Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Weekly Dog Whistle to the Plutocrats

Hi, everybody. My top priority as President is making sure we do everything we can to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
There will be a continuous topping off of your corporate tanks by the U.S. Treasury. While the oligarchic engine thrums, its premium gas is producing the toxic by-product of deficit hysteria. Like all things shitty, it flows downhill, eventually igniting into a final conflagration destroying what little is left of the middle class. This, my fellow plutocrats Americans, is the power of creative destruction. But as the serfs in our midst suffer through this endless, needless depression, we'll just keep reminding them of the Greek myth of the phoenix rising from the ashes. We'll keep intimating that poor people still reside in the middle class. Let the mellifluous magical-thinking presidential oratory sink deep into their tired, benumbed brains. 
Yesterday, we received some welcome news on the class war of the plutes against the proles  that front. We learned that our businesses added nearly 250,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% – still too high, but now lower than it was when I took office.
The stats, of course, do not count the chronically unemployed, those who have simply given up and fallen into the permanent underclass. They also do not mention the fact that many of the jobs being added are part-time, temporary, low-wage and no-benefit. No mention of the fact that the average CEO earns more than 300 times as much as the average worker. SSSHHH.... must not mention the fact that the Swiss are moving to cap executive pay and the European Union is mulling a financial transaction tax on high speed trades.

Our businesses have created jobs every month for three years straight – nearly 6.4 million new jobs in all. Our manufacturers are bringing jobs back to America. Our stock market has rebounded. New homes are being built cheaply and sold at a faster pace. And we need to do everything we can to keep that momentum going.
Here is where your president honors public-private cronyism as though it were a form of American patriotism that simply does not exist in the real world of "free" trade and transglobalism. By using the first person plural, he glosses over the fact that the government itself has cut jobs and wages. He tacitly admits that a kind of fascism, or at least corporatism, has taken over. We have bribed corporations to bring a small number of manufacturing jobs back to "right to work" (anti-union) states by offering corporations even more welfare, via tax breaks -- and even tax rebates based on the fraudulent losses they claim to have suffered through some token reverse-offshoring. Damned straight that the stock market is rebounding, because all the wealth continues being sucked up by those at the extreme pinnacle. And the apparent resurgence of the housing market is largely due to vulture capitalists buying up the inventory of foreclosed homes and the deliberate ploy of keeping excess inventory off the market to further inflate another real estate bubble. Thanks to the toothlessness of Dodd-Frank financial "reform", the taxpayers have guaranteed they will bail out the banksters when yet another inevitable bursting occurs. Even now, banks are getting back-door bailouts through the gaping, unguarded window of the Treasury.

That means asking ourselves three questions every day: How do we make America a magnet for new jobs? How do we equip more of our people with the skills those jobs require? And how do we make sure that your hard work leads to a decent living?
So now it's the Power of Three, huh? Holy Holy Trinity, Batman! And 3X3=9, the same magical number as that glorious Obamian minimum wage suggestion for those futuristic and ephemeral non-union low-paying tech jobs requiring the expertise of an advanced engineering degree. Otherwise, this paragraph is simply for rhetorical purposes. Your president is in musing mode, not bothering to answer his own questions.

That has to be our driving focus – our North Star. And at a time when our businesses are gaining a little more traction, the last thing we should do is allow Washington politics to get in the way. You deserve better than the same political gridlock and refusal to compromise that has too often passed for serious debate over the last few years.
Just when the plutocracy stands poised to have it all, Washington politics is getting in the way of Obama's grandiose bargain for the grandees. When he says "you deserve better" he is dog-whistling directly to the Fix the Debt deficit scolds and their compromised media hacks, who as far as we know, are the only people kvetching about political gridlock. Have you noticed that Our North Star has become the latest hackneyed phrase in the presidential repertoire? It is Newspeak for the aggregation of the national wealth at the very pinnacle of the stratosphere, evoking a self-righteous Biblical image of the Three Wise Men searching out salvation in the form of Mammon. Meh. Their bright is our blight. 

Ka-Ching Went the Beat of Their Blessed Little Hearts

That’s why I’ve been reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to see if we can untangle some of the gridlock. Earlier this week, I met with some Republican Senators to see if there were smarter ways to grow our economy and reduce our deficits than the arbitrary cuts and the so-called “sequester” that recently went into place. We had an open and honest conversation about critical issues like immigration reform and gun violence, and other areas where we can work together to move this country forward. And next week, I’ll attend both the Democratic and Republican party meetings in the Capitol to continue those discussions.
See previous post about that deliciously decadent deficit dinner party. And, by the way, the president is very deliberately not reaching out to the Progressive Caucus. Their ideas (such as raising the FICA contribution cap) may be serious, but they are very deliberately being blackballed from admission to the Very Serious People Country Club. (see every blogpost and column ever written by Paul Krugman, especially this one published today about the disappearing deficit that Obama insists, apparently under orders from Wall Street, still needs shrinking.)

