Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shorter SOTU

The minute Michelle Obama walked into the hall wearing her blinding $2,000 dayglow yellow designer dress, I sort of figured Hubby would be giving us the full Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm schmaltz in his valedictory State of the Union spiel.

Barack did not disappoint, of course. His oratory always delivers. Despite numerous cracks in the content, there were no cracks in the rich baritone stereophonic sound. Nearly half the country was still drunk on his optimistic kool-aid this morning.  Nearly half the country is still not tired of his purple state purple prose, because despite what Donald Trump says, America is Great Again and it always has been. Rah rah zis boom bah (humbug.)

I am not going to parse his whole speech because it's not worth my time or yours to do so. If nothing else, the speech was simply a pastiche of all the Obama speeches that have gone before, beginning with his 2004 Purple Prose audition at the Democratic National Convention. But for those of you who didn't, or couldn't, or refused to tune in, here's the Reader's Digest-Digest interpretation, amping up a bit on the hidden treblous dog-whistles to Wall Street. Stuff in italics are direct quotes so telling and so essential that condensation and satire are neither merited nor necessary. Res ipsa loquitur.

Without further ado, the Shorter Sardonic SOTU:

Kudos to Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan speaker for helping us get the job done for the rich in the budget last month. (shakes Ryan's hand, laughs cynically.) Now let's hope we can get together with the Kochs to do criminal justice reform for them. Gotta do something about those opiates too, which I won't mention are killing off poor unemployed white people in droves.

But meanwhile, open up wide while I attempt to shove some severely heavy-duty secular opiates for the masses right down your throats.

I won't let up till I get the small-bore, gateway-to-oblivion stuff done. I definitely don't want to focus on the sucky here-and-now. I want to focus on 10, 20, a hundred years from now because it's easier and it sounds good.

We live in a time of extraordinary change, when stuff like technology is shaping us no matter our own human will and with little to no input from us. All the crap making your lives hard is a lot like the weather, you see. Headwinds, tides and the like. But anyway, the Internet is not only good for girls in remote villages, it helps the terrorists. America has been through crap and crises before, and every single time the Plutocracy has won. So we can do it again! Lebensraum, Volk!

We made change work for us, always extending America’s promise outward, to the next frontier, to more people. And because we did, because we saw opportunity where others saw peril, we emerged stronger and better than before. Achtung!

The American plutonomy is richer than ever, the wealth gap the widest in memory. We still deign to take care of the permanently wounded troops lucky enough to come home from the Forever Wars we wage in order to help the plutonomy grow like a cancer. And gays can marry each other in all 50 states.

The growth is the result of choices a few obnoxious rich people make, but for oratorical purposes I must insist that it's the result of choices "we" all make, together.

I have four questions for y'all to make you think you even have a choice in the matter.

First, how do we give ever'body the illusion that they have a fair shot at opportunity and security in the New Plutonomy? Second, how can we make technology work for ever'body? Third, how can we pretend we're not the Policeman of the World even when we invade countries like there's no tomorrow and invest a trillion dollars in nuclear weapons? Fourth, how can slimy politicians make themselves look good? (Applause, applause, applause from the millionaires and generals and judges in the audience. Close shot to Michelle Obama, her eyes brimming over with tears of pride... or something.)

We've created thousands of new crappy jobs, and our austerity policies cut the deficit and culled the herd -- so pay no attention to Donald Trump saying that America is Not Great. Because it is, it is, it is! The Ruling Class still rulz, baby! The plebes just feel a little anxious, is all. We have to change their feelings, is all. Maybe a little Pre-K, a little science class, a little tech. No humanities, though, for the Lessers: it might encourage them to think. Our goal is to make them  McJob-ready on Day One of their brutish, foreshortened lives.

We shouldn't weaken Social Security and Medicare. We should strengthen them. Notice that I am not saying "expand" them as Bernie Sanders suggests,  See, whenever neoliberals like me say that we should "strengthen" programs, it means that we want to cut them so that future generations can hope to get a few pennies from them down the road. But I can't say this in an election year.

Oh, and with Obamacare you can move a lot and still keep the same high premiums and co-pays and deductibles and put off going to the doctor as much as you do now. Before, you were really screwed. You strike out and launch that new business and you're still covered. If you fail to launch, it's because you didn't go shopping for the best predatory insurance deal. So don't blame me if you get diabetes and stay a poor non-entrepreneur.

