Friday, December 13, 2013

On the Good Ship Lollipop

The Democrats are taking their We Suck Less 2012 campaign slogan to the next level:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Democratic House members at a meeting Thursday morning to “embrace the suck” and encouraged enough members to back the budget deal on the floor to allow passage, according to an attendee of the meeting. 
“We need to get this off the table so we can go forward,” Pelosi told her members, according to someone inside the closed meeting of the caucus.
Pelosi pushed for including in the budget deal an extension of the unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month. While she expressed a continued unhappiness that there will be no vote on those benefits before the House heads home Friday, she said that it wasn’t worth holding up the deal.
Pelosi (net worth $35.5 million) is at least honest in admitting that more than a million chronically jobless people getting thrown to the curb to be ground into mulch like discarded Christmas trees are not worth holding up a deal that restores Pentagon funding and continues austerity for all but the obscene rich. Not worth letting poor kids back into Head Start. Not worth protecting veterans' benefits.

Although she is, on the surface, loyal to Barack Obama's Bush war crime-enabling mantra of Look Forward, and MSNBC's corporate slogan of Lean Forward/don't question authority, and Obama Jobs Council tax-evading billionaire feminist Sheryl Sandberg's cloying Lean In, what Pelosi essentially just announced is that from here on out, the Dems will be Bending Over.

Embracing The Suck is also another way of saying if the vampire elites are determined to bite us, we should simply proffer our throats and get it over with. People who need suckers are the luckiest suckers in the world. Nancy neglected to mention that if you eat devils food cake you'll awake with with a tummy ache. Ooh, ooh.

So here's an idea. You know the guy who's getting all the bad press for his fake sign language "gibberish" during the Nelson Mandela death rally? Give him a job right here in America. Put him next to all the speechifying politicians, turn down the sound, and let him rip. His interpretations are guaranteed to be perfectly accurate. Because flailing and posturing is all they've got.

Naturally, the corporate media are falling all over themselves to praise the Stars of the Deal: Patty Murray and Paul Ryan and their improbable bipartisan romance. Gail Collins even thinks that the rapprochement between the Sadism Wing and the Masochism Wing of the Money Party represents a victory for female politicians. Read her column. It's a masterpiece of insider-y identity politics, perhaps unintentionally revealing how these jokers are as thick as thieves, merely pretending to hate each other's guts when they're in front of the cameras, flailing and posturing and appealing for money money money.  My comment: 
This column touched upon the main problem in the insular world of Washington: bipartisanship and camaraderie amongst politicians trump the common good of this country. 
Nita Lowey and Paul Ryan are bosom buds? He calls her Mom and she calls him Naughty Boy? That has got to be the worst dollop of Oedipal depravity I've heard all day. 
But what's even sicker than these "frenemies" regaling each other with mutual high-fives, (and worse) when they overcome their phony gridlock for a minute, is who really pays for these bipartisan deals from hell. It's the unemployed. It's the poor. It's federal workers already suffering under a wage freeze being forced to contribute more of their wages to the pension plans that may or may not be there when they retire. It's Medicare providers' reimbursements being cut (translated into higher bills for health care "consumers.") It's veterans whose own benefits will be cut under chained CPI. It's airline travelers slapped with a surcharge and effectively having to foot the bill for being groped by the TSA. 
Who doesn't pay? Rich people and the eternal war machine. 
It's pretty sad that Patty Murray is being praised for being the patient adult in the room who lets the spoiled brats blather their way to exhaustion and still get most of what they want. I nominate Elizabeth Warren to take her place. Paul Ryan would be more than pooped when she got done with him. He'd be writhing on the floor, begging for mercy.
Charles Blow, meanwhile, again spoke up for the poor and blasted Republican callousness while pretty much giving the Suck-Lovers a pass. My response:
The GOP myth that people falling on hard times become trapped in a "culture of dependency" is as old as the bigoted hills from whence it sprang. From Reagan's welfare queen, to Paul Ryan's hammock for deadbeats, to David Brooks's latest column insinuating that jobless people lack a moral compass, the song remains the same.
What's really scary is the sangfroid with which some Democrats (including the president) greeted this latest bipartisan proposal that punishes the poor and rewards the rich. They see the partial and merely temporary reversal of the Sequester as "a step in the right direction." Of course, most Pentagon cuts have been restored, to be offset by reduced benefits to veterans, increased pension contributions from federal workers already suffering under an effective wage freeze, cuts to Medicare providers, and a surcharge on airline travelers who must now pay for the privilege of being groped by the TSA.
The rich, meanwhile, pay nothing. So much for the battle against extreme wealth inequality.
The nauseating self-congratulations by both corporate parties for their assault on struggling people is just the latest proof that these politicians live a world divorced from reality. They exist to serve somebody, all right, but that somebody is definitely not us. If any one of them is demanding the restoration of food stamp cuts and low income heating assistance rather than trying to find the compromise between a machete and a scalpel, I haven't heard about it.


