The Tiny Pendulum

When we take a look at the new Republican Congress, we must remember how the Democrats were swept to power in 2006 and 2008.

Bush Jr and his red team had run up the score for the wealthiest few and by 2006 were within a few percentage points of having greater economic inequality in the United States than at any time since the eve of the Great Depression.  Most people were pissed. Because of our two party system, people lashed out against the team in control by either not voting for them, or voting for the other team.

It was a waste of energy, but effective in keeping the American people busy.  Now that things have continued to go poorly under Obama and a Democrat controlled Congress owned by the wealthiest few and serving corporate interests over those of the American people, the tiny pendulum has made it’s over-analyzed and oft dramatized move back to the other side of the tiny little coin which comprises, for many, the entirety of our political spectrum.

The Republicans will behave much as they did before, and as the Democrats have for the last several years.  They won’t regulate the banking industry, leaving our economy insecure and our people worse off than before.  They will give big tax breaks to billionaire corporations and the super-wealthy donors who bribe them through their campaign funds.  They will move to break the backs of regular Americans and American workers, just as the Democrats have for the last several years.  The only difference will be: The Republicans don’t lie about it as much.

It sounds kind of different, but it isn’t very different after all.

In four to six years, when the economy has collapsed again under the weight of trillions of dollars in student loan debt strong armed out of young college graduates who can’t get a job, or when the doctored unemployment numbers jump back up as more people who have given up on finding a job resume trying to reenter the workforce because of grotesque cuts to social welfare programs, the people will be angry again.  They will accuse the Republicans of giving away our tax dollars to the super wealthy and the billionaire corporations.

Voters who normally turn out for the Republicans will stay home, as pissed as the rest of us.  Voters who feel they are part of team Democrat will charge the voting booths.  The Democrats will ‘regain control.’

They will continue to pander to the wealthiest few while pretending that they care about regular, hard working Americans.  They will offer small consolation prizes to the American people to cover up the huge giveaways they bestow on the billionaire corporations and the super wealthy who have bribed them.

And all this time, both parties will be working relentlessly and together to expand the reach of the government, into the private home of every citizen, into the private life of every American.  They will have done hard work to crush any semblance of an independent spirit.

The tiny pendulum which moves only from one side of the coin to the other, will move back to Republican, then back to Democrat, then back to the Republican…

Before long our nation will have crumbled under the weight of what John Stewart calls “America’s most petty, most partisan, most argumentative assholes,” who are owned, outright, by a tiny corrupting minority of Americans.

We could change our fate, if only our people will stop cheering for the coin toss that has become our broken democracy.

Don’t be satisfied to call it in the air.

The Degradation Of The American

The United States seems to be falling from its golden era. During the revolution in physics in the 1920s, the largest and most prestigious and most revered universities were in Europe. American universities had almost no impact on the development of our new kind of physics.  After a few decades the U.S. produced several of its own education centers to compete on the global scale. However, as our attention turns away from the arts and the soul of man to a strict and formal consideration of humans as market players, man as merely an economic abstract to be commodified and compelled to buy and work, we lose our newly gained prestige.

The danger of market theory is that it may, by some chance, feed the stomach of man but it is incredibly unlikely to feed his soul. As our once civil nation falls further under the spell of the dangerous notion that man is a set of economic variables, and as this force of ignorance pushes for the increasingly unfettered ability of large market forces to control ever larger portions of our collective and cognitive arenas, we see the deterioration of man as homo sapien and the emergence of the disfigured and loathsome homo economicus. 

The rise of human as merely market player and the subsequent retaliation against her soul is a terrifying enslavement. While the nothingness of the hopes and striving which chase most people relentlessly through their professional careers can be offset by a flourishing family dynamic and taking soul refreshing solace in a rich personal life, the commodification of man as market player fuses our animal nature entirely to a set of abstract and absurd conditions and obliterates any chance for real happiness.

