|(Saul Loeb, Agence France Presse)|
That the political system is corrupt is no longer even up for debate. That the two mainstream presidential candidates are beholden to the plutocracy is a foregone conclusion. That the United States will eventually collapse from its own imperialistic weight is a matter not of if, but of when.
The torrents of daily outrage are cascading so furiously that we can barely even keep track of them. Party tribalism is so rampant that if you're a Romney fan, you psychotically believe his opponent is a socialist. If you're an Obama supporter, there seems to be nothing he can do that will not meet with your cowed, tacit approval. Drone strikes against innocent civilians? That's just your godfather president keeping you safe. Having the Secret Service arrest two third party female candidates and chain them to chairs while your guy champions the rights of women? Never mind all that, as long as your birth control pills are safe. Obama is the presidential John Gotti, the Teflon Don. And Campaign 2012 is starting to look more like a mob war than a presidential battle.
It took an independent labor journalist named Mike Elk to discover a months-old audio of Mitt Romney subtly threatening anti-union bosses to strong-arm their employees into voting for him.... or else. In his New York Times column today, Timothy Egan wrote about the real Romney coming out of the closet at Tuesday night's debate. My response:
Romney just forgot where he was on Tuesday night. He was probably having an oligarchic flashback to that conference call he had with a cadre of so-called small business owners last spring. That was when he gave his consiglieres one of those offers they best not refuse.
"I hope you make it very clear to your employees", he warned, "what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. And whether you agree with me or you agree with President Obama, or whatever your political view, I hope, I hope you pass those along to your employees."
This guy doesn't want to be president. He wants to be mafia boss. Cajole, threaten, shake down, kneecap, repeat. The photo of him accompanying this article actually does look like a publicity shot for "The Sopranos."
Mitt as mob boss, however, is a ham-handed Tony Soprano-type who likes to off his victims direct and in person and then foolishly brag about it later. Barry, on the other hand, is a more circumspect capofamiglia. He subcontracts his hits out to his underlings and makes sure his Wall Street earners are well-protected by his underbosses in the Justice and Treasury branches of the hierarchy. He throws figurative block parties in the neighborhood, handing out trinkets of gay rights and temporary amnesty for Dreamers and health care for a few sick kids. He flirts with the ladies even as he has his underlings literally kidnap Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala, bind them to chairs in a Long Island warehouse, releasing them only when the coast is clear and the fake debate is over.
Oh, and once in awhile people do get collaterally damaged. Shit does happen. To its credit, the New York Times ran an editorial taking both mobsters to task for not caring about assault weapon proliferation in the streets of America. My comment:
Whenever you hear politicians promising that they look forward to having a conversation on an issue, you can rest assured that it will be swept under the rug asap. Ms. Gonzalez is to be commended for asking one of the few questions at the stage-managed debate that was not bland, candidate-friendly and made for boring TV.
You expect a Republican NRA panderer like Romney to obfuscate, but there is no excuse for Mr. Obama, who'd vowed to push for a renewal of the assault weapon ban during his first campaign. What I found particularly off-putting was this remark:
"But there have been too many instances during the course of my presidency, where I've had to comfort families who have lost somebody. Most recently out in Aurora. You know, just a couple of weeks ago, actually, probably about a month, I saw a mother, who I had met at the bedside of her son, who had been shot in that theater.
"And her son had been shot through the head. And we spent some time, and we said a prayer and, remarkably, about two months later, this young man and his mom showed up, and he looked unbelievable, good as new." (page 7, debate transcript.)
It reminded me of the time when Bush blithely comforted maimed Iraq war vets with the promise of "we'll get you some new legs" and then invited them for a round of golf.
Prayers, platitudes, and bromides -- that's all our elected officials offer shooting victims. But what else can you expect in America, the biggest arms dealer the world has ever known?
If you believe the polls, Obama may win the electoral college vote and lose the popular vote, just eking out a victory that is more like a wash. But Mitt
Romney will prevail and be forever protected by the oligarchy. Paul Ryan will continue rising through the ranks, whether it be in Congress, K Street, or Fox. The rubout of democracy will continue, until the peasants and the wage slaves finally and inevitably reach the breaking point. Strikes and pitchforks are looming on the horizon.