pretend time

Here we are, in early October, and the tragicomedy circus of national American politics rolls on. Taking a peek out at the world to see what’s going on, it’s virtually impossible to avoid being blasted by manic noise, and it doesn’t form a very flattering picture of us as a nation. That applies whether we’re talking about the politicians themselves, all of the players around them in the mad games, what is supposed to be a functioning free press, or the citizenry themselves.

 

People run virtually anything that happens and anything the current president says through some reality distortion filters until they arrive at conclusions that they proclaim as more obvious evidence of cartoon villain Obama.

Some people express their disappointment about the term of Barack Obama as president, as he has been president of the United States for over three and a half years, and they can’t quite understand how everything has not been just fixed right up.

Reality hardly seems to enter into people’s thinking and expectations.

Getting into actual reality based criticisms of the president of his roughly three and a half years in office so far is nearly impossible as it runs right back into the fog of reality distortion of the crowd holding notions of cartoon villain fictional Obama in their heads.

The irony is that much of the real items to criticize come down to Obama being a continuation of G.W. Bush. The US government has done nothing to restore the rule of law and sanity to banking and finance, still ignores the climate changes as the planet warms from greenhouse effect and we already see ugly repercussions. Obama continues to indulge the national narcissistic hubris of thinking that we’re designated to be a military empire ruling the world, as that bankrupts the nation more and more and basically makes the rest of the human race think we’re assholes, and completely avoids getting the nation to face the reality of depletion of finite resources of hydrocarbons deposits coupled with our decades of massive overconsumption.

In short, he has almost completely avoided doing what is urgently needed; to face the nation and say, this is the situation, this is what we must do, and you’re probably not going to like it.

 

People view a showbiz television “debate” farce and regard candidate Romney as “the winner” by what they view as a better performance, with “performance” being the key word, by just aggressively and blatantly simply lying his ass off, as has always been the normal mode of operation for the man ever since he started trying to become president five years ago.

Part of the endless stream of lying and absurd pandering of Willard Romney in the recent television debate show was to declare that, in his plan to fix the federal government’s financial problems, he would cut federal government aid to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which funds PBS and NPR.

The 2011 allocation of money for US military operations in Afghanistan was 119.4 billion dollars.

The 2012 US federal government support money to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which in turn funds PBS and NPR) was 445 million dollars. That works out to roughly a buck and a half per American citizen for a year.

He also declared that if he were president, despite the United States government being in the financial state it’s in, and his proclamations about it, that he would increase military spending, when the total of everything under the umbrella of “national security”, the military budget, extra appropriations, intelligence services and all, is about 1.2 trillion dollars.

Let all that settle into your mind for reflection.

The deadly and pointless exercise in Afghanistan still continues, absurdly, despite having no relevance to the purpose of the military to maintain a defense of the United States, with Obama continuing this, on up to the present day. On the other hand, Romney shows no sign of anything resembling even basic intelligence about anything involving either defense of the nation or anything involving dealing with the rest of the world in any way.

Part of the Mendacious Mittens show in the TV debate was telling moderator Jim Lehrer that he would cut PBS, because he couldn’t justify “borrowing money from China” to pay this support for public broadcasting as a public service. But, apparently, at the same time, when you compile everything Romney has said, he’s fine with borrowing money from China to spend more on military expenditures, so he can get tough with China and show them who runs the world.

 

Here we are, in early October 2012, and we still have the same ongoing problems anf repercussions of misbehavior and insanity in banking and finance. The slightest attempt to reform things runs into an obstacle course in political dysfunction and manipulation. Legislation gets sabotaged, and then carved up more, as governance in America has been pretty much fully hijacked by Wall Street and the banksters.

