Beyond the warnings

The existential lemmings on whose wings we rest tumble coughing now out of the otherwise silent mines. That immovable force – we can never produce enough energy otherwise – having been eclipsed, the spewing and disappearances of species continue. The rout of rainforest canopy and wetlands picks up speed. The kids have noticed. The storms have worsened and the strategies to counter rising waters seem more absurd. The right-wing politicians have dusted off the petro-industry playbooks and memorized every formation; the left-side politicians are demanding still too much of confused citizens – move, exercise, drive less, pay more. Still, the little birds fly into the caves and we ride their feathers into the harden, cracked walls. They look out not for us, so who will?

Third parties to save us — insurance companies, geo-engineering, aliens — all of the same dubious provenance. We strengthen ourselves into a learned weakness, a precarious primordial of recent vintage. That con we have worked on ourselves has worked, and to call it out is to ask for more butter on the popcorn after the movie has begun. We are up the tree. The suspensions are disbelieved. Are we just watching and waiting? Does a watched tide rise?

The con – an abuse of confidence. To persuade by deception, cajolery. Flimflam, to use a technical term. We have successfully used it on ourselves, against ourselves, celebrated the winnings and scorned the sad losers who were taken. Who continue to be played. Who continue to be us.

There’s an element of art, of savvy, of dereliction, of due course, of just desserts, of merit! These all leave out something essential: the self-foist of the entire scam. Simultaneously reaping the rewards and the whirlwind will test our major faculties and they drown our lesser ones, not to mention facilities of all kinds along the coasts. Houston, (and not only) you have a problem. This is not, strictly speaking, the kind of conflicting ideas we intended to grapple with, and proof that even our depraved intentions can be misaimed and still solidly struck.

So here, now. New generations of impatient voting age beings, empowered unto political consciousness in less-than-snowy winter scenes; small generations of very rich old-timers, still mostly in charge of the levers and very reluctant to cede any power, electrical or otherwise; large-generations of status-Aquarians, just first-world enough to ignore the consequences, afford the luxuries sponsored by scaremongering and similar fictions about themselves and a way of life that is itself choking and smoking as it runs on fumes. The power of disbelief striking both ways against hearts closed and minds distracted, the practiced fear infects everything with the same virus of futility.

But there has never been such an as if. Surrounded by impossibility, we insist on the one option we don’t have– to do nothing. Afraid of words – we say little. Worried over violence, we arm everyone. Silence and furrowed brows however have very little effect on temperature, air quality or the lack of bees. The Zombie Lie as an actual tall tale about the living dead has been particularly devious. Almost like the promise behind ‘streets of gold,’ only more guttural in its vicarious appeal. A simple, harmless fiction, availed of increasingly bad writing and unnecessary plot devices, taking the place of minimal engagement with a far more-frightening reality. An obvious choice, maybe. Blunt, obtuse, with so many abstracted until-they-aren’t dimensions, there are a million ways to continue to ignore, to contest even on the basis of spite, and even when that spite is self-directed.

Susceptible to self-loathing, that’s where it happens. Start again. Unpack, separate and not the recycling. Investigate the fraud if you think it’s real, but be honest about what you find. Never was a corner that was not a part of a much larger room. If that’s where you, turn around.

Budget Deficit: Disappearing

If you read Paul Krugman, and you really should read Paul Krugman, this will come as exactly no news at all to you. But it’s a good thing Republicans have found some fake scandals to spike their poutrage, becuase the thing they’ve been screaming about for the last three years is going away:

according to the Congressional Budget Office, the debt disaster that has obsessed the political class for the last three years is pretty much solved, at least for the next 10 years or so.

The last time the CBO estimated our future deficits was February– just four short months ago. Back then, the CBO thought deficits were falling and health-care costs were slowing. Today, the CBO thinks deficits are falling even faster and health-care costs are slowing by even more.

Here’s the short version: Washington’s most powerful budget nerds have cut their prediction for 2013 deficits by more than $200 billion. They’ve cut their projections for our deficits over the next decade by more than $600 billion. Add it all up and our 10-year deficits are looking downright manageable. Following are the highlights.

Charts and graphs at the link, but you get the picture. Jees, these people.

