Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Divide And Conquer

 I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.
-- Robber baron Jay Gould (also quoted in Gangs of New York)

It's election day here in Wisconsin, and all eyes in the world are focused on my little state. This election is pretty much to determine whether entire state governments can be bought and sold like stock futures. Bases on the early information, the answer will probably be a resounding yes.At least the heavy-handed cloud of political propaganda will lift for a couple of months. Wisconsin residents have been browbeaten with dozens of robocalls per day over the past several weeks. Maybe it's time to admit that democracy is a failed system of government.

This weekend I saw a fellow perched at an intersection with a giant crudely hand-painted sign reading "Democrat Perversion No Homo Marriage", and a lovely symbol of two men with the "not" sign around them. Apparently he had nothing to do but stand on an urban streetcorner on a hot summer day with his sign. From the looks of him, I'd say he was probably a payment or two from foreclosure. Later that day at the gym, some guy at the front desk was having an animated conversation, ranting and raving about how Obama wants to "reallocate wealth"  and how the democrats are the most racist part in history. He was bearded and seemed to be dressed as a painter. His ravings were discursive, rabid, and semi-coherent. Of course, he was absolutely convinced of everything he was saying, most of which was verbatim from talk radio. At least the guy behind the counter was a little more perceptive, arguing that both parties have it in for us. It confirmed my suspicions that while the Democrats may be beholden to big-money, the GOP is now a big tent for all the worse impulses in the American psyche. Corn-pone Nazis, here we come.

That's the nice thing about America - the semi-homeless minimum wage laborer and the billionaire are equally adamant that socialism is the greatest threat to the human race. And they're equally adamant that the wealthy should keep every penny they earn and that redistribution is immoral. Yes, once again the middle class will slit its own throat, as it's been doing pretty consistently over the last forty years or so. And so we head to that last round of Monopoly...

Of course these were just a couple of people. but these are the people that participate in politics today. These people vote. The worst are full of passionate intensity...

We are a crude, stupid, ignorant people, and we'll continue to get the government we deserve.

So we in Wisconsin, unless there's a surprise, can probably look forward to being the incubator for the Tea-Party's brave new world of no unions, minimum wage, lousy education, bought-and-sold legislators, no taxes on the wealthy, no public transit, and privatized everything future. We can look forward to every ALEC-sponsored bill sailing through the legislature, turning the state that launched the Progressive movement int a banana republic. But don't worry - it's coming to a state near you very soon.

VIDEO: Scott Walker's Divide-and-Conquer Strategy Is "The New Model for the Country (Mother Jones)

The Dark Money Behind the Wisconsin Recall (MJ)


  1. So the election was bought? Really? Did you say that when Obama outspent McCain 2 to 1? Or is that different because you approve of the result?

  2. I love it when a comment makes my point even better than I do. Read the above. Divide and conquer, folks.

    For the record, I was not blogging in 2008, but I think it’s obvious that the rich got their money’s worth by backing Obama – no meaningful financial reform, no prosecutions for financial fraud, and a health care plan that’s a giveaway to the medical-industrial complex, and a continuing ratcheting up of the police state (as extensively documented here). Yes, the election in 2008 was bought and sold. Every election is. That’s all “democracy” at anything larger than a municipal level is – a fundraising exercise. If you’re looking for partisan sites, I suggest you look elsewhere; we deal with reality here.

    I think what happens is that the oligarchs know that whoever is in office is doomed to fail as capitalism is a failing economic system. So their money sloshes between one party and the other to make the people think they have the illusion that “something is getting done”. The Bush administration was such an undeniable failure, and the McCain campaign so inept, that they had to back somebody else. Eventually they’ll switch their fundraising back to the other party, as looks to be already happening for “corporations are people” Romney. Who sits in the Oval Office makes as little difference as what ailing grey-haired coot presided over the Politburo.

    However, there does seem to be a difference between the oligarchs that back the Democrats and those that back Republicans. Democratic oligarchs are relatively enlightened capitalists who recognize that you need an educated middle class to work in your offices and purchase your products, you need accountability, you need some social mobility and social trust, you need things like investment and infrastructure, etc. The Republicans are backed by radical right-wing Jacobins who want to turn America into a society of hereditary plutocrats ruing over a third world country of barely illiterate peasant laborers with no rights who can be broken at the wheel and discarded, and with no social mobility whatsoever. They don’t care whether we become a society of gravel roads, collapsing bridges, no streetlights and mass incarceration as long as they can rule over it. Clearly Tuesday was a victory for the latter.

    1. Should be "barely literate." I guess I'm barely illiterate myself.


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