The fact is, America is a nation of different beliefs and different points of view. That’s what makes us strong, and frankly, makes our democratic debates messy and often frustrating. But ultimately what makes us special is when we summon the ability to see past those differences, and come together around the belief that what binds us together will always be more powerful than what drives us apart.
The two political parties of the plutonomy both work for the same masters of the universe. Money is the tie that binds all of the millionaires and billionaires together. It is more powerful than all the pretend ideologies in the world, combined. The "gridlock mess" is a big sham anyway. It is a smokescreen giving the lobbyists more time to bribe and the politicians more time to be bribed. Filibuster reform didn't happen, because the Senate leaders didn't want it to happen. A series of fake crisis gridlock dramas provides the perfect smokescreen for the infliction of a whole mess of pain on the masses.

As Democrats and Republicans, we may disagree on the best way to achieve our goals, but I’m confident we can agree on what those goals should be. A strong and vibrant middle class. An economy that allows businesses to grow and thrive. An education system that gives more Americans the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future. An immigration system that actually works for families and businesses. Stronger communities and safer streets for our children.
Insert the usual bromides as this latest weekly address draws to a close. Mention middle class again. Check. Tout deregulation for businesses so they may confidently hoard ever greater piles of cash and create a few low wage jobs. Check. Tout the technocratization of education for the enrichment of profiteers, with a concentration on teaching narrow technical skills for the jobs of the future which, of course, do not exist in the here and now. Check. Tout immigration policies that are heavy on business benefits and light on human rights protections. Check. Tout Strength and Safety, evoking visions of armored Homeland Security tanks and paramilitary police forces to protect the Corporate State and to stifle the inevitable populist dissent arising from increasing wealth inequality. Check.

Making progress on these issues won’t be easy. In the months ahead, there will be more contentious debate and honest disagreement between principled people who want what’s best for this country. But I still believe that compromise is possible. I still believe we can come together to do big things. And I know there are leaders on the other side who share that belief.
Barry just had a very hard slog of a catered lunch with Paul Ryan -- that principled other half of RomRy the Democrats used to pretend to hate because he wants to voucherize Medicare --  but now all of a sudden he wants whatever is best for this country. (Newspeak for whatever is best for the ruling class, which runs the country.) Obama is desperate for a grand bargain of safety net cuts by the end of July, the optimal time (after Christmas) to ram another 2,000-page disaster capitalism bill through Congress. Everybody will be in a big hurry to escape the Beltway Swamp, go on vacation, and fund-raise. Big things, by the way, is Newspeak for gutting Social Security and making FDR turn in his grave. Big things is Orwellian code for Austerity.

So I’ll keep fighting to solve the real challenges facing middle-class families. And I’ll enlist anyone who is willing to help. That’s what this country needs now – and that’s what you deserve.
Simpson & Bowles and the Centrist cult of Fix the Debt tycoons will keep doing the Sunday shows sponsored by your corporate largesse.... the oil and gas industry, the big banks, the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance leech brigade, the defense contractors. Your placeholder president understands your needs, my liege lords. You deserve every last ounce of flesh, every last drop of blood. 



James F Traynor said...

Another typo. Should have been the middle finger in that first photo.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Thanks, Karen, for taking the time each week to listen to the Saturday morning twaddle from the Oval Office, then to deconstruct it so lucidly. The lying is so transparent. And from someone who took great pains to paint himself as the people’s champion, someone who twice took an oath to observe the law in behalf of the rest of us.

If he were made of real wood, like Pinocchio, his nose should be getting too long to fit inside the Oval Office. But he’s human, flesh and blood like the rest of us, overflowing with knowledge on constitutional law, poised and smart, well read in history, so he must realize somewhere deep inside how many people he’s harming, grievously, week after week with bad deals resting on more lies, and how all of this will go down against him in history. Still, he goes on with the charade. How does the guy sleep nights?

The people around him prop him up with their own spines of punk wood. We swooned openly over the appointment of people like Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner. Now the man gives us Jack Lew to replace Geithner. Meet Jack Lew:

Where is the outrage?

Denis Neville said...

“Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” - Jack Kerouac

“Most people were raised to think they are not worthy. School is a process of taking beautiful kids who are filled with life and beating them into happy slavery.” - Studs Terkel, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do

The road is their life and their witness is the empty sky.

Arizona photographer Mike Brodie rode the rails with America's poor youth for thousands of miles:

A Period of Juvenile Prosperity, an exhibition of color photographs by Mike Brodie at Yossi Milo Gallery, New York:

Studs Terkel has said that the story of the boxcar boys and girls is "one of the vital, terribly neglected sagas of the Thirties. With today's homeless kids, it is a contemporary story of overwhelming importance."

But it is a neglected story. There is no shit storm.

Instead, on Wall Street where everything is good, the Dow hit new highs while most Americans suffered.

