That giant sucking sound you may or may not be hearing is the death of any second stimulus package for pandemic relief. If you're not hearing it, it's because the corporate media have chosen not to write the obituary. Besides, they're way too busy covering the tech moguls and congress critters convening remotely to argue yet again about all that horrible misinformation and disinformation and discord-sowing on the Internet.
They're too busy to cover their own cover-up of the hard truth that our politicians have deliberately refused to help their constituents.
So, to distract you from the reality that there will be no more $1200 stimulus checks and no more enhanced unemployment benefits to help stave off hunger and eviction, the New York Times is running on its front page two side-by-by side photos of extremely well-stocked refrigerators. You are asked to guess which one is a Trump voter's and which one is a Biden voter's. There are apparently no other types of Americans who eat. There are no third party voters, no write-in voters and no abstaining voters. There are also apparently no Americans with bare refrigerators, despite the fact that at least eight million have slipped into poverty just in the few months since the pandemic aid dried up.
In case that fun fridge quiz didn't distract or satiate you, the Times is also running "The Anxious Person's Guide to the 2020 Election." Some people apparently are so jittery that they don't even know when Election Day is. Or at least the Times thinks so, because it is the very first topic on their list of existential anxieties. To further distract the anxious from their empty refrigerators and bank accounts, the Times also soothes the fears of people who can't sleep at night because they don't know what a naked ballot is.
Nowhere on the Times front page is there any announcement that, due to the lack of agreement on a new economic package, we're all screwed until at least next month, next year, or possibly forever.
Meanwhile, we are drowning in the third wave of the Covid pandemic. Or, according to some experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, we are still riding the first wave that is cresting again.
It's really a tsunami of destruction for all but the extremely rich, for whom the pandemic has been a windfall. Jeff Bezos has made so many more billions from Covid that he is reportedly now trying to add CNN to his global empire, further controlling the establishment "narrative" which aims to limit and suppress all sources of independent journalism and independent thought. Increasingly, one of the main functions of establishment media, as the above two examples in Wednesday's New York Times show, is to infantilize and gaslight the news-consuming public.
We're not only flailing around in a monster wave of disease, we're caught in the undertow of reactionary political malpractice. We are crashing ashore and getting sucked back out to sea at the same time, just like in a real tsunami. No wonder we're anxious.
A Google search of "Stimulus Bill Dead" brings up a Times article titled "Dead, Alive, or On Life Support: Confusion Reigns on Stimulus" - dating all the way back to October 8.
Only two articles from the front page of my Wednesday search - one from Forbes and one from New York Magazine - make the straightforward announcement that the stimulus deal is completely and ignominiously dead. To make this blunt admission is as much to announce that America is a failed state only six days before the election. No wonder the voter-shaming, click-baiting Times and other outlets aren't touching this harsh reality with a ten foot pole. Headlines of "probably dead," "could be dead," "could it really be dead this time?," "not really dead," or "alive again" do nothing but paint a rosy picture and keep the audience captive as they anxiously expect their elected reps to buckle down and help them.
Meanwhile, these outlets marvel that their audience members are waiting in such record long lines to vote, without really questioning why these unconscionably long lines exist in the first place. (hint: no new federal stimulus aid to the counties, states, towns and cities responsible for keeping the polling places open and adequately staffed.)
Ed Kilgore of New York Magazine is one of the few journalists who isn't ignoring or soft-pedaling the truth and promoting false hope. He writes that "there is no reason to think a stimulus deal will be imminent even after the election, when the incentive to make voters happy will have disappeared."
Actually, they have no incentive to make us happy now, right before an election, the only time they traditionally are forced to make an effort to make us happy. They aren't even pretending to care, not even in one of those rare intervals when we are allowed to hold them accountable. Even if they lose, they win. Elected office is increasingly viewed as the stepping-stone to vast wealth and new career opportunities - on cable TV, the vast networks of corporate-funded think tanks, private equity firms, hedge funds, and good old-fashioned direct lobbying, which is now known as "consultancy" to sidestep laws barring our public officials from cashing in too quickly.
Heck, they cash in while they're still in office. Look at all the stock-dumping and insider trading that members of Congress did when they got their secret briefings early this year about the coming pandemic.
Maybe sometime between now and the inauguration of the next president, people will finally start recovering from their presidential horse race psychoses and begin adding the words "strike" and "new parties" to their vocabularies.
And beating their addiction to the Times, MSNBC, CNN, Fox and the rest of the Groupthink Conglomerate by spending more time reading books and alternative media. We have to learn to evict Trump from the squatting position he's taken up in our brains, with the aid and encouragement of the establishment media. This is regardless of whether he wins or loses.
And if he does lose, we have to be vigilant lest Joe Biden puts us all to sleep with his neoliberal reasonableness and those dreaded common-sense solutions and rhetoric about rich and poor being all in this together.