I want to have a serious discussion with Ayn Rand fanboy Paul Ryan about how to tackle poverty. He has some great ideas. He has successfully tackled poor people in the past.

The disagreement we've had with Republican sadists have been honest disagreements. You have to hand to them. They are totally upfront in their brutalism. They don't try to hide it behind pretty words and platitudes like I do.

 I believe a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy. I think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, there is red tape that needs to be cut. (The  most deafening, protracted applause of the entire evening.)

 I am ready, willing, anxious and able to cede more ground to the Republicans and reward more wealth to the voracious oligarchs represented most faithfully by their bipartisan political servants.

But, but, but. Since this approach is not fair to the regular Volk, I will rely upon the good greedwashing will of the Owning Class -- that most talented creative class that ever outclassed the Volk --  to throw a few crumbs in the direction of the poor. I refer to these crumbs as "Best Practices" -- Neoliberal-speak for  good corporate citizenship. I want to lift up and reward the rich owners and bosses and foundation donors who don't treat their workers like absolute crap right to their faces in an election year.

We've taken more steps to get poor people online so that they can start a new business in a single day.  Notice these are only steps, not initiatives I am touting as much as I am touting the job-destroying Trans Pacific Partnership out of public view.  But fellow Americans, I tell you that anybody can grow up to be Donald Trump. I do believe, I do believe, I do I do I do believe in Trickle-Down.

All this stuff won't happen overnight. All you need is a dollar and a dream to Win the Future.

We've already won. Trump is full of shit, because the whole world respects us, meaning they are scared shitless of us. I am really good at killing people. Let me tell you something. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on earth. Period. Period. (Stupendous applause from the millionaire audience in D.C., stupendous cramps from the viewing audience here at home.)

But the other terrorists we created? They must be destroyed! To create even more terrorists! To create even more profits for the Masters of War! In Africa, Central and South America, all over the world!

Oh, but we can't always be the Policeman of the World.

Then again.... we'll act alone whenever we think it necessary, and then call ourselves a Global Coalition. I'll even have the chutzpah to quote Pope Francis who said we cannot be tyrants. We must instead call our death and destruction of others "humanitarian interventionism." We only kill with love and respect.

And we gotta get the money out of politics. It really bummed me out personally, collecting a billion bucks from the billionaires instead of doing stuff for the regular Volk. But hey, it's up to you people, not moi. Pay no attention to the Rootstriker report proving that I am a big, fat, mendacious fake about this whole corruption issue. My donors got what they paid for, and I will continue to deliver for them.

My biggest regret as President is not that the wealth gap has increased to shameful proportions, and that millions of people are still suffering needlessly --  but that I couldn't get the Republicans to like me. 

So, as I embark upon my year-long Legacy-Burnishing Tour, burning up millions of gallons of jet fuel as I preach climate change amelioration, I just want to remind ever'body how easy it is to be cynical.

May the Invisible Guy in the Sky bless our pathocratic little hearts.


Nasreen Iqbal said...

Whew! You saved me some time. I'm glad I didn't watch it last night.

Numb Pearl said...

While watching "Marriage at first sight" at nine last night I shifted to Obama during their commercials. This is an ongoing series of picking out men and women who are looking for mates, have to marry them as strangers, and then work out the inevitable kinks in this impossible situation. Both programs, were the same. Living in a fantasy of how things really are and must be. The past two programs of Marriage at first sight ended with divorces of almost all couples after six weeks as required if not continuing the marriage permanently and gave one the same hopeless feeling watching the SOTU.

The connection between these two programs was eerie: Obama spouting complicated thought processes that made me dizzy by writers who evidently were presented with a problem in trying to help explain himself to the masses; the realities tailored to confuse everyone by the confused head of state, ad infinitum.
Interestingly, the camera swung to Sanders sitting among his Senatorial group I think. He stood up twice and clapped when something was said imitating his own words: I think about the statements about the unequal distribution of wealth and some things you mentioned, and otherwise sitting quietly, intensely scribbling on a pad of paper. I hope we hear his sober thoughts soon which will edge him upward in the race hopefully.

Of course the saddest thing is watching all those people in attendance genuflecting when called for with unmoving eyes riveted on the stage.

Your article Karen, filled in the spaces I missed watching the other program which spared me the whole stress of trying to listen to the speech which gave me a pain in my gut.

