Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Crisis Mismanagement

When it comes to predictions, I freely admit that my record to date has not been so hot. After all, I predicted that the presidential election of 2008 would be between Giuliani and Clinton (Hillary, that is), and that Hillary would win. But Rudy jumped the shark when he trash-talked Ron Paul during the debates, and then sealed the deal when he placed his political fate in the hands of east coast Floridians (AKA expatriate Jews from New York – there, I said it and I don't apologize!). And Hillary, as usual, underestimated the sleaze factor that clung to her like a slick coating of BP oil – a residual effect from her husband's administration (which was, in all likelihood, more her administration than his – hopefully someday we'll know for sure). So what we wound up with was, on the Republican side, a permanently PTSD-addled presidential candidate with a fanatical Christian Zionist for a running mate, and, on the Democratic side, a guy who advertised himself as an outsider and as Mr. Clean, even though he had just crawled up out of the cesspool of Chicago politics. And his running mate was (and is) a flaming a-hole, but at least he was “the devil we knew”. So the Mr. Clean outsider won, and immediately proceeded to surround himself with an army of hard-core insiders, most of whom, although they couldn't be elected dogcatcher in their own right, have had placed into their hands all power and authority over the future of the nation and its hapless citizenry. (And I should add that the other two pieces of the traditional power triumvirate, namely responsibility and accountability, were somehow forgotten along the line, leaving them with only pure power.) So now we have, in all but name, a socialist administration – or, at least, one that aspires to socialism (a variety more properly termed fascism) – that is the supposed “answer” to the many encroachments and abuses of its predecessor. And the cry rings out from every corner of the White House and the Capitol: Capitalism is dead! Long live – what? Power to the people? Not really. “Power to the government” is more like it. And no one dare object, since all of the alternative forms of government have already been tossed, by Obama & Co., onto the ash heap of discarded ideas (if I may indulge in a bit of Bushism here).

And when it comes to quotes, I predict (yeah, I know) that the defining quote from the Obama administration will be that of Rahm Emanuel, Israel's man in Washington, when he said “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” That mindset has, in fact, characterized nearly every move of the Obama administration to date, and every crisis (or alleged crisis) – the economic meltdown, failing industries, trade imbalances, Wall Street shenanigans, global warming, health care, education, etc. -- somehow, mysteriously, calls for the exact same solution, namely bigger government (along with higher taxes, more borrowing, bigger debt, and inflation). The latest crisis, of course – which mercifully drove all the others from the headlines, at least for a while – is the Gulf oil spill, and the solution to that is – bet you can't guess – bigger government! Now, of course, this philosophy of governing – pick the crisis du jour and use it to justify passing laws that will lock in collectivism for generations to come – could, at least in theory, turn on its very advocates. What if, for example, a crisis occurs that reflects badly, and directly, on the administration? Well, that would be a terrible thing to waste too, wouldn't it? And the solution, clearly, would be to toss Obama and his cronies onto the ash heap of discarded politicians. This is clearly what the “tea partiers” have in mind – and the Republicans are only too glad to second the emotion from their amen corner (even though they both despise and fear the tea partiers, truth be told). Smart and manipulative conservatives of the conventional mold have become born-again constitutionalists... whereas those who were constitutionalists all along, like the paleocons and libertarians, are feeling kind of like those guys who came up with a world-changing invention but were conned out of their share of the profits (and credit) by sharp operators who knew the ropes. Or – like the gal who was invited to the prom just so some dude could get in the door, at which point she is promptly abandoned while he goes and spends the night dancing with more desirable partners.

But really, this newfound Republican respect and affection for the Constitution is no more than an exercise in massive hypocrisy. Where were they when Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, were trampling everybody and everything underfoot? Nowhere to be found, basically – stunned into silence by the spectacle of a naked power grab by people who were supposed to be the “good guys”. And what I fear is that the tea partiers and their ilk will suffer the same fate – they are simply too na├»ve and idealistic to be able to cope with the realities of Washington. It would be like a bunch of vegans wishing they had jobs in a sausage factory; it just ain't gonna work – not now, not ever. So the Regime will march on, oblivious to the wants, needs, and desires of the people, because, you know what? To quote a line from Lily Tomlin's “Ernestine” speaking for the phone company: We don't care! We don't have to!

Which brings us, I suppose, to the question of the upcoming mid-term elections, and even the not-all-that-far-away election of 2012. Will the Republicans succeed in throwing the rascals out? Maybe – but even if they do, it will only be to put their own rascals back into power. Some see a ray of hope in Sarah Palin, who seems to be running one of the best pre-presidential campaigns in recent times (you'd have to go way back to William Jennings Bryan to find something comparable) – but I get the feeling that she is too easily manipulated. She would be surrounded, as she was during the campaign, by an army of “handlers” like so many bacteriophages, and even if she were to get a truly liberty-oriented thought in her head, it would quickly be snuffed out before it ever saw the light of day. And everyone else who believes in constitutional freedoms – Rand Paul, for example – is an even bigger long shot. The tea partiers are going to wind up in a “flop sweat”, sitting dejectedly among deflated balloons and banners... or at the nearest bar... and the libertarians are going to say -- as they are well-practiced in saying -- “a curse on both your houses”. Thus, my prediction for 2010 and for 2012 as well. The powers that be are just too entrenched, and nothing short of a genuine revolution of the old style is going to shake their hold on the body politic... and even that might not work. It might take a huge meteor striking the Earth... or an invasion from Mars... or real global warming!

