You are browsing the archive for Britain.

Wait, Obama is _leading_ the fiscal cliff scare campaign

5:34 am in Uncategorized by fairleft

Establishment writers, liberal and conservative, in careering or faith-based defiance of reality, continue to frame mainstream political processes as oppositional. The ‘huh?’ head scratching over Aditya Chakrabortty’s new Guardian article starts with the sub-head:

The economic abyss is a distortion peddled by the US right and Obama’s Democrats – just like Britain’s left – need to counter the myth

Wait … wh-at? You’re beseeching “Obama’s Democrats” to what? COUNTER the myth? But, aren’t they, I mean …

Obama demands fast action on fiscal cliff
Election behind him, Obama to talk “fiscal cliff”
Obama to Discuss ‘Fiscal Cliff’ with Labor Leaders

So can it be any more obvious who is leading the campaign to over-hype a fiscal slope into a cliff? Obama! Obama’s Democrats! I can’t believe you haven’t noticed this, so I ask why the perverse denial of reality? Are you just afraid of the career consequences of ditching the liberal/conservative oppositional frame? Have you looked at the main campaign contributors (Big Finance! Wall Street!) to Obama, the Obama Democrats, and to the Republicans, both this year and in 2008? Why hasn’t that blown up your oppositional fantasy world?

What agenda are you selling, Mr. Chakrabortty? The myth that we have two parties, one of which is ‘for us’ and the other ‘right wing’? Sorry, but a President-Obama-led ‘fiscal cliff’ scare campaign is not the place to push that. The evidence emphatically contradicts your thesis. (Helpful hint: peddle that stuff over abortion or gay marriage.)

If you want the details of what the Obama Democrats have planned regarding the slope, listen to former Senate Majority Leader and Obama Democrat Tom Daschle:

“I don’t think there’s any question that entitlement reform will be a part of whatever new agreement is reached,” former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said at an event here Thursday sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. “I do think cost containment for Medicare and Medicaid will be a very important part of the discussion.”

And when it gets to the final minutes, Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will be ready to clang the debt limit alarm bells:

“Geithner’s role is going to be to ride shotgun on the debt limit and make sure that everybody is sufficiently alarmed about that,” said Robert Bixby, director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan advocate for responsible fiscal policy. “And that would help bring a negotiation to a conclusion.”

Or, just read Glenn Greenwald.

Like you say, we’ve all been here before, this cliff b.s. is the same as the preceding — and wildly successful for big finance and the right — bipartisan/multipartisan scare campaigns, the ones we saw in fall 2008 in the U.S. and in the spring 2010 in Britain, when

Democratic debate was railroaded; the wrong economic policy was followed – and it was all done to avert a wildly inflated threat.

Though in all three cases, a “wrong” economic policy for almost all of society was and is right, great, from the perspective of the rich, Big Finance, big banks, and the neoliberal ideologues who control the major parties in both Britain and the U.S.

Finally, Aditya, another example, your incoherent conclusion:

I can only hope that America’s Democrats learn their lesson from the British experience. Because the right here owned the language and framed the debate.

Again, uh, the opposition between the Democrats and “the right.” What agenda are you serving with that lie?

‘Social Contract’ in this Age of Austerity

12:03 pm in Uncategorized by fairleft

Great comment on the British riots at Lenin’s Tomb:

Paul Lofthouse 2 days ago

It is in a way odd that the mainstream portrayal of these riots is opportunistic thieves because if the only thing maintaining the social contract is the police then the media is essentially admitting that for sizeable segments of British society the status quo holds no benefit. All stick and no carrot so to speak.

EDIT: Also the involvement of gangs seems to be being mentioned more frequently. Again the fact that these youths are resorting to alternative social organisations is not an excuse to handwave their concerns away but another sign of how mainstream society has failed them.

So the social contract — provisionally accepting the notion just for sake of argument and possible insight – according to the politicians and 24/7 media/propaganda now goes like this:

“You must obey the law.” [That's it, that's now the whole social contract.] 


“Because if you don’t we’ll catch you and punish you.”

“What if that’s not true, what if I run fast? What if the punishment is not severe enough, cost-benefit-wise?”

Anyway, there’s no liberal bleating to strip away during this Age of Austerity. The PTB as much as say the social contract is “Do as we say or we punish you.” No talk of benefits — ‘Keep yah nose clean kid and there’s a union factory job in it for yah’ — it’s now just about screwing people over and calling out the police thugs to deal with the resulting anger.

I don’t see that holding. 

Reading the post ”Could the Riots in England Have Been Averted?“ – a post in denial about why multiple non-violent protests over police violence got no media attention and no response from the British government — inspired more  ’social contract’ thoughts. Here’s a slightly expanded/modified version of my comment:

fairleft August 11th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Looking more widely, beyond the issue of deliberate police violence, I think you misunderstand the power relationship between the police and the political status quo and the formerly non-violent rioters.

True, the riots occurred at least in part because numerous non-violent protests and marches were ignored. But why were they ignored? No, not because police and politicians “need formal training in understanding civil citizen action, and how to respond to it as part of a relationship.”

No, non-violent protests were ignored because the ruling class has no satisfactory response. The only ‘response’ would be:

“We’re taking more for ourselves now, so there’s less for you. You’re understandably angry about that, and that’s why we’ve upped police violence: we think social control over people we’re putting the squeeze on is easier to maintain when the police are violent thugs.

So yeah, you figured it all out, congratulations and f#@%kin’ boo hoo for you.”

The ruling class have made their play over the last several years. An Age of Austerity is the final step, and a permanent one if they can maintain it. The only question is will their media and police power win them that future?

See also:

‘The Austerity Crusade’ Wins in Greece

Black Hoover & The Austerity Crusade

‘Shared Prosperity’ is anti-neoliberal meme. What’s the program?