Until we, as Americans, can see ourselves as more than coordinates and dollar signs, until we can see even the poorest and the most downtrodden among us as pieces of the same soul, until we can see that we all have an equal share of our cognitive space regardless of handsomeness, fame, fortune, or breeding, we shall face the crippling isolation of narcissistic anxiety.

The Worst Thing About Obama and Bush Jr.

What all leaders must ask themselves when taking on new power is this: What will a person who has much worse intentions than I destroy with this power?

In the first case, it is important to ask this to understand the destructive nature of power, the tendency toward violence which occurs when you give one person domain over another.

In the second, we see what appears to be a natural trend downward in our leadership.  Each group of leaders in our nation, over the last four decades, seems to have worse intentions than the ones before them.

Thus a leader must understand the negative consequences of a power he or she would take and then assume that these negative consequences will become reality in the near future.

Any leader with good intentions will do more to limit his or her own power in all matters so as to save future generations from the abuse of scoundrels and psychopaths.

Unfortunately, when we examine the highest office of the United States we find our recent string of leaders to be lacking in this crucial element.  We have not seen an American President work to limit his own power in a very long time.  I would argue since Kennedy and Eisenhower.

Certainly Obama and Bush Jr are terrific examples of men who felt that their mandate to do work was more important than their mandate to keep the American people free from tyranny.

The greatest example of this muddleheaded thinking comes from Obama’s signing of NDAA 2012, a defense authorization bill that allows for indefinite detainment of US citizens on US soil, without trial or due process, if they are labeled terrorists by the government.  Obama claims to be doing this with best intentions.  Whether or not you believe him, he obviously does not concern himself with the intentions of those who come after him.

Whatever is said by his critics and supporters, in this most important matter, Obama has struck a mighty blow against the freedom of all Americans.

A Statement of the Problem

From The Divide, by Matt Taibbi (Buy it here)

 

“It turns out that we’re too lazy to govern ourselves, so we’ve put society on bureaucratic autopilot – and autopilot turns out to be a steel trap for losers and a greased pipeline to money, power, and impunity for winners.

“This goes far beyond the of-quoted liberal cliche about how we now have ‘two Americas,’ one for the rich and one for the poor, with different sets of laws and different levels of punishment (or more to the point, nonpunishment) for each.  The rich have always gotten breaks and the poor have always had to swim upstream.  The new truth is infinitely darker and more twisted.

“The new truth is a sci-fi movie, a dystopia.  And in this sci-fi world the issues aren’t justice and injustice, but biology and mortality.  We have a giant, meat-grinding bureaucracy that literally alters the physical makeup of its citizens, systematically grinding down the losers into a smaller, meeker, lower race of animal while aggrandizing the winners, making them bigger than life, impervious, super-people.

“Again, the poor have always faced the sharp end of the stick.  And the rich have always fought ferociously to protect their privilege, not just in America but everywhere.

“What’s different now is that these quaint old inequities have become internalized in that ‘second government’ – a vast system of increasingly unmanageable bureaucracies, spanning both the public and private sectors.  These inscrutable, irrational structures, crisscrossing back and forth between the worlds of debt and banking and law enforcement, are growing up organically around the pounding twin impulses that drive modern America: burning hatred of all losers and the poor, and breathless, abject worship of the rich, even the talentless and undeserving rich.

“No one is managing these bureaucracies anymore.  They are managing us.  Just as corporations are brainless machines for making profits, this sweepingly complex system of public-private bureaucracies that constitutes our modern politics is just a giant, brainless machine for creating social inequity.

“It mechanically, automatically keeps the poor poor, devours money from the middle class, and sends it upward.  And because it’s fueled by the irrepressibly rising vapor of our darkest hidden values, it attacks people without money, particularly nonwhite people, with a weirdly venomous kind of hatred, treating them like they’re already guilty of something, which of course they are – namely, being that which we’re all afraid of becoming.”

 

The only thing I can think finishing this book is this: We have to start voting for real representatives.  We have to vote for new leadership.  We have to see through the nonsense of the Republican v Democrat playfight, the MSNBC v FOX bullshit that fosters this nightmare. We need some real citizens in congress.