Fred Drumlevitch said...

Great post, Karen.

As you wrote, "Although she is, on the surface, loyal to Barack Obama's Bush war crime-enabling mantra of Look Forward, and MSNBC's corporate slogan of Lean Forward/don't question authority, and Obama Jobs Council tax-evading billionaire feminist Sheryl Sandberg's cloying Lean In, what Pelosi essentially just announced is that from here on out, the Dems will be Bending Over."

Yep, that succinctly summarizes it.

But your comment (to Gail Collins NYT column) deconstructing the Nita Lowey/ Paul Ryan "relationship" and its implications was really priceless.

I'll just say that Washington D.C. is all one big party (political and otherwise), and the public is left with the destruction, the cleanup, and the bastard spawn. Perhaps on the suck level it's "The Good Ship Lollipop"; mostly, though, it's closer to "The Wizard of Oz", and these politicians have neither the hearts, nor brains, nor the courage to fight injustice. Instead they embrace it.

valerie said...

A non-sequitur - sorry! - For all of you out there who think privatisation is so much more efficient than those burdensome, overpaid government workers - check out this article which came out on Moyers yesterday -

The idea that corporations - which own most of our Congressmen and women and certainly own the President - would not use their connections and unfair trade practices to cut themselves sweet deals at the tax payer expense is a fantasy. It is a systemic problem far worse than the proverbial welfare queen.

annenigma said...

Still enjoying your comments, Valerie. Keep 'em coming!

The fact is that the USA has institutionalized corruption while accusing so many other governments of being corrupt. Typical USA exceptionalism.

Zee said...


I can't disagree with you that "corporations - which own most of our Congressmen and women and certainly own the President - ...use their connections and unfair trade practices to cut themselves sweet deals at the tax payer expense... It is a systemic problem far worse than the proverbial welfare queen."

But if the federal government--in particular--is being fleeced by its own contractors, well, it's because those corrupt politicians--Congresscritters and the President alike-- prefer it that way.

Some of them certainly own interests in the contracting companies even as those contracts are let--can you spell "conflict of interest," à la Halliburton--or will go to work for those same contractors once their political careers are in the past. Can you spell "revolving door?"

Still, as I have stated on earlier threads, used properly, it makes perfect sense to contract out work that provides a short-term service to the government, the work for which will be done by personnel for whom the government has no long-term use.

Why hire permanent employees who will, in essence, be "featherbedded" for long periods of time until the next complicated project comes up--if ever?

It just makes no sense.

Jay - Ottawa said...

Attention, class. Today we shall continue our lessons in Civics 101.

Now for a definition of the word “government”: The “government” consists of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of … er … government on all three levels of administration: federal, state and local. The government in its totality delivers on what we call “the social contract.” Our government can be just, effective and consistent toward all people, or corrupt or incompetent or even tyrannical in order to favor the few. It all depends on the leadership allowed into office by the electorate.

No, no, teacher, when my pa talks about the “government” he’s talking about the bureaucracy, plain and simple. Pa says government is no good, compared to the private sector. As everybody knows, government workers sleep at their desks. On the other hand, the soul of the private sector is competence, precision and efficiency. If pa had his way, the private sector would take over just about all those jobs now done by the bureaucrats, like running our schools, delivering clean water, running prisons, protecting the forests and even performing police work. The private sector is the “government” we need to deliver on the social contract. Pa says we should support the bankers and CEOs of big corporations in their absolute, total, irreversable takeover of the government. Pa says he’s an open-minded, thinking man’s conservative.

Well, teacher, my ma says the “government” is the military and the police who put muscle on the thing we call government. They keep her safe and the terrorists at bay. People, preferably the subcontracted kind of people, who defend the law with guns and x-ray eyes insure the laws will be obeyed. And, just in case the military and police can’t handle protection and enforcement, every household should have its own store of weapons to help the police deliver on the social contract.

Teacher, if I may butt in, my Uncle Jay says the private sector is already in charge directly and indirectly over all of government –– like those three branches you were talking about before. The private sector has been calling the shots for eons, but especially since President Reagan. And, as a result, he says he has never seen government so miserably f*#d up as now.

What? You want me to report to the Principal’s Office? But everybody uses the “f” word …. Oh, it’s not because of my “f” bomb? It’s because I spoke Uncle Jay’s mind about the private sector? I sorry.

Will said...

Happy Sunday, everyone. I hardly ever watch TV anymore, but I never miss an episode of The Resistance Report with Dennis Trainor, Jr. It's the perfect show for people of Sardonickyian* sensibilities. Check out yesterday's edition ("Drones in Yemen...") & you'll see what I mean. Enjoy!

*Pronounced sar-duh-NICK-ee-an. I just love new words, don't you? :)

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks, Will. The accent on the "Nick" is just so... je ne sais quoi-- sardonic? Where would we be without our vitriol?