Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's a Small World, Uber Alles

The crypto-fascist transformation is complete. The corruption is right there, out in the open for all to see. Living, breathing human beings have now been formally declared mere appendages to the piles upon piles upon piles of cold hard cash dictating policy in America, and elsewhere.

The blaring headline in today's New York Times makes it official:

Biggest Liberal SuperPac to Fund Possible Clinton Bid.

If you think they got it back-asswards, then you got it right. It appears that candidates don't even have to formally announce their own candidacies any more. The Big Money is doing it for them. Since Big Money is effectively running the country already, then it's Big Humanoid Money that's officially asking for your useless vote. How precious. From the Times:

The move marks perhaps the earliest-ever start to big-dollar fund-raising in support of a nonincumbent presidential candidate, providing a fund-raising portal for wealthy Clinton supporters eager to help her White House prospects — and to the legions of others eager to ingratiate themselves with Mrs. Clinton and her inner circle.
Jim Messina, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager in 2012, who has forged close ties with many Democratic donors, will serve as co-chairman of the revamped super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit, along with Jennifer M. Granholm, the former governor of Michigan who is among the most persistent voices calling for Mrs. Clinton to enter the 2016 race.

That Jim Messina sure is one busy multi-tasker, having just hired himself out to also advise Britain's arch-conservative austerian P.M., David Cameron. And that's on top of running the Obama legacy-burnishing retirement account known as Organizing for Action. So, the fact that Messina is now also in charge of what amounts to a phantom Hillary campaign does tend to lend credence to the theory that global rule in the wake of a transnational corporate coup is already pretty much a done deal. Plutocrats Without Borders, if you will.

Or as Barack Obama himself would probably explain: "There are no red countries, there are no blue countries. There is only the United Oligarchy of the World United Against You, the Citizen Terrorists. Nations, schmations."

And speaking of Cameron, and police states and corporate rule, British police officials are so paranoid about possible protests against government austerity measures that they're seeking permission to use water cannons against unruly starving people. The Guardian explains the need for anti-citizen weaponry:

It (the police report) adds that although the debate on water cannon was sparked by the riots in London in 2011, there was also serious disorder in many major cities and towns "of an intensity and scale where water cannon potentially could have offered an operational advantage to public order commanders".
The Acpo report reveals that the model of water cannon most likely to be used, the Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000, can get through its 9,000 litres in just five minutes if it is running at full pressure, although it adds that operating for this length of time would be difficult to justify in terms of use of force.
It also discloses that the water within the water cannon tank will have to kept at 5C to "prevent the onset of medical conditions associated with the shock of being exposed to cold water".
So, it's heartening to know that the police state will be careful not to actually kill you as it shocks and drowns you.  It sounds very similar to the enhanced interrogation technique known as water-boarding, conducted only under the humane supervision of qualified medical personnel.

Coming soon to a depleted food bank near you:

But am I digressing here, or what? From election-buying Plutocrats, to Hillary, to Obama, to Messina, to Cameron to.... police state water cannons? Nah. It's no digression at all. Everything's connected. It looks something like this:


Speaking of interconnectedness, here's my response to Gail Collins's very funny column about the Pope meeting the President next month, and how Republicans' heads are exploding from the populism craze, the American embassy in the Vatican being moved, and other insults:

Could it finally be Karma time for the GOP and the wealthy patrons keeping it on life support? A populist Pope not only debunks austerity, he has the gall to show up (by proxy) at the annual Davos confab to remind the partying plutocrats to share the wealth. Are you listening, Ken Langone and Paul Ryan?
As if the Pope needed help, Oxfam came out with a stunning new report showing that the 85 richest people in the world have more wealth than half the entire planet. So share it, already!
And as Davos opened, the rich people left behind in the Upper East Side were shocked to discover accumulating snowflakes on their streets. A Twitter eruption ensued, the petulance of the unplowed elites broadcast to the world. One peevish missive published in Rupert Murdoch's anti-Pope/anti-De Blasio NY Post was, appropriately enough, from the author (Molly Jong-Fast) of "The Social Climber's Handbook."
And then "MoBo" (the former Virginia governor and his wife) were indicted for criminal social-climbing, a k a grifting. Sensing an opening, Gov. Cuomo formally announced on the radio that homophobes aren't welcome in New York. And poor Cardinal Dolan, no doubt exhausted from his full-time job of assuring rich grifters that God loves them too, now has to go back on TV to yell at Cuomo and defend homophobes.
And meanwhile, Chris Christie is still melting down like a malevolent Frosty the Snowman.
And no, it's not a sin to indulge in a little Schadenfreude.
And here's the one I wrote to Charles Blow about how he learned to love books as a child:

