February 26, 2010

“The Law” Fought The Law and the Law Lost


On Thursday Obama held his health care summit with the Republicans. This is part of his desperate attempt to reinvigorate his zombie health racketeering/bailout bill. It’s also part of the ongoing saga of his demented and creepy fixation on “bipartisanship.”
We can hope his vile corporate sellout racket mandate goes down in flames as it deserves. As for bipartisanship, while it’s true that the MSM demands of Democrats that no matter how far to the right they’ve already gone, they must still go further to appease the Reps, since when does anyone obey the MSM? We all know the MSM are cowardly little worms who would cave in and lick your boots if you popped them one in the nose. That’s what the Republicans did with their absurd “liberal media” accusations, and to this day the media are their flunkies. So if the Dems wanted to simply shout back, “you’re Republican waterboys and stenographers!”, I doubt it would take long to force a shift.
(The MSM’s corporate whoredom doesn’t make a difference here. Both parties are corporatist. It’s simply a matter of which is the media’s favorite. Who does it always implicitly side with, and of whom does it always demand, “you have to shift to work with the other”?)
As for the summit itself, this is all kabuki. It’s really stupid that the Dems even tilted at this windmill at all. If Obama weren’t a moron where it comes to politics he’d have known that the Reps weren’t going to help him or give him any political cover for the mandate whatsoever. Why would they? This is win-win for them. However rapacious the bill gets will simply give the Reps even more space to attack the Dems as corporate sellouts in November. That’s absurd, of course: the Reps love the bill, as long as they can make the Dems take on all the responsibility and blame for it. The Dems seem to be out of their minds on this one, even more idiotic than usual. They’re not going to get any corporate love for it; the rackets are already shifting back to the Reps, as always happens.
For some odd reason, the Dems have taken what started out as a simple plan to entrench the status quo while pretending to seek “reform” (as the Congress is doing with Wall Street) and turned it into an invasion of Russia. They’re now fixated on getting one of most monstrous bills in American history passed. No matter how bitter the lonely partisan cold, they’re determined to endure it. However high the snowdrifts of adverse polling, they’re crazily burrowing through them. November looms before them, a more horrific vista than a burning Moscow in the dead of winter, but they stagger on, hypnotized. Any sane person can see how they’ll be left to do nothing but shiver in the blizzard amid the smoldering ashes, sick and hungry as the rags start to fall off their backs.
Can anyone think they’ll ever recover? Nobody else ever has. If the Republicans don’t get their “permanent majority” in the end after all, it won’t be for lack of every Democratic effort to hand it to them.
Since they never intended to seek real reform in the first place, why did the Dems take this health bill seriously and bring this debacle upon themselves? The Reps understand this is a phony process, how nobody in the power structure or media takes it seriously except as political theater. (In yesterday’s post I spoke of how under imperial corporatism domestic issues are treated frivolously except as plunder opportunities. Now of course the Dems want to use this bill to help the rackets with their extortions. But they had the option of doing a lot less if the Reps really weren’t going to join in the charade. The point is supposed to be one’s own political survival. And perhaps literal survival – many Dems and liberals in general are deluded that if the Reps ever had total power that they would refrain from governing as overt one-party fascists. Keep dreaming. A lot of supercilious “liberals” who started out laughing in 1933 were in for a nasty surprise.)
This is an example of how the Republicans bring a knife to a knife fight and the Dems bring a water pistol. The Reps understand that we no longer have the rule of law or any real civic endeavor but just a zero sum brawl. It’s political, and it’s to the death.
Anyone who still wants to believe in law or civics should look at examples like the Blackwater acquittal, or the Obama administration’s direct defiance of domestic law, international law, and treaty, in its refusal to bring war criminals to justice. Most recently we had its whitewashing of war crimes laundered through legal briefs. I think of all the times in reading history I see a situation deplored where a country or province was letting fugitives and outlaws walk around in the open, free and brazen. Even in supposedly backward, rotten Serbia, Karadzic had to stay disguised, and Mladic has to lay low. But in today’s America, even admitted war criminals are not only out in the open but still hold positions of respect and lucre. I don’t recall any of those stories form history depicting such temerity of flouting the law.
And of course we’ve had no significant Wall Street indictments at all. The entire cadre should be swept clean, for larceny, fraud, control fraud, embezzlement, bribery, extortion, conspiracy, racketeering, and treason.
Several times I’ve compared modern America with the 19th century France of the Dreyfus Affair. I first did so in connection with this same health racket issue, the Teabagger protests last summer. There Astrofurfed mobs are clearly redolent of the reactionary shock troops the anti-Dreyfusards sent out to temporarily dominate the streets in the first stages of the Affair. Just as then, so today the criminal system is ready to bolster its lawlessness with shock troops. And just as back then, the media either won’t touch it or is scrupulous in denying we’re in a state of political anarchy, where the only “politics” which exist any longer are the politics dictated by corporate interests.
In the broad sense the parallel with that “origin of totalitarianism” (Arendt) and today’s situation is this general top-down anarchy, this general liquidation of the law and of any substantive politics. It’s the abdication of journalism, which was supposed to be a public-interest watchdog. It’s the atmosphere where TPTB set the tone and enforce the notion that everything’s a joke, that everything’s shabby theater, or in its “progressive” version that everything should focus on incremental “process”. The result is the same punchline.
What’s left to defend and empower today? We’ve lost our politics and our law. Justice, fairness, democracy, freedom itself no longer exist under this system. We’re on the same path down to the abyss Europe earlier descended. What can we do? What’s left to uphold? What’s left to grasp and cherish?
Or to put that question in a less abstract and more concrete way, who will still fight for these things? The measure of their existence is simply the people’s will to be vigilant and fight. That’s the perception and the will which lay at the core of America’s 18th century revolutionary endeavor.
I too see no place to make a stand for freedom, morality, and justice within the system. That’s why my endeavor has been to critique the system, to try to figure out what the forces are which assail these great values, how they’re configured, their strategy.
And now it’s time to find the space where we can make a stand, and to construct the counter-strategy, and to embark upon the systematic action. 


