Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequestration: SVU

There's a new crime show playing in America. It's called Sequestration: Special Victims Unit.

It incorporates a trite Good Cop/Bad Cop gimmick so unoriginal that it should have lost its ability to fool people by the time Dragnet went off the air last century. But since this hackneyed device retains its uncanny ability to fool most of the people some of the time, or at least some of the people all of the time, the propaganda hacks will only give up their tried and true technique over your dead bodies.

Here's the newest version of the stale corporate plot:

President Obama and his boys and girls in blue (as in Dog) join forces with a group of out-of-control, sadistic, and eminently useful Republican renegades to sweep uphuge swath of the tired, the poor, and the massively huddled in an indiscriminate budgetary dragnet.

Obama and the Democrats then play Good Cop, pretending to want to help the same people they've just arrested, bringing them a rickety folding chair to sit on, a few liberal crumbs from the rusted-out vending machine down the hall, promises of a better tomorrow, tomorrow -- if they will only cooperate with the authorities, and give up Grandma and Grandpa as part of a Grand Plea Bargain. It seems the ultimate goal of Sequestration was always to forcibly wean people from their anti-capitalist addiction to Social Security and Medicare.

Obama lieutenant Gene Sperling admitted as much on the Sunday talk shows. The kids being kicked out of Head Start are the unfortunate but necessary decoys being used to entrap the real criminals: seniors greedily sucking up all that medical care, and daring to collect on the retirement insurance programs they've paid into all of their working lives. Regular people could be rendered so much more lucrative if only Wall Street could get its lunch-hooks onto the great social programs of the 30s and 60s. 

The Republicans, meanwhile, perform their role of Bad Cop with abandon. They offer no deals. Instead, they flagrantly wield their whips, their chains, their brass knuckles, their vocal derision. They don't even bother pretending they're not under the direct control of the plutocrats. They don't attempt to hide the relish with which they will grind the poor, the tired, the huddled masses into one giant steaming puddle of bug-splat.

Obama and the good cops, of course, are not taking the humane course of simply letting their special victims go free without any punishment or further ado. For the foreseeable future, the collateral damage will remain sequestered in the holding cell of austerity.

As the New York Times reports, the Good Cop Democrats and the Bad Cop Republicans have agreed to extend funding for the federal government at the post-sequester level, i.e., minus $85 billion, until the end of the current fiscal year (Sept. 30) “most likely allow(ing) the across-the-board spending reductions to remain in place for months if not years.”

In other words, an open-ended jail sentence for those caught up in the indiscriminate dragnet, with only the faintest hope for parole. Meanwhile, the too-big-to-fail banks are not only immune from prosecution, they are still being gifted with billions of dollars in backdoor bailouts, paid for by the very same people who are being victimized all over again by Sequestration.

So, where is the outrage? Oh, I forgot. Good Cop Obama really, really feels for the victims. He calls their punishment "dumb" at press conferences far away from scene of the crime. He is not, he says, a dictator, so what can he do? But meanwhile, you can donate to his legacy-burnishing slush fund social welfare group known as Organizing for Action. If you can raise $500,000 he will even grace you with four private chitchat sessions a year. And it's all perfectly, corruptly, disgustingly legal.

Meanwhile, freeze!  Put your hands in the air, legs wide apart, anything you say or do will be used against you, and if you don't have a lawyer or a lobbyist, tough shit. You're all under arrest.


4Runner said...

Will definitely be adding Sequestration:SVU to my other fave TV shows:

Drone Town Abbey
CSI: the White House
Without a Trace of Social Security
The Biggest Losers: Us
Dancing With the Sequestars
Mike & Molly Minus Medicare

Outsida said...

I was channel surfing this weekend and stopped briefly by Chris Matthews' show. He and his guests were all on the same page: We've got too much socialism in this country, Medicare is socialism, and the reason people love their Medicare because it's FREE. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

Will said...

My favorite reality show is Game of Drones. Check out this cool promotional poster I have hanging on my bedroom wall:

Zee said...


Just goes to show that watching MSNBC will rot your brain as quickly as Fox News!

If you couldn't believe what you were hearing, it only goes to show that it's not too late to save yourself, but far too late for Chris Matthews!

That old thrill running up his leg that Matthews once claimed to get from Obama's election win was actually creeping dry rot, spreading from his feet to his brain.

It's finally arrived there.

That he now calls Medicare "socialism"--a service for which taxes were paid, and which is provided by private entities--merely proves my point.

He's an idiot.

Zee said...


Great poster!

Hey, you guys voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but what you really got was Tyrion Lannister!

Zee said...


PS: I hope that G.R.R. Martin will live long enough to complete Book Six of A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire.

