TRASH POLITICS - THE DEFAULT CHOICE
The morph of old-style politics in almost all Western countries brings daily proof of how far the rot has gone. The end result is NAP-No Alternative Politics, an amorphous New Left-New Right mess hiding the basic refusal to govern: for this, voters and taxpayers are supposed to be thankful.
The built-in drive to "up the ante", what we can call the theatricals, only creates ever less stable or survivable situations - on great present example is the Obama-versus-Congress fiscal cliff talkshow. For No Alternative politicians like Obama, or Rormney if he had been voted president, the seemingly endless game is to keep talking, keep the theater going, but of course and obligatorily always do nothing. More and more and more often however, because of accumulated and stoic refusal to govern, the do nothing option is off the menu. We can only fear the consequences.
Left and Right have no remaining place in new No Alternative government or lack of it. Designer wars (called 'foreign policy'), crony capitalism (called 'the economy'), and feebly managing a semi-literate mass of couched potato consumers (called 'society') are now what 'government' means. This morph takes politics ever further from what remaining ordinary voters want and light years away from their ordinary problems - which always get worse. The morph, in fact a lurid mutation is easily summarized by what official New Left means, today. The "market friendly" British New Labour Party and its "ikonic" recent leader Tony Blair who is openly accused of war crimes by many, inside and outside Iraq, is one huge example. The French Parti Socialiste, engaged in ever accelerating the de-industrialization and pauperization of France, which it calls "a modernization quest", is another.
Popularity, or rather unpopularity has nothing to do with No Alternative politics and government. The more unpopular the figurehead leaders, whether New Left or New Right, the more the same leaders will call themselves "courageous", strike a so-called "Churchillian stance" and keep their own party going - the drift to No Party politics.
In the US, for some foreigners and plenty of far-right Americans, Obama's Democrat administration is "mutant socialist" but the old style right in Western countries, ranging across christian democrats, liberals and petit-bourgeois class-based centrist parties, has suffered the same meltdown. The new left has mutated from doves to raptors but the new right are lethally dangerous two-legged reptiles straight out of Jurassic Park, Official New Left is right, official New Right is extreme right. So called "centrist parties" no longer exist, like the middle classes they supposedly represent, or represented. The New Right's morph has moved it far from old style parties, to party platforms which would make Mussolini or Hitler raise their eyebrows (with approval) at the rabid mix and mingle of xenophobia, fake patriotism, real racism, money fetishism, social exclusion and injustice, one law for the rich and another for the poor, and virulent repeated aggression of designated "hostile foreign groups and inferior nations". The New Left systematically apes and copies the New Right. There is No Alternative.
DOING THE BUSINESS COMES EASY
The economy is the arena for instant quick fixes which (but of course!) only feature more easy pickings for the banker-broker-trader fraudster clique as the real economy becomes an antique "What's that?" talking piece. This makes remaining ordinary people shudder but what can they do?
In September 2012 Obama's protege and friend, "left leaning" Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel broke the Chicago Teachers Union with a bid to privatize the city's public schools. His proposal was to subject teachers and schools to performance measurement based on students' test scores. Teachers whose students scored poorly would be fired. Schools which scored poorly would be shut down. The student-customers from the non-performing schools would then be farmed out to "charter schools" - the New Left codeword for mostly-for-profit institutions run by a rash of all new, on the button, go for the dosh corporations with strident names like Rocketship Corp. and Victory Schools of America.
The teachers union went out on strike, but public education in the US is unlikely to resist the No Alternative drift to more expensive, lower performance education for a new society and Neu Ersatz Kultur which despises education. Footballers and Celeb' People are OK, but education is for Losers and Dummies. Illiteracy is secretly admired - at least it shields you from knowing too much. In the Chicago teacher strike case, a few well-aimed threats from "left-oriented" Mayor Rahm, including the simple and straight mass disqualification of all public system teachers, soon had the strikers back in their classrooms. The negotiated settlement terms included a longer working day, for the same pay, teacher ranking based on student test scores, and complete no-appeal hiring and firing by Rahm-appointed deciders. Teachers who "don't fit" New Left Chicago are out.
