The Political War Will Continue

partyfightAs The Dog Days Of Summer Approach, Politicians Rest Before Returning To The Fray

Now that the debt drama is over for the moment, we can all safely retreat in what was once called the “Dog Days Of Summer” and chill out if the volatile weather allows us to. We can think back to that old song, “Summer time and the living is easy.” Even as we all know that for millions “the living” is anything but.

The House and Senate have become ghost-like chambers because all its members, so filled with strident indignation and inflexible talking points just a week ago, are now off on their paid vacations hyping their political war stories to grandchildren.

Imbued with a sense of triumph, the Tea Party is huddling to come up with ongoing tactics to hold the system hostage while the party leaders plan the new “super committee” with 12 chosen acolytes (how Biblical, that number 12!) to map the next round of fiscal blood-lettering.

All the superhero buzz in the movies and cartoons has no doubt influenced their choice of words and the pretense of the super wisdom of a few as a “Joint Select Committee On Deficit Reduction” is empanelled to become the next arena of combat with a chosen elite now dominating a factious process where an organized minority can outflank a slow moving majority.

So much for the appearance of democracy!

The lobbyists are already gearing up for the next battles, as the Times reported, “To figure out how to influence the panel to protect the programs and tax breaks from which they benefit.” The military contractors and health care industry operatives are digging in to defend their turf.

Meanwhile, the deal did not settle any problems and may have made them worse. The Hill newspaper reports, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more points in the last two weeks than it did after the House initially failed to approve a bailout of U.S. banks at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.”

At the White House, the campaigning is set to go into overdrive with a bus tour of the devastated Mid West. Obama is saddling up to talk up the one need he has been downplaying for years—the need for jobs.

He is retooling as a born again populist to champion the unemployed who may never find jobs again.

He is doing so in the face of new statistics that report the economy in worse shape than it was before the recession.

Some 47 million Americans now qualify for food stamps, up 13 percent from a year earlier.  Unemployment is not budging and more and more job seekers are giving up after finding that if they have been out of work for more than six months, they can’t even get interviews for what jobs there are. Youth and minority unemployment are at depression levels. The ranks of the poor rise as those still working are squeezed as never before.

And housing? Eftnews.com reports, “Dragged down by such anchors as a bulging pipeline of foreclosures and a dearth of buyers, it will be many more months — if not years — before a housing market rebound takes hold.”

Yet the Commander in Chief, unlike the people who live in the region, won’t have problems with the cost of gassing up the bus. His “bundlers” are already at work shaking the money tree.

Money News reports:

“A just-released study by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that President Obama is relying more on Wall Street to fund his re-election this year than he did in 2008, according to CNBC, which obtained an advance copy of the report.

Obama and the DNC combined are on pace to far exceed the amounts Obama raised from Wall Street donors in 2008, both in raw dollar amounts and as a percentage of what he raises overall.”

This may be why he has already thrown his progressive supporters, in the words of one dissenting Democrat, “under the bus” because he and his handlers calculate they may not like him now but they will vote for him in the end, or fear more gains by the far right.

Some on the right are reportedly going after the “bundlers” who broke fund-raising records in the Bush Campaign, in essence talking far right while cultivating the old money centrists.

The “experts” predict that even in this time of economic decline, the political pumps will be well primed as the election draws closer and gains steam by sucking the media oxygen out of other stories with a press corpse that loves to cover politics like sporting events rich in polls and conflicting sound bites.

The newspapers are filled with stories about the noveau rich gobbling up luxury goods and high priced cars.

Not everyone is hurting!

Yet an increasing number of these people on all sides are reporting more dissatisfaction with all the politicians.

The National Journal reports on a new poll:

“The survey…revealed a deep lack of faith among the public in Congress’s ability to get things done. When it comes to important problems facing the country, only 7 percent of respondents said they have a lot of confidence that Washington could make progress over the next year and 23 percent said they have “no confidence at all.”

Some liberals may finally be recognizing that their immersion in partisan politics took their eyes off the economic ball with little or no grass roots organizing.  It seems clear that as the Tea Party pushed politicians from the right, there was no counterweight or unified effort on the left.

President Obama not only betrayed the activists of the left who championed his candidacy in 2008 but, also, his own legacy as a community organizer.  He created, but then deemphasized his “Organizing for America” initiative to activate his base for traditional inside the beltway horse-trading.

He gave up on the “outside game” and let the right pick it up without a fight.

Now we are hearing about all kinds of plans by organizations like MoveOn that became more of a money raising machine than a political movement is joining hands with fired Obama appointee, Van Jones, to build a save the dream movement and express some visible support for the unemployed and millions losing homes and hope.

