Monday, November 1, 2010

Eve of Destruction (er, Election)

This is what I wrote on this blog, back in February of 2009:

When I saw President Obama's speech before congress last night I was reminded of this film. Everyone seemed to be having such a great time (except for the Republicans of course) and our president was literally beaming with confidence. However, as is becoming increasingly evident, the barrier confronting them is not one that can be climbed over, tunneled under or smashed through. Like the door of the dinner party or the Zen koan, it is a gateless gate. The wealthy, privileged and spoiled partyers of Bunuel's film start the evening happy and carefree, but as the film progresses, food and water become increasingly scarce and the social order disintegrates.
The film I was referring to was Luis Bunuel's The Exterminating Angel, one of the most powerful and disturbing films I've ever seen. It begins with a lavish dinner party. The host and guests indulge themselves with great relish, but when it's time to leave they can't. The door is unlocked but for some mysterious reason they are unable to pass through it. This is an example of the Mumonkan, or Gateless Gate, the name of a famous anthology of Zen koans. For me, the parallel between this party and the exuberance of the Democrats just after Obama's election was too good to resist. Because, after all, I am not only an "economist" but also: a poet.

And now, it seems, the prophecy is coming true. The party is over, there is no escape. But the denizens of this dinner party are not only the Democrats, but the Republicans -- and the Tea Partiers -- as well. There is no way out, because the economy has already collapsed, as I've been arguing all along. You'll read endlessly in article after article, book after book, about all the things that went wrong, but when you read about how to fix it, the remedies are unconvincing. There is no way out. The economy has already collapsed and we are now living in the interlude between the collapse and the acceptance of that collapse. Meanwhile, everyone is in a state of denial, proposing this remedy or that, austerity, deficit spending, quantitative easing, stronger currency, weaker currency, more inflation, less inflation, more lending, less lending, more regulation, more deregulation, more government intervention, less government intervention, no government at all, etc., etc.

If it weren't so terrible it would actually, like Bunuel's film, be very amusing. For example, the ultra-conservative "Tea Partiers" demanding an end to government control are actually advocating the most radical of all leftist positions: anarchism! Meanwhile, pseudo-leftist "Truthers" have become convinced that the 9-11 attacks were a plot engineered by Bush and Cheney, and the Twin Towers collapse was caused by a pre-planned implosion! (Yee Gods where do they get this stuff?) And pseudo-fascist pinheads like Limbaugh and Beck are screaming that Obama's pathetic efforts to preserve free market capitalism at all costs are examples of socialist extremism. You couldn't make this stuff up. What a laugh! In other words, the situation has become so dire that no one understands anymore how or what to think.

If the Democrats had refused to go along with the TARP bailout from the beginning, and simply allowed the financial system to collapse, then the power of the oligarchs now spending billions to defeat them would have been broken, and we might now be in a position to once again develop a truly democratic system of government. Instead, the oligarchs have recovered very nicely, thank you, and are ready to resume their efforts to completely take over our economy, our government, our country. They won't, however, because: there is NO way out. Sooner or later it will all come crashing down on their heads and we will, at last, be free.

Only don't hold your breath. VOTE DEMOCRAT!!!!!


  1. As a follower and bookmarker of your site and your views, I was very disappointed at your "vote straight democratic" and in light of Obama's continuing screwing of the center-left and progressive wings of the dem party, how have your views changed since early November, if at all?

    I voted for Obama, but I think he's been a total dud, and I hope someone from the dem party mounts a serious challenge to him in 2011 and 2012. I have two questions for you at this time though.

    1.))) If the dems can find someone capable of running a serious challenge to Obama in the primaries, or if they WANT to, throw out some names.

    2.))) I admire your knowledge of economics, but I'd like to ask you, what exactly IS the "national debt," and why is it important? I see all these tv talking heads and both dems and repubs talk about this, but I don't understand what this "debt" really means, or why is it important? Especially in the short term. Any comments welcome.

    Write more often.

  2. I give Obama a lot of credit for trying to do the right thing, and despite all the skepticism I've expressed regarding his policies, I doubt whether anyone else could be doing a better job under such impossible circumstances. What needs to be said, and done, is NOT something anyone could say and do (or advocate) and remain a viable force in US politics. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know why.

    I urged everyone to vote straight Democratic because, despite my serious problems with Democrats, Liberals and so-called "Progressives," the Republican party, which seems to have been totally captured by its most extreme right-wing elements, scares the Hell out of me.

    To answer your questions:

    1. I have no names to offer. I honestly don't think anyone with any chance of being nominated, much less elected, would do a better job than the miserable, pathetic job Obama is doing. As I see it, any Democrat capable of getting more votes than Sarah Palin or Glen Beck, looks good to me. Sadly, I don't see anyone in the party leadership (or anywhere else) who shows much sign of being a truly inspiring leader or even spokesperson, for the Democrats.