In the world of banking and finance and the economy, lurking quietly in the background, apparently the world of financial derivatives hasn’t been sorted out, cleaned up, and corrected; it has grown massively. The epic disaster of 2008 wasn’t enough of a clue for everybody, evidently, and despite all the happy chatter about the Dodd-Frank bill, which was thoroughly sabotaged by Wall Street, their lobbyists, and the elected representatives they more or less fully own, nothing has been done about this.

If Willard Romney were elected, it’s pure comedy to even suggest that he would address the matter as needed, doing things that Obama has not done, such as press for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Banking Act of 1933, and bring the rule of law and some general sanity to the bizarre farce of banking and finance as it now exists, including hammering all of the players involved in all the various swindles.

 

Talk about all of the above, and you’ll find people saying “don’t blame me, I voted for Ron Paul!”.

Be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

What kills me is everything you hear about the Fed from Dr. Paul, and his supporters, about “end the Fed” and so on, that seems to ignore everything beyond that. Alright, say you eliminate the Federal Reserve bank. Then what? What’s your plan after that?

Seriously.

What?

There are very definitely major, serious, profound problems in the world of the Federal Reserve, and central banks elsewhere in the world, but much of the Ron Paul and associates line seems to just focus on the Fed itself and debt of our government, chained together, and completely ignore and neglect the world of banking and finance beyond that..

I’ve listened to Dr. Paul speak, and seem to have heard enough to get some sense of what he thinks in this area.

What does he think about regulation of banking and finance, and restoring the rule of law to this world, given the massive clusterfuck chaos we’ve experienced? He’s all against it. Ron Paul thinks that this is just government meddling in “The Free Market”, which he believes, in a kind of fantasy ideal that doesn’t match reality, is perfect. He seems to think that any regulation of banking and finance derails the market forces of some imagined perfection of self correction and sorting of merit and flaw and fraud.

I listened to part of a speech he gave to the kind of alternate convention that happened in Tampa separate from the Republican national convention, and he was clear and brief. Basically, he said his idea of regulation was, if you get it wrong, you go broke! Your mistake, your loss!

The naivete and raw ignorance of this is stunning. That’s the kind of thing where the good doctor has me turning and heading for the exit, quickly.

How about when there are no boundaries and guidelines and rules, and somebody’s really bad idea or misbehavior loses other people’s money, and makes other people go broke, people who never signed up for their game?

It’s as if the events and repercussions of 1929 and 2008 never happened.

 

The crazy games of financial derivatives continues even worse than before the house of cards implosion of 2008, described in the article Big Bank Derivative Bets Nearly Double In Six Years, which includes this quote:

Derivatives are simply bets. They finance no factories, no research, no colleges, no homes and no cars. Any jobs they produce are incidental and inconsequential relative to the potential risk they represent, the risk that credit exposure has been incorrectly figured by hundreds of billions of dollars if not more. Since big banks hold virtually all derivatives, and since taxpayers can face massive costs if big banks fail, it follows that something should be done to limit taxpayer risk….

That.

 

There’s a little item that’s a snapshot of unintended hilarity, found in a video clip from the defunct Glenn Beck television program, featuring actor Craig T. Nelson. It helps if you actually see the clip, and see the intensely earnest expression of righteous indignance on his face as he says, in one quick burst with no pauses, “I was on welfare and food stamps, did anybody help me? no!“.

It doesn’t get much funnier than that as a demonstration of determined unconsciousness, but it’s tragic irony in demonstrating a kind of attitude held by an astonishing portion of the American populace.

The problem is, it isn’t unusual. Just a bit more neatly packaged than usual.

You can find the almost stereotypical image of the combination of delusion and bad attitude of the spoiled rich kid in guys like Donald Trump and Willard Romney (both people utterly convinced that they’re people who should really be in charge), people who are apparently quite impressed with themselves and their positions in life, while oblivious to their good fortune and paving of their way by wealthy and prominent fathers.

