America in hyper-drive.

07 May

A fracturing of the time/space continuum.

Once upon a time, long ago, in a newly formed republic, men of good intentions would argue over what policies and laws should be put into place in the land; or having decided on a law, how to improve it once it was discovered the law wasn’t working out quite as they intended.  They would write long letters to each other, full of what they hoped was sound reasoning and moral imperative.  Some issues were trivial, but most were deemed important enough that public news bills would be distributed around the towns, and literate white men (let’s be honest; women were discouraged from “unseemly” political talk and non-whites were not allowed to engage in policy opinion) would gather in taverns or dining rooms to have discourse about the matter.  During election cycles, political opponents would have debates where each side was granted at least an hour to orate on his position and the debate would be rehashed for weeks by the listeners.

Now we simply install new policies with the only debate coming after the fact.  Part of this phenomenon is due to our sped up culture (there’s an app for that) and the pressures of having to work more hours to stay afloat, but part of it is deliberate manipulation from our politicians.  Torture?  We can debate the policy, but only after it comes to light our politicians have been allowing it for some time.  The “debate” is preempted by the fact that it’s already being done.  And, in any case, the decision to consider any niceties about legality are taken away from the people: Congress (under Pelosi) and the current administration (Obama) have long since declared that, illegal or not, no-one will be held to account for secretly installing these new policies.  It just doesn’t matter what conclusion “the people” come to about torture or invading foreign countries or assassinating anyone or giving all the money in the US to a few bankers.  And now the new policies are coming at lightening speed.  Even if we wanted to talk about the wisdom of a certain action, it’s too late.  It’s done.

Quite a number of issues are handled by business interests acting through the bought votes of Congress (see health care reform, invasion of Iraq, deregulation of financial industries, BP oil spill) and some are not even brought to Congress at all before the policy goes into effect (see Libya, extra-judicial assassinations, waivers for insurance companies who don’t like certain parts of the health care reform, the Fed handing out 14.2 trillion bucks to a few bankers, everything else the Fed does, everything the CIA does).

The average American, assuming he learns about a certain thing, couldn’t keep up with the myriad other things that are going on at warp speed.  One barely has time to form an opinion before something else warrants attention – and that is how America runs now.  Fast. And immune to the potential input of American citizens.   Sure, Americans are fairly well dumbed down and vicious, but now there is no chance that we will have time to caution each other about new policies or hope to influence the viewpoints of those who haven’t thought things through.  The rewriting of who we are is happening right now and we can’t keep up with it.  This is deliberate.

“…You have been on the frontlines of this fight for nearly 10 years. You were there in those early days, driving the Taliban from power, pushing al Qaeda out of its safe havens. Over time, as the insurgency grew, you went back for, in some cases, a second time, a third time, a fourth time.

“When the decision was made to go into Iraq, you were there, too, making the longest air assault in history, defeating a vicious insurgency, ultimately giving Iraqis the chance to secure their democracy. And you’ve been at the forefront of our new strategy in Afghanistan….

“And most of all, we’re making progress in our major goal, our central goal in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is disrupting and dismantling — and we are going to ultimately defeat al Qaeda. We have cut off their head and we will ultimately defeat them…. But the essence of America — the values that have defined us for more than 200 years — they don’t just endure; they are stronger than ever.” – Obama’s speech at Fort Campbell, Ky.  May 6,’11

The Taliban was one of our original “foes”?  The ” vicious insurgency” in Iraq – that would be the one that arose because we invaded?   The Iraqis have “secured their democracy”?  Our central goal in Pakistan –  we are at war with Pakistan?  Assassinating bin Laden “defines our values”?

Rewriting.  It’s enough to make your eyes pop.  And new policies:

“Salman Bashir, the country’s foreign secretary, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that a repeat of Monday’s raid could lead to ‘terrible consequences.’ Pakistani and U.S. officials have said Pakistan was not told about the attack that killed bin Laden until after the fact, which has led to Pakistani protests that their sovereignty was violated…

” ‘No self-respecting nation would compromise or allow others to compromise its sovereignty,’ Mr. Bashir said. ‘We want to make it absolutely clear to everyone—do not underestimate Pakistan’s capabilities and capacity to do what is necessary for national security.’

“In response to the suggestion that terrible consequence would greet any future raid, a U.S. official said: ‘They need to spend less time lashing out at the U.S. and more time rooting out militants on Pakistani territory.’

“For now, Pakistan is refusing to allow U.S. officials to interrogate women and children left behind in the compound where bin Laden was killed, depriving American officials of potentially valuable intelligence. Pakistan is instead conducting its own questioning of the detainees, which include bin Laden’s 12-year-olddaughter….”

Actually, the day after Pakistan complained about the US compromising its sovereignty, we launched a drone attack there, killing 15 people.  That’s what we think about their fucking sovereignty and the idea that Pakistan should deprive US officials of the “right” to hold and interrogate a couple of (non-American) women and little girls.  And assassinations: less than 5 days after dumping bin Laden’s corpse in the ocean, we used drones to attack and kill a few people in Yemen, in the hopes of getting al Awlaki, an American citizen living there.  He was named by the media as the new “head of the snake” less than 24 hours after the announcement of bin Laden’s death; this is one badass snake, with such magical powers of cranial recuperation that we will now have to monitor every train station and bus depot (not to mention shopping mall) in the US for new heads constantly.

“For the record, we think targeting Mr. Gaddafi and his sons — if that is what is really going on — is as legitimate as striking al-Qaeda.” – from Washington Post editorial, Wed., May 4, ’11

US domestic policy: profits of the Fortune 500 are up 81%, while corporate tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is at its lowest in years, but Timmeh Geithner suggests we need to lower corporate tax rates.  The House Committee responsible for instigating any financial reform outlined in the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill just decided to delay writing any regulations on financial speculation (including in food and oil markets) for 18 months.  Obama has decided the federal government needs to sell off 14,000 pieces of “outdated” federal property in an effort to save 15 billion over the next 3 years.  We have just witnessed the biggest drop in property values in history, there is a glut on the real estate market, and the only entities with disposable cash to buy are the big banks.  Buy high, sell low: it’s a plan.  So the taxpayers pay for something for years and when it goes low enough in value, we sell it in a sweetheart deal to some guy with connections to Congress.  Any questions?   Too late.  We are not taking questions.  Goldman, Sachs just made a 34 billion dollar profit.  More than 20 B of that came from the positive arbitrage created by borrowing a trillion dollars from the Fed window at 0% and investing it in newly created US Treasuries at 2.3%.   20 billion dollars in profit will be realized every year that this window is open.  I.e., 100% and then some of the 16 B in bonuses that Goldman, Sachs paid out last year to its management came from the US taxpayers.  (Al Capone must be petitioning the heavenly court about now.  “Look, God, Padrone Most High.  You can’t keep me down here any more.  All this stuff is legal now!”)  The House just passed a bill which would require that women who have abortions and claim the expense under medical deductions be audited by the IRS regarding details of that abortion.  Any business which covers employees under insurance plans that offer abortion coverage will no longer be able to claim the plan as a business expense.  The bill now goes to the Senate.   Your input is not welcome on these items either.


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