One treeellion dollars

Dr. K brings the Platinum wrath:

[President Obama] will, after all, be faced with a choice between two alternatives: one that’s silly but benign, the other that’s equally silly but both vile and disastrous. The decision should be obvious.

For those new to this, here’s the story. First of all, we have the weird and destructive institution of the debt ceiling; this lets Congress approve tax and spending bills that imply a large budget deficit — tax and spending bills the president is legally required to implement — and then lets Congress refuse to grant the president authority to borrow, preventing him from carrying out his legal duties and provoking a possibly catastrophic default.

And Republicans are openly threatening to use that potential for catastrophe to blackmail the president into implementing policies they can’t pass through normal constitutional processes.

Enter the platinum coin.

I don’t get what kind of machine you would drop such a coin into but, as is well documented, I don’t understand a lot things.

The Fake Issue


The national debt is a fake political issue. I’ve had this conversation many times with family members with opposing political views, because it seems like the one issue on which we can at least agree. But it’s not. Because it’s only a political issue. The people who scream deficit don’t really care about it – they only want to use it to try and abolish the social safety net. You might agree with them. But using the deficit as the reason is a cowardly, dishonest way to achieve your goals.

President Clinton balanced the budget at the end of the 1990’s, and the very first thing that happened was that Republicans began screaming that The Surplus was a threat to our very existence. The deficit wasn’t mentioned again until another Democrat moved into the White House. Then suddenly, vapors.

Please note for future reference. The government is also neither a family household nor a business and should not be run like either. Anyone likening this or any government to either one is being purposefully dishonest and manipulative and should not be afforded the gravitas above that enjoyed by any random lifer in the lunch line at Marion USP, later this afternoon.

Image of the first debt clock licensed under Creative Commons.

Bill o’ Goods

Coming due to a waning superpower near you. To the Doghouse for your elucidification:

Medicare–it provides less than half the medical expenses of its beneficiaries, the elderly and the disabled–is13% of the Federal budget. Total Medicare spending in 2009 was $484 billion. In 2009 the total interest on the National Debt attributable to military spending was $390 billion. That’s the interest we pay on all things military (including VA costs and military pensions) for having acted, since 1946, as though it were perpetually 1944.

Our ten Nimitz-class supercarriers represent a $450 billion collection of holes in the ocean in construction costs alone; they’re scheduled to be replaced by 2040 by an equal number of Gerald Ford-class hulks at twice the cost, assuming you believe 2005 estimates, which you shouldn’t. That’s construction costs. Not development, nor maintenance, nor upgrades, attendant fleet, staffing, planes, aviation fuel, or the cost someone will eventually bear to do something with the twin reactors when we don’t need ’em anymore. That’s our supercarrier Navy. No one else in the world has any. Their role is to intimidate tenth-rate military powers, since we haven’t figured out how to invade any on the ground.

Which is distinct from figuring out why we need to invade any, since that answer is either too amorphous to pin down, or too brutally self-reflective to ever see the light of newsprint.

Friends, Romans

For some Friday reading on Sunday, and in honor of the independence of this great nation, I give you Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the occasion of our demise:

At a time when the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in our country are doing phenomenally well and in many cases have never had it so good, while the middle class is disappearing and poverty is increasing, it is absolutely imperative that any deficit-reduction package that passes this Congress not include the horrendous cuts, the cruel cuts in programs that working people desperately need that are utilized every day by the elderly, by the sick, by our children, and by the lowest income people in our country, that the Republicans in Congress, dominated by their extreme rightwing, are demanding.

America is not about giving tax breaks to billionaires and attacking the most vulnerable people in our country. We must not allow that to happen.

In my view, the President of the United States needs to stand with the vast majority of the American people and say no to the Republican leadership and make it clear that enough is enough. No, we will not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in this country–on our children, on our seniors and the sick. No, we will not do that. Working families in this country have already sacrificed enough in terms of lost jobs, lost wages, lost homes, lost pensions. The working families of this country are hurting right now. Enough is enough.

Read the whole 90-minute speech at the link, which he gave unyieldingly in the well the other day. Like it, friend it, do whatever it is you do to pass these things around.

Budget Quiz

It gets propagandized talked about a ton. How much do you know about the Federal Budget? Try this.

I was a dazzling 7 for 12, which I think would be an ‘F’ in common parlance. Humbling.