I was in second grade when I picked up L. Frank Baum's "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" and discovered a feast, amazed that the book was so much more engrossing than the movie version I'd just seen on TV. Books have been a constant presence in my life ever since. When I had children of my own, I discovered the joy of reading both old favorites and new classics out loud to them at bedtime.
I feel sorry for people who don't read. Maybe they just prefer TV and movies, maybe they're tired working too many hours, maybe their municipal libraries have reduced hours or closed altogether due to the epidemic of cruel austerity. It's probably a whole combination of things.
The ongoing assault on public education certainly isn't helping. Teaching to the test not only does not inculcate a love of reading for the pure pleasure of it, it probably discourages reading. You can't blame kids for wanting fresh air and entertainment after a long day of Drill Baby Drill. There is way too much emphasis on preparing children to be good little technocratic consumers for those low-paying jobs of the future.
Reading leads to independent thought and the questioning of authority -- a dangerous thing in a rising plutocracy whose survival depends on keeping citizens compliant and uncreative. When was the last time you heard a politician espousing more instruction in literature, the humanities, and the arts?
Oh, and in some places, they've even banned Oz because of its "godlessness."
And a reader named "Alierius" remarked, "My mother had a collection of the Oz books and wow, some of them are seriously weird, LSD trip weird, like when the Tin Woodsman meets his 'meat' head, still in the cupboard of the tinsmith who made him. I have them now, and my daughter and I will read them together, in a few years..."

Ah, hope is not lost. As long as future generations can still read about the Tin Woodman's decapitated head in the cupboard, we can survive any onslaught, banding together in solidarity against SuperStorms, SuperPacs and SuperSoakers.

Meanwhile, though, we open up our cupboards and get assaulted with this New York Times Magazine cover:

Too Tin Woodman-creepy for you? Then do check out these alternatives at Buzzfeed.


Will said...

Pope Franny may or may not believe the populist rhetoric he spouts from time to time. It doesn't really matter, just as long as he keeps saying it. The guy's a PR dream compared to Pope Joe the Rat. Think Barack Obama circa 2008 vs Dubya and you get the picture.

Jay - Ottawa said...

I laughed out loud when I saw the Times alert pop up in my email. What a surprise. The Great Liberal PAC is committing to Hillary this early in the game. Need we fuss any longer with the Democratic nomination for 2016? Or the Republican nomination, for that matter. Everything is prearranged for a continuation of the Cinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton Money Party Dynasty.

Big Money Without Borders: that’s what were up against. Money with no hint of national loyalty –– or consideration for average people –– means it doesn’t give a damn about environment, taxes or community. That explains a lot about those supranational trade agreements on the Pacific Rim and between Europe and North America. Constitution, Congress, Courts, move over for TPP and TTIP.

Mother Nature isn’t dragging us to extinction. It’s big government of, by and for the superrich that’s helping us perish from the earth. No, I’m not channeling Tea Bag philosophy.

We keep asking ourselves how to escape the civil and financial oppression of the now-boundless capitalists in charge. Capitalism demands continual expansion and boundless resources. The problem today is that we’re coming to the end of the supply chain. The earth can no longer satisfy the rapacity that feeds capitalism.

The answer may not be what we want to hear. The revolution, although wise, may be too radical for urban-dependent moderns. And yet do we still believe that triumphal capitalism is the answer, or even the lesser evil?

The following essay, just published, suggests just who the unlikely people are who are successfully leading the revolt against the plutocracy and how it’s done. Anything less won’t work.

