Nov 03 2012

Out, vile jelly!

I find it hard to express my contempt for the Sunday morning gas bags and that’s saying a lot because I have an on-line thesaurus and know how to use it.

One of the things I’m trying to do with our sites, DocuDharma and The Stars Hollow Gazette, is find some alternative programming for our readers so that they’re not tempted to gouge out their eyes like Gloucester (Act III, Scene 7).

This piece comes to us courtesy of The Real News and their YouTube Channel and features Bill Black, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri Kansas City

Part 1

Part 2

The Great Betrayal – and the Cynicism of calling it a Grand Bargain

William K. Black, The Real News

Tuesday, 30 October 2012 14:10

Wall Street’s greatest desire is privatizing Social Security. Wall Street stands to make scores of billions of dollars annually in additional fees should it ever buy enough politicians to privatize Social Security. The Republican Party’s greatest goal is unraveling the safety net. They always wish to attack the most successful and popular programs introduced by the Democratic Party. Their problem is that they know it is toxic for Republican candidates to try to destroy the safety net. Only Democrats, through a “Great Betrayal” can give Republicans the political cover they need to unravel the safety net.

Because unraveling the safety net is unnecessary, harmful, and politically insane for a Democrat and politically suicidal for Republicans, the proponents of these terrible policies have long failed in their efforts. Republicans, however, have now found a fifth column within the Democratic Party who they hope will open the door to attacking the safety net. This would provide the political cover that Republicans could use to unravel fully the safety net.

The Republican Party’s approach to convincing Obama to commit the Great Betrayal cleverly exploits three human weaknesses. First, Obama wants to be considered a “centrist.” Second, Obama yearns to be considered “bipartisan.” These first two weaknesses are forms of vanity. The siren song is “do this and you will become known as the President who acted as a statesman to cut across Party and ideological divides and make the hard choices essential to allowing America to continue to be a great nation – while ‘saving’ the safety net.”

The third weakness that the Republicans seek to exploit is fear – and the death of alternatives. The mantra of European austerity proponents is “there is no alternative.” The only choice is between austerity and collapse, and that means there is no real choice. The Republican strategy is to create a series of “moral panics.” As the name implies, this involves the creation of a special form of panic falsely premised on immorality. (Think: “Reefer Madness” or Professor Hill causing River City, Iowans to believe that the arrival of pool hall demonstrated the imminent moral collapse of their children.) The Great Betrayal can only occur if Obama succumbs to mindless (and innumerate) panic.

The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party has to lead the effort to save America from the Great Betrayal. It is essential to focus on the self-destructive nature of austerity.

(T)he Rubin-wing of the Democratic Party that has been seeking to create the moral panic, but even he admits that “austerity now” “will slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits.” The Great Betrayal of the safety net will begin if Obama is able to deliver the “grand bargain” imposing austerity that would “slow the economy, cut jobs, and increase deficits” and unravel the safety nets – the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse.

Obama is telling the media that the Great Betrayal is his first, and overarching, priority should he be re-elected. We are forewarned and we must act now to make clear that we will block the Great Betrayal and crush at the polls any member of Congress who supports it.

Do not concede the phrase “grand bargain” to the proponents of the betrayal. We should heed Camus’ warning that it is essential to call a plague by its real name if one is to resist it – and it is essential to resist the pestilence. “[W]hen you see the suffering and pain that it brings, you have to be mad, blind or a coward to resign yourself to the plague.” We must refuse to resign ourselves to being betrayed by Democratic leaders. Our actions must make it clear that we are not mad, blind, or cowards. We refuse to fall for their faux moral panics. It is our leaders who are all too often mad, blind, and cowards.

Liberals fear grand bargain betrayal if President Obama wins


11/2/12 4:26 AM EDT

He wants a large-scale deficit deal. But it would inevitably mean making concessions to Republicans that infuriate the Democratic base that spent the past two years and tens of millions of dollars trying to return him to the White House. Progressives worry about which Obama will show up after Election Day: the pragmatist who offered benefit cuts to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in the 2011 debt ceiling talks or the partisan chastened by a failed deal to slice into prized Democratic programs.

“The base is not going to be happy with ham and egg justice” that requires disproportionate sacrifice from all but the wealthy, said Van Jones, Obama’s former green jobs czar and founder of Rebuild the Dream, a progressive advocacy group. “It is a fiscal showdown. We’re not going to blink. There is no reason in the world why the pillars of middle-class security, the earned benefits that our parents fought for, should be on the chopping block.”

Obama, if he wins, will assert that voters had a choice – and his vision on taxes, entitlements and the deficit prevailed.

“If I’ve won, then I believe that’s a mandate for doing it in a balanced way,” Obama said this week in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We’ve already made a trillion dollars worth of cuts. We can do some more cuts. We can look at how we deal with the health care costs in particular under Medicare and Medicaid in a serious way. But we are also going to need some revenue.”

Obama signaled last week that he could revive the offer he made to Boehner, which was a mix of new revenues, reduced federal spending and entitlement benefit cuts such as raising the Medicare eligibility age and lowering the cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients

Administration officials say the range of options that Obama has considered in the past are well known, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if they are resurrected.

But progressive leaders don’t want Obama to go back there. Privately, they use words like “debacle” and “betrayal” to describe the backlash that would ensue. They are far more measured in their public statements ahead of the election.

The unions and advocacy groups have invested time and money in the battleground states pushing the message that Obama is better than Republican Mitt Romney on creating jobs, protecting the middle class and preserving Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

And if Obama wins, they say they plan to remind him who is responsible for delivering him a second term – and it won’t be a coalition of Republicans, deficit hawks or even independents, but rather a Democratic base that expects him to stand firm on key priorities.

“MoveOn’s 7 million members have made clear that ending the Bush tax cuts for folks earning over $250,000 and preventing any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are top priorities – that’s a key reason why MoveOn members are working so hard to reelect President Obama and elect progressive champions to Congress,” said Ilya Sheyman, campaign director for MoveOn.org Political Action. “After Election Day, our members will expect Congress and the president to focus on passing a real jobs program, instead of making job-killing cuts, even if it requires working into January or beyond.”

The AFL-CIO and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees will keep their organizers in the field well after Tuesday to pressure lawmakers as their attention turns from electoral politics to deficit deal making.

The network will hold what they’re calling a national day of action Nov. 8 and follow up later in the month with lobbying events. They’ll also release results of an election night survey by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg on why voters went to the polls.

“It is safe to say many groups are very concerned that a grand bargain will be foisted on the Congress that goes against what Democratic candidates promised on the campaign trail,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future. “And it is clear the president is considering making the grand bargain that he offered to Boehner previously.”

Yup, Van Jones and MoveOn getting all outraged and stuff November 8th AFTER he no longer needs a single vote again, ever.

That will hold his feet to the fire.

(h/t Naked Capitalism)

1 comment

  1. ek hornbeck

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