Former Vice President Al Gore is calling for a non-violent “American Spring” modeled on events in Tunisia and Egypt.

Keith Olbermann, the TV Anchor who left NBC to join Gore’s network Current cautions that “first the public has to get mad.”

Personally, I think the public is mad, but also depressed by the lack of leadership and a sense they can win. Popular calls to hold Wall Street accountable have gone nowhere as Wall Street money keeps politicians in tow and activists tweet each other into distraction. Activists rail at the president online but do little to get in his face and demand another course of action.

This may change in the fall, but I am not holding my breath. It is easier, as we say, “to talk a good game” than play one.

Filmmaker and News Dissector Danny Schechter edits Mediachannel.org.
For more on his film Plunder: The Crime of Our Time and companion book, The Crime of Our Time: Why Wall Street Is Not Too Big To Jail, visit plunderthecrimeofourtime.com.

, , , , , , , ,

  • Anonymous

    This turn of events depressed me pretty severely.  But not that Obama has finally been thoroughly unmasked, to even the thickest Democratic partisan dimwit, as an incompetent tool.  I got over that bit myself last December.  It was even a bit of a relief that there’s a Malcolm Gladwell-esque critical mass of skepticism welling up.

    What I fear is that August 1, 2011 will go down as the day that American democracy finally died.  Obama and Reid could have played a hard hand–they had freaks lighting up the boards to call their congressmen.  A clear majority of Americans understand that the uberwealthy cannot be allowed to leech off The People in a time of national crisis.  But instead of playing public outrage to The People’s advantage, Obama decided to move the real negotiations into a dark corner, a committee whose proceedings likely will not be televised at all, much less receive the epic coverage this latest fracas did.

    Yeah, great call, Barry.  We all know that if Tea Partiers are comfortable holding a 38 special to grammaw’s head in the cold light of day, they’re likely to be extra-super more well behaved in the confines of a dark, smoky conclave.  That’ll give elected reps a MUCH better bargaining leverage over corporate tools, right?

    I could go on and on about the utter stupid impracticality of a balanced budget amendment, and how it leaves us most vulnerable to manipulation by nefarious, amoral multinational corporations or the coordinated, statist economic policies of our Asian rivals.  But that would require Republicans to have an ounce of patriotism or intelligence, neither of which has been seen anywhere near that party for the last 4 decades.

    No, to me the deadliest bit of the deal is the apparently uncontested notion that fiscal decisions must be subject to the discretion of democratically elected representatives of the people.  That’s the single most important power-dynamic underlying the whole history of republican government in the Anglophone world.  And creeps like Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson et alia are happily flushing that 400 years of history down the toilet.  Without a single word of outrage crossing the lips of the major media.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    This turn of events depressed me pretty severely.  But not that Obama has finally been thoroughly unmasked, to even the thickest Democratic partisan dimwit, as an incompetent tool.  I got over that bit myself last December.  It was even a bit of a relief that there’s a Malcolm Gladwell-esque critical mass of skepticism welling up.

    What I fear is that August 1, 2011 will go down as the day that American democracy finally died.  Obama and Reid could have played a hard hand–they had freaks lighting up the boards to call their congressmen.  A clear majority of Americans understand that the uberwealthy cannot be allowed to leech off The People in a time of national crisis.  But instead of playing public outrage to The People’s advantage, Obama decided to move the real negotiations into a dark corner, a committee whose proceedings likely will not be televised at all, much less receive the epic coverage this latest fracas did.

    Yeah, great call, Barry.  We all know that if Tea Partiers are comfortable holding a 38 special to grammaw’s head in the cold light of day, they’re likely to be extra-super more well behaved in the confines of a dark, smoky conclave.  That’ll give elected reps a MUCH better bargaining leverage over corporate tools, right?

    I could go on and on about the utter stupid impracticality of a balanced budget amendment, and how it leaves us most vulnerable to manipulation by nefarious, amoral multinational corporations or the coordinated, statist economic policies of our Asian rivals.  But that would require Republicans to have an ounce of patriotism or intelligence, neither of which has been seen anywhere near that party for the last 4 decades.

    No, to me the deadliest bit of the deal is THE DEATH of the previously uncontested notion that fiscal decisions must be subject to the discretion of democratically elected representatives of the people.  That’s the single most important power-dynamic underlying the whole history of republican government in the Anglophone world.  And creeps like Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson et alia are happily flushing that 400 years of history down the toilet.  Without a single word of outrage crossing the lips of the major media.

    • Bigdickmegaherz

      The tea party may want to cut the wrong thing but they are right that things need cut. 