Of course, in all of this, it must be admitted that America is no longer an island, entire of itself. We do have the rest of the world to deal with, and we have been all too willing, of late, to deal with it, usually in the most dysfunctional way possible. One problem is that we just don't do “empire” right – we don't know how to make a profit from foreign engagements, and wind up allowing them to drain our treasury and sap the will of our citizenry. Will the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan end with a bang (us getting kicked out, a la Vietnam) or a whimper (some sort of “compromise” that leaves us with little or no influence, but still holding the bag money-wise – think Korea, for instance)? Will the EU declare independence, once and for all, from our follies – recognizing that its very survival might be at stake? Will China put the ultimate squeeze on, or will it continue to bleed us like a herd of Masai cattle? And how about Israel? Will it finally be locked away in an asylum, there to rage and rant until the (next) millennium... or will it, in a fit of self-destructive rage, cause a conflagration that we will inevitably be drawn into? These are the unknowns... at least to me.

But there is also the strong, steady, calculating hand of the Regime to be reckoned with – and this is a tricky issue, since most people, at least publicly, are unwilling to admit that there even is such an entity. As far as they're concerned, the world really is a crazy house – full of chaos, irrationality, atavism, racism, sectarian conflict, “hate”, and the like – and the financial world is just a subset of that. So it could all just blow up, or melt down, and national leaders would be helpless to do anything to prevent it. But this is, I submit, to vastly underestimate the strength and influence of the (international) Money Power, which clearly has all Western governments in the palm of its hand, and which, I'm sure, can come to some satisfactory accommodation with China (and with Russia as well, although they are wisely keeping their own counsel at this point). Will the Regime, furthermore, allow Israel to push the doomsday button? I think this may be the key question in all of this; it all depends on who is where on the totem pole. And, to what extent does the Regime have any influence over the Moslem world, which to us seems so volatile and out of control? Clearly, the Moslem/Israeli (and American, by extension) feud is going to have to be resolved eventually – but if it is, it will surely be resolved in the interests of the Money Power. That is, unless this feud is serving some purpose... supporting some agenda. It's certainly making a lot of arms makers rich, but are they at the top of the heap? Don't they, ultimately, have to answer to the international financial elite, whose interests surely lie in much more than mere profits from arms sales? After all, wars destroy much more than they build... and if you're rich and powerful, it's your “stuff” that's being destroyed.

My theory – as you know by now – is that all that is visible in the way of governments, politics, and economics is subordinate to a much higher-level controlling elite. But – to borrow a question from Freud – what do they want? Are they content with the chaos that characterizes current events? Or would they prefer to eventually consolidate it all into an overtly one-world government (or as much of the world as they care to bother with)? If you take the world scene, and eliminate all the major players, there's not much left – Africa and Latin America, basically, as well as some isolated outposts that are of little or no concern to the powers that be. And – the core “cui bono” question – is all of this apparent chaos and strife really as chaotic and strife-laden as it appears, or is it simply part of a larger agenda... a means to an end? It's clear, once again, that chaos at the grass roots in this country only feeds into the agenda of the collectivists – which implies that, on some level, the type and intensity of chaos is being carefully controlled and programmed for the maximum effect. (There is overwhelming evidence of this just in the daily output of the media; it's certainly no secret, and is not done subliminally.) I've talked about the “fear factor” -- and we're not the only ones suffering from it. Overseas, it's about the Moslem “invasion” of Europe... of native populations actually declining... of selected economic meltdowns that ensnare more sound economies (think: the “PIGS” of the EU). Global warming is being used as a hobgoblin elsewhere as well... although it doesn't get much of a hearing in “developing” countries like China and India. (But if it's all a myth, it hardly matters anyway, does it?) Maybe the plan is to cripple the West so that Asia can take over; but would that really be preferable? Certainly there is little or no resistance to collectivist notions in the Asian part of the Old World... and maybe that's the key. Why bother with people who have some exalted notions about “freedom” when you can deal with people who have been slaves for millennia? But that implies that the people who are running the world are running the _whole_ world... and I'm not yet convinced of that. I think there are battles yet to be fought between East and West... between the Asiatic mindset and the “Judeo-Christian” one. And we see that much of the current strife is happening in the border lands – Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, and so on. Does this reflect the deepest reality, or is it, too, a symptom and, basically, a hoax? Whose orders is Ahmadinejad following, for instance? One suspects China, but does their reach really and reliably extend that far at this point? The Cold War was ostensibly between communism and capitalism... but how about what has been called World War Four – that thing we call the “War on Terror” but which most of the world sees, correctly, as the next major round in the war between Islam and the West? China seems, at times, to be taking the side of Islam, but the Chinese leaders are too smart to allow this to become plain and obvious, and maybe it is, in fact, neither plain nor obvious. They will always be pursuing what is in their best interests – a lesson we seem to have forgotten since amnesia set in in Wilson's time. They will always take advantage of our delusions, foolishness, and impulsiveness, as they did in Vietnam. Perhaps that legendary “inscrutable Oriental mind” will finally triumph over misguided Western idealism; the stage is certainly set, and China is doing all it can to severely compromise our economic strength and independence. Play one of those “world conflict” board games, and extend it fifty years into the future – who is on whose side at that point? Who has won or lost in the meantime? Who has ceased to exist and who is still around? Is the Regime, at the present time, all-powerful, or are they girding themselves for Armageddon, with China on the other side? All we can do at this point is watch and wait – look and listen, try to detect trends... read between the lines (or electrons)... and wonder if true liberty was, as some have speculated, a brief flash of light in an otherwise dark night of tyranny.

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