Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The American Prokaryote*

This will not surprise you.

Having grown rich and influential by supping lavishly on every disastrous Republican economic scheme --
Yes, There Is a New Economy
Thanks to once-in-a lifetime productivity gains, Bush's plans are easily affordable
MAR 19, 2001
This year's tax and budget debate really comes down to one essential question: Is the money going to be there? The Congressional Budget Office projects surpluses of about $ 5.6 trillion over the next 10 years. The Republicans insist that those projections are conservative, so the government can afford to return $ 1.6 trillion to the taxpayers and still have money left over for Social Security, Medicare, and an $ 800 billion contingency fund. The Democrats cry that projections are notoriously inaccurate, that the tax cuts will blow a hole in the budget, and that the Bush administration's risky scheme (which sailed through the House last week) would cast us back into the days of piling debt.
...even if today's productivity improvements are only on the scale of, say, the improvements our economy saw after World War II, we may be in for a long and sunny ride. There is a rough historical pattern here...
-- and every soul-killing Republican foreign disaster --
The Collapse of the Dream Palaces
Mass destruction of mistaken ideas.
APR 28, 2003

... Now that the war in Iraq is over, we'll find out how many people around the world are capable of facing unpleasant facts. For the events of recent months confirm that millions of human beings are living in dream palaces, to use Fouad Ajami's phrase. They are living with versions of reality that simply do not comport with the way things are. They circulate and recirculate conspiracy theories, myths, and allegations with little regard for whether or not these fantasies are true. And the events of the past month have exposed them as the falsehoods they are.
Finally, there is the dream palace of the American Bush haters. In this dream palace, there is so much contempt for Bush that none is left over for Saddam or for tyranny. Whatever the question, the answer is that Bush and his cronies are evil. What to do about Iraq? Bush is evil. What to do about the economy? Bush is venal. What to do about North Korea? Bush is a hypocrite.

In this dream palace, Bush, Cheney, and a junta of corporate oligarchs stole the presidential election, then declared war on Iraq to seize its oil and hand out the spoils to Halliburton and Bechtel. In this dream palace, the warmongering Likudniks in the administration sit around dreaming of conquests in Syria, Iran, and beyond. In this dream palace, the boy genius Karl Rove hatches schemes to use the Confederate flag issue to win more elections, John Ashcroft wages holy war on American liberties, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and his cabal of neoconservatives long for global empire. In this dream palace, every story of Republican villainy is believed, and all the windows are shuttered with hate.

My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.

In other words, there will be no magic "Aha!" moment that brings the dream palaces down...
 -- that helped dig us the hole we are now in, David Brooks has now gone completely tharn**.
The American Precariat
FEB. 10, 2014

When foreign visitors used to describe American culture, they generally settled on different versions of one trait: energy. Whether driven by crass motivations or spiritual ones, Americans, visitors agreed, worked more frantically, moved more and switched jobs more than just about anybody else on earth.

That’s changing. In the past 60 years, for example, Americans have become steadily less mobile. In 1950, 20 percent of Americans moved in a given year. Now, it’s around 12 percent. In the 1950s and 1960s, people lived in the same house for an average of five years; now people live in the same house for an average of 8.6 years. When it comes to geographic mobility, we are now at historic lows, no more mobile than people in Denmark or Finland.

Why is this happening? A few theories offer partial explanations, but only partial ones...
Mr. Brooks goes on to feign complete bumfuzzlement as to why things are so fuck up and shit.  Complete at-sea-ness as to why young people lose hope when they look at the future that dilettante Conservative social engineers like David Brooks have bequeathed them and see a country where they have been abandoned to scavenge among the scraps left behind by the plutocrat posse's Great Loot Forward.

Sure, a lotta people have a lotta theories, but really, who the fuck knows?
The American Precariat seems more hunkered down, insecure, risk averse, relying on friends and family but without faith in American possibilities. This fatalism is historically uncharacteristic of America.
Hey maybe if we gave them travel vouchers!  Because the same outfit that turns a buck converting oil industry money into AstroTurfed climate change denial --
No one response is going to reverse the trend, but Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute believes government should offer moving vouchers to the long-term unemployed so they can chase opportunity. If we could induce more people to Go West! (or South, East or North) in search of opportunity, maybe the old future-oriented mind-set would return.
-- thinks that's a good idea.

*Prokaryote: An organism of the kingdom Monera (or Prokaryotae), comprising the bacteria and cyanobacteria, characterized by the absence of a distinct, membrane-bound nucleus or membrane-bound organelles, and by DNA that is not organized into chromosomes.

Judges would have also accepted "The American Parasite":
parasite: noun
1. an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.
2.a person who receives support, advantage, or the like, from another or others without giving any useful or proper return, as one who lives on the hospitality of others.
Or "The American Prevaricate":
prevaricate: to avoid telling the truth by not directly answering a question.
** tharn: A state of paralyzed fear or confusion. Can also be used to mean "looking foolish", "forlorn", "heartbroken".


bluicebank said...

I've been loathe to convey here that David Brooks keeps reminding me of a shit-for-brains editor I once replaced at a shitty weekly newspaper in the 1980s (paying my dues without the soundtrack of Sixto Rodriguez).

The editorial writer in question mused upon the op-ed pages about walks in the park and such, whilst the front page beamed with cutting news about City Hall malfeasance. The fucker had to go.

David Brooks is my 1980s incompetent editorialist, stumbling about in a fog of half-baked ideas which sells only to the half baked, or otherwise stoned.

David Brooks is irksome only because he has a job producing a product which should not exist. His product is muddled palaver, and his rich consumers are content or must settle with such thinned sauce.

Do the elite barf? One wonders.

brother yam said...

Great Loot Forward

I love you, man.

brother yam said...

Also, to misquote Donald Rumsfeld:

We know where they [jobs] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat

Marc McKenzie said...

Driftglass, that image....why? Now I'm mentally scarred....

But in all seriousness--great piece, as always.

dinthebeast said...

I don't know whether you read the Rude Pundit or not (he's on your blogroll) but for the past couple of days if he hasn't gone full Driftglass, he's gone at least three-quarters...

-Doug in Oakland

Monster from the Id said...

"Great Loot Forward"

I will not lose hope for Driftglass as long as he can produce bons mots of this sort. ^_^