Friday, October 18, 2013

The Dude Presides

I was so busy actively blogging for not-profit yesterday morning that I missed the Presider's post-traumatic stressor of a presser, and had to settle for reruns later in the day. And then this morning I read the transcript. Big mistake. The pabulum totally cancelled out the caffeine in my coffee. So I have to warn you that I am striving mightily to even remain conscious as I type out yet another unprofitable blog-post from the extreme hinterland. 
In case you missed it, here's the part of his preachy little lecture that I'm referencing: 
And now that the government has reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that's grow this economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, educate our kids, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That's why we're here. That should be our focus.
 Now, that won't be easy. We all know that we have divided government right now. There's a lot of noise out there, and the pressure from the extremes affect how lot of members of Congress see the day-to-day work that's supposed to be done here.
I assume that who the Presider meant by professional activists and extremes (sic) who profit from conflict were the likes of the Koch Brothers and Newt Gingrich, and not outfits like Organizing for Action, which did offer to put my name on the virtual Obama Wall if I'd just chip in $5 to help him make money off the shutdown. I'm sure he wasn't talking about his own little band of money-grubbing activist plutocrats in the Fix the Debt lobby, whose talking points he appeared to read verbatim during his class lecture to the Nation. I am not so self-important that I actually think he meant the likes of me and the hordes of other fringe-dwellers of the Internet.  But still, it's fun to pretend that he actually reads the non-profits, and that we're getting under his skin.

The rest of the speech was typical self-contradicting Obama. Some examples:
These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don't know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it's slowed our growth..... But probably nothing has done more damage to America's credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we've seen these past several weeks. It's encouraged our enemies, it's emboldened our competitors, and it's depressed our friends, who look to us for steady leadership. (On the Other Hand), Now the good news is, we'll bounce back from this. We always do. America's the bedrock of the global economy for a reason. We are the indispensable nation that the rest of the world looks to as the safest and most reliable place to invest, something that's made it easier for generations of Americans to invest in their own futures.
And here's the part where he still thinks cutting somehow magically leads to growth:
And we shouldn't approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise, just cutting for the sake of cutting. The issue's not growth versus fiscal responsibility. We need both. We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on, creating more good jobs that pay better wages.
And remember, the deficit is getting smaller, not bigger. It's going down faster than it has in the last 50 years. (On the Other Hand), The challenge that we have right now are not short-term deficits; it's the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security.
In case you missed it, the Presider just announced that cutting the great social insurance programs of the 20th century is his Numero Uno priority. Number Two is immigration reform with its defense industry, private-prison enriching border patrols to catch and jail undesirables fleeing one kind of misery for another, and on the other hand supply imported cheap labor to our tax-evading job creators. Number Three is passing the Farm Bill. He only vaguely mentions the endangered food stamp program, and puts the emphasis on the millionaire compromisers rather than their struggling victims.

The Presider closed thusly, giving due deference to the Invisible Guy in the Sky as he ushers in a reprise of the Era of Good Feeling among the battling plutocratic factions of the Beltway, urging the R's and the D's to come together as one for the sole purpose of placating the restive herds in the hinterland as the wealth grows ever more concentrated among the Ruling Class:
The American people's hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours. Our obligations are to them. Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate and compromise and act in the best interests of our nation, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
And speaking of those hopes and dreams, here's my response to Paul Krugman's column today:
 The pain caucus lives despite the debunking of austerity. The Big Lie that the country is broke and so people must suffer spreads like a virus from the six media giants feeding us 90% of everything we read and hear.
The plutocrats continue to hoard nearly half the wealth in "the one indispensable nation." The stock market soars while the hopes and dreams of ordinary people plummet. CEOs kvetch about uncertainty for failing to hire, even as they rake in an obscene 350 times the salary of the average worker. And both right wings of the Money Party agree that the answer to record income inequality, wage stagnation and the jobs crisis is to cut our earned benefit programs and "reform" the tax code, all the while jingoistically pouring money down the drain of the war machine and the surveillance state.
Nobody's talking about jobs and a living wage. Nobody's talking about stimulus. Nobody's talking about our lost generation of student debt slaves. The D's and the R's of One Percent Nation are starting current budget negotiations born in the Randian brain of Paul Ryan -- $1 trillion in cuts over the next eight years.
Even President Obama, fresh as he is from his own partisan victory over the Cult of the Cruzians, persists in his allegiance to the billionaire cult of Fix the Debt. As he blasted "bloggers" and "extremes" at his presser on Thursday, I swore I could see Simpson & Bowles hovering just behind the curtain, whispering their toxic catfood nothings in his ear.


James F Traynor said...

Karen, you're right up front in Krugman's comments section. More and more people are getting wise to the economic con The Money Party (both wings), as you have said, are putting over on us. Obama is intent on paring down Social Security and Medicare - he keeps slipping that into his speeches and 'pressers', either directly or indirectly. A very bad sign. The Democratic Party is becoming a bigger menace than the GOP, if that's possible, by offering the electorate the false hope of change.