For "left leaning" Mayor Rahm of Chicago, as openly stated to news agencies like Reuters by his spin doctors and advisors, a "positive outcome" for Rahm's financial backers was top of the want-it list in his quest to privatize schooling: in other words the Boss needs to deliver, to keep his greedy pack of Associates happy. Otherwise he is out. To sugar the pill, to spin the story the right (or far-right) way, news shows and Obama regime-friendly editorial writers concluded that "for most Americans" the result of the Chicago strike was a victory for the teachers because most kept their jobs a little longer, only suffered small pay cuts per hour worked, and retained most of their health insurance benefits.
Rahm Emanuel was Obama's first chief of staff, and selected many of the Obama administration's key personnel, including Education secretary Arne Duncan who launched the $4.4 billion "Race to the Top" programme for pushing States to privatize their schools. The funding was based on a lottery-type draw with only 12 States out of 50 having the right numbers on their betting slip. The winning numbers were a complex of pork barrel tradeoffs based on States needing to bid low, to get the highest Federal hand-outs and greatest protection against legal blowback from teachers who will lose their livelihood, and from parents who will not be enthralled to suddenly pay much more to have much less education for their kids - and might sue. Accusations of rigging, favoritism and under the table political deals with over the table big cash handouts were rife. And education in all that? Why ask stupid questions?
CRONY CAPITALISM - KEEP 'EM POOR
For the Obama administration, like any other New Left party system, the convergence with the New Right neoliberal No Alternative agenda is complete and total. For example president Obama, in the same way as France's Parti Socialiste president Hollande has taken no action, except the most symbolic, to improve minimum wages or working conditions. For Hollande, in fact, the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, with no pay for sick days, holidays, or vacation time is a dream goal. Creating and maintaining a huge ragtag army of Working Poor whose wages hardly cover their housing and daily transport costs, food and electricity, is a veritable triumph of good sense, for the New Left-New Right. As their servile rentacrowd of editorial scribblers in regime-firendly media say, there is No Alternative to getting competitive through poverty for the multitude and riches for the greedy few. While awaiting the Flash Crash, more injustice is the only solution - there is No Alternative!
One of the best jokes in Obama-style New Left America is the Federal minimum wage for restaurant staff, and a few other jobs where slave workers "might be expected to receive customer tips". This is $2.13 an hour, making it unlikely that Lucky Worker restaurant staff could afford to buy even one meal of the type they serve each day. As a peek behind the scenes in any upmarket New York eaterie will show, plenty of the illegal immigrant kitchen staff do not even get $2 an hour and some sleep on the floor, with all-American legal resident cockroaches for company at night. But of course, declared and legal American workers will be entitled to Obamacare.
The Obama healthcare trick is easy to understand: this is a universal and obligatory system. People who refuse to buy Obamacare health insurance will be forced to pay a yearly $695 penalty. Given that the cost of the most basic private health insurance in the United States is far greater than this, many people will likely remain uninsured, and pay the $695-a-year opt out when Obamacare starts 2014.
Even more squeaky-clean for Free Marketeers and starting in 2017, entire States will be able to opt out of Obamacare, if they present "an alternative plan", which has no need to go to Congress for vote but will only need a smile and a nod from the Secretary of Health and Human Services. A short while after Obama quits power, therefore, a new Republican president can triumphantly announce that every Republican-controlled state abandoned Obama-type new left universal healthcare as soon as they put their presidential feet in the White House. Between times, untold billions of dollars will be squandered. There is No Alternative.
DESIGNER WARS - KEEP 'EM WAR HAPPY
When the laisser-faire rot has gone far enough (and that was years ago) the labels "left" and "right" are only useful at election time, when they are used for "branding", what the TV talking heads call "iconic emblems", but the New Economy ensures total convergence in reality. The chaos-based economy symbolised by the spinning roulette wheels, one-armed bandits and "can't fail" algorithm based betting strategies of the trader rabble or "community" has fully spilled over, invaded, engulfed and colonized the political and social arenas. The foreign policy domain, also.
New Left-New Right foreign policy is rigorously identical - breastbeating and tub-thumping for war - but only directed at small, disorganized, lightly armed enemies and even completely imaginary "hostile forces", who just happen to be Islamic, or poor, or brown but above all and obligatorily are non-Western. These designated enemies don't have to be a nation but only need to be "overseas foes", offering a de luxe range of targets for 'coon bashing'. For a variety of supposed rationales handed down over the decades this mostly concerns Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East, for the Obama New Left administration, and Africa for New Left and New Right Europeans. In a now well-honed ritual, when outgoing No Alternative presidents and prime ministers announce the wind-down or end of one Designer War, the incomer will almost instantly start a new one of his or her own. This is progress. There is No Alternative.
