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June 30, 2009


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I'm not sure whether the disappointment is Obama himself or the fact that our national conversation is essentially mediated by madmen. When Bush was elected, pushing the nation to new frontiers of right-wing extremism was a walk in the park. When a Democrat is in office, we hug the center line as if it were a precipice. Republicans vote in lock-step or else. Democrats are free to abandon ship if it so pleases their campaign contributors. Our moneyed elite tend to have certain expectations about their political servants.

Obama knows he is fundamentally checked by the default realities created by our hyena media, which are themselves underwritten by the same interest groups that lard the campaign coffers of the political class. It's basic rationale: the rich shall in no way suffer. At all.

We won't get real health care reform, the finanical sector shall continue to have their losses socialized but not their pay scales, gays will get "special recognition awards" and little else, global warming will be deemed too theoretical to worry about, the economy's unwinding and deleveraging will continue apace, and right-wing violence will steadily tick upwards.

How did right-wing extremism get mainstreamed in this country and why is it disallowed to even mention this in our national conversation? Lazy and corrupt pundits wield false equivalencies to undermine any criticism of right-wing hysteria. "Keith Olbermann arched his eyebrows! On TV!" DHS blandly warms of right-wing violence (duh!) and high dudgeon erupts.

The honeymoon was election night. The seven-year itch fast approaches.

It never fails to amaze me how tolerant the "free market" hawks are toward China. (1) It's protectionist; (2) the State constantly intervenes in the economy on a massive and fundamental scale, not only financially but also in mandating activity and its terms; (3) It's currency is also protected, which helps its trade position and cushions it from financial turmoil (though it also makes it non-interconvertible, which is why Chinese currency won't be replacing the dollar any time soon); (4) it's ruled by a dictatorship which outlaws independent unions and insures artificially low wage and benefit structures (some with prison labor) and otherwise keeps overhead low by keeping that pesky workplace and environmental regulation to a minimum (as Fido will tell you, assuming he survived the last toxic scare).

The difference is that today international capital has no national allegiance and welcomes such circumstances provided they are allowed to share in the big profits to be had. As soon as China started allowing foreign investment on terms acceptable to foreign capital, the annual spectacle of "Most Favored Nation trading status" -- cynical bit of hypocrisy that it was -- was done away with altogether. Nobody seems to care about China's political system any more because its New Economic Policy now allows capitalist activity.

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