I became an unwilling addict in 1997 when, on an eco-tour of Costa Rica, someone passed on to me the first book, A Game of Thrones, which she had finished en route and didn't want to carry back to the states.

Some 16 years later, I alternately curse and bless both my unrecollected traveling companion and G.R.R. Martin, as I await the grand finale.

Such is the stuff of addiction.

Zee said...


From everything that I read, the vast majority of those "boomers" who are nearing retirement soon are woefully unprepared, owing to
(1) long-term stagnation of wages, (2) the ongoing hyper-inflation of day-to-day expenses such as energy, food, medical and educational expenditures (for their children), and (3) the disappearance of defined-benefit, corporate retirement programs, all of which will leave an ever-increasing number of "boomers" dependent upon Social Security alone in their old age.

And while I consider myself somewhat better off than average, I, too, will be relying on Social Security to fill in the pension gaps (planned for long ago in the calculation of my corporate pension), even if I could stand some "means-testing" (which @Kat has persuaded me is a bad idea).

Despite the "shared sacrifice" scheme proposed by Barry & Co., if you want to see a "Second American Revolution" take place, just let those Social Security checks come out substantially "trimmed," or, worse yet, not at all, in the near future.

This dwarfs any talk of a "Second American Revolution" if Barry has his way regarding "improvements" to gun control.

Good luck to us all.

Kat said...

Chris Mathews is the worst. I think it was 2002 when he convinced the network to fire their top rated host because of his anti war stance.
Always the authoritarian. And goes to show, MSNBC always sucked.

Kat said...

Here is a refreshingly blunt op ed:

Denis Neville said...

For anyone in the mood for some in depth intelligent political discussions check out MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes on weekends. Hayes does so in a civil, non-confrontational manner.

One show featured a two-hour discussion on atheism in America. His guests discussed the place of atheism in their lives, the history of religious freedom in the US, the marginalization of those who do not believe in God, and how atheism and religion intersect with politics.

I cannot ever recall ever hearing atheism discussed in such depth.

"They [the Founding Fathers] knew that the recognition of a Deity would be seized by fanatics and zealots as a pretext for destroying the liberty of thought." - Robert Ingersoll

Kat said...

Chris Hayes? The one who said we need a "radicalized" upper middle class to lead the way?
I'm sorry, I cannot take a single host on MSNBC seriously. They know their boundaries.

Suzan said...

Or soon to be scheduled for a drone strike.

Will said...

Kat & Denis,

Your discussion reminded me of this brutal takedown of Chris Hayes back in November by a blogger known as "ohtarzie." (The blog itself is called "The Rancid Honeytrap," which is a great name, btw.) He basically expands on Kat's assertion that Hayes knows exactly how far he can push things--further than anyone else is allowed in the mainstream--until he has to dial it back to please his corporate masters.

Denis Neville said...

@ Will – yes, I am familiar with "The Rancid Honeytrap," and did read that post.

Yes, Chris Hayes has his shortcomings. He is well aware, I am sure, of his more progressive predecessors at MSNBC who were forced out. He self-censors himself like everyone else as a result and deserves the criticism.

However, both Hayes and the panelists are smart and their lively, thoughtful conversations dig deeper than virtually anything else on cable news.

Another example of a program I enjoyed: as a Vietnam Era Veteran, I agreed entirely with Chris Hayes' thoughtful, nuanced view of military service and heroism, and shared his discomfort with the notion that all vets and casualties are heroes. Hayes received a ton of shit for disrespecting the troops on Memorial Day. Conor Friesdorf wrote a great response “In Defense of Chris Hayes” at the Atlantic:

The next day Hayes issued an apology, saying he was "deeply sorry" and "truly sorry." There was no indication that Hayes was pressured by MSNBC management and he said the decision was his own. Hayes proved his point about the boundaries of the discourse about war, but not in the way he intended.

There are those who don't have much use for Chris Hayes, but I will continue to watch and enjoy Up with Chris Hayes, considering the vast wasteland of television and social media.

Like George Carlin said: "Think of how stupid the average person is. Then realize that half of them are stupider than that.

Kat said...

Sorry, Denis-- I didn't mean to slam your taste. You see, I had just kind of half read his book and decided to check out Revolt of the Elites again. Although there were parts of that book that I could not agree with I ultimately found the social conservative Lasch's feelings about the meritocracy more subversive. I wanted to take a look at it again.
When I tried to look it up from home I found my library had purged it! Yet another book that has disappeared. No worry-- you still have your pick of David Brooks or EL James.
Here's a cartoon that describes what I like about the library, but is probably going to fall by the wayside:
They're building a library without books here!