False and real enemies created and shuffled by a febrile Think Tank crowd of so-called strategic defence and security advisers to our Trash Politics leaderships on a daily basis, but time almost has no meaning, to the extent that in 2013, a full 34 years after Mohammad Reza Chah Pahlavi of Iran was forced out of the country (16 January 1979), war against Iran is still periodically cycled through government-friendly media in the US and Allied Western countries. Whether New Left or New Right (but with "large nuances") everybody is gung-ho for Iran war, calling it a "critical near term challenge', possibly producing some war booty in the form of oil or gas or gold or whatever else Iran might have hidden someplace, maybe reactor fuel rods, but above all and simply a great opportunity to start another Designer War. This is the main point.
The incredibly servile uncritical "government-friendly" media then turns down the patriotic rage volume control, when a little reflection shows what war against a rather big country, Iran, would mean: damage and defeat. For the Obama administration, the fallback default to please right-leaning, and far-right editorialists and TV anchorpersons is to maintain his dirty, cowardly and illegal drone war and a gulag archipelago of secret CIA prisons around the world. Proving his New Left credentials, however, Obama's gulag excludes waterboarding torture while using all other torture methods.
The open weakness of America's New Left Obama administration - of trying to avoid Iran war (only because the US would get its ass kicked) - is a national humiliation for its foam-at-the-mouth New Right opponents, but exactly the same language of rabid aggression is used by declared new right parties anywhere else in the Western world. An excellent example is Israel's Likud party and its present leader Benyamin Netanyahu who has literally "gone that extra mile", over the top, in promoting every conceivable extreme right policy and program.
In a daily feast of theatrical extremism, Mussolini style, Netanyahu promotes Israeli settlements in stolen Palestinian land, war against almost anybody who squats or prays in the direction of Mecca, flooding of the Israeli labour market with non-Jewish immigrants, and co-opting all and any other political party to confuse and deflect political criticism. Proving the new left-new right Me Too fatal convergence or "tectonic drift of Western politics", in fact the end of party politics, Netanyahu was quick to bring in "Labour ikon" Ehud Barak to run his war program, which Barak was pleased to do for appropriate remuneration, of course.
Beating the No Alternative designer war drum helps distract the public mind from the lurid state of the No Alternative economy - a trick dating back to the start of "liberal economics" and the quack doctor Francois Quesnay, called an "economist", who entertained the 18th century French court of Louis XV-XVI with his charlatan tricks and idiot one-liners, but the chaos-based economy is treated with religious reverence by today's Trash Politics leaderships. Called neoliberal to denote the change from Quesnay-era one-liners, this is sold to the public as the best, last and only way to run the economy.
To be sure, the uninformed and stupid - that is 99% of the population - might imagine the economy wasn't "self regulating", but since the time of Francois Quesnay "the experts" say it is. No Alternative politicians of today have verily heard that message enabling their favorite one-liner on the subject of the economy, before turning back to their designer wars: If the economy is in a mess this is no problem! It only appears to be in a mess, to the uninformed and stupid but is operated, very nicely, by well hidden and well remunerated crony capitalists with their grasping Invisible Hands deep in your pocket. So please dont worry; relax and enjoy your designer war!
Total convergence of new left and right is especially shown by the now-ritual farce of major elections in our "mature democracies". When new left and new right make a handover of power, the couched potato public are "allowed to know" the state of the economy is much worse than they were previously told to think. This being the case (always the case) the public knows what is coming next - that is an almost instant jump into War and Circuses with a jumbo-sized extra serving of economic crisis. Government-friendly media will take on its traditional role of wheeling out carefully selected "economic and security experts" to let the couched potatoes know how bad things really are. There really is No Alternative.
At media-frenzied times of ritualistic election and power handover, the iconic symbolism of obsolete party political labels is heavily worked by regime-friendly "independent media" controllers of public opinion. In the recent US presidential election, Mitt Romney, labelled "moderate Republican" by the self-appointed managers of the public mind, was seen by the New Right as suspiciously not rabid enough. He however did what he could: Romney called for all out trade war against China, the privatization of old age pension funding, the elimination of taxes on multi-million-dollar inheritances, further expansion in US military spending at far above annual inflation, the interdiction of labour union membership for public sector employees and other good things like a total ban on abortion.