“One day I visited a guy who had made a fortune as a broker. He was sitting in his office with his computer. I hire people from here and make deals from this room, he told me. Then he took me to the trading room. Nobody was talking to anybody else, the place was silent as a tomb, they were all sitting there watching their terminals a great word, terminal. I tell you, it scares the crap out of me.” - Studs Terkel

Experience is the teacher of fools, but fools never learn from their own mistakes.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

And to add to @James F Traynor's comment about the glove in your photo illustration: Wrong material. Rather than cloth, it should have been medical examination latex.

@Jay - Ottawa comments on the extent of the political lies emanating from Obama and his co-conspirators. How do they do it, what is their perception of their actions? A Dilbert cartoon from a few days ago, intended as a different (corporate) commentary, seems equally appropriate for the political sphere:

"Where is the outrage?" @Jay asks.

It's been co-opted/ rationalized away/ medicated away/ scared away/ ground into submission/ and made to vanish in countless other ways. If it was even ever there. As @Denis Neville points outs, "Most people were raised to think they are not worthy...". (Thanks, Denis, for the great quotes from Studs Terkel).

So once again, we come to the $64,000 question: What is to be done? We need to find some answers --- and they must be genuine and correct ones. Just as with some of the '50s tv quiz shows, plenty of people are doing their best to manipulate the answers and rig the game.

spreadoption said...

Jay - Ottawa raises an interesting point about Obama that bothers me, too, all the time. "... overflowing with knowledge on constitutional law, poised and smart, well read in history, so he must realize somewhere deep inside how many people he’s harming, grievously, week after week with bad deals resting on more lies, and how all of this will go down against him in history. Still, he goes on with the charade. How does the guy sleep nights?"

Nick Hanauer is an interesting guy I follow with Google alerts. An early investor in Amazon, he's a millionaire and one of those guys asking to be taxed higher... for the good of the economy! When the subject line said, "Millionaire Nick Hanauer Shoots Down Neil Cavuto's Straw Men as He Explains Why His Taxes Should be Raised," I hoped for perhaps a rare victory for "us" against Fox News. But, no, Hanauer got run over and squashed by the Fox machine. It was an 8-minute ordeal I wanted to turn off in disgust but I stuck with it, hoping our guy would pull it out in the end. He could not, though he sure tried hard. Once again I was left feeling like I myself had been beaten to the ground by that bastard... yet also forced to acknowledge the evil genius in his depraved skill.

Interesting research out of Duke University might suggest a reason for the evil embodied in both Fox News and President Obama. These people are smart, exceedingly smart in some ways, yet somehow their minds are closed to any sense of morality (or when it comes to the economy, even common sense). How can that be? Professor Sinnott-Armstrong asks, "Is it that psychopaths do not know what is moral? Or is it that they can discern what is moral, but morality does not matter to them?"

Perhaps (and hopefully) the legacy awaiting Obama is that he will go down as the worst President in US history. Yes, worse even than Bush-the-dumber because Obama has all the intelligence and skills to do what is right, to correct the wrongs, and deliberately chooses to do enormous harm instead.

Zee said...


One of the greater laughs that I continue to have at the expense of average liberal Democrats is their notion that they somehow chose a “man of the people, community organizer” when they elected—and re-elected—Obama to the Presidency. At the very least, it should have been clear to all but the blindest of his “disciples” that Obama has been a social climber from the very start, and is doing a bang-up job of leaving his past as far behind him in the dust as he can.

Now he enjoys golf outings with Tiger Woods, rubs elbows with “celebrities” like Letterman and Leno, and soon he will be paying Beyoncé and Adele to perform at the White House for Michelle's fiftieth birthday!

Just how many of his and Michelle's old “community organizer” buddies from Chicago will be invited to attend, do you think? I am quite confident that there will be nothing but A+++ “list-ers in attendance.

If he once cared about the little guy, he certainly doesn't any more. He's moved onward and upward, but Democrats just can't bring themselves to admit that they elected a poseur .

And as for Obama being some kind of real constitutional scholar, remember that he was only an adjunct perfesser at U. of Chicago, and I would be very surprised if you can cite a single law paper that the man ever authored for publication in any law journal after he left Harvard.

The guy ain't no Laurence Tribe. Not by a long shot.

And you're absolutely right: he SHOULD go down in history as America's WORST President, right below Dubya, but any future historian who dares to say so will doubtless be branded a racist, tarred and feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail.

Zee said...

Should have addressed my previous post to both @Jay and @spreadoption regarding BHO's apparent lack of concern for people below his station.

How does he sleep at night? Well, he's achieved all his objectives. He's rich, a permanent, Nobel-Prize-winning celebrity, and twice-elected, black President of the United States. What more could the man aspire to?

And, if he seems to have no conscience regarding the heads upon which he has stepped to achieve his newfound, stratospheric position in life, well, what else is new?

"Mistah Kurtz--he dead."

And, phoenix-like, a new, reinvigorated and loftily detached Mister Kurtz has arisen from the ashes of the old community organizer to take his place amongst the Olympiads.

God bless 'im.