Image Improvement

A collection of robber barons and blackmailers met with President Obama this week. Obama was attempting to bring some restraint into an industry that is jammed full with mobsters who are disconnected from reality, "Show some restraint. Show that you get that this is a crisis and everybody has to make sacrifices."

In the case of banks and large corporations, that "somebody" is, as usual, middle class taxpayers. The executives will still take home their overstuffed pay envelopes. Most of them will keep flying corporate jets to exotic business parties all over the world. When they completely trash their businesses, get caught stealing from customers, and are faced with jail time, they run to Canada where they get hired by Canadian brokerages to do it all again. The rest of us will be left to clean up their mistakes and outright theft.

The bankers hoped that standing next to Obama would "clean up" their images. In a world where image is reality, I supposed that is possible.

Disgusting, isn't it? If human intelligence were a reality, Obama would be afraid to stand near these wolves out of fear for his image. Nothing could clean up the reputations of the corporate crooks, in that ideal world. We're not in that world, though. Humans, who pride themselves as "the thinking animal," have the long term memory of ants. Twenty minutes after cursing the names of bankers and the financial sector, many Americans began railing about "socialism" and the "restriction of fundamental rights" when Obama's regulators began to investigate bankers and brokers. All it took was a little proding by Rush and O'Reilly and half of the country went ballastic over the idea that the federal government might be doing its job.

Obama said, "It's very difficult for me as president to call on the American people to make sacrifices to help shore up the financial system if there's no sense of mutual obligation . . . and mutual help . . . There's no separation between Main Street and Wall Street. We're all in this together."

No, we're not. The bankers and CEOs are in it for themselves. The rest of us are in it because we have no choice. Wall Street is on one side of the battlefield and we are on the other. If they win, we lose. If they survive, we'll die. We don't need them. They do need us. This is, face it, a class war and has been since the founding of the nation in 1776. Working Americans, however, quit the fight in 1814. The ruling class have been at war, without pause, for hundreds of years. If we don't fight back, we deserve the government, economy, and country we get.


#195 Analyzing the Right

An amazing thing has happened. Ding,dong the nut is gone. Bush and Cheney have left the room, returned to the opulence from whence they came. The rest of the crazy crowd who polluted the Washington atmosphere for eight miserable years have gone back to their cushy corporate jobs and have returned to their real work, making money.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean we are rid of them. They'll be back. Like cockroaches, they are terrified of the light, but the lights don't stay on forever. We are a short-sighted, short memory country and they will return to do what they always do again.

I've been reviewing the last quarter-century while watching Obama's first days. The things he is trying to change are exactly what the Reaganites and Bushies spent so much time building; fear, secrecy, corruption, and disinformation. I'm sure that many Americans have no idea why Obama is spending so much effort trying to reconstruct government "transparency." Bush and, especially, Cheney operated so much of government behind layers of closed doors that the US federal government had more in common with the old Soviet Russia than any Constitutional relationship. Obama wants to close the connection between Washington employment, especially at the civil and military higher levels, and lobbying double-dipping. Republican politicos wouldn't consider "public service" if it didn't directly lead to gigantic paychecks before, during, and afterwards. The right wing idea of service always involves someone else bending over.

One of the mental traits I've observed in all right-wingers is a disconnect between myth (even self-invented myth) and reality. It's a useful quality when you are trying to sell craziness, however, when taken to extremes it can be simpleminded madness. Most salespeople believe, at least a little, in the crap they spew, but really crazy salespeople believe their own lines completely. Characters like Jack Abramoff, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Dick Cheney, and Adolf Hitler drink their own Koolaid and serve themselves seconds. It makes planning an escape particularly difficult. It's one thing to lie and invent realities on the fly, it's another to plan to fly that magic carpet off of a cliff.

I have a typical piece of crazy right-winger drivel on my desk, it came from the "Republican Party of Minnesota" and it's a pitch for money. My favorite bit read (the punctuation, capitalization, and bold print is all Republican):

". . . But here's what we DO know: Our friend, Norm Coieman, won a razor-thin victory on Election Day. Liberal Democrat Al Franken has resorted to taking extraordinary measures to overturn Norm's victory."

By Minnesota law, nobody won the Minnesota US Senate seat on "Election Day." State law requires a recount when election results are far more unclear than the 2008 Minnesota US Senate election. Those "extraordinary measures" involved actually counting Minnesotans' votes. Damn, those liberals. Not only do they want to have democratic elections, they want to count the damn votes.

Later, this crazy rant went on to claim, "Govenor [sic] Tim Pawlenty will be in their crosshairs, and we can't rest on our laurels for even a minute."

There are Republican "laurels?" For what? Decimating the economy, wiping out the middle class, involving the military in two criminal and wasteful wars while pouring a nation's fortune down the drain of mercenary international corporations, incapacitating the federal and state governments with incompetence and corruption? Man, with laurels like that, you'd think resting would be the last thing Republicans would do. I'd think either skipping the country to avoid prison and tar and feathers would be pretty high on the list.