Monday, August 01, 2011

Banana Republicans

I cannot express how depressing the "debt ceiling" deal is.

Not because of the substance.

We knew the wingnuts were going to kill the hostage. We knew that Obama would cave rather than let his financial interest cronies take a bath when Standard & Poors downgraded U.S. bonds. We pretty much knew how this was going to play out because we've watched Obama and the Teatards play this game for the past couple of years. The Nobel-Prize-Winner-In-Chief would make some good speeches, there would be some posturing and scuffling, like third-graders in a playground, and then the GOP would man up and Obama would roll on his back like a Gresham hootchie mama with six mojitos in her in a waterfront bar on Fleet Week.

No, the depressing part is that process has exposed us as the banana republic we are.

"Banana republic" is defined in Wiki as "...a pejorative term that refers to a politically unstable country dependent upon limited primary productions (e.g. bananas), and ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, corrupt politico-economic plutocracy or oligarchy"

Accepting that we at least are not yet dependent on bananas - although video entertainment may be the New Yellow - but the rest seems to fit us pretty well. The bulk of the nation doesn't want the "shared sacrifice" to be shared between those making $7,000 a year and those making $70,000. The majority of U.S. citizens doesn't want to face an uncertain future without reliable food inspections, safe bridges, clean air and water, and some hope of dying outside of poverty and desperation.

But the GOP minority and the oligarchs who love them would accept all that and more rather than accept taxes on those oligarchs. And, to echo the Rude Pundit, the thing I keep coming back to is that through all this the wars continue. That we prefer war to roads and health care and education here is unfathomably depressing.

Well, I give up. It appears that the U.S. is going to get the squalid little dictatorship of the conservatives it seems to either want, or not care about. So I'm going to open my campaign for the GOP in 2012 with the slogan "Vote Republican; Let's Just Get It The Fuck Over With". Let's elect all these batshit fuckers and open the cage doors and let them rampage amongst the populace, flinging their teabag monkey shit, hooting and leaping, tearing down the remnants of the New Deal.

A New Deal, let's not forget, that wasn't built from a cloud of eleemosynary fluffiness of FDR but from that cold-hearted old patrician's savage political calculation that his own class had to pay up in order to prevent a destitute and despairing U.S. public from making the choice that the Russian people had in 1917, the Italian in 1922, and the Spanish and German people would in years to come; the choice between the freedom to starve and want and be forced to fight, and the peace-work-and-bread slavery of fascism or communism.

Well, all right, let's have it, then.

Perhaps when enough people have watched their parents sink into destitution, when we have returned to Gilded Age levels of inequality, to Hoovervilles and bread lines, when the gated communities of the few stand like proud beacons above the decaying suburbs of the many...perhaps then the two-thirds of those in this country who describe themselves as "conservative" or "moderate" will see what their moderation and conservatism has brought them.I only hope that I am long dead by then.

(Cross-posted to MilPub)


basilbeast said...

That we prefer war to roads and health care and education here is unfathomably depressing

Not quite true. It's that key districts and well-heeled donors want to keep their well-paying jobs, so keep the security and war industry thriving.

Boeing is big in Wichita, should've seen Roberts and Moran scrambling to save those jobs.

Unknown said...

The rich usually seem to be in very good physical condition. I'm guessing that their flavor will be superb.

FDChief said...

I think this is just a symptom of the fact that we have gone from a sort-of papered-over oligarchy to an open oligarchy.

Let's not kid ourselves - some pigs have ALWAYS been more equal than others. But after a spastic attempt to close the gap in the Sixties and Seventies the oligarchs got back behind the driver's seat with Reagan in the Eighties and have been steering us back to where they like it - the Gilded Age - ever since.

What I see now is that there are really only two possibilities; that we can somehow re-create the populist revolution of the Depression, or we are going to return to what is in effect the government we had in the 1870's-to-1890s; more-or-less open corporatism. And I don't see how we manage the former. We just lucked out the last time; we had an unlikely combination of genuine social liberals, "good government" types, social activists of the Jacob Riis-variety...the wealthy shat the bed, and there were the Scary Bad Examples of Soviet Russia and the fascist revolutions of Europe (and populists like Huey Long here at home) to frighten the richies into accepting their 90% marginal rates to prevent getting the rope and the lampost.

