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We definitely live in a time when even the most dedicated of cynics has a hard time keeping up. Charles Pierce's piece in Esquire, published this morning, strikes a chord for me:

We have elected a national legislature in which Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann have more power than does the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has been made a piteous spectacle in the eyes of the country and doesn't seem to mind that at all. We have elected a national legislature in which the true power resides in a cabal of vandals, a nihilistic brigade...
He looks back where the blame belongs:
The true hell of it, though, is that you could see this coming down through the years, all the way from Ronald Reagan's First Inaugural Address in which government "was" the problem, through Bill Clinton's ameliorative nonsense about the era of big government being "over," through the attempts to make a charlatan like Newt Gingrich into a scholar and an ambitious hack like Paul Ryan into a budget genius, and through all the endless attempts to find "common ground" and a "Third Way." Ultimately, as we all wrapped ourselves in good intentions, a prion disease was eating away at the country's higher functions. One of the ways you can acquire a prion disease is to eat right out of its skull the brains of an infected monkey. We are now seeing the country reeling and jabbering from the effects of the prion disease, but it was during the time of Reagan that the country ate the monkey brains.

There was a diary on this article earlier today, but it only got a dozen or so recs, 5 comments. It deserves wider attention, so I decided to reiterate.

The most obvious fix I can see is a system like in Australia where there are fines for not voting. That probably has less chance of passing than, say, a Medicare-for-all single payer health care system. Pierce notes:

There can be no reward for this behavior. I am less sanguine than are many people that this whole thing will redound to the credit of the Democratic party. For that to happen, the country would have to make a nuanced judgment over who is to blame that, I believe, will be discouraged by the courtier press of the Beltway and that, in any case, the country has not shown itself capable of making.
One does suspect that "the courtier press of the Beltway" is always motivated, at least partly, by the desire to keep those dinner invitations coming.

Meanwhile, the following appeared in a FaceBook comment. WTF? I guess corporations are only people some of the time.

I read that there are 12 national parks that are being drilled on by corporations for oil/gas and these activities continue..if they are considered "people" why are they allowed on the public lands that regular "people" are not allowed to be on? The Drilling goes on, but we are being denied access? Something very wrong with that picture.
Like I said to start: It's hard for even a dedicated cynic to keep up.

Originally posted to Land of Enchantment on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 08:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by National Parks and Wildlife Refuges and Headwaters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  yes, that stuck in my mind (6+ / 0-)

    eating monkey brains in the 1980s, and doing what they're doing today. Or maybe it's advanced syphillis, I was reading about that today also. Hard to tell by the symptoms.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 08:35:27 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, that was good. (4+ / 0-)

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 08:40:15 PM PDT

  •  Charley Pierce is a daily must read. (5+ / 0-)

    I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. - Kasper Gutman

    by rasbobbo on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 09:24:37 PM PDT

  •  Jesus Hussein Christ. (5+ / 0-)

    When I see "dedicated cynic" and "hard to keep up" and the calendar says it's shutdown A 2013 I swear I'm going to hurl my ditto machine right into their great grandparents' superheterodyne radio.

    People have been detailing and explaining this situation since the Beatles were still freaking TOURING.

    The Powell Memo is older than Skylab. Taft Hartley predates fucking EISENHOWER.

    I swear before the tea party shuts this government down 3 times I will be bojoed here for totally losing it about people, movements and philosophies that will not understand how anything actually works.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Oct 01, 2013 at 09:27:18 PM PDT

  •  I've got a somewhat different theory. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment, OldJackPine, ume

    There's a segment of the populace that's always looked upon the federal government as the source of free goods. The "free market" is nothing more than taking free goods from the public treasury to market for a profit. When resources started to run out, really or because the public shut them off, the sucklings turned to the symbolic stuff, money. Money for delivering goods and services that they didn't turned out to be even more profitable than drilling stuff out of the ground and selling it off.
    Then, going even more virtual, they discovered that passing laws that don't work both discomfits the public and suckles the lawyers and the ruling elite. Failure by design is profitable, especially in a monetized economy. Doctors, when they screw up get more money, if not directly, then their associates benefit (if 80% of hospital admissions are the result of mistakes during prior admissions, then a payment system that penalizes mistakes is not likely to be welcome by hospital administrators) in making corrections. Ditto for lawyers that specialize in appeals. R. Ted Cruz used to charge $695 an hour for his consulting services.
    If legislation is designed to fail, then it doesn't matter who gets sent to Congress to screw things up.

    Why do we keep breeding predatory humans who prey on their own kind? They may be a default or a necessary variant. It may be a good thing to have someone to out-smart. It makes some people smarter. Others just do the same stupid stuff over and over.
    Why do we let them get away with it? Because we're generous?

    •  'failure by design' and the profit motive (0+ / 0-)

      certainly would explain it.  To heal our system of government, needed is non-disputable proof.  Even then, you would have grapple with the 'deniers'.

      note: in the sense of cause and effect, a democracy is not a result of a monetized economy (and I am not saying you said it was - just thinking out loud);

      but a monetized economy is a necessary condition for a plutocracy.  And this is, proof or no proof, what America is governed by.

      Thank you.

      We've reached the point where we're unfazed by things that should shake us to the core. –Bill McKibben (Volva Award recipient)

      by ume on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 09:26:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Given that humans have been using money for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        over five thousand years, it seems difficult to assign cause and effect.
        I think our modern monetary systems had their start with Spain and Portugal bringing back all the Americas' gold and somehow letting the Dutch get control of it within a generation. Then the Dutch put the gold in vaults and issued certificates of deposit instead.
        The assignment of responsibility for the currency, along with other weights and measures, to the Congress by the Constitution was a conscious effort to locate the management of the currency in the public corporation.
        Before the Civil War, some of the states issued their own currency. One of the first acts of the Confederacy was to issue currency for the states leaving the union. Indeed, it was when that currency was no longer accepted as payment for supplies that the Confederacy came accropper. After the Civil War, the U.S. adopted a common currency and then the greenback people railed against the cross of gold.
        The Federal Reserve system, a public/private partnership, was set up a hundred years ago and as long as the dollar was tied to a precious metal it could be argued that "there's not enough money." That changed in 1971, the same year 18 year olds got the vote and universal suffrage was achieved. Nixon cut the bands of gold because he did not want foreign financiers affecting our currency with their speculation. It seems not to have occurred to him that Wall Street would do it in spades, nor that the Congress was going to switch over from doling out property rights to distributing dollars to their supporters.

        Government BY the people threatens the powers of only one group -- the people who have stewardship of our assets and resources. If they are dishonest, then they will mirror the biblical parable of the unjust steward. Mismanagement is not a crime, but it does merit removal.

  •  Who needs coffee when you have a CP rant? (3+ / 0-)

    Righteous. When I grow up, I want to write like that.

    Peace, Love, and Canoes!!!

    by OldJackPine on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 05:03:15 AM PDT

  •  I can't find it now (0+ / 0-)

    but "monkey brains" reminds me of my all time favorite Calvin & Hobbes cartoon.  With Boehner in the role of "Dad."

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Wed Oct 02, 2013 at 06:20:42 PM PDT

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