Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We're All in Their Debt

Isn't it fun living in a State of Fear? Every day some new bogeyman comes lurching down the street and starts banging on our windows – and they are all in the employ of the government, which has decided that a terrified populace is a compliant populace... one that will put up with any type or degree of erosion of basic rights, as long as they are assured of “protection” from all the scary, bump-in-the-night things that the world contains. And the question occurs to one, were our ancestors – those hardy pioneers – plagued with terrors about just about everything? If they had been, they would never have traveled more than 5 miles from the East Coast. The “Wild West” would have been East Orange, New Jersey (I have Bob Dylan to thank for that reference).

The latest in the endless string of fearsome things is, of course, the “debt ceiling” -- and how come this has never been an issue before? How did it get raised so high without anyone knowing? I suppose it's because, up to now, every Congress, of either party, has been complicit with every president, of either party, in committing future generations to crushing debt. But in fact, the current crop of cowards, wimps, and pushovers in Congress is no less willing to lay a curse on Americans for generations to come; they have just decided that some token protest is good politics. Up until recently, in fact, Americans in general have been strikingly unconcerned about the national debt – because, they all believe, “we owe it to ourselves” -- kind of like taking money out of the cookie jar on the kitchen counter and leaving an I.O.U. If it's never paid back, who's to know? But more recently, it has come to some people's attention that we do not, in fact, “owe it to ourselves”, but to places like China. Then it becomes an issue. Then this endless borrowing suddenly looks like a bad idea – as if your ne'er-do-well brother-in-law stopped borrowing money from you and started borrowing it from his bookie. Bad idea, right? How many of us remember when China was such a horrible place – such an implacable enemy – that we didn't even have diplomatic relations with them? (And this was, I might add, despite the fact of our having handed China over to Mao on a silver platter – but that's another story.) But then came “ping-pong diplomacy”, Nixon in China, and the rest is history... or current events, actually. So... you borrow money from a former enemy, and not even an enemy that has undergone “regime change”. No, the beaming face of Chairman Mao still looks out on Tiananmen Square.

It's hard to decide whether we're talking about evil intent here, or plain incompetence and stupidity – although, all things considered, evil intent usually gets my vote. If, as I have argued, our economy is in the hands of Europeans, and our debt is in the hands of China, and the two are regularly getting together to decide their next move against the United States... well, it certainly isn't “evil” for them, it's just good business. But what of our own leaders and politicians, who have encouraged, facilitated, collaborated in, and profited by the situation? Shouldn't they be staring at the shadow of a noose atop a gallows? Well, no – as long as “the people” tacitly approve, they can do anything they please.

So with that as background, let's take a look at this “debt crisis”. The fact is, it's not a crisis at all. Number one, Obama can raise the national debt whether Congress “approves” or not. I mean, hey, he does all kinds of other things without Congressional approval, why not this? What is it, for example, compared to starting wars that kill thousands of people and cost a trillion dollars?

Number two, it's not as if, on that fateful day (Aug. 2, according to the current trope) the U.S. suddenly becomes insolvent. We can refinance, roll over, put off, and delay as we please – or in the very worst case pay a fraction and write I.O.U.'s for the rest. Hey, it's been done countless times throughout history, and what makes us think we're so squeaky clean that we can't, or shouldn't, do the same?

Number three, what is it that the powers that be are trying to protect? Their own assets, of course, not ours. It's all about our ability to borrow even more (certainly not in the interests of the American citizen), our "credit rating" (and frankly, the worse that gets, the better off the average citizen becomes), and "international financial markets" (which they own). I actually suspect that if the United States did "default" on its "obligations" (which is not going to happen) it would be the best thing that could possibly happen to the average citizen. Who knows, it might be a real opportunity for a fresh start -- unlike this game that's being played right now in Washington, which will amount to more of the same, no matter who "wins".

But actually, it's not going to come to this, for the simple reason that someone's going to blink in this great game of chicken. Someone's going to crank the “suicide knob” and avoid annihilation... and I think I know who. Yep, the good ol' Republicans, who are no more the “party of principle” than the Democrats are – less, actually, since the Democrats are at least still devoted to socialism and collectivism, whereas it's hard to discern what the Republicans are devoted to, if anything. Heck, they don't even enjoy the support of big business any longer – those guys have shifted their resources to the Democrats, because the Democrats are much better at the “state socialism” business, from which big business these days derives most of its power and profit. No, the Republicans are, more than ever, the party of the folks who still watch Lawrence Welk re-runs, wax nostalgic about Guy Lombardo on New Year's Eve, and actually buy stuff in the Cracker Barrel gift shop. It's the party of – as I've said before – people who long for an America that no longer exists, and in fact never did... the Norman Rockwell America, with an upper class firmly in control, the middle class on thin ice (not that they knew it), and the lower classes those people we simply don't talk about in polite society... or invite to our backyard barbecues and pool parties.