There's nothing like that now, and we're most of us so insulated by our USDA-inspected, FICA-insured, FHWA-engineered government-funded safety cocoon that we don't actually believe that we could ever return to pre-New Deal levels of poverty, risk, and social fragmentation. And we may have to go there to get the mushy middle's collective head out of its collective ass and see how truly insane these Teatards and their "Back to 1850!" demands are.

Nope. I think we're just fucked.

Unknown said...

Chief, I agree with you that we're fucked. But I think that it's only in the short term -- IF we can avoid some kind of totalitarian regime like those that took power in most of Europe during the First Great Depression. My reasons for optimism: 1. numbers -- there are more sane people in this country than there are oligarchs and their stupid enablers. 2. the people in the 1890s-1930s weren't extraordinary people, they were a LOT of average folks who were really pissed off and determined not to have their children's lives be as dismal as theirs. (One of those ordinary guys was my granddad, who came back from WWI to become a union organizer. He got beat up, thrown in jail, and had his family's lives threatened by the 1920s version of teabaggers. He never quit, and along with a lot of others like him, he won -- and made it possible for us to have some hope that we'd get some reward for hard work.
Chief, I'm not quitting. I may not win before I die, but I'll do what I can to see that my son wins after I'm gone. You're not beat until you give up. I've been reading you here and on milpub for a while and I don't think you're giving up either.

The single word that sums up what's best in the American character is the one that McAuliffe used to reply to the Nazis at Bastogne. I'd have used two words but I've always had a problem with brevity.

FDChief said...

I guess while I'm not giving up, I don't have much hope, either.

I just don't see how we reassemble the coalition that put together the New Deal. The GOP has gotten a lot smarter about the mobbing up the yahoos and a lot more savage since then, and I think that to some extent they were shamed and broken by their failures. This crew has NEVER been shamed or silenced by any of their many failures. Hell, look at the record; Reaganism/Teabaggerism has been a failure since Poppy Bush called it "voodoo economics" back in the Eighties. Has the lack of anything trickling down stopped these dumb fucks?

I think it's in the novel Dune that Paul Muad'ib says that the ability to destroy comething gives you total control of it. In the Thirties the oligarchs didn't want to destroy the country to preserve the little bit of privilege they lost to the New Dealers. Today? Damn right - they'll blow it sky high and dance antic hay on the ruins from the moment the dust settles until the savages come to kill them and crack their bones for the sweet marrow.

Fighting nihilists is an ugly, ugly business, and even a victory can feel like a defeat.

Pluto said...

"or we are going to return to what is in effect the government we had in the 1870's-to-1890s; more-or-less open corporatism."

The Gilded Age nicely displayed the weakness of that system. Unless all of the corporations and their government allies align perfectly the system eventually tears itself apart and we have a MAJOR Depression which tends brings the Progressives to the top.

I'm not saying it will happen again but that seems to be the best way to restore the country to some sort of balance. We just have to survive the storm first.

Lisa said...

Yes, Chief -- I agree fully with your portrayal of Obama-as-hootchie-mama, our nation as Banana Republic, and your new 2012 slogan. That's about the size of it.

I hope Pluto's right, and that after a very rocky road we end up with progressives, but still, the joy the teatards display as they ravage their beloved nation is a horrifying embodiment of all too many patriotic Americans who feel they want to see a return of America in its heyday.

Our collective stupidity is staggering, and our recalcitrance makes the majority fail to accept the reality: This is NOT America of the 1950's; it has moved on for better or worse, and so must we if we are have an accurate assessments of the nation's needs and abilities.

pdxpharris said...

How do we reassemble the New Deal coalition? We don't. Minorities (ethnic, religious, sexual etc) didn't get invited into that coalition. Some political groups (on the left) were also considered beyond the pale, then, too. We need them in this one. We need to keep focused on the schwerpunkt, jobs and quality of life (or at this point - actual physical survival).

The stupid, to paraphrase the bible, will always be with us. But we outnumber them, and we're not stupid. And you're dead on about the Dune quote - the teabaggers and the scum who control them are suicide bombers, and they'll do whatever it takes to get their way. But we outnumber them, and we're not stupid. We need to find a credible threat to the 1% who own this country that'll scare them, and be prepared to pull the trigger if they don't flinch. I honestly don't know what that is, yet, but I'm sure that somebody smarter than me can come up with a strategy.

Also, I posted a comment at

as Paul Harris that has a link to a great post ("FOR THE HUNDREDTH TIME: THERE IS MORE TO POLITICS THAN ELECTIONS" at

that I think is very important.

*the 2 "unknowns" above are me: that'll teach me to click without reading first