign trail lately. We have heard vulgar and divisive rhetoric aimed at women and minorities -- at Americans who don’t look like “us,” or pray like “us,” or vote like we do. We’ve seen misguided attempts to shut down that speech, however offensive it may be. We live in a country where free speech is one of the most important rights that we hold.(Except when militarized police forces get together and use batons and pepper spray to squelch free speech at Occupy camps and at anti-war and anti-corporate "free trade" protests. It is "misguided" for protesters to shut down roads that lead to a demagogue whose whole raison d'etre is to incite riots.)
In response to those attempts, we’ve seen actual violence, and we’ve heard silence from too many of our leaders. Speaker Ryan, I appreciated the words on this topic that you shared with us this morning. But too often we’ve accepted this as somehow the new normal.(No word about the physical courage of people who are willing to get beaten up for their protests against racism and xenophobia. Aren't their protests also free speech? Probably what Obama really fears is the whole corrupt duopoly collapsing in upon itself, and of course, protests at Hillary Clinton's rallies. Better be quiet little consumer-citizens and wait for the Adult President to tell Trump jokes to lighten things up a bit.)
And it’s worth asking ourselves what each of us may have done to contribute to this kind of vicious atmosphere in our politics. I suspect that all of us can recall some intemperate words that we regret. Certainly, I can. And while some may be more to blame than others for the current climate, all of us are responsible for reversing it. For it is a cycle that is not an accurate reflection of America. And it has to stop. And I say that not because it’s a matter of “political correctness,” it’s about the way that corrosive behavior can undermine our democracy, and our society, and even our economy....(This is from the guy who until quite recently openly embraced Grand Bargain austerity and the Sequester, is still covering up portions of the CIA torture report, still shielding war criminals, shielding Wall Street criminals, waging wars both openly and secretly, killing thousands of civilians in drone strikes, and orchestrating coups in Honduras, Ukraine and other democratic countries. Violence is, and always has been, an accurate reflection of America. And yet Obama is singling out protesters at Trump's political rallies and glossing over the de facto social policy violence of Paul Ryan.)
And this is also about the American brand. Who are we? How are we perceived around the world? There’s a reason that America has always attracted the greatest talent from every corner of the globe. There’s a reason that “Made in America” means something. It’s because we’re creative, and dynamic, and diverse, and inclusive, and open. Why would we want to see that brand tarnished? The world pays attention to what we say and what we do....(America is pure propaganda, an advertising brand, a low-wage talent magnet, a maudlin appeal to patriotism in order to quell anger and dissent. Not much is actually made in America any more, thanks to NAFTA, the WTO inclusion of China into the Walton family oligarchy, and other "trade" deals. Obama seems more concerned about his reputation and legacy and public relations than about the reality that the whole world has been noticing for quite some time now.)
So when we leave this lunch, I think we have a choice. We can condone this race to the bottom, or accept it as the way things are and sink further. Or we can roundly reject this kind of behavior, whether we see it in the other party, or more importantly, when we see it in our own party, and set a better example for our children and the rest of the country to follow. It starts with us.(And if the duopoly has anything to say about it, the horrible example they set will be kept largely confined to opulent rooms behind closed doors. After all, this administration is credited with being the most secretive in memory. If only the angry citizens would just shut up, the kids won't look around and discover that one out of every 30 of them is homeless for the sole reason that the elite political class has never seen fit to implement a humane, affordable housing policy in this country.)
Speaker Ryan, you and I don’t agree on a lot of policy. But I know you are a great father and a great husband, and I know you want what’s best for America. And we may fiercely disagree on policy -- and the NFC North -- (laughter) -- but I don’t have a bad word to say about you as a man. And I would never insult my fellow Irish like that....
That’s what carried us through other times that were far more tough and far more dangerous than the one that we're in today -– times where we were told to fear the future; times where we were told to turn inward and to turn against each other. And each time, we overcame those fears. Each time, we faced the future with confidence in who we are and what we stand for, and the incredible things that we’re capable of together.The corrupt duopoly is capable of so much more. Capitalism is awesomely incredible. The only thing the elites have to fear is Bernie Sanders-style Democratic Socialism.
|The State of the Uniparty is Strong and Hearty-Har-Har-Har|