Friday, January 4, 2013

Bombs and Monsters

Sorry about the lack of posts this week. The year may be new, but it's already getting old. I can't remember ever feeling so overwhelmed. At least the last Congress is history, the lame duck session particularly having been overrun by the one of the most bizarre bunch of political quacks in recent memory. Some of them are back, their feathers ruffled, for another paddle in the scummy Washington pond. F-bomb boy Boehner with cheek of tan is still around, though having barely squeaked through for a new stint as the Weeper Speaker.

The new year promises more of the same old, same old with a vengeance. We are being inundated with one episode of Shock Doctrine Theater after another. The Feckless Cliff Aversion Act was just signed by long distance presidential robo-pen, giving us a clue of how utterly contrived the crisis was in the first place. Now we're getting previews of Sequestration Saga and Debt Ceiling Drama Redux. Will Obama cave again, or will he stand firm for the principles he really, truly, deep down inside believes in? is already on the pseudoliberal marquees. Unbelievably, the narrative still revolves around this being a Democratic vs. Republican battle, rather than the Class War it truly is. Here's how I responded to Paul Krugman's column today, about the coming Battle of the Budget:

The trick to using disaster capitalism tactics is to use them sparingly, in order to keep us from noticing how our leaders are shafting us. But here we are, the targets of a marathon assault of clumsily epic proportions. We're just now finding out how narrowly we dodged the initial barrage of New Deal-destroying dummy bullets, with the news that Harry Reid tossed the president's most recent Bargain for the Grandees into his fireplace. 

But like a demented phoenix, the austerity monster keeps rising from the ashes. The president said he still wants to "improve" Medicare, calling it our greatest deficit driver. He still seems perfectly willing to cast himself as the great appeaser in the pursuit of an awesome deal that Wall Street will cheer about. He said nothing, of course, about such deficit cures as dismantling our trillion-dollar war machine, or phasing out private insurance to bring health care costs down, or raising the FICA cap to protect Social Security, or a living wage law, or a financial transaction tax. But the Chained CPI monster is still on the loose, with various and sundry allied threats of less food, less heat, less housing assistance, and less medical care.

Meanwhile, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, the top 100 plutocrats added a combined $241 bn to their kitty last year, for a total aggregate net worth of $1.9 trillion.

The new anthem of the oligarchs is playing loud and clear: They can never be too rich, or the lesser people too thin.


James F Traynor said...

I thought I was alone in that morass of ennui. Like that feeling after you've gone over the finish line - too exhausted to give a damn, but knowing you have to get your ass out of the way of the rest finishing after you. Maybe the bastards know that. So keep moving Karen, it ain't over until you know who sings.

barbara madeloni said...

Yes, hard to find the energy for words, hard to experience words as meaningful with each lie, each designed dance, all the gibberish and distortion. Krugman this morning-though really I don't count on him--was a final piece of exhaustion-spinning the Dems v Repubs tale. Fuck.
But--we can't quit-as there is nothing else and I still believe that bearing witness matters, that fighting is winning. Keep on.

Denis Neville said...

They are “self-licking ice cream cones” and we are not.

“Self-licking ice cream cones are entities that serve no purpose except to sustain themselves.”

Tarak Barkawi writes, “What the Soviets might have done from outside, with a barrage of nuclear missiles, self-licking ice cream cones do from within. Their work is far advanced in nearly every sector of professional life. These insidious and destructive ice cream cones come in many flavours in private and public organisations … the army of neoliberal self-licking cones has been unleashed on all walks of life threaten to overwhelm the West.”

The rest of us should just “suck it up” say these self-licking ice cream cones. There simply hasn't been enough suffering.

“The ultimate dwindling resource in the human arrangement isn’t cheap oil or potable water or even common sense, but mercy.” - Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

4Runner said...

Anybody here know what a "Nork" is? You probably wouldn't unless you happened to log onto, which I inadvertently did today. No Sequestration Sagas here---these guys' CPIs are totally unchained. Some of the "defense" hardware now being tested includes 4-legged robots, hover-flies, chameleon robots, quad copters and of course El Supremo--the F35 aircraft, priced @ $240 million each (that's before cost overruns.) Is it the Pentagon or the Spentagon?

"Nork" BTW is current military parlance for "North Korean". What, no more Japs, Chinks or Gooks?

Jay - Ottawa said...

Karen, sounds like you may be just a touch tired of, or simply bored with, the unceasing banality of Washington and Wall Street. To borrow a line from a tune from “Chicago”: “Un der STAND able … un der STAND able ….”

If you were to take a week or two off now and then to read a novel or otherwise clear your head, that would be OK, I’m sure, by most Sardonickists. Some regular commenters could make a special effort to keep us abreast of their gleanings from the media. I suspect we’d still be here, standing at attention, all present and accounted for, when you came back from your well-deserved retreat.

To help things along I’m going to cross off as accomplished one of my New Year’s resolutions by paying a visit to that tip jar on the upper right side of the home page. I hope other followers who are able and who share a similar appreciation of your work might also make an effort to visit the tip jar before forgetfulness swallows their good intentions.

We all know about the .01% of the financial world. However, there are similar strata in other fields, like journalism. Our criticism here is often directed at the 99% of journalists (secure, fawning and lazy) who are merely stenographers for the rich, the powerful and the corrupt. A few other journalists, like Karen, are among the .01% in their field: focused on important matters but not ponderous, true to the ideals of the profession yet witty, motivated by humane instincts but not sentimental, and highly skilled at getting facts and their import across to readers.

Sardonickists of the world, show your support for the .01% of journalists. We can only imagine the time it takes to research and write the findings, and to keep ahead of the brutal, relentless deadlines to produce more, and again more, year after year, all to make the lives of others richer.

Anonymous said...

Can't find an appropriate place to add a link to Matt Taibbi's latest blog entry, but I think it's relevant on several levels. "Secrets and Lies of the Bailout: One Broker's Story" on Rolling Stone website.

Many years ago I read Sissela Bok's books: Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life; and Secrets: On the Ethics of Cooncealment and Revelation. If I recall correctly, Bill Moyers interviewed her on his television program.

Do most of us collude with those in positions of power to keep ourselves ignorant of deeply distressing things in the hopes that the 'greater good' will be served?

Anonymous Z