  1. Pres. B Obama’s behavior makes some sense only when one recognizes that he has no idea how to govern for the people who elected him; thought he certainly helped those who provided the major funding for his campaign. His forte is eloquent smooth-talking; I think that his primary concern is to prepare for that high-paying job in the private sector after the 2012 election. His performance in cultivating the Wall Street banksters, the health insurance corporations, and any other moneyed interest who surrounds him with talented lobbyists will likely enable his claim to a job at least in the pay-range of a Tony Blair. Governing is simply not something for which he seems to have a knack; he has Rahm E to make his Middle East decisions; any other Bush legacy decisions are being made by left-over personnel in the Legislative or Executive branches of government.
    I enjoy reading your analyses, however, I would enjoy it more to read positive ones. Analyses of chaos and catastrophe are interesting; suggestions for alternatives for the confusion would be especially desirable.

    Comment by William Wilson — February 26, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  2. Hi William,

    I’m going to be writing more on possible strategy and tactics from here on.

    By now I’m sick of the overall description myself. I just wanted to work through my thoughts on that (and get that overwith before spring came; I had a whole docket to clear before then), which I think I’ve done.

    One thing I don’t get is the idea that even the president is just sitting around thinking like Brownie, “can I quit yet?”

    Sure, if you’re head of FEMA, that’s a crappy job, and I could see a crook just sitting there counting the days till he can go through the revolving door to get to the good stuff. And the same’s true for most other government jobs. Even being in the House is probably not very satisfying if you’re not truly idealistic about public service (I of course assume very few in government are).

    Being a senator is maybe on the borderline. But surely nothing can be better than being president?! How can it get better than that? Sure, lots of private sector “jobs” pay alot more, but surely not enough to outweigh the power and prestige.

    I’m sure partying with Kazakh gangsters is more lucrative for Bill Clinton than his presidential salary, but can he possibly prefer it to being president?

    Then again, one of the enduring mysteries of Obama is why he wanted to be president in the first place, since he clearly doesn’t want to do anything.

    Sure, Bush and Clinton wanted to continue with the status quo, but they also aggressively sought ways to put their own stamp on it, to sow the oats of their own power.

    Except for the Afghanistan escalation, Obama really does just seem to want to sit around. Even with his signature “health reform” initiative, he wanted to sit back and let Congress do everything, not even using the bully pulpit.

    The same has been true of phony finance “reform.”

    I don’t know, given his (lack of) character and responsibility, it looks to me like he would have been happier remaining senator, a far less accountable position. You’re not expected to do as much.

    So who knows, maybe he’s such a passionless corporate worm that he really is just looking at this as a kind of internship toward what will be his “real” corporate gig.

    Comment by Russ — February 27, 2010 @ 4:21 am

  3. Indeed. the only way one can construe many private sector jobs as paying a lot more than that of The President is if one simply looks at base salary. But salaries, as they are in the private sector for senior management, are merely there for the purposes of ceremony and dodging the tax collector.

    Stock options in the private sector are the real salary. Likewise for the POTUS. Obama’s “stock options” will amount to tens of millions in board directorships, book deals, speaking engagements, etc. etc. And, as Russ points out, the Perks as President and later as “Mr. President” are enormous.

    Comment by Edwardo — February 27, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  4. Try paying closer attention to Ron Paul, who I think is at least on the right track. I am continually amazed at the number of otherwise intelligent people who fail to understand that government is the problem while law is the solution.

    It all started with Wilson and Roosevelt finished the job. The physical destruction of WWII bought us twenty-five years of general prosperity, but it has been down hill ever since as monopoly control of government continues to turn the screws and impoverish anyone neither well connected nor shrewd enough to say a jump or two ahead. Today, even those with money are victims in our predatory financial markets. Intelligent investing is impossible, which means the day is coming when most of the middle class will be vaporized, retired executives greeting shoppers at Walmart. You don’t need hyperbole to tell this story. The simple truth is bad enough.

    Comment by jake chase — February 28, 2010 @ 11:05 am

  5. Yeah, it’s a mess all right. This federal government is beyond redemption.

    If anything constructive can be done (and I don’t assume it can be, but we won’t know till we try), it’ll have to start at the local and regional levels.

    Most of all it has to start with relocalizing our economies.

    (Just this afternoon I got around to reading the long NYT article about the teabaggers. I wanted to see what they’re actually doing besides squawking. Given how quickly they’re organizing, the energy they’re bringing to it, they ought to be doing alot.

    It turned out, they’re doing plenty where it comes to their guns. Where it comes to relocalizing their economies, not a thing mentioned.

    They’re all eager to yell about how much they hate the Fed. Actually doing something about the centralized stranglehold on the economy, apparently not so much.)

    Comment by Russ — February 28, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

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