His one-liner ideas on limiting the Federal deficit were possibly amusing, to some, but like Obama's one-liners on the same subject showed the total disinterest, or rather contempt of both of them for a thing as trifling and unimportant as the "real economy". This is obsolete. By definition it does not exist!
Romney planned to create 12 million jobs, at least for male Americans who are not-too-recent immigrants and have proof of citizenship, and Obama planned to create at least 12 million jobs, mostly in China, but there was disagreement on Romney's brilliant ideas of a return to the gold standard and the building of an all-new national missile defence system. To be sure the first of these - return to a gold standard would cause the most fantastic deflation it is possible to imagine - and the second is entirely useless, unless of course Romney fears Hezbollah-type toy missile attacks on Washington. For US voters, who like other voters in most "mature democracies" turn out less and less often, and with ever lower conviction or interest, the smile or shrug of the shoulders soon wore off.
Why were the only two choices in US politics between New Left do nothing and New Right do nothing, between more of the same no alternative and new, even worse, more rabid no alternative? In the US the new left "intelligentsia", when it is not Tweeting about gun control and single sex marriage, will opine that Western Europe's political parties are still vigorous and choice-based, not chaos-based, but this is woefully out of date. The claim that Europe still has "real" center-right and center-left parties totally ignores the collapse of "centrist politics" in Europe and the full-tilt stampede into US-style foam-at-the-mouth trash politics.
US left-leaning intellectuals will for example say that the Republican party of Dwight Eisenhower maintained Roosevelt's New Deal reforms, including a 90% top marginal tax rate, totally ignoring that the New Economy is based on tax evasion: near-90% top tax rates might in fact be reintroduced in several European countries or in Obamerica, thanks to the crisis, but this will only concern the revenues of any mental defective who has not yet moved their cash stash into a tax haven: these are dotted across Europe. The answer to American leftist intellectuals on this issue is simple: "Tax havens, just like hedge funds were invented in Europe, stupid!"
WAR AND CIRCUSES
Over the past thirty to forty years the political drift to convergence in chaos, reflecting the break up and dissipation of national identity, cultural identity, family identity - any kind of identity - has produced the false cherry topping of Individual Liberty, which is heavily promoted by Trash Politics. The cult of the narcissistic individual, hyper consumerism, single sex and gay marriage, extreme and dangerous sports, New Age mysticism or mass ignorance and semi-illiteracy are examples of the wanted and willed drift to nothingness and chaos, plastered over with the fake topping of "individual freedom and choice". The new self-loving Consumer Unit is crafted to want, and then need Trash Politics.
Americans and Europeans have become obsessionally "politically correct" with regard to race, age, gender and sexuality - at home. But when it concerns indiscriminately killing tens of thousands of persons in Afghanistan "because of bin Laden", or in Iraq "because of Saddam Hussein", this draws hardly a gurgle of protest from Mature Democrat post-modern citizens wallowing in their permanent riot of junk food, trash culture and consumer waste. Overseas, in the Designer Wars, the unchanging slogan is "Bomb baby, bomb!". Playing on the insecurity and repressed sense of collective guilt this generates - even among semi literate consumer nothings - is now itself a major hidden theme tucked inside Trash Politics, and a wonderful reason to keep the Designer Wars going. Relax and enjoy the war - you know you are racially and technologically superior!
To be sure the New Consumer Citizen, if male, will no longer openly display calendars featuring topless models on his office walls, and gay bashing is now considered inappropriate except for the lower classes, even in New Right circles, but the destruction of identity is the real goal of Trash Politics, whether it lurks under the new left label or new right label. Human beings, as defined by Trash Politics, are nothing but brain-dead low income taxpayer and mass consumer meat. Occasionally they need to be whipped into the voting booth to cast a meaningless vote, but not too often.Unfortunately, all the evidence is that this is a worldwide process, in no way restricted or limited to the "Mature Consumer Democracies". Rising angst and aggression, to be sure, is totally predictable when society no longer exists, nations have dissolved into thin air and the economy is run like a spinning roulette wheel, with all eyes on where the shiny ball will pitch, this time, next time, sometime, never. Americans and Europeans, certainly their Trash Politics leaderships, might even confuse this with a leadership phenomenon - the rest of the world is following us down the road to perdition. Yippee! The self-satisfaction and the sniggers will however not last long, because the triumph of Me Too-No Alternative politics, that is Trash Politics, is nothing less than the wilful destruction of civilization.
By Andrew McKillop
Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights
Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012
Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.
© 2012 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.
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