So the Republicans are going to blink, inevitably – and the reason, as always, is that it would be “political suicide” to do otherwise, which amounts to saying that near-term gains, which are always of paramount importance to politicians (as well as most other people) are vastly preferable to long-term sanity. They will sacrifice anything in the long run in order to avoid rocking the boat in the near term. And as to the issues – well, there are three, basically – the debt, taxes, and the budget, AKA “entitlements” and the military. And here's what I like – Obama keeps challenging the Republicans to step up to the plate and play ball when it comes to the debt ceiling and the budget. If I were a Republican Congressman, I'd accept his challenge, and tell him this: “Mr. President, I fully agree that the debt ceiling needs to be raised and that certain tax breaks need to be eliminated. And I will vote for those measures, provided you, in the next 24 hours, sign an order to bring all U.S. military personnel and military contractors, except for those on embassy duty, back to the United States. In other words, pull all U.S. military personnel out of Iraq and Afghanistan; cease military operations in Libya and Yemen; close all of our bases in Germany, Japan, Korea, and elsewhere, and bring them all home. Then you'll have my vote.”

Wouldn't that be beautiful? But of course it will never happen, because even the Congressman's constituents would be against it. We have become so used to war as a way of life that we cannot conceive of ourselves, and our country, without it. To go on living without having any wars to fight would be wrong, somehow... unmanly... un-American... something shameful. Certainly nothing to be tolerated! So a position like this would really be political suicide – and that's why no one will take it.

So how is it going to break down, between now and that fateful day? Most likely – the Republicans will blink on the debt ceiling and tax breaks, and the Democrats will blink on entitlements – but not much. But no one will dare touch the real “third rail” of American politics, which is not Social Security but the military... because the military is all about America's self-image, of which all Americans fancy they have a part, and a vital interest. To be humiliated by a bunch of Afghan goatherds! Why, that is simply intolerable! And we will hold to that position no matter how much we get into debt or how much we suffer economically or freedom-wise on the domestic front. And this, in turn, is a testimony to the skill and persistence of the government's propaganda apparatus, sometimes referred to as “the mainstream media”. They have people convinced that what happens halfway around the world is more important than what happens down the street, or in their own household... and this, in turn, is a sign of just how far the deracination and demoralization of Americans has progressed. We are no longer capable of defending anything that is truly ours – anything of value. Instead, we defend vaporous “ideas” that serve no other function than to maintain an elite group in power... an elite that cares absolutely nothing about the hopes, dreams, and priorities of normal people. In fact, so far is this elite above the common man that they care nothing about... well, let's make up a list of things they care nothing about. It would have to include at least the following:

1.Who's president, as long as it's one of their hand-picked candidates (which it always is)
2.Which political party is “in power”, since, in fact, neither party is ever really in power
3.The fact that we're engaged in a war or multiple wars
4.Who wins (or whether anyone wins) any war that we're engaged in
5.What happens to the American economy (since they will reap profits no matter what)
6.What happens to American industry (for the same reason)
7.What happens to the U.S. dollar (for the same reason)
8.How we're viewed on the “international stage” (because they have no sense of loyalty to this country)
9.How the illegal immigration issue is settled or not settled
10.How the “balance of trade” issue is settled or not settled

And so on. But there are things they are interested in, and those pretty much add up to power and money. (I would add “sex”, but when you have enough power and money, the sex issue pretty much takes care of itself.) So, for instance, they are interested in our national debt – mainly that it grows, and becomes more intractable, which means that they are interested in our continuing to engage in deficit spending. And why is this? It's because they are the ones who hold much of our debt -- and they can at least continue to collect interest on it, and use it as a lever with which to achieve other goals.

They are interested in our military commitments and multiple wars, because those are a source of immense profit. They enjoy aiding and abetting a false sense of patriotism (the kind that gets us into shitholes like Afghanistan) but not a true sense (the kind that would get us out). They are all in favor of deracination and other forms of demoralization, because those render people weak, depressed, and less resistant to tyranny, more compliant, and more despairing when it comes to anything ever changing. And they are all in favor of anything that erodes moral fiber, which explains the “media”, “the arts”, and "entertainment". And, just as a side line, they appreciate the psychological, sociological, and political value of maintaining a permanent, violent, drug-addicted underclass.

So when it comes to things like The Great Debt Limit Scare, all I can say is “relax”! Things are completely and totally under control. Congress will come up with something, Obama will be pleased, and life will go on... and our march toward slavery will proceed without the slightest bump in the road. Because despite all the claims to the contrary, all of these people are working for the same boss, or bosses... they are all fatally compromised, and have been ever since they got into politics... so what's going to change anything at this point? A few of them may talk themselves into thinking that they are still free agents, and still serving the interests of their constituents – but this is nothing more than a sad delusion. The fact is, they are tools – and the main difference among them is that some of them realize this, and some don't. Your guess is as good as mine as to which group is better off.

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