Sunday, January 1, 2012

Learning: Citizen United's First Year

Everybody Doesn't Win, but Everybody Learns

It's been a year since the Citizen United decision appalled most of the country in January, 2010.  There were a few Americans with enough Supreme Court savvy to dislike the activist nature of the thing or, perhaps, be unsettled by the striking break with precedent.  There were a few who found themselves unnerved by the hubris of the fascist, Bush strewn remnants of the court.

However, the complaints and laments of 2010 were of an academic nature.  The theory of the new possibilities was troubling, but the decision's future, material ramifications still amounted to nothing more than terrifying Constitutional hypotheticals.  Americans were far too toughened by the steady stream of outrages since the 2000 election to "waste time" worrying about as of yet unrealized future judicial calamities.

In fact, the same bunch who were secretly salivating at the prospect of actually buying an entire Presidential election in 2012 had effortlessly reduced the country to a desperate, nearly coast to coast poverty, extracted the wealth which had taken decades to secure and successfully remained untouchable behind the cover of their now subservient media.  Interestingly, MeanMesa heard no voices publicly speaking in support of the judicial concept of the decision.

That silence was a clue.  Someone must have like it.  But silence, nonetheless.

One might have imagined that bottom feeders such as the Armeys, Roves, Kochs or the WalMart Waltons might have let slip something positive about Citizens United, but nothing.  Perhaps such conversation and opinions were carefully reserved for Country Club salons where no spoken word has ever escaped.

quod est necessarium est licitum
"What is necessary, is lawful." 

Our Latin omits just a few pregnant questions, but especially the question of "necessary."  Necessary to whom?  Why necessary now? 

Those in power were compelled to make the Citizens United decision.  Both the flavor of prevailing circumstance and breathless perspiration of this moment in time demanded that risk be taken, gauntlets cast down and all chips placed in ante for the game approaching.  There is, actually, a game in progress.  It is not a game that we here at the bottom might ever glimpse until it's final, bloody, last hand has closed, but the result of its very soiled consummation will be a "free horizon" for the oligarchs, opportunity, raw, soulless and completely unfettered -- unfettered by anything in the world.

Estimates at the time of this posting place the Citizens United "war chest" in the $4 Bn range as it gorges itself in preparation for the 2012 election.

Of course, the rampaging avarice for power has become cash.  Even Citizens United leaves a few, perfunctory "rules" in place, tattered shards of the old democracy, but such temporary obstacles are not permanent.  According to the plan, they will simply be left on the "to do" list until the takeover moves closer to completion.

Citizens United was necessary, given the stakes of the current political game.  The scheme to transform the republic into a modern oligarchy has made a significant, durable progress, but it is progress which still has foundation problems.  The conspirators have, indeed, increased tension during the Obama Presidency at an explosive rate, but neither the schedule nor the path has not been well managed.

In fact, those "increases in tension" have not turned out to be all that steady.  Yes, the hill billies and the bigots in the reactionary base have literally "gobbled up" the pablum, but that success was also supposed to ensnare more rational voters who weren't paying enough attention to the details in the flood of misinformation, voters who could be drawn into the maelstrom for no reason any more compelling than the number of reactionaries who were already there.

Like the teasing near orgasm of a drunken bus station whore, the feverish pitch seemed moments from "victory" six months ago, but in the ensuing time, every pain of the Great Republican Depression of 2008 has patiently settled in like an enduring toothache.  The pain is no longer theoretical or conveniently ideological.  The pain has become far too material to lend itself to the cheap redirection the scam enjoyed before.

Over Funded, Over Reaching
and Under Sophisticated

MeanMesa stood both horrified and despondent during the scheme's early successes.  It seemed that the entire country had become even more illiterate, uniformed and uninterested over night.  The daily barrage of propaganda victories of the early campaign was supposed to saturate progressives with a strangely pervasive yet ambiguous hopelessness, and it did.

The 2010 election played its part in revving up the hopelessness, but it also signalled the effects of the scheme's early strategy to dishearten voters.  The oligarchs' Congressional scheme of total obstruction lent itself well to the popular but synthetic, horror fantasy "that all politicians are alike, that both parties are alike, and that the President is ineffective." 

However, the recent developments were not all bad.  What we had expected from Citizens United in our darkest moments never materialized, at least, never materialized in the form of the hideous juggernaut we had at first anticipated.  The takeover scheme was churning along at full throttle for a while, but as time slipped by, interesting pieces of the evil plan began to fall off the machine.

We progressives gradually realized that we had over estimated the sophistication of the uber-rich but not their cynicism.  Emboldened by their early successes, the oligarch strategists immediately over reached.  Their ambitions drove them mindlessly, miles too far from their own carefully constructed supply lines.  Their "supply" of impulsive and determined base followers faltered.

Their tea bags slowly lost their fervor as more and more of the corporate spine of that movement was illuminated.  Their nationwide voter suppression moves caught the attention of the Justice Department.  Literally millions of Americans rose up against state capitols which had been considered unassailable bastions only days before.

Governors and State Senators were being recalled.  Reactionary, class based legislation was going down in flames in electorate initiatives.  Not even the corporate media could downplay the gravity of these events, although they tried mightily.  The spigots for more and more Citizens United cash were opened wide, and the psychology departments of the think tanks flew into "fix it" mode.

And trouble for the oligarch class didn't stop there.

Their own fierce cynicism had assured them that American voters would be unable -- or unwilling -- to discern the distance between obvious truth and their glacier of propaganda.  The stock of the "lie catching business" began to rise as fact checking progressive enterprises took advantage of the eternality of modern video and internet technologies.  Poorly prepared and poorly designed [i.e. too stupid] reactionary candidates began to encounter the worst, most embarrassing  possible parts of their own history on a regular basis -- on television.

The ghostly block of Republican unanimity cracked in "debates" and negative ads from other Republicans.  Even worse, the audiences at GOPCon "debates" began to routinely humiliate themselves with jeers at active military men, cheers for executions and an immoral disinterest in everything from health care to women's rights, birth control and an affordable end to military colonialism.

No amount of Citizens United money could fix that.  No amount of Citizens United money could keep such things a secret.  These events had been engineered and financed by Citizen United money.

The bizarre over reaching began in earnest.  Candidates without campaigns -- Cain, for example -- were created with a straight flow of cash rather than any of  the traditional enthusiasm of voters.  Arcane "throw-aways" such as Perry were inflated to momentary importance with huge amounts of oligarch dollars in the expectation that if only a candidate "looked like" a candidate, the zombies would elect him.

The oligarchs had actually created a "supply side" political problem for themselves.  Their problem was that there was simply not enough of a "supply" of zombies to keep the game going.  Further, they were gradually discovering that -- even with a Citizens United check book in hand -- their purchasing agents were reporting back that the "shelves were bare."  They had already purchased -- and consumed -- the entire supply of malcontents and idiots.

No amount of Citizen United cash and no amount of meat handed, adolescent political incendiaries seemed to be able to refill the ranks.  The public opinion polls finally began to sag.  There was no more excitement to be had, just the toothache.

The Beached Whale

The Citizens United "coup d'etat" (image source)

The beached whale will smell awful by November. And, the toothache will remain more than a fleeting memory.

Almost anything else will smell better.

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