Jay - Ottawa said...

B.O.: “The challenges that we have right now are not short-term deficits; it's the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security.”


Along the lines of what Pearl wrote a few days ago, now is the time to throw the gauntlet down before reps and senators. If they follow B.O. down that road on Medicare and SS – or sit on the fence– they’ll never get your vote again. You’ll actively work against them.

On the other hand, if they push bills that charge a minifee on each Wall Street transaction, tax capital gains fully, raise the FICA tax ceiling, and get real about income taxing the top 10%, then you’ll back them in every way you can, come the next election cycle.

Willie Sutton had it right: he conducted his business where there was money to be had. You don’t find trillions among the unemployed, children, the broken and the sick.

When government is serious, it finds the money among the deserving and undeserving rich, those who are coddled and over-bonused, like rapacious CEOs and the investment banks Bernanke put on welfare via quantitative easing (cash, freshly printed). That's where the money is.

Rose in SE Michigan said...

@Jay -- you're so right. I'll be contacting my senators and representative, but Levin's not running again, so what does he care? and Stabenow has 5+ years left on her term...and Dingell's 87...need I say more? They've been more or less on the right side of most issues that I've cared about, but Stabenow's answer to Chris Hayes's question about entitlement reform last week was typical weasel-word empty-set rhetoric. He asked her a yes/no question about whether she would stand firm against chained CPI and she did a couple minutes about 'preserving the program for blah blah blabbity-blah' -- which I clearly understood as "no." So I will definitely be calling her office.

As for the others, Levin's retiring, so he doesn't care, and Dingell is 87, so he may or may not run again. He's been a pretty good rep, though, so a phone call might not go amiss.

Thing is, the whole country's gerrymandered in a way -- we've self-segregated into urban blues and rural reds. And the reds are generally far more passionate and politically engaged than the blues. (Interesting how "blue" has become a synonym for "sad" or "down" -- because that's certainly how many of us feel these days. And that, I believe, is central to the TeaTerrorist plan.)

Thank you, Karen, for so eloquently and trenchantly exposing the truth of our current situation. Not for nothing are you the top pick of both the New York Times editorial staff AND the readers!

Pearl said...

So McConnell got his costly dam. He explains that it is crucial to several
states and it may be so. The timing however immediately after his handshake with Reid is suspicious.

Maybe there's hope. Evidently Bernie Sanders is not ruling out running for
the presidency.

Pearl the cynic.

Jay - Ottawa said...

I swore years ago I wasn't going to send any more letters to Congress. Like a smoker who keeps quitting and restarting, I have my lapses and send another email. And Congress Critters don't make it easy with their zip code challenges and half-hidden contact menus.

Gerrymandering is another crooked political contortion whereby the majority is replaced by a minority. Antidemocratic but legal.

I hope resisters at least do what Rose is doing: looking at the picture and deciding where her efforts might bear fruit. If such work can be multiplied through sewing circles, book clubs, peace and labor groups, the effort can yield results.

Another way of getting through to a congress person is to attend his/her community meetings with a group primed on a few key issues and ready with follow-up questions by other questioners.

Why allow the hacks and phoneys to serve comfortably? If the local paper doesn't report the furor whenever the congress person comes to town, report it via letters-to-the-editor. It takes fire to make them sweat.

Zee said...

Yes, the article is from Fox News, but the author is a former Editor-In-Chief of the New York Times Magazine, which must count for something amongst Progressives.

So, perhaps, you'll listen to his explanation as to the worthlessness of BHO as a leader:

'I sit here all day trying to persuade people to do the things they ought to have sense enough to do without my persuading them,” Harry Truman once lamented. “That’s all the powers of the President amount to.”

As usual, the plain-speaking Truman got it right: presidential power is the power to persuade. Too bad the current occupant of the White [Barack Obama] has never learned this basic lesson.'

Barack Obummer doesn't govern, or even dare to try to persuade.

Instead, he dictates, with his mellifluous, hypnotic voice, and then goes off to Mt. Olympus for a rest, or, at least, to the golf course for some mindless recreation.

Which means that he doesn't do any actual work, but only that he tells his factotums what he wants, and, imperiously, expects --perfesser-style--that his "dictums" will be carried out per his undetailed wishes.

Would that it were so...

You guys (twice) elected an incompetent nitwit to change the world.

Instead, he has spit in your faces and reaffirmed the status quo. So the joke's on you.

I suppose that I should wax victorious, except that neither McCain nor Romney were anyone's "prizes," either.

My 2014 bumper sticker will read: "VOTE THEM ALL OUT! VOTE 3rd PARTY IN 2014!"

I'll send Karen a digital photo of the bumper of my car when it's complete.

Zee said...


I apologize for the preceding rant.

I know that many, if not most of you Sardonicky participants ALREADY are voting 3rd party and that I'm the late-comer here.

One should never post when one is tired and grumpy after a long day's drive.

Still, I will send Karen an image of my bumper sticker when it's completed, because I'm proud to have finally joined the "Throw the bastards out!" movement.