Friday, September 7, 2012

The Audacity of Treading Water

I think I figured out why the party planners decided to move the big bash indoors last night -- and it had nothing to do with the weather. The venue of a football stadium is usually reserved for rock concerts, Papal Masses, sporting events, or happy victory rallies. The most Obama could muster was a full-throated endorsement of Meh. He waxed nostalgic for another centrist grand bargain of deficit reduction. Picture the Emperor in the coliseum drawling the following to the hungry jobless unwashed masses:
Independent experts say that my plan would cut our deficit by $4 trillion. (Cheers.) And last summer I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut a billion dollars in spending, because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it so that it’s leaner and more efficient and more responsive to the American people....
Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. I want to get this done, and we can get it done.

Maybe his handlers figured the crowds would go wild, and not in a good way, when he evoked memories of the despised Cat Food Commission. It was Co-chair Alan Simpson who famously derided Social Security as a "milk cow with 300 million tits". And the other co-chair, Erskine Bowles, is a serious Paul Ryan fanboy. As commenter Pearl pointed out, does Obama even want to win the election?

The Secret Service likely was having conniption fits over security anyway, and when they got an advance copy of the speech, the whole shebang went into full emergency lockdown mode. The part of the speech with Obama wind-bagging about all that frackable gas lurking in the earth beneath our feet sent Earth, Wind & Fire running for their lives. 

Charlotte, N.C. had been transformed into a virtual militarized zone in which cops from thousands of miles away outnumbered spectators, handfuls of protesters, and various and sundry marginalized citizens. It was a dystopian scene where journalists attempting to take photographs outside the parameters were being threatened with arrest. Patting down 60,000 ticket-holders to Obama's Bank of America speech would have presented a logistical nightmare. And there would likely have been more than a few catcalls when President Obama embraced catfood, inexcusably ignoring the humanitarian crisis of unemployment, the epidemic of foreclosures, and the fact that one out of every four American children is now officially poor. It would have been embarrassing to have cameras pan over all the dispirited homeless people who were bound to have scored a few tickets.

Better to have several thousand loyal partisans in funny hats cheer in a heavily guarded convention center than a city full of freethinkers boo in an open-air space. A stadium speech might have totally upended the ultra-careful scripting of the previous three days, in which almost every speech by every "rising star" seemed to have been crafted by the same P.R. flack. Nonfiction may have reared its ugly head, roared its terrible roar and gnashed its terrible teeth. And it wouldn't have had anything to do with the president's bland rendering of "Where the Wild Things Are" at the White House Easter Egg hunt this past spring.

I wasn't even going to post today, such was my profound state of ennui -- but my spirits were briefly lifted this evening when I got my very first call ever from the Quinnipiac pollsters! I was able to loudly and categorically state for posterity that, contrary to Obama's delusions, I Do Not Give One Shit About the Deficit! Well, that wasn't the exact question, but you get my drift. I was also able to reveal that I would have no problem voting for a Black Hispanic Muslim Mormon Born Again Christian gay person who also happens to be an atheist and morbidly obese -- but was strongly opposed to both Obama and Romney. As I told the pollster lady, I do refuse to  accept a choice between stagnating with Barry or sinking with Mitt. But since that wasn't an option, I think she marked me down as "Not Sure." Or confused, or uncooperative.

Whatever. Osama bin Laden is underwater, and so are you.


Karl said...

Love your Blog; BUT, "Doing Nothing" concedes ground to Mittens and the Plutocrats.

Neil Gillespie said...

re: Alan Simpson famously derided Social Security as a "milk cow with 300 million tits".

Does the bullshit ever end? Alan Kooi Simpson spent 18 years in the U.S. Senate. Simpson served more than a decade in the Wyoming House of Representatives. His father Milward was once Governor of Wyoming. Milward also spent 4 years in the U.S. Senate, where he was one of six Republican Senators who voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

So Alan Kooi and his dad have a lot of experience sucking at the government teat.

"...Simpson's youth was clearly not all baseball games and scout jamborees. In a recent brief in support of the claimant in the Supreme Court case, Graham v. Florida, Simpson admitted that as a juvenile he was on federal probation for shooting mailboxes and punched a cop and—in his own words—"was a monster.""

"Simpson had several run-ins with the law during his youth. A "friend of the Court" brief filed before the United States Supreme Court in the juvenile imprisonment cases Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida states:

"In Simpson’s words to this Court, "I was a monster."

One day in Cody, Wyoming, when Simpson was in high school, he and some friends "went out to do damage." They went to an abandoned war relocation structure and decided to "torch" it. They committed arson on federal property, a crime now punishable by up to twenty years in prison if no one is hurt, and punishable by up to life in prison if the arson causes a person’s death. Luckily for Simpson, no one was injured in the blaze.

Simpson not only played with fire, but also with guns. He played a game with his friends in which they shot at rocks close to one another, at times using bullets they stole from the local hardware store. The goal of the game was to come as close as possible to striking someone without actually doing so. Again, Simpson was lucky: no one was killed or seriously injured.

Simpson and his friends went shooting throughout their community. They fired their rifles at mailboxes, blowing holes in several and killing a cow. They fired their weapons at a road grader. "We just raised hell," Simpson says. Federal authorities charged Simpson with destroying government property and Simpson pleaded guilty. He received two years of probation and was required to make restitution from his own funds – funds that he was supposed to obtain by holding down a job.

... As he [Simpson] has described it, "The older you get, the more you realize . . . your own attitude is stupefying, and arrogant, and cocky, and a miserable way to live.""

Getting back to the "milk cow with 300 million tits",

"Social Security is primarily funded through dedicated payroll taxes called Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax (FICA). Tax deposits are formally entrusted to the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, or the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund which comprise the Social Security Trust Fund."

As an employee I paid FICA out of my earnings. Later as a small business owner I paid both the employee and employer FICA contribution from my earnings, and the employer contribution for my employees. I don’t know any milk cows that pay FICA. And it is not really a tax because the money collected is later returned as an earned benefit.

James F Traynor said...


And doing something concedes to Obama and the Plutocrats. The Plutocrats win in any case - and that's the name of the game.

James F Traynor said...

Karen, my ennui is bigger than your ennui.

Valerie said...

Just got around to reading this post, Karen, - moving house - so I am late responding. A big THANK YOU for that great laugh I had reading your last paragraph!

Like so many spoiled, rich kids who aren't taught to respect anything or taught empathy for anyone, Alan Simpson has grown into a truly selfish, reprehensible adult. Sadly, politics are full of these people.

(Thanks, Neil, for educating me about Simpson - what a creep!)