Wind down to the middle-class kind of level, and there’s a different commonplace kind of attitude and self delusion, at a lower altitude, but with something in common with the above. There are loads of people who occupy an American middle-class kind of niche in life, who seem utterly convinced that it’s all down to them, all credit to themselves, and appear to be mostly (or entirely) oblivious to everything in history, circumstances, and good fortune that helped to put them in that world.

Look around America in 2012 and you’ll find masses of people in middle class lives and utterly convinced by years of political propaganda and the insular nature of their own lives, and period of history they’ve lived, that things like Roosevelt’s New Deal, and unions, and other things, were or still are some kind of communist plot parasitically attacking the worthy and productive, while completely failing to understand that without those things, before their particular lifetime, their lives probably would have been very, very different, and by that I mean not nearly as wonderful.

Some of these people happily go along with notions that all government is some sort of obstacle to be removed, to be knocked down to as close to nothing as possible, with private everything then enabling a prosperous utopia of perfect freedom. There were societies, centuries ago, with minimal and ineffective national governments and “privatized” everything. It was called feudalism.

Talk about all that, and somebody is sure to start chattering at with with some bullshit about “oh, you socialist Big Government liberals, and your precious Obama, and you want something for nothing and Stalinism and..” whatever cliched idiocy might come pouring forth from people who have been so misled, are so confused, and are so oriented around trying to fit everything into boxes labelled Liberal/Conservative, Left/Right, Democrat/Republican, Red State/Blue State that they’ve become unable to comprehend anything as it actually is in reality, and have a serious, rational, factual reality based discussion about any fucking thing in the world.

Public consciousness and serious discussion is polluted and clouded by people who can no longer face and comprehend anything of substance realistically and honestly.

 

People get themselves caught up in all kinds of happy propaganda about petroleum resources and consumption, and other finite deposits of hydrocarbons, enabling assorted pretense and gross delusions, based on “studies” from people like Maugeri, or Yergin, or something that warps reality to paint a picture that people like better than reality, that tells them, hey, it’s all good, no problem here, carry on as you were!

It’s easier to pretend, or so people think.

Most people can’t see anything beyond what the current retail price of a gallon of gasoline, with no idea of what’s going on, but they think they do.

 

The fact that only candidates of “the two-party system” are even on the radar, which is a problem of its own, doesn’t mean there are no others. This needs attention, and I totally agree with the assessments of J.H. Kunstler in his recent book Too Much Magic, where he analyzed the current Democratic and Republican parties. There, he described the basic characters of the two, as the Democratic party having become “the party of nothing in particular”, and the Republican party as “the party of stupidity”.

I think he nailed it.

To interject something here from the “this just in!” bin, get a good look at an example of the mental illness infecting American politics in the form of Charlie Fuqua, candidate for the Arkansas state legislature. This one is particularly extreme, but at this point, not even surprising.

But generally the state of things in America in 2012 is that the political realm is badly failing all of us, and has for quite a long time now. More than that, it is, to a large degree, our own fucking fault. We’ve enabled the dysfunction, and we’ve done that by our own ignorance, sometimes sheer stupidity, and a lot of unrealistic and petulant expectations and assumptions about a lot of things.

You want to know why things are such a mess? Go look in a fucking mirror.

Very few people are willing to step back and have a good look at their own participation and complicity, or at least their willingness to play along with things that became severely problematic, because, for a long time, it seemed to suit them just fine. Virtually all of us are guilty to varying degrees.

The long game of pretending came to the end games of reality and repercussions.

And there was pouting.

And people are still pretending.

Given a population that seems to have largely decided to just dispense with dealing with reality clearly, honestly, rationally and coherently, even as events of reality are kicking our asses all over the place, probably even more so because reality is kicking our asses, how could there be any mystery about how the political realm in America has become such a surreal song and dance and puppet show of pretension?

Maybe next time here the subject will be reality time.

Will anybody be laying attention? Who knows?

“When societies get badly stressed, delusional thinking increases. We are now in that situation.” – James Howard Kunstler

 

 

 

 

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