    2. I'm not an economist so my thoughts on the national debt may be completely off base. All I can say is that pumping up the national debt via "quantitative easing," maintaining the Bush tax breaks for millionaires, fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even pouring money into the best of causes, such as unemployment insurance and health care, is unsustainable. At some point the world economy is going to break under the strain. Whether that will take the form of runaway inflation or some other form I can't say.

    On the other hand, leaving things as is won't help either, which is why I have to admit, and I know this sounds terrible, but I find the whole situation so very amusing. No matter what we or anyone else does, the world economy is going to collapse, because, as I've been arguing here, it's already collapsed. We are due for a Wile E. Coyote moment.

  3. Ha! Wile E. Coyote! I love it. It rings so true as a sober appraisement of our situation. So glad you are not a political Pollyanna. Yes, Doc "Its sundown on the Union"
    Sorry, but I just can't help posting the lyrics to the old prophet Bob Dylan's song from way back in 1983. (Infidels album). The words and music just keep floating in my brain:

    "Well, my shoes, they comes from Singapore
    My flashlight's from Taiwan
    My tablecloth's from Malayisia
    My belt buckle's from the Amazon
    You know, this shirt I wear comes from the Philippines
    And the car I drive is a Chevrolet
    It was put together down in Argentina
    By a guy making thirty cents a day.

    Well, it's sundown on the union
    And what's made in the USA
    Sure was a good idea
    'Til greed got in the way.

    Well, this silk dress is from Hong Kong
    And the pearls are from Japan
    Well, the dog collar's from India
    And the flower pot's from Pakistan
    All the furniture it said "Made in Brazil"
    Where a woman, she slaved for sure
    Bringing home thirty cents a day to a family of twelve
    You know, that's a lot of money to her.

    Well, it's sundown on the union
    And what's made in the USA
    Sure was a good idea
    'Til greed got in the way.

    Well, you know, lots of people complaining that there is no work
    I say, "Why you say that for
    When nothing you got is US made ?"
    They don't make nothing here no more
    You know, capitalism is above the law
    It say, "it don't count 'less it sells"
    When it costs too much to build it at home
    You just build it cheaper someplace else.

    Well, it's sundown on the union
    And what's made in the USA
    Sure was a good idea
    'Til greed got in the way.
    Well, the job that you used to have
    They gave it to somebody down in El Salvador
    The unions are big business, friend
    And they're going out like a dinosaur
    They used to grow food in Kansas
    Now they want to grow it on the moon and eat it raw
    I can see the day coming when even your home garden
    Is gonna be against the law.

    Well, it's sundown on the union
    And what's made in the USA
    Sure was a good idea
    'Til greed got in the way.

    Democracy don't rule the world
    You'd better get that in your head
    This world is ruled by violence
    But I guess that's better left unsaid
    From Broadway to the Milky Way
    That's a lot of territory indeed
    And a man's gonna do what he has to do
    When he's got a hungry mouth to feed.

    Well, it's sundown on the union
    And what's made in the USA
    Sure was a good idea
    'Til greed got in the way."

  4. Sundown on the Union continued.....
    On a further economic note: why do the blue collar workers of Amerika still believe in the Ayn Rand myth of "trickle down"?. Why have they not yet realized that the dynamics of the world have changed from the time of Ronald Reagan more than any time in recent history. Perhaps as revolutionary a change as the Gutenburg printing press or the Industrial Revolution has occurred in our lifetime. The tax cuts being given to the top 2& are being carefully invested abroad and are not benefiting Americans in any way even if the economic theory were true . You say, "I have a keep penchant for the obvious?"
    Why also, do we not realize that these banks which are receiving billions of dollars interest free are probably also investing abroad?

  5. The sad reality is that we have very little if any influence over these huge institutions and the people running them. And by we I mean the people at large, what Marx and Lenin used to call "the masses."

    I think we have all lost touch with how completely the oligarchs have taken over the world and how impossible it will be for "the masses" or whatever you want to call them, to unseat these greedy, petty tyrants(we used to call them "pigs," but that term seems outdated these days).

    Money is no longer the name of the game -- they have far more than they could ever spend in a thousand lifetimes. What interests them now is power, and they are using their money to achieve it -- big time.

    This is what the "Tea Party" is all about, producing a bunch of clueless stooge puppets to do their bidding. But the Democrats are also vulnerable to the same tactics. As long as Obama thinks he needs a billion dollars for his next campaign, then he's no better than any of the Republicans.

    The good news is that these greedy oligarchs are so very greedy that their greed is about to destroy them, as I've continually predicted on this blog. They think they are the masters of the universe, but what they are really doing is preparing the world for socialism, which will be the only alternative (for better or worse) once the private sector is destroyed, due to the upcoming total financial collapse.

    It's all going to be very amusing -- but also very disturbing. I for one am looking forward to it, but when it happens -- look out!


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