Our beloved progressive goal of “Sustainability” in one sense means capitalism is to remain at the helm but to stress the earth only up to the edge of resource collapse, no more. Live high but within “Sustainability” guidelines as issued by Kyoto, or some other conference of fat cats, and we'll be just fine. I don’t think so.

There is a dirt path away from extinction, but we may prefer to ride the highway to extinction. Otherwise, we first-world urban types will have to abandon lots of baggage before we switch to the Zapatista train to dignity and survival.

Will said...


Thanks for the link to the fascinating Zapatista article at TomDispatch. Laura Gottesdiener may have only offered a glimpse, but what a glimpse it is.

Anyway, one of my favorite rock bands, Rage Against The Machine, has tried to bring attention to this movement since the beginning. Here's lead singer Zach de la Rocha with Zapatistas back in '98:

Here's Rage guitarist Tom Morello's predictable--yet no less amusing--response in Rolling Stone when he learned Paul Ryan was a big fan of the band:

And last but not least, here's Rage playing outside the Democratic National Convention in 2000. I know this kind of music isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it makes me wanna run through a brick wall:

traynorjf said...

The NY Times cover was astonishing. And the announcement of the 'liberal' pac even more so. Have they lost their minds completely? I don't give a damn who the Republicans put up this time, I'm voting third party. Hilary? Holy Shit!

Will, don't run through a brick wall; it's not wise to make a frontal attack against a prepared defense. Yeah, the video was interesting. The cops weren't impressive - undermanned and not going up against any serious resistance, but the boys who called the shots knew this. Political theater. Only the actors get hurt.

Zee said...


“Liberation Theology” has its roots in the Catholic Church of Latin America. Pope Francis hales from Argentina, so I suspect—but certainly cannot prove—that he really does believe the “populist rhetoric he spouts from time to time.” For the greater part, I agree with him.

I'm also having a wonderful time hearing looney-right columnists and radio personalities castigate the Pope for these same “populist” views. These self-appointed guardians of “family values” and “the sanctity of life” are all for the Church and the Pope when it meshes with
their purposes, as when the Catholic Church opposes abortion or challenges ObamaCare's mandate that employee-sponsored health care insurance must cover birth-control and access to “the day after pill.” But let the Pope talk a little Christian social justice, and he's a Satan-spawned socialist, or mebbe, even, a...gasp... Marxist! I've also heard that he might be—Heaven Forbid—a Freemason!


You've asked and answered your own question insofar as I am concerned:

“ The revolution, although wise, may be too radical for urban-dependent moderns...
There is a dirt path away from extinction, but we may prefer to ride the highway to extinction. Otherwise, we first-world urban types will have to abandon lots of baggage before we switch to the Zapatista train to dignity and survival.”
--Jay, Ottawa

“By first-world standards, this [Zapatista] autonomy comes at a steep price: some serious poverty. Diego’s home has electricity but no running water or indoor plumbing. The outhouse is a hole in the ground concealed by waist-high tarp walls. The bathtub is the small stream in the backyard. Their chickens often free-range it right through their one-room, dirt-floor house. Eating them is considered a luxury.” --Laura Gottesdiener on the lives of the Zapatistas

“Extinction before existence without hot water and indoor plumbing!” --Zee

@Karen and @James--

Vote for Hillary? Or vote for a Republican clone thereof? Hell, no. I, too, will be voting Third Party. Enough is enough at this late stage in my life.

Bonnie said...

Will, THANKS for the great links. Here's a couple you might like:

and here's one by Drowning Pool

Zee said...


If I remember correctly, you go by the name "pvolkov" when you comment at the Times.

If my memory is correct, I enjoyed your remark on Krugman's column today, a "NYT Pick."

Well said.

Will said...

Thanks for the videos, Bonnie! That Rage show in particular was amazing. Tom Morello's otherworldly guitar skills were on full display. Plus, never in my life have I seen a crowd with more energy. Everybody together looked like a gigantic pot of pasta on rapid boil. I ain't lying when I say I was completely exhausted when it was over. God, I'm getting old. ;)

John Terry said...
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John Terry said...
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