That the lives and future of so many human beings depend on what happens in the next few months in the U.S. is surreal.

Pearl said...

Hillary Clinton Defends Chelsea Clinton?s Attacks Against Bernie Sanders - ABC News - via @ABC

annenigma said...

Thank God there are no more SOTU addresses from Obama, not that I ever watched any. I've always relied on Karen's more revealing version.

Can you imagine Jane Sanders wearing a $2000 designer gown? Right now I'm trying to imagine the inaugural balls for the Sanders-Warren Administration. I hope there are contradances, square dances, Western swing, and other folksy stuff. Enough with the glitter and glamour of the fundraisers and movie stars parading about in their obscenely expensive finery.

I'm looking forward to the music too. I think I'll put together a playlist for Bernie - lots of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger to start. There used to be such great music, at least until the Crapitalists took over the music industry during the Reagan era. We don't hear a single anti-war song anymore and haven't for decades. Where has all the music gone? Long time passing.

I can't wait to hear 'Happy Days Are Here Again'!

Jay–Ottawa said...

Thanks, Karen, for that executive summary. Makes me happy.

Play it again, Pharrell. I need your tune as background to hold my happy mood.

"It might seem crazy what I'm 'bout to say"

I have to tell you, Obama has brought me much happiness. So much happiness over his first things. So much happiness over that speech in the park back in '08. Then years of smiles whenever he opened his mouth thereafter. So much happiness in the middle when the pain was half over in '12.

Sing it, man
"I'm a hot air balloon that could go to space"
Because I'm happy, so happy. And now so much happiness over his last things, the last look forward, the last look back, all those last goodbyes, the last of everything in the last act of the Obama comedy.

Look at his smile and
"Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth"

His last SOTU. His last budget. His last compromise. His last toss out to the mound this spring. His last flight on Air Force One to a fundraiser. His last overnight with Blankfine in the Lincoln Bedroom. The last happy gown lookin' so good on Michelle. The last happy Kill Tuesday. The last dollar sent up the line from Main Street to Wall Street, once part of a sober pension, now part of a happy bonus. The last joy stick drone launch on his happy, happy watch. Boom, boom and double tap your toes for the last, last time. Bring it on, all these lasts. They make me so happy.

Going down the street, I'm dancing sideways, to the left, to the right, all over the map, let me tell you I'm so happy it's the last of his lasts.

Groovy you is, Bro Pharrell
Dah dah tah dah … dot dah …. So happy I'm in this mood
"Clap along, clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do"

Kat said...

Can you imagine Jane Sanders wearing a $2000 designer gown?

Can you imagine her husband using phrases like "guiding northstar"?

Pearl said...

Meredith: Congratulations on your second from the top comment to Douthat's column. Karen, do print it in Sardonicky. It was inspiring to read all the following comments in the readers section as well, with real hopes for Bernie's future political life. He will not be put back in the bottle the press tried to cork.

It is exciting to follow events now and cancel the painful reactions to Obama's empty final State of the Union address. My bets are on all the young people having a realistic vision of the future perhaps by listening to the messages we progressives have been sending out for quite a while, helped by Karen's truth tonic in her columns.

All the readers' comments sound like people being released from a political thinking prison and truly dancing a happy, happy jig, Jay.

Jay–Ottawa said...

Last SOTU for #44, time to look forward to #45. Bernie or Hillary? In case some of you are still leaning towards the Hill here's a handy recap of her record by Doug Henwood who doesn't dig Hillary. At least look at the graph at the end of his second back-and-forth with Katha Pollitt (who loves Hillary).

paintedjaguar said...

Ever seen the 1970 flick Little Big Man? (you really should -- great movie!)

Here's one of my favorite bits, Dustin Hoffman talking to Chief Dan George:

Jack Crabb: I know of a white man who is as brave as any Human Being. His name is General Custer.

Old Lodge Skins: I would like to meet this man and smoke with him. What does his name mean?

Jack Crabb: It means 'Long Hair'.

Old Lodge Skins: Good name. How did he win it?

Jack Crabb: He won it in the war of the whites to free the black men.

Old Lodge Skins: Yes, the black white man; I have heard of them. It is said that a black white man once became a Human Being. They are very strange creatures. Not as ugly as the white man, true; but they are just as crazy!

Unknown said...

go to flith mih to see whats haapping inn the real america