      Hell let me give you some a sad example, medicaid will pay for non-emergency emergency room visits at the hospital my woman works at. Jackasses floor the ER for colds and flu while people are really dieing and they get in the way because they don’t want to pay the 5$ medicaid co-pay for a non–emergency visit at a a family doctor. Its illegal to charge a medicaid patient for an ER visit no matter what, so for 5 dollars they clog the system and have actually indirectly caused deaths… sweet huh? Cut paying for non-emergency er visits…Thats what I want. 

      • Liam_McGonagle

        Sorry, but please restate that.  Your meaning doesn’t seem really clear here.Are you trying to say that people are clogging the system with emergency cases because the law forbids a copay in emergency cases?  Whereas timely and proper preventative action requires and unattractive $5 co-pay?
         
        If so, that doesn’t make a strong case for cuts.  Just the opposite.  It’s a case for single payer nation-wide.  And ensuring a more adequate supply of medical staff by subsedizing education, and freeing would-be health care professionals from the burden of repaying outrageous loans to sharkey banks and private colleges.  Take out the bullshit psuedo-market tropes that clog the system with inefficiencies.
         
        Profits aren’t possible in an efficient market.  Certainly not in a strictly maintenance type service like BASIC medical care.
         
        Asymmetries of information and resources are what make it possible to charge more than you pay out.  Smart people can do that by keeping a keen eye out for innovative technologies or materials sourcing.  But only around the edges.  In the modern world, where technology has conquered food production and biological difficulties that used to render the average lifespan less than half of what it is today, almost everything is a commodity–short of monopolistic market rigging.

  • Bigdickmegaherz

    Burn both parties. If bloggers and workers like us ran I bet we would get things done better. I like to argue but when it comes to saving someones ass I let you call an apple an orange if we get er done. This partisan bullshit is killing america and its a distraction to our corporate takeover. …hmmm…. maybe we should start an infonaut party. 

  • Bigdickmegaherz

    Burn both parties. If bloggers and workers like us ran I bet we would get things done better. I like to argue but when it comes to saving someones ass I let you call an apple an orange if we get er done. This partisan bullshit is killing america and its a distraction to our corporate takeover. …hmmm…. maybe we should start an infonaut party. 

  • Bigdickmegaherz

    Burn both parties. If bloggers and workers like us ran I bet we would get things done better. I like to argue but when it comes to saving someones ass I let you call an apple an orange if we get er done. This partisan bullshit is killing america and its a distraction to our corporate takeover. …hmmm…. maybe we should start an infonaut party. 

  • Bigdickmegaherz

    The tea party may want to cut the wrong thing but they are right that things need cut. 

    Hell let me give you some a sad example, medicaid will pay for non-emergency emergency room visits at the hospital my woman works at. Jackasses floor the ER for colds and flu while people are really dieing and they get in the way because they don’t want to pay the 5$ medicaid co-pay for a non–emergency visit at a a family doctor. Its illegal to charge a medicaid patient for an ER visit no matter what, so for 5 dollars they clog the system and have actually indirectly caused deaths… sweet huh? Cut paying for non-emergency er visits…Thats what I want. 

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, but please restate that.  Your meaning doesn’t seem really clear here.Are you trying to say that people are clogging the system with emergency cases because the law forbids a copay in emergency cases?  Whereas timely and proper preventative action requires and unattractive $5 co-pay?
     
    If so, that doesn’t make a strong case for cuts.  Just the opposite.  It’s a case for single payer nation-wide.  And ensuring a more adequate supply of medical staff by subsedizing education, and freeing would-be health care professionals to repay outrageous loans to sharkey banks and private colleges.  Take out the bullshit psuedo-market tropes that clog the system with inefficiencies.
     
    Profits aren’t possible in an efficient market.  Certainly not in a strictly maintenance type service like BASIC medical care.
     
    Asymmetries of information and resources are what make it possible to charge more than you pay out.  Smart people can do that by keeping a keen eye out for innovative technologies or materials sourcing.  But only around the edges.  In the modern world, where technology has conquered food production and biological difficulties that used to render the average lifespan less than half of what it is today, almost everything is a commodity–short of monopolistic market rigging. 

  • Tyler Durden

    The tea party isn’t doing enough to “hold the system hostage”. If they were, I might be in favor of them.

  • Tyler Durden

    The tea party isn’t doing enough to “hold the system hostage”. If they were, I might be in favor of them.

  • jasonpaulhayes

    It’s not over, America is loosing its AAA rating as I type this.

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    It’s not over, America is loosing its AAA rating as I type this.

21